Curing That Syncing Feeling

Keep Up with the E-RM Multiclock

Ryan Gaston · 01/18/19

In this video, we explore the powerful potential of the E-RM Multiclock, a device designed to keep all sorts of gear moving in sync with one another. Enjoy this microtonal jam featuring Ableton Live, an Arturia Drumbrute Impact, Universal Audio Apollo Twin, and a small assortment of Eurorack modules.

Keeping in Time

The electronic music realm is rife with the potential for interconnection: DIN Sync keeps old Roland Gear ticking along together, MIDI offers opportunity to connect keyboard, computers, and more, all while control voltages provide the potential to connect a wide array of sonic and visual resources to one another for instant control. And while these protocols usually work seamlessly within themselves, successfully interfacing between different types of gear can be a bit difficult.

We commonly encounter musicians who want to connect their analog synths and MIDI gear to a DAW, but find that MIDI clock alone is not enough to keep things completely in sync: after a while, the MIDI clock in the computer and that transmitted to the hardware drift further and further out of sync, creating a mess of undefined beats and mangled grooves. In this video we demonstrate how the E-RM Multiclock can solve these issues, keeping our DAW, Eurorack system, and Arturia Drumbrute Impact moving in time with one another. The Multiclock can produce all types of sync information: DIN Sync, MIDI Clock, and analog clock. With four simultaneous output channels, it can easily become the hub for a hybrid setup of all types of gear.

The most interesting feature of the Multiclock, though, is its method of syncing to a DAW. E-RM offers a specialized plugin for interfacing with the Multiclock. This plugin produces a special encoded audio signal which may be sent out a free channel on the user's audio interface. When connected via the Multiclock's 1/4" input, this encoded audio signal is translated into a rock-solid MIDI clock, sidestepping the latency issues that plague many dedicated MIDI interfaces. Everything starts in time and stays in time, making the Multiclock an invaluable tool for performers and producers who need their DAW and external gear to stay 100% together.

Of course, the Multiclock offers tons of other options: channel-specific swing/shuffle, clock division, timing shift, and even production of a tempo-synced analog LFO. It even operates independently of the DAW, making it a solid timing source for all-hardware setups as well as computer-centric rigs. The Multiclock is a time-tested and trusted source of super stable sync, and we recommend it as a permanent solution to the headache of drifting MIDI clock timing.