Many moons ago there was The Bridge – a joint effort by Serato and Ableton to link the two pieces of software. When The Bridge came out five years ago there wasn’t a lot of reaction from the DJ world. The software wasn’t revolutionary, but it was a useful tool that has since been forgotten (or put on the back burner) by both companies. However, Andrew Robertson has developed an Ableton Live device (based on research at the Centre for Digital Music, Queen Mary University of London) called the BeatSeeker to serve as a simpler bridge between Ableton and other music-making software.
Counting Every Beat
As its name suggests, the BeatSeeker is an Max 4 Live device that detects the tempo from an external source (i.e. a mixer’s output) and then tells Ableton to follow that tempo. This means that any audio source can control the tempo of clips being launched in Ableton which makes the DJ less restricted by Ableton’s set tempo. Whether the DJ is riding the fader or dropping from 140 BPM to 70 BPM, Ableton will be able to keep up. The beauty of it is that this device isn’t limited to just Serato – give BeatSeeker any audio source and Ableton will follow it.
BeatSeeker wasn’t developed for the DJ in mind, but we think DJs who want to mix Ableton clip launching and deck mixing can definitely use this device to do so. Since BeatSeeker was aimed more towards bands, there are two options for the way BeatSeeker follows the tempo of a track:
- Fixed Tempo Mode increases the accuracy of the tempo that is being followed and follows a pattern rigidly
- Tempo Following Mode tells Ableton to respond to fluctuations in tempo which gives the set a more human feel which can be useful when playing tracks with tempo shifts.
This isn’t exactly Serato Bridge’s level of functionality, but it’s a simple device that DJs and producers can use to blend clip launching performances with live deck mixing.