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MIDI Clock Enabled even without playback
Old 2nd May 2018
  #1
Gear Head
 

MIDI Clock Enabled even without playback

Hi cool peeps,

I am using Reaper 5 as my Master clock for my external hardware instruments. However, my hardware only displays the BPM if Reaper is in playback mode. Is there a way to make my hardware detect the clock even without playback?

Appreciate it folks

Thanks

LS
Old 6th May 2018
  #2
Here for the gear
Always-on MIDI Clock? Short answer: no

Hey Lobong,

The short answer is 'no', at least not by default.

As far as I'm aware, REAPER does not have an always-on MIDI clock feature built in, though it has been a requested feature for some time.

That being said...

I dug up an old thread on the Cockos forum where a user has developed an interesting (if slightly cumbersome) workaround. It involves using two copies of REAPER running simultaneously: one instance has the sole purpose of looping in playback mode constantly, while the other instance is your normal, "real" copy of REAPER where you conduct your orchestra of MIDI devices.

To be clear, I haven't tried this (nor do I have the equipment to), but I would say give it a shot and see if it ends up working for you.

Hope that helps!

--~ Justin
Old 6th May 2018
  #3
Gear Guru
 
Muser's Avatar
you might be able to use Renoise as a clock generator. if you're able to set the output audio device which Renoise addresses as different from the one Reaper is using, so they don't fight for the same audio device. so setting Renoise prefs / midi / Midi clock master .. to the normal target destination you usually use in Reaper and then preventing it being sent in Reaper.

this should have Renoise running midi clock out and when you hit play or stop (space bar) in Renoise the midi clock should then send the start stop clock signal. it's likely that the Renoise Tempo will determine the Tempo and the Tempo is probably derived from the spacing of the clock signals. you can monitor the clock as well in Renoise under the midi tab with the sub tab set to monitor.

you could also theoretically have Renoise respond to an MMC command from a specific hardware device so that, when you hit play or stop on that device, Renoise would play and stop in response. as Renoise stops and starts it will also send out the clock stop start.

the Renoise download is fully working aside from a couple of limitations which shouldn't impact this use case. Renoise is also pretty resource efficient and usually should deliver a very stable clock. it's not as if you are loading any instruments or plugins in Renoise for this purpose in any case.
Old 11th May 2018
  #4
Gear Nut
 
MoltenVoltage's Avatar
MIDI Clock is synced to the playback clock, that's why it can't be "always on".

If you need it on before playback, then put some empty bars up front.
Old 11th May 2018
  #5
Gear Guru
 
Muser's Avatar
clock is often generated continously. in those cases there are just extra events when you hit start stop. it may be that Reaper doesn't generate clock until a start or stop is initiated from the DAW. you should be able to tell in some type of midi monitor application. that behavior may be why the BPM doesn't appear. Renoise on the other hand does generate it continually and then when you hit start or stop, the event is added to the clock stream.
Old 11th May 2018
  #6
Gear Nut
 
MoltenVoltage's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Muser View Post
clock is often generated continuously. in those cases there are just extra events when you hit start stop. it may be that Reaper doesn't generate clock until a start or stop is initiated from the DAW. you should be able to tell in some type of midi monitor application. that behavior may be why the BPM doesn't appear. Renoise on the other hand does generate it continually and then when you hit start or stop, the event is added to the clock stream.
If a device simply inserts a MIDI Start into the MIDI Clock stream then it is programmed improperly.

The point of MIDI Clock is to keep everything in sync. MIDI Clock data is a series of hexadecimal "F8" "ticks", and there are 24 in a quarter note.

When a device starts sending MIDI Clock, it sends an "FA" then immediately starts sending MIDI Clock data.

If an FA were simply inserted into the stream then the F8's would be out of sync with the DAW playback, and the slower the tempo, the more obvious it would be (unless the next F8 just happened to randomly land on the downbeat).

Cockos can't program it the way you imagine and comply with the MIDI Spec.
Old 11th May 2018
  #7
Gear Guru
 
Muser's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by MoltenVoltage View Post
If a device simply inserts a MIDI Start into the MIDI Clock stream then it is programmed improperly.

The point of MIDI Clock is to keep everything in sync. MIDI Clock data is a series of hexadecimal "F8" "ticks", and there are 24 in a quarter note.

When a device starts sending MIDI Clock, it sends an "FA" then immediately starts sending MIDI Clock data.

If an FA were simply inserted into the stream then the F8's would be out of sync with the DAW playback, and the slower the tempo, the more obvious it would be (unless the next F8 just happened to randomly land on the downbeat).

Cockos can't program it the way you imagine and comply with the MIDI Spec.
I'm not sure that even any given device can be relied on to display BPM even when the clock is running. the unit I use doesn't seem to display that even though it synchronize pretty tightly and even when it starts. as for Renoise, as soon as you start the program, Renoise starts generating a clock which displays a time stamp which you can see on the midi output monitor page in Renoise.

If I assume a unit might derive a BPM from that clock signal, then theoretically the OP's requirement might be fulfilled in that case. however, in your case, and assuming I'm right about the above, the OP's requirements could never be met. e.g. the BPM could drop out whenever Reaper was in a stop condition.
Old 11th May 2018
  #8
Gear Nut
 
MoltenVoltage's Avatar
Well it really depends on the gear you are syncing. With delay it won't make a difference. With a sequencer playing notes it will make a big difference.

Also devices that sync to clock that don't require a continuous stream of ticks should just keep on working (again, like a delay or maybe LFO if you don't care about where the waveform starts). A sequencer should always stop when the clock drops out.

I can also tell you that DAW MIDI Clocks are all over the map in terms of accuracy and most have horrible jitter. So are many hardware MIDI Clock generators, mostly in the context of devices that were designed to do other things and MIDI Clock was secondary when it actually needs to be the top priority (I've been building MIDI gear for over 10 years and have tested piles of them)

It's unfortunate that Reaper can't sync to an external MIDI Clock.
Old 11th May 2018
  #9
Gear Guru
 
Muser's Avatar
Logic also removed syncing to midi clock. I think that was on V9 or thereabouts. it's probably all the complexity with flexing audio along with all the other whatnots.

as I mentioned though, my device doesn't even show the BPM correctly. so I suppose that's a device specific issue. but it also wouldn't run without the start signal, after a stop condition. I assume because in that condition it would be set for external sync. that non running behavior though is generally to be expected when you set something to external sync.

but I guess in the OP's case and what it might illustrate, is that it's probably a good idea to have any device which purports to sync to midi clock, both displaying the BPM under any running sync condition (and) to persist in displaying that BPM when either the stop condition is received by an inserted stop event (or) the clock signal stops completely.

but what you couldn't likely do in Reaper is to alter the BPM in Reaper and have the device represent those changes when in a stopped state.

but you could potentially do that with Renoise. just I can't confirm that because my device doesn't even show the BPM. lol

technology can be awesome
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