Slaving External Drum Machine to Ardour's MIDI clock


I’ve spent hours already reading and trying to figure this out so I thought it was time I tried asking for help.

I’ve got an Alesis SR-16 that I want to slave to Ardour so that when recording all my beats are synced to the timeline already. I’m running a UNO midisport 1x1 usb from the computer to the SR-16. I’ve got the proper driver installed for the midisport device and the light is flashing appropriately.

In JACK, under the ALSA tab, I have connected the 3 Ardour outputs to the midisport input.

I’m running JACK connecting to my firepod. I realize that the firepod has MIDI in/out too but I thought the midisport should also work. I haven’t tried using the firepod midi connection.

Ardour is set with Time Master and JACK is the master above that. When I start playback in the timeline the drum machine does not respond. The strange thing is, if I connect the midisport outputs to the Ardour inputs I can control the timeline using the drum machine’s start/stop buttons. The JACK control bar also has no effect sending to the drum machine.

The drum machine should be configured to receive MIDI clock and I’ve done it before using Cubase.

I think the main thing that I want to know is whether it is actually possible for Ardour to send a MIDI clock to my SR-16 for the purpose of keeping them in time with each other. And if it is, why am I failing?

I hope I remembered all of the relevant details. Thank you for your time.

There is no Midi Clock support in any released version of Ardour.

There IS Midi Time Code support, so if and only if your drum machine supports MTC (Which is NOT the same as Midi Clock and doubtful it does) then you can sync those two. This is completely separate from Jack Timecode that you mentioned above.


It is not the first time this problem popped up (MIDI Clock vs. MTC). Are there any plans to implement MIDI clock into Ardour?

I realize it may not be exactly what you’re trying to do, but why not use your alesis unit as the transport master (as you mentioned you’ve tried and it works)? Just set the tempo on the alesis to the same as it is in ardour, and when you’re ready to record, arm the tracks you’re recording to, hit the record button in ardour, and then hit play on your alesis machine. That should do the trick.

its already been implemented (by hans baier) in ardour 3

Great news!