This Serato video tutorial explains how to use practice mode, and showcases some vital keyboard controls.
Serato's new 2018 release, Serato DJ, includes Practice Mode that enables DJs to practice their mixing with little else but their laptop and a set of headphones. This wasn't previously available with Serato, and it lowered the entry level for espiring DJs to give the DJ software a try, before having to invest heavily in hardware.
DVS stands for Digital Vinyl System, and it first surfaced back in 2001 with a package called Final Scratch. It's a techology that allows DJs to use classic DJ tools such as turntables or CD decks to play music from their laptop (instead of playing vinyl records or CDs).
How does it work?
It works with specific vinyl records and CDs that don't hold any music, but instead give off audio signals to tell the DVS DJ software where on the record/CD the deck is playing at any time. This enables the computer to play the audio file from it's memory at the exact point in the track that the deck is playing the record or CD.
DJ software has developed into such a sophisticated solution that it is changing the way we all look at DJing. When I first started mixing in the 90's, I used 1210s; these were fun, but also a lot of work. There was a constant need to press and push records to maintain the near perfect alignment of both tracks for smooth mixes. You could get it so that the track you were bringing in needed a minimal amount of manipulation during the actual mixing process, but that would take time and effort. The result of this way of mixing is, of course, the development of a finely tuned ear for lining up tunes, but the down side was the limited available time to think about the actual performance in the moment.