Sending and receiving MIDI messages using a virtual MIDI network

  • Live Versions: 1 - 9
  • Operating System: All

For simply synchronizing Live across multiple computers we recommend using Link. You can find out more on our Link page.

In order to stream additional MIDI data such as MIDI Note, MIDI Control Change and MIDI Sync messages from a computer to another computer or device, you can set up a virtual MIDI network.

Mac

Mac users will find the built-in virtual MIDI network in versions later than OS X 10.4.

To enable it, please open Audio/MIDI Setup from Utilities and select "Show MIDI Window" from the "Window" menu.

MIDI Window.png

Now click twice on the "Network" object to open the MIDI Network panel.

MIDI environment.png

Now you can create a "Session" which will be seen by all machines/devices connected to the same network. To do this, click on the "+" sign in the "My Sessions" part of the window and edit its "Local name" and its "Bonjour name."

Note that the "Bonjour name" will be the name that is visible to other computers.

Then check the "Enabled" field to enable this virtual MIDI Network on your network.

Network Session.png

By enabling this Session, the Network MIDI port will appear under the MIDI Ports in Live's MIDI/Sync Preferences.

This will let you send and receive MIDI Note, MIDI Control Change and MIDI Sync messages through the network with this computer.

network prefs.png

Please refer to our guide on how to configure the MIDI ports in Live to understand how to use the MIDI Ports settings in Live's MIDI/Sync Preferences.

Next, repeat this procedure on a second Mac computer. Once you have created a Session using the above procedure on this additional computer, select "Anyone" in the drop-down menu "Who may connect to me:".

Now select the destination Session in "Directory" in the MIDI Network Setup of one of the two machines and click "Connect".

MIDI network 2.png

At this point, MIDI data will be transmitted between the two computers, thus allowing them to synchronize via MIDI Sync or to send MIDI Note or MIDI Control Change messages between each other.

Windows

While Windows computers do not provide an in-built solution as standard, there is a freeware utility courtesy of Tobias Erichsen which allows the use of MIDI via network on Windows computers.

It is also Bonjour compatible, which will let you connect Macs and PCs in the same network.

Using virtual MIDI buses in Live

In case you wish to stream MIDI data between different applications on the same computer, you can use a virtual MIDI bus instead. For instructions on how to set that up, please reference our dedicated article: "Using virtual MIDI buses in Live".