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Chapter 14.  Working in Sync  >  About Word Clock, SMPTE, and MIDI Clock

About Word Clock, SMPTE, and MIDI Clock

Before we start looking at how Cubase handles synchronization, it is important to understand the different types of synchronization, its terminology, and the basic concepts behind these terms. The idea behind synchronization is that there will always be a sender/receiver relation between the source of the synchronization and the recipient of this source. There can only be one sender, but there can be many receivers to this sender. There are three basic concepts here: timecode, MIDI Clock, and Word Clock.

Timecode

The concept behind timecode is simple: It is an electronic signal used to identify a precise location on time-based media, such as audio, videotape, or in digital systems that support timecode. This electronic signal then accompanies the media that needs to be in sync with others. Imagine that a postal worker delivering mail is the locking mechanism, the houses on the street are location addresses on the timecode, and the letter has matching addresses. The postal worker reads the letter and makes sure it gets to the correct address, the same way a synchronizing device compares the timecode from a source and a destination, making sure they are all happening at the same time. This timecode is also known as SMPTE (Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers), and it comes in three flavors:


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