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Question on Clocking from Computer, and Clock distribution
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Modular Synth General Discussion  
Author Question on Clocking from Computer, and Clock distribution
Dstepatl
Hello,

I am looking for a way to send a more reliable clock signal out of my mac than through midi. I currently Have the moog grandmother and a small euro set up to complement it. Before I go any further in my rack I want to tackle the issue of clocking and clock distribution.

I use FL Studio, as it seems to work really well for hiphop production, as opposed to logic which I use for more typical tracking situations. My interface is a Lynx Aurora 8 with the usb card for interfacing with my mac book pro. As the aurora does not have spidf or adat, only aes/ebu It seems I can't use the disting expert sleepers route.

My audio comes out of the aurora on dsub to quarter inches hooked up into my board. I only use two channel outs typically for routing out of the daw, leaving me 6 analog outs free. Can I send clock via one of those audio outs as an audio pulse to clock my system? The grandmother has clock in, but as I don't use its sequencer I was planning on clocking to something in my rack and distributing clock from there to the grandmother, and then into other clocked modules such as sync'd lfo's, sync'd effects and maybe a euro sequencer.

How would I go about this? And do you have any recommendations for a module to send the clock to and distribute it to multiple other different modules? I am still learning, and what I do so far only extends to different filters, and Rings as a 3rd oscillator, and maths for multifunction. Before I go further I want to figure this situation out.

I am sorry for such a convoluted post, I have trouble wording it. Thank you for any help you can offer, and any further suggestions.
Dave Peck
What do you mean by "more reliable"? Are you having some kind of problem using midi clock that you need to resolve?
Dstepatl
Dave Peck wrote:
What do you mean by "more reliable"? Are you having some kind of problem using midi clock that you need to resolve?


It just seems to be off at times when sync'd to the grandmother's arp. I give it 2 bars to sync up but still seems off. I set the grandmother's clock to sync to midi, so thats not it. I could be doing something wrong, but I had also read that sync'ing to a pulse could work better than midi. I may have misinterpreted, though. Do you think a standard midi module would be sufficient and I just need to figure out what is causing the sync issues?
Graham Hinton
Dstepatl wrote:
Can I send clock via one of those audio outs as an audio pulse to clock my system?


Yes. Use the Sync feature of Wavtones to create wav files of a few bars of whatever tempo you need and copy them along a track. It is very accurate and the files will end on a zero crossing, so no glitches when you butt them together.

Quote:

How would I go about this? And do you have any recommendations for a module to send the clock to and distribute it to multiple other different modules?


Gearbox was developed for this very purpose. See the Applications page and this thread: analogue clock to midiclock ?
Dstepatl
Graham Hinton wrote:
Dstepatl wrote:
Can I send clock via one of those audio outs as an audio pulse to clock my system?


Yes. Use the Sync feature of Wavtones to create wav files of a few bars of whatever tempo you need and copy them along a track. It is very accurate and the files will end on a zero crossing, so no glitches when you butt them together.

Quote:

How would I go about this? And do you have any recommendations for a module to send the clock to and distribute it to multiple other different modules?


Gearbox was developed for this very purpose. See the Applications page and this thread: analogue clock to midiclock ?


Ok thanks I will look into that thread.

I also just realized that the Lynx Aurora 8 is dc coupled, so I suppose I could send cv out as well with the expert sleepers modules. I am still wrapping my head around everything.
hamildad
If the outputs are DC coupled, you don’t need expert sleepers modules, just the silent way software. But if you want to do it regularly, floating ring cables are safer.

There is also BEAP and cv toolkit and REAKTOR BLOCKS for sending DC signals as CV.
Rex Coil 7
... this thread generates a question ...

Is there any advantage to using the computer as a slave rather than the master? Perhaps using some external clock/sequencer as the master clock and the computer becomes just another peripheral device driven off of the external clock?

hmmm.....

I'm using an RME PCEi .. Win10 .. Live 9 Suite setup, if that's important.

seriously, i just don't get it
ranix
Rex Coil 7 wrote:
Is there any advantage to using the computer as a slave rather than the master?


I like to use the modular as the master clock and use the Q960 and Q172 to record sequences into Cubase sometimes. The Q172 outputs the notes it quantizes as MIDI so I can record a sequence and play it back on a different MIDI channel.

External clocks can often keep better time than computers also.
Rex Coil 7
ranix wrote:
Rex Coil 7 wrote:
Is there any advantage to using the computer as a slave rather than the master?


I like to use the modular as the master clock and use the Q960 and Q172 to record sequences into Cubase sometimes. The Q172 outputs the notes it quantizes as MIDI so I can record a sequence and play it back on a different MIDI channel.

External clocks can often keep better time than computers also.
... just as I thought .... t'ankies sir!

thumbs up
tardishead
Strangely and much to a lot of peoples disbelief - computers can really suck at time keeping.
naturligfunktion
I go about the other way around. No syncing the computer or the modular when recording. I then tap out the tempo roughly, and make very fine adjustments to the tempo to ensure that everything is in the same time.

I do this by looking at the audio file (the kick drum is very useful as it always is 4/4 hehe). If the kick align right on the 33rd beat, and on the 66th and so on, it is more or less perfect and then you are good to go. It is a bit tricky, but is the easiest approach for me.

When the tempo is set, it is quite easy to add more stuff. Then I usually sync via midi, but that is very inprecise but it doesn't really matter as I usually already have all the modular stuff recorded, or that I can "fix" it in the computer, or that I kinda make it work when I record.

Syncing is a constant problem actually, and I sometimes wonder if it would be easier just to skip the grid, but then that causes a million of other problems so this is my current solution.
milkshake
tardishead wrote:
Strangely and much to a lot of peoples disbelief - computers can really suck at time keeping.


Yes they can.
Or they can produce sample accurate clocks.
Rex Coil 7
naturligfunktion wrote:
I go about the other way around. No syncing the computer or the modular when recording. I then tap out the tempo roughly, and make very fine adjustments to the tempo to ensure that everything is in the same time.

I do this by looking at the audio file (the kick drum is very useful as it always is 4/4 hehe).
If that is the case, why don't you just lay down a solid (disposable) click track with some type of click pulse that has a defined edge that you can align everything up to? That has worked for probably more than 65+ years by now. (re: "clapper")

However, this is nearly 2020 and while the "click track" thing works, it seems to me there should be less labor intensive method to align it all that locks in snug as a duck's butt (and that's air tight!).

seriously, i just don't get it
nostalghia
You might try the Bastl Klik. Little external box that generates a clock (and reset trigger) from an audio track in your DAW, just $58:
https://bastl-instruments.com/instruments/klik

https://www.perfectcircuit.com/bastl-klik.html
naturligfunktion
Rex Coil 7 wrote:
If that is the case, why don't you just lay down a solid (disposable) click track with some type of click pulse that has a defined edge that you can align everything up to? That has worked for probably more than 65+ years by now. (re: "clapper")

However, this is nearly 2020 and while the "click track" thing works, it seems to me there should be less labor intensive method to align it all that locks in snug as a duck's butt (and that's air tight!).

seriously, i just don't get it


I think that's sort of what I am doing, and honestly, I do question every time why I haven't found out a better way. cry
WaveRider
I use a sync-genII module, I have excellent sync smile Rockin' Banana!
JohnLRice
Dstepatl wrote:
My interface is a Lynx Aurora 8 with the usb card for interfacing with my mac book pro. As the aurora does not have spidf or adat, only aes/ebu It seems I can't use the disting expert sleepers route.
FWIW I can't say that this will necessarily work for you but you can get adapter cables that convert AES to SPDIF and SPDIF to AES. Lynx sells them, see bottom of this page:
https://www.lynxstudio.com/products/cables/

There are also barrel adapters, and converter boxes like this Hosa one:
https://hosatech.com/products/digital-audio/s-pdif-interfaces/cdl-313/

If you want to dig into the details here's an old Rane tech notes page on the subject:
https://www.rane.com/note149.html
Rex Coil 7
Those old Rane papers are an excellent source. I forgot all about those as something to recommend ... excellent suggestion John.

w00t
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