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Sync Lead

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© Robin Whittle, Real World Interfaces  2007 to 2018  17 June 2018

This page describes the Sync Lead as it is used with the Devil Fish MIDI In or MIDI In and Out systems.  However it can also be used with the TR-808 MIDI In and MIDI In Sync only systems:  ../tr-808/#midi .

Synchronisation lead for Devil Fish with MIDI In 

The Sync Lead is an additional item we can supply with the a Devil Fish modified TB-303.  In 2018, the colours are blue-white and blue-violet-grey.  It is not necessary for operation of the Devil Fish itself.  The Sync Socket of a Devil Fish with or without MIDI In accepts Roland (DIN) Sync In exactly as an unmodified TB-303 does.

Devil Fishes with the MIDI In system or the MIDI In and Out system also use the Sync Socket as their MIDI In socket.

Both the MIDI In system and the MIDI In and Out system inside the Devil Fish receive MIDI Sync and drive the outside pins of the Sync Socket with the Run/Stop and Clock (24 pulses per quarter note) signals.  Whatever signals are on these pins drive the TB-303's internal sequencer.

When nothing is plugged into the Sync Socket, these two outside pins are driven from the internal Run/Stop and Tempo Oscillator circuits, which are controlled by the Run/Stop button and the Tempo knob.  When something is plugged into the socket, a double pole switch opens (the two pairs of contacts no longer connect) and the outside pins are not driven from the internal Tempo clock and Run/Stop circuits.  However, when the MIDI In system or the MIDI In and Out system receives MIDI Sync, this system drives the outside pins and therefore the TB-303's internal sequencer.

This is all that is required for ordinary Devil Fish synchronization from MIDI.  (The MIDI In  and the MIDI In and Out systems also enable the Devil Fish to be controlled by notes, and for Accent, Slide and Filter Frequency, as described in the manuals at the Devil Fish page: ../ .)

The primary purpose of the Sync Lead is to enable all this to happen, while also using the Roland Sync signals (Run/Stop and Clock) which are generated by the MIDI In system or the MIDI In and Out system to drive up to three external devices, each of which receives Roland Sync.

This means you can send MIDI Sync to the Devil Fish and at the same time run and stop up to three other devices, such as other TB-303s or Devil Fishes, TR-606s, TR-808s and TR-909s, in time with the master MIDI Sync source and the Internal Sequencer of the Devil Fish.

There are some other ways of using the Sync Lead:

DIY enthusiasts with good soldering skills can make their own:

There is no absolute limit on how many Sync In inputs can be driven from one Sync Out.  Nor are there any restrictions on length or requirements for shielding so a lead like this can be made as long as you like, with as many sockets for slaves as might be required.