When the first working Sync-Shift came into being in 2004 it marked the end of a decade struggling to find a better way of interfacing Midi Clock synced sequencers, drum machines and computers to older Din Sync or Sync 24 devices while ensuring accurate sync.

The wide support and interest shown in that period has proved without doubt that rock solid timing and synchronisation remain important issues to every electronic musician. Those of you who may not have a head for timing graphs or ears keen on click tracks still know when a groove is right and more importantly – when it isn’t.

Two requests that came up were:

1. A built-in Midi Clock to Din Sync converter inside the Sync Shift.

2. A Midi Clock version of the Sync Shift.

What we developed combines both these requests in a truly unique way and adds a third feature to take the Sync Shift concept to its next logical stage of development.




Features:-

Dedicated and purpose-built Midi Clock to Din Sync Conversion IC with ultra-low, constant conversion lag time so your sync offset remains fixed and tight.

Proprietry Innerclock Sync-Shift Din Sync Offset and Real-Time Lag Correction Engine lets you compensate for common hardware and software Midi Clock and Din Sync start lag time issues plus it has two full bars of Shift available so you can easily syncopate sync slave devices or software against the master. The rotary push-pull Shift 'Fine Tune' lets you rush or drag the slave against the groove in real-time with no loss of sync. Go from hard 16th swing to phase-locked grid quantised and back again all in one bar and in real-time.

Dedicated and purpose-built Din Sync to Midi Clock Conversion IC - the same ultra-low, constant conversion lag time but reverse engineered to provide ultra-stable Din Sync to Midi Clock conversion.

Modular/Discreet design with no CPU multiple personality disorders. We could have done all three jobs on one chip with a shared instruction set but we didn't. From experience, especially where synchronisation is concerned, sharing hardware resources is a bad idea. Each of the three core components that makes up the Sync-Shift Mk II has its own dedicated IC and code. This means they work great in isolation and there is no loss in performance when you connect them together.

The Sync-Shift MKII is really three separate, high quality devices in one compact package where the whole truly is greater than the sum of the parts.




Hands-On Real-Time

Five pots - four switched and one free turning - work collectively to provide up to two full bars of sync offset. The top three switches set Quarter Divisions, Sixteenth Divisions and Individual Clocks respectively. These are set prior to start of the master device and set the overall Sync Offset for the slave device or devices. The bottom left rotary switch is for Bypass, real-time Shift and Shift-Lock. The last and most important free turning knob provides the real-time, push/pull sync fine-tuning between master and slave while playing.

It is this real-time, slave against master, 'rush-drag' feature with no loss of sync that makes the Sync-Shift MKII such a unique compositional tool. If you are a DJ then you will understand just how it feels to be able to physically 'push' one deck against the other by the finest of hand movements or 'drag' one deck back to keep the groove exactly where it needs to be. The Sync-Shift MkII allows you that same hands-on, real-time feel factor but instead of turntables, you are pushing and pulling the sync of your Midi Clock and Din Sync hardware devices and software applications.




What Does It Sound Like?

The Sync-Shift Mk II converts Midi Clock to Din Sync and allows real-time slave sync-start lag compensation to get both master and slave locked perfectly. The bulk of the information on this page really just describes what the Sync-Shift MkII does and how it does it. What is dificult to convey is how your compositions sound when you use it and more importantly how you feel while playing. There are some nice comments from our customers on our 'Friends' page and these go some way towards a more emotive reaction that may get the message across.

This example is one I think is useful. I have two TR-808 drum machines. They sound great as single units and they sound good locked together directly via a single Din Sync lead. The first thing you do when you lock them via the Sync-Shift is try the same patterns as before but offset them by rhythmically interesting intervals - 16ths, 8th note triplets etc - the cross polyrhythmic stuff you can find here is magical.




Playing with Time and Space

After you have played around with offsets for an hour or so and you settle on a groove you like it is then that the Sync-Shift MKII starts to reveal it's real magic. Something happens when you start fine tuning the sync with the Shift Rotary control. What you thought was locked before becomes tighter and tighter. Hi-hats start phasing and tom rolls start to blend with kicks. If you pan different drum voices on a mixing desk, sounds start to dance around the L-R stereo field. The Rotary Shift control is fine enough to let you 'play' with the phase characteristic of voices across two synchronised machines. Spot on lock and the sonic image is dead centre. A fraction pushed and the image moves to the Left. A fraction dragged and the image pans right. Rim shots and snares start to blur so it becomes hard to tell one from the other. Now you start playing with individual voice levels on both machines. Pulling the kick drum back on one machine you start to lose the 115 bpm 4/4 accent you thought was so dominant and underneath it appears a 6/8 afro groove at what feels like two thirds the original tempo. Push the other kick back up slightly again and the 4/4 comes back into focus. It's totally mind bending and you can lose yourself for hours. just make sure you're recording it all. Many times I have tried the same experiment with direct Din Sync but it never gets quite the same 'time travel' type quality.

From experience and many days, hours and months looking at recorded waveforms - this quality only really appears when you get rhythmic transients (the attack portion of the sound) to really lock together. The tighter the transient lock between two or more machines the more rhythmic gymnastics you can achieve.




Hardware

All three internal components have individual rear facing Midi/Din sockets for discreet I/O.

Use the Midi Clock to Din Sync conversion on its own or simply route the converted Din Sync signal back into the Sync-Shift MkII for real time lag correction and syncopation of your Din Sync Slave device. Now take the Shifted Din Sync signal back in to the Din to Midi Clock converter to apply the exact same real-time lag/offset correction and syncopation method to any of your Midi Clock slave devices.

The Sync-Shift MkII provides a simple, accurate, hands-on way to make all your gear lock the way it should. Hardware or Software, Master or Slave, Midi Clock or Din Sync/+5v.





Life In The Real World

Test System: Dual Akai MPC-3000 units with Vailixi 3.50S Operating Systems.

Identical Urei 964 Metronome Click Sample Edited in SF9 in both MPC-3000 units.

Identical 2 Bar pattern of hard-quantized quarter notes in both MPC-3000 units. 

Mono Output of individual MPC-3000 units recorded as [Left- Master Midi Clock MPC-3000] and [Right - Slave Midi Clock MPC-3000] into a stereo 44.1kHz Sound Forge 9 audio file.

Direct Physical Connection between both Master and Slave MPC-3000 units.
No Sync-Shift present.
Offset between Master and Slave MPC-3000 units = 20 samples/0.45ms




Sync-Shift MkII connected between Master and Slave MPC-3000 units.
Sync-Shift MkII set to [Bypass]
Offset between Master and Slave units = 44 samples/0.99ms

This shows the maximum processing time (24 samples) added by the Sync-Shift with all three internal fuctions connected - Midi Clock to Din Sync conversion [Active], the Sync-Shift Engine [Not Active] and Din Sync to Midi Clock conversion [Active].  




Sync-Shift MkII connected between Master and Slave MPC-3000 units.
Sync-Shift MkII set to [Shift] and all Start Offset Rotary Switches and the Active Shift Knob set to Zero.
Offset between Master and Slave units = 47 samples/1.07ms

This shows the maximum processing time (27 samples) added by the Sync-Shift with all three internal fuctions connected - Midi Clock to Din Sync conversion [Active], the Sync-Shift Engine [Active] and Din Sync to Midi Clock conversion [Active]. 




Sync-Shift MkII connected between Master and Slave MPC-3000 units.
Sync-Shift MkII set to [Shift].
16th Start Offset Rotary Switch set to [3], Clock Start Offset Switch set to [5] and the Active Shift Knob set to dead centre 

Offset between Master and Slave units = zero samples/0.00 ms 










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