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Ableton Link

I am really struggling with the way Ableton Link works in Rekordbox it feels like it is back to front. Here is what I am trying to do:

I am using Lightkey for Mac to operate my lights and I want these to be beat-matched. I figured Ableton Link was the answer, and I can see that I can enter a tempo in Ableton Link in Rekordbox and that this will transfer across to Lightkey - so far so good. However if I don't link this to the output of one of the decks there is no guarantee it will be matched to the beat grid so the lights still don't land on the beat necessarily - again I understand this which is why I then looked into how you link this to the decks using the "link" button that appears in place of the "beat synch" button for each deck when Ableton Link has been enabled. 

When you hit the "link" button it changes the tempo of the deck to match the Ableton Link tempo. This is what causes the issue - imagine a scenario where you are wanting to change from a song at 130pm to one at 90bpm and have beat-matched lights continue - obviously there is maybe the need for a non-beatmatched effect whilst you merge the two, again I accept this. As far as I can see the only way to do this is as follows:

Set Ableton Link tempo to 130bpm, load first song, hit "link" button on deck 1 and play, all should be well with lights. Then, immediately disable "link" button, load up next song ready to go. As you approach the end of song 1 and the "non beat-matched lighting effect" is underway you then have to:

Load song 2.

Change tempo of Ableton Link to tempo of song 2

Hit "link" button on deck 2 - and away you go.

This is an awful lot of faffing about at the point where you are trying to manage the transition between two songs. If you get it wrong or do it in the wrong order you create a car crash scenario where song 2 ramps up to the tempo of song 1 and embarrasses you etc. 

Bottom line, it is possible, but I guarantee I am going to mess it up. My question is this - why is there not simply an option to do it the other way around? In the above scenario it would be much better for the "link" button on deck 2 to change the Ableton Link tempo - so as soon as I load up song 2 with a BPM of 100 and hit "link" on deck 2, the Ableton Link tempo changes to 100? Firstly this is much simpler - one button to push once my "transition lighting effect" is underway - and most importantly if I press it at the wrong time or forget to press it all I end up with is lights that are out of synch rather than a song tempo that has suddenly ramped from 100 to 130 for all to hear. I cannot understand why is it not set up this way (or why this is not an option at least - a simple setting that where you choose whether Ableton Link bosses the deck tempo or the deck tempo bosses Ableton Link)?

I would be grateful for advice here in case I am misunderstanding something somewhere! If this is a limitation in Rekordbox itself and if it would be possible to rectify this by using a full copy of Ableton Live as well to manage the tempo could someone point me in the right direction please? I have no experience of that product, happy to buy it if it will help!! Many thanks in advance!






Philip Astley-Morton

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