Now that DJ tools do a lot of the same things, part of what would prompt you to use one is what you see. And what you see is a lot of what a DJ tool offers.

Serato announced earlier this month that it was overhauling its somewhat fragmented offerings and replacing them with one next-generation alternative: Serato DJ. But the one thing we couldn’t do was see it. We could see the Pioneer hardware designed to go with it, but not the new UI.

That change today, as Serato releases a slew of images of the software, which is due at the beginning of November.

This isn’t just a skin-deep overhaul: the new UI reflects what the software is now about. In fact, it looks like a viable challenger for some of the things Native Instruments’ Traktor offers, presented in a more – well, Serato-y way. And one thing it looks like you’ll get is a lot of control over what you see, with any combination of decks, the library, and effects.

Among your display options:

  • Virtual decks with track information
  • Cue points and loops, in combination, with looping controls
  • Effects controls, for the new iZotope effects
  • Improved beatgrid editing
  • SP-6 sample player
  • Reworked layout, with extended library and deck views (best illustrated by the screens here)

It all looks quite lovely. In fact, with Serato looking so nice, my one and only plea is that it seems Serato desperately needs to offer a solution for people who want to use the software without plugging in the controller hardware. There are countless times I’ve watched DJs prep a set sitting on an airplane or train (in fact, every time I travel now, it seems I spot Ableton or Traktor somewhere), to say nothing of the times you have to squeeze into a small booth. With the software getting a lovely refresh like this, it seems the time is near to unlock the software. (I know, piracy, etc., but… that doesn’t change the need.)

It also occurs to me how nice it’d be to have some of these cue points and waveform views in Ableton Live – not only for doing Live DJ sets, but because having that kind of control and visual feedback is generally useful when playing with sound.

Serato users will see this early next year, unless they spring for the new Pioneer hardware next month. I hope we’ll have a closer look at the new hardware/software combination soon; stay tuned.

Serato DJ with some of those new effects at the ready.

If you want to focus on the library, you can.

You can even run in four-deck mode with waveforms and decks collapsed, and the library still in focus.

The SP-6 module also looks compelling.

Try two decks with vertical waveforms instead of horizontal, if you so choose.

More four-deck action.

Scratch That, ITCH: Serato DJ the Future of Serato, First Integrated Hardware from Pioneer [Gallery]