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Thread: Best Way to sync a TSR-8 to DAW (Cubase Le)

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    Best Way to sync a TSR-8 to DAW (Cubase Le)

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    Hello All,
    This isn't totally an analog-centric question - my apologies - but I'm looking for the easiest and/or cheapest way to sync a TSR-8 to a DAW (Cubase Le). I don't think I care whether the TSR-8 chases Cubase or the other way around. I just want to be able to record and then mix simultaneously on both. I've done a little research on this but came up with conflicting answers. My interface is a Presonus Firepod. Do I need a midiizer? Is there something newer that would work better, or do I even need anything additional at all? Many thanks to anyone who can help.

    Jonathan

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    The more simple inexpensive way is to have the TSR-8 as master. Can Cubase LE sync to incomming MIDI timecode?

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    Quote Originally Posted by sweetbeats View Post
    The more simple inexpensive way is to have the TSR-8 as master. Can Cubase LE sync to incomming MIDI timecode?
    If not, he's been had...

    Generally you do need extra hardware to get them to sync. It might be possible these days for Cubase to realtime decode an SMPTE/MTC stripe in software, but don't bank on it actually doing that. Find out if possible.

    If it doesn't, you'll need a MIDI timecode reader - a search on ebay for "midi tape sync" is usually plentiful. Look for something like the Rees TS-1 or JL Cooper boxes. These will generate a timecode signal which you record on track 8. When it plays back, it will generate a MIDI-compatible timecode, which you stick into your MIDI interface. Cubase should be able to take it from there.

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    Thanks for the responses guys/gals. It looks like Cubase LE only accepts MIDI time, so I'll need to pick up one of those boxes. Now here's another question: with the time-code reader, is it better to have Cubase as master or the reel-to-reel? Is it possible to have 'locaters,' meaning that if I skip ahead on one of the devices, turn-off/reset the reel-to-reel or relocate tracks on Cubase, etc., the time-code reader will be able to find the location for the other device, either manually or by me inputting information? Thanks again for the insight.

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    Hi,

    Be careful, mtc is not accurate enough to lock machines, you will find it will drift over the length of the song, mtc is fine for running midi devices but not for locking machines.

    You need smpte time code on the TSR, then you need a device that reads the smpte and generates word clock. Then you can lock the computer (cubase) to the word clock as there will be an option somewhere for external clock.

    Fortunately these types of devices are getting cheaper on the secondhand market.

    Cheers

    Alan.

    p.s always use the analog machine as master, if you don't when you hit play on the computer you have to wait around until the analog machine finds the location and locks up to play. If the analog machine is master, as soon as you hit play on the analog machine the computer will locate and play within milliseconds. You will also need an additional synchronizer to lock the analog machine to incoming smpte. The TSR has a couple of location points that you can set.
    Last edited by witzendoz; 02-16-2009 at 20:22. Reason: extra info

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    Yes, IMO it's best to use the analog deck as master.

    MTC will be as accurate as the device reading it. Some DAWs lock better than others. Also the way the sync box behaves will have an impact. I've never had any problems with J.L. Cooper products, like the PPS-2.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Beck View Post
    Yes, IMO it's best to use the analog deck as master.

    MTC will be as accurate as the device reading it. Some DAWs lock better than others. Also the way the sync box behaves will have an impact. I've never had any problems with J.L. Cooper products, like the PPS-2.
    I too have the JL Cooper PPS-2 and have had great success using it.
    famous beagle

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    Great, thanks everyone for the advice. Alan, I'm confused on why I would need 2 synchronizers. Don't I just stripe the tape with smpte with the synchronizer and then have the sync convert it to word clock (is this the same as MTC?) for the DAW? If I understand it correctly, then I only need one, I hope. Please let me know if I'm wrong.

    Also, anyone know the answer to my 'locater' question in my last post? If not, I'll hold my tongue on that one! Thanks again for the help.

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    Hi,

    What I meant about 2 synchronizers related to if you wanted the TSR to be a slave, and the type of synchronizer need is different beast. The TSR can't read incoming smpte and sync to it.

    There are synchronizing devices that read the smpte and convert the information to machine control information, these plugged into the serial ports on the back of the TSR. It was designed in the days when there were 2 tape machines synced. When you pushed rewind on the master, the slave would also rewind. Then when you pushed play (master) the slave would also stop rewinding and go into play. The synchronizer would then compare the position of the slave compared to the master tape position and adjust the speed of the slave to line the positions up. When the position matched the machines would lock. This could take 20 to 30 seconds to happen so you needed plenty of lead up to the part you were working on. This is why when using a Dew you make the tape machine the master, the dew locks almost instantly.

    The reason I said that a synchronizer that produces word clock is better than using MTC is that when you use word clock the synchronization is sample accurate, no drift. So if you can find a secondhand synchronizer that reads smpte and produces word clock, and if your computer / software can lock to an external clock, you will have a more accurate synchronization. I have had experience with mtc where the synchronization has gone out buy a fraction of a beat when playing back a 4 min song from beginning to end. I admit that this was quite a few years ago so things may have improved. I only use a stand alone digital recorder now (tascam MX2424) and this has smpte in with an inbuilt word clock so it locks perfectly to the smpte from the analog machine.

    Cheers

    Alan.

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    I'm not sure Cubase Le can slave to SMPTE/MTC.

    I bought a cheapo closeout version of Cubase a few years ago, but am not sure if it was Le or Se. Either way, my manual said that the version I had could act as a master, but not a slave.

    Cool Edit Pro 2.0 will slave to MTC, but it's a pain in the butt because you have to constantly re-arm the MIDI trigger. What I mean is, after you arm Cool Edit to wait for an incoming midi signal, everything will work, but after you hit stop on the tape machine, you have to re-arm Cool Edit to wait for the signal again. This doesn't sound so bad, but believe me, it's a hassle. I'm not sure if Adobe has corrected this in later versions of the software.

    If you're looking for an inexpensive piece of software that will slave to MTC, check out N-Track. N-Track does not have to be constantly re-armed.

    I own a JL Cooper but have always used the Midiizer. I plan on using the PPS-2 in my classroom studio soon to sync a Tascam 464 and a Tascam 788, but until then I've yet to use it.

    -MD

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