Old Skool mixing Vs The use of tech
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  1. #1
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    Default Old Skool mixing Vs The use of tech

    One of the ever present debates on most DJ forums is the use of the sync button and other mixing aids and views on the use of the sync button underming the art of DJaying.
    Now bear with me here because some of you may not have been around pre Pitch adjustment sliders, in fact when I started DJaying on reggae sound systems I used a single deck converted from what was then called a radio gramophone a pre amp, effects box, and massive valve amps. One off mixes,(Dubplates as they were called) were of course pre-recorded on to 10" slates (not vynl) and dropped in the dance. The trick was how fast you could flip a disc or change one disc for another and drop the needle back. The art then was the music and it still is.
    Anyway, move along and double decks were introduced, still no tempo adjust. Then along came the now famous Tecnics SL series, which were meant for home use, by the way. Now with the new technology, as it was then, to manipulate the pitch beat match mixing became a lot easier. Would this have been classed as underminding the art, to the contrarys this was a gift from heaven albeit without any BPM read out. This meant a DJ still had to listen and count.
    We now move on several more years and we have solutions that count, read out and match the beats, the tempo and the key. So with these aids does it undermine or detract from the art of being a DJ or does it add to the art by allowing more flair and flavour to be introduced in to the mix by freeing up the DJ to concentrate on the manipulation of the mix, the music and the crowd.
    I think it's good for DJ's to be able to beat match; many times I've been using traktor when it crashed and I've had to revert to CD's. However, you can beat match till the cows come home, if the crowd ain't feeling your vibe then you're screwed.
    So to all the sync button users, I say "Pratice and enjoy" but remember "Be prepared" and to the Ludites I say move with the times or get back on ya horse to your next gig.

  2. #2
    Tech Guru lethal_pizzle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Usualplayer View Post
    So to all the sync button users, I say "Pratice and enjoy" but remember "Be prepared" and to the Ludites I say move with the times or get back on ya horse to your next gig.
    This argument has been raging round these parts since time immemorial mate, but this quote eloquently sums up my own thoughts on the matter!
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  3. #3
    Tech Mentor DJ ATX's Avatar
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    I am what you call an old school DJ. I started in the late 80's where vinyl was the only option. The beef I have with digital DJing is that it bypasses learning the basics. It also undermines DJ pay by wanna be DJs that do not put the time in and charge near zero to gig. Anyone that wants to be a DJ do not need to know the basics. $500 or less and you can be a DJ. No experience or knowledge required. Just a laptop, illegally dnld songs and/or software, and a cheapo controller. There is no longer need to count bars, you just look at the wave forms. No longer have to know how to count BPM, its done for you. You no longer need to beatmatch, there is sync. Yes the art form is still there, you can only go so far relying on waveforms and the sync button. However, the proliferation of digital DJs out there syncing their way into a clubs without being seasoned in:
    1) DJing: Too many single format DJs out there. Too many DJs that play sets rather than play the crowd. Too many DJs that get easily thrown off by request or don't like to play em cause they don't know how to fit them in.
    2) Business/Negotiations: Many unprofessional DJs out there. Cancels gigs last minute for a better one. Gets drunk at a gig. Basically do not understand that this is a business and not just a party
    3) Lacking Ettiquette: Most newb DJs do not know their place. Everyone thinks they are a head liner.
    4) Knowledge: Most newb DJs do not know music. They know the genre they like and that is it. Most cannot and will not hold down a residency doing 4-5hr sets cause they do not have enough depth of music knowledge to play different type of music or be able to flow with a diverse crowd.
    All of these reasons are diluting the DJ business and allowing the club owners and promoters to churn DJs cause there is always one waiting to get on and sync his way to fame for a bar tab or $50 or less. The pride in the craft is gone. No longer are there DJs but rather a figure that plays music in front of crowds.

    Granted some do go one to be great producers. Some have the creativity enough to gain fame. But for the most part, anyone with $500 can be a DJ. Its is no longer a profession, but a hobby much like building RC cars or stamp collecting. It no longer takes work and just very little commitment to do it. Anyone can do it. Hell, I taught my ex GFs 5 year old how to do it. He learned to move the crossfader and match the grids on the waveform. Sounded half decent. Now teaching him to beatmatch by ear, woulda taken more time. But watching a wave form and lining up grids is like playing a video game for him. Got that within the first two lessons. A 5yrs old can do it, anyone can be a DJ. Which is good, but in todays "I wanna have it all now" mentality, it is the worse thing that can happen.

    yeah, I know....blah blah...good set over beatmatching....blah blah....beatgridding is like beatmatching....blah blah...blah...more time for creativity.....blah blah.....
    Tell you what. If you really have creativity and you are that good, take 6 random records and show me creativity.

    If you are going to be a Digital DJ. Learn the basics first! Do not rely on the technology, there is enough time for that later. Learn the business as a whole. Learn to negotiate with promoters and club owners/managers. Do not undercut just to get a gig, have pride in your craft. Be professional.

    Bottomline, I think I speak for most of the old school DJs, its not the sync button that bugs me. It is the proliferation of dumbass DJs.
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  4. #4
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    It is and always has been about the music. The only people that care about what the DJ uses and how are other DJs. Crowd doesn't care, they only care about what they hear. Club owner only cares about keeping people in the club to sell more booze and make more money, bottom line. I started in the 80's too blah blah blah, I made mixes on a dual cassette deck blah blah blah, no one cares. Its 2012, the technology is there, accept that and get on with it. While you are counting bars and maunually beatmatching that 1 song, I have already mixed 4 songs, 3 loops, effects, samples and still had time to eat my cheeseburger and the crowd is loving it. All the moaning and groaning isn't going to change that. Up your performance and give them a reason to pay you more than the last guy. Use the technology to your advantage instead of whining about it. Do something different and innovative instead of moaning that thing you have done for 25 years has now become automated and easy, rise above it.

  5. #5
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    When I started to Dj I had to learn on CDJ’s. They were in all the clubs that was the only way in. I didn’t like the way mixing was done in my country. Dj’s would just play song A drop a fog horn sample then play song B no mixing done at all just songs and effects for transitions or name drops. Also they only play top 40 & reggae. I wanted to play EDM. So I had to find a way to do that. My solution was to use Traktor and its sample decks to create live mashups taking drops and build ups of EDM songs I liked and dropping them over reggae and top 40 hits. I used the sync button to forget about beat matching and bring this EDM flare to my tunes. Dj ATX I had to learn all those things myself and I faced a ton of crap for switching to a controller (X1 at first then S2). I have had the above mentioned CD players whine to managers about what I was using but guess what the music I played made the crowd happy and that is all that mattered not what I was using but how I played the music and interacted with the crowd. That is what it is all about the music and most clubs I play at will not let a crap dj with some plastic controller walk in there are sync up top 40 hits because while people are getting drunk they don’t go to clubs to listen to the radio or there Ipod they want a experience and you Dj are a big part of that.

  6. #6
    Tech Guru geminimech's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dj matt blaze
    It is and always has been about the music. The only people that care about what the DJ uses and how are other DJs. Crowd doesn't care, they only care about what they hear. Club owner only cares about keeping people in the club to sell more booze and make more money, bottom line. I started in the 80's too blah blah blah, I made mixes on a dual cassette deck blah blah blah, no one cares. Its 2012, the technology is there, accept that and get on with it. While you are counting bars and maunually beatmatching that 1 song, I have already mixed 4 songs, 3 loops, effects, samples and still had time to eat my cheeseburger and the crowd is loving it. All the moaning and groaning isn't going to change that. Up your performance and give them a reason to pay you more than the last guy. Use the technology to your advantage instead of whining about it. Do something different and innovative instead of moaning that thing you have done for 25 years has now become automated and easy, rise above it.
    Call me crazy, but I prefer simple mixing with very minimal effects and looping, and would even go as far to say that having an effects list a mile long, and 4 units chained with 55 cue points to juggle 9 times out of 10 sounds like crap. It's not innovative, it's crap. Don't read that as, I think anyone who does it sucks, and they shouldn't quit their dayjobs, just that IN MY OPINION, it tends to sound cluttered and is generally unnecessary. So I'll disagree with your argument about mixing '4 songs, 3 loops, effects, samples and still had time to eat my cheeseburger' theory, because guys like Three still uses two CDJ's and manually beatmatches, and he'll take a poo on anything you've mixed. Ever. Because in the end it's about the music right? So don't shoot your own argument against manually beatmatching in the foot, and just say that the argument is dated and not needed to be beaten to death anymore. New and Simple != Better. Use what you want, the way you want and as you said use the technology to your advantage.
    Cheers!
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  7. #7
    Tech Guru zestoi's Avatar
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    i guess these discussions will continue until some other way of mixing comes along and then the flame wars will move onto that...

    cdj's, vinyl, controllers+midi... personally i think it's all good they're all just tools. i guess i bought my technics about 15 years ago as did plenty of my mates at the time. the "barrier of entry" has been lowered and made cheaper but personally i just think this means people need to pick up their game - not complain about the new wave of controller dj's.

    i hadn't been interested at all in dj'ing since having to sell my 1200's until a couple of years ago and initially i was shocked at the emerging use of controllers and the "evil sync" button. it felt a bit like the end of an era, but it's not! it's the birth of a while new one!

    i used to try and mix in my own stuff via cd (i had a crap cd player as well as 1200's) and/or mix live from my cheapo roland mc303 and other sound units. being able to midi sync to ableton, or drop some of my own stuff into sample decks or just play them as mp3's in traktors normal decks is a total boon to me...

    having said that - i'd also love to get some gigs and have to use their cdj's, some nice basic 2 track mixing. the possibilies are endless these days - i can't imagine why anyone would want to limit themselves to any specific part of it. hopefully i'll also pick up some 1200's again soon when i can afford it too. still have a decent set of vinyl i'd love to use sometimes.
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  8. #8

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    Like to add my first gigs were headlining I was also good friends with the guy holding the club nights so that's why. It stepped on more toes then I'd ever know and in the long run hurt me as it was that I didn't come up through the ranks and at the time I was 16 so kinda sucked big.

    On topic tho I agree with most learn to beatmatch seriously time and time again it is very important to know. A skill that will also help get you in the door. I've walked into clubs and sat at the bar in utter pain from the resident djs lack of ability to beatmatch. So I was kinda beaking to the bartender and landed a gig because of it. Albeit I turned down the full time offer but did smash a gig out.

    Beatmatch learn it at least make an attempt to learn it and try to get good at it. I'd rather hear someone trying it then not trying it. And on beat big thing here.

    And by ear not by waveform seriously wave forms are gods gift to djs but don't always rely on them learn to not use them it's so nice when the dj can drop a track without looking at the screen. One of my big pet peeves. Along with only using quant and snap. I know quants awesome but learn to not rely on it.

    Quant; used traktor for years has quant switched to itch on my ns6 no quant. Only took doing it once to realize no quant means thank god I've learned to dj before it was in every cdj.

    Snap; being able to drop a quick loop without having to be on beat. My friends another skill to learn be on beat.

    So many digital djs take these things for granted so they have no respect for the art form in my opinion if they don't learn how to do these things even tho software can do it.

    Tl;dr
    It's the simple fact that digital djs ignore the real skills because software can do it and therefore annoy older djs that learned how to do it. Show some respect new djs learn the skills then when you get hated on at a gig for using software bust out a record and watch the respect grow because you can do it the old school way.

  9. #9
    Tech Guru sarasin's Avatar
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    I compare it to MMA.

    Its still evolving....

    And by the way....I have NEVER had Traktor crash on me during a gig. My laptop yes!

    I started on vinyls....moved to CDJ's....and then to Digital.

    I now incorporate them all. Its ADDING to the original skill.

    Like when you reach Black Belt....it does not mean you at at the top! Far from it!


    I use ALL the skills I have learnt up to now and thats what I wish the newer DJ's could have. The years of skills learnt.
    The corwd and promoters need to recognize that.

    If something goes wrong during a set....you keep playing and use your knowledge to help you through it.

    There are so many diff types of DJ's these days......hard to keep up...or on top.

    Your talent\skills hopefully shines through.
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  10. #10
    Tech Guru lethal_pizzle's Avatar
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    I've learned recently to keep it immediate and fun. I enjoy using record decks (and actual records sometimes) and I was getting a bit bored with pure digital, so at the moment I'm using TSP2 + dicers for hands on souped up oldschool japes.

    Works for messing around playing some good tunes at home, as I'm not really playing out much any more.
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