Since its introduction in 2018, the Missing Link from the folks at Circuit Happy has been an interesting solution for syncing hardware devices and modular synthesizers via Ableton Link. The most recent software update adds support for MIDI clock, expanding the possibilities even further.
Circuit Happy Missing Link was originally introduced at Knobcon 2018. It is essentially a clock generator with a WiFi module, which can talk to a wireless Ableton Link network. You don’t necessarily need the Ableton Live software, as many iOS apps are now compatible with Ableton Link and can communicate with each other and the Missing Link over WiFi.
The Missing Link is based on the Raspberry Pi Zero W platform. It outputs a 5V clock signal at a user-selectable PPQN rate, as well as a 5V reset pulse at the start of the loop. This means it’s compatible with a multitude of devices such as DIN-Sync-enabled drum machines, the Korg volca series and the ever-expanding world of modular synthesizers. Using the Missing Link, all of these can talk to a wireless Ableton Link network. This is a great way to make your analog gear work in sync with your Ableton Link enabled software.
MIDI clock support
The most recent software update adds support for MIDI clock. Using a cheap USB-OTG-adapter, you can now connect any class compliant MIDI device to the Missing Link. If the instrument itself does not support USB MIDI, you can simply add a class compliant USB MIDI interface between it and the clock generator. This is great news, as it lets you add wireless Ableton Link capabilities to any instrument that can sync to a MIDI clock signal. During a jam with several devices, you won’t have to worry about hitting the start button right on the downbeat. The Missing Link knows where the “one” is and will start the pattern at the right time. Nice!
The Missing Link costs 200 US dollars. You can order it directly from Circuit Happy. If you’re in Europe, you can also get it from SchneidersLaden in Berlin. This will save you the cost of shipping from the US.