ADE Conference 2011: Push The (Sync) Button: Yes or No?

During the conference at ADE 2011 (Amsterdam Dance Event), one panel discussed the controversial issue around the Sync button, which can be found in many of the popular digital DJing software. TraktorBible recorded the complete panel discussion for you.


Does Mixing No Longer Matter? — Push The (Sync) Button: Yes or No?

While sequencing, track selection and performing remain as important as ever for DJing, ADE asks whether the invention of the synch button; the one click perfect mix function, renders the fourth previously key factor, beat-matching, obsolete.

And whether it is or isn’t, what are the implications instant mixing, layering and looping offer for the new (and not so new) DJ prepared to embrace all the opportunities the latest new technology can deliver?

And with absolutely anybody able to technically mix as well as, if not better, than any other professional DJ, where does this leave those DJs who insist on still playing with vinyl and manually mixing in CDs? Particularly if next generation clubbers become intolerant of human error. ADE assembles a panel of equipment manufacturers and top DJs to push or not to push, the button.

Taken from the official ADE conference program

The Panel

Moderator: Dave Clarke (GB/NL)
Professional DJ for over 20 years, radio host, producer, remixer, consultant in both business and technical.

Baptiste Grange (Serato / Discobole Media, DE)
After 5 years working for Ableton and close to 10 years in the industry, Baptiste looks after the Serato brand in Europe.

Paul Hamill (Psycatron/Planet E/BBC Radio, IR)
Paul is one half of the highly successful Irish duo Psycatron who alongside partner Dave Lievense has appeared on Planet E, Cocoon, R&S and Bedrock amongst others. Paul also presents Ireland's longest running Electronic radio show on BBC NI. ATL Dance is into it's 11th year and works to support the music of Irish electronic artists.

Rik Parkinson (Pioneer, GB)
Having worked for Pioneer UK over the past five years as a Product Executive looking after training and demonstrating the equipment Pioneer manufactures, Rik recently moved into a European role developing the DJ hardware.

Gregor Tresher (DE)
Gregor Tresher began his career as a DJ in Frankfurt in the early '90s; today, he can be found playing that trade at venues around the world, from Berlin to Tokyo, Sydney to Los Angeles. Following two critically-acclaimed albums credited to his Sniper Mode alias, Tresher broke through as a producer under his own name via his 2005 releases Still and Neon, his remix of Sven Väth's "Komm," and his contribution to Cocoon's Compilation F, "Full Range Madness." In addition to releasing tracks on countless other esteemed labels, including Intacto, Great Stuff, Rebel One, Ovum, and Moon Harbour, Tresher launched his own eclectic imprint, Break New Soil, in 2009. Lights From The Inside is the third Gregor Tresher studio album, following his debut A Thousand Nights (2008) and The Life Wire (2009).

Terry Weerasinghe (Native Instruments, DE)
Head of marketing for Native Instruments and has spent the last decade working for DJ equipment manufacturers (Pioneer / Technics / Native).


Author: Rainer G. Haselier
Published on October 24, 2011



Chris Jennings
wrote on October 24, 2011 at 14:42
Thanks so much for posting this Rainer!
Grizzly Adams
wrote on October 25, 2011 at 06:03
mixing two records is no big thing and who on the dancefloor cares that the mix is handpitched.

I can't hear the discussion anymore.

It will always be the music that make people dance not the sync button.

is it fake to write the bpm on your records?
dj grayskull
wrote on October 25, 2011 at 13:51
It's true, seeing someone mix one track to the next in the last 4 bars is boring and if they are using the sync function its even worse. You can't hold it against someone for using sync if they are rocking 3 decks + samples, loops & fx. (Yes there are people who can do that without sync but most of us are human). No-one has mentioned the fact that many tracks do not keep perfect time and the sync function won't work 100%. The ends are more important than the means no?
Dj Hatim Funky aka TOMAHAWK
wrote on October 27, 2011 at 19:01
Sync button is an option!!...use it or not it's up to you but it will NEVER define you as a DJ!! it's funny how it is now you can press that button and BOOM you're a DJ?? sorry guys it takes much more to be one from your musicality to tracks knowledge to reading the crowd...
dissing technology like that is like saying: we're not smart now for using mobile phones while back in the day we used to memorise all our friends numbers.
wrote on October 28, 2011 at 04:19
Awesome video. It's nice to see the Serato & NI guys at least pretending like their gonna make a joint product together. I doubt it will ever really happen but it's nice to think about. I think they finally hit the main point home when the moderator said that this isn't a point about who's right/wrong or good/bad it's more about the older DJs romanticizing about the golden age.
 Rainer G. Haselier (admin) says:
There is no technical need restricting the timecode support to their own or to certified audio interface. Both NI and Serato simply want to sell their own hardware. I missed in the panel discussion any attempt to understand WHY the discussion is so emotional. And the romantic aspect could be one the reasons.
wrote on October 29, 2011 at 04:35
I totally understand both NI and Serato their competing for the same money and creating a mixer like that would create an industry standard but it would kill their bottom line. I know at least in America many teens and young adults are beginning to get into DJing and that's great but they always want the newest and greatest hardware. I see both NI and Serato putting out products on an iPhone type model. Make people want to upgrade their gear every other year or so even though what they works.
wrote on October 30, 2011 at 23:22
Wenn der Richie Hawtin mit seiner Minuscrew irgendwo aufschlägt, da is das gesamte Set aller über MasterClock Beatsync!!! Will hier irgendwer behaupten Richie, Gaiser und Konsorten wären deshalb keine "echten" Dj´s??
Brauche doch nicht die sync um mich mit meiner Musik auszudrücken!!!
wrote on November 3, 2011 at 02:46
I think that sync button is an option (technology always runs forward, and thats good). But the feeling and the way of mixing makes the different. Unfortunately not many people are able to find the different, espesialy when they are in the club on the dance floor.

But think about that example...Gregor Tresher/(or many other good producers + djs), i have some of his songs but i am not able make the same feeling like him/them.
Some friends of mine sometimes said to me that they have the same s
wrote on November 7, 2011 at 19:07
I come from a long background with vinyl. I have been mixing records for more than 30 years…my first turntables were from the days before there were even Technics 1200s….so my history in the industry is long established. Listening to some of these old curmudgeons in this video talk about “sync” like it is a dirty word is comical.

#1 – beat mixing isn’t that difficult. The fact that you can do it on vinyl, does not make your special. Big deal, get off your high horse.
#2 – there is a big
wrote on November 7, 2011 at 19:07
#2 – there is a big difference between using sync to mix your tracks (on a basic level) and using sync to the full extent of its capabilities

Anyone that has ever played around with Traktor or any program that has “sync” and actually taken the time to do it well, knows that it is not nearly as easy as hitting a button. To sync properly, you have to spend lots of time mapping your tracks, listening to them all the way through – finding loop and grid points. By the time you have properly beat
wrote on November 7, 2011 at 19:08
By the time you have properly beat gridded 20 tracks – many hours have passed and not only have you been paying attention to your tracks much more closely than any CD DJ, but you have also been paying attention to song structure, what goes with what etc. I know more about my tracks since I have been using Traktor, than I have since the days of vinyl…many years ago.
Seb H
wrote on December 8, 2011 at 17:45
Sync button is exactly like driving aids for cars. You can be a professional of driving (i.e.: a taxi driver) and this is obvious that you will use driving, braking, assists, because it helps the driver to be concentrated on the most important thing : bringing smdb to its destination. You do you job well when you reach this goal.
On the other hand, you have professional "racing" drivers : they have to show how fast they can drive on a track, competing with other drivers : competition rules wil
Seb H
wrote on December 8, 2011 at 17:46
will define which driving assists systems are allowed on not.
Applying this to Djs ans sync button as "DJing assist", you can use it if your goal is to make people dance all night long by selecting your tracks, adding effects, loops, transitions, etc. to your mix and make it unique and original. If sync button can free your time to do that, then just use it ! But now if you are mixing in a contest vs other DJ, it takes sense to disable syncing and show how good you are with your hands.
This i
Seb H
wrote on December 8, 2011 at 17:46
This is as simple as that..
wrote on December 22, 2011 at 07:47
I find it funny that guys using CDJ's dis the sync button when they have a readout of the BPM onscreen. Simply slide the tempo and make the numbers match. Real skill there! I recently picked up on using a set of turn tables. It took me all of 2 hours to beat match two old DISCO songs almost perfectly and then onwards from there. Like so many have said already. It is the crowd that is to enjoy the performance. If you can read them, play the appropriate tracks and then use this modern technology t
wrote on December 24, 2011 at 09:23
Kudos to you! I hadn't tohuhgt of that!
wrote on January 1, 2012 at 21:28
dj's are getting older and new dj's will come.
The sync button will be a normal basic thing like the on and out switch of a laptop.
The sync button will be better and better in the future so why should a young dj spend his time on trying to
sync his records manually ?
I have a new car now so why should I use the old car that I have to push to get it started?
Just live with it!

wrote on January 2, 2012 at 22:26
Long time dj... started on Vinyl... worked on CDJ... now have Traktor and a controller with Sync. Honestly I use sync. But I know how to beatmatch in the instance that hte sync isn't working right because of a faulty beatmap.

But it shouldn't be a big deal for others to conern themselves how others mix THEIR music. Don't like it, find a dj who suits your style and dance.

Spoony Love from Up Above
wrote on January 6, 2012 at 16:31
Flip - you should learn to mix so you know what to do when your computer crashes, you dont look like a fool in front of a room full of people....just like a mechanic needs to know how to no just read the computer on a car, but actually fix a leak, turn a brake drum etc.

Sync doesnt excuse you from learning the basics.
wrote on January 11, 2012 at 14:02
mk is right. By all means, sync away. But know how to mix manually, just in case. Even Macs can die on you. What would you do if your computer dies? Tell the promoter and crowd "my computer's dead, I can't play". Kiss goodbye to DJing bro!
Or, you can whip out your 'emergency CDs' and carry on like a pro! Pulling that off will make you desireable to promoters because it shows you are professional enough to have a bit of foresight.
I never leave the house without my emergency backup.
wrote on January 19, 2012 at 21:52
If you use the sync button, you have to do 2 tracks in one mix lots of good effects and then beat-matching doen't matter. be crazy!!!
wrote on January 22, 2012 at 11:34
with vinyl, but because people start looking up to them (popularity)

2. Most people use MP3, and the soundquality goes down down down. CD quality or WAV at least, is 10 times better
wrote on January 25, 2012 at 13:15
I started with Vinyl in 98, then traktor scratch pro down the track and now happily enjoying midi control systems.

I enjoy DJ'ing not because it is easy or hard. But because it is a learnt skill. Of course there are performers using multiple decks and instruments and even non instruments. Using sync amongst all this is understandable .even a function of the construction of the completed sound.. I mean wow, some people are truly talented.
However, If I pay $60 for a ticket to see a well kno
wrote on January 25, 2012 at 13:17
as per above.. cut me off..

However, If I pay $60 for a ticket to see a well known artist and notice them taking the piss by Playing their entire set on Ableton live ( which I have). Standing around on stage and not even pretending to be doing anything at all. Give me a break ….and my money back thanks.
wrote on January 30, 2012 at 07:36
I can't believe I've been going for years whitout knowing that.
wrote on February 2, 2012 at 16:49
I'm 31.
I grew up with vinyl so I can beatmatch on technics....
I also don't like digitalism so much because in my opinion nothing can't beat the sound of vinyl thru a technics turntable and a rodec mixer :)
I use the sync in tractor and I notice sometimes I have to adjust a little bit and that I do with the phase function.
Beatmatching manualy is also no problem for a beginner I think ,if you now the bpm of the record you only have to make the phase go together.(two or three seconds of work
wrote on February 15, 2012 at 16:06
Just switched to digital few weeks ago, been on vinyls for 15years, ... sync is great, although, it doesn t make you a good dj.
Track selection, when to blend in and when to blend out your tracks, crowd reading, correct EQing, that is what is making a good dj.
On the dance floor, nobody cares/knows what you re doing as long as you can create and keep a vibe, an atmosphere.
It s always going to be other envious being who wants your job that are going to give
wrote on February 15, 2012 at 16:09
you bad looks or remarks...
just shut up and dance!
wrote on February 21, 2012 at 22:57
Have been playing vinyl for about 15 years, only using traktor for about a year with timecode. I reluctantly started using sync, but now I love it, it has opened up so many more possibilities. It's easy to beatmatch, this is fresh and allows so much more control layering a mix and looping without wasting time thinking about beatmatching
wrote on May 11, 2012 at 05:09
Just came across this. My thoughts on the sync button are - who cares? Beatmatching is an essential skill for the vinyl dj, but is still just a formality. Taking one less thing I have to do out of the equation lets me focus on more interesting elements of the mix. My focus can be on the musical/artistic side of playing and less on technical hangups. That's a good thing.
wrote on January 6, 2013 at 22:38
the sync button is just a tool.

A bad dj with the sync button is still a bad dj.

There is nothing bad with the sync button, it allows you to think about your mix instead of the beatmatch and being more creative.


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