If you are a DJ, you know about the biggest debate for the people of your industry — RekordBox vs. Serato. This has been an age-old question amongst DJs as they still argue to figure out which one is better. Agreed, they both are the top two options for modern DJing. But which one takes the top spot?
For those new to the digital world of DJing, both Serato and RekordBox are digital DJ software that provides you with a platform for collecting, organizing, and gigging. While Serato came as Serato Scratch live for the first time in the mid-2000s, RekordBox was a brainchild of Pioneer DJ. The Serato vs. Rekordbox debate started ever since.
At first glance, both the software seem to have more or less the same basic features required for modern DJing — organization, collection, and stability. However, there are a few things here and there that set them apart.
We know that you would want to put this argument to bed as artists. But you cannot really afford to choose either of the two without considering all factors. There are plenty of reviews, making your selection further complicated.
It is high time that we put this years-old debate between Serato vs. RekordBox to rest by saving you some extra legwork. We have compiled a list of features that are necessary for any modern DJ software, and have compared both RekordBox and Serato. The results would finally put this argument about RekordBox vs. Serato to bed once and for all.
Serato vs. RekordBox — How It All Started
Both Serato and RekordBox are considered practical and reliable by most modern DJs for collecting and organizing their soundtracks. They provide a cutting edge to the user by implementing just the best tech to deliver the highest quality of sound.
But how did the famous RekordBox vs. Serato debate start? And what makes these two the best in the DJ business? Let’s Find out.
1. Serato DJ
First launched in the mid-2000s, Serato DJ changed and modernized the DJ industry with its constant evolution — from turntables to media players and DJ controllers. In the beginning, their first software was called ‘Serato Scratch Live’, which brought about a revolution in the DJ industry.
Serato’s latest app is called Serato DJ Pro for professionals and Serato DJ Lite for beginners. They provide the software quite conveniently to all people, including an option for Lifetime License.
Integrated with 53 controllers, 16 mixers, 4 interfaces/ DVS boxes, and 14 accessories like FX controllers, etc., it is one of the top two DJing software in the market for years now, thanks to its reliability and tons of features.
2. RekordBox DJ
RekordBox is Pioneer DJs software specifically designed to pair up with Pioneer decks and controllers for creating exceptional tracks and sounds. It was primarily designed to dominate over any CDJ-based mixing and make its own mark.
If you are mixing on Pioneer CDJs, you are limited to use RekordBox, Pioneer’s free music prep app. The intention of the company was clear — knowing that they are the titans of the DJ industry, Pioneer made the software exclusively for their products.
RekordBox DJ allows laptop-based control with CDJs and DJ controllers. Apart from their specialization in the CDJ world, Pioneer’s premium software is quite similar to Serato DJ in all other respects
RekordBox DJ is compatible with lesser gear — 22 controllers, 10 CDJs, 12 mixers — and all must be by Pioneer. However, it is still one of the most sought-after software by professionals for creating tracks.
Serato Vs. RekordBox — Feature-Wise Comparison
When you wish to give an epic performance to make the night memorable for your audience, you need software that solves all your needs of collecting and organizing the sound. Tools like RekordBox DJ and Serato DJ are ideal for resolving that purpose.
But which one of the two is better than the other? And in what respect? After exploring the pros and cons of both, here we have a head-to-head guide to decide which software is the best in the competition between RekordBox vs. Serato.
1. Hardware Compatibilities
Serato DJ supports a wider array of DJ hardware produced by many manufacturers, including Pioneer DJ. However, RekordBox DJ has its usage limited. The company follows an “Apple Ecosystem” approach, meaning that the software is compatible with Pioneer products only.
Also, Serato DJ offers support to many beginner-friendly controllers as well like Numark DJ2GO2 and Hercules DJ Control Starlight. You can instantly upgrade to the Pro version of the software once you have mastered your basics.
RekordBox works with fewer controllers, all manufactured by Pioneer DJ exclusively. But the advantage here is that Pioneer is the king of the DJ industry and hence most club booths would have a system full of Pioneer accessories.
Serato DJ might be more reliable when it comes to pairing up with any random controller. Though RekordBox exclusively works with Pioneer controllers, yet you find many modern DJs recommending it due to the excessive use of Pioneer for professional DJing.
2. User Interface
Serato DJ and RekordBox DJ have more or less a similar interface in terms of style. The interface is much darker and a lot more stylish than competitors like Traktor. Neither of the two would disappoint you.
Serato offers a fully-loaded interface with in-line vertical waveform displays and tons of other features to explore. There is so much information on the display that it might take a while for you to get a hang of it. The best feature is the browser, where the Smart Crates system allows you to instantly locate the tracks that you improvised.
On the other hand, RekordBox has a much cleaner and minimal approach visible with their interface. It looks sleek and super-professional. The side-by-side track view is a great addition too. An amazing feature is that you can edit and combine your tracks on the go without connecting with a controller at all.
All said and done, RekordBox probably wins this battle with a cleaner interface for ease of access. Plus you can work on your music while not being connected to a deck or controller system.
3. Library Management
Both the RekordBox DJ and Serato DJ allow having access to all the actions necessary for creating a great track. Meaning you can, import, browse, search, collect and organize countless tracks in a simple music library.
RekordBox takes it a notch higher with its advanced tools. One can easily give star ratings, add custom tags, search the required tracks from the library and browser, and edit conveniently in the ID3 tag editing window. One can also drag and drop tracks quite easily and even pull up two instances of the entire library side-by-side for convenient comparisons.
If you are a DJ with an unstoppable urge to dive into the depths of metadata of tracks for a proper organization in the music library, then RekordBox wins this race here.
A crashing laptop is any person’s worst nightmare. Now imagine a crash while you are in the middle of working on a gig. Too bad, right? This is where the concept of stability comes in.
Serato DJ Pro prides itself to be one of the most stable and reliable DJs which ensures that your epic creations can play smoothly without any glitches. Serato DJ Pro is widely recommended by both users and non-users for its stability.
It works effortlessly with many older machines as well, even if you haven’t updated them. The framework is tweaked diligently to match up to any of your needs.
Alternatively, RekordBox DJ started as a constantly crashing, a buggy app with many issues in terms of reliability. Pioneer DJ, however, ensured that they didn’t lose the competition and released timely updates. The quick patches made sure that all bugs are caught in time and most crash-causing holes are covered.
RekordBox was never created for live use and it was quite evident too. With years of tweaking and patching, they have put up a strong fight against Serato DJ and have managed to stay one of the top two software.
However, even after the tireless efforts of fixing the bugs and other issues, RekordBox still has a lot of catching up to do with Serato DJ which has a more stable and reliable interface. So undoubtedly, as ever so slightly, Serato DJ takes this round.
5. Lifetime License
Professional software doesn’t come for free. If you are serious about your work, you need to put in a few dollars to get the license for your choice of software for having access to all necessary features offered by the company.
Both RekordBox and Serato charge a monthly subscription fee with different price tiers — free, basic, and premium. Obviously, the maximum features are available for the premium subscribers only.
However, the difference between them is that Serato DJ Pro offers a Lifetime Subscription option, which allows you to enjoy all features for life without paying a single dollar ever again. RekordBox DJ has no such option with its latest version, making Serato win this category.
6. Cloud Syncing
With the new RekordBox 6.0, you can now conveniently store your entire music libraries safely by linking it with your cloud storage. Yes, it is much pricier than other softwares, but this feature is still missing from Serato DJ.
7. Metadata Handling
Both Serato and RekordBox are brilliant for storing thousands of sounds and tracks at the same time. They have extensive library management options that make the organization of your music ultra-smooth.
However, for a more detailed and deep metadata handling, RekordBox is hands down a better option.
Eventually, it would boil down to how much you are willing to invest in any software for creating your music. The cost of both Serato DJ and RekordBox DJ is near about the same range.
Serato DJ’s full license comes free with many expensive controllers in the market. If not that, then you can always purchase Serato Intro, which can comfortably be converted to Serato DJ without any fuss. You can also buy expansion packs that come with a decent price tag.
If you buy a Club Kit, also known as DJ essentials, then you would not have to pay for the Serato DJ software as it comes complimentary with the kit. If you are looking for an all-in-one kind of option, then you can probably purchase the Serato DJ Suite, which is quite affordable and resolves all your DJing needs.
Alternatively, RekordBox is free in itself. It is basically the prep software for loading tunes on compact USB drives for playing them without a laptop. However, RekordBox DJ does cost you a few dollars.
You can buy expansion packs for RekordBox DJ too that come within a decent price range. Pioneer bundles up RekordBox DJ software free of cost with every controller and mixer from their brand. This is a smart business move as it saves you a few dollars and the company attracts more customers. A win-win situation for both.
Both would fit in your budget, considering they are in the same price range. It is up to you to decide which one is better in the long run.
Takeaway: RekordBox vs. Serato — Which One To Buy?
It is a tough call to select either of the two. Both are so similar in many areas yet so different in other crucial ones. The RekordBox vs. Serato debate has existed for so many years now as both the companies are fighting tooth and nail to grab the top spot.
It is incredibly hard to pick any of the two when they are pitted against each other. A lot of it depends on what controller kit you are already using. If you are using anything from Pioneer, then pick RekordBox DJ without any second thoughts. It is the best match.
After quite some research, we have concluded that Serato DJ still leads the world of DVS and is sitting on the throne in that category. For scratchers, Serato DJ is still the first choice, courtesy of Serato’s links with Rane, a top manufacturer of battle mixers.
One reason to choose RekordBox DJ over Serato DJ is the fact that Serato is a bit too complicated to understand quickly. It takes time to get used to it. But once you do, you can tap onto the full-range of interesting features provided by the company.
Serato is compatible with a variety of controllers in the market and the biggest plus would be that Serato is slightly cheaper than RecordBox, even if you buy the complete setup.
On the other hand, RekordBox DJ’s top strength is its integration with CDJ systems, which are still at the heart of many clubs and lounges. By opting for RekordBox, a DJ can conveniently use CDJs with USBs, laptops, or an all-in-one DJ controller system.
Pioneer has had a monopoly over the DJ world since time immemorial. They are quite literally the ‘pioneers’ of this industry and would probably take over most of it as soon as they can.
Considering all of the above, the winner of this age-old RekordBox vs. Serato debate according to us is — RekordBox DJ. So what are you waiting for? Go grab your wallet and start creating epic music now!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. Which software is better for DJing — RekordBox DJ Or Serato DJ?
As per the guide that you just read, RekordBox DJ wins this battle, though only by a thin margin.
Q2. Can Serato Be Used With RekordBox And Vice Versa?
Experimenting with new DJ software can be a daunting task. Serato DJ software can be used with Rekordbox hardware. However, vice versa is not true as RekordBox DJ software is limited for use with Pioneer hardware only.
Q3. Do Clubs And Lounges Use Serato or RekordBox?
RekordBox dominates in the clubs and lounges which still have old DJ booths with proper kits from Pioneer.
Q4. Can RekordBox Be Used For Free?
The latest version, RekordBox 6.0 offers two paid plans — the Core Plan and the Creative Plan, and a Free plan as well. With the Free Plan, you can use the Export mode, along with a few other Performance mode functions.
Q5. Can I Use Serato With Just A Laptop?
Yes, using Serato Play you can DJ using just your laptop. It gives you a mixer interface, keyboard hotkeys, and DJ splitter cables compatibility that allow you to have a proper setup without connecting with a controller system.
Q6. How Much RAM Do Serato And RekordBox Use?
For any DJ software, the minimum RAM requirement in a laptop is around 2GB. The processor must be Intel Core 2 or better, and the hardware must have a few GBs of free space.
Q7. Can You Use Spotify With RekordBox And Serato?
Yes, you can do so. But for that, you will need to convert the Spotify tracks from OGG Vorbis format to DRM-free local files. This is mandatory so that you can take these files to your crate or music library.
Q8. Are Serato And RekordBox Compatible With Windows?
Yes, both Serato and RekordBox are compatible with certain Microsoft Surface devices, as long as the system requirements are met.
Q9. Why Do Serato DJ And RekordBox DJ Apps Lag At Times?
As your music library fills up, so does your virtual storage. If the amount of memory required by the app gets too big for your laptop to handle, you might experience lagging, freezing, and in the worst cases, crashing too.
You must understand the limits of your application to reduce the probability of any kind of memory issues.