Traktor and Serato are the leading industry giants when it comes to DJ and music production softwares. They are both widely used by clubs and professional DJs on some of the biggest stages across the world.
There has always been a Traktor vs. Serato debate for the two softwares. That being said, both have their pros and cons that will make one of them a good choice for some and bad for others.
This review enlists and compares some key features of the latest versions of these softwares. After reading this guide, you will get basic know-how about the performance of the softwares and other vital factors that make them worth investing in.
Traktor Pro 3 and Serato DJ Pro are the latest versions of the respective DJ softwares. Serato was founded in 1998 and has contributed some iconic, industry-altering changes in music production since.
Traktor, on the other hand, was released the first two years after Serato in 2000. Over the decades, it has come up with multiple subsequent softwares; each focused on making music production and DJ-ing better than the previous one.
In 2018, Serato split their software into two separate softwares based on their abilities – Serato DJ Lite and Serato DJ Pro. The former is a free application and comes with limited features. The other one is packed with features and can be expanded to include even more advanced features and tools.
Before we begin, note that as much as working with DJ software is a matter of personal choice, it is also a matter of whether you have the requirements for the software. You must have the primary means to install the software.
Both the softwares come with specific system and hardware demands. You can operate both of them on Windows and Mac. Given below are the primary system requirements for /Serato DJ Pro and Traktor Pro 3.
On Windows, Serato DJ Pro operates on Windows 7, while Traktor Pro 3 can run on Windows 7, 8, or 10. Both of them demand 4GB RAM on the desktop to function. Serato DJ Pro also requires free storage of at least 5GB. In comparison, the Traktor Pro 3 software only requires 1GB of free storage.
If you own a Windows computer with limited storage, buying a Traktor Pro 3 will be a feasible option. Serato DJ Pro requires more storage, and with all the data that a DJ needs to keep on their desktop, it can be hard to incorporate software that requires so much free storage.
On Apple Mac, Serato DJ Pro requires macOS High Sierra 10.13 or above with an Intel Core i3 processor, 4GB RAM, and 5GB free storage. On the other hand, Traktor Pro 3 can work with macOS 10.12, 10.13, 10.14, or 10.15 with an Intel Core i5 CPU, 4GB RAM, and 1GB free storage.
On the Mac again, the Traktor Pro 3 requires more storage. When we compare the requirements of the two softwares, we see that Traktor Pro 3 requires lesser storage to function. This can be a huge plus point because every DJ requires maximum possible storage for an efficient workflow.
However, at the same time, the Traktor Pro 3 requires a higher processor than Serato DJ Pro too, which is more expensive to get. The takeaway is that in terms of storage in the Traktor vs. Serato debate if you have space to spare in your computer, you can invest in the Serato DJ Pro software.
It also requires a lower version of the Intel Core processor. So you will not have to worry about having the best computer for the software.
On the other hand, if you have the i5 processor on your computer but limited storage, Traktor Pro 3 will be the right one for you. By taking up minimal storage on the computer, this software will allow you more library space for your tracks.
The sound output that a DJ software produces should be par excellence. The latest Traktor Pro 3 comes with significant audio improvements aimed at making the sound quality truly high-definition.
It comes with an updated audio engine designed according to the size of a club sound system. The audio that routes out of the system will be disturbance-free and high quality only. With these significant changes, it sounds better than ever before.
Serato DJ Pro is also known for its seamless sound quality. With the right Serato DJ compatible controller, you should not have any problem with the sound.
We cannot do a Traktor vs. Serato in terms of sound quality as none of them disappoints. However, the latest version of Traktor takes sound quality to another level. It has some updates entirely done to improve the already good quality of audio.
So, if high-quality, HD, disturbance-free audio is your priority, you can choose Traktor Pro 3. It will also be suitable for stages because audio disturbances are a common occurrence on big stages.
A lot is determined by which hardware devices the software can work with. The hardware to software linking should be smooth to ensure that the software works without any problems on a bigger device than the computer. One thing about Serato DJ Pro that is different from Traktor Pro 3 is that Traktor works with exclusive Traktor hardware only.
1. MIDI Mapping
MIDI mapping devices are used to connect software and hardware together to route the audio. When it comes to MIDI mapping, Serato works with multiple manufacturers who produce certified controllers fit to be paired with Serato DJ Pro software. Many of the paid functions are also integrated within the hardware.
In total, it can integrate 61 different controllers. So you have a lot of choices when it comes to buying a controller that works with Serato DJ software. It can work with four different sound cards, 24 different mixers, and 10 HD-only media players.
Traktor Pro is designed to work with exclusive Traktor controllers. It has a range of its controllers. The latest version comes with simplified MIDI mapping.
In short, Serato DJ provides the flexibility to choose between hardware by working with a close and well-integrated system of hardware manufacturers.
2. Sound Card
You can pair Serato Pro with four soundcards, including the SL2, SL3, SL4, and Denon DS-1. These sound cards do not charge any amount while unlocking the software and DVS expansion pack.
On the other hand, Traktor Pro works with any soundcard. Traktor Pro 3 comes with the Traktor Scratch, which can be used with any soundcard to produce traditional turntables and media players. This lets DVS DJs who use timecode vinyl to use with any soundcard. Traktor provides more flexibility in this matter than Serato DJ Pro.
Serato DJ Pro and Traktor Pro 3 are compatible with around 24 mixers in total. Serato DJ Pro works with 15 mixers for free and requires a license code for another eight mixers. Some of the club-standard mixers that Serato works with include Pioneer DJM 900, Numark Scratch, Pioneer DJM-S3.
The Traktor Pro 3 comes with a new mixer FX that smoothens the transitions and smoothes out heavy beat drops. You can get a loud result from this new mixer. It also comes with eight extra effects and filters.
4. Media Players
Traktor is a little more exclusive when it comes to hardware devices. It has its own range of official Traktor hardware and is compatible with only a handful of other devices. You can pair it with six controllers, any sound card, 24 mixers, eight media players.
While Traktor claims that it can be puggled and played in any, it can get a little messy trying to connect the audio to any standard controller. It is also not compatible with any all-in-one hardware.
Serato DJ Pro can work with around ten media players. The problem is that they are compatible in HD mode only. The CDJ player will require a soundcard, mixer, or controller to unlock the software and route the audio.
You geta lot of stems and samples with the Traktor Pro 3. The remix decks in Traktor Pro 3 include one-shot samples and loops to transition smoothly between DJ and live performance.
You can drag and drop samples and loops from other decks as well. This will extend the playtime of your track.
You can also add special atmospheric effects and more. To work independently on musical devices within a track, you can use Stems to split every component within a track, such as drums, bass, vocals, etc. You can keep on editing and blending vocals and basslines to create creative remixes.
Traktor Pro 3 can be tailored to meet versatile needs. One can use it to cut, scratch, and mix tracks. It allows a greater level of creative freedom for the DJ.
You can access lots of royalty-free tracks and loops. You can refine your search by BPM, genre, key. You can simply drag and drop them into your decks to expand the track.
The Serato DJ Pro also comes with adequate loops and samples but not as much as Traktor Pro 3. However, the effects that you get with Serato are sufficient to create remixes. The difference between Traktor vs. Serato in terms of performance is that Serato does not come with as many special effects as Traktor.
2. Performance Pads
The Serato DJ Pro features four virtual decks equipped with effects, sampler, and performance pad modes. The 10 CDJ or media players can also be used as added accessories to modulate the decks. You separately get eight more performance pads for further controlling the software.
Some of the performance pads include the Pioneer DDJ-XP2 and Reloop Neon. You can use them to add desired effects to your tracks. The software comes loaded with accessories and features that make DJing easier.
Unlike Serato DJ Pro, Traktor Pro 3 doesn’t come with integrated performance pads and needs separate equipment. It is a four-deck software. It comes with a smoother and more powerful user interface with several other features.
However, you can use an Ableton Link with the Traktor Pro 3 software to get the same results. You can keep your software, and your hardware separate, if that’s how you like it, and build your setup accordingly.
3. Beatgridding And Sync
Beatgridding and syncing is an essential part of DJ-ing. To make the tracks from different genres come together in your remixes, you will need a good beat gridding system.
Serato DJ Pro has an easy system of working with the beat grid and sync. It allows you to set the BPM and Set Key easily in one go.
You will not have to look for one or the other at different places, and can simply set it as you like from the same place. It will help you stay on top of your work and manage it efficiently.
The Serato DJ Pro comes with some other features that contribute further to easier beat gridding. You can define the BPM range to make it more accurate and completely in sync. The software also allows you to adjust the beat grids offline when the controller is not connected.
The certified Serato DJ controllers have onboard controls that help adjust the beat grids according to your convenience. This can be really helpful as you will be able to control your tracks offline as well.
Traktor Pro 3 has different sync modes, namely the beat sync(which is the default) and tempo sync and phase sync. Beat sync uses the beat grid to match the phase and eat of each track.
Temp sync focuses only on the beat grids. Phase sync focuses on the phase of two tracks without bothering about the beat grid.
It is easier to blend different genres together and bridge the gap between BPMs with the new Traktor Pro. The “Sync” button also saves time and auto-matches the beats of your tracks. You will get seamless loops and beat jump tools.
However, unlike Serato DJ Pro, it will not allow you to work with your tracks offline. If you are a DJ who travels a lot, investing in the Serato DJ Pro will let you interact with your music on the go.
Effects are one of the most important things for a DJ. They are used to create mood, and basically, add life to any track. The DJ software that you choose should come with a lot of special effects. A lot of options will mean that you will have a lot of choices for mixing tracks.
However, multiple options can also leave some DJs confused and wondering how and where to use them. If you like experimenting a lot with your music, you should have plenty of FX to choose from.
The Traktor Pro 3 comes with as many as 40 special effects for modulation. These effects are easy-to-use, and you will not have a hard time figuring out how to work with them. You can explore as much as you want with them and use them in your tracks.
These effects come with a smooth user interface to make using them easier. They come conveniently placed in bars and buttons. You can push, pull, drag these to use them according to your wish.
The user interface of the Traktor Pro 3 is redesigned to include a flatter base. It makes working with effects a lot more convenient than before.
The Serato DJ Pro comes with a total of 22 effects. You can combine them to create unique tunes. You can also expand the pack of the effects up to 46 high-quality effects, but you will have to pay extra money for that.
If you know how to work with special effects, it would be enough. However, limited effects can also limit your creativity.
5. Time Stretching
Traktor Pro 3 includes a dedicated new update in its latest version for the purpose of time stretching. With the New Elastique 3, you can extend the time for your track and leave your audience grooving. This feature focuses on time-stretching and also comes with an upgraded master limiter.
These modeling options let you mix your tracks according to your preference. It allows you to experiment with music like never before. You can add loops on loops, mixes, and create delightful and enjoyable music for your audience.
The Serato DJ Pro does not include such advanced time-stretching tools. You can still stretch time for your tracks by standard mixing, but it is not the same as having an entire feature dedicated for time-stretching and limiting. So, if you like to create longer tracks, you will want the Traktor Pro 3.
There is a clear winner between Traktor vs. Serato when it comes to time-stretching features.
Traktor’s library is easy to maintain and organize. You can load everything in seconds and use it as you like. You can sync all your playlists as well as iTunes to keep your library ready for performance.
You can also use Smartlists to create new and customized playlists, apply filters to them. It automatically updates and includes all added new tracks with the same filter. You can easily keep all your tools, interludes, and tracks organized at a place.
With Serato DJ Pro, you can store your music in a crate library. You can create as many new crates full of music, remixes, mixes as you want. You can rename them quickly and stack them over one another to keep similar music at the same place or within close vicinity.
This will help you organize in a way that it will make it easier for you. You can drag and drop your music from anywhere on your desktop into the crate.
You will have to analyze the tracks once you have uploaded them into the crate. Check their key, BPM, and more to figure out how to mix and blend the tracks.
Serato software individually analyzes every track when it is played for the first time. To skip this and ensure the speed of your workflow, you can pre-analyze your whole library.
Traktor vs. Serato do equally well when it comes to library management. They both come with a good organizing mechanism that will save space and time for the DJ.
Trial And Subscription
DJ softwares comes with subscription plans that you can customize according to your needs. Most softwares come with a license code to unlock the program or come unlocked already.
Serato uses a dongle system and is free to download for everyone. When you connect hardware with it, it unlocks the software on its own. Serato comes with a 30-day trial and a reasonable subscription price at less than $10 per month.
Traktor Pro 3, on the other hand, comes with a 30-minute session with a one-time buy offer. It is cheaper than Serato DJ Pro. However, with Traktor, you will have to invest money separately in a controller as well later to make it compatible with the software.
FAQs on Traktor vs Serato
Q1. Is Traktor Better Than Serato?
To say what software is better than the other is a bit tricky. Which software works for you depends on whether it fulfills your requirements and suits your way of using it.
The Traktor Pro 3 and Serato DJ Pro are both popular choices within the industry of DJ softwares. Both are up to date and come with the most helpful features.
Q2. Can I Use Serato With Traktor Gear?
Yes, almost all Serato and Traktor gear can be used with each other.
Q3. Can You Use Any Mixer With Serato?
No, you cannot use any mixer with Serato. However, there is a big list of supported mixers that you can choose from with Serato DJ software.
Serato works closely with a lot of manufacturers who produce Serato DJ compatible controllers. You will have to invest in them to get the best experience.
Q4. How Much RAM Do I Need For Dj-ing?
Different DJ softwares require different amounts of RAM and storage on the computer for optimal functioning. Both Traktor Pro and Serato DJ Pro require 4GB RAM.