Sync Metronomes with Ableton Link

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Music Stand for Android and iOS have been updated to keep your whole team perfectly in sync. Anyone can enable sync using Ableton Link, and immediately sync with everyone else on the same WiFi network. Even if you’re not interested in syncing, we’ve improved the metronome’s responsiveness so that it plays instantly.

Enabling Sync

To enable sync, tap the Sync button in the metronome toolbar or the full metronome to open the sync settings. After enabling Ableton Link, you’ll see some other options.

  • Start/Stop. You’ll probably want to enable start/stop commands so that your metronome starts and stops with everyone else. If you want your tempo to sync but you want to control your own starts and stops, leave this setting off.
  • Leader. If you are responsible for running the metronome, enable this setting so your tempo changes, starts and stops are transmitted to everyone else.
  • Auto Pause. Swiping pages between songs causes the tempo to update to the BPM of the new song. If you’d like the metronome to pause when changing songs, giving you more control of when the next song starts, enable this setting.

Most of these options have a visual cue in the metronome so you can know which are enabled without going into settings. Enabling Ableton Link turns the Sync button blue, Start/Stop turns the play button to blue, and Leader puts a star by the Sync button.

WiFi Considerations

Though Music Stand has integrated Ableton Link into its metronome, Ableton Link is a universal protocol developed by Ableton, not Planning Center. Some of its behavior is a bit different than other Planning Center features, and is worth mentioning.

Ableton Link is coupled with a WiFi network. All devices or apps on a particular WiFi network with Link enabled will be synced. This allows you to sync Music Stand with other devices using Music Stand, or other apps with Ableton Link enabled, whether on your own device or others.

In Planning Center, features are usually tied to a particular plan. For example, page turn Sessions in Music Stand allow you to sync your page turns with anyone else viewing the same plan. But Ableton Link is based on your WiFi network, not a specific plan, so if you have multiple ministries in your church that use Music Stand and want to sync their metronomes, they will need to be on separate WiFi networks.

Sync vs. Sessions

Ableton Link is only able to sync tempo, start, and stop. When the metronome Leader turns pages to the next song, its tempo is transmitted to all synced devices. It does not sync page turns or meter, so if your songs go from 4/4 to 3/4, you’ll notice the tempo change, but the meter will not change on connected devices until they flip pages to the next song.

Sessions is a feature that has existed in Music Stand for years, and allows syncing of page turns across all devices viewing the same plan. If you’d like to sync tempo and page turns, you will need to enable both features on each device.

Instant Play

Tapping play in the metronome now causes it to respond instantly. If you are not connected to Ableton Link, you’ll hear the click right away. If you’ve ever wanted to play a song’s audio and then play the metronome with it, this will make it much easier to line them up.

If you are synced, when you tap play, you’ll see the beats start immediately, synced with the WiFi session, though that might be somewhere in the middle of a measure. The good news is you won’t actually hear the metronome until it’s Link is back to beat 1.

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