Live 9.6 brings Ableton Link – MIDI Link Sync devs tell us why Link is the future of synchronisation

Today Ableton announced the official release of their Ableton Link technology in the new Live 9.6 update (available for free to all Live 9 users).
If you’re not aware of what it does, “Link is a technology that keeps devices in time over a wireless network, so you can forget the hassle of setting up and focus on playing music.”

Link works between several instances of Live, with Live and iOS apps, or even without Live in your setup: using Link-enabled apps on multiple devices or multiple apps on the same device.

A couple of months ago we introduced Link and praised its straightforward and convenient approach.

In the past few weeks we’ve seen more iOS apps adding Link and we’ve also covered Link to MIDI, an interesting utility app to connect hardware MIDI instruments to your Ableton Link session.

Link to MIDI is not the only app that works with MIDI hardware devices though. The guys at Coding Cod (you’re probably familiar with their brilliant live performance looper, LoopTree) have recently introduced their MIDI Link Sync, a free iOS app that creates a virtual bridge between hardware MIDI devices and Link-enabled ones.


In their own words “MIDI Link Sync was born as an experimental app. We’d had quite a few requests to implement a MIDI clock within our live-looping app, LoopTree. It so happened that Ableton Link came onto the scene right when we started looking at how best to implement this feature. We wondered if LoopTree could be Link-only, but realised that there’d still be people who’d want to use it in a MIDI setup. We also thought that there’ll be plenty of MIDI hardware that will never support Link but that people will want to use with Link in the future. That’s when it dawned that an app that bridged MIDI and Link could be really useful. We were also excited about the possibility of using it to experiment with existing MIDI apps, too.”

MIDI Clock vs Ableton Link
Here’s that the devs had to say about the difference between MIDI Clock and Ableton Link: “MIDI clocks are a guessing game. With each new tick of the MIDI clock you get the opportunity to update your guesses about the current tempo and which beat are you on. Seeing as each tick can have a random amount of latency, there are very few situations in which you can know the tempo and beat with sample-level precision.
Ableton Link, on the other hand, gives you exactly that: the precise beat that you should be on, in a given instant of time, with sample-level accuracy. Moreover it ensures that all Link-connected apps and devices will all share the same precise beat. Provided that every app factors in the output latency correctly, you can have perfect synchronisation so accurate that it seems magical!”

Will Ableton Link be the future of synchronisation?

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