How to Beat Match With Serato

Written by ryan cockerham
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Serato Audio Research has developed a number of professional audio programs designed for DJs and electronic music artists. In the rapidly evolving field of audio technology, many companies are developing software packages that eliminate the need for hardware audio controllers. Programs such as Scratch Live allow performers to synchronise the tempos of multiple tracks and create seamless music mixes for live performance. By following a few simple steps, you can quickly master the techniques required for precision beat matching.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Headphones
  • Computer
  • Serato Scratch Live

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  1. 1

    Install and open Scratch Live. Upon reaching the main interface, create a music crate for each of your virtual decks. This can be accomplished by pressing the button on the bottom left hand corner of the screen labelled with an orange crate and a plus symbol. Place the songs you will be using for your performance into the crates. Successive tracks should be placed in opposite bins to allow for mixing and beat matching.

  2. 2

    Load your first track into the virtual deck by dragging it onto the deck and releasing the mouse when you see a green plus symbol. Vital information will be displayed about your track, including the beats per minute. An image of the wave form will appear next to the deck. This wave form can be manipulated using your mouse. This technique will become very useful when you are aligning beats in successive tracks for beat matching.

  3. 3

    Begin playing your first track by pressing the 'play' button on the deck. Load your second track into the other deck by dragging it out of the second bin you have created and dropping it into the deck. In order to create a seamless transition between your tracks, the tempo of the second track will need to closely match the tempo of the first track. If the tempo needs to be adjusted, use the slider to the right of the virtual record platter to adjust the tempo. A new image of the second tracks waveform should appear next to the second deck.

  4. 4

    Press the 'cue' button to send the audio of the second track through your headphones. Drag the record platter or waveform forward or backward in time to match the beat pattern in the first track. This beat matching technique will allow you to start the second track in time with the first. After aligning the beats, press play on the second deck to check your alignment. If adjustments need to made, continue to fine tune the position of the second track. When you are ready to output the second track to your speakers, disable headphone cueing and slowly raise the volume on the second track until you have created your desired mix.

Tips and warnings

  • Scratch Live includes a wide variety of audio effects and processes that can be used to add variety and flare to your mix. Experiment with these tools to personalise your mix and impart a unique musical signature on your performances.
  • Check the minimum system requirements for Scratch Live before you begin using the program. If your computer barely meets these system specifications, the chance of computer glitches and system crashes is increased. Make a habit of checking for updates and patches on the Serato website to improve your program's performance.

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