Serato DJ, the downfall of Rane.

In 2008 I had been DJing for a little over a year, and as my tastes developed I found that most of the music I wanted to play was not available on vinyl, at the time it seemed clear that I should buy a Serato SL1 and make the move to Digital DJing.  At first I loved Serato, it worked well, I rarely experienced crashes, glitches in the music, or any of the other problems many of my contemporaries were running into with Traktor.  I loved it so much that I printed out stickers to put on my keyboard to help me learn the keyboard commands, downloaded Rapid Evolution(then version 2.) and learned as much as I could about the software, and maximize my creative options as a DJ with it, including the internal mode that allowed me to jam out door events when other DJ’s were unable to keep their records from blowing away in the wind.

The love affair first started to get a bit Rocky in early 2010, at the time I was working a sound crew called “Team Infinity” (now called “Source One“) out of the SF Bay, and for the first time I was able to compare the sound of the original CD’s I ripped my music from with the MP3’s on my computer that I used to DJ on the Funktion-One, and the difference in sound was clear.  Then a Windows user I made the natural choice to switch to .wav files, and that’s where the problems began.

DJing with .wav files is a nightmare.  There is no tagging feature built into the file format, and so keeping one’s music collection well organized with all the key BPM and comments is a burden.  In the past with MP3’s I was able to rip my tracks from the CD’s I bought, or downloads from Beatport and scan them with RE2 and add them to my Serato crate, all pertinent info would populate itself.  With .wav’s the process of adding new music to my DJ collection was extremely time consuming, as I had transfer the information from one program to another file by file by hand, and what was once a process of an hour or so now took up a whole day.  And the effect on my then 40gb hard drive, crate loading times, etc was even worse.  I wanted to switch to .flac format, but at the time Serato didn’t support it.  I would have switched to CDJ’s except for they had the same problem, plus I didn’t have the grand needed to pony up for a pair of CDJ’s to practice on.  Eventually I gave up, sold my SL1, and went on a long term DJ hiatus.

In 2012, while living in India I found that the novelty of an american DJ was something of a advantage and rediscovered my love for the art form. I reclaimed my old DJ name (mor) and vowed to stay in the game when I got back to the States in September of that year.  Back at home I almost bought Traktor, until I realized that the latest Scratch Live update finally gave DJ’s the ability to use flac files.  I promptly went to Guitar Center and ponied up the $500 or so it cost for an SL2 box and my digital love and I were finally reunited!!!!

Everything was going great until this summer, when in August of 2014 I decided that I needed a small an inexpensive controller to take play with when dragging out several thousand dollars of equipment($700 mixer, $500 serato box which I had already had to replaced once due to theft, $1500 laptop, $800 turntables) just wasn’t warranted.  So I went to Guitar Center once more and relinquished yet another $300 for what I was thinking of as a toy, the Pioneer DDJ-SB.

Since I end up doubling as the soundman for most of my gigs(and have to bring my mixer and other gear anyways) I didn’t really have a chance to use it, and a month went by…  By the time I downloaded Serato DJ off the internet and realized that using this controller it only worked for 14 days, after which I would then have to pay another $129 for the software and taking this increasingly expensive “toy” back was no longer an option. So I stuck it in the closet.  What was even more frustrating was to realize that Serato DJ worked just fine with my SL2 box, but that still had no affect on my ability to use the not so cheap controller.

A couple weeks ago I realized that Serato DJ, and Serato DJ Intro are not the same thing.  The entire time I had been assuming that Serato DJ Intro was the same as the trial version of Serato DJ.  It’s not.  It’s like “Serato DJ Light.”  So now I have 3 Serato versions on my computer, Scratch Live(which has always been free for download) Serato DJ, and Serato DJ intro.  Fine what ever. Fuck it, toy software for a toy controller who cares right?  It would all be alright except for one thing…

Today for the first time since installing this “SDJ Light” toy software I decided to fire it up for friends and family at Xmas, the exact sort of setting I bought this piece of junk controller for and guess what..?  Serato DJ Intro does not support .flac files.  Wait, WHAT?!?!?!?!?!

SERATO YOU GREEDY FUCKING WHORE!!!!!  I THOUGHT WE WORKED PAST THIS!!!!  Over the years I’ve been so faithful, sang your praises, and have even convinced at least 3 other DJ’s who were planning to buy Traktor to go with you instead and this is how you show your thanks?  Not only did you decide to water down your software with this toy version bullshit, but even the toy is below par with other toys available on the market and doesn’t include support for an industry standard file format?!?!?!?

This behavior is abhorrent.  Intolerable even!  Serato can even send me an activation code for Serato DJ(which they damn well should considering how much money I’ve spent on their products over the past 6 years) but they won’t regain my respect and recommendation as a DJ unless they promise to address this disgusting oversight.

The worst part about it all is that except for this long standing .flac bullshit(which makes absolutely no sense, .flac is a open source format, it’s not like Serato has to pay extra licensing fees to support the format) I have for the most part been very happy with Serato.  I’ve never experienced a system crash(since switching to mac from windows at least) and I’ve even seen my whole computer lock up due to inadequate system resources, and yet still the audio was flowing out both channels flawlessly…  Claims that can’t be made by users of Traktor or Ableton(when your system locks up, those bitches crash.)  But this whole .flac business insults my integrity.  How can I feel comfortable promoting this brand when it’s practices disgust me?  I hope they get their shit together over at Rane because I’d hate to have to peel all the Rane and Serato stickers off all of my gear and give up on a product I love.

/end rant.