MINI REVIEW: Serato DJ 1.2 Multi FX

Serato DJ 1.2 multi FX review (3)

Serato‘s effects implementation has always been considered to be lacking. It wasn’t really, but when compared on a like-for-like basis against effects behemoth Traktor Pro, it’s not surprising that many considered its features to be in need of a boost. And that boost came courtesy of iZotope, and duly Serato’s next wave of controller software became properly effects equipped.

But one of the biggest mismatches between Serato DJ Intro and the full fat DJ product was the effects implementation. In DJ Intro, you could layer effects and have combinations of 3 different effects with a simple wet/dry control. But if you upgraded to Serato DJ, you lost this feature, but gained more control over numerous parameters of a single effect. This however has been changed with the introduction of multi FX in Serato DJ 1.2.

To explain how the effects work — Serato DJ offers 2 effects units, each of which can be assigned to any or all of the channels, as well as the master output too.

But what Serato DJ offers now is a choice:

Serato DJ 1.2 multi FX review (5)

Single Effect  — you can use a single effect in each of the 2 effects units and have a ridiculous amount of control over all manner of parameters. For example, the Phaser effect has an on/off with a wet/dry knob, a Q factor step between 0.2-2.0 selecteable by hitting the buttom below the depth knob, a 1-11 stage filter with feedback knob, and the beats parameter. Pretty comprehensive I think you’ll agree.

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Multi effect — You can select 3 effects per unit, with a simple wet/dry for each and a beat control. No fancy pants parameters — just good old-fashioned dependable effects, all of which are post fader too.

That’s better. It never computed to me that DJ Intro could actually be superior to Serato DJ, but to me the effects implementation was DJ’s Achilles Heel.

Serato DJ 1.2 multi FX review (2)

In Use

Having now got different methods of working at our disposal, let’s see how each one stacks up. Actually, it’s not a matter of this way or that way at all, because having 2 effects units means that you can use each one any way you please and apply them any way you like. For example, you can have a single delay running in effect unit 1 and have complete control over all manner of parameters, and at the same time drop 3 more simple effects on top of that in the second unit.


Where it gets really clever and potentially complex is in the way you can route the effects. Because you can apply effects to individual decks, you have the potential to apply 1 effect to all 4 channels, or 6 effects to a single deck, or all decks, or the master output… mind-boggling and quite confusing in use. Then again, I was trying to break it, and thankfully didn’t succeed. I ran 6 effects all turned up to the max to all 4 channels and my 4Gb Macbook Air ran it all just fine. It was a terrible racket of course, but it does at least show that Serato DJ is capable of wrangling effects to the max and not choke.

But effects use is more about simplicity. It’s easy to create a cacophony of dreadful noise with these effects, just like Traktor too. But at least you have more choice in Serato DJ now.

Serato DJ 1.2 multi FX review (4)

Summary

For some, aka a minority of DJs who manhandle effects to the absolute limits in their performance, this will be seen as too little too late. And for them, that’s probably true, but they’re probably using Traktor now anyway. But for the vast majority of DJs who generally use effects to add something extra to their sets, multi FX should be seen as a valuable upgrade that makes Serato DJ a safer $99 to spend.

The quality of the iZotope effects is very high, and much better than ITCH’s old effects. But for me, it’s the routing that offers the most flexibility and creative options. And if my hunch turns out to be correct, I’m sure we’ll see more effects added in due course, perhaps even as additional purchases for those who don’t quite need every variation of delays under the sun. That’s not a hint, but is simply a wish.

Bottom line — I’m much happier with these effects now. The upgrade from Serato DJ Intro to Serato DJ just became considerably more clear cut and worthwhile, and frankly probably saves us having to write that part of the review every damned time.

  • DizzyGin

    Brake Effect is missing now from what I can tell

  • http://www.facebook.com/gulli.johansen Gulli Johansen

    This FX was planed before DDJ SX was released it has button already labled for it

  • http://twitter.com/DJLBIZ Dj L-BIZ (BEAT3)

    I played with Serato DJ last night for about 4-5 hours straight on my vci380. I must say i’m super pleased so far (don;t want to jinx it though). I tried about everything i could think of to stretch it to breaking point and couldn’t (i’m using a 3 year old (i think) 15″ unibody 4gb ram dual core i7) The performance felt tighter than itch (or at least in my mind it did). The effects are great but do & will take some effort to get the most and best sound combinations but in that respect alone its a massive improvement.
    Although i played with slip mode i must say that will defo need to be investigated further (couldn’t get my head around not being able to take my hand off the platter) but it does work well jamming the cue points over it…tbc

    I must say so far i think the wait for my controller to be Serato Dj certified was worth it.
    (if i get enough time to test it out more before the weekend i may even try use it this weekend at a gig – that may sound mad to most but it exudes a feeling of stability already which echos what Serato have been implying with the time take for the release to come out).

    The only thing i wish they had included was the elusive ‘echo/fade/roll out’ as per Serato but i reckon with some fiddling you should be able to recreate that effect by chaining some of the included effects together.

  • Jeremy

    Does anyone know whether the plan for the next line of Vestax VCI-380 controllers manufactured will now support Serato DJ out of the box (e.g. no need to complete a free upgrade to change from Itch to Serato DJ)?

    • http://www.facebook.com/JohnnydirtbagIIIjr Drew Bach

      Serato DJ is the same as Itch in that it always required a download. There is no change.

  • http://www.facebook.com/andytaylor125 Andrew Taylor

    I think the effects in Serato are great but there’s one thing that I think they need to sort out, and since DJWORX are know for understanding the finer points of these things, maybe you could help bring it to their attention?

    The problem is that all of the echoes/delays/reverbs have a ‘effect level control’ that changes the ‘return’ level of the effect rather than the ‘send’ level. That means if your turn the dial to the right and then back to the left again to put the effect on briefly, the echo itself gets ‘turned down’ instead of fading out naturally as they should.

    Still looking forward to the update though, gonna have a go with it this weekend. And thanks for the mini review too. Good to know what I’ve got to look forward to when I download!

  • The_KLH

    It’s very nice to see that effects are about the same on both SDJ and TP. Hopefully now, TP will start to focus on optional video as SDJ already has that…

  • Christopher Davis

    The Itch GUI looks much better than the options in Scratch Live…there’s either too much wasted blank space or not enough features visible. With Itch those screen-wide waveforms, smaller virtual platters, etc. seems more balanced to my eyes.

  • benjaminwg

    The idea people allow themselves
    to be subject to the whims of Rane as to which controllers and interfaces they
    will support is truly bizarre. People bashing Virtual DJ, Traktor, or Torq must
    not have much experience with their latest versions, or perhaps it’s an
    “Apple” thing where people just want to pay a premium to have
    everything configured automatically.

    Heck, I’ve used the last two
    versions of Rane’s flagship software and still can’t get it to properly analyze
    my tracks without crashing. They have a whole section of the site dedicated to
    trying to blame my tracks for their shoddy coding skills. They just recently
    added their FLAC support and still can’t get it to work right.

    Comparing the competition to
    Serato DJ, Rane is frankly outclassed in DVS nowadays. I suppose those who bought horrendously overpriced
    controllers and were originally locked into it might stay, but I don’t expect
    anyone with common sense investing now in DVS adopting it. At the price these
    three 4-deck alternatives go for and their stability (including in analyzing),
    features, and configurability, there’s diminishing chance for Rane to catch up
    this late.

    Deckadance 2, while in really bad
    beta form now, will be a fourth one on this list to choose from when they go to
    full stable release on it. Deckadance 1.93 is already the other three’s equal
    when comparing 2-Deck modes. DD can even be imbedded into any sequencer
    software as a VST plugin! 64bit
    processing. Split cue. There’s gold in that engine.

    Traktor just keeps improving
    quarter after quarter. Virtual DJ 7 seems limitless and is still the only one with Key
    analyzing built in. And VDJ 8 promises to further revolutionize the arena. The best thing about all these alternatives? You purchase once, you never have to purchase
    again. Rane only promises bug fixes and minor release changes in your license.
    They do not guarantee ownership of the product line for life. In fact, Rane
    stipulates that the next big leap you’ll have to pay for AGAIN.

    Scratch had no sync.
    That is true. There was a sort of
    cred to using it, in spite of the fact everyone turned on the waveforms and
    used the BPM readout. But even the CDJ
    2000 has sync on it, and so does Serato DJ.
    No one forces you to use it. I
    turn off BPM and don’t even assign sync at all on my new mappings. Most of all, I am in control, not Rane.

    • http://djworx.com/ Mark Settle

      Rane make mixers and interfaces, and only licence Scratch Live from Serato. Point your anger in the right direction.