We’ve seen boxes that claim to sync everything you have to everything else you have. But the E-RM multiclock claims to do it even with a computer as the clock source – without jittering.
Just announced, the multiclock is the follow-up to the midiclock+, the clever MIDI sync box introduced by Berlin’s boutique E-RM Erfindungsbüro back in 2012.
The most important thing to know about the multiclock is that it takes this obsession with getting sync right directly to your computer’s audio card. Whereas MIDI and MIDI over USB from a computer are inherently susceptible to jitter, E-RM claims that the audio synchronization gives them sample-to-sample accuracy. That allows you to use a computer as a clock source without some of the nastiness that can often ensue.
Rewind. Plain explanation. Remember when you could use a phone to tell what time it was? A lady’s voice would intone from the other end, “the time is now… 7:45 and 33 seconds pm.” Think of a MIDI stream as giving you those time indications a little irregularly – not quite on the right tick – and an audio stream giving times that are always exactly correct, many times per second (44,100 times per second for a regular CD audio setting, for instance). That’s my explanation, not E-RM’s, so I hope they approve.
You still retain the versatility to use what you want. So you can use MIDI or DIN (from more reliable MIDI gear that isn’t a computer, that is). You can use clock signals from analog modular gear. If you really must use a USB MIDI connection, fine – that works.
Or, of course, the multiclock – like the midiclock+ before it – can simply be your stable clock source for everything else.
This is all fine and well, but I think it’s the adjustment that makes this interesting. You can tweak timing on everything – each channel has two knobs for shifting and shuffling. That can allow you to fine-tune sync or even create your own grooves. I can really imagine dialing in something more life-like and human with this.
It isn’t just sync, either. A “MIDI Map & Merge Matrix” lets you route and merge MIDI notes and control messages over MIDI or USB to particular outputs.
E-RM is a neighbor of mine – in Berlin and this week at Messe – so I’m curious to give this a try. 449€ is a hefty price, but … it could be the last sync/clock device you ever buy. And it could change the way machines in your studio arrive in time. I can also tell you E-RM are obsessive about quality and sustainable production. So yes, it’ll be great to evaluate these claims in performance.
multiclock will be available from May 2015.
The MRSP is 449 e for the standard version, 519 e with USB.
A matching power supply is naturally included.
Colorful caps for all knobs are available on request.
tempo range: 30-300 BPM
max. shift range: ± 250ms
1 x Audio-Sync input
1 x MIDI/DIN Sync/Modular Clock input
4 x MIDI/DIN Sync/Modular Clock output
1 x LFO output (0-5 V)
1 x power jack (9 V-15 V)
4 x USB MIDI input (optional)
1 x USB MIDI output (optional)