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Old 09-02-2019, 11:18 AM
justinmj justinmj is offline
Join Date: Sep 2001
Posts: 2
Default MIDI start/reset command

I've got PT Ultimate
2019.6.0 going, and a nagging question regarding MIDI clock, and specifically the MIDI start functionality.

So, if I'm clocking external drum machines and sequencers to PT, they chase fine and sync beautifully after messing with the buffer and offset, as usual. However, it's very irritating to only get an external sequencer to clock correctly only if the session is played back from the session start. Depending on the device, often times, the sequencer will not reset when you hit spacebar from anywhere else in the timeline.

In this example, I'm using an Intellijel uMIDI MIDI to CV interface, chasing over regular 5-pin DIN MIDI via a MOTU Express 128. That uMIDI is then sending CV commands to a Malekko Varigate 8+, driving various modules. It'll start up fine from bar 1 beat 1. Otherwise, it gets wonky.

If I use the SAME hardware scenario with Live 10 Suite, the functionality and sync is far superior: the Varigate will receive a reset command via the uMIDI (which upstream translates to a MIDI start command from the DAW) and sync perfectly from any bar in the session. Also, if you start from, say, bar 4 beat 2, it won't playback the sequence until bar 5 beat 1. Far more useful.

I've had this same scenario happen with many other sequencer devices that want a MIDI start command, and the same problems arise.

Has anyone ever found a workaround or a solution to this? Thanks in advance for your time and replies.

Justin Meldal-Johnsen
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Old 09-02-2019, 12:17 PM
TJ Allen TJ Allen is offline
Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: Bristol, UK
Posts: 6
Default Re: MIDI start/reset command

Hey Justin,

I don’t have a direct solution, but funnily enough I’ve been dealing with exactly the same issue this week trying to clock external sequencers and drum machines.

I think part of the issue is that anywhere other than the top of the session, Pro Tools will only send a Continue message, not a Start. Which means the sequencer will just pick up from the pause position.

I started looking into ways of interpreting MMC and Timecode in Max to then send further downstream (basically trying to replicate Live’s Link functionality). No joy yet, but as a short term solution I’ve made a tiny patch that receives the MIDI clock from PT and converts the Continue message to a Start so that as long as the playback begins from the start of a Bar, the external gear will at least be in sync - even if it isn’t exactly in the right spot for the sequence.

Having slightly more sophisticated clocking like Live or Elektron’s Overbridge does would be so welcome in Pro Tools.

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