What scares you off manual beatmatching ? Do you think you’d fail at it ? Or, is the SYNC button just “convenient” for you ?
Dear beginner DJ, let me tell you something. No one is born with talents, in fact, anything. A baby doesn’t know how to walk, how to talk, but learns it and does it better than anybody out there.
Did all DJs have supernatural powers before the digital era ? Nope. They didn’t even have CDs to play. Just a vinyl and a needle. A spinning wheel on the turntable and the DJ had to match the tempo and beats, all by hand and ear. They were just like you…
Automation on DJ equipment is a gift for all of us, I don’t deny it. Every single function on DJ software and controllers today, make your personal talent more “perfect”. Please use all of them until you drain it out. That includes the SYNC button too. I use it ! More than manually beatmatching my tunes. There is NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT..
But… If you don’t know how to align your beats without the help of your computer screen or using this “Magic” function, there is and will always be a chunk missing from the DJ inside you. Let me tell you why:
Digital Analyzing Doesn’t Always Work
You can not always trust your DJ software. There will be songs that don’t fit digital analyzing due to their nature of flow and lack of beats in them.
What if you end up mixing two tracks not showing BPM on the screen ? Believe me, it happens. I have many tunes in my library, sitting there with empty boxes where the tempo shows. Should I just skip them ? Of course, no. That’s when you need to hear the rhythm, adjust the speed and match it.
On the other hand, SYNC feature is not %100 perfect. Especially, remixes have a lot of sounds and elements going through the song. Your software may detect one of those, different from the drum kick and align tracks on it. That causes a fault beatmatching. You need to hear and correct it.
You Can’t DJ On Any Other Equipment
Is your purpose of DJ’ing about using the same controller and software forever ? If you decide to go professional and get public gigs, how will you handle it when they say “You can’t use your own equipment in our place” ? Yes, unfortunately, that’s the policy of some venues.
Or, let’s say you use your own gear. What if there is another DJ performing before and you have to take over, making a transition ? How will you use the SYNC button ? It surely doesn’t work in this case.
You definitely need to manual beatmatch in order to be able to mix on whatever equipment there is out there, be it CDJs or anything else.
There would be a moment in your entire DJ’ing career, or many of them in fact, that causes huge embarrassment for not being able to mix without the help of software.
It Makes You Look And Act Professional
I’m sure you know how people talk about digital DJs. They think we just stand there and stare at the screen during the whole gig.
Sadly, it’s somehow true if you just mix using SYNC. Push the button and let it go ! No skills or effort involved in it.
I strongly believe (and I’m sure all experienced DJs agree too) that your appearance and moves in the booth play a big role on your performance. You know why ? Because, people look at you. They always follow you with their eyes. You energy directly determines their mood. They wanna see activity up there.
When you mix by manual beatmatching, your hands, your head and your body is always active. People see it’s all live. They know they’re not dancing to a machine or computer. And your DJ’ing totally becomes “Human”. This is important.
All you read and hear from others might scare you and make you think it’s impossible. It’s not true. With enough practice, you can learn beatmatching by hand and enjoy it. Just load two tracks on your decks, push the play button and work on it. I guarantee that you’ll fail several times and get frustrated. Leave it and come back later. Try again. Maybe after a week or so, you’ll realize it’s happening.
I think manual beatmatching is the most fun part of being a DJ and should definitely be learned even if not used.