DJ Software + Accessories For The Frugal Musician
Want to try your hand at DJing but don't have the cashflow to jumpstart your career? DJ Tech Tools Steven Maude walks you through the budget-conscious DJ's guide to making music on the cheap.This article originally appeared on DJ Tech Tools
What’s the bare minimum that someone can start learning how to DJ with right away? The easiest and often cheapest solution is often to start out by getting a copy of DJ software and learning the basics. In today’s article for the budget-conscious, DJTT contributor Steven Maude rounds up the options for DJ software (and basic accessories) to begin mixing.
DJ Software For Less?
There are plenty of software options for all budgets, from free to a few hundred dollars. You’ll likely have to pay to get the same software that your favorite DJs might be using, but there are often free (though feature limited), versions of the same software available. There are also lesser-known alternatives that are completely free to use.
Free Option #1: Starter / LE versions
Most music software has basic limited demos for trial purposes. These are often either restricted in their features, or locked down after a certain amount of time of use:
- Traktor: Native Instruments’ DJ software has a demo that never expires. The only catch: each session lasts only 30 minutes. Too disruptive for performing, but for trying DJing out, that’s more than enough.
- Serato DJ: Depending on what hardware you have, you may be eligible to use Serato DJ‘s Intro software. This is a less featured version of Serato DJ, but enough to get you started.
- VirtualDJ is entirely free to use if you’re not using any equipment (any mixer, controller, etc – requires a license).
- Rekordbox DJ offers a 30 day trial – but after that, will lock you out of the performance mode entirely.
Free Option #2: Open Source DJ Software
There are also open source, free alternatives to paying for DJ software. What’s the catch? There really isn’t one: software developers have decided to make their code freely available, and projects that capture the imagination of developers and hobbyists often attract contributors to help build the software.
Both of the following projects have been around for a while:
- xwax is a simple software for working with timecoded CDs/vinyl, which runs on Linux only. The only hardware beyond a computer is an audio interface, turntables or CDJs. And, as we’ve mentioned previously, it’s the basis of PiDeck. PiDeck’s a new and alternative standalone solution if you don’t want to get involved with installing Linux onto your existing laptop.
- Mixxx runs on Windows, OS X and Linux, looks a lot like Traktor, and lets you use controllers or CDJs/turntables. We were impressed with how far it has developed in a recent review.