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How to connect 2 Studer A-800's to an SSL4000 G+
Old 7th February 2016
  #1
Gear Nut
 
Radiotech96's Avatar
How to connect 2 Studer A-800's to an SSL4000 G+

Hey guys,

I have searched the forums and cannot find any specific diagrams or details on how to connect a pair of Studer A-800 Tape machines to an SSL 4000 G+ for transport control, so that the SSL controls the transport of the master A-800 and the slave A-800 chases the first.

So I know that if I am just trying to control transport on a single A-800 from the SSL keyboard, I connect the S29E transport control cable from the SSL to the A-800 transport control connector via the correct cable/ pinout configuration for the two systems. I have the requisite cables and that is strait forward.

I also know that to control remote track arming on a single A-800 from the SSL I need to have the correct cable or interface box between the A-800 remote track arming connectors on the back of the meters and the SSL DL41 (42,43) (track arming interfaces) I also have the requisite cables and interface for this and it also seems strait forward.

I know you stripe time code on track 24 of the A-800 and then output this back to the SSL timecode reader for SSL automation to chase the A-800.

So far that gets me a single A800 as master, and SSL mix automation working with tape transport and track select features working from the console.

Now here is where it gets challenging. I now need to add a second A-800 chasing the first A-800 for a 47 track analog mixing session.

The remote track arming on the second machine is simple, just need a second interface between DL42 (remote track arming) on the SSL and the second tape machine. Transport control is where i am running into difficulty.

I have a pair of Timeline Lynx modules synced to an external reference, but if I need to connect the transport control cables from each A800 machine to each of the lynx modules for them to lock the two machines together, then where do I connect the S29E transport control cable from the SSL? and what time code configuration should I use? I also have an SSL Master transport controller but this was not used in the last studio this console was in.

I want to be able to transport control the two machines from the console and have them locked together and providing time code to lock the SSL automation computer as well.

A wiring diagram would have been very helpful, but having searched all manuals and online sources I can find no such wiring diagram.

I am sure this was a common configuration in many studios in the past.

To add a bit more complexity to this whole setup, I want to be able to lock pro tools to this system as well, so I can bounce tracks back and forth between the analog setup and the DAW and switch between transport control of the DAW and the A-800's. Of course I have the requisite Sync HD interface and a whizzer to fool the SSL automation that a tape machine is connected when I am working with the DAW, and I have the SSL master transport selector.

Now here comes the question......How do I connect this all together to make it all work seamlessly in the most efficient systems workflow?

Anyone got this setup in their studio? two analog tape machines, SSL console and Protools all working happily together?
Old 7th February 2016
  #2
The most efficient set up I have come across is CLASP.
Old 7th February 2016
  #3
For mixing you won't need the remote track arming so all you need to do is resolve the synchronisation issue

If you want to fly stuff back & forth you'll have to work out what you use as the master clock. The A800 doesn't have Word Clock like a 3324, etc, so synchronisation between the two analogue machines will be via timecode only. The Lynx will do that easily. The master machine will be master clock and the slave & SSL will be synced to that

If you want to sync Pro Tools to the two A800s, you may be able to sync it to the master A800 but suspect you might be better off using Pro Tools as the master and syncing both A800s and the SSL to it. You could do it by laying an SMTPE stripe on one track of Pro Tools but there may be a more elegant (and complicated) way of doing it

You say the two Lynx modules are synced to an external clock. I think you'll need the master module to treat timecode (from track 24) as master and let the Lynx synchronise to that otherwise you'll have to make both machines chase an external clock

What timecode you use will depend if the 48 track session is recorded yet. If it is, use the code on the tape. If it's not, stripe the tape using whatever code rate best syncs with your other devices

I can't recall how the machine controls are patched, but suspect machine remotes are patched via the Lynx, so cabling would go SSL -> Lynx -> A800 for both machines with machine #2 switched to Slave to chase code from #1 as necessary

There will be people out there who have done this. I think you'll need someone who knows the Lynx inside out to make it happen

I've done lots of mixing with two A800s and a Lynx. It's a great setup and the machines should lock within a second or two

If you use Pro Tools as master clock & synchronise both A800s to it I'd be very careful about where the timecode comes from. If you're going to copy sections off into Pro Tools and move it back to tape I'd definitely consider copying the timecode to Pro Tools as well. If all else fails, you can sync the A800 to that code. As it's the same code, any speed variations, edits, etc, will be the same on both and you'll be able to sync anywhere that has a Lynx, Adams Smith, etc

Nick Froome
Old 8th February 2016
  #4
Gear Nut
 
Radiotech96's Avatar
Hi Nick,

Thanks for your reply. When I said the lynx was synced to an external clock I was planning on syncing it to either the SMPTE out from the Sync HD unit or from a black burst generator's video sync.

This is a new build from the ground up in a new studio using most of the equipment (SSL console, Studer machine, Lynx, Whizzer, cabling etc) from a recently decommissioned Studio in the UK. They had used an Apogee Big ben, but I don't have one, perhaps I should get one.

I found a cable that splits S29E from the Console to the Master A-800 transport connector and also to the master lynx unit transport connector. The whizzer has a patch panel that allows me to patch either the whizzer to the S29E console transport control or to the Master A-800 machine transport connector, depending on which you want to control with the console. I think, hopefully I just need another transport cable from the slave Lynx unit to the slave A-800 machine. The studio this gear came out of only had a single A-800 machine and a pro tools rig connected to the SSL. I am adding a second A-800 machine to the setup, so I don't have all the cabling for the second machine, and I have to fabricate what is needed to make it work.
Old 8th February 2016
  #5
There are plenty of Lynx modules about and you may get lucky and be able to buy a set of A800 cables for one. Don Larking in the UK has a couple of modules and may well have cables

I'd decide what your master clock is going to be and sync the Lynx modules, Pro Tools and any interfaces to that

You could always invite the UK studio tech over to help you set it up. With the weather we're having he (or she) would be thrilled to bits…

Nick Froome
Old 8th February 2016
  #6
Is this from Stanley house/sofa sound?!
Old 8th February 2016
  #7
Gear Nut
 
BradL8068's Avatar
 

A few thoughts (I've spent many years doing this). Currently I do this with A827's and I have forgotten the exact connectors available on the A800.
By the way in my 30 years of doing this the A800 is the finest tape machine I believe ever made. They are less reliable then the A827 but sound amazing.

1) The best option for locking especially if pro tools is ever involved but still the best is to use a common clock to lock. The simplest solution is a master clock that generates Video " Black Burst" AND Word clock. Feed the lynx modules the video ref and lock to that for the machines, and feed the word clock to pro tools.
This will give a common clock for analog and digital. It's too complicated to go into here but it allows any machine to be master. and will give the most stable speed/sample rate at all times.

As far as connection. I forgot the connectors available on the A800 but the SSL will want to see tach from the machine, and the lynx will need to see tach and be able to control the capstan. ( as well as all transport controls and Tallys) So if these signal are only available on one connector you need to make a Y cable with " Steering diodes" which protect and prevent interference between the Lynx and the SSL. I would expect a google search of S29 Y cable schematic should show you how to make the cable.
Brad
Old 9th February 2016
  #8
Gear Nut
 
Radiotech96's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
Is this from Stanley house/sofa sound?!
IT IS.
Old 9th February 2016
  #9
Gear Nut
 
Radiotech96's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by BradL8068 View Post
A few thoughts (I've spent many years doing this). Currently I do this with A827's and I have forgotten the exact connectors available on the A800.
By the way in my 30 years of doing this the A800 is the finest tape machine I believe ever made. They are less reliable then the A827 but sound amazing.

1) The best option for locking especially if pro tools is ever involved but still the best is to use a common clock to lock. The simplest solution is a master clock that generates Video " Black Burst" AND Word clock. Feed the lynx modules the video ref and lock to that for the machines, and feed the word clock to pro tools.
This will give a common clock for analog and digital. It's too complicated to go into here but it allows any machine to be master. and will give the most stable speed/sample rate at all times.

As far as connection. I forgot the connectors available on the A800 but the SSL will want to see tach from the machine, and the lynx will need to see tach and be able to control the capstan. ( as well as all transport controls and Tallys) So if these signal are only available on one connector you need to make a Y cable with " Steering diodes" which protect and prevent interference between the Lynx and the SSL. I would expect a google search of S29 Y cable schematic should show you how to make the cable.
Brad
Hi Brad,

Thanks, this is very helpful. I actually found an S29 to A800 and Lynx Y cable in a box of cables and installed it. Now all I need is to purchase some more connectors, and replicate a second one for the other machine.

I spent the day unravelling and identifying all of the SMPTE connections to and from the console patch bay and SSL computer, as well as to and from all the other pieces of gear so I could route them where they need to go.

I note that on the SSL patch bay there is SMPTE time code in and out from the SSL computer timecode reader and generator cards, as well as several SMPTE mults on the same patch row. There is also SMPTE A, B & C from the S113 Cable which I guess can be routed to 3 different SMPTE sources. This cable would have connected to the SSL tape transport selector which is not in use. I also have SMPTE out from the whizzer on that row as well. So from what I can tell, I should be able to patch SMPTE to or from any device or track and the SSL computer. I just need to get the Lynx modules SMPTE I/O's to the patch bay now, and also get a good Black Burst/ Word clock generator to lock everything to.

Can anyone recommend one to use for this?
Old 9th February 2016
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Radiotech96 View Post
IT IS.
Ah yes - I can see your location now, I think we discussed it before

Awesome - I've clocked many hours on that desk, it's lovely (And reliable)! Never really used the A800 though.
Old 9th February 2016
  #11
Gear Nut
 
BradL8068's Avatar
 

Rosendahl units can do this, gen video and WC. Antelope is the best and most pricy. Big Ben ( maybe you can find used) will lock to and external video ref but you would need to find a Pal or NTSC video generator which will be dirt cheap used now that we are in the world of HD.

If you are in a pinch you can just feed Video to the Sync HD and the lynx modules. Video gens should go for a song on ebay.
Brad
Old 9th February 2016
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by BradL8068 View Post
A few thoughts (I've spent many years doing this). Currently I do this with A827's and I have forgotten the exact connectors available on the A800.
By the way in my 30 years of doing this the A800 is the finest tape machine I believe ever made. They are less reliable then the A827 but sound amazing.

1) The best option for locking especially if pro tools is ever involved but still the best is to use a common clock to lock. The simplest solution is a master clock that generates Video " Black Burst" AND Word clock. Feed the lynx modules the video ref and lock to that for the machines, and feed the word clock to pro tools.
This will give a common clock for analog and digital. It's too complicated to go into here but it allows any machine to be master. and will give the most stable speed/sample rate at all times.

As far as connection. I forgot the connectors available on the A800 but the SSL will want to see tach from the machine, and the lynx will need to see tach and be able to control the capstan. ( as well as all transport controls and Tallys) So if these signal are only available on one connector you need to make a Y cable with " Steering diodes" which protect and prevent interference between the Lynx and the SSL. I would expect a google search of S29 Y cable schematic should show you how to make the cable.
Brad
That all sounds like excellent advice, and better-informed than my contribution!

I imagine the setup suggested uses SMPTE only for location information then syncs the A800 tach to the external clock. I imagine that's as close as you could get to word sync with an analogue machine

I'll echo the praise for the A800. Great machine in every way

Nick Froome
Old 10th February 2016
  #13
Gear Nut
 
BradL8068's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bolide View Post
That all sounds like excellent advice, and better-informed than my contribution!

I imagine the setup suggested uses SMPTE only for location information then syncs the A800 tach to the external clock. I imagine that's as close as you could get to word sync with an analogue machine

I'll echo the praise for the A800. Great machine in every way

Nick Froome
Nick
Close. The Lynx modules are set to "resolve" the time code on tape. So when the tape is playing the speed is controlled by comparing the time code on the tape to the video ref (clock) and locking those to be the exact same speed.

In Pro Tools you set Clock REf to Word Clock and positional reference to LTC Time code, If the Pro Tools is master Clock ref would be Word Clock and Set to Gen LTC. The common clock keeps all machine running at the same speed.
B
Old 10th February 2016
  #14
That makes total sense. There's no guarantee that the LTC "speed" is the same as the A800 tach - particularly if it was recorded on another machine

The LTC will always drift WRT the tach so resolve the LTC and sync to that

I got there in the end!

Nick Froome
Old 11th February 2016
  #15
Gear Nut
 
Radiotech96's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by BradL8068 View Post
Nick
Close. The Lynx modules are set to "resolve" the time code on tape. So when the tape is playing the speed is controlled by comparing the time code on the tape to the video ref (clock) and locking those to be the exact same speed.

In Pro Tools you set Clock REf to Word Clock and positional reference to LTC Time code, If the Pro Tools is master Clock ref would be Word Clock and Set to Gen LTC. The common clock keeps all machine running at the same speed.
B
This is all very helpful guys,

Thanks. It is quite a challenge working out all of the timing complexities the correct way, to allow all of the old and new systems to work together in harmony.

Much of the wiring is now complete, except that I need a master clock and/ or a black burst generator to complete the sync.

February 22nd will be exactly one year to the day since I powered down that gear in London and started decommissioning it for the move to Barbados. I aim to power it back up on or before the 22nd of this month in full working order. So lots to do in the next 12 days I guess.
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