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.)
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.

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.
@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.
Follow up: I just got a Tascam MTS-30 (seemingly unused, and in the box, for $15) and it seems to do the trick. It's FSK instead of SMPTE and seems a little less flexible because of that, but for my purposes it works fine.
Glad you found an inexpensive solution. I was going to chime in with how unreliable the J.L. Cooper units were - frequently freezing, accompanied by a gawdawful, loud zippering sound.
Another follow up: I recently got a Yamaha MSS1 ($40) which turned out to be the piece of gear I needed. The MTS-30 needed to have the tempo and time signature info set before striping which was its major drawback for me, the MSS1 avoids that by being SMPTE and having tempo mapping built in.