Sync a DAW to vinyl when DJing?


#1

Please feel free to recommend another forum if this fits elsewhere.

I’d like to connect a DJ mixer connected to two turntables, to a laptop - running a DAW like Logic Pro - using an aux send into an interface.

However the DAW has to track any pitch/speed changes made to the two turntables when mixing.

The reason for this is that the DAW would be running a complex chain of effects - which would be tempo dependent - so that any signal sent out of the aux would be effected and mixed back into the main outs of the mixer, at the same tempo of the track/s playing.

In the DAW I’d like to have multiple insert effects on different channels which I would fade between at different points in the DJ set so I could blend some unique additional textures into the mix.

How could I make the DAW respond automatically to tempo/BPM changes? Logic’s own tempo matching doesn’t respond properly. Can anyone advise if there is hardware that sends tempo midi to a DAW, or perhaps a tempo analysis plugin?

Does anyone have any suggestions please, even if its another forum to consider?


#2

I have no idea about plugins but surely a tap tempo button would be the easiest solution? Since there is no way (that I know of) to get the tempo of your records into a midi signal.


#3

I don’t know for sure as I don’t use it in that way but have you looked at Traktor DVS system? I think you can ableton link that to ableton, obviously . Don’t know about Logic.

As an alternative it would be good ol beatmatching by ear or sampling and stretching


#4

Traktor has midiclock this is wjy Ritchie Hawtin is running Traktor + ableton live for his effect. For playing a regular vinyl there is no way to automate the tracking of pitch/speed and convert it into midi.


#5

There is a max for live plugin for Ableton Live called beat seeker that syncs Live’s tempo to a drummer, assuming that the content on the record has a pronounced enough beat, this may work for you.

https://www.ableton.com/en/packs/beatseeker/#?


#6

If you play regular Vinyl just tap the tempo, that is the easiest to set up and least complicated solution. If you play with DVS Ableton Link would be the better choice than MIDI clock because there is no master/slave relation between devices so any tempo change on any device will have the rest follow instantly.


#7

As mentioned above Traktor can send a midi clock. I’ve used it with volcas and other gear but it wasn’t always 100% tight.

Also mentioned above if just for effects I’d opt for the tap tempo method. Also means less processing and less room for error


#8

As others have mentioned, Ableton Link is a good option, and is built into a number of music/DJ apps. It’s a little unstable with traditional turntables due to the wow and flutter but can work as long as you keep the turntables as master clock source. I’ve successfully synced turntables with the launchpad app on iOS using this method

Then there is the RedSound Soundbite micro which is an inline phrase sampler that also detects a bpm and outputs it as midi. Again though, it’s not entirely stable and is an old product so support is limited.

Edit: I meant to say I’ve successfully synced Traktor DVS to the launchpad app. Regular vinyl is a little more tricky


#9

As stated above: tap tempo might be your best bet for FX.
For real syncing, again as stated above, Ableton Link rules: no MIDI jitter, rock solid and can also be run over WIFI. Have used it for years syncing Traktor+Maschine. MIDI was too much of a pain.


#10

Just realised you said vinyl but are you using DVs software?

If not using Traktor and just normal vinyl then tap tempo is only real option unless you use a mixer that takes a bpm counter and syncs to midi though they are definitely not reliable


#11

I’d do a clock signal from your DAW to Headphones and just beat match to it. Or are you planning to change your set’s speed while gigging?


#12

Soundbite Micro maybe ? Midi beat tracking works best with clearly defined kick and especially well with 4/4. Or you can use the tap tempo and nudge buttons to pull things into line. Haven’t used mine in a while but it worked great for syncing ableton to my mate on the decks …


#13

Thanks for all of the suggestions put forward, they are all useful in their own way.

It’s unlikely I’ll start to buy into Traktor/Serato/other digital DJ platforms at this stage. I’ve ‘discovered’ these: https://www.innerclocksystems.com/news but I’m not sure if these control the tempo of a DAW, rather they seem to take a DAW output and slave hardware to it. I need to contact the designer/manufacturer and put the question to them.

The simple tap tempo is an option but it would be great to be able to enhance this by connecting a stand alone MIDI pitch fader up to the DAW in order to further adjust the tapped tempo by a few percent for fine tuning.

Maybe that RedSound Soundbite is the most practical solution - good recommendation, thanks.


#14

How about any midi controller mapped to tap tempo and a fader/knob mapped to the fine tune of the tempo control? Super simple super affordable, no extra plugin needed.


#15

Yep that is a solution that would work but I’d rather reduce workload if possible - I find that it takes a lot of focus to accurately and consistently beat match during a four hour set just with a pair of decks.

If a third tempo had to be matched quite frequently - assuming my tapping would be a little off on some occasions - I could end up doing some damage to clubber’s enjoyment during a number of mixes if I couldn’t manage the beat matched mix/transition AND I messed the FX tempo up.

If I can eliminate my potential to make additional mistakes during mixes/transitions then that probably means auto tempo analysis. Your solution will work very well for some, thank you for your suggestion.


#16

With Traktor Pro 3 you now get ScratchPro :slight_smile:
Add Maschine and you get Live Link => No MIDI jitter as the Sync is made through beat grid :slight_smile:
Change tempo in Traktor (your decks) and tempo is automatically matched in Maschine. Works the other way round as well.
Have been using TP2 and Maschine for a while now in my DJ sets and NEVER had an issue of Sync between both :slight_smile:


#17

At the moment I’d like to stay with turntables and 12" vinyl + custom effects chains.

Although new hardware is always tempting, the outlay and learning curve to move over to the DJ side of NI+Maschine is a bit too steep, but maybe something to consider in the future.

I think the Red Sound Soundbite>DAW is the most practical way forward - but thanks for your recommendation.


#18

This might not be the path of least resistance but I made an arduino based device for syncing a turntable to my modular synth. It worked really well.
You can see how to make it in this video: https://youtu.be/XFsiPIX9Cxs
All the code / diagrams etc are here: https://www.lomondcampbell.com/projects-1
I know it’s not exactly what you’re after but could be tweaked to suit your needs.
Hope it helps!


#19

Impressive! But you literally synced your Modular to your turntable while we were looking for a way to sync the MUSIC on the turntable to the rest of the gear.


#20

Yeah traktor and an audio 10 sound card which has midi, would be the best and easiest way I would of thought?

I’m also thinking about going down this route, I’m a dj primarily but been getting into hardware synths lately and I don’t see why I can’t have my dj setup synced up to my hardware setup

I’ve still to put it into practice