Sync ADAT tapes to Nuendo

I have old ADAT tapes to transfer, but only one ADAT machine so I have to do each one separately. I would use 2 or 3 tapes (8 tracks each) for 16 or 24 tracks. I used to have a MOTU interface with the 9 pin sync, but now I use the MOTU 16A which has optical in/out. I can set the unit to CLOCK from the ADAT stream, but is there a way using the ADAT optical to get Nuendo to follow the “timecode” or is that even present in an ADAT stream?

I want to load one tape (8 tracks) and then using the same ADAT machine, load a second or third tape and have Nuendo “jump” to the proper timecode spot so all tracks will then play back in sync. Is this possible using just the optical ADAT stream?

Failsafe…Use a talkback Mic “CLICK” as your zero-point.

Back in analog, we would press talkback on a console, and the click sound would be recorded on all tracks, as a starting point to align everything.

Hi robft!
Timecode IS transported via the ADAT Lightpipe protocol (on user bit 0, I believe), so you should be good.
Just remember when you’re aligning to snap to SMPTE frames.
ADAT tapes also featured a longitundinal CTL track, just like a video tape recorder (which ADAT sorta was…) for an even more accurate frame sync which should also be encoded in the signal somewhere.
I don’t know if you have to jump some extra hoops to read out the timecode or CTL information though. In the ADAT era, I DREAMED of owning one lots of times, but never actually worked with one… :wink:
If you need any further help however, I can ask an older colleague who used to work with ADAT, I think.

I still have an ADAT PCI card with lightpipe and 9 pin sync if you want it!

I did this a while ago with a tascam DA78, A bit different but you may get some general pointers from the blog post that I did at the time


if you have silence safely before or after the recording, you can record white noise to the ADAT Tape with autorecord (Locator 2 and 3 If I remember correct???) at a specific time for a short period. For example if you set in and out to 00:01:00:00-00:01:00:01 on every tape, you can align the resulting noiseburst of every Tape recorded “somewhere” on the timeline.

You might want to set autofade to the lowest possible value (I don’t know if there is “off” available), as the ADAT will do a crossfade when punching in and out, that might make it a bit more difficult to pinpoint the actual in point in the recording.

Hope this helps,


Perhaps you could convert Adat Sync to SMPTE LTC Timecode, then use that LTC in a Steinberg Timebase ort Syncstation LTC input to slave Nuendo.

Less expensive you could use a Motu 828 (do have an LTC input) or another audio card that has LTC input and ASIO Timecode output. RME do have that too.

To get the LTC you could use a JLCooper Data Sync2 for example. It is an ADAT Sync to LTC / MTC converter. Can be found for about 20 euros on Ebay…

Or a JLCooper DataMaster.

Precision should be almost sample accurate if using LTC (but MTC would have at best about 1/30s precision…).

I still have an RME Digiface that has ADAT Sync (which is sample accurate) built in. Comes in handy because I did a lot of ADAT work in the day.

Anyway, I was surprised to see them (Old Digiface) on Ebay for, like, $150US.
You still would need the PCIe card that goes in the computer. Didn’t find one but they must be available.
I do have an HDSPe Express card that works with the Digiface that I would part with. Of course, you would need a laptop or something with the Express Card slot. Mac or PC.