MTC -vs- Midi Clock

Pase

New member
When I do My tracking I use Midi Time Clock to sync with. Can anybody fill me in on the differences/advantages/disadvantages between midi clock and MTC?
 

R2B

New member
In a VERY simplified analogy, MTC (MIDI time code) can be described as a SMPTE signal sent through a MIDI channel. SMPTE is a sync protocol initially developed for the film industry and TV to sync different video and audio devices. SMPTE (like MTC) is broken down in hours, minutes, seconds, frames and sub-frames where 25 frames (PAL) and 30 frames (NTSC) equal 1 second. MTC allows different devices to tell each other where they are on the time scale. The main difference to simple MIDI clock is that MTC is piped through one MIDI channel as sysex messages. Thus its only purpose is to sync different devices that have internal clocks, such as drummies, sequencers, appegiators but also tape machines.

MIDI clock is sent as system common messages and it is sent through all MIDI channels at once. It allows devices to follow the start-stop, tempo and positions of other devices, but without really 'knowing what time it is'.
[The very first attempts to implement MIDI clock in drummies and sequencers did not yet provide 'song positioning' capabilities. So when sync was lost for whatever reason you had to start the whole song over from the beginning.]
Nowadays the devices with MIDI clock all have song position, meaning you can stop and start the song anywhere and the dependent devices should resume at that position.

To put it simply:
MIDI Time Code tells everybody : I'm now at 0 hours 5 minutes 12s 15 frames, 3 sub-frames.
MIDI clock says: I'm now at bar 22, quarter 2, 33 ticks.

Which one is best to use depends on the devices and which works best if all devices have both. Out of a (very old) habit I prefer MTC cos it seems more stable and reliable but some machines only have MIDI clock and that should work just as well.
 
Last edited:

aliengroover

New member
R is right. Personally, I find that for sync'ing drum machines and sequencers to recorders (especially software and hardware DAWs), MIDI clock works just perfectly. I've been using it for years, and I've never had a problem with it. You'll even notice that nowadays, they aren't even including MTC in stuff like the newer MPCs.
Peace
 

Pase

New member
In a VERY simplified analogy, MTC (MIDI time code) can be described as a SMPTE signal sent through a MIDI channel. SMPTE is a sync protocol initially developed for the film industry and TV to sync different video and audio devices. SMPTE (like MTC) is broken down in hours, minutes, seconds, frames and sub-frames where 25 frames (PAL) and 30 frames (NTSC) equal 1 second. MTC allows different devices to tell each other where they are on the time scale. The main difference to simple MIDI clock is that MTC is piped through one MIDI channel as sysex messages. Thus its only purpose is to sync different devices that have internal clocks, such as drummies, sequencers, appegiators but also tape machines.

MIDI clock is sent as system common messages and it is sent through all MIDI channels at once. It allows devices to follow the start-stop, tempo and positions of other devices, but without really 'knowing what time it is'.
[The very first attempts to implement MIDI clock in drummies and sequencers did not yet provide 'song positioning' capabilities. So when sync was lost for whatever reason you had to start the whole song over from the beginning.]
Nowadays the devices with MIDI clock all have song position, meaning you can stop and start the song anywhere and the dependent devices should resume at that position.

To put it simply:
MIDI Time Code tells everybody : I'm now at 0 hours 5 minutes 12s 15 frames, 3 sub-frames.
MIDI clock says: I'm now at bar 22, quarter 2, 33 ticks.

Which one is best to use depends on the devices and which works best if all devices have both. Out of a (very old) habit I prefer MTC cos it seems more stable and reliable but some machines only have MIDI clock and that should work just as well.


Thanks...The was a pretty damned good answer. Thats just what I was looking for. I use MTC because that was what I learned. I didn't know if there was any advatage to switching.
 

bhunt

New member
I have been preaching midi clock for a while on here. I honestly don't know which one is better. I have had my MPC 1000 with 2 racks and a hardware recorder and have had no problems with the sync
 
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