Rekordbox vs Serato

Rekordbox vs Serato : Head to Head Comparison (Pick The Best One)

If you’re a DJ or aspiring to be one, you will most likely be concerned about the app that you will be using to make your work easier.  Digital DJing products or software programs come in form of an app that collects, organizes, and plays.  While there are many mainstream DJ software products in the market, the two most popular ones are Serato DJ manufactured by Serato and Rekordbox DJ by Pioneer.  Comparing Rekordbox vs Serato helps you make an informed decision about which one to use.

Both Rekordbox and Serato are preferred by many DJs because they offer the features and tools that these people need.  Since Serato has been popular in the market, professional DJs as well as amateurs have used it.  In addition, a majority of the entry-level controllers is found in Serato or at least they can be compatible with it.  When it comes to the scratch or battle scene, you find that Serato DJ proves to be the unbeaten app and is the best option for that task, especially its DVS module.  Besides, most of Rane audio interfaces, as well as battle mixers, can seamlessly work with Serato DJ.  These features make DJing with Serato a great experience and many DJs have continued to use it.

On the flip side, Rekordbox DJ may not be as popular as Serato; however, it is beginning to take its spot as a leading DJing product.  Rekordbox DJ is part of a very famous music preparation software known as Rekordbox designed by Pioneer DJ.  The software has been around for some time and now it has added the DJing tool in its line of tools to help meet the needs of its customers.  Many professional DJs use Rekordbox in preparing tracks and exporting them to USB where they are able to plug and play them in any media player that is compatible with Pioneer DJ.  Of course, you know that Pioneer DJ is the industry standard and many media players and other music products are designed to be compatible with it.

Although Rekordbox DJ may be new, because of the popularity of the music preparation software it is built-in, and which has been popular, it is expected that the DJing app will also be popular.

Having said a thing or two about Rekordbox DJ and Serato DJ, now let’s check how these two compare and which one you should choose.


Serato vs Rekordbox DJ – Head-to-Head Comparison

In comparing Rekordbox to Serato, we will look at the features that distinguish them, what sets them apart from each other, and how they perform. We also look at the ease of use and user experience of the DJs when at work. Besides, we check the compatibility, stability of the apps, and their prizes.

Features and Functionalities

Rekordbox DJ

You will find a series of features in Rekordbox that resemble the ones you see in Serato.   For instance, Rekordbox has the effects features, which though not bad, they are somehow inferior when compared to those of professional-grade DJM mixer products by Pioneer DJ.  Rekordbox has also a sampler, a sequencer similar to that of Serato Flip, and different performance modes.  A DJ can purchase Rekordbox DVS module as a separate product. The Rekordbox Video module is also available at a price.  Additional effects on Rekordbox DJ can be obtained at a price.


Serato DJ

When you look at the features of Serato, there is a pool of out-of-the-box tools for DJing. A DJ can also expand their features using expansion packs that they have to pay for.  The expansion packs for enhancing the setup of the DJ product are worth the cost a DJ pays.  Some of the packs that come for a fee are such as the Pitch n Time Pack, the Video expansion pack, and DVS. The Pitch n Time expansion pack helps the DJ alter keys of tracks on the fly without impacting on the quality of sound.  There are also numerous FX expansion packs delivered by a third-party effects provider known as Izotope.


Serato DJ has also set its foot in music production following the refresh of its Sampler feature, which now features 8 sample slot tools over 4 banks. Besides, the ability to sync Ableton Link to other computers or devices running compatible packages is yet another addition that makes the app to work in music production.  In addition, Serato Flip feature has a sequencer for helping DJs to re-arrange their track in relation to loops and hot cues.


Frankly speaking, comparing Rekordbox DJ vs Serato, you find that Rekordbox isn’t as feature-intensive as Serato.  Rekordbox is relatively new into the arena of DJ software products and although it has commendable features, the expansions packs aren’t extensively developed – they are in their young stage meaning they still need to be fleshed out so that they start competing with Serato DJ.  Of course, Serato DJ has an upper hand over Rekordbox considering that it has been around for a long time.


The Interface

Rekordbox DJ Interface

The user interface for Rekordbox is designed to offer ease of use. It is a very organized interface that makes DJs work easily.  Considering that the Rekordbox DJ product has been built on an already established brand, the Rekordbox music preparation software, it has carried with it a great qualities that has existed in the latter product.  The browsing experience is very exciting and the library display feature is amazing with clear options for sorting, filtering, and reading tracks, playlists, and folders.  A DJ can quickly scan the structure of track before loading it – thanks to the mini waveforms found in the library display.

In essence, Rekordbox DJ features the same solid user interface as that of Rekordbox music preparation software.  Since Pioneer DJ has been making strides in improving the features and quality of Rekordbox for several years, this has seen Rekordbox DJ have the same features.

An interesting thing to mention here is that when you install Rekordbox DJ, you are able to use the entire software without needing to have a DJ controller connected.  This is a plus for Rekordbox when compared to Serato DJ that requires a DJ controller to be connected.

Serato Interface

When we look at the interface of Serato DJ, it appears to be a little cluttered.  However, even with the clutter of the user interface, you find everything that you may want for DJing is in the interface.  For the user interface to be fully functional, it needs to feature a DJ controller that is compatible.  You don’t want to use your DJing app for only music preparation; you also want to do mixing and other tasks.  This means that if the DJ software does not have a controller connected, it will not be able to mix and you will only use the preparation mode.

In Serato DJ, you can make adjustments to suit your needs and those of your audiences by using the main screen.  For example, you can enable different views ranging from 2 to 4-deck view.  You can also enable the effects sections, the DJ Sampler, and record section among other features.  It is also possible for you to change the attributes right from the DJ controller in a Serato DJ setup.

Another thing about the Serato DJ interface is that DJs find it a breeze to browse through their tracks.  The quality of the display is very high, with a sharp look.

Generally speaking, when you compare the user interface of Rekordbox DJ to that of Serato DJ, the former stands out over the latter because it has less clutter and brings with it many smart features to make the life of the DJ easier.


Stability and Performance

In terms of stability, Serato beats Rekordbox since it works fast and loads tracks fast.  For the Rekordbox DJ, it seems to have similar stability issues as those inherent in Rekordbox music preparation software. Besides, Rekordbox may not perform so well if you are using the low-end computers.


Comparing the compatibility features of the two products, Serato DJ takes the lead.  It supports so many DJ controllers and you will find that most of the high-end controllers have a Serato DJ license tossed into the box – you just need to plug the controller in the Serato DJ and there you are.

If you are purchasing entry-level DJ controller, it is likely that you won’t have a Serato DJ license; however, you could have a Serato Intro license, mostly the Bare Bones Serato DJ version.  In such a case, you will see that the DJ controller is compatible with the DJ software.

In addition, there is a Club Kit containing the things you need to have the Serato DJ connected to professional mixers like the Pioneer DJ DJM supported range.

The most recommended DJ controller to use with Serato DJ is Denon DJ MCX8000.  It has an attractive price and great features for example, the possibility of the DJ to read tracks from a storage device like USB.  It also has built-in screens and excellent support for entire features of the Serato DJ.

On the side of Rekordbox DJ, it only accepts the newest Pioneer DJ controllers.  It’s quite limited in terms of compatibility.  That being said, Rekordbox DJ supports most of the professional Pioneer DJ mixers and media players.  Again, Rekordbox allows you to use the music you prepared from your laptop.  You can also transfer it to a memory stick where you can carry it with you to play it elsewhere.  This means Rekordbox DJ offers more flexibility and saves the DJ time.

The most recommended DJ controller that you would use with Rekordbox DJ is Pioneer DJ DDJ-RX.  It’s not a high-end product, but a mid-range DJ controller with a hardware mixer alongside Sound Color FX, which functions with external hardware.  This DJ controller has 4 channels and great job wheels and center LCD.  The solid build of the controller allows a DJ feel like a pro when going about their DJing business.


Pricing of The DJ products

The two DJ products have different pricing structures.  The pricing model of Serato is tied to the hardware used for example, the controller.  If you buy a high-end controller, you will most likely get the Serato DJ app license for free.  Expansion packs are priced between $29 and $99.

The Serato DJ Club Kit, which you can connect to a club mixer, goes for $169 and comprises the Serato DJ software and the DVS pack.  Buying the entire Serato DJ software or the Serato DJ suite will cost $229 while the bare-bones license goes for $99.

On the other hand, Rekordbox DJ has its license priced at $139.  A user will need to download the base Rekordbox software for the Rekordbox DJ to work; the base software is available for free.  If you need expansion packs, you will purchase them at $109 in the case of DVS pack.  The Video pack goes for $159 while for additional effects, you will pay $10.

In essence, if you need DVS, video, and base software, you will pay more compared to Serato DJ.  Having said that, Pioneer DJ offers a license for Rekordbox DJ in their entire range of Rekordbox DJ controllers including the low-cost ones.  This means that you will save around 139 from the very start.


Rekordbox DJ Pros and Cons


  • Extension effects ranging from Beat FX to CFX to Release FX
  • A snappier and quicker DJ engine – light and stable than previous versions
  • Limited compatibility with DJ controllers- only works with Pioneer DJ controllers
  • With release of Rekordbox DJ version 5, the overall design has improved
  • Excellent jog wheels


  • If you plan using 4 decks, a 13 inch laptop screen allows little room of browsing the library, you better get a 15-inch laptop
  • Small pitch fader for the DJ effects


Serato DJ Pros and Cons


  • Packed with many features to fulfill your digital DJing experience
  • Use to use software with an interface that’s easy on the eye
  • Ideal for both beginner DJs and seasoned DJs
  • Top choice for professional DJs – has a tested, tried, and proven software
  • Great customer support, great updates
  • Compatible with many software and DJ controllers
  • Great music library – smart crates that save DJ time


  • In order to use Serato DJ software, you must plug-in a hardware otherwise you will have to work on the one on the screen deck


User Reviews

Rekordbox DJ

 One user says that Rekordbox DJ’s track organization is a bit confusing.


Serato DJ

One user said that he loves Serato because if allows him to ride mixes longer and much easier since there is no fluctuation of the pitch from turntable.  When listening to something with a conga drum, the drumming sounds sound more live – as in Scratch Live – the resolution in the digital process seems to be less.


A digital DJ setup comprises a computer, DJ software, plus a DJ controller. When choosing a DJ software, you will want to consider the features, price, stability of the program, layout of the interface, and compatibility with physical hardware and digital software products like DJ controllers or Ableton program, respectively.

To wrap up, in comparing Rekordbox DJ vs Serato, it’s clear that Serato DJ scoops the winning spot since it has more compatibility, it’s more stable, and has many expansion packs.  Serato DJ is also reasonably priced.