Since its release last year, Ableton’s Link has made musical collaboration using iOS apps much easier. By tempo syncing apps over a local network connection the technology lets musicians forget the hassle of setting up gear and focus on playing together. The system requires no master or slave — all users can change tempo on a whim.
Originally supported in Ableton Live and a number of iOS apps, Link is now coming to even more electronic instruments.
Propellerhead Reason, Serato DJ and Cycling 74’s Max are the next to integrate Link into their desktop apps. Plus, Ableton has made the technology open source for developers to use Link in their own software.
If the standard is adopted further — and this is very much a possibility now that the protocol has been open-sourced — this could have far-reaching implications for performing musicians.
More musicians using more applications can jump straight into their performance, no matter what they’re playing. Trigger effects on an iPad in perfect sync with a Serato DJ set, build visual and other interactive systems in Max and run them in sync with a Live performance. Or get together with others and jam with applications across devices. If you’re connected to the same network, Link will keep everything in perfect time. Also, if you don’t trust a wireless connection, you can connect on stage via an ethernet cable.
An Ableton spokesperson said: "We are really optimistic about the potential uptake of Link by other desktop developers and beyond. We hope it will encourage collaboration across music-making platforms and help to bring down creative barriers between users of different software and devices."
Check out the growing list of Link-enabled applications.
With Link becoming open-source, developers can explore new possibilities for the technology in their own desktop software or mobile apps. The source code has been made available alongside the SDK for iOS – both can be downloaded from Github.
Link comes as a built-in feature of Ableton Live and a growing number of desktop and mobile music applications. For further info on the availability of Link in Reason, Serato DJ and Max, visit: