Beatmatching is one of the most important DJ techniques and is a foundational skill that all DJs need to learn.
Back in the day, before digital technology, DJs would have to manually beat match their mixes by training their ears and using the pitch slider. Now, the job is a lot easier, as most DJ software and controllers have some kind of automatic beat-matching feature.
That said, there is a lot of DJ software out there, and some of them are better at beat matching than others. This guide will share the best beat-matching software, and give you some extra beat-matching related tips.
TL;DR - Best Beatmatching DJ Apps#
Beatmatching is one of the key techniques used to mix music.
It's easier for DJs to use beatmatching software rather than do it manually.
Most DJ software has some kind of beatmatching technique, but they aren't all perfect.
DJ.Studio offers a unique method for mixing and uses AI to beatmatch your tracks.
What is Beat Matching? Why is it Important for DJs?#
Before looking into the apps, it's worth having a brief refresher on the concept of beatmatching, followed by an explanation of how you perform this technique.
The concept of beat matching revolves around synchronizing two songs - so they play in time (at the same BPM), and in sync (with the beats in the same place).
There are two elements to beat matching - BPM matching, and phrase matching.
BPM matching simply refers to getting two songs to play at the same BPM - beats per minute. This is easy enough, as you simply need to work out the BPM difference and adjust one of the tracks until it matches the other.
Phrase matching is a little more complicated to understand, but is still relatively easy. Most dance music is counted in 4-beat bars - meaning you count '1, 2, 3, 4'. You want to make sure that the two tracks you play land on the same beats at the same time. So the first beat of the first track and second track are playing simultaneously. Rather than beat 1 of track 1 playing at the same time as beat 2, 3, 4 (or off-beat) of track 2.
Why is it important?
The main reason beat matching is important is to make sure that the rhythm and groove of your mixes stay consistent as you mix from track to track. It also means you'll avoid rhythm clashes, where you will hear too many elements playing out of time - which gives your listeners a headache.
If you compare a DJ who beatmatches to one who doesn't it will be obvious to hear which one sounds skilled and which one sounds amateur.
Beatmatching is the foundation of slick transitions and means you can create seamless and flowing mixes for your audience, with no silent pauses, and no clashing beats.
How To Beat Match#
Here is a short explanation of how to beat match - although check out our full guide on the topic for a more detailed tutorial - How To Beat Match
Select two songs you want to mix together.
Work out both of their BPMs - some software has BPM detection which makes this easier. Or you can use a manual BPM counter.
Play the first song at its normal speed.
In your headphones, adjust the speed of the second track until it matches the BPM of the first.
Set a cue point in track 2 at the start of a bar - so when you hit play, the track comes in on beat 1.
Listen to track 1, and count the beats - 1, 2, 3, 4.
When the time is right, press play on track 2 when beat 1 of track 1 hits.
The tracks should now be playing at the same BPM, on the same beat - congratulations.
Alternatively: Just hit the Sync Button ;-) although you should still practice the manual skills!
Or Automix is even better!
You may have to move the track forward or backward a bit to get it in phrase if you messed up the timing, which is easily done with the jog wheel.
With a bit of practice, you will be able to master this technique, and it will become second nature, you won't even need to think about what you are doing!
Note - This is for the live beatmatching method - if you are using decks or a controller. The studio method is slightly easier, and not as time-consuming to learn.
The 5 Best DJ Apps With Beatmatching#
Now, let's have a look at the best beat-matching apps.
DJ.Studio is a standout piece of software on this list because it revolves around a unique workflow process that no other DJ software offers.
While other software is designed for live mixing - DJing in real time, with a live audience, DJ.Studio is designed for studio mixing. This means the tools it offers are suited to crafting mixes at home or in your studio - where you don't need to limit yourself to recording 1:1 via a live performance.
You can think of it as a DAW for DJs - audio editing software designed specifically for creating complete mixes and DJ sets.
Rather than trying to mimic the live setup of decks and mixer, DJ.Studio is closer to audio editing and music production software, although with DJs in mind.
Thanks to its design, you don't need to spend any time beatmatching your tracks, as the automix AI does it all for you. This means you can spend more time on the fun, creative, and expressive elements of DJing, rather than the technical logistics.
The beatmatching system is super simple and requires minimal user input.
Give DJ.Studio a bunch of tracks you want to put together in a mix. It assesses their BPM and key.
Click 'AUTOMIX', and let DJ.Studio's algorithm do some calculations.
DJ.Studio will then automatically arrange your mix on the timeline - making sure that each track is beat matched to the next, by placing automatic BPM automation and aligning the beats.
Make any tweaks to the mix, including adding effects, changing orders, moving the start and end of tracks, and creating slick and expressive transitions.
Export your finished mix! Mixes quickly be exported as WAVs, MP3s, YouTube Videos, Ableton Live Projects, and even as DJ Set files to import into other live DJ software like rekordbox, Traktor, Serato, and more!
You can see how DJ.Studio makes the beat matching process incredibly easy, meaning you don't really need to put any effort in to get perfectly beat-matched tracks.
DJ.Studio doesn't currently have live mixing features, so it's designed to create mixes rather than perform live, however, it integrates perfectly with live mixing software - giving you a modern hybrid studio/live DJing workflow.
This is a huge advantage over users who stick with the old methods, and will massively increase your productivity and skill.
Speaking from personal experience, rekordbox has one of the more accurate beatmatching algorithms compared to Traktor, Serato, and Virtual DJ, although they all basically work the same.
rekordbox features a sync button to let you automatically beat match your songs - which works really well. All you need to do is select which track to use as the sync master, and the other track will be adjusted to match the speed.
To get the phase in sync, you might have to make some slight adjustments, although it's usually pretty accurate.
You can also use rekordbox as music management software, as it has a good way to organize your digital audio files and favorite songs to DJ with. It also connects with a bunch of Pioneer DJ controllers for live performances.
Traktor is another top contender for live beatmatching software. Although, because it uses a fixed beat grid, sometimes it goes out of sync when matching music that isn't quantized to a grid - like older songs and music which was performed live.
You will also need to analyze tracks in advance to get the best performance from the algorithm, as this is how Traktor calculates the track's beat grid. However, if you can beat match by ear, you can just throw new tracks in and mix manually without needing the analysis.
If you're into live remixing, scratching, and effects, Serato is one of the better DJ software options for you. A cool feature of Serato is the DVS mode (Digital Vinyl System), which mimics the tactile feeling and response of vinyl mixing but is augmented with the power and flexibility of digital DJing.
Serato also has pretty decent beatmatching tools, where it uses the transients to create a beat grid, and then syncronises the beats automatically - when you use the auto sync feature.
Virtual DJ is another popular choice that has all the beat-matching features you need to create live mixes - with perfect sync. It can also be inaccurate sometimes and may require a bit of tweaking.
With these DJ software options available, you'll never run out of choices when it comes to beatmatching DJ apps. All live software basically works in the same way. The main difference is between live and studio software like DJ.Studio.
DJ.Studio helps you to beat-match but also makes it easier to understand the concept by breaking down the process and offering a good visual display.
Test it out yourself today with the free 14-day DJ.Studio trial!
FAQs About Beat Matching Apps
- Do DJs use beatmatch?
- Is beat matching hard?
- How do I get better at beat matching?
Beatmatching is an essential skill for any real DJ - Learn how to master this technique now!
Learn all about music tempo for DJ mixing and how to find the BPM of any song using 3 simple methods, including our innovative DJ.Studio software.
Transitions are vital to keep your audience in the groove and let the beats flow naturally. Blending can be hard to master, but this article will explain it.