SYNC – the DJ’s big red button

dj sync button

It’s easy for me to gauge public opinion by the comments and retweets that my own published opinion gets. And yesterday’s CDJ-2000nexus post seemed to hit the right note with people regarding Pioneer’s somewhat controversial addition of syncing. It also seems that the way I put across my point about the issue seems to have made a lot of sense to a lot of people. So for those who have zero interest in CDJs, or simply cannot be arsed to wade through a whole story, please allow me to state my own opinion on the subject in isolation. Yep – I’m pressing that big red button one more time.

I preface this with some context. I’m a time-served vinyl DJ of some 3 decades. I started on pause button tapes, migrated to belt drives and a mixer without a crossfader, and honed my craft using gear that would be classed as prehistoric by today’s standards. Indeed, my career has seen me in roles based around automating mindless tasks, so that people can do their job more effectively. I’m exactly the kind of DJ that you might expect to take a particular anti-sync stance. By my career leads me to state this:

Sync is good.

It’s important to realise what sync actually is and does. Music has a BPM, and sync’s job is in its rawest form to match BPMs across 2 tracks. Think of it as MIDI clock – a pulse sent out to connects keyboards, drum machines and sequencers to keep them all in time. Nobody has an issue with that, and that’s all that sync is – a simple button-push to change pitch to keep things in time and nothing more.

Beatmatching is an easily learnable process, and indeed easily automated, and as such cannot be classed as a craft as it requires no human element. It is a task – a process that has to be done. And in the digital age of quantised music, beatmatching is even less of a skill than it ever was.

But let me state this plain and clear – sync is not mixing.

Mixing is the all encompassing true DJ craft, and goes way beyond the chore of locking 2 beats together. This involves listening to thousands of tracks over many years, knowing that music inside out, understanding song structure and BPM. It’s about knowing and reading the crowd, understanding moods and feelings and knowing which track to play next, when to mix it in, for how long and how exactly to achieve the perfect mix with faders, EQs, effects and filters.

None of the above can be automated. You still need hard earned human skills to mix successfully. Sync will not fill a dancefloor – that takes and always will take a skilled DJ, regardless of if they use sync or not. Any 2 tracks in the world can be beatmatched, but mixing them successfully is an entirely different matter.

The level of feeling on this subject is understandable, but I feel it’s misplaced. There have been many landmark moments that have allegedly meant the death of DJing – CDJs, DVS, controllers, iPads, the end of Technics and now sync on CDJs. Funnily enough, DJing is still here and more popular than ever. And when Serato finally add it to Scratch Live, that won’t be the end of DJing either, nor will people put down their headphones in protest. DJing is more than a sync button.

And here’s the thing – nobody is forcing you to use it, nor does its use make anyone better than another DJ. See the section on the real DJ skills for evidence.

None of this is the end of days, but is the dawn of new ones. Sync is nothing more than speed dial, satnav or a pocket calculator. You still need to know the basics, but they just speed stuff up. Just to repeat this one last time – sync is not mixing. And while you’re getting hot under the collar, remember that loops and hots cues can’t be done on a turntable either. So an anti-sync stance if you use everything else in the digital arsenal is quite illogical.

I hope that with Pioneer manning up and finally making sync happen, that we’ll see much less pointless resistance to it. Once people can rationalise automated beatmatching from skilled mixing in their minds, then perhaps we can all get on with what we’re supposed to be doing – mixing great music for our audience. They don’t care if you use sync – they just want to dance.

To recap:

  • Sync is not mixing, but is automated beatmatching
  • Sync is not the death of DJing
  • Sync will not make you into a DJ
  • Sync will not fill a dancefloor
  • Sync will not get you gigs
  • Sync will not get you laid

Having read how I feel, what do you think about sync? I’d truly love to know, even if you hold a diametrically opposed opinion. We’re all about thrashing out these issues in an intelligent and informed way. “Sync sucks because it’s not real DJing” won’t really get you anywhere, but if you genuinely feel strongly for or against it, let’s hear it.

  • I use it. Allows me to get to the juicy stuff quicker. And like you said, it automates a pretty basic task.

  • Guest

    Thanks for your thoughts and so good to see you see things exactly as I do. Indeed syncing might make things easier, I’d say syncing also makes a real dj work harder. I personally don’t use the function that much but it’s handy in some situations. Especially when you are working hard to deliver an


    You need to use the sync in a smart way, I mean for quick drops (urban) it’s a must have, but on woobly funky disco tracks ripped with wwwaayyyy too much groove, it won’t do anything for you and this is where your DJ riding abilities will be judged, not on pressing sync to blend Guetta tunes with B.E.P.

    I use the sync button, I don’t care what people think, I can beatmatch vinyl, cd, midi, mouse, keyboard, tapes with a screw drivers : what ever.

    I also know how to floor a throttle pedal but I like to use the speed governor : that don’t mean I don’t know driving. ^^

  • Thanks for your thoughts and so good to see you see things exactly as I do. Indeed syncing might make things easier, I’d say syncing also makes a real dj work even harder. Syncing allows you to save up some time which is not to be used for drinking another glass of the a cold one but instead get even more creative with your mix. I don’t use sync all that much but it comes handy in some situation. I’d even go as far as to say, that DJ’s who feel syncing kills DJing should worry, if they are creative enough to develop themselves as DJs. Technology has always been an important part of DJing and club music. Real DJ’s will try to push everything you throw at them. And so goes for the new CDJ’s or whatevers – the equipment itself doesn’t mix; the software doesn’t mix; the controllers doesn’t mix. You can have all the syncs you have at your setup set on and your mix can still sound like total crap.

  • Totally agree Mark,

    the only thing I would say about sync is, try not to rely on it, at least not if you’re looking to DJ out and about at the moment.

    I started DJing a couple of years ago and went down the controller route, I’ve recently moved to a pair of 1200s and DVS. The reason I’ve changed is simple, most bars and clubs are fitted out with 1200s/CDJs as standard and I was finding it a real pain to have to cart my controller (a Numark V7, so a fairly heavy one) to every gig, only to met with strange looks and comments. Unfortunately I find that the general public/bar owners still view controllers as toys and you’re immediately viewed as a lesser DJ if you use a controller. So my other choice was to turn up with CDs/Records but then I had the issue of not being able to actually beatmatch without the help of sync/bpm/waveforms.

    So my point is, learn to beatmatch by ear, even if you have sync, that way you’ll be able to mix on any DJ equipment. I’m sure this will all change in the future and we’ll look back and wonder what all the fuss was about, but for now I still say beatmatching by ear is a good skill to have.

    • It is DEFINITELY a good skill to have. I would say it is a MUST HAVE.

      If you already have to rely on the gear to be good at something you will forever be a slave to it.

      If you are going to be a Rekordbox DJ that NEEDS CDJ2000 Nexus’ and their sync button at your gigs to be able to play you are going to have a hard time getting gigs anywhere because most places are not going to have them any time soon.

  • swif

    for all the sync haters no one said you had to use it.

  • DJ Bruce Vee

    I have no problem with sync in my opinion it’s a great option. Its one of those things where its better to have one an not need it, then to need one an not have it.

  • I use two V7’s which have sync. About 3 years ago I bought some controllers Mixtrack, MPD and mixmeister all within a week. Using traktor was okay not really a fan as a DJ but using for remixes or whatever is cool. I figured out how to map Midi and mapped all three controllers and did cool stuff but it wasn’t mixing. So I sold and gave away everything but the MPD. Got 1 V7 and a X5. I really didn’t like it at first because 1 table to run 2 comes with small adjustments like having to reset the the pitch every time you switch decks. So I played a lot of Dub step (70 BPM) and used sync because then i didn’t have to worry about the pitch. I agree it just puts two tracks at the same BPM it doesn’t mix for you that would be no fun. I had a friend that gave me a hard time and one day stood behind while play and just basic forced me not to sync the tracks and since then I haven’t used sync. I got a 2nd V7 to remove those little issues and feel comfortable. I personally wouldn’t suggest anyone to sync tracks because it does have its problems. Cue by ear, but it doesn’t hurt to check your work and fine tune if needed. Not all tracks have BPM because BPM is part of the tag of the file not the software. Some BPM’s could be wrong which will throw a train into the set. Pay attention with ears and eyes if you want that’s what the info on the screen is for right. understand what is what on the screen by listening and looking. I started 12 years ago with the Numark Battle Pack… now use two controlers and working on making a 4 deck setup by adding a 4 ch mixers and another laptop for each controllers. In Serato Itch I don’t sync. when using Traktor with a mouse to create a remix yes i will sync because I am not pitching with a mouse its clumsy and a pain. yeah I could map a fader but why bother. I am cool with whoever doing whatever as long as they put effort and passion in what they do. After 12 years I am using loops a lot more recently and trying to create a more interesting set when I play. that shows progression with my craft. No just a boring routine. Always learn the basic skill and keep progressing with technology. So at least you know what to expect when playing. Using a laptop with a Wav Form has taught be a lot about track structure also. it helped with the mix process because if you understand you can figure out the next move to make. anyway sync or not I don’t care what people do. that’s them and has nothing to do with me.. I do like DJ worx been a fan since scratch worx going back a few years. y’all guys are good at explaining and expressing decent opinions and great reviews.. keep up the good work


      “BPM is part of the tag of the file not the software”
      Usually the BPM get’s analyzed/calculated by the software (e.g. Traktor) automatically at load and can be stored as a tag in the file too…
      Of course those calculated values aren’t always correct, so you definitely need the skill to check whether the result is right or wrong…

  • I’ve been DJing using a Laptop for over 10 years, I started with eJay, then moved on to the very first version of Traktor and haven’t looked back. Now I use ableton as well. If some chump vinyl addict/bar owner comes up saying “laptops are shit, it’s doing it all for you” I always reply with “go on then, you have a go” and funnily enough they can’t mix with it. Why? Because they haven’t learned how. I’ve just bought a set of Kam DD vinyl decks for £25 to see what all the fuss was about. It’s taken me around 8 hours of my time to learn how to beatmatch with them. I reckon it would take anyone who hasn’t used traktor before about the same. Choose your weapon. People with Swords said, there’s no skill with guns, but they all got shot by people who spent a lot of time practising to hit targets. Evolution baby, step up!

    • Jared Helfer

      Hah I started on eJay too. Got it in a box of CD labels. 🙂

    • If beatmixing was so easy why does it take most deejays many years to get proficient at it and why are so many still so bad at it?

      SURE, in 8 hours you can have a go and get the beats to align for a few bars no problem. And in that case you and Deadmau5 are right. Anyone can learn to do that in a day. But that is not what we’re talking about here.

  • Maiki Vince

    The most ironical thing is that you will see people whine all day long about sync, and then see them in another thread whining about some software that does not have coloured/stacked waveforms. What is the effing difference?

    • Exactly. It seems that selectively, some new features are OK, but others not.

      • I reckon most of the people who don’t like sync probably still use loop 🙂 I remember when people thought loops was cheating. Why? because it meant you hadn’t mixed in at the best time and therefore you were extending the track to give yourself more time.

        (well I think there was some hack way but that required legendary skills…richie hawtin maybe).

  • Jared Helfer

    I just want to save myself time. Manually beatmatching a track may only take 30 seconds (especially if I already know the tempos, and then at that point it’s just quick math, which is not an art), but those 30 seconds could be better spent picking a song, dropping a loop, setting up EQ, beginning a mix, planning, etc..
    I’m just tired of the argument. Why does anyone care? All that matters is the floor, the crowd, and the energy. How we get there is meaningless.

  • Sync is fine, while the BPM is locked you can focus on remixing or looping and being more creative, do I like to do it myself: YES, but if I don’t have to waste 30 seconds lining up beats then I can use that time elsewhere. It’s all good. 🙂

  • The_KLH

    Ahhh… the dreaded “sync” discussion. Mark, you present most of the tactical argument. The strategic one is that there is always a feature that is derided with new technology. With CDJs, it was the BPM counter. With DVS, it was the waveform. Now with (non-DVS) DJ apps, it is the sync button.

    I agree with your opinion – Sync is just a tool – but I like to go one step further. BECAUSE sync takes care of mundane beatmatching, the DJ is freed to become more creative. IF the DJ doesn’t explore that creativity, then said DJ is lazy IMHO.

    Said differently, in simple A/B mixing, there’s no need to use sync. In more complex performances – i.e. live remixing, 3-4 deck mixing – sync is a great tool to use. DJs should push the envelope, so why not use all tools at their disposal?

    I keep watching DJ Enferno and B33SON ( to see complex performances… isn’t THAT what we should be striving to do instead of A/B mixing?

    Sync isn’t the problem. Our collective lack of pushing the performance envelope is.


  • Whomi CCA

    Putting the sync button on just opened up pioneer to a larger group of people who call themself dj. It’s marketing for big companies to sell u more toys. A dj that spends 1000 on 2 turntables and learns to mix will always get more respect then someone who just bought 5k in digital syncing gear. Why if u disagree with something are considered a “hater” . I don’t hate the sync button. I just don’t respect it. U can tell djs who “use technology” from djs who use “a crutch”. The bigger issue is who is man enough to draw a line and say “you are a pro and u are a newbie”. Seems everybody is afraid to hurt people’s feelings so we accept anyone with a laptop as a dj. U don’t see people walking into hospitals and putting on a labcoat and demanding to be called doctor, but we as djs are not allowed to criticize other djs who are not only bad djs , but they are bad djs that work for bar tabs and peanuts that are fucking up the system. And those are the djs who 100% of the time have no headphones and a sync button……..for that I don’t hate the sync button, it’s almost a warning flag for lazy djs and djs I have no interest in dealing with. Call me a hater, cool…….but I stand for something and I’m not gonna ride the fence so kids will like me. It’s funny that if u are a “shortcut” dj you are encouraged and embraced, but let you be a ” dj purist” and watch you become labeled “dj hater”……. To each his own…….cheers.

    • Your doctor analogy is flawed. A white coat doesn’t make you a doctor. A sharpened chisel doesn’t make you a carpenter. And a sync button doesn’t make you a DJ. It’s the skills surrounding those trades that makes you a skilled craftsman.

      The bigger issue is pinpointing pro and newbie? Again, nothing to do with a sync button. The bigger issue is more DJs chasing fewer jobs in clubs where the crowd don’t give a crap and just want to get drunk or high in the shortest time possible. Anyone got a button to fix that? Would disabling sync reverse it?

      • na_non

        Mark, DJs
        are the only ones interested in using sync or manual beat matching, and it
        should be that way…sure people dancing will not care what the dj is using, as
        you mention.

        But in my
        opinion, is not a problem if we should use it or not, if you’re real or fake,
        and so on. It’s a matter of learning….
        I think we should emphasize the importance of learning to beat matching … for
        many reasons that have been mentioned many times: to learn the songs, its structures, its
        details, feel, vibe, and to listen ….and most when we mix with other one, listening to both at the same time …. to beat
        match, is only partly to gain much more. This is the importance of beat
        matching … I recommend it to everyone that has not done it … and I believe
        should stay and transmit to future generations…. one way to learn and know
        about music as a DJ – try to beat match ….. and , whenever and however you want to, press sync,
        to get the advantage of this gift of the technology and do
        many things that you will not be able to do without it .

        And this
        happens with every field, with the advance of technology… just to name one
        … if you want to be an architect – use the computer and all it offers, but in
        the learning process is important to at least know how to draw with a pencil…… Also,
        people inhabiting a building do not care how you accomplish it.

        The beat matching
        is a task to learn…. and like drawing by hand, it is a connection between the
        mind and the body and senses … and the technology has not replace this yet.

        Excuse my english.

    • I agree with everything you are saying here. BUT that is still no reason for people to be having the fits they have been having the last couple days because the new CDJ2000 has a sync button on it.

      The fact that there is a sync button on a CDJ is a non-issue. It doesn’t matter and won’t change the DJ world in any way.

  • I to started on pause button double cassette decks and I love my sync button. I just want to leave this here

  • Toastmonster

    All this time i thought i’d get laid so much more now. What will i do?!

  • disappointed

    When djs support the watering down and simplification of their ability there is no excuse for when the “artform” (note the quotes) gets confused, taken for granted, over simplfied and plain disrespected. Learning to beat match is not as “easy” as some would like to argue so as to support their support for the computer simplification of a skill. Of c ourse, technology should be used and appreciated in order to ADD ON to skills that take time, practice and talent to learn. But, so called djs seem to love to eliminate amy practice/time/talent requirement in order for this to be easier. Djing will not die…correctly stated. It wont die bc it continually takes less and less skill to do it. Before, many would try to dj but would call it quits bc they couldnt or wouldnt put in the practice needed in order to learn even the most fundamental skill … Matching beats. It took time and dedication. Now, lets all dumb it down, make it a shell of what it really is…and too many djs support the death of talent. Goodluck pressing that button.

  • Dizzy

    I totally agree with what Mark wrote and couldn’t have said it better myself. The only thing I’ll add is that I use 2 Numark V7s and it has a cool feature on the decks; each deck has a strip of red LED lights on it with a white LED in the middle. When you move the pitch slider on either deck to the point where the bpms on each track are matched the white LED in the middle of each strip will light up. What I love about this feature is I don’t have to squint to look at the tiny bpm numbers on the screen and I can focus more on the decks rather than stare at the screen like I’m checking email. I never use the SYNC button because I just can’t be bothered to set beatgrids for every track in my collection, plus I like still having a little control over mixing albeit via the pitch bend buttons. Also, what I like about using this feature is it drastically cuts down the time it takes to match bpms but I still have something to do by riding the beat with the pitch bend buttons. Anyways, what I’m getting at is that even though I’m not using the SYNC button I’m still doing the same thing… using a feature to match my bpms. I know how to match beats by ear but using the beatmatching LEDs simply frees up more time to think about my next track, use effects, stare at boobies, contemplate life etc. If I were to give advice to a new DJ I would tell them it’s okay to use the sync button but it wouldn’t hurt to take the time to learn to beatmatch by ear (it’s not that hard to pick up) because it will make them a more knowledgeable and well rounded DJ… it will give them a better understanding of the fundamentals of DJing and give them the skills to still keep the party rocking when the SYNC button fails them. In this new era of SYNC buttons a new DJ starting out doesn’t need to know how to beatmatch by ear, but it wouldn’t hurt.

  • Vic

    Here we go again! I really get annoyed when people say that sync does th work for you. (Beatmatch) but I always spend time and grid my tracks by matching it up to the tick, so I’m using my ears to match it up but the only difference is I’m only doing it once. And if the tech is there why not use it, its like saying you can’t usee matches or a lighter cuz its cheating

    • You make a good point. Making sure your beatgrids are perfect IS a chore. So much of a chore that I will never use sync.

      I would much rather mix by hand/ear than sit at home making sure my beatgrids are all aligned to a metronome click so I can use sync. It’s a PITA.

  • Shishdisma

    These arguments always kind of annoy me, because the article has a good point, but the issue with your point is that it’s coming from the view of a veteran DJ, who sees sync as an automation of a chore.

    The issue is, to a new teenage twit, the sync button IS the “mix” button, and they never evolve past that, effectively detrimenting the culture. I’m always interested in hearing an old hat’s perspective on this, sync may be an automation, but what about the DJ Dumbasses that just hit sync and slam a track? These kids never have to listen to a track, or pay attention to the music, or even wear headphones half the time. THIS is why sync is frowned upon.

    It’s also a side note that syncing is literally one step above just prerecording a set and playing it Guetta/Angello style. “It’s just taking the legwork out! And it let’s me be more creative with a tighter mix! Even though I didn’t actually spin it.”

    • Jared Helfer

      But how is this any different from any other point of time of DJing? Bad DJs will be bad, and will not practice, and will suck. Adding sync doesn’t change that. A teenage twit can pick up two records and just scratch them into destruction without knowing the difference.
      AND Sync does not take the legwork out. It removes 30 seconds of the process. That’s it. I still have to know what songs work together, and how to loop them, and how to mix them, and how to blend them, and when to cut, and when to jump, etc. All it does is remove the math. That’s it.
      Sync didn’t make lazy DJs, it didn’t make bad DJs, and it sure as hell hasn’t made the culture disappear. The digital age has changed the culture, and sync is a symptom of that. Removing sync from the equation doesn’t change anything about the serious problems that are arising from it.

      • I also believe that syncing (everytime i’ve heard it over the last couples of weeks it reminded me of this commercial about the german lifeguard: What are you Zinking about?) can be beneficial for many dj’s whom have the musical ability but not the technical. Please let me explain this.

        Last year, i’ve been to a gig of Kerri Chandler. While he is a true legend (o.k. atm he’s taking a more commercially stand about music), who knows what record to play at what time of his gig. Even though his mixing skills are quite poorly, he knows how to get the dance floor rocking. For me, as a dj (not an music fan), it is hard to hear those “horses gallop away”, not that it takes away the pleasure of the evening, the music of whatever. Though it does kind of leaves a bad taste in my mouth. So in that sense sync is a blessing.

        Also since the last 15 years or so music has been created with the use of strict quantization, so all track should be easily mixable. I’m guessing that most house dj’s know the 0.8% rule on that ground.

        Afaik, Pio’s original 2000’s and 900’s, perhaps even the 800’s and 1000’s, already had pretty accurate bpm-counters, so the job was already done for the poorer skilled dj’s.

        • Jared Helfer

          Exactly. If I have an accurate BPM counter than I am already 2/3 of the way there.

      • Shishdisma

        I think you completely missed my point. Beatmatching is technically the only thing required to transition between two tracks. Without beatmatching, you have nothing save for “playing the next tune.” Learning to beatmatch, or even just phase match, requires you to extensively listen to and monitor your mix. Hitting sync requires absolutely nothing.

        People keep making the asinine argument that “bad DJs will always be bad.” No, they won’t. They’ll either throw their headphones against the wall failing to beatmatch in their bedroom, or they’ll spam the shit out of their presence under the delusion that syncing alone makes them a DJ. A “bad DJ” without sync won’t go anywhere, and will be forced to learn. A “bad DJ” with sync doesn’t have any reason to learn anything else.

        In addition, sync takes all of the legwork out, because with sync, all you have to do is hit the “mix” button, and slam the fader. No listening required, no headphones required. Bam, you’re a DJ. At least that’s what sync-dependents tell themselves. It’s this kind of “I dont need to listen, I don’t need skills, I don’t need to learn, all I have to do is use a ‘modern tool'” mentality that’s destroying the beginner scene.

        • Jared Helfer

          I didn’t miss your point, I just don’t agree with you. Having sync does not remove the necessity to learn to beatmatch. Nowhere have I ever said that. I have said that having sync removes the NEED to beatmatch. BUT you still need to know what you’re doing. Having a calculator does not remove the necessity to understand math. It just removes the need to write everything on paper. And I do genuinely believe that sync is just a calculator. The first DJ I ever learned under had stacks of vinyl all labeled with the BPM. At that point it’s just math. There wasn’t art to it. He still needed to know the songs, and the flow and the structure. Giving him sync didn’t change anything, except saving time.

          New DJs still need to learn these tools. If they think that hitting sync is going to make their mixes great then they don’t know what they are listening for. Maybe their friends will tell them, or the first promoter they submit to, or maybe they won’t. Really, as long as the crowd has fun, who cares?

          Bad DJs existed before sync, and laptops, and CDJs and pitch faders and direct drive. Bad DJs are immortal. And many many bad DJs think they are good, and it also has nothing to do with sync. AND many bad DJs go very far. A bad DJ without sync is just as bad of a DJ as one with sync. They both have much to learn.
          When I hit sync, I still have to mix. I still have to twist the EQ, blend, and try. When a bad DJ beatmatches a track, it can still suck. I’ve heard it a number of times. And great mixes can happen without beatmatching. And who cares what they think in their heads?

          I think what’s killing the beginner scene is people telling beginners they can’t be DJs unless they do everything sans the tools at their fingertips. They should learn the basics, but beyond understanding beatmatching, why should they need to? They still need to listen to their tracks, study their transitions, and blend and mix. Why do they also need to move a pitch fader? How does that make them better?

      • DJ TeeOh

        Sync makes a bad dj atleast keep the music on point. A bad dj without sync couldn’t beatmatch to save his/her life. But because of sync, that same dj now has a fighting chance at getting booked for $20 and free beer, instead of that real dj who put in years.

        • Jared Helfer

          But those DJs were getting booked before laptops. They were on vinyl, there were on CDs, and there was no sync. This isn’t a new phenomenon brought about strictly by Sync. We can have the larger discussion about the digital movement and how laptops and controllers have drastically lowered the barrier for entry, and whether or not that’s a good thing, but Sync didn’t cause this problem.
          And still, if their skills are mapped out, having sync doesn’t help them. It might make the beats match up that might lead to a transition that’s worth a damn. But more often than not, if they aren’t prepping, and they aren’t doing the legwork, it’s still gonna suck.
          Which is why they are getting paid $20 and free beer. That place wouldn’t pay a guy taking years to prep $500 for a night and drinks and a guest list (cover to the venue pending, of course).

  • Kingpinn

    We have developed a saying..

    Just because its in time doesn’t make it right.

    mark says, mixing is what DJing is about, beat matching is an important
    skill to have but is not essential. If you can’t string a few mixes
    together properly using proper phrasing etc. with sync turned on, then
    you need to give up.

    The introduction of Sync has made DJing
    harder because now there is no excuse for a poor mix. It also means that
    your tune selection has to be absolutely spot on and your crowd reading
    skills have to be Jedi like to really progress in the scene.

    Lets move on and be excited about all of the possibilities that this technology brings!

    • totally agree. If everyone can beat match, it now raises the bar.

      Sync doesn’t give you great tunes.
      Sync doesn’t give you any knowledge of how to get a crowd going.
      Sync doesn’t teach you how to mix (as well described by the OP).

      All it does is save you some time.

      I learnt to mix on 1210s and now mix with sync on an S4. I have so much extra time now to find the exact right tune OR mix in an accapella OR do some effects, or just decide exactly when the best time to mix in will be. I have much more control in other words and my mixes sound a lot better than before.

  • jim

    “Mixing music isn’t rocket science, the only true skill lies with those who turn the turntable into a music instrument, the turntablists. Other than that, you are a glorified jukebox.” Daedelus

  • Real DJ

    NO self respecting self titled “Disc Jockey” should depend on sync.

    You call yourself a DJ, get the hell outta here!

    Don’t put me in the same category as an auto pilot button pusher.

    If youre a beginner DJ, fine, your excused, but if your a DJ that takes their love of spinning seriously and believes spinning is an art form, than you dont need training wheels (sync).

    Stating that beat matching is not mixing is one of the most ignorant statements to pass through this website. This statement just totally discredited and disgraced djworx. if sync is “automated beat matching”, and sync is not mixing, then id like to see how sweet your mix would sound without beat matching.

    To me it smells like “sell out” stench in here. I understand you have to pay the light bill and keep the doors open here but to defend a feature to keep sponsors happy to the point that you have to misconstrue is just plain tasteless.

    • The sync button automates the matching of 2 beats. That is all it does. And that is not mixing. Mixing is a much bigger and highly skilled thing that cannot be switched on and off by a button. You may choose to lump them all into one generic blob, but I split the real skill from the process. Beat matching is easy, but mixing is not. I can differentiate one from the other, as can the majority of the readers.

      And NEVER come in here talking to me about sellout. You have no idea of the things I’ve been through to keep bringing this stuff to your desktop for free. It’s only from standing by my convictions in my own voice that DJWORX continues to prosper.

      • Real DJ

        Well I recommend being careful how you come accross to your public because if something looks like a sale, smells like a sale, then its thought to be a sale.

        Although I enjoy this website and I do not take djworx existence for granted I have to say that I used to have high regard for your articles here before but lately I have to question the motivation behind some of the opinions expressed.

        If beat matching is so easy then why even include a redundant feature on a deck and why spend money into the manufacturing of decks with that feature. Why even have it?

        Beat matching not being a skill for mixing is like saying scrambled eggs are made without scrambling them.

        Using a feature to enhance your already tuned skills is ok, but to try to convince me that the only purpose of including a sync button is to assist a persons mixing is insulting.

        The truth is every aspect of these decks are clearly calculated . The sync button was included to promote sales because it appeals to those that currently rely on sync on other equipment or to those that are new to the DJ scene. Theres nothing wrong with Pioneers marketing but lets be real about what this button stands for.

        Youre right its not the end of DJing as we know it, sync is not going to make us into DJ’s but dont get it twisted, it is what it is, and what it is is not what is being depicted here.

        • People know me better than that. If I like something, I say so. Equally if I don’t, I’m happy to constructively criticise. No manufacturer has any control over me, ads or not. I hope that is clear. The motivation is simply to stimulate discussion, especially on the unpopular topics.

          I guess it really does come down to how you view a sync button. Yes, it can be argued that it makes DJing easy, almost a push button thing, but certainly in the case of the new CDJs, they’re not for beginners. My particular viewpoint is that sync, certainly at this level, is a timesaver. It’s expected that you can beatmatch at this level, so it comes down to what else you can do. And if you can hit sync and then get busy on one of the decks then that’s all good.

          But sync or not, the skills that cannot be programmed or downloaded are the real human skills, and they separate the good DJs from the bad. Again, sync will not fill a dancefloor… well unless the crowd is so pissed that they don’t know what they’re doing. 😉

          • Real DJ

            I have no contra-argument for what you just said and the way you just put it. We are on agreement there.

            I respect you more for being real like that and I thank you for allowing me to comment.


            • It’s all about rational discussion. That’s what we’re here for. Welcome aboard.

              • Real DJ

                I appreciate that.

                Thats why im still locked onto this website.

      • I agree that mixing and beatmatching are not the same thing. One could be very good at one and not the other. But lets get off this “beatmatching is easy, any idiot can do it” nonsense.

        Beatmatching is not easy. Getting two tracks going the same tempo (as Deadmau5 thinks is all itt is) for a few bars in your bedroom is easy. Getting them perfectly synced up by hand and having them stay that way for minutes at a time every few minutes for hours on end in a loud club is NOT easy. It is VERY hard and takes years and years of practice to get it down and be very good at it.

        Most of the biggest deejays in the world, 10 and 20+ year vets, still are not perfect and I hear them make mistakes all the time. If it was such an easy and menial chore this would never happen. But it is commonplace.

        For me beatmixing is second nature. At this point it is like breathing or walking, I just do it. But it is still not easy and if I can make mistakes (the same way I might trip while walking, even though that is second nature too).

        All that being said I have NO ISSUE over those that have to rely on sync. That is their thing and they can take the positives, and potential negatives, of having to RELY on it and do their thing. I think doing that is taking a bigger risk than learning to mix properly but whatever, I see no issue with it. It certainly doesn’t affect me negatively and isn’t going to ruin the DJ world.

        P.S. I personally use sync for loops and accapellas on decks C/D in Traktor now. Mostly because I don’t have a 3rd/4th CDJ or turntable but the convenience is nice as well.

        • Real DJ

          Very well said.

    • Now thats an interesting thing you point out here. People relying on Sync. Having (after this article) to try our using the sync button this weekend I sort of have an agreement here but would probably say you should think about expanding your though process on this. I agree some people (and I have seen them, but then I have also seen big name dj’s turn up and put a cd on just look like their working) rely totally on the sync button and this is not something I would endorse. However using it did make me feel a little bit happier as I knew if I changed the tempo of one track the other would follow allowing me to basically have 3 hands instead of two as I didn’t need to keep watching both tracks. SYNC however is not beat matching, I still had to make sure I started the track on the beat, move the jog wheel’s to ensure it was spot on, but it just enabled be to sync the two tracks to each other so when I did something I didn’t have to worry about the other deck.

      This enabled me to focus on 1) doing something fun 2) focus more on the crowd so they enjoy it more and enable me to take them to where I wanted to go quicker and together easier.

      Doing this does not make me a sell out or a fake DJ. What it did was give me the ability to do more with what I had in front of me.

      I agree people should not rely on it (for 1 it’s not always 100% perfect) but try it, see what it enables you to do and then if it’s not for you then fair enough but don’t knock what it can do for others. As Mark mentioned it’s not mixing, well you can but it’s boring to listen to, it’s just (and I agree) like having a 3rd hand to help you in your mix.

      • Gilly

        What’s next, software that mixes two tracks together automatically and all you have to do is choose the tracks? Because all of the arguments in favor of sync could be applied to such a thing, are you all as comfortable with that?

  • Marco Garcia

    Mark, I couldn’t have said it better myself.
    If a home builder was asked if he would rather have a hammer or a nail gun to do his job, what do you think he would prefer? Just because you own a nail gun that does not mean you know how to build a house properly.

    As humans we all have to somehow make ourselves look better than the next, specially DJs since most DJs seem to think they are Gods. Serato boys will frown on you if you show up with Virtual DJ, Mac boys think they are better than PC guys, Vinyl DJs think controllers are toys and the Pioneer guys will never love Denon or anybody else for that matter. I think having an open mind will only help you take your craft to the next level. When GLI Pro first added a crossfader (Yes, there was a time when DJ mixers didn’t have crossfader kiddies) to the DJ mixer all the traditionalist bitched and said it was the end of the DJ also! There wouldn’t be turntablelism without the crossfader. The DJs back in the day took that crossfader and came up with crazy scratch routines, they became creative with their new tool and it wasn’t the end of the DJ like some predicted. This argument has been going on for years and it will never end, people need to focus on themselves and let others do what they want. I would Sync my comment if I could!

  • D

    I’m not knockin the sync button, but I believe you should be able to mix by ear period. It is a fundamental DJ skill to have. I use scratch live because I started out just scratching and loved the feeling of vinyl to control. After only being able to mix in combination of ear/visually, I found myself in a bit of trouble a while back when I was at a cousin’s 25th wedding anniversary and was asked to spin a stack of vinyls of disco era that I didn’t have in my crate. Transitions weren’t horrible but because my ears weren’t on point to beat matching that well, it made me look sloppy. Every DJ should be able to beat match by ear, and in IMO should know basic scratching technique. “what is a DJ if he can’t scratch?” Sync is a cool tool to speed up things, just like a electric screwdriver. BUT if the battery ever dies, you should know how to use a manual one.

  • This is how hip hop was ruined… You don’t have to posses any lyrical skills but you can be a rapper. So you don’t have to beat match anymore, but you can still be a DJ… It’s the corruption of everything that once was decent.

    How about pre recorded mixes being the new standard?

    • Don’t even get me started about Hip Hop was ruined. It’s not even loosely connected to this discussion. That came down to money, the hijacking of the culture and the abandonment of the DJ.

    • Interesting analogy. I am kind of with you there, it was ruined when labels started signing emcees (makes me cringe to even call them that) that had to talent or skill 20 years ago.

      This is different though, I don’t see that happening to the DJ world because Pioneer put a Sync button on their new $2,000 CDJ.

  • disappointed

    unfortunately, it’s the IDEA of being a dj is what now draws so many. NOT the love of music, culture, art form. It’s not about practice, respect for the culture and actually taking the time to BECOME what you would like to call yourself (a DJ), it’s about the IDEA of being a DJ right now. maaaaan, practice takes too much time. i wanna dj now. i wanna be in the clubs now. i want attention. sad to see folks co-opt and slow destroy culture…even sadder to see some (not all by any mean) apparently dj vets support to dumbing down. if you truly love this CULTURE you would take the time to learn it properly. you wouldn’t be able to stand yourself if you didn’t. (i’m sure you sync button djs love what you are doing – but, unfortunately, it’s NOT djing)

    • But that IS the culture now. It’s been hard for me to rationalise that kids don’t give a crap about the experience of buying physical music. They want to press a button and download it right away. Their experience is just different to mine.

      DJing is just more accessible. It’s highly likely that within a group of kids, at least one is some sort of DJ who can put out a decent enough sound that keeps them happy. And that is the very essence of being a DJ – if the audience is happy then you’re a DJ. It used to be that DJing was a heavy investment, and that most probably you earned money from it to pay for it. Now it’s a pastime. Times change – adapt to survive.
      So you see it’s not about dumbing down. You still have to have the core skills to be a good DJ. Perhaps the crowd is just happier with a lower bar. But that’s not the fault of a sync button. And we all still have high standards, perhaps higher than ever before from VIP DJs.

      • D

        The culture in itself is more accessible now due to technology. But not everyone, especially in today’s economic times can be a DJ. Being a DJ in general isn’t cheap. The initial investment itself will weed out the wannabees from those who are serious. Not everyone can blow 500+ on something they aren’t gonna invest their time in. Real DJ’s stay in the game, work to progress the culture, invest time and money to hone their skills. whack so called “glorified juke box” DJ’s are seen in their performances/work.

  • I don’t understand why this is even an issue. Beginner DJs aren’t going to drop the cash on the 2000 nexus, and if a beginner DJ goes into a club that uses the nexus who’s never used CDJs before, he’s going to fail, period. Hitting that “sync” button is NOT going to suddenly make him better.

    All sync does is take two different BPMs and make them the same. If you mix one genre, it’s simple math. Drum and bass tunes, for example, normally vary from 173-176 BPM. Usually the ones I see are 174 or 175, for this example. If you simply slide the pitch up 0.6% or down 0.6% on whichever deck you need to sync to the currently playing track… you’re done. That’s all.

    All the sync button would do is make it so I don’t have to mess with the pitch on my CDJs.

    I think that’s what most people who really don’t care about this are saying. DJing is about so much more than making sure your tunes are on beat. It’s about making sure they’re in key (or if they aren’t in key, that they don’t sound like crap), and making sure the tunes work together. Autosync doesn’t make a mix magically work.

  • Tar

    Well presented point for sure. In reading through the comments I had tons I would love to comment on but it was the same point on a lot of them over so I’m just going to drop the thought right here.
    First, on the subject of new djs learning the basics. I feel like they should for because it will make them much more able to handle it when the software doesn’t work quite perfectly. I can’t tell you the number of younger djs I have talked to that are teaching themselves on a controller and can’t understand why things aren’t working right but only part of the time. Once they know how to fix it manually they never have to be stuck that way again. As has been said already, there is a more rounded dj.
    Second, I would be interested to be in an area where people don’t take controllers or lap top djs seriously just to see that it still exists. I was very happily stuck on cdjs for years and had no intention to switch but in my area (Atlanta, GA, USA) they rapidly have gone in the direction of the turntable. The whole reason I finally gave in to the controller phenominon is that I so frequently got the ‘oh you use cds? You have to bring your cdjs, we don’t have any because every one else uses a controller’ statement.
    As an aside I find the article to be pretty much spot on to my feelings.

  • Smooth

    My issue with sync is, where does the technology end in assisting? If beat matching is so meaningless, then eq, keying tracks and selection will soon become a chore as well. Also, don’t try and compare mixing tracks to midi syncing a room full of synths and drum machines! A beginner, in any field, should learn the basics and not just go right to automating anything.

    • I don’t equate mixing to MIDI clock. I equate sync to MIDI clock. Sync aids beatmatching and is an easily automated task. Mixing is the full craft that cannot be automated. I specifically split sync and beatmatching from mixing. I don’t think I can be clearer than that.

      It’s interesting that you mention key. Back in the day, we had to mix by ear – it either put your teeth on edge or didn’t. Now it’s auto measured and software will tell what will work and what won’t. But nobody has an issue with this. How does this differ from sync?

      And measuring BPM – I had pages of A4 painstakingly listing the individual BPMs of every track in my collection, measured with a stopwatch. Now it’s done automatically and with considerably more accuracy. How does this differ from sync?

      The real answer to your question is that a lot of this probably can and will be automated. I’m sure some sort of backend technology will measure room acoustics, and will adjust sound accordingly. I’ve already outlined a tagging technology that should be able to go a long way to automixing. I’ll never release it, but if I’ve done it, you can be damned sure that someone else has too.

      Automating the whole mixing process, bar track selection is probably very doable. But no computer will ever read the mood of the room. But like so many other industries effected by the digital age, there will be constant change. It’s how you adapt to it that is important.

      • Smooth

        Right. Sync and midi clock are different because it is related to a room full of gear trying to match tempo, not 2 songs. Way more difficult.
        Keying songs is more of a task than a skill. Doing it all by ear is a skill but still a task in preparation of mixing. Beat matching “was” part of the skill in mixing until sync. And right, all of the skills in mixing will soon be completely automated.

        • Smooth

          Plus I never measured bpm bc I had the “skill” to lock 2 records together regardless. The FACT is that all this technology is designed to make more sales by making it possible for anyone to do it. It’s created a major problem with supply/demand in the industry.

        • lazy soul

          not until someone invent a “good taste and big culture” button .

          • Jared Helfer

            thank you

  • Its EASY, SYNC is CRAP and a spawn of SATAN!, begone!

  • Mauri Moore

    I saw a lot of bad djs with good selection , so , now , they can be “good” only because of the “red buttom” .

  • Guest

    Electronic DJs are the only ones beefing over the sync button, yet Electrona is the easiest genre to mix. Yall need to quit it, you look stupid

  • bassing

    Electronic DJs are the only ones beefing over the sync button, yet Electronica is the easiest genre to mix. Yall need to quit it, you look stupid

  • a sync button wont phrase match… it wont match keys… it wont pick a track that will actually flow with the one that follows it. Skill is still required to make shit flow.

    I dislike sync features being put on low end beginners gear because I feel it leads newbies down the wrong path… but putting sync on high end gear most beginners cant afford is fine.

    • Kaosstweaker

      you could just use your mouse to press the sync button. lol

  • kay

    i think the big problem with sync is that anyone who wants to be a dj can easily learn it now ,especially young people who thinks its cool to be a dj and not be a dj for the love of music.then the go to clubs and takes a much lover amount of cash just to get the chance to play. and the clubowner just cares about minimal costs for a dj .tha cash for play just get worse every year now ,

    • I disagree 100%. Being a great DJ isn’t about anything which technology alows you to do, ie syncing two tunes, the first and foremost skill is being a selector of music. The rest is icing.

      • Amen!

      • Jared Helfer

        100% fact right there

  • Jonasty

    I do believe that Sync will get you laid.

  • CK Party Krew

    this really shits me im sick of all this sync crap, 5 years ago everyone was complaining “real djs play vinyl” now everyone even the ones who said that, have shifted to cdj technology, now sync comes along and everyone freaks the fark out, chill the out, we have had bpm counters for a long time now, all that autosync funtion does it eliminates the time it take to read ur bpm and adjust the tempo accordingly on your opposing track, big farkin deal, there is so much more too it, if you think just being albe to beat match makes u a dj, its obvious ur not a dj.. so shut the fark up, and just let the music evolve with the technology that surrounds it

  • Cutwerk

    I can see that sync is useful, I began on virtual DJ on a desktop PC and used the sync button for several months before I got decks and discovered the joy of hunting down cheap, second-hand vinyl. It took a long time to learn how to beatmatch by ear, but in that period I found myself listening to tracks in a whole new way, and it definitely taught me to listen intuitively for song structure which is invaluable for being in the mix and thinking ‘I bet this track would work here’. I suppose it comes down to what style of mixing you like, sync is perfect for editing the tracks a lot, and I would definitely use it if I was playing purely quantised music and wanted to do lots of loops and cutting up of the tracks on the fly, but I think something that’s nearly always overlooked in this debate is that beatmatching can be great fun! I really enjoy taking two tracks, sometimes of wildly different genres, and gently nudging the pitch up or down, stroking the platter or pushing the label around the spindle, and knowing that there is a real danger of it sounding awful if I fuck up, it’s an adrenaline rush when playing out.

    For me, if I’m out and I hear a beat begin to slip out and the DJ corrects to bring the tracks back in time, within the space of a bar or two, I like it, because I know that they’re in the zone, and I can respect what they are doing. The crowd can hear/see that it requires an element of skill and there is risk involved, which emotionally involves the crowd in what is happening. Finally for keeping tracks with a live drummer in the mix, even over a couple of bars, sync is not quite there yet and as I mix across genres and regularly go from constant BPM to changing BPM and back, I can’t rely on it.

  • Loudist

    A Sync button won’t chose the tunes in your set. A Sync button doesn’t (for now) understand that if you run a triplet delay over a typical House BPM you will get a Drum & Bass type BPM, allowing you a dramatic shift in tempo. A Sync button won’t know how to reset a PA should the thermal trip go …and a Sync button will never let the door team know that there’s potential aggravation brewing in a corner of the room.

    In short, a Sync button is not the end of the world.

    The fact that most people see music as a commodity rather than an art; now *THAT’S* a worry…

  • CutSelekta

    A pre-recorded sync automated mix of popular tunes will pull ppl to the dancefloor. I actually think that a DJ is not really needed anymore in the average club. Just a laptop with 6 hours of pre-recorded mashups and mixes. I really dont believe in a DJ culture anymore since vinyl disappeared from the scene. The culture that still exists is mainly underground.

  • I’m totaly with you. But I want to add that beachmatching manually is not completely obolete, even to digital DJs.

    I startet bedroom-DJing more than a decade ago and quit shortly afterwards because of my job. A few month ago I bought a DJ-controller for about 250 € an NI Traktor and was infected again. Sync? Great, I’m using it almost the whole time, except when a song isn’t beatgridded properly etc..

    A few weeks ago a good friend of mine asked me to DJ with him on his birthday party (about 100 people will be there at the end of October, I’m overexcited :-)). We found out that we just can’t sync our Laptops, him using itch with an Allen & Heath DX and me using Traktor with a Reloop DJ 2 ME. It just didn’t work, soooooo… beatmatching by ear came into play. I’m glad and lucky that I learned this technique using my turntables back then. Otherwise this project would be over before it started.

    So what I wanted to point out was that learning beatchaing by ear may come in handy, even nowadays. Like I already said I am using autosync the whole time. It helps me being more creative and trying out funny stuff, e.g. using my NI Maschine while DJing. On the other hand look at DJs like Chris Liebing (who’s a great artist btw…). No need to beatmatch by ear for him or DJs evolving in the same direction. Anyone here questioning Chris Liebing being a DJ…? I don’t think so.

  • Zam

    Good music and good people makes good party. Are we SYNC on that? 🙂

  • Ezmyrelda

    I’m totally fine with SYNC. The big red button that I find infuriating has been on the Pioneer mixers for years. 5 minutes of tedious and overdone effects right into the break.. Completely destroys all cohesiveness of a track.. I know each of us has been around a button junkie…

  • Meo

    I dont use sync. Why? Because it is more work than no to use it.

    So far i haven’t found a “sync” that syncs everything perfectly everythime without preparation. Thus sync is just another way of working and you can be crap at using it or you can be good at using it, just as with anything else.

  • Funky ß

    Sync can be a tool to allow more time for enhancing your mix or it can stifle creativity depending on the type of sync.

    Beat syncing will:
    1. require prep time for your tracks when your focus could be elsewhere
    2. lock on the beat and not allow for more creative mixing like layering a loop that starts on the 2nd beat on 1 and sending it through a beatmasher.
    Tempo syncing will:
    1. save you the 5-10 seconds of tempo matching time that can be spent enhancing your mix. You will need to understand the fundamentals of matching tempo and be able to use that skill if the set tempo is not correct (by manually beat matching or tapping the tempo in). Tempo syncing allows me to offer the audience more.

    The only time I use beat sync is with Mixvibes CrossDj on my ipad. I use it as a backup solution or when I’m not focused on Djing (like when I’m cooking in the kitchen). When I Dj I use Traktor with temposync on / beatsync off or occasionally Serato Itch if I want to lug my NS7 around. I will not buy a CDJ-2000nexus because it’s a step backward in my current workflow (although I do like the slip mode feature)

    Mark/Gizmo: Thank you for going here – it’s about time someone opened up Pandora’s box. You picked the correct time and have lit a fire under many djs. After you published this post all I hear about is sync. Since this article is not specifically about the CDJ-2000nexus a definition of the different types of sync may have had an impact with the comments. Keep up the good worx!

  • I have never used sync (not be cause I don’t like it but I have always just preferred to do it myself and never really saw any benefit from it), and never been a big fan of having the BPM on my screen / decks. However after reading the thoughts on this article from Mark and others, last night (just a standard pub with a load of girly hen’s on a do) I decided lets see what I can do with it on. Instantly it freed me up to not worry about taking two tunes making sure their in time and then doing what I want with them and let me free to make up mixes and re-mixes on the spot which made mine and their night far more enjoyable as it enabled me to build something in a direction where I didn’t think normally it would of gone. So now i’m off to see what else it enables me to do on other gigs and I could well soon see myself as a bit of a convert. As you say, take out a mindless task and feel free to use that time for creativity purposes really enabled me to build a totally different night than the normal pub, girly do would of normally created for me.

  • ryeski

    you hit the nail on the head. any monkey can match a bpm as it is just a process, the art is in the way you put it all together

  • Akiem

    sync is a major step toward “total automation”

  • Akiem

    Just wondering, for people who support sync – are there any “bad” features? Or is any feature which sales deemed “good”?

  • DJ STU-C

    reading some of the comments i have to agree that track sleection is the single most important aspect of being a good dj, my mate used to tell me your not a proper DJ til you have got everyone at a wedding up and dancing after a 3 course meal 🙂

    the unfortunate side to this is, little toads currently get more work by playing the beatport top 40, which combined with beat sync and various other helpful tools(helpful in the correct hands, abused in others) is what really gets peoples backs up. its not the sync that is the issue its the twats using it and being given praise because they hammer out guetta track after guetta track.

    im not willing to sell out just for the purpose of getting a gig so djs like myself of which there are plenty are left mixing in our bedrooms and not being able utilise our skills. if an underground tech house dj was using sync i would be bopping along like anyone else, its when tools are just braying the cheese out and making no attempt to learn the skills on top of that is when i get angry

  • Eugene

    I personally think that it’s best to let those who choose to abuse the function continue to. But those who do will have a foul name. A bit like blood on your hands.
    Much like the “press play” Dj’s who can leave a one hour set running, they have a foul reputation and you won’t be seeing too many repeats of them. Unless of course, you are David Guetta.

  • Marvelous Mixin Miguel

    I’ve been mixing since 1984. Started out on 1200s, then cdj finally Traktor. And yes I do use the sync button.

    It’s all about mixing music with or without sync.

    The bad thing about sync is if you don’t know how to beat match and sync doesn’t work you’re sound like sh*t.

    I don’t think newbies have to go out any learn how to mix on turntables or CDJs. Just learn how to mix well. You could use a laptop, a controller and the sync button just make sure you know how to recover when mistakes happen.

    Practice and Enjoy

  • Kaosstweaker

    I have been using Traktor for many years and I can tell you the sync button doesn’t just magically make your track blend as soon as you press the button. Those who think it does, do not understand how sync works. It takes a lot of time to beat-grid the music files properly to a metronome to insure they are in phase before sync becomes useful. If you rely on Traktor’s beat detection alone then you will fail.

    If someone isn’t prepared to take the time to prepare their music for sync it is highly likely to become a problem and cause trainwrecks. It’s all about preparation.

    I learned to mix on 1210’s and had to beat-mix the oldskool way and I enjoyed it, but software takes creativity to a whole new level with tempo synced effects, more time to concentrate on making it sound right or find the right tune to play next etc. I do believe that knowing how to beat-match is a useful skill for when u want to take over from or mix with another DJ (who is using different gear to you) or if you have to resort to CDJ’s cause you comp has crashed etc (that’s if you are good enough to bring back up CD’s). But it really isn’t that hard to learn. Most website you buy your music from tell u the BPM of the track anyway!!

    And as many have said before, IT’S ALL ABOUT THE MUSIC!!!! Which I think some people have forgotten that’s what DJing is all about sync or no sync!!

  • DJ TeeOh

    “Beatmatching is an easily learnable process, and indeed easily automated, and as such cannot be classed as a craft as it requires no human element. It is a task – a process that has to be done. And in the digital age of quantised music, beatmatching is even less of a skill than it ever was.”

    ^^Exactly, so why make it easier. This is taking away the skills that djs (like yourself) spent years honing. Now what we can do on Technics is just a push of a button. 20 years ago, the stuff you did was masterful…now that 17 year high schooler is doing the same thing since his mommy bought him a controller last christmas. No it doesn’t make the song selection or skill of mixing better, but it damn sure makes it easier. This kind of stuff makes DJs lazy. Nothing like the old days where the dj was going buck wild behind the tables. Now, it’s stare at the glowy-screen with your mouth open. Technology makes the music business expand and evolve, which is much needed. I am a midi controller user but some things need to be left alone.

    DJ TeeOh *Japan
    Technics 1200MK3Ds
    novation dicers
    traktor X1 + Maschine

  • DJ TeeOh

    Here is the end all to these arguments:

    A bad dj can’t beatmatch to save his/her life. But with SYNC that same dj is now thinking they are good enough to take on the world.

    Now that same dj is getting booked for $20 and free beer by these venues who like to take advantage of djs. So why pay $300+ for a real dj when this kid plays the top 100 & requests, all for beer?

    So when you are sitting home because you didn’t get the gig and that kid is horribly mixing in your spot, you can thank technology for making the ARTFORM of DJING alot easier.

    The DJ market is flooded with garbage djs making it harder for the real djs and destroying the music scene.

    Care to argue? Go look at Paris Hilton, Guetta, Tiesto….or go to a local club and see if there is a 22 yr old controllerist in there stankin it up.


    • Your portrayal of the DJ scene is accurate. But blaming it all on the sync button is a long way from the truth. And here’s why.


      When music became digital, it stopped having value. It lacks a physical presence, and without that people deem it to be free. And the internet provides a most effective method to build a massive free library in no time at all. Suddenly the world has all the latest and hottest tunes, but without the legwork of researching and laying out cash, and importantly knowing the music they’re playing. Ultimately, modern music has no value, and as such the job of the DJ just lost a lump of its value too. If the whole world can hear those underground tunes without going to the club, then a lot of the need for a DJ is gone.

      That’s not the fault of the sync button.


      The digital age brought an unprecedented explosion in consumer technology. Everyone now has a computer, most probably a laptop for downloading and creating music, and they can carry hundreds of record crates in their pockets on their iPhone. The DJ manufacturers twigged onto how they can play digital audio, thus CDJs and DVSs popped up changing the DJ scene forever. And that technology has scaled down (as technology always does) to a much smaller and cheaper controller sized lump, that they can plug into their laptop or iPhone.

      A mainframe is now the size of a book, and the same has happened to the DJ scene. 2 turntables and a mixer costing a lot and taking up an equal amount of space is now half the price, half the size but does 10 times as much. DJing is now accessible to everyone, and everyone is a DJ.

      That’s not the fault of the sync button.


      The entire world has gone through a recession, with no solid signs of recovery. Pubs and clubs are closing at an unheard of rate. The owners of those that remain open are being constantly squeezed on margins from all angles. Power costs more, booze costs more, rents cost more etc etc, yet the flow of footfall is less. And the people coming through the door don’t have as much cash as they used to – they want to come to the club, get absolutely hammered and forget the real world. And as long as there is some sort of sound track that they know, they couldn’t give a crap about the DJ, the technology they use or if they can ride the pitch with deft and dexterity.

      That’s not the fault of the sync button.

      So the scenario the DJ world finds itself in is considerably more complex than a single button. It’s deeply rooted in the evolution of society and technology, and not at all the fault of a single automated feature in a sea of other apparently acceptable automated features. I get that people need to focus their displeasure on something, but in the case of the sync button it’s wholly inaccurate, unfair and ignores the real causes for the problems in the DJ scene.

    • “A bad dj can’t beatmatch to save his/her life”
      Beatmatching has got NOTHING to do with being a good DJ. It’s not what MAKES you a DJ. People at a party, dancing and having a good time don’t give a damn whether the next song is beat matched or not – they want to hear a good tune. In fact, in some music scenes the audience would expect you to play the whole song beginning to end without mixing.
      There are DJs out there who are doing really well for themselves, working full time and charging high prices, who can’t mix – and their client base is 100% happy with their service…………because they play the right music at the right time.

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  • There was a time when dj’s were thought to be the evil ones, killing the live music scene.
    There was a time when radio was seen in the same light.
    I have never used vinyl. I do use sync. I read my crowd, know my music and pick my tunes. We all dance and get giddy.
    I am a DJ.

    • If I may add to this…

      There was a time when synthesisers and drum machines were going to kill off real musicians. And now the charts is full of axe wielding long haired loons and the synth pop groups are all using real instruments. My view is that DJs who use all the cool stuff that the digital age brings will operate side by side with DJs who use turntables. It’ll balance out.

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  • thomasdequincey

    I’ve been mixing for one and a half years. I’ve used serato for the duration and I never used the waveform, the bpm counter or the sync button (if there is one, I honestly haven’t checked). I still can’t beatmatch perfectly (I mix d&b, house and dubstep which made it a bigger learning curve) so I don’t have the slightest idea where the ‘easy task that takes 8 hours to learn’ concept comes from? I expect to be beat matching almost perfectly (riding the pitch, very, very few mistakes) in another year or two. Nonetheless, it should be taken into account that certain genres are easier than others, for example, house is simple, dubstep is simple because the majority of it is the same bpm but drum & bass is difficult (especially the more techy side). Im currently using two serato vinyls on 1210’s mk5 and a cdj 1000mk1 with cd’s (until I can afford serato SL3). I use the cdj to be more versatile although I far prefer turntables. I simply use serato because it saves me money, I can drop tunes in quicker, i get digital exclusive releases and theres no record shops/cutting houses within 20 miles where I can cut dubs. I would prefer pure vinyl and 3 turntables tbh but there you go.

    This applies to DJ’s who attempt to mix EDM through bpm-matched transition, not the latter-
    The thought that people can step up to any gear and whack out a half decent set without learning how to transition two tracks in its most basic form (beat matching) is both distressing and dissapointing. However, it should be taken into account that a due sum of blending success is crowd interaction, correct EQing, playing the right tunes, seamless mixing and so forth. Nonetheless, the ‘sync’ DJ hasn’t mastered the art in its entirety and lacks the fundamental requirement of ‘mixing’ two tracks together. A suitable analogy would be a vocalist miming at their concert, everything is in place (crowd interaction, sound quality, etc) apart from the most basic requirement. Why do people assume beat matching is a simple task and aren’t bothered about anything but track selection but when they see a vocal artist miming they are extremely disappointed? Isn’t the vocal artist just using the technology at their disposal to make the job simpler, perhaps they are doing it to make time for added creativity?

    The sync button is the equivalent to riding a bike with stabilisers, same goes with bpm counters, waveforms, etc. It a solution, but like a 27 year old man riding a bike with stabilisers, is it a credible and respectful solution?

    I’m not the archetype of a newbie DJ, this is an opinion and I reserve the right of subjectivity.

  • Mike from Canada

    Here is a final argument in sake of Sync!!
    Ubiqituous and industry standard Pioneer, now includes ‘quantize’ for ‘perfect loops’ on their DJM, and CDJ. (a definitive steal from digital djing.)
    Leave the user of Sync be, or we petition against Pioneer for patent infringment, and they will have to remove the quantize, and auto loop off CDJ/ DJM!
    Unknowingly, controleurism movement, has forced Pioneer, Denon, and others to innovate. They leveraged these technology and integrated them (rarely improved on them.)
    “Real DJ” where too busy whining, cursing and bringing digital djs down, not realising the creative, the power, the prowess they can accomplish with these, not to mention leaving crates or bundles of CD behind for lighter gear. (proving to be poor leaders.)
    Doing so left plenty of time for mixer/ media players makers to reinvent themselves! (rather analyse digital dj, confirm trends, reverse engineer, and finally integrate), while getting dj to buy generation after generation of new CDJs and DJM mixers, (not mentionning EFX units!)
    Real dj should have barked at them, and asking why they did not come with these in the first place!
    Attempt a 4 decks/ 16 tracks in less than 2 min, simply impossible to achieve with ‘traditional’ beat matching.
    Add that you want to recreate a conversation, using famous quotes, while a sample beat runs in the background (yeah, can’t really do that on CDJ can you, keys will be mixed up, beats present, etc.) and no sample deck, you really need that fourth deck!
    > pumping bass> > “I have a dream […] Before this decade is over, […] there will be house, […] this is one small step for man, one giant leap for mandkind […] this is how house music was born, […] Yeah, […] can you feel it, CAN YOU FEEL IT! […] oh! […] gime a fat beat. […] yeah [….]” > rythym doubles (pitch fader in key)>>> echo >> drop the channel, (cut and out!)
    Drop your next tune!
    I am a bedroom / familly / coworkers party DJ, so often my
    monitors are not pumping out massive amount of bass to facilitate beat matching!
    (in a club, you would just feel it in your chest.)
    I also like to chat/ have a drink or two with coworkers, family members, after all it’s also my party!
    example, you missed your outro point, so drop a tune or perform a quick loop (another thing the We-Go integrates, interesting!) With traditional
    gear, good luck, you can only loop your outro, if its on a hot cue, which might also sound offly
    off beat, or out of phrase. If you have it on quantize, you might also get a moment of silence (panic at the disco!)
    digital djing, a well organised library, (I personnally use an ‘active
    filter’ in Virtual DJ with as rules, no more than 2 keys off, and 4% of
    bpm difference.)
    LIFE SAVER: Pick the first track, quick sync, add a 4
    or 8 beat auto loop, drop the bass on A, add an effect, and drop B deck
    = life saver!
    If you have tons of time on your hands
    (which I don’t), you can spend hours perfecting the art, writing
    comments in your library, storing cue points, loop points, structuring
    your mix. But your missing out on the party!
    Sync and quantized loops and to a lesser
    extent: effects, hot cues, stored loops (which can be done with
    Rekordbox), take out the ‘manual’ art of djing. Yet opening up djing
    to the 21st century!

  • easy to spot who the controllerists are on these comments btw. to me, bottom line: there are artists who dedicate years of practice in order to perfect their craft (real DJ’s) and there are people who want just the result and will happily use paint by numbers (sync DJ’s) and the lowest of low will even tackle a dot to dot when feeling brave (automix/pre-recorded sets)

    • Branden

      Nobody cares.

    • fred

      I started on vinyl, I can beat match very well. It comes down to this: do you want to spend your time dicking around trying to match or do you want to have a more creative mix? Sync just makes more things possible. Especially if you are an EDM dj, it makes no sense to bother with sync. Honestly, for me, DJs who don’t use sync in my experience are way shittier than those who do. You know what I like? never train wrecking. And you know what else? I call bullshit on DJs who say sync is for chumps, but then end up using loops and effects all the time.

  • fabmalife

    i totaly agree

  • Sef

    ive been djing for close to 20 years, started of with vinyl and then had to go down the cd player way because pretty much all the clubs around Melbourne did not have a good set up for turntables, i slowly moved on to Serato which was awesome because i could play vinyl and not have any feedback what so ever.

    During my time as a dj i have seen a few people come and play with ableton, they have also used the “Sync Feature” on it which i am not a fan off and i have also seen a well known female dj in AUS who uses premixed cd’s while she plays but thats another argument all together about fake djs, at the end of the day the dj still needs to be able to read the crowd, no our to KEY mix, no when to mix the track, read there levels and of course read the crowd.
    The “Sync button” does help you mix but what that does compared to everything else that a djs needs to do while playing turns out to be not much at all.
    At the end of the day if djs want to use it then let them, its there to be used so you can use it if you want or just ignore it but if a dj can’t do anything while playing then they are completely useless.

  • Can’t say, that I really love the SYNC button, but for some moments it can be very usefull, like when you want to loop a moment and mix it with other track. If you mixing on CDJs, you need to control jog/pitch for better tune, also you want to add some effects in this moment, adjust EQ and mix everything clear and well, you need four hands! =)))

    But, yeah, PROs can make it, because they are PROs, they know how catch all things together without any problems.

    Me too was started with SL’s, after I migrated to CDs, then CDJs was staffed with BPM counter and beatmatching was accelerated for a little bit. Now I use Traktor with iPad as controller (TouchOSC is amazing), but I still do not use the SYNC button, even on Traktor, besides the Remix Decks.

    And you know, I feel my self better, because I know, that I can find the right speed in seconds, can keep it synced with other track without looking on actual BPM and I really don’t care about, what people on the dancfloor thinks about me, use I SYNC button or not, because they don’t care about how I mixing, they just want to dance!

    So I don’t think that the SYNC button is a real bad, just I don’t prefer to work so.
    I like to keep all things in my hands and control them by self.

    To be honest, I heard from some users, that sometimes SYNC not work as it must.
    What you will do in this moment, SYNC lovers? =)

  • This is what I cal SYNC! :)))

    “CHI-TOWN DJ.”

  • Mike

    Really glad I came across this article. I’ve been djing for 6 years and started with cds. Cds of course at the time were still popular. I switched to Serato a year later which made life easier on me especially since I’m open format. Serato has been great to me for years but I’ve just gotten so inspired by Traktor after watching Dj Tech Tools vids. I’m all for embracing technology and I think sync is absoultely awesome especially if you’re a open format djing having to mix all sorts of styles for a crowd. This can make your track selection 10times better since you can worry more about the track selection than the beatmatching. I love blending in some rock jams with hip hop (mashups) and that’s when sync comes in handy (doesnt always work 100% since is live acoustics). Anyways, I just think people need to chill out and embrace todays technology. Dj Craze and Dj Shiftee actually use sync and for those that don’t know, they are DMC champs. This tool enables them to focus on more creative things such as fx, blending, scratch routines, etc. At the end of the day, it’s what’s coming through the speakers that counts. Djing is so controversial like religion and it really shouldn’t be. Music is relative. People have their own preferences. Would you rather carry around a Walkman cassette player or a iPod? EMBRACE THE TECHNOLOGY!!

    For those who may night believe me of the DMC champs using sync, I think you should read this article where they state it 😀

  • Liam JLT

    Coming In late here but I ran into a veteran DJ at a card game. He was complaining about how Sync “mixes for you” and how an electronic DJ used Traktor to mix for him. It made me wonder rhetorically, did he didn’t even know what it was Sync or Traktor did? I then asked him did the crowd care or notice? Did they like his set? He scoffed and I thought to myself this guy’s music passion is misplaced. He cares more about the craft than the quality of the product and the amusement of the listener.

    DJ killer? Yes, but only to those who refuse to innovate.

    Haters, get on the boat cause it’s leaving port. Ever heard of Kodak or Blockbuster video?

    Peace I’m out.

  • Dr Smith

    I worked with a Dj who uses the deadly sync and have no respect for him but not for this reason only, it seems that most of the time younger djs have no knowledge of music. I would rather hear 2 good tracks faded together than hear 2 terrible songs mixed amazingly well (synced or not) because they will still be terrible songs. Its about, and always has been about THE MUSIC. Too much ‘style over substance’ these days.

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  • The sync button on my Traktor S4 has dramatically improved the flexibility of my DJ’ing. Having the ability to sync up to 4 tracks to a tempo fader allows me to swing the BPM north or south at will, seamlessly blending between the many genres I wish to employ. I still bring a turntable to set, but I use it more as an instrument and a DJ tool rather than a staple for my mixing platform. Now I am the conductor and all of my tracks move when I tell them too, simultaneously. It’s epic.

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  • Zacco

    synchronization is an upcoming revelution of being a Disk Jockey, nothing stays the same.

    I Bet you in the next 100 years the worlds greatest DJ for 2113 will ask him or herself ” what the hell is beatmatching?”

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  • bigot

    The real problem is not the sync button. It is that today,
    playing recorded audio makes you a “musician”. That’s crazy.

    Real musicians dedicate years of practice in order to
    perfect an instrument. They do not press buttons and turn knobs while playing
    the music of somebody else. At least when they play the music of another, it is
    usually an interpretation which comes from the musician, not a disc.

    Recorded audio has made being a “musician” much more common
    to the point that it ruins the business of the real musicians. Now, kids that
    play recorded audio can make much more than the person or group that recorded
    that audio. These kids do not deserve this. Even worse, these kids are only
    interested in the perks that come with being a DJ, not for the love of music.
    If they really loved music, they would express it through the pluck of a string
    or the sound of a snare. They would have to learn music properly and take time
    to learn the craft. They would not take the recorded audio shortcut.

    Sadly, recorded audio will lead newcomers down the wrong
    path. They will not know how to play an instrument. If the trends continue,
    kids will be useless in front of a real instrument. At best, they will sound
    terrible compared to a real musician. The recorded audio culture makes
    newcomers lazy, and it destroys the music scene at its roots.

    The thought that “musicians” can just play recorded audio
    without soul or essence is distressing and disappointing. I see a future where
    computers make songs for us.

    • Branden

      No one ever said DJ’s were musicians or that using the ‘Sync’ button makes you a musician. Quit striking up non-existent arguments.

    • Why are you a member of this site ABOUT DJING?

    • Doni

      no man, that’s not it at all. You can still use turntables as an instrument and if you were doing that, then sync wouldn’t even be helpful. Being a DJ is not the same thing as being a musician. You are running the beats, it’s a totally different thing. Take a guy like squarepusher. Respected artist, right? He’s been doing live performances with sync for years. Is he a sell out? Is he not a musician? Get your argument straight friend.

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  • Thebuttonfreak

    People used to be able to do all the shot you guys are talking about AND beatmatch. Also beatmatching is fun, why wouldn’t you want to do it, and if it’s so easy why do my ears want to fall off whenever your precious sync doesn’t work with the track you’re playing.

    • ZeroPressure

      Could not agree more. Beatmatching is not easy and it is a skill that requires constant use. I find if I do not play for a couple couple of months I loose touch with my decks and beatmatching becomes a lot more difficult. Surely it comes back after a few hours of playing, but it is a bit like speaking a foreign language when you have not used it for some time. And if it is so easy, why is everyone so keen on this button??? I was in a party last Satuday night and half of the dj’s using laptops were not doing anything else other than dancing to the music. And I see this more and more these days. This is the big problem Synch has created. That almost anyone can be (or pretend to be) a dj these days. I would agree Synch can be useful to minimise mistakes and speed up your recordings, but I would never use it live. Like I said, beatmatching is NOT easy and it is a skill that requires a lot of time to master and conserve.

  • If people are scared of this, Wait till they find out that some DJ equipment has removed the Jogwheel/Platter entirely.


    • They’ll never be eradicated though. It’s still the preferred method for most DJs.

    • It’s interesting how Traktor Kontrol X1 takes this approach.

  • I don’t see the problem with the sync? If you have just don’t use it! IMO beat matching is just a tiny part of it. Getting the tunes right bringing then in at the right time in key etc is more important. My kid could sync up a couple of tunes but bring the tracks in all over the place making it sounds terrible.

    • Exactly, merely a tool to allow you to focus more on other things. I use the sync button for almost every transition I make. I usually have to change the pitches of songs before I hit sync anyway and I usually still have to adjust and whatnot so it doesn’t really get you all the way there. Also my sync can sync to any four beats so I have to know I’m starting on the one. And all that is before I even have to worry about song selection, key matching, timing, eq’ing, etc. Also, it allows me to mix songs much faster while maintaining clean and long transitions and still having the ability to play whatever I want. Without sync, I would need a completely prepared setlist in order to get through 30 to 40 songs an hour which is what I usually aim for.

  • uh oh….. here we go.

  • From a guy who started mixing in1975. Bought his first 1200 in 1980. The craft of beatmatching was a skill that was very hard to match in the old Disco days. ( pre drum machine). I walk away for thirty years. I try never to use it. the bpm are already on the screen. Beat matching is one thing, but creating a transition flawlessly in key at perfect timeing is truely being a great Dj. It consist of a array of fade in and outs with effects and loops. DJ has become easier in the sense of beat matching but that is now only pebble in the bucket. I bought a NS7FX three years ago. I enjoy the new school. I am 50 years young. check out my mixes on sound cloud. Tony the cuban.

    • Tom Vear

      gonna check you out dude ! interesting comments too!

  • lol “dj’s”

  • No one ever talks about beat grids, and how you still have to beat match your track “BY EAR” to the click in your software. Only difference is you only do it once with minor adjustments here and there.

  • Sync will not fill a dancefloor
    Sync will not get you gigs 🙂 i love synk ,make me dj fast and do other things.

  • Great article!!!!!!

  • My car has a sync button too. … for the air condition 😉

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  • Dallas Martin

    On the real note… Sync features are never 100% accurate. Like you mentioned, it just speeds up the process a bit. Tap that sync button to align your tempo and you save several seconds per track by up and down sliding that pitch control. This allows the “mix” to become more involved. Which much of what technology truly allows you to do. Work that EQ. Double up and loop the track. Sample in that next track. These are all just the surface.

  • Master Mind

    This whole discussion about sync vs manual beatmatching makes me think that everything evolves its the nature of life itself. When was the last time anyone who is opposed to sync actually went out with a spear or bow and arrow to catch his own meal ? I get it some of the oldskool have seen technology rapidly take off and are probably more scared of being left behind than anything else. Jump on bandwagon, try Traktor its alot of fun 🙂

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  • devon

    I use sync for record purposes but I do want to learn how the match bpm the old fashion way, but until I master that I use sync for my “mixes” (per say)

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  • I been spinning since back in the 80’s when I was 16 years old!! I feel completely connected to what your saying and I agree with you wholeheartedly!!! SYNC is technology. It is a tool to better a performance. Calling it “speed dial” is as accurate a comparison as can be. Thanks for your insight and thanks most of all to Pioneer for breaking new heights and actually bringing the art of DJing to new levels!! Long live the new era of DJ’s and the tools that have been implemented to make the experience that much more amazing!!!

  • Mardi Mars

    I am backwards.. I started with making music then used ableton to play it live (ish) , (synced) then used tractor (synced) as ableton kept crashing, then started djing other peoples tracks as well as mine, then sadly released that that got more people dancing lol.Now traktor has given me the shits as it was painful to plug everything in (unless you get a nexus mixer at the venue) Now I’m playing around with vinyl… and i love the challenge! so much more fun than tractor or cdjs, though the years of sync allowed me to be totally free with mixing and doing things like get precise hot loops and cue points to jump around tracks and create on the fly.

    To be perfectly honest, the end product is your people dancing so do what ever it takes to get that result.

  • Everett Ryan IV

    Its beyond obvious the only djs that whine about sync button are either, not really that big of dj themselves most likely not the type that would tour the country, 2, they have a mad ego problem and want to feel better about themselves, 3. they are against technology. It takes someone that is on a supreme level of stupidity to be against technology.

  • Danny Incantalupo

    Sorry but I’m going to have to disagree with you . Synch is mixing and it is allowing you to have no skill whatsoever with mixing and just allow you to stand there and let something do something for you. There is a skill to mixing record’s . From the push off of the record your mixing in on the first beat to staying on top of the mix with your hand on the pitch control staying pin point focused and making any adjustments if necessary while riding out 2 and three minute long mixes track after track after track on your set is whether you’d like to admit it or not a skill and it was and should still be today a skill that d.j.’s should which should also be the determination in what gig’s they get to play at . Now since we can agree that mixing record’s is an actual skill in d.jing just like scratching as well i think it would also be fair to say that if you were to buy a ticket to see the New York philharmonic play and you went to see them play and they placed there instrument’s in the hand’s of robot’s and just sat back and clapped there hand’s while a bunch of robot’s played there instrument’s – that would be pretty disappointing and would be the same comparison to what is going on today and it is pretty sad. Yes there are knob’s to turn with filter’s on dj mixers which anyone could do and there are button’s to press that slice beat’s up and you can do this while turning knob’s which once again anyone can do because this is all quantized to the beat’s automatically . But to stay focused on a mix while truly mixing and not relying on something doing it for you and you being the human editing machine in real time while blending it out with EQ’s and staying on top of that mix from beginning to end track after track on your set – That’s a skill set and a skill set that every d.j. performing should have and be required to have and actually do while performing. It’s turned into a oh well i produce track’s so why can’t i d.j. as well game – Hmmmmmm Why????? Because you really don’t need to if you can’s and if you can’t why cheat and be a poser – oh the fame and the extra money that’s why – Wow i didn’t know this world has turned into a world of free money hand’s out’s for a bunch of posers – maybe it then pay’s to be fake – hhhmmm i know maybe i should just do 1000 sit up’s a day turn into a super model and look to get d.j. gig’s because that seems to be the judgement on whether your going to make it or not these day’s as well. I know your sitting back and saying oh well he just has an old way of thinking and he is not progressing with the times. Really????? because last time i looked the new york philharmonic are playing the same old violins that they have from years and years ago – matter of fact the older and well preserved they are the more they are worth and yes they are still playing those violins the same way they use to . Look Mixing is an art form. It is a skill set – there should be no way around this and no excuses made to justify people not being able to mix regardless of the bells and whistles they put on d.j. mixer’s to do effect’s . Not everyone is into loud loud music with lot’s of drum rolls and loud noises. Some people play downtempo house music and tech house that don’t require all of this effect’s and filter’s – so then what left???? Mixing – the fundamental skill that all d.j’s should have if they are playing at clubs and festivals and if pay checks are being thrown away to people that aren’t really doing anything just for the simple fact that they are a producer that “want to be” a D.J. then I think the whole scene really needs to be reevaluated for it’s authenticity . Here a set of mine “Actually” mixed from beginning to end – Enjoy

    • Martin Ros

      i been djing 18 years and learned on vinyl….i can beatmatch in half a second….its just unnecessary…being able to use sync opens up a whole new can of worms and allows for more creative mixing….it only makes sense…technology progresses…with vinyl you can`t use key correct to mix harmonically….you can`t loop or jump beats in realtime…..beatgrids and sync are great because it gives the DJ more flexibility to do things on the fly that end up sounding dope as shit…that they might have never tried to do otherwise……i`ll quote abraham lincoln as saying “the dogma`s of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present.” DJ`s get mad about new technology so much…and i get it…they want to remain relevant they see new jack talentless hacks getting gigs….and blame the innocent sync button….when they should be blaming the promoters for letting these talentless hacks buy their way into bookings…….but to say that a dj lacks talent because they use sync is a complete logical fallacy….go tell that to DJ Craze…arguably one of the best DJ`s to ever live…who uses sync all the time….people will either evolve with the times….or be haters that get left in the dust…..DJ`s need to embrace this technology and let it open up new horizons for them not be cynical and backwards thinking about it…..EDM has always been a forward thinking constantly evolving artform that goes hand-in-hand with DJing…..if DJ`s can`t learn to evolve with EDM and new techno-logy as it becomes available….whats the point?

      • djkoz78

        Dj Craze learned to beatmatch by ear first.

        • Martin Ros

          uhh so did i thats the point if you can do it by ear who da fuq cares? this sort of debate is bullshit….the only thing that matters is what is coming out of the speakers in the end…90 pecent of people could give a shit about sync, or any other technical speak about djing they want to dance and hear good tunes…

  • Tom Vear

    So I have listened to drum and bass for longer than i can remember, a few months ago i was listening to something quite special and asked myself, why cant i enhance my listening experience by mixing all this music that i have come to love so much? Off i went and bought a controller two months ago with studio monitors and a half capable laptop.

    when i began using serato with this configuration i left the sync button on and things were sounding amazing, or more to the point the mix i was creating far exceeded my expectations at such an early stage of learning.

    I read about his sync button, i felt as though it was too easy and i may ave been missing out on learning an important aspect about mixing. I mean, what if i am in a situation where i only have vinyl and a mixer? ‘Sorry guys im going to struggle with mixing on this hardware, i need my laptop to fix the beat match’? no, i wanted a well rounded learning experience.

    So i turned that little red f*cker off – initially my slips and mistakes became very apparent. But after 30 minutes or so i was doing the same things and making mixes that i was happy with once again… conclusion as a total newbie? Im glad i have and will continue to learn all about beat matching and would rather leave the sync button off while im learning but really, i have to totally agree with this article (As a total clueless newbie!) in the respect that track selection and what you mix is appear far more vital than weather or not somebody used sync, sync is an automation and i imagine that countless things have been already automated. We do this in my area of specialty in work, things that i would have had to hard code years ago now generated by the click of the button – but that leaves us to move forward and spend our attentions on being more creative………..or plain lazy – but that’s up to yo!

  • Martin Ros

    i been djing 18 years and learned on vinyl….i can beatmatch in half a second….its just unnecessary…being able to use sync opens up a whole new can of worms and allows for more creative mixing….it only makes sense…technology progresses…with vinyl you can`t use key correct to mix harmonically….you can`t loop or jump beats in realtime…..beatgrids and sync are great because it gives the DJ more flexibility to do things on the fly that end up sounding dope as shit…that they might have never tried to do otherwise……i`ll quote abraham lincoln as saying “the dogma`s of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present.” DJ`s get mad about new technology so much…and i get it…they want to remain relevant they see new jack talentless hacks getting gigs….and blame the innocent sync button….when they should be blaming the promoters for letting these talentless hacks buy their way into bookings…….but to say that a dj lacks talent because they use sync is a complete logical fallacy….go tell that to DJ Craze…arguably one of the best DJ`s to ever live…who uses sync all the time….people will either evolve with the times….or be haters that get left in the dust…..DJ`s need to embrace this technology and let it open up new horizons for them not be cynical and backwards thinking about it…..EDM has always been a forward thinking constantly evolving artform that goes hand-in-hand with DJing…..if DJ`s can`t learn to evolve with EDM and new techno-logy as it becomes available….whats the point? this debate is akin to driving a 1981 chevette when you could be driving a 2015 honda civic or some shit……did anyone ever say drivers weren`t really driving because they used cruise control? at the end of the day or nite….what matters is what is coming out of the speakers…and whether or not it sounds like total rubbish…..if anything sync raises the bar…because it forces dj`s to get more creative and work more with making mixing fun and interesting….there is definitely a difference between “guetta-sync” and just sync……when you produce tracks people use drum loops from packs that other producers make A LOT….and PRODUCERS bitch about that….but they aren`t bitching about SYNC because it is used in production all over the board…… from automation, to syncing effects like delays which applies to DJing as well especially bypassed latched events…that can be SYNC`d to stage props like pyrotechnics..also comes in handy with video which a lot of DJ`s are starting to encorporate into live sets thanks to…can u guess??? SYNC!!!!!!….but again…all that matters is what is coming out of the speakers…..if you were a guitar player would you need to make your own guitar to feel validation when playing it? would that make you a better player? of course not…..there is nothing new on earth that hasn`t been done in some way, shape, or fashion….originality comes from taking something everyone else is doing and making it your own…those are the pioneers the innovators…and the way forward…..i suggest anyone who dislikes sync….should try it and see where they can take their mixes to evolve to the next step….crossfade switches on 4 channel mixers, levels and soo many dope things can be done using sync if you`re just plain djing anymore…you`re really missing out and selling yourself short….watch anyone with some skill mix with sync and you`ll see exactly what i`m saying.

    • calledit78

      I have a friend who can beat match so fast and able to do all the other things that you talk about. I learned on vinyl and can do it too but he is on another level. It is called he put in the hard work to be able to do that. When I watch him mix it is impressive that he can do all the tricks and correct the beat match, his hands are so fast and precise. When he sees people claiming to be a Dj but press sync buttons. He shows them how it is really done, then they looked embarrassed and quickly high tail it out of there cause they look like fools. I asked him once how much time he put in to have that skill level, and he would point at where is decks were and say I have stood and looked at that spot on the wall forever. If you want to be good you got to put 4-5 hours every day for years.

  • Martin Ros

    someone just replied to my comment that dj craze learned to beatmatch by ear…..i never said he didn`t… did i….who cares? its good to know how….any half wit can learn it in about a week with a little practice and the right explanation of the objective….IE try not to touch the platter….only use the adjustment slider etc….its not nearly as big a deal as people make it out to be….and its not going to automatically make you good if you use sync or automatically make you suck….people that think otherwise must not know anything about djing the right way and the mechanics behind the whole entire process….it takes a dynamic range of skills to DJ well…and beatmatching is on the bottom of that list.