Sync Sequencers to Other Gear

Here are some ideas about syncing sequencers to other gear including your computer workstation.

MIDI Note Gates

Send MIDI notes to the 2nd channel of the Q174 MIDI Interface module and use that gate to start or clock sequencers.

MIDI Gates Module

The Q170 MIDI Gates module decodes MIDI sync messages including Clock, Start, Stop and Continue. The Clock message can also be divided up to /192.

Audio Click Track

Send audio to the Q118 Instrument Interface module which will create a gate that can be used to start or clock sequencers. Use the SHIFT input on the Q960. You might need to boost or attenuate with the Q125 Signal Processor module.

Sequencer Links

Q119 Sequencer
Q960 Sequencer
Compare Sequencers

Ideas from Scott L.

When shifting the Q960 from an external clock signal (derived from a MIDI source like a DAW), it is helpful to have the Q960 comes to rest on Stage-9 whenever the DAW or MIDI source is stopped. This can be easily achieved in a number of ways. The Q170 allows any of the gate outputs to be set to send a pulse when a START or STOP command is received at the MIDI input (all MIDI devices sending MIDI clock send both a START and STOP command whenever the transport is started or stopped). Route that Q170 gate output to the Q960 Stage-9 gate in and the Q960 will always instantly locate to Stage-9 whenever the master clock is stopped. There is no need to feed any gate signal into Stage-1. When the master clock is restarted, the first clock pulse received at the Q960 SHIFT input will cause the Q960 to correctly start on Stage-1.

This same functionality can be achieved using a Q174, by entering a simple MIDI command anywhere on the timeline that you might wish to have a Q960 go to Stage-9, or to have a Q119 reset at the beginning of a sequence. Using the Q174 in mode 3, the third CC output jacks sends a trigger when receiving MIDI CC4, so inputting a simple CC4 on a timeline (one entry with CC4 at value 127 followed right after by another at value 0), will cause a trigger pulse to come out of jack 3 on the Q174. This can be used for many things including resetting a Q119 or Q960.

Ideas from Paca

There seems to be an idiosyncrasy that occurs when a Q960 or Q119 sequencer is slaved to a MIDI clock; upon receiving the first clock signal on Start from the MIDI Clock source (like a DAW), the sequencer jumps to Stage #2, skipping Stage #1 altogether. The same thing occurs regardless of at what Stage you wish to start your sequence; it will jump to the next step. I have yet to find a concrete solution, even after trying 3 different MIDI Clock to CV converters including the Q170 MIDI Gates module, which is my current choice. But there are a few workarounds.

On the Q960, send a trigger (gate) signal on Stop to either the last Gate Input of your sequence, or better still (thanks Scott L. for this idea!), send that Stop/Reset gate signal to Stage #9, regardless of the length of your sequence. As Scott points out, this is a 0 voltage Stage and will prevent hanging notes on stop in may cases. Regarding the Q119, Scott suggests using a Trigger Delay, should you have one. I have tried this idea and have had inconsistent results. While this may very well be pilot error on my part, I have have chosen instead to start the programming of my Q119 sequence on Stage #2. That means, say, if you are creating a 24 step sequence, Stage #1 would be your 24 step. As brain-twisting as this can be at times, it always works.

Ideas from Richard S.

Here's an alternative method which is REALLY analog, and involves NO MIDI: Actually record one (or more) tracks (can be temporary)... like a snare track... cymbal... or even just a click track.... just anything with a short duration. Then use that (those) track(s) audio to drive the 'shift' input of the Q960. I found that often, I didn't need to patch thru a Q125 Signal Processor if unavailable... just anything handy that will attenuate. So... the short version... use audio to drive the sequencer(s) & switch(es).

Back to blog