Sync MG1214 tape to Logic or Pro Tools via MTC not wordclock

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smallanimalsounds
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Sync MG1214 tape to Logic or Pro Tools via MTC not wordclock

Post by smallanimalsounds » Mon Aug 16, 2010 5:39 am

So I want to sync my tape machine to my laptop system, which is Logic and/or Pro Tools. Not sure if any of you are familiar with the Akai MG1214, but it's a 12 track 1/2" tape machine that has two dedicated additional tracks for striping both a sync track and absolute time. thus it is actually 14 tracks.
i also have the Anatek Pocket Sync, which works to sync a digital machine (via MTC) and a tape machine (via SmartFSK code recorded to track 13). This all sounds functional to me for a drum machine or midi sequencer of some sort, but I haven't tried it yet for a laptop system and I'm wondering how this is going to behave in the digital audio domain. I would be slaving the laptop to the tape machine's sync track as the master.

I mean, lets say I use ONLY midi tracks in Logic. For instance I make a programmed drum track and that's it. Will the audio playback of each sample (ex. via Reason ReWire) be affected by the lack of a word clock? I'm thinking that it will, but give me your opinion. I would love it if this would just function like any drum machine that is midi capable, which should in theory just bag out the notes in time and the audio duration is just independent. But I have the feeling that wordclock is still necessary for software to playback the samples smoothly, regardless of the timing of the attack.

I'm also assuming that an actual audio track in Logic/PTools would just be a train wreck.

Does anyone have any suggestions of an appropriate wordclock device to utilize in this situation? I would actually be quite happy with limiting my laptop use to just playing back midi samples, and the audio being all recorded to tape. So does anyone think that would work with just the PocketSync?

The tape machine actually has a Sync connection in front, intended for locking two MG1214's together, but what kind of information is likely to be coming out of that thing? Is there any way to utilize it?

below are some pics...


http://dl.dropbox.com/u/4482480/mg1214/100_2822.JPG
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/4482480/mg1214/100_2840.JPG
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/4482480/mg1214/100_2829.JPG

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blackdiscoball
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Post by blackdiscoball » Mon Aug 16, 2010 7:25 am

Do you have a manual for the tape machine? In the past I have used sync to make a 707 follow a computer. Basically the sync out on the 707 is a bunch of high pitched noise that I recorded on a track on my daw. Then when you play that track back into the sync in of the 707 it uses it to follow along and plays with the computer. I don't know how useful that is to you but its a pretty fun trick. Your sync might do a similar function but a manual would tell you how to use it and what it does.
myspace.com/blackdiscoballstudio/

stereopathetic_banjo
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Post by stereopathetic_banjo » Fri Aug 20, 2010 1:00 pm

Sorry, I don't have anything to add here, but my very first multitrack was an Akai MG1214! I remember lusting after it at a local studio when I was 16 and some friends' band recorded their album on that very machine. Turns out it was for sale as the owner moved 'up' to the very first edition blackface adats....
I still have the machine sitting here collecting dust. Is yours still going strong?

smallanimalsounds
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Post by smallanimalsounds » Sat Aug 21, 2010 1:59 am

yeah i actually just purchased it this past spring, and it's in mint condition because the seller bought it new in the 80's and didn't use it. it's a rather amazing little machine. i'm totally enamored with it. does yours still work? how long did you use it for? switch to a daw?

stereopathetic_banjo
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Post by stereopathetic_banjo » Sat Aug 21, 2010 2:24 pm

Actually, I bought mine over 16 years ago...It was in good shape, but things started going wrong and the capstan motor started acting up. I knew absolutely nothing about troubleshooting back then, so I drank the kool-aide and bought an Akai DR-16 standalone digital recorder. Used that with the mixer section of the MG1214 for maybe 3 years and then drank yet more kool-aide and bought my first DAW- a digi-001.
Now I'm 34, and have a 2" 16 track with a console, as well as Logic. I am curious about the old Akai now that I know a few things about tape machines....
Did you get many tapes with your machine, and a manual?

smallanimalsounds
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Post by smallanimalsounds » Sat Aug 21, 2010 4:10 pm

i got 16 tapes, 11 of which were unopened, and the opened ones hardly qualified as used. and yes i got the full schematics and manual, in great shape. the guy i got it from just took excellent care of it and all it's accessories.
i'm stoked because i now have a tape machine at home. doesn't bother me that it's only 1/2" for 12 tracks. i like the character of the sound. folks mention the noise reduction adding unwanted compression but i find that it just gives it an identity, and the world of recording mediums is certainly identity starved. pro tools ( or any digital) is boring me any more. and so is production involving limitless tracks and options.
16 tracks for 2 inches is where it's at though for sound quality. that's great. what machine is it? and what kind of console?
honestly, i think that the mg1214 is worth having functional for it's character, as opposed to using something more accurate. i've been dealing mostly with an Otari mtr90 mk2 lately, which is sweet, but it's really really fun to hear what it sounds like to record to this mg1214. it's like a perfect blend between professional analog sound and crusty 4 track energy but without loss in clarity. i find it quite mesmerizing and a little darkened. i haven't gotten to dive in since i've been out of the country, but i have a few projects lined up using this machine, including a solo project that i've been putting off in hopes of finding the right medium, which i believe this is.
have you looked in to repairing yours?

stereopathetic_banjo
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Post by stereopathetic_banjo » Mon Aug 23, 2010 3:47 pm

Sorry for the belated response- I had a session yesterday and wasn't able to get on here...

My studio is based around MCI gear- A JH16 2" 16 track, and a JH110A 1/4" machine both normalled to the patchbay of A 1976 MCI 528B console. My digital rig is patched into the bay as well, making for a pretty seamless workflow. It's a nice way of working, all in all. I wasn't at all planning on having an 'all MCI' studio by any means, but the people I met and the experiences I had led me to purchasing the gear I did. No regrets, tho. The stuff can be a little cantankerous at times, but anything that is 30+ years old and used constantly will have its issues. After I got my head wrapped around it a little, I actually like working on and maintaining the gear. Dare I say, it makes me feel a little more like an 'engineer'...

But yeah. the Akai is a rad machine for sure. I wish I knew more when mine was up and running so I could have gotten more out of it than I did. Once you get some tunes recorded on that thing, be sure and post em!

mattkoshak
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Post by mattkoshak » Sun May 29, 2011 8:50 pm

Hey smallanimal. Found this post while searching the topic. I have a remarkably similar story to yours as well as the same opinions about the overall harmonic signature of the machine, and the cobalt based taped it uses.

Did you ever get your sync issues sorted? I'm currently looking for recommendations on a cheap digital sync box to convert my 003 WC to a line level Sync signal for the machine. would love suggestions... checking out the Anatek unit you say you have. you still using it?

Ever have problems with noisy Line level inputs due to power conditions?

Mine works like a charm, think I'm kind of detecting some counter display issues, but could just be that I'm not paying enough attention to whats printed on my used tapes...

Anyway, just trying to meet others who are using this machine as it seems we can be a resource to each other when it comes to knowledge concerning it.

Cheers
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