how to sync sequencer to tape (w/o computer)


New member
I want to sync my hardware sequencer which recognizes start/stop/continue/SPP to a SMPTE stripe on my 4-track, without using a computer. How can I do this? (I've already Googled.)


Active member
There were a few sync devices around back in the day. I used a Fostex 4050 with an Alesis HR16 drum machine and possibly an MMT8 sequencer (though I didn't use the sequencer for long before moving to computer). I also had a JL Cooper PPS100 but it wasn't as reliable at reading code as the Fostex. I seem to remember Tascam made similar devices too.

If you don't mind using proprietary time code there were a few cheaper devices around too. I'd suggest digging around the Muzines website for reviews in magazines like Home and Studio Recording or Sound On Sound.


rob aylestone

Well-known member
It depends on the gear you have? What can the sequencer read and write? MIDI, SMPTE, proprietary? Then what your 4 track can support - You will probably end up with a piece of hardware sitting between the two JL Cooper units were popular back when this quaint way off working was common.


New member
@jamesperrett I had read those articles, thanks for confirming that I was on the right track.

@rob aylestone The 4 track is the master, the sequencer reads MIDI sync. Currently they can sync by going 4 track → MOTU Midi Express → DAW → sequencer, the DAW simply reads SMPTE and sends out MIDI sync, just acting as a SMPTE to MIDI sync converter. I was wondering if that conversion was available in a hardware box, and according to the answers here it appears that it is.