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Getting Logic to control/sync with Akai DPS12

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Getting Logic to control/sync with Akai DPS12

Postby hijosh » Sat Feb 27, 2021 7:30 pm

I recently unearthed my old Akai DPS12 standalone digital recorder and I'm looking for a way to get the raw individual tracks on my Macbook Pro (Big Sur) to remix.

Since the SCSI port on the back of the Akai doesn't play well with modern machines, I had the thought of recording each track over individually but syncing playback to Logic via MIDI time code – with either the DPS12 controlling Logic or vice versa. That way with both Logic and the DSP12 starting playback at the same moment, I could hopefully avoid having to manually line everything up since they'd be synced.

Unfortunately, I'm having trouble getting the Akai to communicate with Logic. It doesn't seem to work with Logic acting as master or slave. When I try to make Logic control the DPS12, the DPS12 just stays on the "Waiting for MTC" screen; when I try to make the DPS12 control Logic, pressing play on the DPS doesn't make anything happen in Logic.

I'm currently just using a cheap USB-to-midi cable to connect them but I'm considering buying a 4x4 midi interface.

Does anyone have any recommendations for how to get this working? Thanks!
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Re: Getting Logic to control/sync with Akai DPS12

Postby desmond » Sat Feb 27, 2021 8:15 pm

How are you connecting the audio - via S/Pdif to transfer digitally? If you you'll have to make sure your audio interface is set to receive clocking from the digital input.

I'd make Logic the master, and make sure you are sending MTC to the MIDI port the DPS is listening to, and put the DPS into external sync mode. So check that MTC is being sent to the correct MIDI port, if the DPS doesn't seem to do anything. You might also need to enable MMC as well in Logic, I can't remember the specifics of the exact MIDI commands the DPS will need.
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Re: Getting Logic to control/sync with Akai DPS12

Postby hijosh » Sun Feb 28, 2021 5:20 pm

Thanks for the response, Desmond. I'm just connecting the audio via the L/R master outs.

I've been attempting to make Logic the master. I've selected the setting that transmits MTC and I'm sending it to all ports. I've experimenting with turning MMC on and off / adding an MMC track, but the DPS still just says "Waiting for MTC."

Do I need to program some type of midi event/command in Logic to specify that pressing play should make the DPS play? Or should that just happen automatically if the connection is done correctly?
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Re: Getting Logic to control/sync with Akai DPS12

Postby desmond » Sun Feb 28, 2021 5:27 pm

hijosh wrote:Thanks for the response, Desmond. I'm just connecting the audio via the L/R master outs.

I recommend transferring digitally if you can to preserve the best quality.

Presumably you've connected the MIDI output fro Logic to the DPS12 as well?

hijosh wrote:I've been attempting to make Logic the master. I've selected the setting that transmits MTC and I'm sending it to all ports. I've experimenting with turning MMC on and off / adding an MMC track, but the DPS still just says "Waiting for MTC."

I'm not sure I could even try this out on my DPS12, since the last time I dug it out to retrieve any data off it, the drive gave up the ghost, and I'm not sure how well it operates without a working drive. If we can't fix it, I'll dig it out of the roof and have a look at it's behaviour.

hijosh wrote:Do I need to program some type of midi event/command in Logic to specify that pressing play should make the DPS play? Or should that just happen automatically if the connection is done correctly?

You sync mode should be set to MTC/Slave, and the Sync should be ON. The frame rates should match. Then press play on the DPS12, *then* start Logic, see if that works...
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Re: Getting Logic to control/sync with Akai DPS12

Postby hijosh » Sun Feb 28, 2021 5:28 pm

I should also note that the DPS asks me to specify a "Device ID" and I'm not really sure what to put there for Logic / my computer. I've scrolled through a few numbers though and it doesn't seem to work with any of them.
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Re: Getting Logic to control/sync with Akai DPS12

Postby desmond » Sun Feb 28, 2021 5:30 pm

hijosh wrote:I should also note that the DPS asks me to specify a "Device ID" and I'm not really sure what to put there for Logic / my computer. I've scrolled through a few numbers though and it doesn't seem to work with any of them.

Edit: Just re-reading the manual... hang on... it's for MMC, so that the commands are sent to the correct device if there are multiple devices:

Move the cursor to the Device ID: field, and select the device ID number of the external device.

A device ID is an identification number that enables the DPS12 to identify each device connected via MIDI to the system. The ID of the device that transmits MMC should match the ID of the device that receives MMC in order for you to control the DPS12 via MMC. Refer to the manual that came with the external device or software for more information on setting the device ID on the corresponding device.

If the device ID numbers match, the DPS12 can always receive MMC, and you can remotely control the selection of recording tracks and the transport section.

In Logic, these are set in Preferences -> MIDI -> Sync. Check the MMC format here too.
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Re: Getting Logic to control/sync with Akai DPS12

Postby hijosh » Sun Feb 28, 2021 6:37 pm

Yep, I have the midi connected as well. I don't have an optical in on my computer or interface, but if I can get this working, I'll definitely consider getting an external soundcard with an SPDIF input for higher quality.

Unfortunately still not working, even after making the frame rates match. I'm getting a midi interface in the next couple days, so I'll report back if that works any better than the cheap USB to midi cable I'm using now.
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Re: Getting Logic to control/sync with Akai DPS12

Postby desmond » Sun Feb 28, 2021 6:40 pm

hijosh wrote:Unfortunately still not working, even after making the frame rates match. I'm getting a midi interface in the next couple days, so I'll report back if that works any better than the cheap USB to midi cable I'm using now.

Those things are generally terrible, and might not even pass MTC.
I'll see if I can check on my DPS12 if I can get it running...

Edit: Ugh, I had a look in the roof, and guess which box is right at the bottom of a large stack..? :roll:
Let's try your way first, I'm not sure I want to shift the entire roof contents to get at it right now...

You can also try making the DPS12 the master, rather than the slave, if that works better too...
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Re: Getting Logic to control/sync with Akai DPS12

Postby hijosh » Sun Feb 28, 2021 7:04 pm

Heh, I definitely don't want you to have to reorganize your whole stack for me.

I was mainly hoping the midi interface would help me confirm that Midi is actually going in and out of the DPS12 via the indicator lights. If I set the DPS12 as master and don't see any activity, that would be good to know. When I try that now, the computer doesn't seem to get any indication that midi is being sent to it. I'll keep you posted.
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Re: Getting Logic to control/sync with Akai DPS12

Postby desmond » Sun Feb 28, 2021 7:09 pm

You can use Snoize's MIDI Monitor app to verify the MIDI data that's going to the ports...

https://www.snoize.com/midimonitor/

To see whether the MIDI cable is passing the data, plug the it between the output and input and you can see what's being sent and what's being received over the cable...
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Re: Getting Logic to control/sync with Akai DPS12

Postby hijosh » Sun Feb 28, 2021 8:25 pm

Interesting, I used Midi Monitor. Definitely getting events from Logic, however nothing I do on the DPS is getting picked up by the Midi Monitor, even when I have the DPS set up as the master.
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Re: Getting Logic to control/sync with Akai DPS12

Postby desmond » Sun Feb 28, 2021 8:43 pm

Did you try making the DPS12 the master instead?
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Re: Getting Logic to control/sync with Akai DPS12

Postby hijosh » Mon Mar 01, 2021 7:54 pm

Yep, I've tried it both ways. I'll report back on whether anything changes once I get my midi interface tomorrow. Thanks for your help!
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Re: Getting Logic to control/sync with Akai DPS12

Postby hijosh » Tue Mar 02, 2021 10:12 pm

Success! Or partial success!

The MIDI interface allows the Akai to talk to Logic in both directions. The only problem now is that for some reason, the Akai thinks that the 00:00:00 point in Logic is actually an hour and 4 minutes into whatever song I have pulled up on the Akai. Any tips on how to get the Akai to have a consistent point in time with Logic?
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Re: Getting Logic to control/sync with Akai DPS12

Postby desmond » Tue Mar 02, 2021 10:24 pm

hijosh wrote:The MIDI interface allows the Akai to talk to Logic in both directions. The only problem now is that for some reason, the Akai thinks that the 00:00:00 point in Logic is actually an hour and 4 minutes into whatever song I have pulled up on the Akai. Any tips on how to get the Akai to have a consistent point in time with Logic?

Check your timecode settings in Logic. Logic usually defaults to an hour start time (which is an often used general convention for reasons we won't get into here) but you should adjust this to whatever you need.

File-> Project Settings -> Synchronisation -> General

You can also set time offsets in the DPS12's control panel page too if necessary.
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