Traditionally, disc jockeys, or DJ’s as they are commonly called, only played recorded songs for other people. However, in modern practice, the job of a DJ involves mixing and re-tuning these tracks to make them sound fresh. While most of us do not know it, it takes a lot of practice and experience to master the craft of DJing.
All you need to start DJing is a good laptop, and a DJing software. Be it the radio DJs, club DJs, or the mobile DJ’s playing at weddings, all of them need to learn the basic setup and usage of DJing software.The most popular DJing software is Serato DJ.
Therefore, in this article, we shall provide a Serato DJ tutorial, where we will teach you how to set up the software, connect your decks, and use its features to mix your songs.
Serato is a music company that produces digital software that helps in music mixing. After the huge success of its initial versions, Serato launched a couple of other software, namely, Serato DJ Pro and Serato DJ Lite.
Crate System In Serato
The Serato DJ software uses a crate system to organize songs. You can add your tracks to these crates and select them later if you want to mix and master them. You can even add sub-crates so that all the tunes that you want to work on are available in a single list.
To add songs to the crates, you simply need to find the songs on your laptop and drag them in. You can double-tap on the crate to rename it as well.
Moreover, Serato DJ also has an inbuilt navigation system. With the feature, you can find songs from external playlists that you have already integrated with the software.
Adding Playlists To Serato
1. Using iTunes Library
You can use your iTunes library to mix and master songs on the Serato DJ software. You need to select the gear option to check various settings on the homepage. After this, click on Library, and move to library settings.
Here, you will see the option ‘show iTunes library.’ Click on this option to grant permission and go back to the Serato DJ homepage. Now, you will see the iTunes library option just above the crates section. Once you select the iTunes library, you will have access to all the songs you have added to it.
However, you must know that to access newly added songs in the iTunes playlist, you need to restart Serato DJ software every time. Therefore, do not add songs to the iTunes library while you are operating the software.
2. Using SoundCloud And Tidal Playlists
Most young artists and DJs prefer adding their playlist and tunes to music streaming platforms like SoundCloud Go and Tidal. Therefore, Serato DJ came up with a new update where it allows integration of playlists on SoundCloud Go and Tidal. However, you need to have a valid subscription of either of these streaming platforms to access your playlist in Serato DJ.
To gain this access, select the gear option on the Serato DJ homepage and visit Library. Here you will see an option to sign in to your SoundCloud Go or Tidal account.
Once you log into the account, you will start seeing a shortcut above the crates section. Simply click on the account shortcut, and your SoundCloud Go and Tidal playlists will be visible.
The only limitation of this feature is that you cannot drag your music files from the SoundCloud or Tidal accounts into other crate sections of the Serato DJ. Also, none of these features are available in offline mode as of now.
Once you access the tracks you want to work upon either from your iTunes library or your Soundcloud account, you need to analyze them. By analysis, we mean that you need to get information about the key, tempo, BPM, and volume at which the track is set.
That said, you can also analyze a track while you play or work on it for the first time in Serato DJ. However, it will take more time to display the BPM details in that case. Therefore, we recommend that you pre-analyze your tracks before you start working on them.
1. Automatic Analyzer
When you start Serato without linking any hardware device, the software goes into preparation mode. Here, you need to select all the tracks that you want to analyze from the crates section. Press CTRL+A on Windows, and CMD+A on a Mac device to do so.
Once you select the songs, click the Analyze Tracks button, and the process will start. When the analysis window closes automatically, the process is complete, the data is stored, and you are ready to work on the tracks.
2. Connecting The Decks
Once your library is set, you need to connect your decks with the software. There are separate methods for connecting different devices, and you can check your device’s manual to know more.
Moreover, most hardware devices use simple USB cables or adapters to plug in the decks. Once you connect the deck and switch it on, the on-screen crossfader option on Serato disappears.
3. Connecting The Speakers
Before you can start working on the tracks, you need to connect speakers or good quality DJ headphones to your deck. You can use the simple red and white RCA connectors to connect the speakers. However, you might require additional cables to connect certain types of speakers. Plug these cables to the master out port of the deck.
Using Serato DJ Features
Once you have completed these steps, you can start DJing. The Serato DJ software allows you to mix two tracks. It helps in adding quick cuts in songs at any duration you like and add drop transitions as well. You can change the tempo and key of every song to recreate it.
Most DJ’s like the up fade feature in Serato where you can turn off the background music while vocals are still on. They use it for transitioning into the next song.
So, this was a simple Serato DJ tutorial for the beginners. You can explore several other features of the software to make your playlist more interesting. Master the basic setup of the software and then use your creativity to create entertaining tracks.