Ableton’s Link, a collaborative jamming platform that lets you sync without wires, without “masters” or “slaves”, and without a whole lot of pain, continues to grow. It’s just shown up in Native Instruments’ iMaschine, as well as Novation’s Blocs Wave. Blocs Wave is notable because it’s pretty new, but seeing Ableton Link in an NI product is itself a breakthrough. NI could have just declared this “not invented here,” but they didn’t. And now the message from users to Ableton is clear: bring this platform to the desktop, so we can use it with everything.
First, let’s talk iMaschine. Link is actually not the only important feature in it.
- Ableton Link support means wireless, no-hassle jamming with your friends, with other iOS apps, and with Ableton Live on the desktop.
- Audio export is easier: you can send WAV or M4A via Messages, Mail, or via standard sharing services installed on your device (like SoundCloud, Dropbox, Facebook Messenger, etc.)
- They’ve improved the way in which you send projects from iOS to desktop Maschine. (This is significant for me; the main reason I used iMaschine was as a mobile sketchpad to start projects.)
There are still many things we might like to see done with iMaschine, but solving file transfer and adding Link are pretty welcome news.
Next up: Blocs Wave. Having a looper/performance tool that syncs to Ableton Link – well, not much more I can say about that. There’s also a new browser in this update and other improvements, but Link is the real story – and the intro price of US$3.99/4.99 is still in effect. There’s a video showing off Link jamming:
So, there’s still a lot we’d love to see on iOS working with Link – now that NI has added iMaschine, you can bet Traktor for iOS fans will clamor for support, too.
But I still think the next move for Ableton is desktop support. Being able to sync to other computers, jam with your friends, sync effortlessly with other apps — none of this would threaten Ableton’s dominance in its unique workflows. On the contrary: the more tools that sync with Live, the more relevant Ableton and Ableton Live become.
And I bet a lot of you agree.