I want to sync SL to Ardour looping, use stop/start via MIDI

Describe your looping workflow

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I want to sync SL to Ardour looping, use stop/start via MIDI

Postby Digital Larry » Mon Sep 02, 2019 12:06 pm

#1 I'm back trying Sooperlooper again. Not sure what happened previously, but there is a complexity hump to get over initially.
#2 I'm trying to replicate a pedal sort of setup, not for live looping, but for catching and elaborating on ideas.
#3 In order for me to stay in a musically creative zone mentally I cannot be mousing around on a screen. I wish it were not true, but I think it is. So I have to be able to do useful and reliable things with footswitches.

Here's my setup so far:

Macbook Pro 2012 model
Sooperlooper latest version
Ardour, bought it rather than mess with building it
MIDI patch bay
QJackctl
JackPilot

Eleven rack for guitar sounds (analog outs)
Behringer UMC-404 audio/MIDI interface

McMillen softstep
some other MIDI pedals

My SL template is 4 tracks. Trying stereo and mono arrangements.

Ardour is set up with INT/JACK sync mode. If I set the tempo in Ardour that value is shown in QJackCtl.
I set Sync in SL (just one track for starters) to "Jack/Host". When I press the "play" button on the QJackCtl transport bar, then SL follows Ardour's tempo.
I set the quantize to "Cycle" and put in 16 8th notes for the cycle length.
I put in a click track to Ardour and started it playing back, then I started recording on SL.
I think it waited about 2 measures and then recorded for 2 measures.
Playing back the loop in sync with the original sound works very well and no discernible drift was detected in about 5 minutes. That is good enough for pop music.

What I'd like to do is be able to sync playback of something in Ardour (probably a short loop of MIDI and or audio) with SL. A count-in would be even more amazing.

I think that when Jack transport is "Stopped" it does not broadcast some Jack messages from Ardour to SL, as I can set SL to start recording and it doesn't do anything until I set the Jack transport to "Rolling". There also appears to be a delay which is probably the normal sync catch up but I'm wondering, isn't there a way we can all start at the same place?

If I'm recording in SL and "stop" the transport, SL keeps recording, and if I try to stop recording, it will say "waiting for sync" but it never gets sync unless I set the Jack transport to "Rolling" as before.

Also, Ardour didn't start but I haven't dug into that and this isn't the Ardour forum.
Last edited by Digital Larry on Tue Sep 03, 2019 2:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Digital Larry
 
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Re: I want to sync SL to Ardour including stop/start via MID

Postby Digital Larry » Mon Sep 02, 2019 3:15 pm

Made a little progress.

- Set Ardour clock to JACK (upper left corner)
- sync SL to Jack/Host

Now QJackCtl transport syncs with and controls Ardour
HOWEVER (and it's a big but) when you turn on Jack clock mode, looping is not possible in Ardour. But forgetting about that for now...

So with SL set to a certain # of 8th notes, e.g. 32, and sync'ing on Cycle, also enable sync mode on the track, rewind Ardour to zero and then start Ardour with either its own transport of QJackCtl's.

Looks like we record a 4 bar chunk into SL. Now to check for the sync.
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Re: I want to sync SL to Ardour including stop/start via MID

Postby Digital Larry » Tue Sep 03, 2019 8:38 am

I started trying to use MIDI clock and start/stop from Ardour to SL, since I figured that would not be impinged by limitations in JACK. Then I discovered that you can have Core (native Apple) MIDI and Jack MIDI and JackOSX has a "bridging" feature.

Ardour's MIDI connections show up as "Jack MIDI" while SL and my McMillen Softstep are most likely "Core" devices as they show up in MIDI Patch Bay (while Ardour does not).

I found that but by yesterday afternoon I still hadn't gotten any further. I think I have to connect something in the Jack connection panel and then it will all be great.

I feel "so close". Not supporting looping in Ardour when Ardour is set for Jack sync is really a deal killer on this arrangement.

Keep in mind, I'm not set on Ardour even though I paid for it. I have Live on my PC and I could drop $100 for a Mac version but I'd REALLY want to be confident that it was going to work the way I wanted. I wonder if I can still trial Live on Mac even though I already expired the trial on my PC?
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Re: I want to sync SL to Ardour looping, use stop/start via

Postby Digital Larry » Mon Sep 09, 2019 8:17 pm

I switched over to Ubuntu Studio 19 and am now using Hydrogen for the Jack Timing Master. So Ardour follows Hydrogen as does SL. It's a few keypresses to get everything rewound to start recording. There must be some kind of scripting UI that would send different Jack and/or MIDI commands to different things. Anyone recommend one?
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Re: I want to sync SL to Ardour looping, use stop/start via

Postby Freasy » Tue Sep 10, 2019 12:58 pm

First of all thank you for letting us be a part of your "journey"!

Digital Larry wrote:I switched over to Ubuntu Studio 19 and am now using Hydrogen for the Jack Timing Master. So Ardour follows Hydrogen as does SL. It's a few keypresses to get everything rewound to start recording. There must be some kind of scripting UI that would send different Jack and/or MIDI commands to different things. Anyone recommend one?


Since there seems to be a lack of affordable programs that do that, I wrote my own some time ago. It's just a C++-Project designed in Eclipse which is just receiving everything from SL and sends it to iPad via OSC, Launchpad, Midi controlers, Keyboards (MIDI clock) but everything is hard coded for my needs. So no UI or so. However I can provide you details about the libraries I used, if I find the project files.
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Re: I want to sync SL to Ardour looping, use stop/start via

Postby Digital Larry » Wed Sep 11, 2019 8:55 am

Freasy wrote:First of all thank you for letting us be a part of your "journey"!

Since there seems to be a lack of affordable programs that do that, I wrote my own some time ago. It's just a C++-Project designed in Eclipse which is just receiving everything from SL and sends it to iPad via OSC, Launchpad, Midi controlers, Keyboards (MIDI clock) but everything is hard coded for my needs. So no UI or so. However I can provide you details about the libraries I used, if I find the project files.

Thanks for the offer. If you can find it easily, go for it. I'm probably not going to write or adapt code unless there's no easier way. As of yesterday my fickle heart went back to Mac as it's a little more predictable and less likely to crash than my Linux setup. I also suffer from shiny object syndrome so started looking at things in Linux that were not central to the goal at hand.

And the big problem there is lack of JACK support in Hydrogen on the Mac. I know this isn't the Hydrogen Forum (it disappeared last year it seems) but does anyone know the conclusive story on Mac and Jack and Hydrogen? Clearly the JACK buttons are not even on the UI on the Mac version. The Hydrogen release notes don't seem to make any mention of this.
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