Vintage PPQ Sync – Using Sync-Gen II for Linn/Oberheim Drum Machines and Sequencers

Many pre-Midi Drum Machines and Step Sequencers use DC Voltage Pulses for external syncronisation. There was no 24 PPQ (Pulses Per Quarter Note) standard in those days so manufacturers used whatever they felt suited their design and most of them were very particular about what pulses they would (or wouldn’t!) lock to.

We’ve had many requests in recent times about the best way to sync these vintage gems to modern computer DAW applications. This basic video shows how easy and tight it is when you use theĀ Sync-Gen II system. To start with you see the Sync-Gen IILE. The Din Sync output is connected to a simple breakout adapter box (email us for details on how to make your own) – this lets us get access to the raw analogue DC sync pulses being generated by Sync-Gen II. From here I feed the analogue sync pulses via a single cable to the LinnDrum Sync-In socket. Next you see the Sync-Gen II screen where I have set the Global Rate to 48 PPQ which is what the LinnDrum likes to see. I then press play on Ableton Live and you hear the LinnDrum pattern play perfectly locked with an audio click as reference. I then open up two more audio tracks just so you get a feel for the overall pattern. The same principle applies to any vintage hardware sequencer or drum machine – just change the PPQ Rate in Sync-Gen II to suit. You get zero-latency precision sync plus you can swing, program and stutter the playback too.

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