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Syncing Mac to a PC

Discussion in 'Studio Techniques' started by RickyPetril, Dec 18, 2009.

  1. RickyPetril

    RickyPetril New Member

    Hello. Can anyone advise on syncing a second computer, a PC to a Mac master? I'm using a C2D 2.8 iMac for music production and it just doesn't have enough clout. I'd thought about a Mini/Node combo but I don't like the restrictions. And a Pro is out of the question. So .. how about a cheap PC as a sort of synth station .. hosting instruments in something like V Stack ... locked to the Mac by say MTC? Would this work? I don't like the idea of learning a new OS or having separate sessions to back up and keep tabs on but it is a, financially at least, viable solution. What problems would there be? I imagine timing would be an issue. Or is this easily overcome? Sorry if this is a naive question but I've just leapt from an Atari with hardware to an iMac with software and I'm amazed by how little I can achieve. I can't afford a Pro machine. I know they're due a refresh but I don't want to wait until whenever to see if the better exchange rate (21% better in my favour) since Apples last price hike. Thanks in advance.
     
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  3. JuanTahnahmahrah

    JuanTahnahmahrah Senior member

    Syncing machines together can been done different ways, depending upon your needs. It requires either extra hardware or software, and is a bit involved, so a more powerful machine may actually be a less expensive route. If you are going to record things live, latency will most likely require you sync things using wordclock, so each computer needs to be able generate or receive that. Wordclock or blackburst generators are separate expenses, as are distribution hubs. And MIDI is relatively erratic for syncing, so a device that generates LTC is preferred. It is also possible to sync machines with network cards, but that involves software, at some expense, and a detailed understanding of how it works. Maybe clue us as to what your budget is, and recommendations can be tailored to your situation.
     
  4. RickyPetril

    RickyPetril New Member

    Hello Juan. Nothing is simple is it! I had hoped it would be something akin to my Atari / Roland 840 set up. Atari as master with the Roland locked on with MTC. It worked perfectly. So .. even if the PC was a glorified multi synth what else would be needed? I had thought that only the hosting software would be necessary (for the soft synths to receive midi data) and a midi equipped 8 out to get things to my mixing desk and yet you're talking things I've never heard of - blackburst. As for my budget .. I don't know .. low! A supermarket C2D laptop - £300 an "eBay special" out box - £100 so about £400. $600. 450€.
     
  5. JuanTahnahmahrah

    JuanTahnahmahrah Senior member

    Try this analogy, not sure if it will help. You buy a new mountain bike. The chain between the pedals and your rear wheel lets you move the bike as fast or slow as you want. You know how far you have traveled by checking your odometer or keeping an eye out for mile markers posted along the road. MIDI (or LTC or SMPTE) is like mile markers or your odometer. Two computers also need to be "chained" together, so they know how fast each is supposed to be "going" (playing back the music...). That is why you need wordclock, or a special software program that links the CPUs together. Blackburst is another form of clock, so that video and words/music/special FX can be synced together. Ever see a crappy movie where the lips did not move at the same time as the audio?
     

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