Syncing to external looper?

I was sifting through the hardware sequencer thread and found this from @rick_monster -

which reminded me of a problem I’ve been trying to solve for a few months: I’m playing an improvised set at a festival in July with a guitarist friend, who uses a string of the digitech jamman loopers. It would be reeeally nice if there was an easy way for me to be able to sync ableton’s clock (which I use as my master clock, sending to a skiff / ww / etc) with his incoming looper clock. Digitech uses something they call “jamsync” to keep them all locked together, but it’s proprietary, so they don’t give any details on what the protocol actually is. There’s not a ton of discussion of it on other forums, but what little there is tends to be digitech reps shutting down the discussion and/or this french guy linking to his syncing device that he reverse-engineered. I’d just get his box but it only works as a master, I’d need something that could work the opposite direction, and you can’t turn the sync off.

@altoaiello turned me on to the m4l device beatseeker, which I haven’t got to test out yet but appears to be optimized for interpreting drum sounds. could be perfect though if it works!


  1. does anyone here have any experience with these pedals? is there a decent way to figure out what the fuck “jamsync” actually is (I know it’s a coded sysex message, but haven’t had experience with that kind of thing) and use it as a sync pulse?

  2. alternatively, what are your techniques for syncing your playing/clock (daw, modular or both) to incoming audio signals? I’ve been doing this dj style for years (manually nudging tempos up and down, tapping out changes, etc), but those techniques don’t work as well in a long form, clocked looping/rhythmic scenario.

does the word ‘jamsync’ sound suspiciously like the boomerang’s ‘brosync’ (apparently also compatible with echoplex) to you? Whilst I would love to share my findings, I don’t want lawyers hassling site moderators to shut down accounts/delete posts & stuff. @tehn is there any risk of that?

otherwise pm me we can pick up on email we can discuss the echoplex/boomerang sysex protocol & also some software/techniques that can be handy for sniffing out a simple wire protocol…

i thought the same thing. happy to continue the jamsync discussion via email if that’s necessary, i’ll pm you my address. though i really can’t understand why they wouldn’t want to let people know how it works - wouldn’t knowing how you could sync it to all sorts of other gear encourage people to add it to their rigs?

that said, i’d still love to hear other people’s methods of syncing to other players, or to incoming audio signals.

if your goal is ultimately to make cool shit yes! if there’s a reasonable expectation that people will just buy from them instead of going through the trouble to reverse engineer their secret sauce, then being the only supplier of Widget X is good for profit.

the scary thing about sharing for capitalists is the thought someone else might make more money!

look i made this thread about capitalism! lol sorry


could be worth it to reach out to David. though his final product might not be what you need, his early software progress was capturing jamsync’s midi sysex messages – maybe it’d be easy to use that code to drive Ableton’s clock.

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If you wanted to go a completely different route, send his audio to some sort of software envelope follower on your machine and configure ableton to trigger events at specific amplitudes. Could do this with max or m4l.


that’s a good call – if he’s got an extra looper that could be an inaudible rhythmic track routed directly to the computer to get a bit more stable onset detection? (eg start every song with him doing a short countoff loop on the guitar that just serves as a click for the computer. bit annoying tho.)


oh man! Still at least a week till I get the footswitches for my beaglebone-hosted aleph-boomerang footswitch/glue-code project. Just to reiterate a point I made on another thread - if you measure the time between brosync presses on the boomerang using usb midi interface & computer, the measurement can be accurate enough to keep in sync with a 'rang for over half an hour (I got bored waiting for loops to drift before anything went out).

I plan to add another tappy button which ‘hints’ to my software the pulse of your music. Then the software will ‘snap’ the tap time to always line up with the boomerang master loop. That’s the trick which allows to start in free time using the looper, then subsequently add in quantised elements like grid sequencer. I wonder how well it will actually work for making music - but hey will be interesting!