Roland & Serato DJ heard your pleas, and now they’ve answered with the awesome TR-SYNC…
Roland’s legendary drum machines can now seamlessly connect to Serato DJ Pro software thanks to the latest software update, cannily titled TR-SYNC.
Beat match using your favourite TR drum machine, with compatible hardware covering the TR-8, TR-8S, TR-08, and the TR-09. Thanks to the ridiculously simple sync functionality, you can masterfully infuse iconic TR samples into your performance without any effort whatsoever. All you need is a USB cable, an internet connection to download some software updates, and you’re pretty much good to go.
How to set up TR-SYNC
1. First of all, go to the Roland website and download the latest device driver and system update from the relevant product page for your TR drum machine. Install the driver onto your computer and follow the system program instructions – aka firmware – for your operating system.
2. Connect your TR drum machine to your computer via USB cable. You’ll need to connect the output from your drum machine into a channel on your mixer or sub mixer.
3. Launch your Serato DJ Pro software, head to the “DJ Preferences” menu, and activate “SYNC MODE”. There are two options to choose from: Simple Sync or Smart Sync.
Simple Sync matches both the BPM values and transients of your tracks together. Therefore, if you drop a track but it is out of time, Simple Sync will automatically beat match by locating the closest transients and snapping them together. This can make life easier if you want to do other things without having to adjust a platter or pitch slider.
However, If you’re going down a DVS or unquantized classic setup, then the recommended option is Smart Sync, although you will have to setup up accurate beatgrids (covered below) or else things might get a little hairy.
4. Once Sync is activated in Serato DJ Pro you need to activate Sync in your TR drum machine.
TR-08: Hold down the Menu button and turn the Fine Value button toward the right.
TR-09: Hold down the Enter button and turn the Tempo button toward the right.
TR-8: Hold the Tap button and turn the Tempo button toward the right.
TR-8S: Hold down the Mute button and turn the Tempo button toward the right.
5. Press play on your Serato deck and then start your TR drum machine loop on the first beat of the bar. If you drop it slightly off beat, press the Sync button in Serato to tighten up the beat. Now you can change the tempo on any device and thanks to TR-SYNC, all other devices will follow.
Beatgrids are a series of markers that point to the location of beats within a track and are all important when you’re using advanced mixing functions such as Sync. If not setup correctly, you can find yourself losing control of your mix without knowing why.
How to set up a Beatgrid
1. Unplug the USB cable on your Serato device and analyze your files in offline mode.
2. In Serato DJ Pro, highlight your track by selecting it. Ensure that in the Analysis Settings, “Set BeatGrid/BPM” is selected.
3. Click “Analyze Files” and the BeatGrid should then appear above the track waveform. If it doesn’t appear then double-check that Sync is selected in your Serato DJ Pro Preferences menu, and click on “Snap to Beatgrid”
4. If the beatgrid is slightly off then use the “Edit Grid” function to shuffle it back and forth until the first beat is on the first bar.
Now that you’re all setup, you can perform and play to your heart’s content.
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Jon is a multi-instrumentalist with a passion for inspiring others to get involved in making music. After spending many years playing venues here, there and – pretty much – everywhere, he joined the Dawsons’ Music Web Team before progressing into his current role managing the Dawsons Blog.