What is sync mixing and how this works?

Sync Mixing is an objective subject. Every DJ today will debate this topic and say that the DJ that uses Sync is not a real DJ. Honestly, I have the same opinion towards sync. I am very old school and I consider sync as a form of cheating. Don’t hate me for my opinion, as I mentioned — it’s a touchy subject. Sometimes it can help you, sometimes it can make you look bad. Here are some facts on Syncing and how it works.

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1. How does Sync work?

song mixing

In short, the sync button beat matches two songs with different bpms together. That means if you are playing one song on 128 BPM, and the other song you want to mix in is 125BPM, sync will put the 125 BPM song automatically into 128 BPM just by the push of a button.

It’s simple as that, you don’t have to adjust the tempo or look for a starting kick of a track. Sync will do it all for you. It’s really easy to use. It will make things easier for you and that’s why it’s considered as cheating. Anyone can do this, you don’t even need to have 2 hours of DJ experience and you will already have perfect mixes.

Every new CDJ, DJ software or DJ Controller has this feature. You can also perfectly mix up to 4 tracks at the same time which might create an interesting mash-up. Syncing on that level needs some practice but it’s fairly easy to do.

2. Sync can help you in various situations

Sync can be a helpful tool — imagine a scenario where the track will end in 20 seconds and you don’t have time to beat match it, you can push sync and it will save you in a second. This can be very helpful in this situation.

  • As stated before, it can help you focus more on mixing and creating a unique style with 4 tracks playing at the same time. You don’t have to worry about tempo changes.

It’s also a good tool for beginners as it can help you figure out how everything works so later you can mix without it. Although it can work in your benefit, it can also destroy your DJ career.

3. Why Sync is bad for you

Syncing can be bad for you for a variety of reasons: DJs will look down on you and call you a cheater, managers will not want to book you as anyone could push the sync button and call themselves a DJ.

There are times when it doesn’t sync properly — this will embarrass you — causing your mix to sound more like a horse race.

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It also makes you look like an amateur, you will have too much free time after you sync the track and people will notice you’re not doing anything which will give you bad publicity.

Another reason is that you will be overly focused on your laptop screen and less on the crowd. A lot of DJs use laptops to perform and many people hate laptop DJs as the claim is you’re not a DJ if you DJ off a laptop.

To sum this up: if someone sees you using sync, you’re in for a bad time.

4. Battle of opinions

This is a very opinionated subject. Some say it’s fine, some say it’s not fine. Imagine yourself spending many years perfecting your mixes, carefully listening to every kick in the song, memorising every song and learning to mix them perfectly by manually selecting a tempo, finding track cues and all this with no mistakes. You are proud because you actually know how to mix and you will be able to mix on every type of equipment.

sync mixing

Then, someone comes by with absolutely no experience, has a tracklist and a laptop and mixes better than you because they use sync and they’re not even trying — no skillset is required.

They are fake mixing, trying to impress the manager and take your spot for less money.

This causes an outrage, yet this scenario has happened to many of DJs I know. People that use sync will defend themselves saying they’re still good DJs. I will say the opposite — give that sync DJ a CDJ or turntable without a BPM counter or sync button and watch them fail miserably.

If you’re going to use Sync, then do it discreetly so nobody can figure out what you’re doing and then you might pull it off. If you’re using Sync in your daily mixes, please try to stop and actually learn how to mix properly. You will feel better and nobody will look down on you. Not to mention, proper mixing is much more fun than just pushing one button.

Mixing on CDJs and not staring at the screen is even better as you will focus more on the crowd in front of you. Using a laptop and turntables does not make you a vinyl DJ, it still makes you a laptop DJ with a sync feature.

Be professional, learn how to mix properly and you will actually succeed in the world of DJing.

Conclusion

  • Sync mixing does not show the your skill as a DJ — if you are an absolute beginner and you’re trying to learn — go for it. But don’t make it a habit as you will never move forward. Enjoy learning and become a skilled manual mixing DJ as that is true talent.

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