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Digital Subscriptions > MusicTech > Aug-16 > Use Ableton Link to sync your Live projects, iOS apps and hardware

Use Ableton Link to sync your Live projects, iOS apps and hardware

The free update to Ableton Live 9.6 includes Link, a great new way to solve sync problems, while adding iOS to the jam as well! Martin Delaney shows you how to Link up…

Ableton Live Live In Depth – Part 6

A bleton Link was perhaps a bit overlooked at first, because Ableton announced it at the same event as Push 2, which naturally hogged the limelight. Link was subsequently released fully in Live 9.6, so now we can all include it in our workflows; it’s a deceptively simple way to synchronise computers running Live, and for a lot of users it’ll become the default solution for syncing, especially because Link also works with iOS apps. So, let the connected-up jamming madness commence!

Previously, we’ve used more traditional methods to sync Live, primarily involving MIDI on a cable connection through MIDI DIN jacks, and later also through USB, and over WiFi and Bluetooth. MIDI is present in hardware synthesisers and drum machines, lighting and video setups, and dedicated hardware synchronisation devices; it’s become a universal way to control music and related gear. Of course MIDI is used to transmit musical notes and control messages as well, but it’s the sync element we’re concerned with here. MIDI sync can involve MIDI clock, which sends a basic tempo signal without any position reference, or MIDI Time Code (MTC) which corresponds to broadcast-style SMPTE time code, which will give you playback position – generally, software that’s synced by MIDI will start and stop playback at the same time. MIDI’s still going strong; it’s reliable and predictable, especially with hardware. Sometimes it’s flakier when it comes to software, which is where alternatives can be helpful. Propellerhead and Steinberg, the people behind Reason and Cubase respectively, created ReWire, a way of getting sample-accurate sync between music software running on the same computer. This works brilliantly, and includes audio relationships, so if you ReWire Live and Reason, or Live and Logic, you can build complex but recallable MIDI and audio routings between two or more applications. ReWire is very accurate and built into every major DAW, the only downside being, as I said, that it only works with applications on the same computer.

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About MusicTech

It's the MusicTech Mobile Music issue! With the iOS platform, you can get versions of everything music-production related, and we feature the best of them in the new issue of MusicTech. We've broken it down into five categories: DAWs, Synths, Interfaces, DJ/Beats and Sound Design – Martin Delaney guides us through it all. Also in this issue we have reviews of Reason 9 plus gear from Thermionic Culture, AKG and ROLI, and software from IKM and iZotope. There's modular news and reviews of Euroracks from Studio Electronics and AJH plus tutorials on songwriting, compression and using Ableton Link. An issue not to be missed!