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Synching two PC’s running Cubase

And here’s our synchronization question for this week:

“How can I synchronize two PCs running Cubase? I read MIDI synchronization is not good for this task. Can I use the GINA SPDIF I/O for this purpose?”

I‘ll resist any temptation to ask why you have two PC’s running Cubase. The answer depends on exactly what you are synchronizing. If either or both of the machines are running only MIDI tracks then MIDI synchronization is fine. The machine with only MIDI can chase the machine that has audio playback with acceptable results. If both machines are playing back audio, however, it is possible that MIDI may not provide tight enough sync for your tastes. Cubase actually does a decent job of resolving audio playback to MTC, but it’s not the ideal solution, especially if the machine is already working hard to play back tons of tracks with plug-ins and so forth. The degree of precision you need depends on which tracks are on each machine. Some tracks require extremely tight sync with one another in order to retain the “feel” of the music. One solution is to slave one of the machines to the other by way of a digital audio signal such as S/PDIF as you suggest. This provides a clock that the second machine can use as a master timing reference for the audio. In conjunction with MIDI (assuming you have everything set up correctly) this should work fine.

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