Choosing the right DJ software can be a daunting process as it’s not a matter of what OS you’re using, but it’s also a matter of flexibility, convenience, and cost-effectiveness. Or it is? Besides, the market is awash with applications that can enable you to mix with more than four decks, and a quick search will give you hundreds of results, which can be hard to narrow down.
The best DJ software for Windows must, first of all, be affordable. Look at the features, how many tracks would you like to play at once? Which sound effects would you like? Look out for the stability and quality of the software as well as you don’t want to end up with one that’s always crashing.
The best way to DJ right now is on a digital system. Whether you’re using Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, or PC, this complete buying guide will explore the nine best DJ software applications for Windows. So read on.
Native Instruments Traktor Pro 3 dominates the high-end digital DJ applications. It comes with flexible performance and DJ friendly functions across the spectrum. It also features all-around intuitiveness and reliability, making it an excellent choice if you want to conquer the club and fill the dance floor with people from house parties, bars, and beaches to everything in between.
NI Traktor comes in two versions; Traktor Pro allows you to use a mouse and a keyboard or a DJ hardware controller. The other version is Traktor Scratch, which you can use with one of NI’s digital vinyl setups as it comes with a convenient user interface that makes it user-friendly to newbies.
Traktor Pro 3 offers new tools for sonic sculpting with a clear interface for the best sound. You can make a playlist of whatever music you want or what your audience wants to listen to you want and, however, you wish for excellent performances.
The interface sharpens and flattens the waveforms so that you can accurately gain your mix with full visual feedback. The software also packs a lot of depth that allows the advanced user to create some serious things.
Traktor Pro 3 software application is an ideal choice if you’re looking to harness your beatmatching skills or blend and bridge BPMs efficiently by hitting the sync button, which best-matches tracks.
Conversely, for those who want to put their stamp on a set, this software offers reliable and seamless loop, Hotcue, and beat jump tools to re-edit and chop tracks. Additionally, this software will ensure that you never skip a beat out of the groove.
The full FX suite tool modulates your tracks with over forty responsive high-grade effects. You can twist and screw your mixes with endless variations thanks to the dynamic effects in a single control on each channel.
Native Instruments have a wide range of controllers that you can use with the Traktor software. Besides, numerous third-party options are compatible with the application, making it extra flexible.
- User-friendly interface
- Seamless loop
- Hot Cues
- Beat jump tool
- Full FX suite
- New mixer FX
Serato has remained a significant player in the field of DJing since the early ’00s dominating the professional DJ software market to date. Scratch Live is the most popular digital vinyl system out there and packs innovative features of what you’d expect from two decades of research.
It feels reliable and more low-latency, making it feel tight and more refined than ever and an excellent choice for pro club DJs. The software is compatible with Windows, iOS, PC, and Mac and offers a color-coding system with full-color waveforms that allow DJs to match tracks BPM and keys in the bass, tremble, and audio frequencies.
Conversely, Serato DJ Pro allows you to lock up to four decks at a time using a drag and drop track selection feature to give you the right mix. Despite robust features, the software is quite easy to use and includes a high-quality mixer with flexible integration of various track sources. It also offers plug-and-play support for a variety of controllers and digital vinyl capabilities.
Serato Scratch Live also includes creative elements you’d expect from the top of the range software like sampling capabilities, four-deck mixing, intuitive effects, sync, and analysis tools. It’s compatible with a vast list of controllers especially jog wheel DJ for real-time scratching. It also works well with CDJ’s, turntables, mixers, drum machines, and effect machines.
If you usually use sync, Serato Scratch Live allows you to exit loops and drop cues correctly on a beat. Also, the beat jump control is a fantastic feature as it will enable you to quickly skip through a track, which can allow you to skip a large number of records in time. The beat jump control is also handy when cutting songs with a long intro or skipping a few beats when transitioning.
The software also allows you to create track groups by use of keywords, genres, or temple. You can quantize available cues and loops to match perfectly with the beat. The app comes with a free version that allows users to grips with it at no cost.
However, Scratch Live is only available when bought together with a Rane audio interface. But the dark interface is comfortable to the eyes, especially when working for long hours.
- Allows control of up to four decks
- Sync option
- Beat jump control
- Quantize mode
- Analysis tool
- Sampling capabilities
- Plug and play support for a wide range of controllers
Although it’s not an actual DJ software application, Ableton Live was initially a digital audio workstation for music production. However, it quickly proved popular with DJs due to its unique Session View that allows the launching of synchronized loops.
It’s an open-source application that can intuitively handle retiming of audio files, making it an unbeatable choice for DJing, live performance, and production.
The Session View feature is a window that allows DJs to launch synced audio files, MIDI clips, and tracks. The software is an excellent choice for remixing songs and live performances. It includes a heap of inbuilt instruments and effects for recording music, lighting stage control, and visual effects, among others.
The software allows you to host plug-ins thanks to the intuitive MIDI Learn Function that will enable you to do more and stay in the flow with a multitude of workflow improvements. Ableton Live is available in three forms; intro, standard, and suit.
The software features eight tools that enhance and expand the punch, color, and texture. Besides, these creative extensions include intuitive ways to pitch shifts and sequence melodies and delays; two revamped Max for Live synths and original and characterful studio processing.
Ableton Live also allows you to shape your sounds with effects like analog-modeled filters, wobble, wailing feedback, and digital hardware delays in a single device. It also includes a myriad of effects, loops, performance pads, hot cues, transport controls, and waveforms that help you mix with creativity.
There’s also an inbuilt synthesizer that shapes, stretches, and morphs sound waves using wavetables. You can also sculpt sound on your own even without in-depth knowledge of synthesis thanks to the intuitive interface. What’s more, you can choose a wide range of controllers to make your mixes and jam multiple devices.
Ableton Live allows the user to match the tempo and timing and plays your mix in a loop without having to press record. It also works when overdubbing MIDI into existing clips and when adding new parts, which combines the appeal as an intuitive DJ performance tool.
The multiple MIDI clip editing allows you to take greater control and edit tracks within a single view in session and arrangement. The software also allows you to choose from a palette of automation tools with detailed editing features and significant adjustments for faster and easier editing.
- Intuitive interface
- Track freezing with side chains
- Improved gain range
- Dedicated modulation and modulation buttons in clip detail view
- Advanced effect visualization
- MIDI note view and multiple MIDI editing
- Creative extensions
Rekordbox DJ is a product of Pioneer developed as a track preparation tool for Pioneer CDJs and digital music players. It features four decks of track control with full mixing, effects, and sampling capabilities, making it ideal for use with Windows, Android, and OS.
The software includes a library of browsers with a tagging and track recommendation system to manage your music and perform. The mobile function allows you to carry your music anywhere via a mobile device. At the same time, the auto-sync feature keeps your library up-t0-date with tracks and metadata like cue points, playlist, and grid information.
Additionally, the per-track and master effects come with multiple slots, eight slots sampler, beat slicer, and a looper making it a deal-breaker if you’re starting.
However, the software is expandable with add-ons packs for digital vinyl, video mixing, and lyric functionality to intensify and expand the punch, color, and texture. The pro version of the Rekordbox DJ can sync and control light shows and stage effects, making it ideal for karaoke and DJing.
Rekordbox DJ is compatible with Pioneer’s controller hardware and features cross-platform compatibility as it’s a workflow and track library shared with Pioneer CDJs and mixers. You can also DJ with it as an audio interface with no hardware on a range of devices.
The software includes waveform previews and switchable extra panels for pads, effects, recording, and sampler. It contains comprehensive beat gridding that feels tight and an analysis tool that travels through your tracks.
Rekordbox DJ features a cloud library management that you can use to play tracks in the apps by connecting a supported CDJ/XDJ. A built-in sequencer can be of interest to beginners, but it doesn’t offer the waveform displays when DJing through a USB. However, the software feels a little rough around the edges.
- Cloud music management
- Visual effects
Virtual DJ is a veteran software that includes a freemium and full version, which comes with robust and convenient features. It’s an excellent choice for the beginner DJ and the experienced hands-on pro as it has a free upgrade policy, which is a good selling point for the software.
It’s relatively basic compared to the likes of Ableton Live and Serato DJ and is light on advanced features but certainly gets the job done. The software supports a wide range of hardware controllers like Denon, Pioneer DJ DDJ, and Roland DJ, making it a convenient application for DJs.
The interface includes a dark grey background and offers reliable streaming of music from various sources. Half the screen allows you to see the music library while the other half shows you the waveform where the beat matching takes place – the waveforms appear in red or blue colors.
The deck section includes a simple drag-and-drop function that allows you to load your track on the screen to enhance and expand the punch, color, and texture. You will see the track’s name, length, BPM, time remaining, and other metrics for harmonic mixing.
Conversely, the software includes audio and visual effects capabilities with a plethora and smart beat-aware effects, standard sound effects, native video effects, and transitions. The sampler comes with unlimited banks and sample slots that you can group or organize with colors.
The performance pads allow you to unleash your creativity thanks to an unlimited number of features, including loops, slicer, sampler, and hot cues. There is also a powerful library management tool that stores all your tracks, and you can search through the playlist with the smart filter feature.
Other features include a powerful yet easy to learn multi-desk stand-alone DJ mixer which is fully operational even without DJ hardware. There are other smart quantizing features like jog wheels, effects, loops, performance pads, hot cues, transport controls, waveforms that help you mix faster, and with more creativity.
- Support for video mixing
- Multi-deck stand-alone DJ mixer
- Plug and play with any DJ gear
- Accurate vinyl feel
- Real-time stem separation
- Built-in support for karaoke playback
Mixxx is a software that includes various features like the automatic beat and key detection, four decks, looping, master sync, among other effects making it an excellent choice for experienced and novice DJs.
It’s a free and open-source application and comes with twin decks that allow you to do more with scratching, scrolling waveforms, integrating iTunes, hot cues, and supports a wide range of track forms.
The software supports more than 85 controller hardware and timecode vinyl systems without artificial restrictions or exclusive vendor lock-ins. It also comes with a sleek graphical interface and refined effects for a unique setup.
Mixxx allows you to change your tracks’ tempo without changing their pitch, thanks to a keylock function. You can also temporarily nudge the speed for manual beatmatching.
Conversely, you can load up to 64 sampler decks full of sounds to layer over your mix. Besides, you can link three effects in a chain for a unique twist in your mix. There’s also a BPM detection and sync function that allows you to customize your workflow.
If you want to organize your music, there is a sophisticated music library powered with a high-performance database that quickly helps you search your playlist. You can also drop fresh tracks from your iTunes and build your categorization system. Besides, the app includes an auto DJ who watches your back whenever you want to break.
If you’re collaborating with a vocalist during a performance, Mixx software allows you to integrate live audio input into your mix. Also, the microphone and auxiliary inputs let you include different sound sources without an external hardware mixer.
You can also record live performances to WAV and FLAC formats or with MP3 recording enabled. On the other hand, live broadcasting allows you to stream your mixes over the internet. Mixxx software comes in four different skins to choose from so that you can have a comfortable screen.
- 64 sampler decks
- Customizable DJ hardware support
- Pitch and key control
- EQ and crossfader control
- Master sync
- MIDI and HID controller support
- Effect chains
- Auto DJ
- BPM and key detection
If you’re looking to integrate video mixing and karaoke support, alongside all other standard features that come with a DJ software, PCDJ Dex will make an excellent choice. The app packs four virtual decks with beatmatching capabilities and beat sync, EQs, effects, and more, making it a flexible option for mobile and event DJs.
Dex is a beat grid-based automatic beat mixing and key detection software that makes it easy to blend tracks as you focus on other aspects of mixing. The application offers compatibility with more than 100 hardware controllers such as Pioneer CDJ, Denon, Native Instruments, Ronald, among others, for more creativity when mixing.
It features a user-friendly interface and transport controls that make it easy to mix everything. Additionally, the advanced mixer control is similar to what you’d find in top of the range physical DJ mixer.
PCDJ included an advanced media file browser for your music, karaoke files, and videos. You can also import iTunes playlists automatically to mix. Additionally, the software detects when you connect a controller in real-time, which allows you to map it manually.
The SoundCloud subscription service allows the user to access a full catalog of over 200 plus premium and underground tracks. The playlist synchronizes seamlessly with your Dex software to offer a tight-knit integration with fast track buffering.
The software also allows you to create and display multilayered on-screen texts, images, and video overlays. Besides, you can view your DJ logo and whatever else you desire to create a perfect visual presentation to your audience.
It also synchronizes with Party Tyme Karaoke, which comes with more than 15,000 plus songs. It provides DJs and karaoke hosts a quick and seamless method to browse and preview karaoke tracks. However, the karaoke in-app will cost you $99 a month, which can add to the overall cost of purchasing the app.
- Transport and DJ mixer controls
- 100 plus compatible DJ controllers
- Built-in effects and sample player
- Party Tyme karaoke subscription
- Advanced media file browser
- Display text, image, and video overlays on the screen
Cross DJ is relatively new in the market but is well known for coding. It is also compatible with a long list of hardware controllers and offers a fermium version.
It comes with a beginner-friendly interface that is simple to use and perfect for newbies and hands-on DJs. There’s also a neat feature – the Mixvibes Soundcloud link-up that allows you to search your playlist from the Soundcloud account.
Conversely, the software supports a wide range of file formats and iTunes integration to allow you to drop tracks from your library to create a list before a gig. Once you load the music, the waveform will appear above the deck. It includes a drag-and-drop feature that you use to search through the selected track.
Mixvibes Cross DJ also includes two full-featured players with a low, high, and mid waveform that come in three color schemes to reflect track structure. When you click the loop button, the software allows you to set up to eight hot cues for loops and auto loops.
Conversely, the FX button will let the user control the FX with an XY touchpad. You can choose a wide range of effects that you control using your fingers for the right mix. Also, Cross DJ allows you to record vocal hits that you can drop in your set.
You can also record your music by clicking the record button, which is easy to use, making it ideal for house parties and birthdays, among other small events. Overall it’s a fantastic DJ software with features you’d expect to see in mid-range applications like Traktor.
- Two full-featured players
- Sync for automatic beatmatching
- Eight hot cues per track
- The built-in key detection engine
- Dynamic Key control and display
- Advanced media management
- iTunes integration
Image Line’s DJing software works as a stand-alone application and comes with a user-friendly interface and a host of other features, making it ideal for the novice and hands-on DJ. It includes two or four decks that can load MP3, WAV, and OCG to suit today’s evolving DJ performances.
Deckadance software is compatible with Windows, Mac, iOS, and it comes in house and club edition to support time-coded vinyl. It can host VST compliant effects through a MIDI controller and iTunes integration, giving you the ability to time code your club edition.
The software allows you to assign a variety of controls when tweaking a single knob. The smart knob also helps you to assign EQs, FX, and VST parameters. Conversely, it includes a basic three-band equalizer and vertical waveforms, sampler, gross beat, and VST plug-ins.
The software features an intuitive and user-friendly interface that includes one main window that expands to fill the whole screen. You can also use Deckadance to host a range of effects or software synthesizers for an eight-track music sequencer. Besides, the user can control the VSTs via MIDI files.
The software features eight integrated sampler banks that allow you to save up to eight beat pattern loops from the decks. The sampler works together with the beat detection feature to automatically sync to tempo. You can also record and loop live video.
The re-looper features slices and rearranges tracks in the playback buffer. It comes with a wide range of Master ReLooper effects that combine lo-fi distortion and vocoder effect. Thankfully, the software also supports a long list of MIDI controllers so a beginner need not worry about compatibility.
Deckadance is available in a freemium version. You can upgrade for more versatile features and an excellent appeal to those who want something less complicated than a full-blown digital audio workstation.
- Eight integrated sampler banks
- 2 or 4 decks
- Smart Knobs
- Gross beat
- VST host and client
- Smart panels
There are many DJ software for Windows, and while some come at a cost, others are free but will need you to purchase additional hardware like a controller, a sound card, or a DVS, which can increase your final overall price. It’s important to consider what you want your software to do for you, especially if you’re going to play four or more tracks at the same time.
You need to know the purpose of your software and whether it will work with specific brands of hardware. Besides, although some controllers and mixers come with software, it may only work with one particular brand of equipment.
When it comes to DJ software, traditionally, there are three big names – Serato, Traktor, and Virtual DJ, and from Pioneer DJ, we have a viable fourth alternative, Rekordbox DJ. If you’re looking for a refined application, then Serato DJ would make an excellent choice, but if you want a software that is compatible with everything, then the Virtual DJ has got to be worth trying.
- Music Radar: The 11 best DJ software applications in the world today
- Native-instruments: DJ Software: Traktor Pro 3 | Traktor
- Wikipedia: Scratch Live
- Ableton: New in Live: Discover the new features Ableton Live 10 has to offer
- Mixxx: Features
- Rekordbox: Mobile
- Make Use Of Ableton Live: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide
- Mixvibes: Cross DJ Software – Free Download