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DJ.Studio vs Engine DJ: Comparison

DJ.Studio and Engine DJ are two exciting pieces of DJ software that have come to the community's attention. 

But what is the big deal all about?

In this comparison article, you'll find out the specifics about what these DJ apps do, why they are so interesting, and how exactly they are different.

If you are a DJ (professional or aspiring) then this article could be a game changer for your DJing techniques. You'll learn about how DJ.Studio can revolutionize your workflow, and discover the offerings of Engine DJ.

Keep reading to unlock your new secret DJ power!

TL;DR - DJ.Studio vs Engine DJ#

  • DJ.Studio and Engine DJ are two different types of DJ software.

  • Engine DJ OS is a DJ operating system found in many standalone DJ hardware controllers, although it's not a complete DJ solution alone.

  • DJ.Studio is a unique piece of desktop DJ software used for creating mixes on a timeline.

  • Both have their uses and can expand your DJ workflow and efficiency.

Engine DJ - Overview#

engine dj controller

Engine DJ is a relatively new piece of DJ software. A unique thing about the engine software is the reason for its design.

The key thing to understand is that there are two versions of Engine DJ:

  1. Engine DJ Desktop - Software for managing your DJ library on a computer

  2. Engine DJ OS - A DJ operating system that is installed on standalone DJ hardware.

Both of these have different uses. It's worth noting, that on their own - neither one of Engine DJ's versions is enough to create or mix DJ sets. You will need extra hardware or software.

Here is an Egine DJ OS hardware device:

mixstream pro

For example, the Engine DJ Desktop is only used for organizing your library, and doesn't actually have tools for DJ mixing inside - you'll need extra software.

Engine DJ OS has all the software tools you need to mix - although you can only use it in a standalone Engine controller, like the Numark Mixstream Pro or Denon DJ Prime. You can't install it on your computer.

DJ.Studio - Overview#

dj studio carousel

DJ.Studio is a new piece of DJ software that is unique compared to anything on the market.

Unlike traditional DJ software like rekordbox, Traktor, Serato DJ, and Virtual DJ, DJ.Studio isn't designed to be used with a DJ controller or decks. It's used with a keyboard and mouse, on your computer. Typically in your studio (or any other desk...)

This is used for 'Studio DJing' rather than 'Live DJing' which is what the other software is for.

Because of this, DJ.Studio has a bunch of advantages due to its unique, timeline-based workflow.

We'll get into the main features later, but it's worth knowing that DJ.Studio is designed to offer a completely new DJ workflow - that goes hand in hand with traditional methods.

In essence, DJ.Studio can:

  • Import your tracks an analyze their key and BPM. 

  • Create mixes using automixing - for instant beatmatching and harmonic mixing.

  • Edit mixes in incredible detail on a timeline.

  • Export mixes to a range of locations and formats.

  • Mix using streaming services like YouTube, Spotify, and others.

  • Integrate with your existing DJ software and setup.

  • Create music visualization videos.

  • A whole range of other features for creating expressive DJ mixes and seamless playlists.

This is only a shallow taste of what DJ.Studio is capable of... Keep reading to find out more.

DJ.Studio vs Engine DJ: The Main Difference#

dj studio differences

Before looking at the main feature set for these programs, it's worth understanding the difference between their underpinning core principles.

While they are both in the same field of DJ software, in reality, it's quite hard to compare these programs as they don't have much overlap in terms of functionality use-case. In fact, they almost cover two different ends of the spectrum when it comes to tools for DJs and similar creators.

The main difference is the purpose of the design. Sure, they are both designed to create seamless mixes of tracks - but the way they go about achieving the final product is very different.

The core thing to get your head around is that Engine DJ is designed for live DJing (and library management). Its main use is inside a standalone DJ system or controller, so you can mix music on the fly on streamlined DJ gear.

On the flip side, DJ.Studio is used for producing mixes 'in the studio' - although it doesn't strictly need to be in a studio, it could be your bedroom, living room, or even a cafe or train. Anywhere where you can use a laptop can become your DJing headquarters.

This difference will become more evident as we go through the comparison and review of these apps.

DJ.Studio vs Engine DJ: Detailed Comparison#

Let's get to the main comparison! The following sections compare the performance and functionality of Engine DJ and DJ.Studio


The first thing to compare is the workflow of these two DJ apps.

Engine DJ Workflow

engine dj workflow

Engine DJ's workflow is similar to most traditional live DJ software, although it does have some variations.

The main thing to note is that there are two versions of Engine DJ, with different uses. The Engine DJ desktop software (aka computer mode) isn't used for mixing, but instead, it organizes your music library. This makes it a useful tool for DJs who want to plan out their DJ sets, tidy up their catalog, and add hot cues to tracks.

engine dj desktop

Unlike other DJ software, the Engine DJ PC software isn't designed to be controlled by external devices and instead syncs your library to the standalone DJ systems fitted with Engine DJ OS.

After you create your music libraries, you can upload them to your Engine OS device, like a Denon Engine Prime or a Mixstream Pro.

dj denon prime go

When you start using the hardware, it basically has the same workflow as most other DJ setups like CDJs and controllers, with the main difference being that it's all fitted in a self-contained unit.

The workflow on an Engine DJ device is as follows.

  1. First, you upload music to the Engine DJ device. You can use USB sticks and other memory devices to import tunes to the controller. Some high-end Engine devices like the Mixstream Pro let you connect to the internet and streaming services like Beatport or Amazon Music to stream your source audio tracks.

  2. Just like most live DJing systems, the first thing you need to do is pick a starting track and then play it.

  3. Then you choose the second track that you want to play and prepare to mix it with the first. So usually you load it up and find the right cue point where you want to start. Then you beat match the second track to the first track. Beatmatching is a lengthy process to explain, so check out our full guide on beat-matching to learn how. Most Engine DJ devices come with some kind of sync button that lets you automatically sync music together, meaning you don't need to manually beat-match your tracks

  4. Next, you can start the transition. This involves using the crossfader of channel fader to control the volume of the two tracks. You bring up the volume of the second track while you turn down the first. Depending on the Engine controller you're using, you'll have access to a bunch of other effects like filters, reverbs echo loops, and delays which you can use to make your transitions more interesting.

  5. This is the basic process for mixing on Engine OS setup - you simply repeat the above steps with each track, just like traditional live DJing.

  6. When you want to record your DJ mix, you have a couple of different options depending on the controller and setup you're using. Some, but not all Engine OS DJ gear has built-in recording, simply use the menu to activate the recording function and then you'll mix is recorded to file on memory storage in real time. If you make any mistakes, then you'll have to edit them out in some audio editing software or re-record your mix.

You can even use these controllers to change Philips Hue smart lights for added party fun!

As you can see, DJ offers a slightly different workflow to a traditional DJ setup like CD DJs and controllers, however, it's largely the same. It just offers different ways of connecting music libraries and playing tracks from different sources.

DJ.Studio Workflow

Dj Studio workflow

In comparison to Engine DJ (and other live DJ software), DJ.Studio has a completely different workflow which bridges the gap between DJing and audio editing software.

Rather than working like traditional live DJing software, DJ.Studio is designed to be used with a keyboard and mouse. It's a DAW for DJs!

This design makes it much more efficient for producing finished mixes, although it's not suitable for live situations like playing a party.

The DJ studio workflow is as follows:

  1. After you've created an account, simply open up the DJ.Studio app. You can either use the browser version or the installed app.

  2. Create a new mix project – you can use either YouTube mode or local file mode.

    1. YouTube Mode lets you mix YouTube videos and music together (which can also connect with Spotify playlists). So you can create an entire shareable mix without paying a single penny on downloads.

    2. Local File Mode works with downloaded files on your computer (in a range of common audio formats).

    The workflow for these two types of projects is slightly different, but only in the way that you import files and share your finished mix.

  3. The first thing to do in your project is to select the tracks you want to use. You simply import tracks into your playlist. You can add more tracks to your mix at any time

  4. The next step is to use the automix function. This powerful and unique algorithm analyses, the key, BPM, and energy levels of each track in the playlist and then works out the optimal order based on key compatibility and beat matching. The algorithm scans every potential order for your tracks and works out which is the best based on your preference.

  5. After the auto-mixing is complete, you'll be taken over to the timeline view where you'll see all your tracks laid out in order with automatic transitions placed between each track.

  6. From here, you can fine-tune your mix by adjusting the placements of each track, changing their start and end positions, and adding loops and effects.

  7. You can then use the transition editor to refine your transitions. You can use the quick presets to select from a bunch of popular transition styles like slow cross, fades, instant cuts face swap filters, reverbs, and other effects. Or you can use the manual transition editor to automate all the effects and control parameters, manually by drawing points on a timeline. This lets you create any transition you can imagine.

  8. When you're happy with your mix it's time to record and export. If you use local file mode, you can export your mix to a range of formats, including WAV, MP3, or a video file using DJ.Studio's, built-in music visualizer.

    You can even export your finished mix as an Ableton Live multitrack project, which includes all the automation and editing, so you can just add some final touches and mastering in Ableton Live.

    This recording process is not done in real-time (like when you mix live), and it takes roughly a third of the time length of your mix to record it. So you can do other things while the mix is recording and downloading.

  9. If you use YouTube mode, you can't download mixes because of legal limitations. However, we've created an online player system where your YouTube mixes are hosted and can be shared with anybody – all they need is a copy of the URL link. This also shows the full tracklist of your mix. You can check out one of these demo mixes in the below.

DJ.Studio Demo Mix Player

As you can see this workflow is completely different to anything on the DJ software marketplace.

This makes making mixes much more efficient and less time-consuming and also gives you more creative freedom and how you express yourself for your mixes.

Connectivity - External Software#

dj studio integration

Another important comparison is the connectivity these programs have with different DJ software.

Engine DJ has a decent range of connections in terms of importing, however, it is a standalone operating system, the hardware doesn't have much deep integration with other software like rekordbox or Serato. It's more of a standalone solution.

On the PC music library manager, you can connect and import libraries from other software. It's worth noting that what attractive feature of DJ controllers is that they are often capable of connecting to streaming platforms. However, you will need an Internet connection to use this, which isn't always possible when DJing.

In comparison, DJ.Studio has a huge range of connection options and is integrated with a broad number of DJ apps and other platforms. For example, it can connect with your DJ libraries from rekordbox, Traktor, Serato, Virtual DJ, even Engine, DJ, Apple Music, and others.

It's also integrated with a couple of useful online platforms. For example, you can use your Spotify playlist in YouTube mode to pull all your favorite tunes and turn them into an online mix. We've also got a cool connection with 1001Tracklists where you can use the platform to discover all the tracks used in your DJ's favorite mixes and radio shows, and then remix them yourself.

We are also adding a connection to Beatport in a future DJ.Studio update!

Final Verdict?#

dj studio timeline

In conclusion, these two apps are relatively different, and while they are both used for DJing – they both use contrasting workflows to achieve similar final results.

Currently Engine DJ is useful if you are looking to perform live – however, you will need an Engine DJ device. So, unlike rekordbox, Traktor, and Serato, this highly restricts the hardware available.

In comparison, DJ.Studio is far more efficient for creating DJ sets and finished products.

Overall I would say that DJs should look at using both styles of software for a hybrid workflow. DJ.Studio is the perfect complementary software for live DJing.

However, I would say that as far as live DJing apps go, Engine DJ is very specific in that you need one of the controllers. So if you are a new DJ looking to start out mixing at parties, I would suggest looking at rekordbox or Serato instead.

You can see our comparisons of these software options to DJ.Studio here:

Try out the free version of DJ.Studio, which lets you access the full set of features for free for 14 days.

Don't forget to check out the other digital dj tips on this blog!

Noah Feasey-Kemp
I started DJing when I was 15. Started a record label, residency by a club in Bristol. I’ve played at all the biggest clubs in Bristol (and the small ones) and have entertained thousands of dancers! I love writing about music, DJing, and technology. I've been blogging for DJ.Studio since the start of the project, and am always happy to answer questions and help fellow DJs out!

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