Ableton Link has become the de facto, configuration-free, seamless sync and jamming protocol for software – with or without Ableton Live itself. (Even VJ app CoGe just joined the party.) Now, it’s time for hardware to get in on the fun.
Vincenzo Pacella has been in touch for a while as he hacks away at a solution to connect Ableton Link to analog hardware and Eurorack. Now, it’s ready for prime time, as an inexpensive, easy-to-build, open source project based on Raspberry Pi.
Jamming with Ableton Link is as easy as this:
And then, all your analog gear can groove along, like so:
What Vincenzo has done is to produce a custom shield for the crazy-tiny Raspberry Pi. Pop his custom board on top, add his software/scripts, and you’ve got plug-and-play Ableton Link support for all your hardware. That connects both clock and reset signals to your Eurorack (or other compatible) analog gear, so they can jam along with Ableton Live, Reason, Maschine, Reaktor, Max, Pd, iOS apps, and everything else that’s been adding Link support.
There’s even a cute display and controls.
It works with WiFi wireless networks. It works with Ethernet (via adapter). It even works without anything connected at all – then it’s just a clever little clock gadget.
I imagine this could also be a great starter project for learning a bit about the state of what’s possible with Raspberry Pi (I found some of those links useful).
You could also adapt this to MIDI – I might have to try that. Vincenzo notes that the Raspberry Pi Zero features a “UART (pin #8 and #10) which could be used for MIDI I/O.” Handy. (I would also have been inclined to go the Teensy route, but this may have changed my mind. Anyone interested in exploring, do get in touch – shout out via Twitter!)
Let’s see those schematics:
And check out the project on GitHub: