Reason CV to Roland DIN Sync

Monday, July 20th, 2009 | 2:53 pm and filed in Reason, Synthesizers, Tutorials.

In this continuing quest to interface analog hardware to Reason 4.0, It’s become very apparent that only a few brands on hardware interfaces feature DC coupled outputs which will enable direct routing of control voltage signals (CV) from software applications to analog devices. Since the release of MOTU Volta, people have been trying to determine if their interface will function as CV converter and many have discovered that their brand of interface is unsupported. From the Volta Blog, i found a discussion where people are reporting back on their findings on the Muffwiggler Forum

I am using a MOTU 896HD to interface Reason to Analog CV/Gates, and the files I am posting are subsequently calibrated for 6.15V / 12.3V range on outputs 1 through 8. The voltage range varies on the Main Outs and Headphone Outs, so the processing will behave differently if you are using an 896HD with these connections. The results will also be different if you use a different MOTU interface like an Ultralite Mk3 which has a range of 3.5V / 7.0V on the outputs. Again, the MOTU 896HD is proving to be well suited for this application - not be confused with the 896mk3 which is not compatible.

The bottom line is this: if an interface is deemed compatible with Volta, the interface will also probably work with these Reason patches.

Naturally the progression of this study has brought me to point of creating a combinator patch that generates Roland DIN Sync signals in order to slave Roland units such as the TB-303, MC-202, TR-606, TR-808, TR-909, etc. Roland DIN Sync requires two control voltages, a 24 pulse per quarter note (PPQ) clock, and a dual state (on/off) voltage to trigger start/stop on the transport.


Cabling from the MOTU 896HD is pretty simple, but requires that you create a custom Y-cable that connects two audio outputs to a 5 Pin DIN connector. On both XLR outputs, Pin 1 and Pin 3 are connected to the DIN Pin 2 (Ground). Only two conductors are used from the XLRs: Pin 1 and Pin 3 are tied to the cable shield. One of the XLR connectors has Pin 2 connected to DIN Pin 1 (Start/Stop); the other XLR connector has Pin 2 connected to DIN Pin 3 (Clock).

In Reason, a Thor Polysonic synthesizer Step Sequencer generates the 0 to +5V clock pulse. The sequencer resolution is set to 16T, and the step duration is set to 1/4. This generates 24PPQ. The Gate signal is routed to an audio output, and with the sequencer in repeat mode (on one step), the opening and closing gate acts as a pulse clock. For my patches, a Matrix Pattern Sequencer Curve CV controls the start/stop signal. The Matrix Curve CV is routed through the Thor Synth and converted to a DC Audio signal that triggers the transport on the Roland device.

See the demonstration videos:

TB-303 & Reason 4.0
MC-202 & Reason 4.0
TR-808 & Reason 4.0

Download the Reason DIN Sync Generator combis:

4 Responses to “Reason CV to Roland DIN Sync”

  1. IngoTB303 Says:


    beside this article I found another nice article about that topic. It is interesting, too. Maybe the box from innerclock systems I could use your reason-sync file without MOTU Volta or similar technology.

    Kind regards,


  2. IngoTB303 Says:

    Sorry I forgot the link to the first article ;)

  3. peff Says:

    have you checked out some of the projects at

    From an end user perspective, I think the MOTU/Volta solution is one of the easiest because it doesn’t rely on a lot of low level customization. Motu is pretty good at keeping their drivers up to date, and you can even use an 828 (i think) which runs less than 100 USD on ebay.

    If you’re using ableton, then there are a few other nice arduino based alternatives, but with Reason this is probably the best solution for controlling external hardware. I’ve looked at the Xmos prototyping boards but these run about $150 for the two channel version. It seems viable to remove the lowpass filter circuit and use the high precision dacs control analog modular gear.

  4. peff Says:

    i haven’t looked at the inner clock devices in awhile. It looks like they’ve developed a sync box that runs off of AC audio pulses… this could potentially work however i would need to see the specs to be certain: