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which is better best serato scratch live or Trakor Pro 2 native instruments 2012 DJ software review 2013 testing

DJ Software Scratch Live vs versus Traktor pro 2 imixmag

updated: 10/15/2012

Tale of the tape:
13Ē Macbook Pro 2.4Ghz Intel Core Duo, 4GB Ram, video Nvidia GeForce 320M (mid 2010 model).

Software & hardware:
Native Instruments Traktor Pro 2.5.1 and the Audio 10 interface.
Serato Scratch Live 2.4.2 and the Rane SL3.
Decks:Pioneer CDJ-800 MK2
Mixer: Numark X6 (imixmag choice for best most affordable 10" scratch mixer with effects) Numark X6 info

Software installation
Scratch Live software installation is not only a breeze, itís free, so you can install it to as many computers as you want. Youíll need one of Raneís Scratch Live ready hardware units to get things going. The most inexpensive route would be the $499 Rane SL2. Software installation is a breeze.

Traktor Pro 2 software now only comes in one full blown powerful version at a price of only $89 U.S. dollars or come free with one of their interfaces. To get it to work with CDJ decks or turntables youíll need one of Traktorís audio interfaces. The $99 Audio 2 would be the most inexpensive unit but your real choice should be the $299 Audio 6 or the $399 audio 10; all include the Traktor Pro 2 Software. Instillation of the software is simple.

While Scratch Live makes it easy to save or go back to a previous version, Traktor does not, so if you upgrade to a Traktor version that isn't stable, reverting to an earlier version isnít as easy.

Software installation winner, none, itís just a software install.

Music Library / Music browser
Importing, analyzing and searching for music in Scratch live is a breeze. For a few versions integration with itunes was a problem however the current version has relieve it of those woes Ė works just fine now. Depending on the processor, analyzing music files goes rather quickly.

Itís amazing how things have changed. Used to be a time when analyzing music files on Traktor was a nightmare, those days are over. Music files analyze quickly and if you import a new music file during a live set things will remain stable. You still need to click the itunes icon in the music library browser in order to view and use them however it loads rather quickly.

Music Library winner, a wash.

Layout and design
Traktor has successfully done a great deal of work on making its layout more pleasing to the eye and easy to work with. The reason its layout may look more complicated is because Traktor is more than just a simple DJ software and its layout reflects that.

The Scratch Live layout design can be described as extremely boring. Yes boring but very easy to navigate. The different view choices seem to have been designed perfectly for the specific needs of varying DJs.

Layout design winner; this is a matter of taste, you decide.

Hardware and software integration and functionality
One of the biggest reasons Scratch Live is such a popular choice is how simple and easy the software works with the hardware. The Scratch Live software and the Rane SL3, and other rane hardware devices complement each other very well; its performance is pretty much rock solid. Scratch Live also makes it fairly easy to connect midi devices; you can pretty much map any midi controller with Scratch Liveís midi settings (No, the normal human cannot midi map the Jog wheels of a DJ controller to work with Scratch Live).

One of the biggest complaints you hear from DJs with Traktor is how things are a bit difficult and complicated when it comes to hooking it up with the hardware. While they have made some strides on improving this, it still isnít as easy as it could and should be. At first you might have some trouble figuring how to get things to work, but once you do you set it up things run somewhat smoothly.

One thing you can count on from Serato Scratch Live is everything will be working exactly the same every time you connect and start things up. This isnít the case with Traktor. Donít know how it happens but Traktor has a way of forgetting the setup. This is especially true if you use Traktor with another connection like a DJ controller like the Numark NS6, NS7 or other DJ Controller. While this isnít an exactly fair analogy because Scratch Live canít be used with a DJ Controller, it something you should be aware of.

Software and hardware integration winner, Serato Scratch Live.

Timecode CDs
The Timecode CD for Scratch Live have not been updated since turntables were made out of stone. Their short time span, fifteen minutes, is quite honestly an annoyance most would love to do without. When those short fifteen minutes expire, it will automatically go into internal mode which removes your ability to control the play through the deck. In the perfect world you would set the Timecode CD back to track one and it would revert back to the mode you were in; many times when you do this in the real real world, youíll end up with a dropout in sound while things sort themselves out.

On the other hand Traktorís Timecode CD give you plenty of time to enjoying DJing instead of worrying about going into internal mode.

Timecode CD winner, Traktor Pro 2.

Effects, Sample modes, and loop record
Scratch Live has the SP6 which is a sample player. It allows you to play any audio file; they can be short or a complete song. You can use this to trigger sound effects like horns, sirens, or whatever you want and you can play them in different modes.The FX (effects) are simple and nothing extraordinary however they will achieve desired results without erratic behavior.

Traktor Pro 2 takes effects and sampling to a different level which really makes Traktor a live remix powerhouse. What you can do with Traktor in this world is pretty much mind boggling. You will really need to take time and learn how to use the effects because the possibility of taking them too far will cause some unsoundly outcomes

The sample decks are also another incredible tool for creativity. You can record a sample live during a set, throw it into a sample deck and do some incredible stuff. Make no bones about it; what you can accomplish with Traktor canít be done on any other standalone DJ software. But you should know that thereís a high learning curve to get all of this to work in harmony. And those who love Traktor and have taken the time to learn it well will simply call those who call it difficult, lazy and unwilling to take the time to take DJing to the next level.

Sample and FX winner, Traktor 2 by a huge creative margin.

And the winner is...
If youíve been around for a while you already know this, and if youíre new to it all you will learn this in time; when it comes to technology most things donítí work at 100%. In other words your DJ software is going to have some issues, quirks, and flaws. Thatís why there are updates, and sometimes updates will resolve some issues and bring up others. Both Scratch Live and Traktor have their issues and flaws, but which one is the best of the best.

Serato Scratch Live is extremely simple. Its simplicity, while seen as a weakness, is it greatest strength. Those who enjoy and swear by Scratch Live enjoy those attributes.

Traktor Pro 2, simply put, is a beast compared to Scratch Live. It is powerful, advanced, and the most creative all in one DJ software available. Those who swear on Traktor call it the next level in DJ advancement and they wouldnít be far from the truth. And like any beast the trick to harnessing its power is to tame it, and the only way to tame Traktor is by taking the proper time to learn it well.

So where does that leave us? Does it leave us where we started, with the question of which is the best? Absolutely not, the answer should already be obvious.

If youíre looking for straightforward easy to hook up system which is nearly 100% reliable then Serato Scratch Live is your answer.

If youíre willing to take the time, maybe lots of it, and learn a more complicated DJ software which will open you up to whole new world of DJing, then Traktor Pro 2 is your answer.

The true winner here is you the DJ. This isnít the cowardís way out, itís simply the truth. What Scratch Live and Traktor Pro 2 offer is the best of both worlds; simple and straightforward or extreme cutting edge. You really canít go wrong with whichever platform you chose.

With the upcoming release of Serato DJ, this debate will get even more complicated. Serato DJ will replace Serato Itch and be more like Traktor Pro 2 in which youíll be able to use it with other DJ Controllers and midi map to your liking. Serato DJ will be released in November.

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