Serato DVS Tricks and Troubleshooting

Getting started with DVS came with a small amount of confusion for me and a few easily solvable issues arose. This post focuses on Serato's DVS however many points are transferable to other software so read on. I will list a few tricks, issues and their fixes here.

Since getting my Akai AMX and it's Serato DVS licence, I have had the opportunities to use DVS in both practice sessions and clubs and so this post takes from my own experience. For those of you unfamiliar with DVS it allows a DJ to use either turntables or CDJs without the need for all the records and CDs.

  • When I started using DVS at the beginning, there was a major issue of the music playing back incredibly slowly. After going through all the settings, I realised there was options for 45rpm and 33rpm. I was on the wrong one, if this is an issue for you when starting off make sure you are using 33rpm as the speed.

  • If you are having trouble with hot cues and loops, chances are you are on Absolute mode. This mode is the most direct relation to traditional vinyl DJing. This means that if you are 2 minutes into the timecode, you will be 2 minutes into the song. The song starts at 0.00 and you can't change that. Since cue points are controlled on the computer, you will need to use Relative mode. This means the song progresses relative to the timecode and at the same rate but is not fixed to the exact time. This means you can cue and loop the track while the timecode progresses under it as normal.

  • CDJ/turntable is irresponsive? If you have the tracks loaded on your software but the CDJ's/turntable's movement is not controlling it, you are most likely on Internal mode. This is where the tracks are only controlled within the software and you will have to select either Relative or Absolute mode to get a response.
  • Having trouble matching BPM before the track starts? This is because you need to actually play the track so the computer can read the timecode's speed before changing the track. Adjusting the pitch faders when the track isn't playing is unable to prompt a response in the software.
  • Thru mode sounds bad? Check that you have selected the correct input type (Line/Phono) and your gains are set correct without clipping. For those who don't know, Thru mode allows an actual record or CD to play through a DVS system and be mixed internally in the software. This is good if you have music on CDs or record that isn't in your software but you still want to mainly use DVS.
  • Computer latency may be caused by a number of things, try fixing your latency settings on the setup. Alternatively, it could be because you are using large files such as WAV files. These require much more computing power than smaller files so try using high bitrate MP3s instead.
  • Having really bad sound/computer struggling to hear the timecode? It may be because the turntable's stylus is picking up the noise from the club. You need to calibrate it so it filters out background noise from the timecode here is a brilliant tutorial on how to do this.