The Bridge, the software resulting from collaboration between Ableton and Serato we first saw in January, is available today. The integration is free, provided you have the right software: you need both a copy of a full version of Ableton Live or Live Suite 8.2 or above and Serato Scratch Live 2.1.1. (Live LE, for instance, is not compatible.) You need the Serato Scratch Live hardware in order to run Scratch Live, for those of you unfamiliar with the Serato side.

Check out our past coverage for more details of what The Bridge is about:
http://createdigitalmusic.com/tag/the-bridge/

At top, Ableton has released a video that shows off what may be The Bridge’s most popular feature: for people who have Live and Serato, the software makes it ridiculously easy to use Live to fine-tune mixes you’ve made live in Serato. (Yeah, Percussion Lab should be all over this feature, as big Live and Serato fans who regularly make mixes with Serato that they stream live on the Internet and later release… you get the idea. Ditto anyone else in the same boat.)

Thanks, GearJunkies, for spotting the vid.

The basic features:

  • Transport control syncs up Live and Scratch Live, so that a turntable or CDJ can pitch, nudge, and loop Live. (“It’s like having Ableton Live on one of your decks,” explains Ableton PR.) Beatgrid syncs beats, too.
  • View your Ableton Session View from inside a window in Scratch Live, with control over clips, scenes, instruments, devices, and mixing.
  • Record Serato performances as Live Sets, then tweak them, as in in the video above.

Ableton has high hopes; Gerhard Behles says in the press release, “The Bridge encourages DJs to become producers and producers to become DJs.” That may be, but my guess is that Live has already done that to some extent. What’s been missing is that the people who, um, “bridge” those two roles have wound up with somewhat split personalities, working in Serato and Live but without any workflow between them. Initially, I’d imagine it’s that crowd – the people who already own the two products – who will give this a try. If it works well for them, that means a still-larger army of Ableton advocates who tell their Serato-using friends to try the other tool, and visa versa, but that may be down the road. (Conclude arbitrary speculation; check back with me in about a year and see if I was right.) I’m not sure Live users will be rushing out to buy Scratch Live hardware, but eventually this could make Serato users more comfortable getting their feet wet on the production side.

Official site:
http://www.ableton.com/thebridge

  • http://www.theproof.co.nz Kerry

    I will be keen to see someone using bridge in some creative way (The Ableton inside Serato aspect).

    I use both, but don't really see why or how, this would be of use to me.

    If I am DJing, I am DJing, if I am playing live, I am playing live. This seems to be a weird half way point..

  • http://turntablepoetry.com/blog dj professor ben

    I think this looks badass. I am a Traktor user but I started my DVS life with Serato and I do like the software. I also think it still has more appeal to traditionally vinyl DJs, at least in the US, than Traktor. I also love Ableton Live, and I think this will give Serato users a lot of flexibility to add samples to their sets — this is far better than the SL6 sample player that people basically use to add air horns to their sets. And Mixtape looks great too, I have wanted to be able to do something like that for some time.

    As I said though I'm a Traktor user these days and I don't see the Bridge pulling me back to Serato-land. Maybe if I got a Rane 68 for free ;) I occasionally do use Traktor + Ableton wish MIDI sync and it works fine, does everything you can do in the Bridge except have the Ableton window inside Traktor. (Frankly I think it's a waste of space to do that anyway — I prefer being able to see all 4 decks and my tracklist, and switch over to the Live window when I need to).

    And of course Traktor has no equivalent to Mixtape — given that Ableton Live sets are just xml files (aren't they??), shouldn't a version of Mixtape for Traktor be easily possible? I'd really love to see something like that. Not sure I'd really use it much (haha), but the option would be great to have.

    So all in all I'm not terribly excited about Bridge, after 2 years of hype about it. Then again maybe I'm just bitter coz I switched to Traktor probably about 2 months before Serato announced the Bridge. ;)

  • http://www.ilektron.com Mudo

    You can do the same and more with a regular midi mixer, maxforlive and Ms. Pinky.

    Only ATC is not avariable but really easy to "copy" with LiveOsc and some python coding.

    In addition there are some cool features that you don't have and a lot of money (and time) wasted in hype and lie (like the first dvs in Live blablabla).

    The Bridge seems stable but not really the right workflow… wait for rgbs and pinks, Peter.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    I think it makes sense, for two reasons:

    1. It allows beat-specific sync for those wanting to put some *elements* of a Live set inside their existing Serato set.

    2. It allows you to tweak your Serato mix in Live.

    I can't see a strong argument for someone in Live picking up Serato. But for people who already use both, something there will be useful, and it's free. And it could easily motivate some Serato DJs who were looking for a way to edit and start dabbling into production to choose Live.

    As for everyone else, well, that's why we have diverse choices in music tech!

  • http://driver.doublerebel.com Driver

    "…the software makes it ridiculously easy to use Live to fine-tune mixes you’ve made live in Serato."

    If you thought there were too many exceedingly boring laptop DJs with huge egos before, get ready for a whole new wave of hacks who can't play a live show. Disgusting.

    I wish they would focus more on the aspect of mixing multiple multi-track tunes into a new woven semi-live-pa… but I guess that would be hard.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    @Driver: Fret not. I don't think this can actually make that trend any worse. ;)

    Anyway, as always, it's up to the artists to work out what to do with this. Absolutely, you could use this to take DJ sets, drop them into Live, and re-edit them for a live show… or use that editing process to come up with something new.

  • http://www.soundcloud.com/thebrooklynknockout the Brooklyn Knockou

    It truly is amazing. I have been using the Bridge since I received the email telling me it was available. FLAWLESS!!

  • http://music.cornwarning.com chaircrusher

    I can see this being useful for DJs who want to be able to add loops to their vinyl-centric sets, and I don't fear more soul-less bullsh*t DJ sets enabled by this technology. There were soul-less bullsh*t DJs 15 years ago before any of this computer biz was available.

    I have never gone the timecode vinyl route because it feels like a Rube-Goldberg contraption designed for people who don't want to learn how to use new user interfaces. I think I'm a better DJ with Ableton Live, because the time and headspace devoted to finding a record, cueing and syncing it can be used to do other creative things. I find I'm just as busy DJing in Live but I'm busy doing things besides beat-matching.

    But back to Serrato/Live together: cool technology but it adds a layer of complexity to a process I try and simplify as much as possible. I want a setup that has the fewest possible points of failure, that I can work blind drunk in a hurricane. Because sometimes even if you're indoors & sober, playing live can feel like you're blind drunk in a hurricane.

  • http://www.ilektron.com Mudo

    @Chaircruser

    Some agree but stability and simplicity sometimes is freedom limitation. One example: at this moment you can't scratch clips in any way with serato. Future? Who knows it demands a new special channel from Ableton…

    @Peter

    I understand the potential but not the hype.

    @Driver

    Cheat or not cheat, the most important is music. Later the technique. Turntablist have the oportunity to do great things and sync is not only cheating… try to control 8 loops with one turntable and fx, etc…

    http://t2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:8aluI233tX5GAM

    This an idea of what the crowd will see… two turntables with skills is ok (and sometimes with 5 minutes of showcase is enough) then you have something like the bridge or Ms Pinky and can do Live looping composition and create instrumentals realtime. You can use the "tools" in very different ways, sure.

    For all:

    Maybe vinyl is nearly dead or maybe not, it is so relative but one fact is clear Turntable interface controller is still present not past and as a tool has a lot of potential but sometimes we must find the equilibrium between "wild" vs "boring", totally freedom vs technology automatism, Soul vs Machine…

  • http://regend.com Regend

    i use both tools A LOT. my style of Djing doesn't really warrant the use of Ableton Live. My use of Ableton Live, in my home studio or live, also doesn't converge with Serato SL. i do understand the logic in wanting to merge the too programs. i can see Dj's who are creating lots of Live clips and then exporting them out as WAV/AIFF files and playing them in Scratch Live now with an option to just play tracks from within Live. The inability to scratch the clips is the deal breaker for me. until there is a way to actually control clips as i would a piece of vinyl, i'll avoid "the bridge."

  • RCUS

    @Regend: yep!

    @Mudo: so when's Ms. Pinky gonna work with a high resolution midi jog wheel so i can ditch the turntable, the control vinyl, the pre-amp, and the external sound card =)! simplify simplify simplify =)

  • http://www.ilektron.com Mudo

    @Rcus:

    Well nobody stops to anyone who can "patch" by itself a translator into Ms. Pinky waveform object for midi/hid input.

    Why not try to post it at Ms. Pinky forum? Some time ago someone tryied but at these momment the community (mine included) were focused on archieve the opposite (speak midi/Osc output) but ever is welcome a second chance!

    ;)