Serato Software Feature Suggestions

What features would you like to see in Serato software?

Let's focus on what professional DJs need! (My thesis on Serato DJ...)

TaylorTaylor 9:23 PM - 2 April, 2013
Hi all,

So I've been DJ'ing for 10 years on all kinds of kit from CD players, to Virtual DJ, Ableton and now to Serato. I've also tried my hand and remixing and production so I know how these things should work and how they work on club standard equipment like Pioneer gear, and also how they work within production software.

Serato is working out pretty well on my VCI400 so far, great sound quality, good sounding effects, reliable software, but there are a few things that I think would help to improve it.

People, please add a comment saying which of these you agree with so the dev team know that professional DJs expect things to be a certain way. At the mo I would be worried playing on a large sound system with the vci400 because of these things...

In order of importance to me:


1. On screen channel PFL meters. So, the purpose of the PFL meters is to give a visual indication of what you're cueing up at the moment, and helps you to get the tracks at the same volume level to make your mix nice and smooth.

Maybe if the club is very loud, or if you have crappy headphones, it's hard to accurately hear what you're listening to. In that case, the best way to compare the volume of the playing track with the track you'll play next is using the PFL meters. At the moment the on screen PFL meters can't be used for this purpose because the meter's level is taken after the "auto/saved" gain value, but BEFORE the gain on the controller.

This means that if you have adjusted the hardware gain knob (which you're likely to do because there's no hardware control to adjust the auto/saved gain value) the on-screen PFL meter is not accurate any more, That means you might think you have a track that's about to come into the mix very quietly, so you slam up the fader but actually it's massively loud because the hardware gain control is turned up and you haven't noticed!

So feature suggestion 1 - make the channel PFL meters (both on screen and hardware) read the signal AFTER both gain controls. For me, this is a really big deal, playing songs at the right volume is a fundamental of DJ'ing.


2. This just relates to the VCI400 and how Serato deals with it. And yet more PFL meters! So, basically the "channel level meters" on the vci400 are pretty useless as level meters because all the LEDs are the same colour (no way of knowing if you're clipping the signal!) and not only that, the situation is made even worse because some of the LEDs are always hidden behind the fader cap (so you can't always get a clear view of the level).

Suggestion number 2 then, is to do things just like pretty much every hardware DJ mixer that has ever made in the last 20 years:

When you press the PFL button for a certain channel, the master PFL meter on the centre of the VCI will show the level of that channel (if more than one channel is selected, it would show the sum of the channels selected, showing how loud the signal would be if you put all those channels at maximum volume at the same time). If no channel has its PFL button pressed then the meter shows the master output level, as you would expect it to. Doing it this way would massively reduce the amount of time we would all have to spend looking at the computer screen and give us more time looking at the controller, or even better, looking at the crowd!


3. Make the "Analyse Files" button available even when the controller is plugged in. When you are in "prepare" mode Serato analysis several files at the same time. In performance mode it would make sense to only analyse 1 file at a time (and to pause that analysis when a previously un-analysed track is loaded on a deck) to prevent overloading the computer CPU. Also, to save on screen space, instead of the big 3 stripes you get in "prepare" mode, just a message saying "analysing music: 99%" in the notification bar at the bottom of the screen would be fine to remind us that files are being analysed.

Sometimes you just grab some last minute downloads before a gig and we should be able to analyse them without having to load them onto a deck one at a time at the start of the gig.


4. Make smart crates smarter!

Okay, simple to explain, this one, I'd like to see "file location" added to the list of queries so that we access stuff that we might keep in a certain folder on the hard drive. So then I could have a Smart Crate with a rule like "File Location - contains - 'folk music' " and all the tunes in that folder will appear, and if I add a new tune to that folder it will appear in Serato (as long as I've added it first) without having to do it manually.


5. Include a play counter for each track and make it available as a browser column.

Then, when I look in a certain crate I can straight away see the ones that I've played a lot (the floor fillers) or, more interestingly, find the ones that I haven't played very often and dig those out.


6. This is a a VCI400 specific: please make SHIFT+turning the beats multiplier encoder select the effect for that effects unit. At the moment, pressing that button over and over and over again just to change effects really messes up the workflow. Most of the time I just set one effect unit to delay, one to reverb, and leave them at that because I can't be bothered with all the hassle of pressing that button repeatedly.


7. Another VCI400 specific: The button that lets you cycle between the "effects", "record", and "sampler" tabs doesn't bring up the "video" tab if you have it installed. Given that you can only show one tab at a time out of those 4 things, it would be great if the "video" tab was included in the cyle. At the moment, if I'm doing video and and I want to use an effect I can press that button to switch to the effects tab, but then to switch back to the video tab I have to use the mouse. Not cool!


8. It would be a great improvement if the knobs on the effect units could have their position "read" by the software and then the parameters changed to match those values.

At the moment, every time you change effect or re-start the program you have to go along turning every knob so to make the software "jump" to match the position of the hardware controls. It's just a small thing, but it's easy to get a situation where you turn maybe two of the knobs to get a setting that you like, then whilst the effect is "live" you knock the third knob and suddenly the effect changes drastically because it jumps to match the position of the hardware controls.


9. Effects Routings. This one is kind of technical, and long, so get your self a cup of tea, a beer or a soda, and get comfy! First thing to say is that the new Izotope effects sound good. I like them!

But, there are some strange inconsistencies between the individual effects, and the way they have been routed into to software is illogical to anyone who knows a bit about how you would do this with hardware DJ mixer and effects box, a hardware DJ mixer with built in effects, or how you would do this in music production software like Logic, Ableton etc.

So, this only applies to the "send" effects, not to the "insert" effects (for anyone reading that wants to know the difference I just found an article from the "Logic" audio production software manual ).

The filters, flanger and phaser are off the hook, it's the echo/reverb/delay/ping pong delay that I think need a bit of attention, but like I said, not on the sound, just how they are patched in to the software.

After using them a bit I've made some "virtual signal path" diagrams to show how the software seems to put the effects onto the signal. Obviously this isn't how they actually work because it's all done in programming, and I've just made some simplifications to only show one channel because showing all 4 channels and the option for the master would only complicate the diagram and distract from the point about how they work.

------- (You can skip this section if you already know about how and why a DJ might use echo effects.)

Before I get into detail, a bit of background first. From a DJ's perspective echoes and reverbs are really useful tools because when you add more and more reverb to a track it makes it seem more "in the distance" so if you fade out the volume and increase the reverb you get a good "illusion" of the sound disappearing off into the distance. You can also put a little reverb on 2 different sounds to "put them in the same space". It makes it sound like they're in the same "room" so they blend together better in a very subtle way.

I could go on about this stuff for hours, but you get the point, you can create a feeling of space and movement with echoes, so it would kind of ruin that illusion if, say, you pressed a button on the effects unit and the whole echo just stopped dead, no trail off, just "turned off". The atmosphere you were creating has just gone. And that's what happens at the moment:

Say you want to but a bit of reverb on just the hi-hats in a track, you turn effect parameter knob 1 (wet/dry control) just as the high hats are about to sound and, yes, brilliant, you get some reverb on the hi-hats, but then you turn the knob back to the left again before the kick drum arrives and your reverb just stops dead! That reverb trail should still continue even after you've turned the "wet/dry" control back to the left again. Here's a quick video from Allen & Heath demoing how it works on their top of the line XoneDB4 mixer.

In a hardware DJ set-up analogy the "effect parameter 1" knob would control the "send" level, but at the moment it's set up to only control the "return" level. It's much more important to have a "send" level than a return because if you change the volume of the echo using the return level it sounds very unnatural and the effect of space you are trying to create with the echo is gone.


So here are the virtual signal path diagrams showing how it seems to work at the moment (remember I've just made these after listening to which buttons/knobs 'stop' the echo dead and which allow the echo to trail off as it should).

Here's the one for the "delay" effect
Notice how both the "effect on/off" and "effect deck send" buttons affect the "return" signal, which means if you press either of them, the echo turns on immediately (no 1 beat delay whilst the first echo is generated) or turns off immediately in an unnatural way. Also, the wet/dry knob (effect parameter 1) also affects the "return" so you can't create any rhythmic effects by turning the knob in time to the music as they demoed in that Allen & Heath video above.

Here's the one for the "ping pong delay" effect
Notice how on this one they did actually put the "effect on/off" button on the send signal so by hitting that you can punch an echo effect in and out in time to the music creating a good effect, but the "effect parameter 1" knob is still on the "return" signal so you can't change the volume of the echo in a natural sounding way.

And also, whereas on the "delay" effect it's a wet/dry control, on this effect it's simply a "delay level" control, so that means there's no way of only letting through only the"wet" signal - again, another nice effect you can't do because of the way this one is routed.

Here's the one for the "reverb" effect
Just like on the ping pong delay, they have put the "effect on/off" button on the "send" signal so that's good, and they have set the "effect parameter 1" knob to control "wet/dry" rather than just the effect level, so like the "delay" effect, that's also good (although it is also on the "return" signal just like the other effects), but then the strange thing is the volume curve on the wet/dry control is different to the one on "delay" effect! On the delay effect, having the wet/dry knob at 50% (pointing to 12 o'clock) means that both the delay and the original track are at maximum volume which is what you would want (you can always turn down the channel fader as you increase the effect if it's getting a bit too loud). However, on the reverb effect, as you turn the knob from 0% towards 50%, the volume of the "dry" signal starts decreasing slightly! I've tried to show a rough approximation of the curves using red and blue lines above the controls on the diagrams.

Anyway, because of this 'dip' in the wet/dry control curve, that trick of using the effect on/off button to rhythmically tap the reverb in and out is not usable because every time you tap it 'on' the volume dips a little. So yet another creative possibility not available.

Finally, suggestion number 9 then, is to change the effects routings to make them consistent across all the "send" style effects. And yes, I've made a diagram to show a simplified version of roughly how that might work.

Basically, all the "send" effects should have a wet/dry control placed on the "send" signal, not on the return signal. That way, you will never get the unnatural "stop" of an echo and ruin the illusion of space or movement that you're creating. (if you did want to stop it dead, you would just turn the repeat control down to 0%). Also both the "effect on/off" and the "effect deck select" buttons are on the "send" signal, not the return, and the wet/dry control should have both signals at maximum volume when the knob is set to 50%.


I hope this is useful feedback. I know it's a bit of an essay (massive understatement!), but I think if Serato DJ is going to compete with pro equipment it needs to get these technical nuances correct. Making controls consistent across all the "send" effects will make them easier to learn for people just getting started, but getting the sends and returns right will help open up more creative possibilities for the professionals.

I didn't ever write anything like this on the Virtual DJ forums when I was using their software because you don't really expect that program to be in line with pro standards like Pioneer and Allen & Heath, but Serato, I'm hoping that you can deliver the goods!

People, I need your opinions, Serato will only make changes if users get behind an idea.

P.s. This is a personal preference than a fault, but more than 1.5 seconds of reverb would be much better for mixing dance music, at least 8 seconds would be ideal.
Woven Skin 5:11 AM - 9 May, 2013
yes please! Especially #1 and #2. Unable to Use serato DJ until these are addressed.
Flippz 9:20 AM - 9 May, 2013
I encurage your Ideas! Specifically the Points 1 + 8 + 9! By the way, great dissertation about the effect routing :)
MichaelVersteeg 11:14 AM - 9 May, 2013
Wow you've obviously put a lot of time and effort in this. Deserves a reply from Serato ;)
TaylorTaylor 1:32 PM - 9 May, 2013
Thanks, I had a few hours to kill the other week and thought it was worth putting in a bit of time to make the point clear. Glad it's got a few replies and a bit of support anyway. Thanks!
LJ_WOOLSEY 3:36 PM - 9 May, 2013
You obviously did not read the rules of posting


Welcome to the Serato DJ Feature Suggestion Area.

If you think you have an idea for a feature that Serato DJ is missing or could be improved upon please start a discussion in this area.

If your idea gathers sufficient community support, we may consider it for inclusion in Serato DJ.

To ensure you have the best chance of getting your idea across please do the following:
- Make sure each discussion has a clear subject title which identifies the feature.
- Describe clearly and concisely what the missing feature is and how you’d like to see it implemented.
- Explain why you’d like the feature and how you'd use it.
- One suggestion per discussion - please make another discussion for other suggestions.
- If you are a forum veteran, and you see a new user posting suggestions that have already been made, please point them to the relevant post in this area.

Please use the search before creating a new discussion, you may find the idea has already been suggested. Showing your support for the idea in the existing thread is a much better way to have the feature considered.


Great ideas but you know - - One suggestion per discussion - please make another discussion for other suggestions.
TaylorTaylor 5:31 PM - 9 May, 2013
Ooops, didn't remember that one. Think it'd be a waste to split it in to 8 or 9 posts now but I'll make sure I do that next time :-)
LJ_WOOLSEY 6:18 PM - 9 May, 2013
Ya else its just one big mess and harder for people to search and see your suggestions. And you went into some lenth on each one. Some will prob already be made that you could add to for the others make your own for each one that way each one will get support.
MPH 8:35 AM - 10 May, 2013
dude, serato needs to hire you... SERATO, HIRE THIS GUY, HE KNOWS WHAT HE IS TALKING ABOUT... and Taylor, please convince them to add a transposition/key change knob while you are at it... great suggestions, I read almost all of it... love the in depth look you have taken... I hope to god Serato listens to you.
TaylorTaylor 2:24 PM - 10 May, 2013
Yeah, cheers for the support, i'm not sure i've quite shown that I deserve a job with them lol! (But I am quitting my day job to do a computer science masters degree this year, so maybe one day I might apply if a job ever comes up :-D )

Just glad some people are getting behind these little tweaks that I think would make the program even better.
Gtaris 10:51 PM - 12 May, 2013
TaylorTaylor, so this is why we get free upgrades, but where's the beer and girls ?? :)

Nicely done, we can all benefit from this kind of input. Cheers
TaylorTaylor 6:51 PM - 14 May, 2013
Hey man, thanks for the support.

Did you not get your delivery of free beer and girls this month??!! I'd get in touch with Serato about that lol...
DJ GSOUND 10:47 AM - 20 May, 2013
I agree taylor taylor all of what you said plus 64 bit version would be fantastic.
Simon Love Carter 12:31 PM - 20 May, 2013
I couldn't be agree more about what you wrote up here! I record a lot my sets and even if my ears tell me the volume of incoming track is ok it's not looking at the waveform recorded. The knob for fx selection is another thing I asked before and the fx routing thing is so good.
I'll add something more:
- Just 5 colours for coding the track energy in the library.
- two decimal points for bpm
- 6% rand of pitch
- birght blue for played tracks
- bright blue for loop range selection square
- graphic icon to show which sp6 bank are we using
Deejae Smooth 5:07 PM - 20 May, 2013
Number 5 is one of those that should have been in there from day one...
TaylorTaylor 8:31 PM - 20 May, 2013
@Simon, funny you say that, I had exactly that problem when I was recording a mix a while ago! I had a track in a different style and the waveform of the recording showed it was massively louder than the rest of the mix - very annoying!

Thanks for the comments both of you, I hope this thread gets enough momentum so that it gets passed through to the development team :)
MPH 8:33 PM - 20 May, 2013
yes, please add number 5 omg that would be so helpful!
Simon Love Carter 2:48 AM - 21 May, 2013
probably they should change level meter from peak to rms.... Don't know but with my DJM-600 800 900 and 2000 I never had this kind of issue!
TRIBALTECHNO 7:34 AM - 21 May, 2013
4. Make smart crates smarter!

Okay, simple to explain, this one, I'd like to see "file location" added to the list of queries so that we access stuff that we might keep in a certain folder on the hard drive. So then I could have a Smart Crate with a rule like "File Location - contains - 'folk music' " and all the tunes in that folder will appear, and if I add a new tune to that folder it will appear in Serato (as long as I've added it first) without having to do it manually.

5. Include a play counter for each track and make it available as a browser column.

Then, when I look in a certain crate I can straight away see the ones that I've played a lot (the floor fillers) or, more interestingly, find the ones that I haven't played very often and dig those out.

id love to see this in serato, im a traktor user for about 6 years now and these are one of my two favorite things that i use in traktor scratch, especially the play counter, ive been wanting to buy an sl2 to try out serato, if these comes out in the latest update im switching to serato =)
LJ_WOOLSEY 7:56 AM - 21 May, 2013
Number 5 has been requested for about 8years now lol. Madness they can't do this!!!
TaylorTaylor 10:14 PM - 1 July, 2013
Thanks for all the support with these suggestions, I'm not sure this thread has really made enough of an impact to get passed on to the development team, but thank you to everyone that's shown support anyway :-)

Any more support, comments or ones that are most important to you please keep adding messages!
jprime 4:21 PM - 2 July, 2013
Timecode integration / SSL merge

This thread feels like a microcosm of the entire forum, lol.
deejdave 11:36 PM - 2 July, 2013
^^^^^ that's exactly what I thought the first time I read it.
BOOGIEFROMCUR 8:58 PM - 15 July, 2013
Please SERATO give this guy a job...
Simon Love Carter 11:53 PM - 15 July, 2013
we are in july and no upgrades since the ns7 integration!!! come on guys!! Give us something big for the summer season!!! We wanna rock out there!
LJ_WOOLSEY 8:19 AM - 16 July, 2013
1.2.1 is out now with two more controllers supported, bug fixes and Serato Remote iPad app.
Baird 10:12 PM - 18 July, 2013
Nice Discussion, you made a very sharp point. Cheers
You said you did some music production, what about the Bridge for Serato D.J?. I can't stop stressing that point for up coming D.J's and producers. I think Serato got one if the best Forum in the game, with points like this one makes us better in what we do.
Thanks Serato