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Sync Alesis HR-16 w/Pro Tools as Click

Discussion in 'Pro Tools' started by Goodness, Nov 17, 2014.

  1. Goodness

    Goodness Guest

    Hello All,

    I just found this forum.

    I am a professional studio musician (drummer). I want to use my Alesis HR-16 as a click track and have the tempo driven from Pro Tools.

    I've done this many times in the past but I don't know exactly how the engineer went about setting it up.

    The studio I am going to do this in is running an older version of Pro Tools (8.2 I believe) on a Windows machine. I'm trying to find some instructions that I can share with my engineer buddy so we can get this working.

    The built-in click in PT is not exactly musical. I program simple percussion patterns in the HR-16 to use as clicks. However, it's always been my understanding that the clock in the HR-16 is not as accurate as it should be. So, engineers I have worked with in the past drove the HR-16 from the Pro Tools clock.

    I see in the HR-16 manual that the clock can be set to either MIDI & INTERNAL (default), INTERNAL ONLY, or TAPE SYNC IN.

    I hope that makes sense.

    Thanks in advance for any help/advice anyone can give me.
     
  2. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    It's been quite sometime since I've worked with sync code, but, I'm pretty sure you could use MTC (midi time code) to start the rhythmic pattern on the HR16, and record it to an audio track on PT at the same time, where afterwards, you would just use the audio track on PT as your cue.... at which point the level could then be adjusted, EQ'd, effected, etc.

    You'll need a PT cat to chime in here - I've switched production formats to Samplitude, so I don't remember exactly how to set PT to send MTC (I'm sure you can)... anyway, you would probably find this command in your audio/midi menu somewhere... selecting MTC as your Master sync, then sending that sync code out via midi to your HR16 - which would be in Midi Clock mode - slave.

    Upon starting play/record in PT, your HR16 should start to play the pattern.

    All that being said, I've heard more than once in the past that the HR16 isn't reliable in terms of clock or sync...there have been reports of the HR16 having a "drift" away from the master sync, this was most apparent in longer projects...
    so you need to consult your owner's manual and see what Alesis suggests.

    Now... what might also happen - as occasionally it used to with MTC (it was device dependent), is that the first few beats of the first measure might be chopped off, so you would want the pattern to run for an extra measure on the end, so that you could disregard the first measure of the song/pattern. And, this might not happen. As stated, this was an anomaly with MTC that was device dependent. Sometimes everything was fine from the start.

    There is an easier way here that should be mentioned... if you dislike playing to a click....and that would be to import/insert pre - recorded VSTi loops and drum samples on an audio track of PT, or, using whatever drum VSTi that your version of PT has, program and record four bars of a rhythmic pattern, quantize it, and then simply copy/paste throughout the length of the song.

    d.
     
  3. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    All that sync stuff is very complicated for nothing.

    Protools can play midi tracks! You just need to add a midi click track to your protool projects and make it control the HR16 like any sound module or keayboard. Check in the HR16 manual, it explain how to set the options so external midi signal can drive the drum sounds.
     
  4. Goodness

    Goodness Guest

    Donny - Thanks for the reply. I'll pass this along to my engineer friend. I don't mind playing to a click. In fact, probably 90% of my sessions use one. However, it's usually a drum machine slaved so the the click is more 'musical'. I think the idea of just creating a single measure of a percussion pattern and the stripping it through the entire project may be a great alternative.

    I'd still like to figure out how to drive the HR-16 from the PT clock.

    You're right. It's always been my understanding that the HR-16's clock tends to drift. It's also my understanding the driving it with the PT clock remedies that.

    Thanks again!
     
  5. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    I've been playing live for over 20 years with a click track.
    Do yourself a favor do not sync a sequencer (DAW) with another sequencer (HR)
    Your system will be more solid if PT sends midi notes to the HR as a synth.

    You don't want to be off beat because a unit is drifting or is out of sync.. no you don't ;)
     
  6. Other musicians have worked from a metronome. Why can't you? It's not supposed to be musical. It's only supposed to be a click reference. It's not part of the song.
     

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