The Best DJ Software – Our 6 Favourite Free and Paid-For Mixing Apps


Starting to DJ live and looking for DJ mixing software? I’ve got you covered with a curated list of the six best DJ software programs you need to take your mixes to the next level.

What was originally developed as a music library storage tool, DJ software is now much more powerful with so many functions under the hood, such as music file analysis, setting cue points, beatmatching, looping, live remixing, effects, and more.

Whilst there’s a lot of overlap, most DJ software programs have unique elements and features, making it essential to find the right fit for your style and preferences. So, let me guide you through our favourite free and paid-for mixing apps to point you in the right direction!

Our top 3 mixing apps

Serato DJ ProThe industry standard for scratch DJing.Check the current price
Native Instruments Traktor Pro 3Packed with signature high-quality Native Instruments effects.Check the current price
Ableton Live 11 SuiteIntroduce live MIDI instruments with complete DAW control.Check the current price

The best DJ software

1. Serato DJ Pro

Serato DJ ProOperating system: macOS 12 – 14; Windows 10 – 11

Compatible streaming services: Beatsource, Beatport, Soundcloud, Tidal

Max. number of decks: Four


  • The best option for scratch DJs
  • Incredible Stems function to extract acapellas and more for real-time remixes
  • Compatible with most major controllers and decks, with video playback functionality


  • Additional advanced features require a paid upgrade to Serato DJ Suite

Serato have been leading digital DJing since the early 2000s, and have pioneered the development of digital vinyl systems. Despite undergoing various iterations and name changes over the years, Serato have consolidated its software offerings around its flagship application, Serato DJ Pro.

Catering to a diverse range of DJs, Serato DJ Pro offers a comprehensive toolset suited to scratch DJs, turntablists, and professionals across dance and hip-hop genres.

The approach to controller compatibility sets it apart, allowing you to use a broad range of officially endorsed gear from leading manufacturers such as Rane, Denon, Numark, and Pioneer DJ. This flexibility provides DJs, especially digital vinyl enthusiasts, with a multitude of setup options.

The software boasts a user-friendly interface, characterised by its clean design and intuitive navigation. If you’re a beginner, this simplicity would be ideal for you, while advanced features still make it suitable for seasoned DJs.

One of Serato DJ Pro’s best features is its comprehensive library management system, enabling you to effortlessly organise and search through vast music collections. Additionally, the introduction of Serato Stems revolutionises DJing by allowing you to extract acapellas, melodies, basslines, or drums with a simple click, facilitating seamless transitions and creative mashups on the fly.

There’s also seamless integration with popular streaming services, including Beatsource, Beatport, SoundCloud, and Tidal.

2. Native Instruments Traktor Pro

Native Instruments Traktor Pro 3Operating system: macOS 11 – 14; Windows 10 – 11

Compatible streaming services: Beatport, Beatsource

Max. number of decks: Four


  • The perfect platform for electronic, house, and techno DJs with Remixing and Live Stems functions
  • High-quality Native Instruments effects and industry-leading looping
  • Simple and easy-to-use interface in an affordable package


  • Restrictions on performance, such as no flexible beatgridding, limit its use to mainly electronic music

Emerging in 2000, Traktor Pro 3 is renowned for being used in electronic genres like house and techno and has become a go-to choice among DJ producers.

This is a powerhouse for advanced DJs, offering a robust suite of features tailored to precision mixing and creative performance. With over 40 intuitive effects, including the iconic Deck FX and Mixer FX, Traktor lets you modulate your tracks with endless variation.

Displaying a clean and well-organised interface that’s perfect for professional use, Traktor Pro 3 is priced competitively for the fully-featured, DVS-equipped version. While offering exceptional value for money, an additional subscription to Traktor Pro Plus provides an ever-growing range of new features and functions.

Focused on performance, Traktor’s Remix and Stems features let you deconstruct and remix tracks on the fly. Remix decks blur the lines between DJing and live performance, allowing for the seamless integration of samples, atmospheric effects, and loops into the mix. As impressive as these are, they’re no longer proprietary to Native Instruments, with most other software utilising these features.

While Native Instruments may lag in delivering new ‘plug and play’ official controllers, Traktor is compatible with a vast array of devices, offering flexibility through MIDI routing. Additionally, Traktor seamlessly integrates with Pioneer’s professional gear in club settings, a fantastic advantage as this is what you’ll find as standard in DJ booths.

3. Ableton Live 11 Suite

Ableton Live 11 SuiteOperating system: macOS 11 or later; Windows 10, 11


  • Complete DAW worth of audio manipulation and plugin effects
  • Prepare sets and your music library in advance and seamlessly mix with scene-based editing
  • Supports most MIDI DJ controllers and Ableton Push devices for on-the-fly producing and mixing


  • Doesn’t support the traditional mixer and deck layout of familiar DJ software

Initially launched as a versatile DAW for studio producers, Ableton Live 11 Suite has transcended its original purpose and has become a powerhouse for live DJ performances.

Despite its non-traditional approach to DJing, Ableton Live’s rich collection of effects, tools, and features, coupled with its compatibility with Ableton Push, make it a preferred choice among DJs worldwide.

While it may lack the standard turntable-style interface, Ableton Live offers essential DJ functionalities. It provides features such as crossfading, tempo warping, sound effects, and loops, enabling you to fine-tune your sets with precision.

One of its most popular features, particularly for DJs, is the Session View – a meticulously designed window for launching synced audio samples, MIDI clips, and tracks. Combined with Live’s seamless audio retiming capabilities, Session View makes it easy to DJ live.

Ableton Live 11 Suite boasts a plethora of built-in instruments and effects, along with the ability to host plugins and an intuitive MIDI learn function, making it a comprehensive solution for electronic musicians. Plus, its compatibility with various controllers further enhances its versatility, allowing you to tailor your setup to your preferences.

A notable feature of Ableton Live is its integration of Link technology, enabling wireless sync with a wide range of applications, including DJing apps, iOS tools, DAWs, and plugins. This feature facilitates seamless collaboration and jam sessions across multiple devices, enhancing the live performance experience for DJs and musicians alike.

4. Mixxx

Mixxx screenshot

Image credit: Mixxx

Operating system: macOS 10.12 or later on Intel, macOS 11.0 or later on ARM Apple Silicon; Windows 7 or later (64-bit)

Linux: Ubuntu 20.04 or later

Compatible streaming services: N/A

Max. number of decks: Four


  • Completely free, making it the best choice for budget-conscious DJs
  • DVS included as standard opens more opportunities for different mixing styles
  • Cross-platform compatibility with Linux and most DJ controllers


  • Still lacks features of major, paid-for software, with infrequent updates due to its open-source nature

The open-source software Mixxx has been providing accessible and affordable mixing capabilities since its launch in 2008. Offering basic mixing functionalities, Mixxx boasts cross-platform compatibility, running seamlessly on Windows, macOS, and uniquely among this list, Linux systems, making it an adaptable choice for DJs across various operating systems.

Being open-source, Mixxx is entirely free, so it’s ideal for budget-conscious DJs and enthusiasts who value community-driven development. While it may lack some advanced features, if you’re feeling adventurous, you could dive into the code yourself to make any adjustments or changes you want to see in the software.

Equipped with essential tools for mixing, Mixxx boasts control over four decks, EQs, effects, loops, hot cues, and track pitch and key adjustments. It’s also easily integrated with a range of controllers, offering pre-existing mappings for various devices and allowing you to customise your setup.

Additionally, Mixxx comes with built-in DVS capabilities, making it an excellent choice for exploring digital vinyl/timecode control without hefty upfront investments.

As community-powered software, Mixxx thrives on continuous development and updates. While it may not match the flashy features of mainstream applications, it’s always relevant and up-to-date. Recent improvements include new methods for marking track sections and an enhanced key detection algorithm.

5. Rekordbox

Pioneer DJ DDJ-FLX-10 Controller for Rekordbox and SeratoOperating system: macOS 11.2 – 14; Windows 10, 11

Compatible streaming services: Beatport, Beatsource, Soundcloud, Tidal

Max. number of decks: Four


  • Natively compatible with all Pioneer controllers, CDJs, and standalone players, letting you set cue points and build your setlist to use on a USB
  • Boasts the best track management and organisation with Beatgrid analysis tools
  • Top tier of the subscription model includes Cloud music management with third-party services including Google Drive and Dropbox


  • Stems aren’t as powerful or accurate as other DJ software offerings

Originally conceived in the late 2000s as a tool for organising and preparing digital music for use with Pioneer CDJs, rekordbox underwent significant expansion in 2015 to become a comprehensive DJ mixing software.

Drawing from its roots as a track analysis and organisation tool, rekordbox’s library and preparation tools give you a clear way of navigating your tracks, whatever operating system you use. It has also recently been enhanced with cloud library sharing and cloud-based analysis, providing rapid access to BPM, key, and phrasing information from a vast central database.

In terms of mixing functionality, rekordbox offers a toolset similar to Serato and Traktor, including features like effects, samplers, and DVS control. Notably, its Edit Mode introduces basic DAW-like features for quick and rough track edits, enhancing creative possibilities for DJs.

A significant advantage of rekordbox lies in its seamless integration with Pioneer setups commonly found in bars and clubs worldwide. You can easily transition from a bedroom setup to a professional CDJ rig or top-end controller thanks to rekordbox’s mirroring of ‘CDJ’ club setup/workflow and native compatibility with Pioneer hardware.

6. Atomix VirtualDJ Pro

Atomix VirtualDJ Pro screenshot

Image credit: Atomix

Operating system: macOS 10.13 – 14; Windows 7 – 11

Compatible streaming services: Beatport, Beatsource, Soundcloud Go+, Deezer, Tidal, and bespoke proprietary VirtualDJ streaming content service

Max. number of decks: 99


  • Compatibility with more hardware than any other software, letting you use any brand you favour
  • One-time purchase will make it yours forever – including any and all future updates
  • Boasts the most intuitive and straightforward interface, appealing to DJs of all skill levels


  • Poor effects when compared to competitors

Hailed by Atomix as the world’s ‘number one most popular DJ software’, Virtual DJ is great for budget-conscious DJs, especially beginners, with its accessible and functional free version. Launched with a user-friendly interface and workflow, VirtualDJ provides a customisable environment, accommodating anywhere from two to 99 decks.

Even in its free format, VirtualDJ has an impressive array of features. Renowned for its live video-streaming and karaoke capabilities, the software is particularly popular among mobile DJs. Recent updates have enhanced its interface, presenting a slicker look, while the addition of an ‘event scheduler’ feature caters to the needs of mobile, wedding, and radio DJs.

The stem separation tool, introduced in the latest version, allows you to isolate and individually EQ track elements such as kicks, vocal lines, or bass.

However, the free version of VirtualDJ comes with limitations that make it hard to use in professional settings or integrate with hardware like controllers, analogue mixers, or DVS systems. To unlock full functionality and professional use, there’s the Pro license or controller-specific licenses.

Things to consider when buying DJ software

DJ controllers

Before purchasing DJ software, you need to know the type of DJ controller you’re using. While it’s possible to DJ without hardware, using just your keyboard and mouse can be limiting! The lack of a tactile control interface can reduce your precision in key moments, making tasks like synchronisation and EQ changes challenging.

DJ controllers come in various shapes and sizes, catering to different needs and preferences. You might have a portable controller for taking from venue to venue, or you might be a resident DJ who uses the Pioneer DJ setup already available in the DJ booth.

When selecting DJ software, you have two approaches: choose software based on your existing controller or select a controller based on the software that best fits your needs.

The compatibility between the DJ software and controller is key. Whilst some DJ controllers work universally with most DJ software, the majority are only compatible with the software programs that are endorsed by the manufacturer. We advise sticking with software endorsed by the controller manufacturer to avoid compatibility issues.

Library of tracks

Song library management is also important. Your tracks need to be properly organised for you to have a seamless DJ set, and this includes accurately naming, labelling, and tagging your songs, as well as pre-assigning cue points.

While all DJ software includes some form of library for organising and browsing tracks, different software offer various library management features, including playlist creation and smart organisation tools that sort tracks by BPM and key, facilitating seamless transitions between songs.

Some software allows for data transfer to other devices like tablets or CDJs, while others offer cloud backup options. Additionally, certain applications enable importing music from external sources such as Spotify and Apple Music, expanding the range of tracks available for live performances. Integration features like these enhance your flexibility and creativity.

Subscription or single license purchase?

When purchasing DJ software, you’ll encounter different options, including outright purchases or subscription models. If you’re on a budget or DJing mainly for fun, there are free options available like the open-source software, Mixxx.

Paying a one-time fee for software grants you permanent access to the latest version without any recurring payments. Alternatively, many software companies offer subscription models, requiring monthly or annual payments to access the software and its updates.

These subscription models are increasingly popular. They typically offer access to the full feature set of the software, often including additional perks like cloud storage or live service features.

You can also subscribe to services like Beatport, Beatsource, and SoundCloud+ for extensive music libraries.

Fortunately, there are alternatives for those looking to avoid subscriptions, with some applications, such as rekordbox, offering access to ‘pro’ features by connecting a branded controller.

Native Instruments Traktor Pro

What is DVS?

DVS stands for ‘digital vinyl system’, a method that enables DJs to seamlessly integrate traditional turntables or CDJs with cutting-edge DJ software using specialised timecode CDs, vinyl records, or USB sticks. The timecodes emit signals, synchronising the decks with the software to precisely cue tracks from the computer’s memory at the same point the record or CD is playing.

It’s particularly favoured by scratch DJs and turntablists for its authentic vinyl feel, and it also appeals to those transitioning from traditional vinyl or CDJ setups to the convenience of digital software platforms while retaining the tactile experience they love.

After activating DVS in your software, you gain access to four distinct play modes, each offering unique performance capabilities.


Which DJ software is best?

The most popular and the best DJ software is Serato DJ Pro. Its advanced feature set, including advanced Stem separation and user-friendly interface, make it the best and most popular among professional DJs, with Traktor and Rekordbox coming in close second and third place.

Which software do professional DJs use?

Professional DJs tend to use Serato DJ Pro, Traktor, or rekordbox software. These offer features such as effects, samplers, and DVS control, whilst comprehensive library management allows you to easily organise and navigate your tracks.

What is the best software to DJ on a laptop?

The best software to DJ on a laptop are:

  1. Serato DJ Pro
  2. Native Instruments Traktor Pro 3
  3. Ableton Live 11 Suite
  4. Pioneer Rekordbox
  5. Mixx
  6. VirtualDJ Pro
  7. Algoriddim djay Pro

Final thoughts

Now you know what the best DJ software are and the importance of making the right choice for your style and budget, your mixes are sure to be better than ever. While no platform is flawless, the core features remain consistent across most software. Happy mixing!


Content Writer - High Tech

I'm an experienced content editor and copywriter with a passion for music and technology. When I'm not writing engaging blogs or comprehensive product descriptions, I spend my time working with bands and musicians as a producer and mixing/mastering engineer.



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