A developer known as shaduzLABS has released details of his Ableton Link to clock/reset hardware converter. The project is called “pink-0” and is designed to take the sync signals from Ableton Link and output them as modular friendly clock and reset signals. It’s the sort of thing that could make everyone’s life so much easier!
Ableton Link is an awesome little protocol that automatically tempo syncs different devices on the same network. It was conceived primarily to enable iPad users to sync the playback from apps reliably and easily to their desktop or laptop running Ableton Live. But since then it’s been adopted by other developers such as Propellerheads and Native Instruments. It’s so phenomenally easy that it makes you wonder why we’ve all struggled for so long with MIDI sync and messing around with master clocks and slaves and wotnot. You press the “Link” button and it finds any other Link-enabled devices on the network and then any device can control the tempo and everything else stays in sync. It’s fabulous.
What shaduzLABS (aka Vincenzo Pacella) has done is work the protocol into a shield for the Raspberry Pi Zero board. The pi Zero runs all the necessary software and scripts to provide the real-time conversion, while the shield provides the controls, connections and read-out.
In terms of network connectivity it’s actually quite clever. The Pi Zero can connect to any available wi-fi network, but it can also be configured to act as an access point. And then other Ableton Link devices can connect to that. That’s an awesome solution for live performance where there’s no knowing what sort of network would be available – if any. It can also connect local network via a USB-to-ethernet cable. And failing all else it can still act as a clock/reset source for your Eurorack.
In use you can turn the knob to change the tempo and everything else follows – that’s marvellous. You can also change the loop length and the clock multiplier.
Where can I get one?
pink-0 is not currently available as a commercial product. It’s all open source and shaduzLABS has made everything available on GitHub. Someone simply has to make this available as a working box – please, someone?
You’ll find all the details on the shaduzLABS blog.