Using an ats500 or Midiizer (mts1000
) as an example, you have 2 main choices for hookup if the scenario is two Tascam machines-
Option 1. Smpte output from each recorder's track 8 rca outs...routed to the smpte master and smpte slave inputs on synchronizer. Then you also add an accessory2 cable from EACH machine. One plugs in the synchronizer's acc2-master connector, the other hooks to the acc2-slave connector.
Option 2. Same as option 1 but you only have an acc2 cable hooked between the synchronizer and slave...saving you the time of building/buying a second acc2 cable.
Option 1 is the preferred because option 2 causes a lot of frustrating wait time. Here's why-
In option 1, both machines and synchronizer are talking to each other every moment. Everybody knows what everybody else is doing.
In option 2, there is a missing acc2 cable from the master. (slave acc2 is required). What this means is that during play and record, the master is sending smpte to the synchronizer, the synchronizer throws the slave into play or record....monitors the slave smpte compared to the master smpte, and continuously sends motor commands up the acc2 cable to make the slave motors and capstan stay in frame rate sync at 30ndf accuracy at all times. Sync is tight and works fine between the 2 machines....BUT.....
With the missing second acc2 cable, something happens that's not very desireable in my book-
Without the second acc2 cable, you stop the master tape, intending for example to fast-forward or rewind a minute or so. You throw the master into rewind. Guess what? The slave just sits there during the master's fast forwarding and rewind. Why? Because during ff and rew, the master is not sending smpte signal out the heads...as you know, head signal is muted at ff and rew ...otherwise you'd hear loud whining of the tape with the resulting sound frequencies breaking your windows, irritating your dog, blowing out your speakers....etc etc. Besides, during ff and rew, smpte is breezing by so fast that nothing could read it anyway.
In a sync setup between 2 machines....any two machines, when a master is put into ff or rew, the way the slave machine gets a command to chase a master and ALSO rew or ff is via motor tach signals. A synchronizer (the intelligent being it is) , sees that "hey the master just went into ff or rew, so I'm gonna stop looking for smpte and instead I'm gonna start counting the motor tach pulses to see if the motor is going forward or backward....and then I'm gonna tell the slave motors to do the same thing. Synchronizer looks at the master the instant it starts ff or rew, figures whats going on in a nanosecond, shoots the command to the slave to do the same thing....both machines zoom off. As soon as you hit stop on the master when you get to whatever point on the tape you want, the synchronizer immediately sees what you did, takes a nanosecond look via tach as to approximately where-in-time you stopped, shoots that command to the slave and instructs the slave to stop in the same time neighborhood. A nanosecond later, slave is there and stops. Th instant you hit "play" on the master, the synchronizer sees the tach speed...sees the smpte, knows you went to "play" and shoots the message to the slave to start playing....then instantly looks at the master smpte and slave smpte to see how far they are off from each other...shoots the commands to move the slave motor faster or slower to get to the exact point as the master, then falls into "lock". This is called chaselock.
Without the second acc2 cable, when you throw the master into fast-forward, the synchronizer sees no motor tach signals...because there's no acc2 cable from the master. All the synchronizer knows is that there's no longer any smpte from the master. So it shoots a message to the slave saying "stop ..because I don't see the master and I don't know what's going on yet so let's just stop and wait here".
If you had been fast forwarding the master recorder a minute forward on the tape....which takes a few seconds as you know....the slave sits there. When you arrive at the tape destination you want and then hit "play", the synchronizer sees the new smpte and says, "whoa, the master's now 3 minutes from here." The synchronizer shoots the command to the slave to now ff or rew to where the master is.......which you have to sit there and wait for. Or....just keep playing the master and the slave will eventually catch up and lock in a few more seconds......which isn't ideal if you're doing something like say, fast punchins.
Without the second acc2 cable, bottom line is you spend quite a bit of time waiting for TWO tape recorders to ff and rew at TWO different times. With two acc2 cables, continuous contact is always established and the two machines act more or less as one...even during fast forward and rewind.
In the case of Tascam.
Now...let's say you have a Studer a824 and a Midiizer and a TSR8 that you want to synchronize to the Studer. A strange setup if you think about it, but hey...it could happen. In this instance, the Studer is using whatever motor tach signals it uses and those may or may not be appropriate to the tascam synchronizer. You could build some sort of interface from the Studer, but in reality, the easiest thing to do where ONE of the recorders is a non-Tascam is to simply operate with the Option 2 scenario and deal with the lag times during ff and rewind between the two machines.
If you have two tsr8's....a synchronizer...and two acc2 cables (built yourself or purchase via a couple of places that make them), you're pretty well set for full sync.