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Midi, Song Position Pointer (SPP) and MOTU/Innerclock/Expert Sleepers et al.
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Grimbog
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30th June 2013
Old 30th June 2013
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Midi, Song Position Pointer (SPP) and MOTU/Innerclock/Expert Sleepers et al.

Hey guys,

Been thinking about how to plan out midi across the whole studio, and wouldn't mind a bit of group thought on it. Seems to be a lot of midi posts lately, so I'm going to chance an experiment with a few purchases to see how solid I can get things going and report back on findings here.

At the moment things are pretty much ghetto here in the sense that I have a USB Midisport 4x4 feeding in to a Signex midi patchbay that I then route to where I need it:

Midisport 1 -> Akai S5000, Akai S950
Midisport 2 -> Atari ST with Notator, this then sends clock to MPC3000LE
Midisport 3 -> FX units with midiclock
Midisport 4 -> More FX units, with midiclock

Lets put things in to perspective... the jitter is pretty bad, so here's what I am thinking of getting to clean things up:

1. MOTU Express 128 (this would serve all FX units with their own clock - anything that is not essential).
2. Expert Sleepers ES-3, and x2 ES-5 expanders for keyboard duties.
3. Innerclock Sync Gen Pro II to serve clocks duties to my 'groove machines' eg. the Atari ST with Notator, and MPC 3000LE.
4. Alternatively the RME Fireface 800 SMTPE (timecode) option for use with Atari ST and Notator.

Now... the main problem I've got is with the Atari ST and MPC 3000LE. These are pretty important as they both have different grooves that I want to keep, but the timing needs to be spot on. For now I have Ableton Live sending clock to the Atari with Song Position Pointer on (this is important), this in turn sends a signal to the MPC to sync that (again, SPP) - the reason I do this is because Live's sync is broken if I send that directly to the MPC, so I use Notator as a proxy to keep things in check, and it works nicely, but because of the jitter things do lose cohesion over time.

My plan was to use Innerclock Synth Gen Pro II to sync with the Atari and the MPC 3000, but the important question is this... can I use Song Position Pointer with Innerclock? Really need this as I plan to compose live, and will mess with timeline positions in the DAW for various song sections. If I move the timeline in Ableton Live, I expect the song positions to change on the Atari and MPC.

If not, then my thinking was to instead purchase the Timecode option for my RME Fireface 800, which then sends SMTPE to the Atari for DAW sync duties, then on to the MPC 3000LE as per usual.

Long post, but just thought to flood in some ideas and see what everyone thinks... would really appreciate any thoughts. Based on feedback I'll purchase a few things and let you guys know how it all goes.
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27th October 2013
Old 27th October 2013
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I have basically the same question. I want something that will allow me to set a loop in a my DAW (cubase) and everything sync to that loop. SPP seems to be the bogey. I have a Sync Gen coming my way. I'm going to try and it see what happens.
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27th October 2013
Old 27th October 2013
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The only way I can think of doing it with the Sync Gen is to merge it's MIDI clock with SPP coming from a "standard" MIDI output.

But you'd have to filter out the clock so only the Sync Gen clock is merged.
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30th October 2013
Old 30th October 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grimbog View Post
For now I have Ableton Live sending clock to the Atari with Song Position Pointer on (this is important), this in turn sends a signal to the MPC to sync that (again, SPP) - the reason I do this is because Live's sync is broken if I send that directly to the MPC, so I use Notator as a proxy to keep things in check, and it works nicely, but because of the jitter things do lose cohesion over time.
I'm guessing Cubase on Atari can't send its own SPP, so you need to clock from a capable DAW/sequencer that does?
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30th October 2013
Old 30th October 2013
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Can you send MIDI clock from the Atari, receive the clock from the Atari in Logic/Live (as slave), and then transmit MIDI clock from Logic to get its SPP, possibly merging the Atari MIDI clock and the SPP messages into a single stream that would be the master for all other devices *including the ATARI itself*?

....the idea being that the sequencer could be triggered from the Atari, but clocked from the master source (which could in this case be the Innerclock, I presume.

It's probably not easy to answer what happens to a clock stream when a device acts as both master and slave to itself. A loop?
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30th October 2013
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It does not appear that Logic syncs to a MIDI clock. :(
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30th October 2013
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I have an InnerClock Systems Sync Gen Pro II as well as three MOTU MidiExpress XT USB patchbays. I use the Sync Gen to distribute clock to each of the patchbays through an input midi port that then gets distributed to all other output ports using the ClockWorks routing software to set it up on the patchbays.

I believe you can do what you want since the MOTU's will midi merge streams from different input ports to an output port. I have mine set up to block all clock from my PC but to let other midi message go through. This would allow the SPP messages to get out to where you want them while blocking the clock that you don't want from the PC while allowing the clock to come from where it belongs which is the InnerClock Sync Gen. All this is accomplished with the ClockWorks software.

My setup works really well for me. Clock is rock solid. I don't use Logic on my PC but I don't see how it would be a problem since all the filtering is done on the MOTU patchbays so Logic could think it was the timing master without any issues I can see.
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31st October 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kpsiegel View Post
Logic could think it was the timing master
I really want the Atari to be the master only because I enjoy the Cubase 10-key key commands to manage the transport. With Logic as the master, that will be gone. I'll have to commit to some other controller.

Now that *that's* off my chest, I'm gonna work on MIDI streams and possibly nail down a Sync Gen II based clocking setup just as you've described.

Thanks!

mb
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20th June 2014
Old 20th June 2014
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having read this thread i have been inspired to create a hybrid song position pointer SPP merged with clock from my innerclock systems sync gen pro based setup

instead of using motu interfaces and clockworks software i have used a piece of freeware called midipipe to filter the clock from the DAW

so the clock comes from the sync gen but the spp comes from the mac

superb, now i have old school midi locked to my DAW with SPP working like a dream

i had to muck around a bit to get it working but it works

SYNC GEN + SPP + DAW =
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20th June 2014
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^^^Nice work!

Just a note. Os should be adding SPP to Silent Way soon.
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20th June 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tamprecision View Post
having read this thread i have been inspired to create a hybrid song position pointer SPP merged with clock from my innerclock systems sync gen pro based setup

instead of using motu interfaces and clockworks software i have used a piece of freeware called midipipe to filter the clock from the DAW

so the clock comes from the sync gen but the spp comes from the mac

superb, now i have old school midi locked to my DAW with SPP working like a dream

i had to muck around a bit to get it working but it works

SYNC GEN + SPP + DAW =


I don't see a .mipi download anywhere?
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20th June 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanRand View Post
I don't see a .mipi download anywhere?

My .mipi contribution: Logic Stuck Note Killer.mipi


Can be used by anyone using Logic, may even work for other mac DAWs.
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21st June 2014
Old 21st June 2014
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The sequencer im running is a qy700 that has two midi in sockets

one midi in received clock directly from the sync gen

the other had the master keyboard and the clock+spp from logic merged via a kmx midi central patchbay

my midi SPP came from a fireface 400

i used one of the virtual inputs which appeared in logic in the midi sync prefs

the sticking point was the start and stop messages

as far as i can tell the start stop messages are now coming from logic and NOT from the sync gen

when i had the start stop messages coming from the sync gen the spp worked ie the playpoint moved but when i started playback the qy700 sequencer went straight back to the start

my suspicion is that theres a "continue" message that the sync gen doesnt send and that a start message always means start at the beginning

even thought the start messages are coming from the DAW the sync is still as good as ever

I have attached the .mipi file but im not sure how much use it will be....

I will be testing this out with a few other sequencers, atari ste, mpc , SBX1000 but it seems very stable and dare i say it the ideal solution to modern midi woe

Last edited by tamprecision; 21st June 2014 at 01:57 AM.. Reason: additional info
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21st June 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bil_g View Post
^^^Nice work!

Just a note. Os should be adding SPP to Silent Way soon.
Can anyone share a link? I'm waiting for the cash for an es3 but I thought that this type of thing was already part of the suit?
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21st June 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dogma View Post
Can anyone share a link? I'm waiting for the cash for an es3 but I thought that this type of thing was already part of the suit?
He's mentioned it in passing, like here. I have also had a short discussion with him about it. It's definitely in the front of his mind.

Midi clock/sync is still working fine. I use it all the time. Its absence really hasn't bothered me but that just might be my working method.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bil_g View Post
He's mentioned it in passing, like here. I have also had a short discussion with him about it. It's definitely in the front of his mind.

Midi clock/sync is still working fine. I use it all the time. Its absence really hasn't bothered me but that just might be my working method.
If this is the case then I'll be getting the ESX-8MD in a shot. Just having those two clocking with SPP to both the MPC and Atari would open up so much possibility. I've toyed with the idea of getting the Innerclock sync gen II but its out of my budget for now (import tax blah blah, they really need a UK distributor), and I already own both the ES-3 and ES-5, so it all hangs on SPP support. Might email OS and see if there's a rough ETA...
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From what I've seen from him lately, it seems getting the disting module out is taking up his time right now. He always seems to be working on multiple things, though.

Once he does add it, you could always test it out with ES-5 and adapters. Not that I'm downplaying the 8MD. Great module.
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Damn it bil_g, you've made my buy 4 adaptors this morning.

Curious to try out the general midi capabilities...
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..sorry 'bout that.

Hopefully you'll be as pleased with it as I am.
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