converting midi clock to MTC or vice versa/synch issues

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merovie
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converting midi clock to MTC or vice versa/synch issues

Post by merovie » Fri Feb 26, 2021 4:43 pm

I have an old ensoniq EPS. I'm confused but I think the EPS sends out midi clock and not midi time code. I could be wrong but this is my dilemma.

A long time ago I was recording in a music studio - this would have been 1999, and I did not have eight separate outputs for my ensoniq. So we had to record each track separately. And I don't remember which recording software and hardware the studio used but when I hit play on the EPS the software automatically recognized the command and began recording. When the drums from the EPS were recorded we went back to the beginning, I hit play on the EPS, and the synthesizer sound began recording on a new track, perfectly synched to the drums that had already been recorded. I had another synth sound and did the same thing - hit play and the software recognized the incoming signal and recorded the new sound from the EPS.

You get the idea. That old EPS got stolen and I replaced it with a rackmount version that has 8 outputs.

My problem now is that 20 years later I am using Cubase Artist 7.5 and it doesn't use the same midi signal. Assuming my EPS uses MIDI clock and Cubase uses MTC, I can't figure out how to synch the recording. People say to make the EPS the slave but that doesn't seem to work either (where I assume I hit record on Cubase and it sends a signal to the EPS to start playing instead of the other way around)

I just want my recordings to start at the push of a button so the midi parts are perfectly lined up on the midi map/grid in Cubase (I already have the notes quantized in the EPS) and I can tweak them later. I really don't like using the "drawing note events" method of writing music. It's a whole bunch of no fun whatsoever. I like playing my songs and having them ready to go when I send the midi outs to cubase, converting the sounds I have on the floppys loaded into the EPS to the limitless sounds I can choose from VSTs like Halion Sonic or Retrologue.

Right now what I am doing is listening to the countdown click on the EPS and just hitting record on Cubase as close to the beginning as I can get it.

The other thing I am not sure about is setting up the "snap to grid" function so that when I do the countdown method it will do pretty much that: line everything up on the grid for me if it is close enough.

Sorry this was so long. Any help would be appreciated.

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Re: converting midi clock to MTC or vice versa/synch issues

Post by meatballfulton » Sat Feb 27, 2021 1:00 pm

Cubase can send MIDI clock as well as MTC. The EPS should repsond to this as well as the standard MIDI start/continue/stop messages sent by Cubase. Check the manuals for both Cubase and the EPS about particulars on the settings.
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Re: converting midi clock to MTC or vice versa/synch issues

Post by madtheory » Sat Feb 27, 2021 8:24 pm

You're over-complicating it. You do not require MTC in this case. MIDI clock will do. Just RTFM, send MIDI clock from Cubase, on the correct MIDI output, to the Ensoniq and set Ensoniq to EXT MIDI clock.

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Re: converting midi clock to MTC or vice versa/synch issues

Post by blueknob » Sun Feb 28, 2021 8:20 am

I'm here as I'm looking at similar myself. I am using my Ensoniq SD-1 (which can be thought as the same as the EPS16+). From looking with MIDIox the SD-1 sends (and receives) Midi Clock and the start/stop/continue midi messages which all work correctly.

I have recently found a modern hardware sequencer that doesn't reset the song position pointer to zero when the Stop button is pressed. The only way around this I can find at the moment is to change Song and return.
Pause should stop and keep the same song position, Stop resets the counter to zero. Tell me if I have that wrong.

With MTC and MIDI Sync, if I understand this correctly, the former contains bar numbers encoded in midi, the latter is just a single hex byte sent like a clock signal. Is it 96 pqn?

So on that basis (and from past experience) - Midi clock is simpler and serves most purposes but I think it looses position if FF/RW are used. Midi Sync is a serial process, going forward only.

I would think MTC is a precise locator, the song should always start/continue at the correct measure/bar no matter how many FF/RW were issued, as it uses a specific address.

Moving on, my E4K sends MMC which I read is another option. Enabling the option in the E4K disconnects the internal sequencer. From what I gather, to make those transpost buttons do things, I need maybe setup midiox to receive the MMC commands, then apply some code changing(script) making them into basic Midi Stop/Start/Continue - squirt those back to the E4K to get it's internal sequencer going, along with Midi Sync. I could then also use the same Midi messages to control other hardware sequencer.
I notice when the transport controls are used to control the internal sequence, they don't send the Midi Stop/Start/Continue commands.
Don't ask why :) It's only playing about at home stuff.

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Re: converting midi clock to MTC or vice versa/synch issues

Post by madtheory » Sun Feb 28, 2021 1:14 pm

What sequencer is it? That is a pretty big oversight. My old CZ-5000 and Roland TR-505 could do it back in the late eighties, it's pretty basic!

If it does not send MIDI song position pointers, then that's it. Changing the sync method won't help. MIDI time code is not for synchronising two sequencers, it's to sync a MIDI sequencer with tape or film, or standalone HD recorders.

You're effectively correct about how pause works.

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