First time here? Check out the FAQ!

Ableton Link?

0 votes
Hi, I'm still settling in to my Kyma system. Very early days. One area where I'm struggling is looking ahead to how I will get it playing nicely with the rest of my system; Ableton and Eurorack. The lack of midi clock only timecode makes things difficult I think to sync things like loops. Is there any scope for adding the Ableton Link protocol. It's open source and many developers have implemented. I think it would make a great addition! Any other thoughts on how I might sync my system? Thanks
asked Nov 9, 2017 in General by ghood (Adept) (1,590 points)

2 Answers

+1 vote

The answer to this depends on what you intend to use as a master clock in your set up. MIDI Timecode (MTC) is an appriopriate solution for use with both Ableton Live and Kyma. When Ableton is sync'd via MTC its linear timeline is under control by MTC. Thus clips and loops will be properly synchronized. The project's tempo map (global tempo change markers and time signature changes) dictate how timecode is converted into bars and beats.

The challenge when using MTC with Ableton and Kyma is that neither is capable of generating MTC. Live is unusual in this regard as most DAWs fully support generating MTC. Alas Live does not. So you will need something else in your overall project setup to provide the MTC. There have been software utility applications available that offer MTC generation. Search the Internet to see what comes up. You might need to be creative though and do something like use the demo of another DAW that does offer MTC generation.

All of that is a traditional approach to synchronizing two or more sequencer using MTC. Kyma though has some powerful non-traditional tools available. Kyma's timeline has some interesting features that can be used to implement some of the same non-linear playback features often used with Live. One is markers, and they can be assigned to be invoked when Kyma receives a MIDI program changes. This means that you could, for example, have a Live MIDI clip send a program change to Kyma which would in turn cause the timeline to move to the corresponding marker, thereby controlling Kyma's timeline by which clips you trigger.

Kyma is also capable of doing things on-demand based on the arrival of a MIDI event. You might create an Ableton Live arrange track that has timed MIDI events sent to Kyma. Kyma would then react to those events, whether it be to cause the timeline to do different things, or simply within a single Kyma sound to do something like synchorize a sequencer or some control. Capytalk is very much your best friend here! In all of these scenarios Ableton is the timing master. This means that you can use any of Ableton's other synchronization options, like MIDI CK or Ableton link, to synchronize your modular, other external gear, or even other software running on your computer.

Your modular though by its very nature opens up some additional non-traditional ways to synchronize. It too could be patched so that discrete MIDI events trigger activity. Viewed this way then Kyma could become a powerful source for triggering modular activity.

There are some additina ideas on the old Tweaky page here:

answered Nov 9, 2017 by delora-software (Adept) (2,470 points)
edited Feb 6, 2018 by delora-software
Thanks for the detailed answer. I'll look into MTC generators and certainly for my modular (possibly Ableton) I'm assuming I can use some kind of pulse to trigger/timing method to lock Kyma to tempo.
It does strike me as a slightly odd choice not to have midi clock implemented in Kyma and I'm curious of the reasoning. I hope I don't sound like I'm complaining. I understand that Kyma does things differently and slaving it to midi clock defeats the beauty of Kyma going "off the grid..but equally for simply having master the BPM in Kyma sync to a midi clock it seems an odd ommision. Just curious I guess!
I'd love to hear more from people who are syncing to their modular s or Ableton via non timecode methods!
0 votes
One solution would be to use Expert Sleepers Silent Way. You could use this to generate a very regular MTC stream from a plug in Ableton to one of their interfaces. I connect ADAT from my DAW to ES-3 & ES-5 Modules. The ES5 gives me 8 independent MTC streams which can be independently offset and swung. I have not actually tried it with KYMA, but it keeps my Cirklon in perfect time. Do be aware, if you monitor live input back into your DAW you will need to compensate delay any audio tracks playing by (twice??) your buffer size. I have to in Protools, not tried this type of workflow in Ableton however.


I will try syncing Kyma timeline with Expert Sleepers generated MTC in the next day or so. I will let you know.




answered Nov 20, 2017 by charlienorton (Adept) (2,500 points)
Hi Charlie
I'm finally getting round to trying this out...been learning Kyma by itself prior to mixing with Ableton again...i've got an ES-8 which I use with my modular and I've got the silent way plugins...but I can't find anyway of generating MTC? Is that an ES-5 specific thing?!
Sorry Chap, I did not see this question. Better late than never!
Yes, this is an ES-5 thing. Well worth it.

Did you make any purchases / figure this out? How did you get on?