Syncing analog gear to DAW?

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Syncing analog gear to DAW?

Postby Matenc01 » Mon Jun 13, 2016 3:24 pm

Hey gang I am running into a bit of a problem trying to sync some of my synths together for recording. I would like to use the old "tape sync track" method to feed a recorded sync track back into my SQ-1 then do the same to sync my Juno 6 arpeggiator. I understand how this works on tape as I would just send the signal using the Direct output back to the sequencer from the recorded sync track but I am trying to use this same trick with my DAW so I can quickly sketch songs without using tape.

As for where I am at now, I can sync the sq-1 to the recorded sync track from reaper. But in order to do this I have to mute all the other tracks with the good bits like drum machines and synth. So I cant hear any recorded sound played back because the only track unmuted is going straight into the sequencer to sync (from the headphone jack). I have tried a signal splitter to try to get 2 mono signals and pan the sync track to one side and the music to the other but this didn't work either.

I currently have an Alesis i02 interface and use reaper (Not the best I know but just using it to sketch song idea quickly and in time). Now I am not sure if this is possible to do with DAW or maybe I am lacking an audio interface with direct outputs. Also I want to make it clear that I am not using midi most of my stuff predates it and its not really an option.

Any suggestions would be great!?

(Also i'm new to all of this so apologies if this is an obvious question)
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Re: Syncing analog gear to DAW?

Postby madtheory » Mon Jun 13, 2016 6:51 pm

The signal splitter should work, if it is indeed taking in "stereo" and outputting mono- I guess it isn't in your case. Also your mixes from the DAW will be mono, which is a bit c**p.

There are two better solutions I can think of:

One is a new interface, with more than 2 outputs, so you can dedicate one pair to your stereo mix, and one of the others to the sync signal. I use a Focusrite Scarlett 6i6. It has 4 outputs. Two are the main stereo pair, the other 2 outputs I use to send signals to external hardware (effects mostly). Nice pre amps on this box as well.

Another is to simply use MIDI Beat clock to sync the ESQ1! And upgrade the Juno with the Tubbutec or similar, so it can run off MIDI beat clock as well. Tubbutec is very cool, you get a sequencer, oscillator layering and detuing, filter envelope and LFOs, portamento etc.

IMO with MIDI you'll sketch your songs a lot faster. The way you're doing it now is a PITA IMO.
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Re: Syncing analog gear to DAW?

Postby ninja6485 » Tue Jun 14, 2016 2:16 am

I hope you have better luck doing this than I did. I can get it to play in time more or less, but the results are sloppy and unusable. I also did not have much luck using it as a midi/cv converter to play my sh101 with a sequence in maschine. Everyone's computer systems are different, so maybe the problem lies there somehow. Or maybe I need to make it louder, or adjust something somehow. It works... It just...sucks... I tried it with my E6400ultra too, and got the same result. Just simply recording the trigger in, assigning it to an individual out, and playing it as a pattern. I think I did a pattern, so I should experiment more with single triggers to see if I can get better results. Eventually I just said f**k it, and sent it a 4/4 trigger out pulse from my 707, which worked perfectly. I then realized you could get crazy with it, and send all sorts of clock rhythms with different patterns on the 707's trigger out. Doing so is much, much more fun than just getting it to play in time. I was going to upload a video, but I can't get that to work either (Probably too big)! :cry:
This looks like a psychotropic reaction. No wonder it's so popular...
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Re: Syncing analog gear to DAW?

Postby madtheory » Tue Jun 14, 2016 8:02 am

ninja6485 wrote:... using it as a midi/cv converter...

Using what? The Alesis?

Not surprised a trigger from the E6400 didn't work. All of the latter era Emu samplers had sloppy MIDI.

The patterns to the click trick sounds cool :)
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Re: Syncing analog gear to DAW?

Postby pflosi » Tue Jun 14, 2016 8:53 am

I am using an Innerclock Sync Gen Pro 2 for this. Sample accurate midi and din sync clocks from Ableton - that's quite something. I gave up on USB midi interfaces completely after trying the Innerclock.

But really, you need an interface with more than just two outputs in any scenario not involving midi. Using a trigger from the DAW works perfectly fine (it doesn't even have to be DC coupled as the trigger is so short), but again: You need a third output. This trigger sample works well: http://www.makenoisemusic.com/content/m ... -pulse.WAV

Cheers
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Re: Syncing analog gear to DAW?

Postby ninja6485 » Tue Jun 14, 2016 11:50 am

madtheory wrote:
ninja6485 wrote:... using it as a midi/cv converter...

Using what? The Alesis?

Not surprised a trigger from the E6400 didn't work. All of the latter era Emu samplers had sloppy MIDI.

The patterns to the click trick sounds cool :)
I've heard that about the Emus. I was originally using a single bar loop of triggers, and I seem to recall I tried a variety of techniques, including setting a very precise loop range and just holding a note, which should take out the problem of timing. I'll have to try again, and also experiment with a single note fired in. The 707's clock is all over the place, but it syncs perfectly, possibly because each note is sent separately, or more likely nothing is compromising the sync sound, and it's at the right volume. I might pull an individual note from the sq and experiment with that, or even run it through my dbx quantum to see if I can tweak the recording a bit to get it to play nicer.

For the computer setup, I had the sq1 connected to my computer via midi, and the sh101 connected via cv/gate out 1. Then I opened maschine, selected the sq1's USB midi destination, set up a midi track, and recorded some patterns. This result is actually worse - the notes are dodgy and the timing is skewed. It sounds better to record the patterns with the 101s onboard sequencer and then time stretch them to a tempo. Just while I'm writing this, I'm wondering if maybe maschine''s midi velocity settings could be changed to send at max velocity, and if maybe that could help.

Also, just out of curiosity, which Alesis were you referring to? The only Alesis gear I have is a 3630 8-)

Oh, and if you do the 707 trick and send it funky patterns like 4 16th notes, a quarter note rest, 4 16th, and an 8th note +rest combo x2, or something like that, everything synced after the sq1 (naturally) will have the funk as well. I instantly recognized this sound from listening to some of my favorite ambient artists from instinct, silent, fax records, even harthouse, etc, so the technique is nothing new. I'm sure modular people use it all the time!
This looks like a psychotropic reaction. No wonder it's so popular...
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Re: Syncing analog gear to DAW?

Postby pflosi » Tue Jun 14, 2016 12:50 pm

Instead of trying to record trigger patterns, just use the sample of a single trigger I linked above and program your own trigger stream. That way, you can set up all kinds of crazy irregular clocks in your DAW and it will be tight.

If you need a 24ppqn trigger stream, conveniently create and download one here: http://www.wavtones.com/functiongenerator.php
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Re: Syncing analog gear to DAW?

Postby madtheory » Tue Jun 14, 2016 1:06 pm

@ninja I thought you meant that you had the same audio interface as the OP, the Alesis io2, and were using that to send triggers. So the SQ1 has a CV output? Interesting.

Ya the Innerclock seems to be a great solution. But the Juno would still need MIDI, no?
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Re: Syncing analog gear to DAW?

Postby pflosi » Tue Jun 14, 2016 1:27 pm

madtheory wrote:Ya the Innerclock seems to be a great solution. But the Juno would still need MIDI, no?


Yeah, the Innerclock only does, well, clock. I clock a hardware sequencer from it and that seq handles all my midi note sequencing :thumbright:
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Re: Syncing analog gear to DAW?

Postby ninja6485 » Tue Jun 14, 2016 5:49 pm

Hah! I missed your post...( it was 6am for me). Is there anything that website can't do? I'm going to try a loop of its sync with my sampler.

And no I don't have the alesis, just the sq1 with sync quandaries.And yea - it's supposed to be able to be a midi to cv converter that controls your old analog gear from your daw. In my situation, technically that's true, but the result was pretty lousy. Again, I'm going to set the velocity as high as it can go to see if that helps. Could just be my particular setup too. So basically Op, even if you can get your signals flowing, you might not be out of the woods just yet!
This looks like a psychotropic reaction. No wonder it's so popular...
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Re: Syncing analog gear to DAW?

Postby ninja6485 » Tue Jun 14, 2016 7:05 pm

So the sync pulse @ rhythm is a different kind of sync than what drives the sq1's sync in. But food news, I have the individual sync pulses (sampled from the sq1) working with my akai. The volume level must be adjusted very carefully!

Additionally, OP.... Isn't the sq1 supposed to sync to a midi clock from a DAW via USB alone (as I think madtheory suggested earlier in the thread?)
This looks like a psychotropic reaction. No wonder it's so popular...
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Re: Syncing analog gear to DAW?

Postby pflosi » Wed Jun 15, 2016 8:57 am

:thumbright: The sync pulse from that website is 24ppqn, I suppose the SQ1 wants 4ppqn ("one trigger per step")... You probably could divide the tempo by 6 (in the settings online) to get a 4ppqn stream :) Yeah, it's an extremely useful site. Buy the pro access if you need it often!

Apart from that, yes, mainly make sure the levels are super high to trigger stuff.
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Re: Syncing analog gear to DAW?

Postby Matenc01 » Wed Jun 15, 2016 2:20 pm

Wow this is some great info! thanks for chiming in gang. The Innerclock Sync Gen Pro 2 looks like a dream but a bit difficult to get ahold of in Japan. I am now seriously considering the Focusrite Scarlett 6i6. It looks sturdy and a has what I need to make this a bit easier. In the meantime I will try splitting the signal again as its the cheapest option for now.

Yes the SQ1 can take the midi signal from the DAW through USB but my goal is to use the DR55 or similar machine that has no midi capabilities as the clock source and feed that into the SQ1. Take the sync SQ1 signal and record along with the DR55. later take the sync out signal of the SQ1 that I recorded to sync the SQ1 to trigger everything else in time. I tried and everything syncs great as long as the volume on the sync track is adjust just right but thats easy enough to do.

The whole intention behind this is to transition this sync track technique to tape at some point so i'm trying to work it all out here before I start using a reel to reel. essentially the less involved a computer and programs the better.

Has anyone had experience doing this on tape recently? I thought it was fairly common in the days before midi and digital recording?
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Re: Syncing analog gear to DAW?

Postby pflosi » Wed Jun 15, 2016 3:41 pm

Well, the "split" trick (trigger only to the left, all audio to the right or vice versa) should work right away - obviously, you will only have a mono output available and it could be slightly complicated to do the internal DAW routing nicely (slightly easier if you're happy with using only one monitor / one side of headphones). Make sure the levels on the trigger outs are high enough (the trigger will still work on AC-coupled outputs as it's way too fast for a DC filter to "drag" it down to 0V, but this "slewing" might attenuate the levels a bit - compensate by gaining up, the triggers can easily be close to 0dBfs in the DAW metering). A problem could be that the trigger most likely has to pass two AC-coupled stages - the interface input as well as output... Can you post a screenshot of how the SQ1 trigger waveform looks in the DAW after recording it? Furthermore, maybe, depending on your cabling, there's also a 6dB signal loss from going balanced out of the interface to unbalanced trigger input on the SQ1...? Also, for another idea, I guess the alesis io2 headphones output cannot be separated from the main out to give a further stereo output...?

The thing is though, if the SQ1 has a jittery internal clock (note that I have no idea whether it does), you will record these jitters. Might or might not be desirable. In the DAW constellation, I would do it with a single trigger sample and the DAW as master clock right from the beginning. In a tape scenario, I'd try to get a machine that has FSK and / or midi inputs so that sync tracks can be recorded very easily (most cassette 4- and 8-tracks have midi to do this, for example). In a tape scenario with no FSK or midi clock inputs available whatsoever, I would do as you suggest - but try to find the most stable master clock for the whole thing to record the initial take. Maybe have a look at the E-RM Midiclock and especially Multiclock...?

Good luck!
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Re: Syncing analog gear to DAW?

Postby ninja6485 » Sat Jun 18, 2016 6:54 am

Watch on youtube.com


Link! Sorry it's sideways... :oops:
This looks like a psychotropic reaction. No wonder it's so popular...
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