serato DJ controller software ITCH replacement DJ Intro upgradeJust about a year ago this weekend, Serato threw their hat into the entry level DJ ring. Serato DJ Intro finally delivered a solid core feature set that could be licensed cheaply by the manufacturers without having to look at Traktor LE or Virtual DJ LE. If anything DJ Intro offered a little too much, leaving ITCH users somewhat confused as to what this meant to them, and also what was the upgrade path for DJ Intro itself.

So I’ve sat here for a year, with logic telling me that there would be an upgrade path, and being accepted into the very edges of Serato’s impenetrable circle of trust, a much clearer picture was building of the future roadmap for DJ Intro and ITCH.

And that roadmap leads to this – Serato DJ. I’ll allow Serato to tell you all about it, with just words as screenshots aren’t being released at this time:

PRESS RELEASE – SERATO DJ

October 3rd 2012

OUR BEST FEATURE SET FOR CONTROLLERS

Serato is proud to announce the launch of Serato DJ, our newest DJ software for professional DJs at the top of their game. Coming this winter, in a rollout of release dates starting from November 1, this software delivers our best feature set for all-in-one controllers and is the much-anticipated upgrade.

Serato DJ delivers all the features and performance to meet the demands of DJs at the top of their game and sets the new standard for controller DJs.

The portability of all-in-one controllers, coupled with the advanced feature set of the new Serato DJ software, provides the much-anticipated upgrade option for all current Serato customers using controller software. Serato DJ’s new features and capabilities give DJs the scope to broaden their skills and knock the socks off their audience!

Sam Gribben, CEO of Serato, says: “The release of Serato DJ is the culmination of years of development and testing by our world-class development team of software innovators, in consultation with the movers and shakers of the digital DJ and music industries.  We’re excited to see what our customers will do with the new features and look forward to continuing to be a part of the ever-evolving DJ movement, whether the user is a seasoned professional or just starting out. Serato DJ brings us a step closer to a unified customer experience across our entire product range.”

The Pioneer DDJ-SX controller, designed specifically for Serato DJ, will be the first controller to support the software and will be launched concurrently with Serato DJ on November 1. Serato DJ will be bundled for free with the Pioneer DDJ-SX.

Serato ITCH customers get the Serato DJ upgrade for free. Serato DJ Intro customers can upgrade to Serato DJ for US$199 – and for a limited time this includes a license for the powerful Serato Video plug-in. Serato DJ support for Serato DJ Intro and ITCH controllers will be rolled out in a series of releases this coming winter.

Head to serato.com to find out what it means for your controller and when you can upgrade.

Serato DJ: New Features

Serato DJ launches with the following new features with more to follow throughout winter.

• Great New FX Powered by iZotope

Load your choice of high quality FX including: Delay, Echo, Ping Pong Delay, Reverb, Phaser, Flanger, Distortion, High Pass Filter (HPF), Low Pass Filter (LPF), Combo HP/LP Filter.

• MIDI Mapping

Take full advantage of Serato DJs features. MIDI mapping opens up the software to be mapped with a secondary MIDI controller.

• More Cue Points

Set and trigger up to 8 cue points in Serato DJ to quickly jump to different sections in your track.

• Brand New User Interface

A greatly improved software layout that looks amazing and is simple to use. The new interface also offers two and four deck view modes for four deck controllers.

• Four Deck Mixing

Mix with four decks on supported four deck controllers.

As well as these new features, Serato DJ Intro customers can expect to get all the same professional level tools we offer including:

• Recording

Make mixtapes and save your nights work to listen to later. Record your mix at the click of a button on supported controllers.

• Looping

Manual Loops, Auto-Loops and Loop Rolls are all available to creatively repeat and loop parts of your tracks in the mix.

• Sync and Auto Tempo Matching

Lock tracks together for seamless grooves. Less time beat matching, more time to get creative.

• Crates and Smart Crates

Make library management a breeze with Serato Crates and Smart Crates. Build playlists, save your sets and organize your music.

• SP-6 Sample Player

Trigger all your favorite stings, samples and loops over your tracks. 4 Banks of 6 sample slots which can be synced to the playing decks.

• Colored Waveforms

See the music with Serato’s ground breaking colored track waveforms.

• Plug-and-Play Connectivity

Less time making it work, more time at the party.

• Interoperable with Scratch Live, ITCH, DJ Intro and iTunes Music Libraries 

• Support for whitelabel.net Files

• Support for Serato Video

In a nutshell

Serato DJ is the new and improved ITCH, and the upgrade path for Serato DJ Intro – a double whammy. ITCH isn’t so much showing its age, as it has a solid menu of features, but there are parts of it desperately in need of some love. Let’s have a look at some of the key ones.

Mapping

Now as much as I love ITCH’s plug and play sensibilities, it’s not perfect. Some people saw the 1 to 1 mapping ideal as a strength, but also ITCH’s achilles heel. Well rejoice people, for your dreams have come true. Sort of. In v1 of Serato DJ, mapping has been opened up for secondary controllers i.e. you can map some of the features in Serato DJ to a secondary controller, just like you can in Scratch Live. But there is a little little light on the mapping horizon as a future upgrade will bring full remapping to Serato DJ. So if you’re unhappy with the way Serato have mapped your controller, you’ll be able to change it… eventually.

And just like ITCH controllers, you’ll be able to map to 3rd party software too. The success of that is as yet unknown, and I suspect not exactly high up on Serato’s list of priorities. They want to you to buy a Serato DJ controller and use it with that software. Given the flexibility seemingly on offer, the need to go looking elsewhere has been substantially reduced.

Effects

It would be fair to describe ITCH’s effects as serviceable, edequate, or competent – all words that basically mean “could try harder”. But instead of trying harder, Serato have ditched the old ones and put in some premium quality effects from iZotope. Given Traktor’s acknowledged dominance in the effects area, Serato must have felt that it would be more of an uphill battle than they wanted, thus drafted in a ringer to get them up to speed much quicker. And iZotope is a pretty solid outfit to partner up with. Hopefully this will see people begin to have more confidence in the controller based effects than before.

The ITCH has been scratched

Just to make this clear – ITCH is dead. The recently released v2.2.2 is the last official upgrade, leaving bug fixes and maintenance updates as the only future for ITCH. But fear not, for existing users get a free upgrade to Serato DJ as and when support for your particular controller has been added in. It’ll take time so be patient. But for those of you with discontinued ITCH controllers… well it might be time for some new hardware as they’re dropped off the compatibility radar.

Intro to DJ – the upgrade way

So here it is – what many thought was obvious all along, but some just couldn’t see it coming, nor understand why the feature set of DJ Intro was never likely to change. It’s called DJ Intro for a reason, and has a specific set of functions that beginners need. That changes as you get better, hence fixing the features and offering an upgrade path. And I use the term upgrade for that’s what it is. DJ Intro is one entry level product, and Serato DJ is another product, thus you must pay.

To step up is going to cost you $199 to get all the cool stuff that Serato DJ offers. Given that Traktor Pro costs just $99, this is quite a hefty fee. But you should then be able to build a more diverse system around your DJ Intro controller and map it all however you wish. This is all about buying into the Serato way of doing things, rather than having the extreme flexibility that Traktor offers at the expense of plug and play.

The official word reads like this:

PRESS RELEASE – SERATO DJ UPGRADE

October 3rd 2012

UPGRADE TO SERATO DJ AND ELEVATE THE CAPABILITIES OF YOUR CONTROLLER

Serato is proud to announce the launch of Serato DJ, our newest DJ software for professional DJs at the top of their game. Coming this winter, in a rollout of release dates starting from November 1, this software delivers our best feature set for all-in-one controllers and is the much-anticipated upgrade.

Serato DJ delivers all the features and performance to meet the demands of DJs at the top of their game and  sets the new standard for controller DJs.

The portability of all-in-one controllers, coupled with the advanced feature set of the new Serato DJ software, provides the much-anticipated upgrade option for all current Serato customers using controller software. Serato DJ’s new features and capabilities give DJs the scope to broaden their skills and impress their audience!

Sam Gribben, CEO of Serato, says: “The release of Serato DJ is the culmination of years of development and testing by our world-class development team of software innovators, in consultation with the movers and shakers of the digital DJ and music industries.  We’re excited to see what our customers can do with the new features and look forward to continuing to be a part of the ever-evolving DJ movement, whether the user is a seasoned professional or just starting out. Serato DJ brings us a step closer to a unified customer experience across our entire product range.”

Serato DJ can be downloaded direct from serato.com and will be available in a series of release dates specific to individual controllers this coming winter. This will follow the initial launch on November 1 with the Pioneer DDJ-SX.

Serato DJ is a free upgrade for current ITCH customers and is fully compatible with their supported existing controller (Numark NS6, Numark NS7, Numark V7, Vestax VCI-300, Vestax VCI-380, Novation Twitch & Pioneer DDJ-S1). Upgrades for ITCH controllers will rollout gradually this coming winter.

Serato DJ Intro users can upgrade to Serato DJ for a one-off cost of $199USD – and for a limited time this includes a license for the powerful Serato Video plug-in. The software is fully compatible with their existing controller. Customers with a Numark Mix Track Pro controller will be the first to upgrade followed by others such as: Numark N4, Numark MixDeck Numark MixDeck Express, Numark MixDeck Quad, Vestax VCI-400, Vestax Typhoon, Vestax VCI-100 Mk2, Pioneer DDJ-ERGO, Reloop TM4, Reloop TM 2 and Denon MC2000 in a gradual rollout.

NB: Customers with discontinued hardware will be unable to upgrade to Serato DJ, however these controllers will continue to be supported by ITCH 2.2.2.

Head to serato.com to find out when and how you can upgrade to Serato DJ from DJ Intro or ITCH. You can also choose to sign up and be notified when the release is available for you.

The Bridge?

Knowing that this particular subject wasn’t so much a hot potato as a colossal fireball from space, I pressed Serato for an official line on support for The Bridge in Serato DJ. What I got back was a single official line:

“The Bridge is not available for Serato DJ.” 

And with ITCH being retired and not being updated, and Serato inscrutably stating the above, we can only hope that something will happen on this front in due course. I really want me some Mixtape action more than awkwardly shoehorning Live into an already small window in Serato DJ on my 13″ Macbook Air.

When can I have it?

At the time of writing, I can’t even get screenshots, let alone a copy of the application. But Pioneer’s DDJ-SX (more of that in another story) will have it in November, with ITCH and DJ Intro controllers following on soon after.

I have to say that I’m happy to see Serato finally shape up. I think that success took them a little by surprise, and while carrying on doing an efficient enough job of keeping Scratch Live going and developing ITCH, Serato have needed to take a step back and look at the bigger picture and longer term plan. They have been caught with their pants down, and had their arse spanked royally.

But a lot has happened behind the scenes, with key people brought in to sort out the brands and the technology roadmap. I feel that there’s more to come, with more demolishing and rebuilding still to do. But they’ve done it at the right time, and probably just in time too, and if they can continue to build, refine and hone, we users are in for some very interesting times ahead.