Serato DJ With DVS is Here from Serato on Vimeo.

Let’s not mince words: Serato’s DJ offerings had gotten confusing, and updates and compatibility lagged. This week, the company has changed the tune: there’s one Serato to support everything, and it’s coming soon.

For controller users, that means being ready to go in October, thanks to vastly-expanded hardware compatibility. For digital vinyl users, things are still going somewhat slowly, but a beta will be available later this year with stability afterwards and broader support for hardware early next year. That means controller users are likely to switch this fall, with Scratch Live users given a preview and (it seems) more likely to switch next year.

And upgrades will generally be free for those of you who have made an investment in Rane hardware or ITCH controllers, apart from entry-level Serato DJ Intro users. (Serato Video will also work without incident inside the new Serato DJ.)

From Three Products to One, Finally

Fairly recently, there were two versions of Serato from which to choose:

1. Serato Scratch Live: the digital vinyl solution, the one that uses records on a turntable to control software.
2. Serato ITCH: a solution for integrating controller hardware with the computer.

Then, Serato DJ came along to replace them, leaving… ah. Three products, at least in the minds of consumers — ITCH, Scratch, and DJ. Serato continued to support Serato DJ and Scratch Live. And hardware compatibility has been out of sync.

Until now. With Serato DJ 1.5.0, Serato Scratch Live is out of the picture. The software will be supported through 2015, but there will be no further updates (apart from bug fixes) to Scratch Live or SSL.

The good news is, this clears the way for a properly-supported Serato DJ. Now, one product will support both digital vinyl and controller users – and there’s only one product, one codebase, one flavor.

One major casualty: The Bridge, the link between Ableton Live and Serato’s Scratch Live software, is incompatible with Serato DJ and there appear to be no current plans to add support.

The Compatibility Picture

Controller hardware support started out full of holes in Serato DJ, but as of 1.5, that picture has changed drastically:
http://serato.com/dj/controllers/hardware/

In fact, as far as out-of-the-box support, Serato DJ starts to look like one of the most versatile options out there, thanks to finally catching up with all the ITCH controllers. That includes popular options like the Vestax VCI-300 and 400, the Pioneer DDJ series, the Numark NS, and of course Novation’s own TWITCH. In December, you’ll get the last stragglers: the Numark Mixdeck Quad and V7, and the VCI-100 MK II.

These days, controllers are the focus for a growing number of digital DJs; it seems you see less digital control vinyl in the clubs than you once did. So having this much controller support is already critical.

On the vinyl side, Serato works with the new Rane Sixty-Four and Pioneer DJM-900SRT, plus the Rane Sixty-Eight, Sixty-Two, and Sixty-One mixers, with the SL2, SL3, and SL4 interfaces early in 2014.

So, that does mean vinyl users will see a gradual transition, much as ITCH users have.

Vinyl users will also see support for the Scratch Live Accessories CDJ-2000nexus, CDJ-2000, Novation Dicers and Denon DN-HC1000S.

In technology, I think there’s a direct line between how happy developers are and how happy users are. And sure enough, Serato are re-committing themselves to stability as their main priority, and promising a number of features in Serato DJ that really have to do with allowing their developers to do the things they want to do to deliver for users. Serato promises:

Single code base
New platform
Better architecture
Robust testing
Quicker updates
Improved performance
Better stability

The proof, of course, is in the product – and that simply remains to be seen.

The new Serato DJ Controller Accessory

pioneer-ddj-sp1-angle

pioneer-ddj-sp1-top

The new mixers

raneserato

From Rane, a four-channel club mixer with dual USB ports. Yeah, okay, that’s pretty tasty.

Rane Sixty-Four

pioneerdjmserato

From Pioneer, a four-channel mixer designed to integrate with Serato – and very much inspired by the DJM-900nexus.

Pioneer DJM-900SRT

Where to make sense of all of this

In addition to the video at top, Serato has posted two blog posts that begin to make sense of the strategy for Serato DJ generally, as well as the situation for Scratch Live users:

Serato DJ Q&A Session

Scratch Live users! What’s in Serato DJ for you?

  • http://www.twitter.com/flocked flocked

    Some awesome news! But why aren’t they also combining some hardware controllers/mixers into one product.
    E.g. the DDJ SX. It is their current top dj controller and has also two phono inputs. Why can’t I use it with vinyl? :/ This would make me buy it instantly!

  • Xebulon

    Any word on whether this will still work with Ableton Bridge? Also, what is the cheapest Serato-enabled hardware now? I’ve always wanted to sync a traditional DJ program like Serato with Live, but don’t want to buy an expensive Rane interface because I already have an interface I like.

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      Good question – and the short answer, no. The Bridge is out. It seems to me that it was an interesting experiment that just didn’t attract enough users. But it’s also a casualty of the new codebase; it was built on Scratch Live.

      Cheapest hardware – also a good question. You mean for digital vinyl or controllers? (Actually, either way, I’d have to do some research!)

    • HDWR

      I was extremely disappoint with the bridge for itch/controler issue, and even more with the non-communication strategy from serato so seeing it eliminated permanently gives me at least the feeling of being able to let it go…:)

      do you know if there is any other way to integrate vinyl-like, scratcheable control in ableton? (im using vestax vci300)

    • Aaron Zilch

      This might fit your bill

      http://bedroomproducersblog.com/2013/03/04/scratchy-by-digital-dj-tools/

      Also I think I saw something fairly recently about a vinyl timecode controlable scratch VST going around on the blogs recently as well, but don’t have time ATM to hunt it down. There are options.

      It’s really too bad about The Bridge. Cool concept but I think the relegation of controller DJs to second class citizens in Serato land at the time really hurt it. Also I was disappointed since I was hoping for the best of both worlds: The more realtime flexible syncing and cueing options of DJ software combined with the more flexible effects and routing of Live. But The Bridge was one way in the wrong direction for my expected uses. I did see some people doing some really cool stuff with it though. Sad it’s going the way of the buffalo, but happy to see Serato finally allowing the flagship to be utilized by the controller crowd.

    • HDWR

      hey

      thanks a lot for the link!
      but i was more looking for a way to play/mix tracks in ableton, using the vestax/controller turntables (NOT timecode) to control the track position/transport.

  • Ezmyrelda

    I’d like to say I’m enthused for Serato users, but I can’t shake the feeling that Serato and Pioneer are starting to lose the plot. Though Pioneer are still going to be towering over everyone simply because the hardware is at this point almost the de facto club setup.

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      Yeah, although it isn’t hard to plug a laptop and a controller into that club setup with Pioneer gear. So for now, yes, it seems to be CDJs first, laptops with controllers second – I think digital vinyl winds up being the casualty, because there are just too many variables that can make it go wrong.

  • Microwave Prince

    Traktor is FTW, serato is dead.

  • djrundown

    As a professional vinyl dj for over 15 years .. And a scratch live user for over 5 years .. I have to say that the fact that there is a sync button present in the new serato technology is a MAJOR bummer … I love scratch live for so many reasons but a sync button will turn serato into Traktor …Im not hating on traktor (its pretty fun) No disrespect to those that can mix and use tractor ..But i don’t really respect a dj that can’t make a “seamless mix” without the sync button . So many kids are letting the program do the only REAL work that a dj is supposed to be doing. If u want ur mixes to be perfect every time then take pride in what u do and learn how to make seamless mixes the way all real djs do..Go buy 4 shitty records and mix them together 6000 times a day till u get it rite .. once u can do that u will realize there is no need for a sync button and u will be petrified that djs out there might even think to u use it because u will realize how incredibly wack it is .. I can’t tell u how many times I’ve heard acapellas dropped in the wrong place on trax with traktor and ableton because the computer just does what it thinks its supposed to do and these kids don’t even know its wrong . WACKTARDED !!! .. If ur a dj then dj for crying out loud … save the sync button djing for drunk kids with iPads at house partys ..