No. The Dakota software driver can detect, configure, and access all of Sierra's capabilities.
Yes, very easy. Just connect the power adapter to Sierra, run the provided computer cable from Sierra to Dakota, set the Dakota MIDI Mode to "8x8 Sierra," and restart your computer. Voila!
As your computer restarts, and Sierra is automatically detected and configured, all of Sierra's front panel lights flash 4 times. If Sierra is disconnected and reconnected at any time, it will be redetected and reconfigured and its lights will once again flash.
Sierra is an expansion box for Dakota, and must be connected to Dakota.
Fifteen feet (4.5 meters). Sierra comes with a 15' (4.5m) cable for connecting it to Dakota.
Sierra's features are all accessible from the Dakota control panel, where you can select the SMPTE input as the timecode source, adjust the SMPTE output level, set the SMPTE output to "freewheel," and route MTC (when generated) to any and all of the MIDI outputs. All 8 MIDI inputs and outputs are available to your applications, and are named "Port 1 Dakota" through "Port 8 Dakota."
Sierra's 8 MIDI outputs are completely independent. With Sierra, you have 128 separate MIDI channels (16 per port).
Yes. Whenever timecode is coming in to Dakota, it can be sent out as MTC through any or all of Sierra's MIDI outputs. The Dakota control panel lets you specify which MIDI outputs transmit this MTC information. Also, any program that generates MTC can use Sierra MIDI outputs to transmit this information beyond the computer.
The frame rates (fps) supported are 24, 25, 29.97ND, 29.97DF, 30ND, 30DF. (ND: Non-Drop Frame, DF: Drop Frame).
Currently, Windows applications can follow only MTC. The Dakota software driver can take any timecode source, SMPTE from Sierra or ADAT Sync Input or MTC input or SMPTE on Digital Audio (SoDA), and translate it into MTC for use by the application. It can also generate (or regenerate) SMPTE output based on the timecode input.