Sync to External DAW vis TDIF

Discussion in 'TASCAM DM-3200 & DM-4800' started by Peter Batah, Nov 24, 2019.

  1. Peter Batah

    Peter Batah Well-Known Member

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    Hello all.

    I am wondering if the following scenario is possible.

    Like many, if not most of us who are using either a 3200 or 4800 we have at our disposal a 32-in/32-out channel count via the IF-FW/DM mkII expansion card alongside popular DAW's like Cubase, Logic, Pro Tools, etc..

    In addition to this popular setup, I have access to my Soundscape ReD32 hardware based DAW which communicates with my 4800 via the 3 TDIF connectors. This makes for a very reliable backup option.

    My question is: Is it possible for me to use the external DAW to extend the IF-FW/DM mkII's 32 channel count to include the 24 TDIF channels? Can both devices be locked / synced to each other somehow.

    Thank you. Peter
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2019
  2. skier

    skier Well-Known Member

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    Hey Peter, that’s an interesting question! That said, I personally have no idea if we could make that work. The first question I would ask myself is whether or not I truly need to be able to record 56 channels simultaneously. But ignoring that and presuming that you do, or that you have some other reason to do it, the first thing I would try is to see if there’s some way to use something like MTC (MIDI Time Code), SMPTE Time Code, or some such to synchronize your Soundscape ReD32 with your main DAW (Cubase?). Years ago, such techniques were used to sync multiple tape recorders to add additional tracks. You’d stripe a track on each recorder with SMPTE Time Code and use those tracks to keep the recorders synchronized.

    Just had one more thought: I normally think of Word clock as a way to synchronize samples, but some quick research online got me to the company Sound Devices which discusses using Word to sync multiple records – perhaps there’s a solution there for you. Here’s that link:

    https://www.sounddevices.com/linking-multiple-788t-recorders-for-simultaneous-recording/

    I’ve just never explored this issue before with Word clock.

    Before I came to Pro Tools, I used a DAW named “PARIS” that I really liked. I used a device by JL Cooper to sync SMPTE on PARIS with MIDI to sync my synthesizers. It was often problematic, but sometimes worked properly. I noticed that your equipment list includes mention of a JL Cooper CS-102 - I don't know that product and didn't look it up to see if it's a synching device, but perhaps it has some capability to assist in your goal.
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2019
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  3. Peter Batah

    Peter Batah Well-Known Member

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    @skier Thank you so much for response. Actually, I know that there is a way to stream Cubase tracks for example into my external DAW as mentioned on page 12 of the Soundscape users manual.

    https://mega.nz/#!AhR1BK4D!qkuTr4_UV6SDhXMTuvDgX54ihtmCbwCP6JBhApOXEo8

    And, you are probably right this is almost certainly done via MTC. This would allow APP-compatible applications such as Cubase and Nuendo to lock to the Soundscape Editor with sample accuracy without any MIDI connection. (taken from Sound On Sound magazine article)

    https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/soundscape-32-editor-v5

    I know this because I have done it.

    https://prnt.sc/gqxh82

    I recently constructed the TDIF cables required to bring my external DAW back to life. It's been a while and my memory has failed me. Additional track count is really not my objective. Maybe I wasn't explaining myself probably or I just simply do not posses the knowledge or expertise to pull this off.

    As I was sitting at my DM and went into the routing section I wondered. And this is a simplified example / experiment:

    What if I had one signal coming into channel 1 of the DM routed to let's say Logic or Cubase via Fire Wire output slot. And, another signal coming in to channel 2 but routed to my external DAW via TDIF. Both signals get recorded onto their respective tracks / devices. Would I then be able to playback both recorded tracks in complete sync.
  4. skier

    skier Well-Known Member

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    If you’re able to sync one of your software DAWs with your ReD32, then yes, you’ll be able to record some tracks to your software DAW and others to the ReD32. You’ll even be able to record one or more tracks to both devices simultaneously, if you’d want to do that for some reason. The real key here is to get both DAWs to sync, and then recording and playback of all tracks recorded while in sync will be able to play back in sync. Perhaps the real question to consider, other than as a learning experiment (or as an exercise to prove and expand your power over your entire recording dominion), is what does this gain you (other than proving your vast powers – a commendable goal unto itself).

    Whereas, if your goal is to increase your ability to record more tracks simultaneously in a live situation to capture a complete band live with lots of tracks to fully cover a large trap set or even capture an entire symphony, this would be one solution to achieve that goal. I’m not sure of why else you might want to do this (other than the aforementioned goal to rule you’re your entire domain, perhaps even the world!)

    Please remember me when you’re making high-level cabinet appointments if it’s the latter and you succeed. (Conversely, we’ve never met nor communicated if you’re captured by some opposing party and they begin to question you… I gotta run… maybe far...)
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  5. Peter Batah

    Peter Batah Well-Known Member

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    @skier Thanks again for chiming in. As I stated in my earlier post, I have more track count than I could possibly need at the moment.

    And in this statement I suppose that you are saying pretty much what I have been asking.

    The real key here is to get both DAWs to sync, and then recording and playback of all tracks recorded while in sync will be able to play back in sync.

    It shall be an interesting bit of experimentation. Something that I look forward to trying out in the not too distant future. Ruling over my domain it is then. Off I go!


    Fear not, I am sworn to secrecy. :)
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  6. skier

    skier Well-Known Member

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    You're very welcome! Let me know how the experiment goes. (And thank you for that last part! (And please, don't forget me for that cabinet post if you pull all this off - skiing ain't cheap you know ;).)
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  7. Peter Batah

    Peter Batah Well-Known Member

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    @skier The more I read, the more I am lead to believe that in order to achieve what it is that I am attempting all software may have to reside on one single PC. As opposed to let's say having a software DAW on one PC syncing to my external DAW whose drivers etc. reside on another.

    No need to respond. I was just thinking out loud so-to-speak. And, needed a place to document that.

    Some of what I came across:

    https://mega.nz/#!80ASXQCI!raDKcN4PrKHvr8AHj2NALfA2M4kjvoPS2nNBw4keaD8

    https://support.apple.com/kb/PH13349?locale=en_US
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2019
  8. skier

    skier Well-Known Member

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    Hey Peter, that conclusion is not quite true. If it was, we’d not be able to sync computers with synths, sound modules, or computer with soft synths, etc., etc., etc. And I have personally done all of the above and so have keyboardists of bands in which I’ve played. I’ve used one of my synths to control multiple instruments on different modules with no computers involved, just MIDI cables between them. The articles you’ve referenced are just explaining how to control soft-synths on the same computer as the DAW, but such control is not limited to that computer.

    MIDI cabling allows you to use a DAW or a keyboard to control multiple instruments across many, many pieces of hardware and/or multiple computers in many combinations. So, for example, you could use a synth or just a keyboard with no native instruments on board, to control MIDI instruments on sound modules and multiple other computers all connected via MIDI. Or the same set up could be controlled by a DAW on a computer, plus many other configurations. That’s why getting a good handle on MIDI can be so powerful and valuable to a composer or live-playing musician.
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  9. Peter Batah

    Peter Batah Well-Known Member

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    @skier Thank you for that very insightful reply. So, there is hope after all. Eureka! I am going to try making some time this weekend for a little bit of educational dabbling. Have a great afternoon / evening. Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving by the way. Enjoy. Leave some room for pie!
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2019
  10. skier

    skier Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for the good holiday wishes! Though we live in Connecticut, we're currently in San Francisco right now with family and friends, likely eating and drinking too much. However, I'll check online again, perhaps today, and definitely tomorrow to see if you have any questions. Good luck with your research and dabbling!
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2019
  11. Peter Batah

    Peter Batah Well-Known Member

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    @skier Hello again. I trust you had an enjoyable Holiday weekend. I reached out to the folks on the Soundscape Forum and was basically told that I should connect a MIDI interface to PC-2. This si assume falls in line with what you pointed out to me in an earlier post. Excuse my ignorance here: Could I not use the MIDI I/O native to the DM-4800 or MIDI I/O on the IF-FW/DMMKII Fire Wire expansion card as the MIDI interface that they were referring to?
  12. skier

    skier Well-Known Member

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    Hey Peter, yes, we did have a good time – thank you! But now, great things begin to happen, namely, SKIING!!! This is my BIGGEST passion by far – cannot get enough. I’m addicted to the speed and steep slopes. (I’m not claiming any common sense here, just a love of speed [not the chemical kind, either] the REAL deal). So now, the skis are sharpened, waxed, and ready for the first sojourn this week at a small local mountain. This weekend, it’ll be Vermont, and next month some trips to the Rockies. (Doesn’t sound too obsessive, does it?)

    As to your question, yes, the DM already syncs in beat time and in sample time via the USB cable to the computer and its DAW. I believe that the Firewire connection is mainly for communicating the track audio – my setup doesn’t work without both cables. Be that as it may, I’m not sure why Tascam didn’t do it all via Firewire – I see no engineering reason that timing, tracks, and audio couldn’t be done that way, but perhaps I’m missing something. This is one of those times where I would have really liked to get some insight via RedBus, but I’ve heard he’s no longer around this forum, though I haven’t heard as to why.

    Of course, you have to set things up correctly, in this case, what is master, what is slave, which MIDI channel(s) you’re using, etc.
  13. Peter Batah

    Peter Batah Well-Known Member

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    @skier Like SKIING much? :( I remember taking a few lessons when I was a wee lad. I did NOT look forward to those weekends. Spent most of my time in the Chalet (that's we call that little hut that has that toasty warm fireplace going) Did I mention how much I absolutely hate the snow and cold. That's all we've known in these parts. You must be familiar with some of the great ski facilities here in Quebec. Mont Tremblant just to name one.

    So, what exactly are those midi I/O good for then (at the rear of the DM and on the FW card). Automation / Timecode?
  14. skier

    skier Well-Known Member

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    I have thought about trying Mont Tremblant, as well as Jay Peak on this side of the border. As for me, winter is my favorite season – I absolutely hate the heat and humidity of summer here. Cold hasn’t been an issue with our coldest skiing generally being about -20 deg F (~-30C). Today’s ski apparel is so light and warm, as well as being wind proof and water proof without the bulkiness of the past (a la “A Christmas Story”). All my grandparents came from Quebec and I handle winter well – what happened to you? :D

    Oh! Sorry, I didn’t realize that I was not clear about your MIDI I/O question. You SHOULD USE the MIDI connectors on the DM or on the FW card – either output should work.

    Also, you have to determine whether you want to sync the DAW with your R3D32 using MTC (MIDI Time Code) or MIDI clock – I advise using MTC. MIDI clock would require you to use an identical tempo and time signature -- MTC is simpler.

    You want the DM to send MIDI sync out from the DM to the R3D32; the R3 is the slave. I’d also enable MMC (MIDI Machine Code) so that control codes for starting and stopping the transport go from the DM to the R3. There may be some additional things you’ll need to set, so make sure you’re reading the MIDI settings pages for both the DM and the R3 as you do this. In fact, I’d read them both first and then have them nearby for reference as you actually configure the settings.

    I’d suggest the actual settings if I could, but I don’t know how you’ve already got them configured between the DM and your DAW (is the DAW the actual master?) and I don’t want to suggest something that breaks what you already have working. Also, in the interest of full disclosure, it’s been a while since I set mine up and I don’t remember every single portion. I generally allocate a section of time and immerse myself into the entire configuration aspect on something that I don’t do very frequently and I don’t want to mislead you.
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2019
  15. Peter Batah

    Peter Batah Well-Known Member

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    @skier Not to beat this dead horse to death. But, if my wife and I never see another snowflake as long as we live, that would be too soon. We have had our fair share. I think that it felt like -21C with the wind chill last night. We were out buying firewood yesterday afternoon. Enough is enough.

    I had Cubase and my ReD32 setup at some point where I would stream Cubase tracks into my ReD32 mixer. I was also able to use the Transport functions to stop and start, etc. both DAW's

    I am looking forward to getting back into the laboratory so-to-speak. Just because I can. As I probably stated in an earlier post: Do I need 32 FW + 24 TDIF tracks. Absolutely not. But I would still like to know if want I want to do is possible. Just in case. Plus, I get to learn something. What else can I ask for? Thanks again for all the time that you've so generously given up trying to assist me. I appreciate it immensely. BTW, not so bad today -4C at the moment but feels like -9. The wind is brutal though. Happy skiing.
  16. skier

    skier Well-Known Member

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    You’re very welcome for the help! But I guess there’s no chance we might ski together if I get up that way. Nevertheless, I do understand.

    It is fun to learn new things and to have options, even smart to check them out or resolve issues for a capability BEFORE you actually might need it. Do feel free to ask any further questions if you run into problems. I don’t check the forum every day; there are sometimes weeks that can pass between visits when I’m not here or lots of things are happening. However, I do have a watch set for the DM forum, so I try to help if I’m available and I have something to offer on a topic.

    Good luck and let us know how you make out with this endeavor.
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  17. Peter Batah

    Peter Batah Well-Known Member

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    @skier In conversation with the folks at the SS forum it seems that I could use something as simple as a USB to MIDI interface cable. For example:

    https://www.thomann.de/gb/swissonic_midiconnect_2.htm

    shorturl.at/iyD79

    "But I guess there’s no chance we might ski together if I get up that way. Nevertheless, I do understand."

    Ski Doo might not be out of the question though. Not!
  18. skier

    skier Well-Known Member

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    You can definitely use a USB to MIDI converter cable if you prefer. However, as previously discussed, the DM already offers the same functionality, whether from its own MIDI connectors or that of the FW card which we all already must have if using the DM with a computer-based DAW.

    One odd thing about the Swissonic cable from your link: I only see a USB cable that splits to two MIDI connectors. Every USB/MIDI cable I’ve ever seen has a small module in the cable to interface or convert USB to MIDI and back — USB and MIDI do not use the same protocols even though they’re both serial. So, it’s not clear to me how the cable from the link you supplied performs this function. Here’s a link to some of these cables from different manufacturers all sold by Sweetwater to illustrate my concern:

    https://www.sweetwater.com/store/se...Vz4CfCh2tSw2BEAAYASAAEgJr-PD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

    If you decide to go with the Swissonic cable, you may want to contact them or Swissonic to assure that it is complete “as is” before purchasing, and that it doesn’t require any other device to make the protocol conversion. It is possible the necessary circuitry is miniaturized and molded into the USB connector, but I’ve not seen that before. Of course, I’ve definitely not seen everything.
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  19. Peter Batah

    Peter Batah Well-Known Member

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    @skier Here is a response that I received from the SS forum. I have described my setup in detail on that forums as well:

    "It's Cubase, on the same PC or another that has to "see" some MIDI interface (look at the "sync" menu). You'll typîcally use the MIDI "out" connector of your RED32 connected to the MIDI "in" of the cable/interface to send MTC to Cubase. You could also invert the setup of course, using the interface "out" to the MIDI "in" of the RED32 and make the Soundscape slave. Some caveats: 1st, there must, as always, only be ONE master word clock, and 2d the MTC is not as stable as a word clock, hence the choice of "trigger" (start from MTC, then lock to word clock) or "chase" (continuous chase) in the case of the RED acting as a slave. I would certainly go for "trigger" in this case."

    If I don't have to purchase / use a cable because our DM provides the same functionality then that is definitely the route that I will choose to take. You mentioned the Swissonic cable. I see what you mean about that module that appears to be integrated into the cable. Just like the one in the link that I provided above and below.


    shorturl.at/fmzJ1
  20. Peter Batah

    Peter Batah Well-Known Member

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    @skier And when I asked this question, this is the response that I got from another forum gentleman (guru)

    Peter:
    > Would I be able to record / playback to / from both mediums (seperate PC's) and have them be completely synchronized.

    Yes, you need to connect a MIDI Interface to PC2, then use cables to the MIDI I/O on the back of the REd connected to PC1.
    Some software setup is necessary on PC2 to get your applications to use the MIDI interface. Also Sync settings in Soundscape Settings menu.
    Again, it's a Master/Slave situation.