Do words like ‘MIDI’, ‘Sync’, ‘Clock’, ‘iOS’ give you a headache? Then today you have a reason to smile.
Alexander Randon, the developer behind the brilliant Fugue Machine and Arpeggionome Pro, has just released the 1.0.2 version (it doesn’t matter if you missed v.1, this is WAY better!) of his nifty little (free!) app, Link to MIDI, for iPhone and iPad.
Link to MIDI connects Ableton LINK enabled devices to hardware musical devices that support MIDI Clock Sync.
Link to MIDI features launch quantization, an incredibly stable clock output, and a fine offset control (±250 ms) to perfectly line up the receiving MIDI device’s playback.
How to use it? The interface couldn’t be more straightforward than this: five self-explanatory buttons (Tempo, LINK, Play/Stop, Quantization, MIDI settings). Simply join a Link session, connect your MIDI device, and that’s it.
Your MIDI device is now Link-enabled. By default, the launch quantization parameter is set to 1 bar, but you can easily change it.
I’ve just done a quick test using a couple of MIDI devices in my setup. I’ve started with Patterning, then launched Fugue Machine and then from Link to MIDI I’ve started the OP-1 sequencer. All perfectly in sync.
I only wish Link to MIDI would offer a way to start/stop the Link enabled apps running on the iOS device, but it guess this is not part of the plan (for now, at least).
Why using Link to MIDI?
Using Link to MIDI’s Play button, you can start and stop the MIDI device at any time, and the device will start playing, in phase, at the next quantization tick — set by the Launch Quantization parameter on the main interface.
This is in contrast to the typical MIDI Sync implementation, which requires all connected devices to start at the same time and continue playing — otherwise, if you stop, you risk losing beat phase.
While Link to MIDI is essentially a one-trick pony, it’s thanks to little gems like these that our setup can suddenly get more interconnected and become more inspiring. Plus, it’s free, what’s not to like? (buy one of the apps above to thank the developer!)
In Alexander’s words ‘When the transports of all your devices behave in a consistent way — whether it’s Ableton Live, a Link-enabled iOS app (like FUGUE MACHINE!), or a drum machine built 30 years ago — it’s, well, pretty nice!’