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Ghetto-Syncing Tascam 424 to digital? Virtual Instrument Plugins
Old 16th September 2011
  #1
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Ghetto-Syncing Tascam 424 to digital?

Hey fam.

Currently I'm trying to integrate a Tascam 424(mkii) into my setup. Was wondering if you used tape (in any capacity) and how.

e.g. right now I want to record nylon string to tape, dump it into the project and manually sync it (which may/may not require some serious editing)...

Thoughts?

-LL
Old 16th September 2011
  #2
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bizzump
Old 16th September 2011
  #3
Lives for gear
 

I've been thinking of doing the same thing for a next project.

If you insert a rudimentary "tempo marker" on the beginning of the track, e.g. four or eight finger taps to indicate the tempo, syncing up digitally afterwards shouldn't be too problematic imo.
Old 16th September 2011
  #4
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I would never do such a thing.

But to have a marker to sync the start of a wild run, you just need to have a couple of percussive clicks at the head or tail of each piece of media. Finger-snaps, side-stick, whatever.
Old 16th September 2011
  #5
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noah330's Avatar
It's questions like this that really show the youth on this board.

The first thing you need to do is make sure you have the tempo of your song exactly what you want it to be. If you decide to speed it up/slow it down later you will not be able to do it (easily).


Next, you want to stripe track 4 of your tape with the FSK tone. Your four track probably has a 'sync' selection. This will eliminate the noise reduction on track 4 so it doesn't interfere with the sync tone.

Since you want it sync'd to a DAW I would look for a machine like the Roland MC-50 that can do FSK and MIDI. There are other machines that do this, it's just this one comes to mind and it's cheap. It will give you MIDI (for your DAW) and FSK (for your 4 track).

If I were really looking to do this I would find a 4 track like the Tascam 644 MIDI Studio which was made to sync to midi sequencing software/hardware.

To do what you want to do with the 644 you just hook up MIDI cables to the 4 track and your MIDI interface and set up the DAW and the 644.
Old 16th September 2011
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by noah330 View Post
It's questions like this that really show the youth on this board.
Yup. I talked to a young "video guy" yesterday, who didn't know what smpte was.

I am figuring he hasn't done anything big yet.

Yes, you had to know this stuff to survive back in the day.

I would use smpte / midi time code on track 4.
Good luck,
john

edit, look for an old jl cooper smpte to midi timecode box, stripe tape with smpte with your daw. This converts smpte to midi, for a tight lock. Set up daw to lock to MTC, as slave.
Old 16th September 2011
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NEWTON IN ORBIT View Post
Yup. I talked to a young "video guy" yesterday, who didn't know what smpte was.
...

I would use smpte / midi time code on track 4.
Good luck,
john

edit, look for an old jl cooper smpte to midi timecode box, stripe tape with smpte with your daw. This converts smpte to midi, for a tight lock. Set up daw to lock to MTC, as slave.
I never found these things to be a good tight lock and with program material under a few minutes, letting it run wild was more satisfactory to our ears. Lining up to clciks or pops is pretty simple, and works almost perfectly with DAT source material (44,100 SPS being tighter than 30 frames....) DAWs do not resolve very well to outside sync, expecting the outside media to resolve to the DAW. Cassette decks, video cassette decks and other similar transports don't have a way to do this. In the DOS days my Voyetra card with the SMPTE daughter board locked up nice and tight to SMPTE from one of the multitracks, because back then the drivers bypassed the OS and talked directly to the hardware. With the modern GUI there are just too many layers between here and there, and back again.

recently tossed an old PS-somethingorother.... I found it used, never used it, was going to harvest it for parts, and just gave up a few weeks ago at ever getting a roundtuit.
Old 16th September 2011
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noah330 View Post
It's questions like this that really show the youth on this board.
The first thing you need to do is make sure you have the tempo of your song exactly what you want it to be. If you decide to speed it up/slow it down later you will not be able to do it (easily).
okay, i forgot to mention I'll be listening to the digital as a reference while recording to tape. kinda thought that'd be obvious.


Quote:
Originally Posted by noah330 View Post
Next, you want to stripe track 4 of your tape with the FSK tone. Your four track probably has a 'sync' selection. This will eliminate the noise reduction on track 4 so it doesn't interfere with the sync tone.

Since you want it sync'd to a DAW I would look for a machine like the Roland MC-50 that can do FSK and MIDI. There are other machines that do this, it's just this one comes to mind and it's cheap. It will give you MIDI (for your DAW) and FSK (for your 4 track).

If I were really looking to do this I would find a 4 track like the Tascam 644 MIDI Studio which was made to sync to midi sequencing software/hardware.

To do what you want to do with the 644 you just hook up MIDI cables to the 4 track and your MIDI interface and set up the DAW and the 644.
the name of the thread is "Ghetto-syncing" as currently I can't afford any more gear right now. I understand what smpte is/does and I plan to--as soon as I am able--buy a 644 (or something akin).

Quote:
Originally Posted by noah330 View Post
It's questions like this that really show the youth on this board.

sounds like you *love* to feel superior.
Old 16th September 2011
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LimpyLoo View Post
...
sounds like you *love* to feel superior.
I think it was just an accurate observation, no reason to take offense. Some of us older guys have had to use different tools, and had to learn other disciplines.
Old 16th September 2011
  #10
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
I never found these things to be a good tight lock and with program material under a few minutes, letting it run wild was more satisfactory to our ears. Lining up to clciks or pops is pretty simple, and works almost perfectly with DAT source material (44,100 SPS being tighter than 30 frames....) DAWs do not resolve very well to outside sync, expecting the outside media to resolve to the DAW. Cassette decks, video cassette decks and other similar transports don't have a way to do this. In the DOS days my Voyetra card with the SMPTE daughter board locked up nice and tight to SMPTE from one of the multitracks, because back then the drivers bypassed the OS and talked directly to the hardware. With the modern GUI there are just too many layers between here and there, and back again.

recently tossed an old PS-somethingorother.... I found it used, never used it, was going to harvest it for parts, and just gave up a few weeks ago at ever getting a roundtuit.
yeah, I try not to record to click/grid these days (i still do roughly 50% of the time, though). I grew up recording to a 424 and instead of using a click I just took extensive drum lessons (even though I'm not really a drummer) and practiced to a click.

the things I do with songs these days (metric modulation, ritardando and rhubato) don't lend themselves to click/grid (it's easy to change bpm in middle of a project, but tends not to sound very natural playing to click).

probably what i should do I just record analog stuff first, like drums...

I've had mild success with syncing shorter parts. Drift tends not to be terribly noticable over 8 bars at 150...

I've heard vague rumors that you can mod a 424 so that you can record "through" it, i.e. recording to the tape and then sending it out (virtually) immediately. does this sound familiar to anyone?
Old 16th September 2011
  #11
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
I think it was just an accurate observation, no reason to take offense. Some of us older guys have had to use different tools, and had to learn other disciplines.
I understand. and sorry to be short with you.
It's just that...I agree (more or less) about "the youth of today", but I am not a kid that just got a Squire strat and Pro Tools LE for his birthday. I think I just get defensive when people bring up generation because it tends to precede a rant about how *they* are hard-working and ingenious and *we* and lazy and uncreative and rely on equipment to do the work for us. (That's just my experience and I shouldn't project. My bad there.)

I am certainly not the latter. I read manuals like most people read Harry Potter, I am proficient (read: jazz-trained) on multiple instruments, and moreover I tend to stick with a piece of gear and try to "master" it (as if such were possible) before I even think about buying new gear. Also, I believe that--everything else being equal--confronting limitations tends to produce more interesting results than having absolute freedom.

That being said, it'd be pretty rad having the ability to properly sync entire takes...
Old 17th September 2011
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noah330 View Post
It's questions like this that really show the youth on this board.

The first thing you need to do is make sure you have the tempo of your song exactly what you want it to be. If you decide to speed it up/slow it down later you will not be able to do it (easily).


Next, you want to stripe track 4 of your tape with the FSK tone. Your four track probably has a 'sync' selection. This will eliminate the noise reduction on track 4 so it doesn't interfere with the sync tone.

Since you want it sync'd to a DAW I would look for a machine like the Roland MC-50 that can do FSK and MIDI. There are other machines that do this, it's just this one comes to mind and it's cheap. It will give you MIDI (for your DAW) and FSK (for your 4 track).

If I were really looking to do this I would find a 4 track like the Tascam 644 MIDI Studio which was made to sync to midi sequencing software/hardware.

To do what you want to do with the 644 you just hook up MIDI cables to the 4 track and your MIDI interface and set up the DAW and the 644.
Yeah, cause, all that - way simpler than just tapping along to the click so you can visually align the tracks to the grid afterwards.

Damn our youthful stupidity.
Old 18th September 2011
  #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Black Shadow View Post
Yeah, cause, all that - way simpler than just tapping along to the click so you can visually align the tracks to the grid afterwards.

Damn our youthful stupidity.
Man, ease up. People are asking for help, and other people that used to do this to make a living, are trying to help.

As far as simpler?

Actually, it is way simpler, and tighter. The human element vs. a computer? No more lining up anything after you get this set up, just go.

Not saying anybody is stupid, just saying, the knowledge and proper use of time code and sync, has vanished since people started doing everything in the daw.

There was a time when digital was coming in, where you had to have both analog and digital sync'd. As a result, the people that worked in a commercial studio in this era, know how to do this, and know how to solve many syncronization issues.

It's not studpidity, you just don't know is all. This was common place, even for the home studio bedroom midi guys. You have no reason to learn it. Until you want to start using analog with your daw, sync'd together.

Peace,
john
Old 19th September 2011
  #14
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noah330's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by LimpyLoo View Post




sounds like you *love* to feel superior.
Not at all. There are many of the young folks here that know more then I ever will about what is available in terms of equipment, loop based music, etc....

For those of us who were analog before digital this topic was something we all dealt with. I remember syncing my old 4 track with my Mac Classic with Oberheim Xpander and TX-81z!

Honestly, it may take 45 minutes to setup but once it's running IMHO it would be much easier then matching to clicks, dragging, etc... plus you would set it up one time. Of course YMMV.

Just telling you how I did it (would do it) along with some cheap pieces avail on ebay
Old 19th September 2011
  #15
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by noah330 View Post
Not at all. There are many of the young folks here that know more then I ever will about what is available in terms of equipment, loop based music, etc....

For those of us who were analog before digital this topic was something we all dealt with. I remember syncing my old 4 track with my Mac Classic with Oberheim Xpander and TX-81z!

Honestly, it may take 45 minutes to setup but once it's running IMHO it would be much easier then matching to clicks, dragging, etc... plus you would set it up one time. Of course YMMV.

Just telling you how I did it (would do it) along with some cheap pieces avail on ebay
I'm gonna try to grab a tone generator on the cheap from eBay. Initially I thought that buying more gear was gonna be the hassle, but now I'm convinced manually syncing will lead to madness, hair loss, etc.

anyway, thanks for the advice. cheers.
Old 19th September 2011
  #16
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by LimpyLoo View Post
I'm gonna try to grab a tone generator on the cheap from eBay. Initially I thought that buying more gear was gonna be the hassle, but now I'm convinced manually syncing will lead to madness, hair loss, etc.

anyway, thanks for the advice. cheers.
I have a JL Cooper Data Sync sync box for sell cheap if it'll help your situation..PM me if interested..Good luck..
Old 19th September 2011
  #17
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noah330's Avatar
The one thing you need to make sure is that you have a way to take that tone and get it hooked to your computer.

The MIDIman SmartSync would be the box I would look for.

The other box you *may* be able to use is the old Opcode Studio 5. These were the coolest MIDI interface of all time and are built like tanks. IIRC they sync to an audio signal but if you can use it in standalone mode (which I *think* you can) it may be a low cost solution - see if you can get a manual for it or something.

Also, the 644 can be found cheap sometimes. I have seen them under $100, so if you can track one down it would make your life a lot easier.
Old 19th September 2011
  #18
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sftd's Avatar
 

If I were in the exact same situation I would just play to a click while recording to the 4, record the audio from the tape into the daw, then line it up by hand with the click on.

While I'm not using a four track, I have to do this alllllll the time.

As long as you are extremely comfortable with a metronome this shall be easy peasy.

Sent from my PC36100 using Gearslutz.com App
Old 19th September 2011
  #19
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noah330's Avatar
OK - sorry to keep posting.

I sent an email to a guy who I used to record with all the time. The box you want to find is the Tascam MTS-30.


Ghetto-Syncing Tascam 424 to digital?http://www.ebay.com/itm/TASCAM-MTS-3...item3f0e0afb76

Old 19th September 2011
  #20
Gear Addict
 

Ghetto sync for free:

Stripe a track on the 4-track with SMPTE
Google an app called SMPTEtoMIDI
Run the SMPTE track into your onboard soundcard (no need to take up an input on your interface)
Set up SMPTEtoMIDI as per their and your DAWs instructions - you're syncing your DAW to the 424 via the SMPTEto MIDI app/virtual midi device.
Old 26th April 2012
  #21
Ojd
Here for the gear
There's even more ghetto way to make make portastudio sync:
If you use REAPER there is SMPTE item that you need to record to 4'th track, later play it back, and say reaper to listen (right click on play button) to one of your physical inputs. Handles midi well, sometimes you can even get away with multitrack recordings.
Old 27th April 2012
  #22
Gear Addict
 

Here's what works for me

send your click or reference track out of your DAW in mono and record that to a track on the tape machine that isnt adjacent to your nylon track. in other words, record the reference or click track to channel 1 and record your nylon to channel 3 (or reference track to channel 4 and nylon to channel 2). keep your nylon track on 2 or 3, and keep the reference on the outside of the tape on 1 or 4, since you wont need this in the final mix. after recording your nylon is finished, send BOTH tracks back into the DAW. then, with the nylon track also selected in your DAW, align the reference/click track from the tape to it's brother in the DAW. if theres noticeable tape drag or speed issues, you will see if after aligning these tracks and zooming in. i did this with success using a 424mkIII for a while, then decided to upgrade to a 22-2 (2-track 1/4" tape 15ips), and still works fine. you dont need all that fancy schmancy smpte syncing junk. that stuff will only disrupt your workflow and take up your time trying to figure it out.
Old 27th April 2012
  #23
to the OP, why do you even want to do this, if it's for mangling your recording fine, if it's because you're trying to get some analog warmth your kidding yourself. I seriously doubt you can get a cassette deck to reliably chase a daw and it would be jitter world for your daw to chase the deck.
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