Pro Tips: Beatgrids in Serato DJ

One difference you might notice if coming over from Scratch Live to Serato DJ are the little numbered grids on the waveform. These are Beatgrids! They were first introduced in Serato ITCH as a tool for using Sync with 4 decks and also as part of The Bridge, where they were integral to syncing your Ableton Live set to Scratch Live.

If you aren't using Smart Sync or are using Simple Sync and haven't checked the "snap to beatgrid" option in the setup screen, you will not see them.

These lines indicate where the the beats lie.

When pressing the Sync button in the software or on your hardware and syncing with another track, these lines will snap together to sync precisely.

If your Beatgrids aren't correct, your mixes will be out. In this article i'll explain how to set them properly and easily :)

Setting Beatgrids

When adding new files to Serato DJ, there is an option to set beat grids right next to the "set auto tempo" setting in the offline player. When you analyse your files with this option enabled, it will set Beatgrids for your tracks.

Although this is a handy and quick way to get accurate Beatgrids on all your tracks(new an old) its not always perfect and adjusting Beatgrids manually can be necessary. 

You can edit Beatgrids in the Offline Player, or while you have your hardware connected. You will have to click on the "Edit Grid" button to activate the editing panel or by pressing ALT + Spacebar (press twice to adjust for the right hand Virtual Deck's track).

You will now be able to edit Beatgrids using this panel.

Setting the Downbeat:

Often if a song doesn't start on the very first beat or "downbeat", the software will start the Beatgrid at the first major sound (or transient). 

This may be a sweep, a snare, a clap etc. It can confuse the software in thinking that the sound is the first beat.

In my experience, I find it best to just clear the grid in this situation by entering the Edit Grid mode and hitting delete on your keyboard.

You can then set the Beatgrid on the first beat of the track (like you would do when setting a Cue Point)

(Hot keys are Alt + X or Alt + Mouse Click on the first Beat)

For songs written to a grid, the Beatgrid will be correct throughout.

Some music, especially with live drums or no quantisation, tempo changes within the music, no tempo (Sun Ra), will give the software a hard time though and some manual editing might be needed. This takes a bit more attention.

Using the set button, you can set markers to any new major transient. This allows the Beatgrid to follow the track’s change in tempo.

Tracks with Beat Warp Markers are able to be be perfectly Synced to tracks with no tempo changes without the beats dropping out of time. Or if you choose to not have Sync engaged it will tell the FX if applied, what beats to follow.

You can see in these pics that the tempo changes from 128 to 120 after the set (Red) beat grid marker has past the playhead,

Before playhead

After playhead

As the track slows down in tempo the beat grid will have to be set at every change. Set the beat grid markers as often as needed until the track stabilizes or ends (Whichever comes first ;)

Let us know if you run into any problems or have any questions. We're happy to help you out!

Comments (44)

wumpscut 2:43 AM - 18 December, 2013
Does that mean I have to re-analyze my whole library when going from scratch live to DJ?
Dennis Mayuga 3:12 AM - 18 December, 2013
do i have to put a range if I want 78-135 or just select none?
DJ Jimmy C 9:02 AM - 19 December, 2013
You dont have to re-analyze you library. just change the ones you want.

You can set the range to what ever you want. If you select none the software will give you all ranges of you track no matter how fast or slow they are. The range keeps your tracks between those BPM's
Dennis Mayuga 9:07 AM - 19 December, 2013
Thanks for the info!!!
DJ Angel Suave Ortiz 4:56 AM - 23 December, 2013
Beatgrids and smart crates are probably the most under used features by most dj's I know. Beat grids give me accurate cue points and Bpm's. Smart crates for each genre are big time savers once you have them setup.
Matt P 7:20 PM - 29 December, 2013
Thanks DJ Jimmy C, you are right on :)

Quote:
You dont have to re-analyze you library. just change the ones you want.

You can set the range to what ever you want. If you select none the software will give you all ranges of you track no matter how fast or slow they are. The range keeps your tracks between those BPM's
DJ Marv the Maverick 8:45 PM - 1 January, 2014
Can i set beatgrids for transition tracks? Like a track that has a 128bpm to 70bpm change?
DJ Angel Suave Ortiz 10:04 PM - 1 January, 2014
Quote:
Can i set beatgrids for transition tracks? Like a track that has a 128bpm to 70bpm change?

Yes you can. You have to set markers across the entire track manually where the tempo changes.
DJ Marv the Maverick 1:44 PM - 2 January, 2014
Quote:

Yes you can. You have to set markers across the entire track manually where the tempo changes.


How can this be done?

eg song changes to 70bpm halfway through the track till the end.

Serato detects it as 128bpm which is the first part of the track and it is gridded as such.

Do I put a marker on the first beat when it changes to 70bpm and every subsequent beat?
deepdjdanny 3:41 PM - 8 January, 2014
yep. every beat.
DJ Marv the Maverick 7:40 PM - 11 January, 2014
Well that's too much hassle. Will just match by ear in such scenarios.
Thanks
Matt P 9:32 PM - 16 January, 2014
Hi DJ Marv the Maverick,

You can also set a warp marker then "adjust" the grid from that point on too if it stays at 70bpm afterward
DJ EXODUZ 4:36 PM - 17 January, 2014
Please someone should answer Matt p? I really need it too
intoxicated sound 3:14 AM - 8 April, 2014
using a sl3 do u have to use a controller to see beatgrid
DjalexDumitru 5:27 AM - 8 April, 2014
It will be nice to analyze the tracks with the softwear online.. It s hard for somwe dj s that are diing something else than club mixing. And maybe this is why others prefer traktor or vdj. Not all the djs are doing the mix at home and sometimes I for ex need to play new tracks while the event it s on and i find it dificult to get the bpm of the track.. For that it will be nice to analyze it with the hardwer online.. I just bought a ns7ii and the first event was a mess.. I just found a traktor mapping for it.. But the functions are not all active.. Still i m using the traktor for my events.. Serato is a nice softwear but have this deficit.. Please have a think for this option on the future it will get a lot s a new users after this feature.. Thx
Chris Silver 10:37 AM - 8 April, 2014
Quote:
Beatgrids and smart crates are probably the most under used features by most dj's I know. Beat grids give me accurate cue points and Bpm's. Smart crates for each genre are big time savers once you have them setup.


I agree, you can even use your own words in the comment section of a song (e.g. "afterparty" "primetime" etc.) and create smartcrates for those words to fidn the right tracks faster especially for longer sets

Quote:
using a sl3 do u have to use a controller to see beatgrid

No, I am using the SL4 with SDJ now and I am fine :)

Quote:
It will be nice to analyze the tracks with the softwear online.. It s hard for somwe dj s that are diing something else than club mixing. And maybe this is why others prefer traktor or vdj. Not all the djs are doing the mix at home and sometimes I for ex need to play new tracks while the event it s on and i find it dificult to get the bpm of the track.. For that it will be nice to analyze it with the hardwer online.. I just bought a ns7ii and the first event was a mess.. I just found a traktor mapping for it.. But the functions are not all active.. Still i m using the traktor for my events.. Serato is a nice softwear but have this deficit.. Please have a think for this option on the future it will get a lot s a new users after this feature.. Thx

serato.com ;) google your question first bro, I found this in like 20 seconds
I am quite sure that's what you mean, if not let me know
dj sartzetakis 6:21 PM - 15 April, 2014
RED markers USE more CPU or RAM...?
if i add a lot of RED markers?
DjalexDumitru 4:38 PM - 22 April, 2014
Quote:
Quote:
Beatgrids and smart crates are probably the most under used features by most dj's I know. Beat grids give me accurate cue points and Bpm's. Smart crates for each genre are big time savers once you have them setup.


I agree, you can even use your own words in the comment section of a song (e.g. "afterparty" "primetime" etc.) and create smartcrates for those words to fidn the right tracks faster especially for longer sets

Quote:
using a sl3 do u have to use a controller to see beatgrid

No, I am using the SL4 with SDJ now and I am fine :)

Quote:
It will be nice to analyze the tracks with the softwear online.. It s hard for somwe dj s that are diing something else than club mixing. And maybe this is why others prefer traktor or vdj. Not all the djs are doing the mix at home and sometimes I for ex need to play new tracks while the event it s on and i find it dificult to get the bpm of the track.. For that it will be nice to analyze it with the hardwer online.. I just bought a ns7ii and the first event was a mess.. I just found a traktor mapping for it.. But the functions are not all active.. Still i m using the traktor for my events.. Serato is a nice softwear but have this deficit.. Please have a think for this option on the future it will get a lot s a new users after this feature.. Thx

serato.com ;) google your question first bro, I found this in like 20 seconds
I am quite sure that's what you mean, if not let me know



google this: Analyze tracks with the hardware connected. Can you analyze the new tracks with the hardare connected. No you can't . If you want to answear please read first.
Aivar 9:29 PM - 4 September, 2014
BPM-analyze algo needs a update.. I would be happy if it can be good as Traktor's or best like MixVibes Cross...
Lexronn 9:50 PM - 8 March, 2015
Check out my youtube video on beat grids, grid out tunes fast and easy!

youtu.be
theory the producer 7:09 PM - 21 April, 2015
I have noticed that when analyzing my crates (and I often have several subscrates upon subcrates) that not all songs are getting a beat grid. Probably 25% I have to set manually. Its not like there beat grid is wrong...it is simply non-existent until I set it.

Any thoughts as to why this is happening?
Lexronn 3:38 AM - 22 April, 2015
Are the songs newer songs or older tunes?
theory the producer 6:05 AM - 22 April, 2015
Mp3's newly downloaded by me. Not sure of the release date of all of them.

Why would the age of a mp3 matter?
Lexronn 2:41 PM - 22 April, 2015
Well some songs I have are old and serato will not grid could you send me a couple of songs you are having problems with? info@djronnproductions.com
DJ EXODUZ 8:45 PM - 23 April, 2015
U have to manually grid, if u can't grid then the track is either locked or the bitrate is somehow not standard like 128 or 320kbs, or check the options to enable beatgrid. Also check if you downloaded or converted from mp4 to mp3. If it doesn't help then ur out of luck
theory the producer 9:27 PM - 23 April, 2015
Yes, I can manually grid them, I am just trying to figure out why Serato does drop a grid in the tracks when it analyzes them... many of them are simple 4/4 house or techno tracks, so I can't think of a reason it doesn't do it automatically.

It can be a pain when a folder with 40 tracks in it has 10 that didn't get a grid and I have to manually go and set on in each.
MADA_NY 8:39 PM - 9 June, 2015
I edited the grid on one track in my library, but now every other track's grid is off-time, almost as if all the other song's grids are now matching the initial track I was editing. How can I correct this and get all songs back to their original grid? I tried re-analyzing one track for an example, but that didn't correct the issue
TeamFerrigno 2:13 AM - 22 July, 2015
OK, so I have figured out how to set the separate beat grid on a transition track using additional Beat Warp Markers and the track plays great, but when I save it, it saves the BPM in the ID3 tag as the "after transition" BPM speed. Any way to change it to the "before transition". When I manually update the tag, it resets my beat grid.
DJ Marv the Maverick 6:49 PM - 24 July, 2015
Write the bpm in the title eg
Don Jazzy - Dorobucci [Transition 90 - 132]

Then a crate for all your transitions
I have two sub crates in my transition crate High to Low and Low to High.
DJ Marv the Maverick 6:50 PM - 24 July, 2015
After beatgriding lock the file so no changes can be made to it.
Thomas S 8:03 PM - 13 August, 2015
Hi,

Something is seriously fucked with Serato DJ that developers need to fix. I spent probably 100 hours on beat griding my songs.. then i wanted to delete all songs in library to re import folders because i need to clean up music i dont play anymore.. BAM.. all 100 hours of work is just gone.. all beat grids ive worked on is removed.. how in hell can this be possible.. im furious!! HELP!
Serato, Moderator
Samuel S 11:30 PM - 19 August, 2015
Hey Thomas, that sounds like it could be related to something unique with your system. Are you able to get in touch with support? We can help out - support.serato.com

Sam.
Thomas S 7:55 AM - 20 August, 2015
Hi Samuel,

Sorry for the harsh mail above i just got so beaten down over here :P
Well i just deleted the whole Serato and re-installed it and then tried to beat grid my songs, place hot cues etc.. now it works like a charm and Serato is writing to my files when selecting a new song. Thanks for you concern anyways, most appreciated =)

But is there some place i can suggest new and simple functionality for serato?


- Thomas
JungleG 10:55 AM - 2 September, 2015
You need to provide the capability to adjust the beatgrid during a performance - not just during preparation mode. Often when you cue in a track you feel minute adjustments need to be made. Ok, then I go off sync and do it manually. However if I could adjust live then I'd do it so the next time I use the track its beatgrid is perfect.
Matt P 12:36 AM - 3 September, 2015
Quote:
You need to provide the capability to adjust the beatgrid during a performance - not just during preparation mode. Often when you cue in a track you feel minute adjustments need to be made. Ok, then I go off sync and do it manually. However if I could adjust live then I'd do it so the next time I use the track its beatgrid is perfect.


You can edit grids in online mode.

You can even edit a grid on a playing track.

However I'd recommend editing before playing it out so you can focus on your mix ;)

MP
irMax SALSA 4:08 AM - 14 February, 2016
Salsa Music scoffs at the Beat Grid. LOL Remapping it tames the beast.
Kakaaus 7:57 PM - 24 April, 2016
There is one thing I'm wondering: are beat grids saved on the mp3 file itself like cue points or are they saved separately and can I use the analyzed files on other softwares (like tractor or Recordbox) while keeping the same beat grid?
irMax SALSA 2:57 AM - 5 June, 2016
Quote:
There is one thing I'm wondering: are beat grids saved on the mp3 file itself like cue points or are they saved separately and can I use the analyzed files on other softwares (like tractor or Recordbox) while keeping the same beat grid?


Not sure about the cross compatibility of BEAT GRIDS into other software. Like you've mentioned I noticed Cue Points are embedded.

I'm going to check that out now.
Lexronn 2:08 AM - 13 June, 2016
Serato saves beatgrid information inside the mp3. Other software can not read the embedded information. Rekord box or traktor can not read the embedded mp3s
Lexronn 6:04 AM - 12 August, 2016
Check out this easy beatgrid tutorial youtu.be
Coxee 11:08 PM - 24 February, 2017
I would be really curious how to warp Cassius 99 from Cassius. I'm sweating blood! Help me please!
Lexronn 11:53 PM - 24 February, 2017
Please give more information maybe I can help?
Coxee 2:49 PM - 25 February, 2017
Just I have tried to fix the beats. Serato by itself it shows 127 bpm. I have tried to move the markers but the changes and apparance of new elements doesn't appear at really time of every 5th, 9th 17th 33rd beat. Is just a big mess...
Lexronn 10:44 PM - 25 February, 2017
send me the track i will grid it for you and send it right back info@djronnproductions.com