Ableton Link Open source Serato DJ (2)

Ableton Link goes desktop — tablets and towers in sync

Ableton Link Open source Serato DJ (2)

Ableton’s Link is the new glue that binds a plethora of iOS music apps together with the desktop Live. The theory is that not only can Ableton Live wirelessly sync with iOS apps, but those apps can happily talk to each other, so that different people can use different apps, and everyone involved happily jams along and not be off beat. And Ableton saw that this was good, thus have opened up the protocol to everyone. Link has gone open source, and it’s coming to Serato DJ (and hopefully others) very soon.

If you’re still unsure, read this:

Ableton Link is now available for desktop apps

Reason, Serato DJ and Max are among the first desktop apps to add Link – with more to come

Berlin, Germany, September 14th 2016

Since its release last year, Link has brought musical collaboration using iOS apps to life.

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

Propellerhead Reason, Serato DJ and Cycling 74’s Max have integrated Link into their desktop apps. Plus, Ableton has made the technology open source for developers to use Link in their own software.

The news means more musicians using more applications can jump straight into their performance, no matter what they’re playing. Trigger effects on an iPad in perfect sync with a Serato DJ set, build visual and other interactive systems in Max and run them in sync with a Live performance. Or get together with others and jam with applications across devices. If you’re connected to the same network, Link will keep everything in perfect time.

Check out the growing list of Link-enabled applications >

And 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.

With Link in more apps, more musicians can jump straight into making music, no matter what they’re playing.


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:


Previously the desktop and mobile worlds were only reliably linked by cables and proprietary secret special sauce, and largely only allowed one app to benefit from said sauce. But with Link, desktop apps will be able to hook up to suitably enabled iOS apps and dip into their magic, essentially offering the evolving world of iOS music apps to run in unison. In addition, Link should be able to link desktop apps too, something that was previously handled by all manner of bits of software. Which leads me to…

Ableton Link Open source Serato DJ (3)


If I’m reading this correctly, Link should allow Serato DJ to sync with Ableton live (and anything else Link enabled included other Serato DJs), offering a new take on the ill-fated Bridge joint project. It’s obviously not as in-depth, but you should be able to create things in Live, control them with a standard grid controller and be sure that they’ll sync with whatever is playing in Serato DJ. I’m unsure on just how the audio would be handled on the same machine within different applications, but in principle it should all work just fine.

Time will tell if this is going to work well, and just how far you can push (no pun intended) it. Within team DJWORX, Ray does some pretty crazy stuff with disparate lumps of gear, and Link could be the thing that gets them all talking wirelessly via software alone. And if anyone is going to stress test it, it’s Ray. I’m sure he’ll chip in on this in the comments too.

It makes me happy to see something come out that finally offers the chance to tie everything together, and at the same time be properly open source. I don’t get to play with things anywhere near enough these days, but I’ll make it my mission to test this out.

Should you wish to play today, the latest public beta of Serato DJ 1.9.3 has link enabled.

Ableton Link goes desktop — tablets and towers in sync

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