DIN sync, also known as Sync24 or Roland Sync, is a type of synchronization protocol used to synchronize various pieces of music equipment, including modular synthesizers, drum machines, and sequencers. DIN sync was initially introduced by Roland in the 1980s with devices like the TR-808 drum machine and the TB-303 bass synthesizer.
DIN sync uses a 5-pin DIN connector, similar to the one used in MIDI, but the two protocols are not interchangeable. It operates by sending clock pulses and a start/stop signal over two of the pins to synchronize the tempo and playback state of connected devices. The clock pulses are typically sent at a rate of 24 pulses per quarter note (PPQN), which allows for accurate synchronization of the connected devices’ sequencers or rhythm patterns.
In modular, DIN sync can be used to synchronize the timing of various modules, such as sequencers, clock dividers, or other rhythm-based modules, with external gear that supports the DIN sync protocol. To use DIN sync in a modular synthesizer setup, you would typically need a DIN sync to CV/Gate or clock converter module, which translates the DIN sync signals into control voltage and gate signals that can be used to synchronize the timing of the connected modules within the synthesizer system.
While DIN sync is less common today due to the widespread adoption of MIDI and other synchronization protocols, it remains popular among users of vintage gear and modular synthesizer enthusiasts who appreciate its simplicity, reliability, and compatibility with classic Roland devices.