Tutorial: Syncing GENER8 to an external MIDI clock

Tutorials on 9 Mar , 2015

One of the things I get asked fairly regularly about is how to sync Gener8 to other audio applications (Ableton, Traktor, Logic, Reason, etc.) via MIDI clock. So I thought I’d put this simple tutorial together to explain the basics.

I don’t intend to get into the nitty gritty of producing MIDI clock signals from each and every DAW out there (there’s plenty of info on the web for that, or in your favourite software’s manual, which if you haven’t already read it cover to cover I suggest you do as you’ll be surprised by some key features that are hidden away in there). And I don’t want to delve too far into getting MIDI signals into MODUL8 itself either, but I will say a little bit:

MODUL8 receives MIDI through the IAC (Inter Application Communication) Driver, so make sure you are sending your MIDI clock signals to IAC.

Also, be sure to check the IAC driver is enabled before starting up MODUL8. You can access your system MIDI settings with the ‘Audio MIDI Setup’ OSX app.

So then, we’ll begin by assuming you can get a MIDI clock signal into MODUL8. Okay then, let’s get this going…

STEP 1

Open up MODUL8, and get your GENER8 modules running. You’ll need a minimum of the Launchpad and Editor modules. (In this tutorial, we’ll be using the 0.53 version of GENER8)

Do not open any BPM module, and if you have one running, close it! – You won’t need it while running GENER8, and it will likely clash and may cause it to bug out. GENER8 has its own clock signal, which can also be accessed by other modules (info here for developers).

STEP 2

Start your MIDI clock running in your Audio app, and output it to the IAC driver.

STEP 3

Now is the time to check if we are receiving a MIDI clock in GENER8.

The Launchpad module has its Clock section to the top right. If all is good and well, it should be looking something like this:

Clock

You’ll notice the ‘MIDI CLOCK’ button. This toggles between external MIDI clock and GENER8’s internal Timecode.

Set the ‘MIDI CLOCK’ to the on position. Your clock section will now look like one of the following:

NoClockIn this image, the Launchpad is listening for incoming MIDI clock signals, but cannot find any, and gives the ‘PAUSED’ message. If you see this message, double check you are sending your MIDI clock correctly, and if in doubt: Restart MODUL8.

NoSyncQuantIn this image, the Launchpad has found a MIDI clock signal and tells us that its running at ‘BPM : 120.00′. If you see this, all is good. But we are still paused.

One more step…

STEP 4

A MIDI clock consists of 2 messages, the CLOCK message (which runs at 24 counts per beat), and the START/STOP message. So, although GENER8 is receiving a MIDI clock signal, it’s still waiting to be told when to Start.

Before you restart your DAW’s clock, now is a good time to check your Time Signature is correct.

The Time Signature of a piece of music is defined by the number of beats played in each bar. In most modern dance and western music this will likely be 4 beats per bar (Gener8’s default value), but if you happen to be performing to a Waltz you’ll want to adjust your ‘BAR BEATS’ value to ‘3’ (for 3/4 time).

Adjusting the Bar Beats value will also adjust your possible Quantize values too.

So, when you’re quite happy, restart the Clock in your audio app. Once this is done, GENER8’s clock should now look like this:

Synch-NoQuant

You may notice small fluctuations in the incoming BPM, but do not despair – GENER8 will even this out to give you a steady beat.

So, your performance should now be in perfect Sync with your audio app. Also note that any Clips using the Editors ‘Auto-Loop’ function will magically adjust to any changes made to the clock timing from your audio app. Good times. Lovely!

And while I’m at it, the ‘LINK MASTER’ option is to control Modul8’s Master Speed with the BPM. That’s this guy:-

M8 Master Speed

So then people, get creative!