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How to calibrate Serato DJ

Calibrating Serato DJ

Since DVS in Serato DJ is controlled by an analogue signal, there is no guarantee of what state that signal will be in by the time the software gets to interpret it. Therefore, Serato DJ needs to be able to handle a wide range of signals, and be configurable to use them optimally. Calibrating is just configuring the software to your situation. Calibration is equally important for both vinyl and CD users of Serato DJ.

Calibration is NOT required when only using a controller to control Serato DJ. Calibration is only required for devices with DVS control that are using external control sources (eg: turntables).

There are two parts to the Serato DJ Control Vinyl: The directional tone, and the NoiseMap™. Listening to the control vinyl, the directional tone is the 1 kHz tone. The NoiseMap™ sounds like random noise over the top of the tone. The directional tone provides the current speed and direction of the record, while the NoiseMap™ tells the software precisely where on the record the needle is currently. 

With your DVS compatible hardware connected, open the Setup screen, by clicking the Screen_Shot_2018-06-06_at_2.38.29_PM.png in the top right-hand corner of Serato DJ Pro.

Noise Sensitivity

Here you can adjust the noise threshold. A threshold is a lower limit, below which a process will not occur. In the case of Serato DJ, the noise threshold is the limit below which the input signal will not be interpreted as control signal; in other words if it’s below the threshold, it is considered noise and ignored.

This setting is necessary because a stylus is very sensitive, and will inevitably pick up noise from the environment as well as the signal on the record, especially in the noisy environment of a live show.

Make sure the needle is on the record and the record is stopped when you click the estimate button. If the slider goes hard right and stays there, you most likely have an earthing problem with your turntables/mixer. If you cannot eliminate this problem, use relative mode over absolute mode for the time being and get your signal path tested professionally.

How To Calibrate Serato DJ

With music playing in the background through your system or booth output, put your needle on the record with the turntable stopped. If you are using CD players, the same rules apply. Have the CD deck paused or stopped while calibrating. Click and hold the estimate button until the slider stops moving. Moving the Noise Sensitivity slider to the left will make Serato DJ more sensitive to slow record movement, but also more sensitive to background noise.

Repeat the process for each deck

Things to remember:
• Your needle must be on the record.
• Your turntable (or CD player) must be stationary.
• The background music playing must be at a similar level to which you will play your set at.

You should calibrate Serato DJ every time you play.

TIP: If the slider jumps to the far right, then you have a problem with noise in your turntables/ CD players/mixer. Check all your connections and make sure your equipment is well earthed. In some situations you will not be able to improve the signal quality, and you will have to play on regardless. In this situation, stick to rel mode.

The Scopes

The scopes on the setup screen in Serato DJ display the input signal as a phase diagram. The key factors to look at on the scope display are crisp clean lines, round shape, and the tracking percentage in the lower right corner.

Start both turntables or CD players. You will see green rings appear in the scope view, as shown above.

For optimal performance the inner ring should be as close to circular as possible. Use the scope zoom slider to zoom in or out as necessary. Use the scope L/R balance and P/A balance controls to adjust the shape of the inner ring. The number in the top left corner of the scope view gives the current absolute position within the control record or CD. The number in the top right corner is the current speed in RPM. In the bottom left is the current threshold setting, and the number in the bottom right shows the percentage of readable signal – this number should be close to 85% when your system is calibrated properly.

For further information, please read this article on Diagnosing the Scope Views

Calibration Troubleshooting

After calibration, the number in the upper right corner of the scope view should say 0.0 while the needle is on the record and the turntable is stopped.

If that number is fluctuating then manually move the estimate slider to the right until that number is stable at 0.0. If you’ve moved the slider all the way to -24 and its still fluctuating then you have a grounding or interference problem somewhere in the chain.

If so, the first thing to check is that the grounding wire coming from your turntable is connected to your mixer’s grounding posts.

Next, make sure that the hardware isn’t sitting next to a power source such as a power strip or power box and that the RCA cables connected to the hardware aren’t laying across other power conducting cables.

If you are still experiencing issues, you might have to adjust the placement of your setup. For example, make sure bass bins aren’t directly under the turntables.

TIP: If your turntables have been calibrated properly, but you are still experiencing slight BPM flutter you can now use Anti-Drift to remove this "natural" fluctuation. Anti-Drift is available in Serato DJ 1.9.6 and above - it's deactivated by default so you will need to enable Anti-Drift from the CD/Vinyl preferences in your SETUP window.