Ableton Announces Link For Desktop Apps


Ableton Link support has developed into a ‘must-have’ feature for iOS music applications that sequence in the short time since it was introduced.

By tempo syncing apps over a local network connection, the technology lets musicians forget the hassle of syncing up gear and focus on playing. Originally supported in Ableton Live and a number of iOS apps, now Link is coming to desktop applications.

Propellerhead Reason, Serato DJ and Cycling 74’s Max have already added Link support to their
desktop apps.

Even better, Ableton has made the technology open source, for any developer to use Link
in their own software. This means that any app can add Link support and developers can use Link in creative ways.

The news means more musicians using more applications can jump straight into their performance, no matter what they’re playing. Link support makes it easier to do things like trigger effects on an iPad in sync with a Serato DJ set, or build visual and other interactive systems in Max and run them in sync with a Live performance. 

Here’s a video intro to Link support in Reason:

Ableton Link Now Open Source

With Link becoming open source, developers can explore new possibilities for the technology in their own desktop software or mobile apps. The source code has been made available alongside the SDK for iOS – both can be downloaded from Github.

Ableton has a list of Link-capable apps at their site.


Pricing and Availability

Link comes as a built-in feature of Ableton Live and a growing number of desktop and mobile music applications. For further info on the availability of Link in Reason, Serato DJ and Max, visit the respective websites.

12 thoughts on “Ableton Announces Link For Desktop Apps

  1. What we need is a hardware black box master that’s spits out Link, pulse, midi clock, smpte, and word clock. Maybe even tell us what time it is.

      1. I wouldn’t be too surprised to see it, eventually, if it catches on. Logic has historically supported many third-party technologies as they’ve emerged (like Rewire, Eucon, OSC). But I’m not clear on the advantages of this … I see that it syncs things, which we can already do with MIDI (over Wifi) or Rewire. Apparently it auto-discovers, which is good. Does it also move audio? Does it compensate for latency?

        If Apple was to support this, would it belong in Logic or in Audio/MIDI Setup?

    1. Well, the nice thing about Link + MainStage now is it’s easy to send MIDI Clock out to MainStage from Ableton using IAC Midi. I have Ableton Link’in d up with everything else (aka iPad apps), and MainStage using tempo input from Ableton, and that works pretty well. If you have an arpeggiator or something like that in MainStage going, tempo changes can goof it up a little, but generally everything tracks pretty well (which is great for delays and other effects that need to be tempo synced).

  2. would love an octorex maxfor live plugin 🙂

    if this was ever the thread to ask for it .

    nice to see people working together creating and adopting a standard that is link

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