Gareth Emery wades into CDJ-2000 debate: ‘I used the sync button and I liked it’

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When Pioneer released its new CDJ-2000 Nexus in 2012, the presence of a Master Sync button (which effectively does away with the need to beat-match) had some corners of the DJ world up in arms. We went straight to one of Australia’s most authoritative DJs, Mike Callander, who offered his take in a Guest Editorial. “For me, good DJing never had much to do with keeping beats in sync,” he wrote. “Sure, nobody wants to hear a trainwreck mix, but there’s so much more to a good DJ set than matters of mathematics. Just because I own a metronome doesn’t mean I can play the piano.”

Now UK trance trailblazer Gareth Emery entered the discussion in his customary tongue-in-cheek way, telling his Facebook followers, “I used the sync button and I liked it (sorry).” He soon followed up that with a lengthier post that makes some perceptive points.

“So I was trolling a bit with my ‘sync button’ status but let me expand with a more serious and thoughtful post about my first experience of using these players,” Emery wrote. “Turned up at last night’s show to find 4 CDJ2000 Nexus rather than the usual CDJ2000s, so figured I’d have a play with the controversial button to see what all the fuss was about.

“The biggest difference? Not much. Doing 100+ gigs a year has meant the actual process of keeping the records in time is relatively second nature to me anyway but these new players freed up a small amount of extra time, which I used to dig deep into the vault of my SD card, pulled out a bunch of records that I hadn’t played for years, and was also able to mix out of tracks quickly, loop stuff, and generally be more creative. All benefits my laptop DJ colleagues who’ve enjoyed sync for years have had. My set went in a few directions I wasn’t expecting it to go, purely based on the vibe in the room, and I ended up playing nearly 4 hours (helped by Toronto’s incredible crowd).

“Cloing thought: whilst the reaction of a few is OMFG SYNC BUTTON URE FAKING URE SET I actually found the opposite was true, and I ended up playing a longer, more diverse & varied set than I would otherwise have done. I guess like many things in this wonderful world of dance music, when you dig deep and look at the subtleties & complexities of a situation, you find the reality is often rather different to the headline.”


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lonestardjz said on the 2nd Jan, 2013

It is not difficult to learn to mix , it is difficult putting together a set that is interesting and that engages your audience and keeps it fresh. Especially if you have to depend on your music and not just a stage production or stage theatrics that minimallize the music. what most people do not focus on is that the music being played is the biggest factor , someone's mixing is a lesser detail. If what your playing is crap or boring to either yourself or your audience , does it matter how acute your mixing skills are or are not. People make too big a deal when it is the end result that matters.


Wowk said on the 5th Jan, 2013

My biggest issue with the Sync button on the CDJ-2000 Nexus isn't what it does, it's more that it just makes the pitch slider and jog wheel redundant. Like, if you want to sync, why spend all that money on CDJ-2000 Nexus units and have a jog wheel etc that you don't even use when you could buy a fairly cheap midi controller and use Traktor?


Iggz said on the 5th Jan, 2013

@Wowk Interesting point. I've never used the CDJ-2000 Nexus but I use a midi controller and I'm constantly using the jog wheel and pitch faders. They're necessary because Traktor doesn't always accurately calculate the bpm correctly, and most commonly it doesn't always have the kicks alligned properly so even if you hit sync the tracks are often out by a bit so you'd need to use the jog wheel. I use the sync button as a time saver, not as a form of reliance. I would imagine that's why they'd also be necessary for the Nexus.


bradj88 said on the 8th Jan, 2013

@Iggz You're right Traktor can be a bit off sometimes, you can fix this by manually adjusting the beat grids and I think you can do the same in the Rekordbox software for the new Pioneer controllers and CDJ 2000 Nexus. I'm pretty sure there is a way to pitch bending and adjusting beat grids with midi buttons as well while the track is playing. To me the sync button is great for DJ's who use lots of loops and multiple decks but if you are just a traditional two deck DJ it's allot of prep work for little gain. Might as well keep your beat matching skills sharp.


opiate said on the 8th Jan, 2013

A DJ in the world of auto-beat matching ... is like a checkout chick waving their arms behind a self-serve checkout saying "can I help you" ... totally redundant.


mikeblades said on the 9th Jan, 2013

Those DJ's who are complaining that the sync button will ruin ""DJ SKILLS" are the DJ's who only have beat matching in their skill set. They are afraid if you take it away from them they will have nothing left, so this is why they are complaining the loudest. Develop your skills, music selection, crowd reading, looping, sampling, scratching, effects usage etc. don't make yourself a beat matching ONE trick DJ.....


danmau5 said on the 9th Jan, 2013

the lamest bit was when he said "freed up a small amount of extra time, which I used to dig deep into the vault of my SD card, pulled out a bunch of records that I hadn%u2019t played for years". digging deep into your SD card? by pressing a few buttons? come on man. wtf does that even mean. and and "pulling out a record" does not also mean pressing a button. it means actually picking out a black piece of wax from your crate.