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Should DJs be using the SYNC button?

Using the SYNC button to DJ

Using the SYNC button is one of the biggest and most controversial debates in the DJ industry. We’re going to look at what SYNC actually is, why its so debated and give you our opinion on this feature.

Over the years as technology has advanced, manufacturers have made the most of the new technology available. As trends have changed turntables have given way to CDJ’s and a couple of years later the technology has advanced further and this gave way to DJ controllers. This has allowed manufacturers to create cheaper products for the marketplace packed full of features that CDJs or turntables don’t necessarily allow.

With this advance in technology has come the ability to sync two tracks together using the DJ software, and eventually hardware.

sync button sx2

What is SYNC?

Sync aims to lock two tracks together, in time with one another, making the mixing process an easier task for DJs. Does this mean beat matching by ear is going to become a thing of the past?

For those DJ’s who have spent years, myself included, learning how to beat match two tracks carefully by ear and perfect their craft as a DJ can feel undermined by this new technology that aims to do this for you, which is what has caused this to become such a contentious subject

What do we think about the SYNC button?

Firstly I should mention, we are a DJ school. We teach people how to DJ, both in the form of online courses and one to one lessons at our studio. I myself started on turntables, moved to CDJs, then back to turntables with DVS, and now use controllers regularly.

We fully believe that to become a confident, strong and talented DJ you must learn to beat match by ear. You will then feel confident on any equipment, regardless of whether it has a SYNC button or not, because you’ve trained your ears to listen to music. To understand its structure, it’s melody and rhythm. There is no button or visual aid that tells you whether your mix sounds good and blends together. There is no visual or button that can teach you rhythm for doing things like hot cue play/finger drumming. By learning to beat match by ear you’re now in control of the music and the equipment, not the other way around.

sync button rekordbox

Does the SYNC button always work?

Something else to watch out for is that for SYNC to truly work the software needs to have analysed the music correctly by applying the correct grid and BPM information. Believe it or not, it doesn’t always get it right! Therefore, you’re putting your trust in the machine, and not yourself. If the BPM and grid information is incorrect and you hit the SYNC button, the mix is 100% going to sound awful.

So in short, we truly believe that when learning to DJ, it is best ignoring the SYNC button. This is something we teach in all of our beginner DJ courses online, and our one to one courses in the studio. If you have a laptop screen, turn it away. If you have a BPM read out on your equipment then cover it up. We guarantee it will help you to become a better DJ in the long run.

So when should I use the SYNC button?

The SYNC button isn’t all bad news. Just like any technology it can be harnessed and used in a creative way. It’s a great way to create seamless transitions when mixing between genres that have huge differences in BPM’s. A lesson that is taught in our Advanced DJ Course for the Numark Mixtrack Pro 3. We also teach you how to do this without a SYNC button though also.

It can make your general mixing sound that much cleaner. Just remember a crowd cannot see the music they can only hear it. They want to hear the best version of that set possible and if the SYNC button helps you achieve that then surely it’s not a bad thing?

sync serato dj

Conclusion

Remember, we listen to music, we don’t watch it. Train your ears first and foremost to be able to beat match and mix. Rely on what your ears hear, not what your eyes see! As soon as you start to rely on those visuals you will only ever be as good as that button or software. This will hinder your creative flow as you become a more confident DJ. That being said, don’t just shy away from the SYNC button totally. Once you are confident at beat matching by ear experiment using the SYNC button to add creativity to your mixing techniques. By speeding up the beat matching process you can now experiment with other mixing style and techniques.

Don’t get lazy and rely on something else to do the work for you. Make sure you are always in control of what you’re doing and most importantly…. HAVE FUN!


If you think you need to improve your beat matching by ear, check out our Online DJ Courses. All the beginner courses have multiple lessons on improving your beat matching by ear with foolproof techniques to make sure you get it right every time.

Click here to view our online DJ courses.

Click here for free DJ lessons

 

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5 Comments
  1. Ronald Floyd

    It all depends on your skills and whether or not to use the sync djs always tell me stop looking at the laptop and look at the hardware

    Reply
  2. DJ Booky

    I think the sync facility has taken the world of DJing to a different leave (and divided it to the same degree).
    when you look back to when CDJs were first launched the opinions were equally divided. You still get the “die hards” who still think “real” DJs only use turntables.
    Tech moves on! Ask those same Djs to give up their smart phones and go back to the old tethered phones or pay phones, you would hear much protest.
    The Sync button has allowed DJs to perform with much more complexity and depth, to the point of live production. Which, if they were still fiddling with the pitchfader it simply wouldn’t be as smooth.
    Yes, DJs must learn the essential skill of manual beat matching, however they mustn’t let it hold them back from advancing the technology.
    AT THE END NIGHT ISN’T ABOUT IF THE CROWD HAD A GOOD TIME.

    Reply
  3. Silkworm

    I agree with the advancement of technology, you wouldn’t ride the Tour de France on a Penny Farthing.

    Reply
  4. DJHARSHWUDS

    Sorry but what the f#ck does it have to do with anyone how someone chooses to mix their tracks if it sounds good and the crowd loves it? Its got absolutely nothing to do with me how another DJ chooses to work. Nothing! I’ve never understood the controversy of the sync button. I used to mix vinyl and loved it, then loved digital as it meant I did have to lug around tons of vinyl. The sync button is bloody great. What does it matter!? If you want to use it then use it. I use it all the time. But i tell you, if you have no ear for good music and track selection it doesn’t matter a flying f#ck about a sync button.
    As DJ Booky says above ‘AT THE END NIGHT ISN’T ABOUT IF THE CROWD HAD A GOOD TIME’. People that complain about stuff like this need to get a f#cking life! lol

    Reply
  5. clark

    this is just IT. nothing to add, nothing is missing. true words spoken

    Reply

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