Here, watch this. Conforce demonstrates using the trigger out of an 808 to trigger the clock in on the SH 101. Rock solid timing, no need for midi. https://youtu.be/aKl29ybaUQM




Midi instruments of the 80s had clocks you could sync, you connected them with midi cables. This could get the BPM perfect and while it could all be done in one take, it's not hard to line up perfect BPMs with perfect BPMs. If need be, they'd cut and layer tape and rerecord to a single source.


People have been, tracking, layering and overdubbing music LONG before the daw.


lol yeah, I recorded electronic music about 25 years before I heard the term DAW. Daw is something we said to a slow or stupid person in 95.


Juan Atkins mentioned a much more basic technique they used in the early days, at least, in the great podcast episode [99% Invisible: Tanz Tanz Revolution](https://99percentinvisible.org/episode/tanz-tanz-revolution/transcript/) > Juan Atkins: > I would record a rhythm track on one cassette, and play it back, and record a bassline, and catch it on the other cassette. And I would ping pong back and forth until eventually, I had a song.


MIDI was used to sync all of the hardware together. In most hardware setups each of the outputs on the synths, drum machines etc were routed through a hardware mixing console and then recorded to tape (either cassette, reel-to-reel or DAT; most of these allowed for at least 4 tracks to be recorded independently at a time). The songs were often recorded live so every mute, fade, parameter change etc was done by hand, and overdubs could be added later to fill out the arrangement. Most drum machines and some synths had built-in sequencers that allowed you to program and save one-to-four bar patterns. And advanced drum machines like the TR-909 allowed you to chain entire patterns together to create full songs, which producers often took full advantage of. And at other times the instruments were played live. If the performance was recorded to tape and editing needed to be done, you had to do razor splices to the actual tape and use scotch tape to piece it back together again. That was an entire craft in and of itself.


Great response, but to add, even before MIDI there were CV sequencers and Roland had Sync24.


Recorded live, really? So the tracks on an album like this https://youtu.be/468ZrkAiCO4 were likely recorded by tweaking every single parameter live? That seems like it would be insanely difficult.


Some of it recorded live, many synths have MIDI-controllable parameters. I had a Commodore Amiga controlling things like synth filters in... what, 1993, and I'm just a dick while Jeff Mills is a god.


The rad thing about Jeff Mills and the Detroit three etc is they didn't have access to the latest and greatest either.. they were getting shiz nobody else wanted from pawn shops and making magic with it. That said in the mid 90s I had a tascam 4 track that could multi track and if they were booking time in real studios they would have had access to better recording gear than that. I bet all the parameters were tweaked by hand, but maybe in multiple passes, not all synths and machines at the same time.


That's one relevant thing people these days miss. Techno and house were music of the future made with outdated tools, they did not have access to the latest gear


Can I give you more than one thumbs up? You know, I purposely design a lot of my music to sound dirty. My jam was New York Hardcore, Punk and Metal in Detroit, so I grew up listening to 7" records cut in New York basements of squatter tenements. Now, I'm back to electronic music all these years later, but my work is going to have that dirty aesthetic.


Kind of. I mean, they shopped at my guitar center. And Juan's album sold 15,000 copies at probably $15 a copy, or something like that. So.... that's a lot of cash.


I remember an interview that he did not like automation. He recorded live for human feel.


I only quantize if I can't see straight in the morning. If the machine does it all, what do you need me for? And... I can't get the machine to sound like me. I'm always a little behind the beat, or maybe a little ahead.


Says that album came out in 2000.. of course there were sequencers like Logic, DP, Vision and Cubase all through the 90's and even late 80's. Listen to FSOL, Autechre, Aphex, Bola, etc from the early 90's if you really want to be impressed.


Sorry just wanted to https://youtu.be/u5KyDiTQa7c


Funny, I was listening to Cascade2020 on my run tonight.. once you hit Sluice it starts getting so good.. ended up going all the way through and on to "My Kingdom" which I hadn't heard in many years.


That's why they call him the Wizard


Ha yeah, midi and usually an Atari ST and (in my case) recording the stereo output of my mixer to cassette. Some might have multitracks that the used MTC or SMPTE to sync to like an analogue version of a DAW.


I once wished there was a DAW-based device (Max4Live specifically) that could output and read SMPTE.


Logic has SMPTE iirc and other daws like [Ardour](https://manual.ardour.org/synchronization/timecode-generators-and-slaves/).


I‘d never use SMPTE voluntarily but here‘s a device and you could use a recorded Signal as well. https://www.showsync.com/tools#clipsmpte


this question makes me feel so old


Look up dawless setup. Everything in you daw is made to replicate analog gear. This is why I love Reason as a DAW, It kind of reminds you of how analog gear was with the rack devices.


Look up the Wizard


Also Jeff Mills is a legend. https://youtu.be/eU-UsvYbIV0


Multitracking has been a thing for almost a hundred years and it's been available in home studios since at least the 80's.


Stereo tape machines were invented during WW2 by the Germans, the first studio multitracks were used in the late 50's.


Ok so almost 70 years, you get my point


I mean syncing your stuff has always been possible. But then some people don't mind doing it the dj way. As jeff mills has said before, when he uses a 909 during a dj set he doens't sync it he just beatmaches it and off he goes. I have done this myself with my gear when I felt the need to explore, and if you can dj it's not that hard tbh.


Having said, it was a pain in the ass. I had an engineer to get the midi running. I was the tracking and mixing engineer, he was the MIDI engineer, etc. So, I had to literally have a guy set up my tracks. And, those syncs weren't always perfect. Something would always slip or stop working or whatever. And then we'd wait for the tape machine to shuttle back using a BRC controller. I'm so glad all that crap is gone and the future is here.


Some of the great techno was made during that time! Mills is tip of the iceburg


Midi & Timecode.


I still record tracks live




DIN sync, CV/Gate and MIDI. Mixdown to tape or ADAT but DAWs we’re around in the 90ies, so he could have used a computer as well for that.


In this 3 CD box Jeff Mills release there's a booklet with commentaries on every track - maybe there's some nuggets of gold in there; I don't own this myself though I would love to. Don't even have a CD player. https://www.axisrecords.com/product/ssas\_cd/


We would use clocks and controllers.


I remember Jeff Mills, he was overrated.