Can Cubase Slave SMPTE?

Hi There

This is my first post so apologies if I’ve made any mistakes.

I run Cubase SX3 and would like to see if it’s possible for Cubase to act as a slave to smpte natively?

I’m aware that you can buy smpte to midi boxes etc but I’m on a very tight budget. I have a Fostex RD8 which is almost identical to an Alesis ADAT. I’d like to stripe the tape and have the Fostex as SMPTE master and cubase as slave. The ADAT has an XLR smpte output and i’d like to take that analogue single and pretty much connect to an audio input on my sound card then have Cubase read it.

I do have a copy of Cubase VST 5 which could be used if it’s not supported on SX3 but I’d just like to check if it’s supported in general.

Thanks for reading


If I understand you correctly, you’re asking if it’s possible to feed an analog SMPTE timecode signal into an audio input and have Cubase sync to that? Short answer: no. There are interfaces which can do this (e.g. some MOTU) but they then send MIDI timecode (“MTC”) to Cubase, which is what Cubase needs to see in order to sync to tape.

However I think you might need to step back a bit an consider what you’re trying to achieve. There are two different areas of synchronization here, audio clock sync (which you achieve using a suitable audio interface and making the RD8 the master) and machine control sync, which you could most easily do using e.g. a device that could convert the 9-pin ADAT sync control to MTC. There are a number of MOTU devices that can do both, but it would be non-trivial to set up and get working flawlessly.

Stepping even further back, I’m wondering what you’re trying to achieve here in the first place? ADAT tape is hopelessly outdated and any decent audio interface is going to give you far superior results … and let’s face it, who wants to wait any more while tape is being spooled?

On the other hand, if all you want to do is transfer multitracks from ADAT to disk, you don’t need SMPTE sync – you’ll need an audio interface with an ADAT input and then simply set your audio interface (not Cubase!) to slave to the ADAT input’s audio clock; in Cubase, route each ADAT channel to a separate track, hit record and play the ADAT.