Error while trying to synchronize Audio and MIDI

Update: 12 hours later and it's all gone pear shaped. I'm off to Asda. Read on for a fuller explanation and await a further post in which we plan to use binoculars to see just how far up the creek we now are.

So, as I explained briefly in the last post, due to the untimely demise of my iMac, I now have a three year old Powermac G5 in the studio. This was a fairly painless installation, because both machines were used for work (one in the office and one at home) and had the same software installed. The only complication (other than the agonising struggle to copy approximately 11,000 tracks back from my iPod into iTunes) was the sudden announcement from Logic Pro that there was an "Error while trying to synchronize Audio and MIDI."

Instead of hearing my music pounding through the MOTU 828 MkII via Firewire, all I could hear were a few clicks and pops followed by an alert box - "Error while trying to synchronize Audio and MIDI."

I googled the phrase. I trawled through the Logic Pro discussion forums at I stared in frightened awe at the list of ten possible solutions on the Apple Knowledge Base: Logic Pro/Logic Express: Error while trying to sync Audio and MIDI.

Word Clock? MTC? Aggregate Device? I'm just a guitar player!

But fear not, dear readers. For I have found a much simpler solution.

Unplug all your other Firewire devices!

I still remember the thrill when Apple first brought out Firewire as the ultimate solution to the mystic process know as SCSI. No longer did we have to power everything down before plugging in a new device. No longer did we need to to check and set every SCSI device ID and make sure that each was different (0-7). No longer did we need to sacrifice a scrawny chicken on the altar at dawn before adding another device to the chain. Just plug it in and plug it out. In fact I even remember a sales rep who blew up a 20mb external hard disk trying to connect it via SCSI to a running SE30. No chicken, and that guy had egg on his face.

Anyway, thing is that Firewire seems to get a bit shirty as it gets older. This G5 has one Firewire 800 and two Firewire 400 ports. One Firewire 400 port connects to the 23" monitor which acts as a Firewire bus with two Firewire 400 ports. Into this Firewire network I'm connecting

  • an external LaCie HD where all the music files get stored,
  • a portable 'transfer' HD for transferring work files from the work machine to the home machine and vice versa,
  • an iPod dock,
  • an occasional backup drive
  • and the MOTU 828.

And you know, it's just like SCSI was. Sometimes I connect the portable HD and the external HD promptly unmounts. Sometimes nothing mounts at all.

So when I got the "Error while trying to synchronize Audio and MIDI" alert, I shut everything down, disconnected every Firewire device save the MOTU 828 and started up again. Sure enough, the music came driving through. Yay! Still, no good without an external drive to save the recordings, so I hot-plugged the external drive.

Immediately, the music cut out - and then came back on again. And then cut out - and came back on again!

So now I've got the MOTU 828 and the external drive working. I've got the iPod dock plugged into the the back of the MOTU 828, but i haven't tried the iPod in it yet. And I haven't connected the portable HD either.

Does anyone know if Asda are still selling those £2 chickens?