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How do I sync Pro Tools 7 and ADAT machine(s) using the MOTU MTPAV?

The following steps assume that you already have a MTPAV-USB configured on your Mac or PC with ProTools. If don’t have this set up yet, consult the documentation for ProTools and the MTPAV-USB for details. A good/simple test for to make sure the MTPAV is working is to try using it for MIDI operations

We’ll use Pro Tools LE 7.x with a Dig002 as an example, but it can be applied to other Digidesign hardware and versions of ProTools.

1. Verify that the sample rate for ProTools and the MTPAV are the same.
a) In ProTools, sample rate is determined when you create a new Session. The Digi002 hardware will display current sample rate.
b) On the MTPAV, use the Window dial to turn to the Sync page. Sample rate will be displayed at the lower right (e.g. 48000). Use the Cursor and Value knob to adjust the sample rate.
c) Most importantly, ProTools and the MTPAV should have the same sample rate as the ADAT tapes your using. Conventional ADAT tape machines operate at 44.1k or 48k.

2. With the MTPAV already connected to your computer, connect the 9-pin ADAT sync OUT of the MTPAV to the sync IN on your ADAT machine. It is recommended that you make this connection while MTPAV and ADATs are OFF, then turn on the MTPAV before ADAT. This will allow the ADATs to detect a master and go into slave mode automatically.

2. Connect optical OUT of your ADAT to the optical IN on your Digi002 (you may connect 002 out to ADAT in as well if needed).

3. In ProTools, go to the SETUP menu and select HARDWARE. There, set Digital Input to “RCA = S/PDIF, Optical = ADAT.” Next, set the Clock Source to ADAT.

4. Next in ProTools, you’ll want to visit SETUP menu > Peripherals.
a) On the Synchronization page, set Device = Generic MTC Reader, and Port = MIDI timepiece AV, Sync port.
b) On the Machine Control page of Peripherals window, click ENABLE and set Send to = MIDI timepiece AV, all cables. ID = 127.

5. Open the Session Setup menu in ProTools by going to SETUP menu “Session.”
a) Set the SESSION START to match the start time of audio on your ADAT tape (TIP, make it a few seconds early) by clicking a field, typing numbers and using the ENTER key (not RETURN) on your computer keyboard.
b) Set “Time Code Rate” to 30 fps. This the default frame rate for the MTPAV, but you you can use a different rate if need. Just be sure ProTools and the MTPAV are the same.
c) keep the Session Setup window open, at least enough to see the “current time” display.

6. One you have a ProTools session ready and an ADAT tape ready, enable “slave to external” in ProTools by pressing the clock icon on the far left of the ProTools transport.
When you hit PLAY in ProTools, watch for the MTPAV “Tach” light to start blinking. Also watch for ADAT machines to engage and start playing. Finally, watch for ProTools’ Edit Window (bottom-left) to change from “waiting for sync” to “in sync” and for ProTool tools to start playing. Note that because ADAT tapes may take a few seconds to cue up and play, this process may take several seconds.

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