E-RM effectively solves studio and stage sync and timing troubles with multiclock multi-format sync box
An ultra-reliable multi-channel, multi-format sync box that builds a musical bridge between DAWs and external (MIDI, DIN Sync/sync24, and analogue modular) musical gear like no other by converting clock signals for tight integration into digital production workflow without troublesome timing issues, as well as providing helpful and creative realtime shift and shuffle controls to independently compensate for sloppy slave machine delays and also add groove to each creative channel.
multiclock’s ‘mission impossible’ is to therefore act as a one-stop shop for creatively synchronising all kinds of musical equipment to a master DAW with the greatest of ease and, obviously, precision. Put simply, it is built to overcome all of the well-documented problems associated with achieving tight synchronisation of sequencers, drum machines, arpeggiators, and other external equipment with each other and also within the workflow of a DAW. Doing this is easier said than done from a technical standpoint, so how has E-RM Erfindungsbüro apparently achieved the impossible with something so small and simple to use, then?
The key to multiclock’s reliability and innovation is its ability to acquire a variety of sync signals from an Audio Sync track, as opposed to relying on a MIDI Clock signal. Synchronising multiclock to a master DAW relies on a sample-accurate audio clock stream, which, in turn, guarantees gloriously-tight clock signals to within ±1 sample of jitter — jitter being defined as the undesired deviation of a periodic signal from the ideal timing. To put that fanciful figure into its rightful context, consider that jitter here is as low as ±20 μs (microseconds) and that one microsecond is to one second as one second is to 11.574 days! Do the math. multiclock makes such superlative synchronisation possible by providing an audio INPUT (1/4-inch jack socket) to process a special sync track generated from the company’s downloadable multiclock AU/VST plug-in (for Mac OS X/Windows) namesake. Alternatively, another way of simply synchronising multiclock to a DAW is to load the special sync sample downloadable from the dedicated E-RM Erfindungsbüro webpage (http://www.e-rm.de/support/ downloads.php). Whichever route discerning users choose to take, the result remains the same: seamless integration of all external devices with the host computer, courtesy of those celebrated clock signals. Simply said, this thing is tight to within a gnat’s whisker of perfection!
Perfect DAW synchronisation notwithstanding, when acting as a standalone master clock generator for hardware-only setups multiclock means business by coming into its own as a seriously creative tool. Tempo ranges between 30-300 BPM, while time signature settings can be changed from 3/8 to 32/8, so slave machines always start in sync with the downbeat of the next bar. But there’s more… multiclock can cleverly shift all four of its output clock channels — conveniently labelled as channel 01, channel 02, channel 03, and channel 04 — back and forth in realtime against each other and also relative to the master clock. Connectivity comes courtesy of four corresponding DIN sockets, fully configurable to transmit MIDI Clock (MIDI), DIN Sync/sync24 (DIN) or analogue clock (Analog) on each channel. channel 01 even comes complete with an additional 1/4-inch TRS output jack to provide an analogue LFO (LFO) with various waveforms and a 0-5V range, while modular synth connectivity is easily accomplished via any channel using an E-RM modular whip to convert DIN sockets to two mini jacks for clock and signal runs. Up to ±300 ms of Shift Range ensures easy compensation of sloppy slave machine delay and audio buffer latencies can be compensated for by setting a constant Offset calibration for each channel, conveniently leaving more than enough headroom to get into the groove, whether working with or without a DAW (since it is always necessary to compensate for the starting time lag of external equipment). Elsewhere, those shift and shuffle knobs can be configured to emit MIDI Control Change commands, should a user happen to have any unused clock channels available on their multiclock.
More to multiclock than might first meet the eye, surely? Says E-RM Erfindungsbüro CEO Maximilian Rest, “multiclock is not only a perfect synchronisation solution for live and studio applications, but you can also use it as an instrument in itself. If you get your hands on this machine, you can start playing with the phase of your sounds, effectively changing the timbre of layered tones or setting the groove between individual drum tracks.”
Time to get into the groove, then! To start shifting clocks and shuffling beats with multiclock — also available with an additional class- compliant USB MIDI module add-on to enable other MIDI commands to be sent from a DAW to external slave devices while still syncing to the sample-accurate audio clock stream — is a musical game-changing experience like no other. Why wait to hit that perfect beat?