Synchronizing with Pro Tools

I am trying to set up a sync-system with PT 8HD. I want Cubase to be the Machine Control MASTER, but the MIDI Timecode SLAVE. The PT machine will obviously be the opposite - Machine SLAVE, MTC MASTER, because I am hosting the video in ProTools.

I am fairly certain I have my sync settings set appropriately in both, but when I turn on the external sync it says “Idle” - when I press play the PT machine plays, but Cubase just sits there doing nothing. Occasionally it will figure it out for a split second as if it is successfully locked, but then it loses it again almost immediately. Sometimes when I return to the beginning of the session, the External Sync thing on the transport says, “t of Range” (I assume that first word would be “Out” if the space were long enough…), and again when I hit play PT goes and Cubase doesn’t budge.

Just to make it that much more frustrating - this has worked in the past, and just stopped working recently.

Just to be sure, my Project Sync settings are:
Timecode Source: MIDI Timecode (MTC Input set to the path I created called “MIDI Sync”)
Then under “Machine Control Output Destination” the MC Master Active box is checked, with the MMC Input set to “MTC Sync”, the MMC Output set to “MTC Sync”, MMC Device ID set to “1” Number of Audio Tracks set to 24.

In PT under Peripherals, Machine Control, the MIDI Machine Control Remote (Slave) has an Enable box that is checked, ID number set to “1”. Under Synchronization under MTC Reader and Generator both the Reader port and Generator Port are set to “MTC Sync”

So essentially everything is set to MIDI Sync and Cubase knows it should (theoretically) be the MMC Master, and should be receiving MTC. ProTools knows it should be the MMC Slave, and should be sending MTC.

Any help is greatly appreciated.

Is Protools using the ASIO driver of it’s Audio Interface?
(See Operation Manual Pg. 660 Eng vers.)

It’s a while since I’ve used this but I seem to recall that you have to ensure that “play” is also engaged on the sync’d machine/DAW, otherwise it will only sit there waiting!

i.e. press play on the sync’t DAW and that should then show “waiting” or “listening” or something like that. Then when you press play on the master DAW it should also trigger the other DAW to “Play” in sync?

No, IIRC it will start runnig as soon as it receives valid Timecode.

@OP: Do you have the timecode starting point setting in Cubase correct?

There’s also one in PT (for example, a recent PT session I received actually started 1 hour in because they’d set 1:00:00 instead of 0:00:00, worth checking, I had to change Cubase so the clips spotted to the correct position!).


I don’t know - I will have to check later. Would that cause the problem, or fix it?

Yes, the time code starts are set identically between ProTools and Cubase and both frame rates are the same, etc.

The thing that’s really messing with my head is that it figures it out for a little bit some times and then loses it. I don’t understand why it would work occasionally but not all the time…

Thanks again

Bad cable/connection?

It’s usual to start SMPTE code at 01:00:00:00, gives room for stuff before!