Understanding Your VS: MIDI

Tags: vs-2400,vs-2480,vs-2000,vs-1680,vs-1880,vs-880ex,vs-890,midi,clock,sync,mtc,vs-1824cd,mmc
MIDI stands for Musical Instrument Digital Interface.
It’s a digital language that communicates with electronic instruments, performance controllers, computers, and other compatible devices.

When two MIDI devices are synchronized with each other, one device is always designated as the “master” and the other the “slave”. The master unit generates the timing reference that both devices follow. The VS recorders can operate as the master, or the slave. A timing reference is a kind of message continuously transmitted from master to slave to keep the devices synchronized. The VS recorders work with two different timing references: MTC, and MIDI Clock.

MTC (MIDI Time Code) provides a low cost means of sending SMPTE time code (a video timing reference; pronounced: simp-tee) through MIDI channels. It generates a steady pulse from which MIDI devices can follow. The time code is displayed in: Hours, Minutes, Seconds, Frames, Sub-frames. Both SMPTE and MTC are highly accurate timing references.

MIDI Clock is similar to MTC, however not as accurate. It is typically used when syncing with keyboards because it sends tempo and time signature information used for creating “sync tracks” and “tempo maps”.

MMC (MIDI Machine Control) is a set of MIDI messages that control the transport buttons (STOP, PLAY, REC, FF, REW) of an MMC compatible device. MMC also contains the information that tells each device the current location of its transport. On the VS recorders this location is represented by the red Now line. MMC is not a form of sync- it’s about button presses: When you press PLAY on a master MMC device, the slave unit acts as if its PLAY button has been pressed as well. The VS recorders can be the MMC master or the slave. In order for MMC to work, the SysEx transmission or reception switches need to be enabled.

For step-by-step instructions on using MIDI with your VS-2480, please refer to the Help Desk issue: “Syncing Two VS-2480’s Together via MIDI”