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.
BeatSeeker is available for Ableton Live 9 Standard & Max for Live for $29.
does anyone interested in this want to contact me? I’ve been developing this and find it works fine for almost all tracks. I have a minor update that might have helped a touch too.
I’ve tested the B-keeper a long time ago with drummer set up but seems it lagged a bit when you try to add midi loops and instruments. With audio loops, its work better. I’d like to check out how it would respond to DJ set up. Is there maybe a midi version in the works that uses midi events (drum triggers) instead of audio signals (mics)?
can you email me? Would be great to have you check out the update. I have made it more responsive on the basis of this kind of feedback, and wanting it to follow string John Bonham slow downs.
This is my e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hi Andrew, i’m interested in check the update too. I tried B-keeper and Beatseeker but i experimented some lag in some percussive tracks.. i just add some track delay in my midi instrument but isn’t estable. Your help would be greatly appreciated. my mail: email@example.com
Hello, I would be very interested in testing the updated BeatSeeker too. Thank you for your time.
Hi, I’d like to see some improvements for DJing with Beatseeker, I’ve tried it, but it doesn’t work very well. I can help testing it, if you’re still working on this project. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org
I also tried this today, just like bryn john – i’m either not using it correctly (there are few instructions) or it’s just not good enough. I failed to see it ever consistently increase tempo at all – it was just constantly lowering with the occasional random spike here and there. I felt in no control of the tempo and it shifts too erratically to be fit for purpose.
Was not worth the download!! Beat seeker never synced up with any incoming audio let alone any bpm fluctuations… Pass on this 1
Serato DJ could fix this shit if they just allowed MIDI clock I/O. Has anyone ever received a suitable reason why this isn’t a feature?
midi clock i/0 works just as well as pressing play on 2 turntables at exaclty the same time. you can get lucky and it’s always perfect, but the odds are it’s going to drift within moments. it will automatically adjust, but the resulting sound will not make you happy in the way that beatmatching 2 analog signals does. rewire or some other transport control that keeps the tempo STABLE is the only way to go. midi clock is your computer counting ticks and guessing at the tempo.
Please elaborate on this rewire transport control method you’re suggesting.
tried using this last night, sending my mixer to an audio channel in
ableton to enable tight syncing between ableton and my CDJ/mixer setup
and was bitterly disappointed at how poor it performed, unless I’m a
complete moron and was using it wrong (always possible 😉 ), this plugin is not good for djs.
i’m not sure if it would be good for anyone. when Live’s tempo changes all of the delays, effects, and samples are shifted around in time. if the beatseeker is constantly adjusting the tempo in tiny increments then it’s going to sound bad and constantly be slightly out of sync. a solid tempo sync would mean that we can’t perceive the adjustments that keep it in line.
it’s like we’re all being fed this myth about syncing software together. there isn’t a solution that works, so they pretend this is acceptable. the traktor to maschine solutions people have come up with are similarly disappointing when it comes to the reality of it actually working.