When Serato SL3 first came out, many djs felt that the upgrade to the SL3 from the Serato SL1 was not worth it. Ironically, a few months later, most of them sold their SL1s on craigslist and upgraded to Serato SL3.
Several months down the line here is a guide for upgrading to the Serato SL3 (or not).
Upgrading to Serato SL3 isn’t Worth it if:
-You think its going to save your DJing career. If you couldn’t DJ with the Serato SL1, the Serato SL3 won’t save you, buddy. Time to get back to practice!
-You 2-channel mixer has no aux-in.
You Should Upgrade to Serato SL3 if
-You want to record your live DJ sets. Many DJs have fallen in love with ability to record directly into Serato without any additional software or computing resources. Frankly, its a lot the lazy DJs way to record sets. It takes no time to setup and you don’t have to worry that another resource hogging audio program is going to screw up your Serato Scratch Live playback.
One particularly popular use of this is to record rapping, vocals or speeches during an event and use those samples live as they occur or later on in the night for an unexpected effect. With the Serato SL3, the DJ just hits “Record” and its on. When they wish to stop recording, they name the file and unclick the “record” button to store the file on their hard drive. And with the Serato SL3 you can now do this in 24-bit quality!
-Your mixer has more than 2 channels or an auxiliary input. While Serato SL1 made the DJ connect 4 cables (2 for each channel) for a standard 2 turntable/CDJ setup, the Serato SL3 only requires 2 cables (1 for each channel). In Serato SL1, switching from “Through” mode to “Serato” required the flip of a Line/Phono switch on the mixer. With the Serato SL3, you can do this within the Serato SL3 interface. This means you can connect 2 CDJs and 2 turntables to your 2 channel mixer, even while your Serato SL3 box is plugged in! That’s effectively 6 possible input sources on a 2 channel mixer! A 3rd channel on your mixer allows you to do 3-deck mixing in Serato Scratch v2.0. Otherwise, assign the Serato internal sampler to the 3rd channel and prepare to blow away the crowd!
Don’t have 3 turntables/CDJs? No problem. Three deck mixing comes in handing when coupled with the “Instant Doubles” feature. By connecting the Serato SL3 auxiliary output to the auxiliary input or your mixer (or 3rd channel). By clicking and dragging your playing track to the virtual deck, you create a phasing effect just as if you were playing 2 copies of the same record in sync with each other. Turntablists can get really creative here and electronic DJs would certainly appreciate the ability to fade out the turntable channel opening up both turntables for new mixing opportunities.
Most DJs Who Use the Serato SL3 never go back to the Serato SL1.
There is a consensus in the DJing community that Rane Serato have lived up to their reputation as the most reliable DJ equipment company. For anyone that has made an argument in favor of MixVibes or other inferior DVS software on account of having more than 2 virtual decks, Serato Scratch Live now matches and outdoes them at their own game.
If this guide has all kinds of ideas going through your head about the opportunities that 3 deck mixing with Serato SL3 will permit you, get it! Even if 3-deck mixing doesn’t float your boat, realize that Serato SL3 is a substantially better product than the SL1, and while it may be a slightly larger upfront investment, this is something you are going to use for a long time and will pay itself back many times over.