The Maddening Midi Clock
Old 8th May 2013
  #1
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The Maddening Midi Clock

I'm a bit novice to the whole midi syncing, but playing for church services every week where songs sets vary widely, we need to be able to switch between songs very quickly, efficiently, and accurately. We have an incredible drummer who is spot on with the click.

What I'm trying to figure out is the best way to sync two or three devices (hardware synths with arpeggiators mostly) and a metronome in a way that we can very quickly switch between different songs and tempos. I've done a lot of searches and I have to say that Midi Clock for live implementation is extremely confusing and frustrating.

Does the drummer really have to have a laptop running a DAW next to him with presaved "song" templates with bpms programmed to tell the metronome and the synths to sync? Is there a better solution?
Old 8th May 2013
  #2
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Get any device that has Tap Tempo - a lot of guitar processors have this for delays etc. As long as it can transmit MIDI clock it could be set to be the master clock for everything else. Just link them up, and have the person with the best timekeeping skills - or perhaps the worship leader - stomp on the pedal when they want to change tempo ...
Old 8th May 2013
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It's definitely an option, but the drummer would have to listen to a preset tempo, click in with a foot pedal, and then the click and all other devices would be synced to his manual tap? I wonder if it could take too long between some songs. Any other options?
Old 8th May 2013
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Give him a drum machine, and program all your songs names into the various banks. You only need a basic pattern to get him started with the preset tempo and the right groove. Maybe give him a little guitar amp or something - I quite like the effect of hearing a small "radio" sound loop starting off a song before the full kit comes in. This drum machine would then be the master clock for everyone else. You can usually plug in a pedal for tap tempo, so the worship leader or whoever could change the tempo as they feel ...

Or if you have a main keyboard with sequencer you could do the same thing and just send audio to the drummer to get him started and give him a click.

A click doesn't have to be an actual click - that's torture. A cowbell or clave or something can work - and it won't matter if the audience hears it mix with the drums.

There a dozens of options if you think about what you've got and what you want to achieve ...
Old 8th May 2013
  #5
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Thanks for the input.

It just seems odd to me that we can very easily have multiple tempos with unique click patterns set on a metronome and be able to toggle through them in a flash and yet when you want to sync that device and an arpeggiator or two, you have to use a computer or a manual foot switch (which will override the original click pattern) connected to a drum machine.

Seems like the simplest solution would be for someone to make an app that's a metronome with memory and master midi clock output. I guess then you'd need an adapter that could actually send midi out from the device.
Old 8th May 2013
  #6
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Eh? That's what MIDI is for, and it's worked fine since the 1980's. Whatever device you decide is the Master midi clock you set to "Internal" clock. Everything else set to "External". Daisy chain them up, and watch them all snap to the same tempo.

No computers required. They didn't have them back when MIDI was invented.

I'm only suggesting a tap tempo device because a musician who is sensitive to changes in mood will want to change the tempo as they feel ... but if you are happy to have fixed tempo just program them up. Or not - you can just dial in what you want manually. So many options.
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