Adding clock sync to music player and sound trackers

By st1mpy

Paladin (906)

st1mpy's picture

02-01-2021, 02:35

I've thought about clock syncing MSX and other devices in the past, with not so serious synths like Volcas, Pocket Operators (ones that use headphone jack and 2ppqn signals) and may be gameboys with lsdj/nanoloop etc. (I'm not sure if any trackers on MSX even use a MIDI sync).

I know about the JoyTracker and as I wrote in the comments section there, I've tried out the sync hardware with the tracker. (this one is sync 24 I think. as in 24 ppqn).

What this achieves apart from clock syncing and playing various instruments in sync with the MSX playing music, by offering an externally adjustable tempo, many musicians outside of MSX world could use MSXs in their setup of synths.

It should be a simple mod to the music player, or trackers. And may be MIDI sync could be supported easier as there are various MIDI hardware already available on the MSX (may be too many different ones). But for a Volca type sync with a headphone jack, we need a hardware attached to the Joystick port like the JoyTracker design, or have a cartridge and decide on a IO port.

JoyTracker have sync IN, and I think that design is good. Alternatives would have been the MSX being the master clock and do a Sync OUT device, but this is less flexible as many musicians will not have MSX as the main sequencer.
With the Sync IN arrangement, what ever the master clock is, can also drive other different device in sync.

Anyway, any music player/tracker programmers want to add the feature to their software? And would it be possible to come up with a standard for design?

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By Grauw

Ascended (10721)

Grauw's picture

02-01-2021, 04:43

In the context of driving the MSX via MIDI as a synthesizer, for Synthesix (abandoned) and Synthesix Lite FM supporting MIDI sync is something I was considering. It would be pretty easy apart from probably requiring some UI to enable it.

By Kanarie

Rookie (21)

Kanarie's picture

13-11-2021, 21:34

Hi there, thanks for using Joytracker! Glad you like it.
I've been busy with other stuff since publishing JoyTracker, I've been thinking about releasing the code so others might make some improvents, although the code is not very readable and it's kind of messy (it was my first attempt at ASM).

I think it shoould be possible to implement a simple joystick clock sync driver quite easily. I have synced a pt3 player to joystick port around 9 years ago, if you're interested i could share that code. It's very nice to be able to play PT3 tracks in sync with some extra drum machines / synths and whatnot Smile.

By MsxKun

Paragon (1115)

MsxKun's picture

13-11-2021, 21:52

I used clock sync on MSX Synth related software, specially on the FM Rhyrhm drumbox tests, to sync with external hardware.
It works. You can also sync a PT3 or whatever.
Anyway don't expect a perfect timing. Z80 is what it is, and if you need interrupts enabled, you end missing MIDI data.
Unless you have a buffered MIDI interface, but not sure if there is one with that. Music Module hasn't one.

Check video

By Kanarie

Rookie (21)

Kanarie's picture

14-11-2021, 10:20