Home Studio Recording Equipment: How to Sync with Analog Recorders

The fun of working with home studio recording equipment cannot be compared to anything else for a music composing enthusiast. There are few things better than being able to record your own music in the comfort and privacy of your home without having to deal with studio owners and managers. With the onset of home studio decades ago, analog recorders became the most common recording devices to achieve highly detailed recorded audio with electric or acoustic instruments both, but with questions on the longevity of analog recordings being raised, syncing an analog recorder with a reel-to-reel, digital recorder or computer to record simultaneously is one of the most innovative and popular practices in the recording world of home studio equipment owners. This step-by-step guide will help you sync with analog recorders, starting from scratch. A list of the tools and/or materials required for the task are given below.

Tools and/or Materials needed

  • Computer, PC or Mac
  • Recording software
  • Multi-track Analog Recorder
  • Hardware Processor

Step 1 - Determine the Type of Computer You Need

Although most old PCs and Macs with processors starting from 200mhz were usually sufficient for syncing with an analog recorder, the type of computer and processor you should now have totally depends on the kind of work you wish to take out from it. If you wish to do some heavy, sophisticated audio syncing with multiple audio software on a computer, you will need the latest PC or Mac. Deciding between them is a matter of personal choice, though, as both PCs and Macs will be able to do the job equally well.

Step 2 - Buy Software

After determining the type of computer you will be using, buy a copy of the appropriate audio recording software that you need for syncing with the analog tape recorder. Home studio recording software is easily available in the market.

Step 3 - Record Analog Synchronization Time Code

The analog synchronization time code is an audio signal that has been encoded with unique synchronization signals. It can be easily recorded on one of the tracks of a multi-track analog recorder. This signal will be the trigger for your sync.

Step 4 - Work the Hardware Processor

Once you have your time code audio signal ready, you have to work the hardware processor so it can convert this signal into something meaningful. Connect the hardware processor to the multilayer analog tape recorder and send the time code audio signal to the processor. The processor converts the signal into something that the digital recorder or a computer can read. Mostly, these audio signals are converted to MIDI.

Step 5 - Send MIDI Signal to Computer

When you have installed your home studio recording software on your computer, send the MIDI signal to your computer. The software understands these signals that have been converted by the hardware processor and now can play the signals or record them simultaneously with the analog tape recorder. Your digital home studio recording equipment has been synced with your analog recorder successfully!