Ableton Link is a wonderfully simple synchronisation protocol that works over a network. Any devices on a network (wired or wireless) running Ableton Link will automatically sync to each other. This has commonly been used to sync up laptops running Ableton Live, Bitwig, Reaktor and iPads running Ableton Link compatible apps. The Missing Link aims to bring that out of the box and into the analogue world of synthesis.
The Missing Link
This little box will hook up to the wireless network and kick out clock for analogue gear. It has a 5V clock output with user-selectable PPQN (pulses per quarter note) and a 5V pulse output at the start of a loop. It has a very handy tap-tempo and can be run via USB power or batteries. Circuit Happy designed it in order to bring some sort of easy synchronisation to synths jams. And it looks like it can do just that. When it starts up it automatically becomes a wireless access point so your other Ableton Link-enabled devices can connect wirelessly to it and let it run the show. You can configure it with a browser and connect it to an existing network if you prefer.
It’s a very neat solution. I’m enjoying the design, the lights and so forth. We’ve seen Ableton Link modules emerge in Eurorack as a module: there’s the Spooky Action and the SPINK0, but this opens it up to the larger world of desktop analogue synthesizers.
The question that springs to my mind is why it only has the one output? I guess you could run it through a multiple or splitter or something but they are not common bits of gear outside Eurorack. So if you were wanting to sync up a bunch of desktop synthesizers you would immediately run into problems. However, in the video Ed Guild seems to suggest that you all have your own The Missing Link and so it’s those boxes that are syncing to each other providing the sync individually to your synth. That’s fine and great for extending the range of sync past the length of patch cables, but at $200 each it’s quite an expensive peripheral for everyone to come along with. Having a handful of outputs on the one The Missing Link would let you (imho) far easier sync your laptop up to a handful of synths without having to buy multiple boxes.
Otherwise, great box and very very useful.
Circuit Happy is interested to know if you’re interested before they work out how many to produce. So if this sounds good to you please go along and sign up on the website.