Sync Tidal to Ardour

For recording and editing purposes I have for some time been trying to get Tidal and Ardour to sync their clocks. After some time I think I have a solution, albeit a hacky one!

Now that Tidal has Link support I first thought to get Ardour synchronising with Link. However, Ardour always has to be the main clock so this wouldn't work. The solution I found is to instead trigger Ardour's transport at the beginning of a bar as defined by Link. To do that I use this Pure Data patch ardoursync.pd · GitHub

It requires the abl_link~ and jack_transport externals.

  • In the PD patch click the first box to connect to Link and then set the tempo to be the same as Ardour.
  • In Ardour set the external position sync to be Jack.
  • Then, back in the patch press the start button. Once the beat goes back to 1 it will trigger it will trigger Jack's/Ardour's transport. So now everything should be in sync. Here's a video demonstration:

I say should as, for some reason the audio I record actually comes in a little bit early! This is probably due to my own jack settings, though any input is welcome.

Does this work for anyone else? Another other linux-friendly methods for syncing?


Great post!

Perhaps this thread can help you with the alignment and avoid coming in early? Ableton Link Beat Alignment

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Did you also considered using:
GitHub - rncbc/jack_link: JACK transport timebase bridge to Ableton Link ?
There's also: GitHub - x37v/jack_transport_link: A bridge between Jack's Transport mechanism and Ableton's Link synchronization.

Yes. In both cases it caused glitches in Tidal's audio. If you manage to get it working let me know how!

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Is Ardour the right tool for the job here?

Jack transport has the concept of a "slow start" client
i.e. a DAW that needs to reload 64 tracks into memory to reflect the new position
the actual transport mechanism won't start till all clients are ready (within limits).

Ardour is just not a good tool to use with Link probably.

Carla, qmidiarp, qtractor, ... ? Here is an old topic: Ableton Link on Linux using jack_link and Qtractor, PureData or SuperCollider - LinuxMusicians

I also did read that someone had success with seq192 and Link via jack_link

What about just recording the audio with jack_capture and then import it in Ardour?

Or use Ardour to record midi and audio, but use a other sequencer to generate the midi?

Bespoke synth has native Link, might be another option.