The funny thing about Ableton Link is that it doesn’t require Ableton Live. It isn’t even an app. It’s a sync technology, one that allows software to jam together, wirelessly, without any one clock having to be the source or “master.”

But as of today, if you do use Ableton Live, that wireless magic is built-in – and requires almost no configuration.

Live users can jam with other Live users. Live users can jam with apps. If you were on the beta, you’ve been doing this already, but with Live 9.6, the functionality is out of beta.


Link comes to Ableton Live

In case you weren’t already using the Link beta for Ableton Live 9.5, Live 9.6 quietly adds a “Link” section to preferences (in a tab now renamed “Link/MIDI”). And when connected to a WiFi network with Link devices on it (either iOS or other laptops running Ableton Live), you’ll see sync abilities.

To make this play nice with other sync tech, Link and The Bridge (if any of you still use that) are mutually exclusive, and each is disabled if running as a ReWire slave (if any of you do that).

Meanwhile, iOS developers have been busy. They’ve been making not only demos, but real-world jam sessions.

First up, a bit of an exclusive – one of my long-time favorite apps, SoundPrism from Audanika, is now updated with Link support. It’s not live on the store until tomorrow Thursday, but it brings some cool sync functionality to a lovely graphical touch instrument.

And more jams from other iOS devs, showing just how many apps support this.

Previous coverage (okay, you can tell we’re a bit excited about this):
A new free app bridges Ableton Link and MIDI (this explains how to work with iOS and MIDI hardware)

A flock of iOS devices can now jam with Ableton Link

Link could change how you play music, even without Ableton

And as before, you can find out more – and even sign up for the SDK if you’re an iOS developer.

To me, the big remaining question about Link is if and when we’ll see a desktop SDK. I’d love to see a Traktor user switch off with a live set in Ableton in a DJ booth without dropping sync, for instance, or see Live users jamming with FL Studio and Reason users… and the list goes on. I expect it’s coming, and I expect you’re as enthusiastic about that as I am.

Also, new in 9.6

Live 9.6 isn’t just about Link. A whole slew of stability improvements and fixes are in there, too. (I was much happier using the beta of this release after a couple of hiccups in 9.5).

You can check the release notes for fixes, but I’m most interested in what they’re doing with control surfaces and Simpler.

Arturia fans, there’s now control surface support for KeyLab, BeatStep, and MiniLab.

Hackers, Live’s Python interface finally supports Python 2.7. (There’s also something very cool coming to Ableton Live called the Connection Kit, which brings new options to people using technology like OSC and Arduino. They’re demoing that here in Berlin during CTM, so I’ll report more on that once I’ve had a look.)

Meanwhile, in Simpler, you see Warp mode parameters (grain size, flux) in real-time rather than per-note, improved visualizations, and other tweaks.

Oh, yeah, and if you hate Live 9.6’s clip coloring, you can bring back random clip coloring again.

9.6 is a free upgrade for current users.

  • And for convenience, a link to the 9.6 release notes:

    • ah, thanks, that wasn’t up yet when I wrote this…

  • EvanBogunia

    Im curious if link works with ad hoc networks?

    • chaircrusher

      There’s no difference between an ad hoc network and a ‘regular’ network at the transport level, so I’m thinking ‘yes.’

    • LeK

      Of course it does, and very well.

  • lala

    Ivcs3 version !.6 is out now too, link support, sampler scrubbing, frequency analyser, …

  • partofthepuzzle

    LInk does indeed look to be a major breakthrough. Kudos to Ableton.

    BTW, does 9.6 fix the issue where Live forgets the color that was manually assigned to a Clip? I.E. if I drag a previously saved Clip into Live it automatically changes the color to the color of the Track? So annoying!


    From the Release Notes:
    Bug fix:

    “Audio files would not retain the color saved in the respective .asd file when dropped into a track.”

    Faith restored ;-)! Heading over to get 9.6…

  • kobamoto rin

    what speaker is that connected to the laptop in the article pic?

    • It’s a Minirig, they’re awesome. An overnight charge’ll give you 50hrs battery life and they’re built like tanks. Can also link them up if you’re mates have one, plus there’s a sub you can buy too. Loud as f*ck! Great for camping too

      • kobamoto rin

        thank you!

  • Neil

    Does anyone know how link works, or am I gonna have to sign up as a developer to find out? Like, would it be feasible to build a Raspberry Pi wifi-to-mido clock box or similar?

  • Freeks

    None of the music apps i use support Link. Let’s see how companies will adapt this.

    Keylab owners will be happy to finally get Ableton support. Arturia never got my Keylab to work with Live.

    • Freeks

      Apps i currently use on iPhone:
      Yamaha Synth Book

      My iPad apps will never see Link as it runs on iOS 5.51

  • We just pushed out a new version of Auxy for iPhone that suppors Link. It’s really awesome to jam with!

  • Danny J Lewis

    If Maschine doesn’t work any more for you after installing 9.6 check this video

  • karmamole

    Honestly, I think it’s ridiculous that every time the Sound Prism people add some features or sounds, they release it as a whole new app. I’m done.