Synchronization is the process of getting 2 or more devices to play back together at the same speed, position, and phase. These devices can range from audio and video tape machines to digital audio workstations, MIDI sequencers, synchronization controllers, and digital video devices.

If you know the position and speed for the master device, you can resolve the speed and position of the slave device to it, so that the 2 devices play in perfect sync with one another.

Position (Time)

The following clock signals are used to specify time positions:

  • Audio word clock

    Specifies time positions in samples.

  • Timecode

    Specifies time positions in video frames.

  • MIDI clock

    Specifies time positions in musical bars and beats.

Speed (Clock)

The following clock signals measure the speed of a device:

  • Audio word clock

    Measures the sample rate.

  • Timecode

    Measures the frame rate.

  • MIDI clock

    Measures the tempo.


Phase is the alignment of the position and speed components to each other. Each pulse of the speed component should be aligned with each measurement of the position for the most accuracy. Each frame of timecode should be perfectly lined up with the correct sample of audio. Put simply, phase is the very precise position of a synchronized device relative to the master (sample accuracy).