Midi synced audio recording hardware

The technology exists for a fast powerful midi synced multitrack recorder, with proper editing, dedicated controls, an adequate screen for an overview, but no one makes one as far as I can tell.

Two machines that I own can both do it to a certain degree but are not designed specifically for the purpose, so inevitably fall short in certain areas.

Octatrack: Great audio editing, but limited memory, so big files will have to be static which has certain limitations, only 8 tracks which can soon be used up.

Deluge: Almost the polar opposite, unlimited tracks, poor audio editing (in this scope) no multitrack capability (recording)

I guess there are some multitrack mixers/portastudio things that can do it, but often these are the older models, which are slow and lack much or any editing, often memory limited too.

I am know of hacks to get things like the Zoom recorders to do midi sync, but not really ideal as again these seem to lack the editing options like fade, normalise, etc.

Seems like there is a gap in the market?


there’s also some Tascam multitrack recorder in production that does MIDI sync, but yes, that’s all, and there’s a gap. and everyone who was interested in this feature at some point knows it. but for some reason the gap still exists.

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Sounds a bit like you’re describing this https://www.roland.com/us/products/vs-880/ or maybe this https://www.roland.com/us/products/vs-2480/ Both are discontinued since many years but they did have some pretty advanced audio editing features :slight_smile:


Indeed. And Tascam’s old line of digital portastudios had MIDI functionality, but it was inexplicably dropped from later versions. I believe the old Korg HD recorders had MIDI as well. It’s mind boggling to me that this function has been omitted in modern hardware devices.

Equally as frustrating is the lack of digital inputs on such devices. I’d really like to replace my analog mixers and audio interface with something as streamlined as the A&H QU24, but the lack of even SPDIF in and MIDI I/O keeps talking me out of it.

Crazy that I could do more with my VS880EX back in the 1990s than I can with a modern variant.


Some years back I bought a Tascam DP-32 because it had midi sync, but was then disappointed to discover that the start would lag by a random amount each time, typically 2-5ms, that kind of bugged me, but then I thought oh well I can edit the audio, but then I discovered the audio editing did not allow fine enough precision to correct the offset. Luckily I found all this out in the first day, so I returned it.

I think the earlier Tascam, Fostex and Roland models were better in regards to sync, but had small internal drives and scsi, and slow processing, otherwise I’d probably get something like that.

I guess the computer DAW has pretty much rendered such devices as obsolete from a manufacturer perspective, bit of a shame.


I think the 880 had IDE drive support so you should be able to plug in something like a modern compact flash card. The amount of gigabytes you’ll be able to use is probably limited. But yes processing might be somewhat slow to what a computer can do today.

I still have my old Mackie 24/96 HD recorder. It will sync to midi via MTC. Editing capabilities are quite limited though.

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32GB says the manual. That’s actually not that bad :thinking:

Exactly what I was gonna say. Sooner or later a purpose specific DAW in a box might come along. Imagine a console with the DAW built in. Motorised faders with scribs that change to VST parameters. There’s all sorts of possibilities but the price would be prohibitive when most people would rather just buy a mega computer for a fraction of the cost and use a mouse. Maybe one day though. I’ve never delved into the deeper end of control surfaces cause I’ve found cheaper simpler controllers to be hassle so I’m not sure if that changes when you dump a chunk of change into a big one. Can’t imagine resale is great on them either

I’d like one for recording, but for editing, I prefer a computer, with a nice big screen.

I used to have a Zoom R8, which was fantastic but doesn’t have midi.

Yep. I think the OT is the closest thing for now. I think a piece of gear that fits your description will happen within the next few years. It will need to have a pretty consistent design philosophy to be effective for both utility and creativity. I would love something with TE style creative “limitations” and OT style sampling / sequencing capability.

The old Zoom recorders of the Noughties had midi. Editing was basic, no undo. But still great machines. I really wonder why Zoom dropped Midi. They would be the perfect tools! What midi hacks do you know of the Zoom recorders? Would be very interested to hear.

Another alternative: MPC X. Should have all of the above mentioned.

I think you could record a midi click track and sync it to your midi gear. I think that was what @darenager meant, but it is a bit of a pain to do.

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Ah, ok, but then you cannot adjust the BPM anymore, can you?

Yes exactly, something like the electribe 2 which has analog sync can be used to record a sync signal to a track then act as a sync to midi clock converter, or if you have some oldschool gear you can use FSK.


But then you have to stick to the BPM you recorded the sync signal, right?

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Tascam released the Model 12 recently, and it once again has MIDI support.

I think it ticks many of the boxes the OP required, barring maybe nice editing features (I don’t know enough about it)


Yep. You could always create files for each of your most commonly used BPMs and drop them in and out. It’s just a hassle.

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I have two Korg D3200s for exactly this reason. If you an find the XD model you’ll get flying faders as well. I also have a Tascam 2488 NEO. All 3 of these will give you midi sync out to your midi gear and you can use the transport control to start and stop. Multitracking and overdubbing is a breeze with either of the machines, 8 analog in on the Tascam, 12 analog in plus stereo SP/DIF in on the Korg. The Korgs have much better editing functions. I love using these machines to completely get me away from the computer and still have that linear recording feel. Snap one up now while they are still around.