Using Live and ReWire
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ReWire is a software protocol developed by Propellerhead which lets you synchronize two DAWs and stream audio and MIDI from one to the other on the same computer.
Live can run either as ReWire master or as ReWire slave.
ReWire gets installed together with Live. After installing it, just launch Live alone (i.e. with no other DAW running simultaneously) once. This will:
- Install the latest ReWire version Live brings on your computer and
- Let Live set up its ReWire engine correctly.
Since the ReWire engine is version-dependent, this needs to be done for every Live version installed on your computer before you want to run it as a ReWire client. E.g. if you have used Live 8 as ReWire slave to another DAW until now and you decide to use Live 9 as the slave instead, it will be necessary to launch Live 9 by itself at least once, otherwise ReWire won't work.
Note: For Windows users, both the ReWire Master and Slave may need to be run in administrator mode to successfully ReWire. To launch a program as Administrator, simply right-click the Live or other DAW icon from your desktop and select "Run as Administrator.".
For Mac users, Live may also request admin privileges when first trying to configure the ReWire engine, as access to the system configuration is temporarily required. Simply enter in the admin password to overcome this step when Live asks you to do so.
Checking your DAW's bit architecture
ReWire will only work if both DAWs run with the same bit depth.
On Windows, you will need to install the correct version of the other ReWire software depending on whether you use Live 32-bit or 64-bit.
On Mac, certain application packages include both 32-bit and 64-bit formats. You can switch between the two formats as follows:
- Access the folder where the application is installed.
- Select the application file and press Cmd + I to display the Info window. (alternatively, right click on the application file and choose "Show Info".)
- Tick the "Open in 32-bit mode" checkbox here to run the application in 32-bit mode. Leave it unchecked to use the program in 64-bit mode.
If you want to use Live as ReWire master, start Live first.
Once the program has finished loading, you can launch the second application, which will automatically run as ReWire slave.
By pressing the play button in either the master or the slave application, both DAWs will playback in sync.
To hear the audio generated from the DAW running as the slave, create an audio track in Live and select the ReWire slave in the track's Input Type chooser ("Audio From" drop down menu). Additionally, you'll want to enable Input Monitoring for this track.
ReWire provides a large number of channels to allow the routing of individual tracks from the slave application into discrete audio tracks in Live.
You can choose which ReWire channels to monitor with a specific audio track in Live using the track's Input Channel chooser (second drop-down menu in the "Audio From" section).
To send MIDI from Live to the ReWire slave, create a MIDI track in Live first. Next, in the MIDI track's Output Type chooser ("MIDI To" drop-down menu), select the ReWire slave. The Output Channel chooser will now let you choose a specific track or device from the session in the ReWire slave DAW.
Before starting, please note that when Live is running as a ReWire slave:
- No VST or AU plugins are available.
- It is not possible to use MIDI controllers as native Control Surfaces in Live.
- No physical audio inputs/outputs are available in Live. The ReWire master application is handling the audio interface and the ins/outs. External material can be recorded with the master application only.
- No MIDI outputs are available either. Use the master application to send MIDI notes to your external synthesizers.
Launch the DAW you intend to use as ReWire master first.
Depending on which application you are going to use, Live will either automatically run as ReWire slave without requiring any action, or it will be necessary to load a specific ReWire object in the master application before launching Live.
The following is a quick reference for some of the most common DAWs you can slave Live to. We recommend referring to each application's user manual to find out more details.
If Logic is running, Live will automatically start in ReWire slave mode (provided both programs run with the same bit architecture as mentioned above).
Create an Auxiliary Channel in Logic and choose Ableton Live from the Input menu to route audio from Live. Should no ReWire channel be available, please turn off "Multi Processor Support" in Logic if this is activated.
To send MIDI from Logic to Live, create a ReWire object in Logic's Environment Window.
In Logic X the ReWire behavior has changed: in order to use Live as ReWire Slave, it is first necessary to enable the ReWire engine in Logic X before launching Live.
To do so, open the Logic Preferences and go the Devices tab under the Audio Panel. Here please set the "ReWire Mode" menu to either Live or Playback mode.
Please also note that, being Logic X exclusively available as a 64-bit application, only a 64-bit Live version can be ReWired to it.
Before launching Live, create an Audio or Aux channel and load the instrument "Ableton Live" in the track as an Insert.
The benefit of using an audio channel would be that you can record audio directly in this track from ReWire without any other routing. On the other side, this channel will need to be set on Input Monitoring, otherwise no audio will be heard.
Now you can launch Live, which will start as a ReWire slave.
To control a Live Device from Pro Tools via MIDI, create a MIDI channel in Pro Tools: the various MIDI channels currently available in the Live Set will appear as a choice in the channel's MIDI out menu.
Reaper also requires you to load an Ableton Live ReWire object before launching Live.
Create a new track in Reaper, click on the FX button and choose Ableton Live from the list.
To send MIDI from Reaper to Live, create another channel, and click on its I/O button.
In the Sends menu, create a routing to the track in Reaper where the Ableton Live object is loaded.
Cubase requires activating a ReWire device before launching Live, otherwise it will not run as ReWire slave. Click on the Devices menu and select Ableton Live ReWire.
A new channel will then be created automatically in Cubase.
Before launching Live, you also need to enable at least one stereo ReWire bus: do that by clicking on the respective buttons in the newly opened Ableton Live ReWire device.
Now launch Live: the program will run as ReWire slave (provided both applications run with the same bit architecture as mentioned above).
To send MIDI from Cubase to Live, create a MIDI channel in Cubase. In its MIDI output section you will be able to choose one of the available Live MIDI tracks as a destination.