Home Forums The DJ Booth Using 'sync' for online mixes/radio shows

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    Sam Feneley

    <Note from moderator:>
    Moved this post from Mixes, Music and Shows, which is meant for actual (you guessed it) Mixes, Music and Shows, to the DJ Booth, a place to discuss all things DJ-ing that doesn’t fit in the other categories.

    I’m a 21 year old ‘bedroom DJ’ that has DJ’d at university house parties and more recently in a bar/restaurant in the small city that I live in. I’m an avid user of Mixcloud to try and promote myself and upload new mixes every month or so, which is basically heard only by my closest friends.

    When I DJ in a ‘live’ setting to an audience, I take pride in being able to beat match manually. However, when listening to professional, pre-recorded mixes online (from music labels such as Eton Messy, Selected, Spinnin etc.) they always sound absolutely spot on with no off-beats at all. I feel that during a ‘live’ performance, mistakes add to the ‘live feel’ but when doing an online recording it should sound absolutely perfect – i’ve spent so much time getting 45mins into an hour long mix and hitting the rest button because I made a small beat matching error. I’m a firm believer in being able to manually beat match as one of the basic essentials of DJing – but also see the many benefits of using the sync function too.

    My question is: Do DJ’s use sync when pre-recording mixes to go online? And should I feel like i’m cheating if i do so?

    Any advice appreciated


    • This topic was modified 3 years, 10 months ago by Chuck Van Eekelen. Reason: Moved to correct forum
    Peter Lindqvist


    Good question. Probably, this question has no perfect answer because it will be up to your intentions with your mix. If this is a mix done in a live session, in public or training, there will be small indicators that it is. Anyone not a DJ may not hear it unless it’s an obvious mistake. This is the way I prefer to make my mixes, because this is how I will sound if anyone book me for a gig after listening to my Youtube and other online mixes.

    If the purpose is to make a studio mix for best possible transitions and also promote a brand, not the DJ, like Ministry of Sound or Hed Kandi, you’d prefer doing a multi channel recording for easy editing. The sync button really doesn’t matter in any of the scenarios. IF you don’t want people to associate you with using the sync button for any reason, don’t use it.

    For me, this is just as simple as this. Then, I’d also recommend doing twice as long mixes, an hour and a half. Aiming for 45 min, you’re bound to make a mistake within that time frame. Aim for sessions close to what will play live in front of an audience, and in case of a slight miss, you can end your session and fade the recording closer to an hour or more.

    If you are almost there mixing live, try to mix with some old disco classics where the tempo shifts, for a while. Those, you have to manually adjust through the transition, to get in beat. After doing that for an hour or so, mixing electronic music seems so very easy after that 🙂 .

    So, it really comes down to for what purpose you do the mix and how you want people to perceive you as a DJ. You better be able to live up to the expectations you create. I’m an allround DJ but my personal taste is House. Soulful, funky, vocal, deep, minimal… and I release all my mixes unedited, recorded live, and I get plenty of views and good feedback. Not once have I had any complains of the small errors you can hear in every mix and I usually get 18-19 out of 20 transitions the way I intended, but never perfect. I use Cdj’s and a Djm, the result you can hear here, if the link gets approved: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQA8yo0DuTY&t=1979s

    Karlton Bethea

    Hi Sam, I tend to agree with Peter (he and I have discussed this matter in the past). My preference is to allow my mixes to be very personal and real. Not to say that those who chose to use sync are fakers, they are not at all. It is a tool and I have no problem with those who use it to full advantage, I’m just not one of them.
    I would say that continuing to practice manual beat matching is the way to go. Check out the mix I placed on mixcloud. I think it’s pretty good and has very few audible mistakes to the untrained ear.
    So, with that being said, it is possible to produce a mix with little or no mistakes.
    Give it a listen…

    Hope you enjoy it and I hope that helps.

    Karlton Bethea
    aka “Antique”

    “If Music Be The Food Of Love…Play On”
    -Billy Shakespeare

    Alex Moschopoulos

    When I was growing up…before the age of software and sync…the guys on the radio would go one of two routes:

    A. Using a multi-track recorder or reel-to-reel to make mixes, so they could go back and redo blends they didn’t like, or even record the elements separately…rather than play a full set in one hit.

    B. Record tunes into sound files and use sequencing equipment to basically “sync” before it existed.

    I’ll be honest, I’ve been using sync for a few years now in the mixes I upload online. Much of my reason is it makes it much easier to put a full set together for recording. Plus I tend to think that while imperfections and mess-ups can be overlooked by crowds in a live setting, in recording they’ll hear it over and over.

    I also tend to see the music I selected as the “star of the show”, not me. I want things to play well, blend well, and give the listener a journey into stuff I found that I’m into. It’s a lot of why I haven’t gone deep into scratching, live remixing, or even using loads of FX. Some might find that boring, but I like to think “boring sets” come from when a DJ doesn’t pick interesting music.

    I can manually beatmatch, but I still see sync as just a tool. Plus it’s never perfect, as I’ve stated how much I had to do live blending in many old school mixes…mainly because those old tunes were not mathematically perfect for the beatgrids to get right.

    I think one should do as they feel is right in their mind, and how they want to brand themselves. I still think though only DJs and die-hards really care about sync VS manual. A crowd is usually going to care more on what is being played, rather than how it’s being played.

    Marvin The Martian

    I think, nobody cares if you’re using sync or not in your “home mixes”. I think, sync is a good tool if you’re using more than 2 decks and a minute or maximum 1:30 of each track. Or if you’re doing a mash-ups or remix track on the fly. Otherwise, if you’re just do a house music mix with 2 decks at home, using laptop with Serato DJ (or whatever it is) – i dont see the point. All the bpm’s are on screen.


    This entire discussion hinges on everything being syncable. It it were, then there would be no choice-limitation. But it’s utopia to assume a 100% syncability rate is achievable. If you can cover that by doing the occassional manual beatmix, again there are no limitations.

    It’s only when you are limiting your track choice to those tracks that can be synced and thus leaving out a part of the available options, that I think relying on sync becomes an issue.

    Also, it often takes some serious prep work to get beatgrids just right. This is also a skill and a bit of work. I have no problem with reaping the fruits of that skill and work by using the resulting tracks in synced mode.


    I have to agree with Vintage completely.

    Now most of the time I do not use sync, because I “grew up” not having the possibility but even when I try I make more trainwrecks using sync, then without… so I just do not use it.
    On the other hand I have been “accused” to use sync sometimes when I am not, because “it sounded to good”. Well 20+ years of practice can do that to ya…
    However I do not look down on anybody using sync, as I do not see it as cheating. If it works it is a great tool, but I would say that prolly 70% of my tracks or less are actually syncable. Many times I actually do not want sync because I do other transitions or transition from one BPM to another etc.
    So honestly:
    If you get the job done, your mix is good, your music selections are good and if you are able to tell a story with your performance I cannot care less how you do it. If you have to have a yellow duck in your booth and spank it every 3mins to make that transition so be it…

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