Native Instruments’ Reaktor is the latest tool to add Ableton Link support – and as before, each time you add a new tool, Link gets way more useful.
Ableton Link is already opening up jams in DIY software, including Max/MSP, Max for Live, and Pure Data. Reaktor joining the party means not only will DIY patchers reap the benefits, but anyone exploring Reaktor Blocks or fun toys they downloaded from the User Library or anything else can have fun, too.
And this essentially brings Link into the virtual modular world. Reaktor Blocks is fun to use for just about anyone, bringing unlimited modular capabilities and some beautiful-sounding objects.
And you can use this to talk to hardware modulars, too. Using projects that control your Eurorack rig via CV/gate is now possible, too, with tight sync to whatever other Link-enabled tools you’re using.
So, I can envision hybrid DJ sets that add some Reaktor goodness to Traktor or Serato. Or set up a Reaktor jam session / patching circle with some Reaktor-using friends. Or you might decide running Reaktor standalone makes more sense than running in a plug-in with Ableton Live or Maschine. Or you might use Reaktor standalone with some iOS gear. And the list goes on.
This is mainly relevant if you’re already running Reaktor standalone. If you run in a host all the time, since your host is controlling the Reaktor transport. So if you run Reaktor inside Ableton Live, this doesn’t really do much for you.
That said, now you can run standalone in scenarios where previously it wasn’t so convenient. The DJ use case might be the most relevant, since Serato and Traktor don’t support plug-ins.
The update is Reaktor 6.1, available now via Native Access. The implementation is a bit different than what we saw in Pd, for instance. Link just works with Traktor’s master transport; you don’t get separate access in a modular environment to the atomic data coming from Link itself. I might have liked to see both levels of access, but the transport is what’s most important – and if you patch to the master transport, then your ensemble is far more portable, since it’ll work with or without Link operating.