What Software Is Used By the Majority of Professional DJs? (Updated in 2022)
There are many experienced DJs out there who enjoy various musical genres. Even though they mix live, they still need to prepare beforehand.
They choose music and create sets using DJ software on their laptops, and then they utilize a mixer/DJ controller and other equipment to perform.
Professional DJs in the music industry, like Richie Hawtin, Carl Cox, Tiesto, Martin Garix, David Guetta, and many others, mostly use Traktor, Ableton, and FL Studio as DJ software. These computer programs have filled dance floors and sound systems at events, house and beach parties, and other gatherings all over the world.
Continue reading to learn which software brands professional DJs choose if you're not sure which one is best for you.
A Word About DJ Software Before We Start
The most widely used DJ programs on the market are Pioneer Rekordbox, Traktor, Serato, and Virtual DJ. Each has benefits and drawbacks. It basically comes down to your particular needs. Virtual DJ or Serato Lite can be the best option for you if you're a newbie with a tight budget. If you're aiming to produce, then it's ideal to study the skill on some of the DAWs like Ableton or FL Studio.
Traktor: Native Instruments created the DJ program Traktor, which is utilized by many DJs.
Rekordbox: DJ software to get your music library ready for a show. It is produced by Pioneer, the same business that also creates CD players and DJ mixers for bars. As a result, it easily integrates with all of Pioneer's existing DJ hardware.
Engine Prime: Denon has a DJ software program that is essentially comparable to this one to get your music ready for their CD players and other DJ hardware.
Serato DJ: This program is comparable to the previous two but is more popular among hip-hop DJs since it incorporates precise vinyl scratching capabilities.
Virtual DJ is a user-friendly, straightforward DJ program that continuously improves.
Digital audio workstations, or DAWs. You may create music, DJ mixes, perform live, mix, and master using these programs. In contrast to the previous DJ software, the DAW's give more chances in really making your own tunes from start to end.
Ableton, Logic, Fruityloops, Reason, Cubase, Pro-Tools, Reaper, Studio One, and Bitwig are some well-known examples of these.
DJs Using Traktor
- Cox, Carl
- Zedd Richie Hawtin
- plenty more
Because he just couldn't follow syncing his songs into Traktor on four players without the aid of anything else, DJ Carl Cox declared in 2011 that he isn't yet ready for DJ software.
It was also strange for him since back then, when people saw him, he had three turntables and effects; now, all he had was a laptop. Without a doubt, it wasn't Carl Cox in person. After that, he simply returned to traditional DJing for a bit.
Years passed, technology advanced, and in his most recent interview...
According to Carl Cox, he is currently utilizing Traktor Pro and the [Traktor Kontrol] D2s DJ controller. He acknowledged that he was still getting used to it and promised to hold off on an upgrade until he had fully mastered his existing set up.
Richie Hawtin works with Native Instruments and Traktor.
Hawtin is the go-to professional DJ role model for Traktor users and excels at using Traktor to perform things that are difficult or impossible with a CDJ setup.
Traktor is Richie Hawtin's go-to piece of software. In addition, he was helping to create the timecode technology that eventually led to Native Instruments' Traktor Scratch and revolutionized DJing.
He actually invested in Traktor early on and continues to have a small stake in the company. Richie's love of technology is best summed up by his investments in cutting-edge music technology businesses and, of course, the creation of his own DJ mixer, the PLAYdifferently MODEL 1.
Zedd, a German DJ/producer of Russian descent, uses Traktor and Cubase.
Which DJ program does Zedd use?
Zedd prefers using Traktor Pro as his live performance software, as seen in the image below. With mixers on small displays like Zedd's 13-inch Mac, Traktor performs fairly well. He selects Cubase, a digital audio workstation, for producing.
More seasoned DJs that utilize Traktor:
- With Traktor, a Z1, F1, and X1, Palestinian DJ Sama performed a great Boiler Room set.
- The most well-known Boiler room set by Kaytranada is played on an S2 with Traktor.
- One of the great D'n'B DJs and, in the opinion of many, the best ever is Andy C. I occasionally listen to Drum and Bass, and Andy C performs live using Traktor.
DJs That Use Ableton:
- Guetta, David
- Van Buuren, Armin
David Guetta uses his preferred DAW, Ableton Live, for all production phases.
Guetta stated: "I use Ableton every day, non-stop, for both live performances and production, for the Sound on Sound. It's unbelievable how well it works for writing and editing. There is unquestionably nothing more helpful for DJing than Ableton.
Every music I play is an exclusive cut since, as a DJ, I aim to provide the audience a special experience during every set. I don't perform my hits in their standard forms.
As a result, whenever I perform my hits, I aim to preserve the essential parts and come up with a fresh drop. When you're doing this, using Ableton is incredibly quick and easy.
Because Ableton provides him so much power, Deadmau5 adores it.
Ableton Live is also used by Deadmau5. Because he can manipulate the different layers (vocals, percussion, synths, etc.) rather than just the track as a whole with Ableton, he has more control over the music. He mixes the many snippets from his songs together while performing on stage.
He also has a couple MIDI controllers (essentially a piece of equipment with buttons/knobs/faders/etc.) that can be configured to operate the software).
Each time he presses a different button, a different section of a Deadmau5 song begins to play (for instance, the vocals from "I Remember," the keyboard from "Strobe," the drums from "FML," etc.).
Armin Van Buuren used Apple Logic and Ableton.
DJ Armin Van Buuren of the Netherlands has become well-known for his lengthy DJ sets and iconic progressive trance. He continues to create original music in 2020 along with his incredibly popular DJ compilations, as well as putting together highly successful radio sets and countless remixes.
Armin Van Buuren has used Ableton Live a lot over the last two years. He uses it to experiment and make short changes for his DJ sets. In addition to crafting mixes, he uses Ableton for production work and creating a wonderful vibe on the fly.
He also utilizes Logic, based on his Q&A session with Harvard College's Electronic Music Collective two years ago!
This shouldn't come as a huge surprise considering that many of the best trance producers also utilize Logic as their DAW. Many of them extol the depth and breadth of Logic, and some even claim that you could browse through its offerings indefinitely.
Marshmello utilizes plugins and Ableton.
One of the numerous DJs and producers who utilizes Ableton is Marshmello. Except for the beats and samples he generates by himself, he often employs many of plugins available in pro versions of Ableton.
He employed the Nexus plugin, for instance, in his song "Alone."
And he actually borrowed a sample guitar hook from Splice for his song "Friends."
DJs Using FL Studio:
- Garrix, Martin
- Afrojack \sTiesto
Martin Garrix, a talented Dutch DJ and producer, favors Image Line's FL Studio as a blank canvas for his creations. Because he hasn't included all of his synths and samples in one FL Studio edition, Martin has stated that he uses many iterations of the program.
Remember that Garrix and other of the DJ/producers we'll discuss ARE NOT DJs by profession. These individuals are producers who have to study the foundations of DJing. The tracks they mix are well prepared/edited and don't require specific mixing skills. That doesn't diminish what they perform, but don't mistake them for professional, traditional DJs.
Martin once remarked that he "sometimes" uses [Apple] Logic as well. He included Nexus, Sylenth1, Massive, and Gross Beat among the plugins he bought when he could afford professional software in a tweet.
I caught a glimpse of Martin Garrix's gear during one of his performances. He can utilize a Rekordbox USB drive because the CDJs are networked together. He most likely prepared his music on the USB drive using Pioneer's program, Rekordbox, which organized the metadata (BPM, key, Title, Artist, Album artwork, etc.). At that time, he most likely inserted his flash drive into a CDJ, at which point his collection showed up on every CD player.
Afrojack has used FL Studio from its inception.
producer with a Grammy Ever since he began DJing and producing EDM, Afrojack has used FL Studio. He has a sizable collection of software synthesizers including Native Instruments Komplete in addition to the standard FL Studio plugins like 3xOsc.
Don't let others tell you that Logic or other programs are "better," simply practice and gain experience, said Afrojack on FL Studio.
Although he is more of a producer than a pure DJ, he mixes live and should be included on our list.
Tiesto previously used a number of programs, but currently just uses FL Studio.
For the past 25 years, Tijs Michiel Verwest, popularly known as Tiesto, has been a renowned trance DJ and producer.
In his career, he has received many honors, including a Grammy for his remix of the song All Me by John Legend.
He has been listed in DJMag's Top 100 DJs for almost every year. Known musicians like Post Malone, Diplo, Three Six Mafia, and Nelly Furtado are among the ones he has worked with.
Although Tiesto has used a staggering array of musical instruments throughout his career, nothing is known about his most current DJ software usage.
Tiesto has been spotted working with DAWs like FL Studio, Steinberg Cubase, Ableton Live, and Apple Logic Pro.
The FL Studio Software from Image Line is available for purchase on Amazon.
What program ought you to employ?
There is no such thing as a "DJ card" or "professional" standard; we all have our options.
What matters is that you can perform at a high level of competency (don't redline, understand how a booth works, show up on time, honor your contracts, etc.), that you can flexibly work on any type of equipment, and that you can move a crowd when it needs to be moved.
Instead of using Traktor, Serato, Rekordbox, etc., if you're thinking of producing music, you might want to learn how to utilize one of the DAWs.
I've performed in venues big and small all around the world as a long-time Traktor user for House, Deep house, Tech house, Afrobeats, Funk, Disco, and general dance floor destruction. When I couldn't utilize my software, I've also tried other programs.
Anyone who believes that a craftsman is only as good as his tools is either shallow, insecure, or all of the above. Nobody who matters is concerned as long as you've been professional in your manner and mix selection, and the crowd enjoys it.