Using 2 DTs as synced 'decks' and the associated headaches


#1

Hi there.

Here’s what I’m trying to achieve:

Two DTs, connected to a DJ mixer, and the ability to load a track on one while the other is playing and mix it in, beat-matched and in sync, just like you’re mixing techno/house records or CDs. Naturally, though, I’d like the advantages that MIDI sync gives you over those things too. Therein lies the problem…

I’m also running a synced Korg Monologue, using it’s internal sequencer, but we’ll get to that later.

I’m using a Beatstep Pro as the master clock, into a Kenton MIDI Thru box, which obviously has the two DTs connected.

So, in a typical scenario, like you’d expect, I load a program into each one to start, hit play on the BSP and off they go. I can fade the right hand DT in and it’s fine. The problems come when loading a new track into the left hand DT - how to mix it back in, in sync? Once you stop a slaved sequencer, it won’t re-sync until you restart the master (in this case the BSP).

I tried the obvious ‘manual’ solution - just hit play on the left hand DT in time. The trouble with that is that because it’s slaved to the BSP, the tempo nudging is disabled. You can only get it in sync if you hit play perfectly in time, which is not ideal at all. I want it like a record, where you can tweak the pitch once you’ve hit start and got it where you want.

Of course, when you turn ‘receive clock’ off on the DTs, you get the tempo nudging back, but then they obviously don’t receive sync from the BSP any more, making it redundant.

I could, of course, go completely ‘manual’ and have the two DTs completely un-synced and just mix them in like I’m using decks. No BSP. It does work and there’s actually a certain appeal to it, but here’s the issue with that - how do I sync my other stuff, like the Korg Monologue, which don’t have fine pitch controls or tempo nudging and also don’t start quite as instantly when you hit play, making it tough to get in time. I could use the DTs to send it notes, but I really like using the little internal sequencer on the ML and syncing it.

I’d be really interested to hear from anyone who is trying to do the same thing as me and has achieved a good solution or has any cool ideas. I really can’t think of any at the minute!

Thanks.


#2

I take it you need to load a different project? I would have thought the only ways round this would be to have only one project with all your “tracks” in one project on each machine and the just don’t stop the machines.


#3

Sounds over complicated, why not use one of the digis as master clock for the korg and nudge if you’re just up for a dj mix session


#4

I’d use the ext sequencing possibility of the DT(s) and drop BSP and monologue int seq from the equation. You could even use both DT’s MIDI tracks for playing the minilogue, which would open up cool possibilities. You could effectively juggle two or more diff seqs for the monologue by muting the MIDI tracks of the DT’s. You might need a MIDI merge box though.


#5

I do this at the moment using two Octatracks.

I have one which is the main track; the other Octatrack then can add supplementary stuff over it if I want.

Then, I can move to the other Octatrack by dropping the supplementary stuff, pulling down the fader, choosing the pattern I want and transitioning between them. As already mentioned, I have to stay within the same project to keep it all nice and tight. But that’s two projects worth of patterns etc. One on Octatrack one; one on Octatrack two.

I’m about to add a digitone into the equation. This will be sequenced by the OTs I think. I’ll see how it pans out.


#6

Search DaveMech on YouTube. It’ll help.


#7

Tsutek - you’ve said it there - that was what I was thinking, really. As I’m happy mixing the two DTs un-synced, the only problem left was that one and I’ll just have to accept that using the Korg’s sequencer in this scenario isn’t going to work.

Thanks for the input.


#8

Why are you stopping the “slaved DT”?

Why not have 128 patterns on each box so you can play for hours without having to stop?

See dave mech vids.

If you insist on stopping and restarting(i dont see why youd want to tho) something like a ERM mulitclock allows this. It has four independent midi outs that can be stopped and started whenever.


#9

Agreed, this was what I was trying to say earlier


#10

Some of us freaks actually enjoy manually syncing our boxes :diddly:


#11

shudder

:joy:


#12

If your not going to put all of your different song patterns on one project, then logical but luxurious option is to go with an external midi sync device.

Check out:

  • ERM Multiclock
  • SND ACME-4

They allow individual start & stop per channel, with nudge and swing etc.
Not cheap though.


#13

Well, you’ve raised a point, there. I think the reason I haven’t considered that is because I like the idea of keeping one project per song, for simplicity’s sake. What you’re suggesting means kind of having each pattern act like a ‘song’ in it’s own right. It’s not a bad idea, obviously, and does mean that you don’t have to stop a sequencer and it all stays in sync, but it does involve a totally different workflow.

But yeah, it’s pretty much the only solution (without buying a fancy clock sync box) if one wants total sync.

Thanks for the suggestion.


#14

Ok, so let me get this straight - those boxes will allow me to stop either DT and then start them back up in sync at any time?

Like you say, pricey, but hey, if it gives me that ability, then I’d definitely consider…


#15

Yes. exactly that, plus some other things like swing, nudge, clock divisions, and in the SND’s case, move patterns by 16th notes. Also useful for tighter integration with computers.


#16

Oooh. I feel my wallet complaining already :wink:

That is basically what I need for what I was talking about. The other way suggested by others here, of having lots of patterns on each DT containing completely different ‘tracks’ doesn’t appeal to me really, despite being perfectly reasonable.


#17

Or do as others have suggested and watch Dave’s YouTube videos and save a ton of money. I’ve questioned him several times on his set up and is very flexible. He uses the Allen and heath db4 so he can route either DT to any channel or multiple channels. He also has a video that explains how he uses and routes this setup.


#19

Well, this is the thing - I come from a traditional mixing background (vinyl) and yeah, I have no problem with using the DTs in that way. It adds a more ‘live mixing’ feel to the whole thing and because of the nudging abilities of the DTs, is not that hard to get them manually synced. Once they are in time with each other, they lock and stay in sync very nicely compared to a couple of 1210s.


#20

Ok, yeah, I hear you, but you’re only saving a ton of money in that setup if you already have a DB4 which are very expensive (I’m using a Xone 23 - their most basic mixer)!

I know you don’t need a DB4 to achieve a good result, but my little Xone has none of those capabilities.


#21

Yeah, the db4 is expensive but for this type of setup it looks very ideal. The xone 23, just as any other DJ style mixer should be able to mix them fine. You just have to manually sync them, nudge the tempo on the incoming dt to the current dt.