The Tentacle Sync Track E is a fantastic little pocket audio recorder that gives you 32-bit float audio recording, as well as having a built-in timecode generator. If you have other Tentacle devices, such as another Track E, or just the regular Tentacle Sync devices, they can all be synced to the same timecode using the mobile app and Bluetooth.
But what if you want to sync a Track E with a Sound Devices MixPre II mixer/recorder? While the Track E has a timecode generator, it cannot output timecode from either of the audio jacks. This means that it can’t really be used in place of a regular Tentacle Sync E if you didn’t always need to use the audio recording function.
Although the Track E cannot output timecode, it can accept LTC timecode IN through the 3.5mm microphone input. Since Track E does have a timecode generator, you can jam sync the Track E using another device such as a Sound Devices MixPre II. This means that you don’t need to keep Track E plugged into the MixPre II mixer to keep their timecode synced. Once jam synced, you can send the Track E off to put on your talent, and record your XLR mics into the MixPre II. Note that the Mark I versions of the MixPre-3 and MixPre-6 did not have a timecode generator. You must use the Mark II version, which does have a timecode generator.
How to Jam Sync Tentacle Track E
First of all, you need to set up the MixPre II to output timecode. Do this by accessing the main menu, selecting Timecode and then choosing your timecode mode from Time of Day, Rec Run or Free Run.
Now return to the main menu and select the Output setting, In this menu, change Stereo Out Mode from the default setting of “Audio” to “LTC Timecode”. Now your stereo output will be sending out timecode. Note here that if you need to use that stereo output for audio during the day, you can set it back to Audio mode once you have jam synced the Tentacle.
Connect a stereo 3.5mm cable to the MixPre II stereo out. Now make sure that your Tentacle Track E is turned off, and plug the other end of the stereo cable into the microphone input of the Track E. Now hold the power switch on the Track E to turn it on. When you do this, you should see the Track E’s indicator light turn green, and then start to flash green after a second or two. The Track E is now jam synced to the same timecode as the MixPre II and you can safely disconnect the stereo cable.
Why would you want to do this?
If you use the MixPre II as the master clock for your shoot, you can just use Track Es and the MixPre in your setup. If you wanted to use Tentacle devices as the master clock for the shoot, you would also need a Tentacle Sync E to be used for jamming the MixPre, because the Track E has no timecode output and therefore can’t be used as a master to jam other non-Tentacle devices.