The Polarizing Topic of DJ Software “SYNC”
DJing is art to many. The seamless blending of two tracks, on beat and harmonically, while layering in effects, scratching, loops and triggered samples to create an experience that’s transcendent for the audience.
As with any art form, there are many techniques and mediums to accomplish the artist’s goal. A sculpture uses a pickaxe, a painter a brush, a pottery maker a wheel-head – and many performance artists have introduced technology to better accomplish their end-goal : creating a work of art people will gravitate to and enjoy. This is not unlike DJing today.
There are quite a few so-called DJ “purists” out there that shun or otherwise look down upon DJs using DJ software that rely on BPM Sync (or Beat-Sync) to quickly match beats, an important aspect of mixing, but certainly not all there is to it. DJ Technology has evolved for decades, and I suppose these same purists should still be using reel-to-reel tape, or cutting their hair with a lawnmower…
DJ mixing software technology has been front-and-center for almost 15 years now. It’s changed the DJ game entirely, opening up all types of new mixing capabilities. DJ software is the “engine” while DJ controllers are basically big fancy, and many time expensive steering wheels. Built-in effects, samplers, looping and slicing are standard in most software, opening up creative freedoms more traditional DJ hardware solutions can’t shake a stick at.
I’ve always looked at beat SYNC as a guide more than a crutch. Sure, most DJ software products like our PCDJ DEX 2 and RED Mobile 2 have tweaked SYNC to near perfection, with on-screen beat-grids that visually display audio peaks and valleys, but DJs still need to use sync correctly and mix-in at the right point.
Being a DJ means being a master selector of music, reading the dance floor vibe and selecting the right tune to maintain energy or take listeners on your personally crafted journey. Beat Sync is a tool that allows DJs to focus on other aspects while they mix such as music selection, multiple synced tracks (4 decks), tweaking effects and working the crowd – after all it’s a performance for the people, and just like any artist it’s about the end-goal: Make people move.
I’m a fan of SYNC.
Here’s a video demonstration of PCDJ DEX 2’s “beat-sync” feature: