Live's MIDI Ports explained

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

This article explains the functions of the Track, Sync and Remote switches in Live's MIDI Preferences and gives examples of when you need to activate each of these switches. In case you are configuring or selecting a Control Surface instead, please see our dedicated article on Control Surfaces and how to use them.

Open Live's Preferences to the Link MIDI tab. In the MIDI Port section you will see each available MIDI input and output port and their respective Track, Sync and Remote switches.

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MIDI Input Switches

Track

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The Track switch on Input ports allows Live to receive and record MIDI notes and/or MIDI CC messages into MIDI clips. These messages will be received on MIDI tracks in Live where either the Record Arm button is active or Input Monitoring is enabled.

This switch needs to be enabled for:

  • Inputting MIDI notes with your MIDI keyboard.
  • Recording MIDI CC messages into a MIDI clip, for example to capture parameter changes from an external hardware synthesizer in a MIDI Clip.

See also: How to connect and use external synthesizers with Live

Sync

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Activating Sync for a MIDI Input allows Live to receive MIDI Clock or MIDI Time Code signals. 

This switch needs to be enabled for:

  • Synchronizing Live's tempo to another computer running a sequencer.
  • Synchronizing Live's tempo to an external drum machine or groove box.

Unfold the arrow symbol to adjust the timing and settings of the MIDI clock sync:

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See also: Synchronizing Live via MIDI Sync and How to synchronize Live via MIDI Network Sync

Remote

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Activating Remote for a MIDI Input allows you to create mappings from a MIDI controller to parameters in Live.

This switch needs to be enabled for:

    - Creating custom MIDI mappings to be able to control parameters in Live.
    - Using a MIDI keyboard to trigger MIDI Clips.

See also: "Setting up a MIDI controller" on the Learn Live page

MIDI Output Switches

Track

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The Track switch on the Output ports is used to send MIDI notes or MIDI CC messages to an external device connected to the corresponding MIDI output. 

This switch needs to be enabled for:

  • Triggering an external hardware device or sending MIDI notes to another application (using a virtual MIDI bus).
  • Sending automation (as MIDI CC messages) that has been recorded into a MIDI clip to an external synthesizer or to another application (using a virtual MIDI bus).

See also: How to use a virtual MIDI bus

Sync

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Activating Sync for a MIDI Output allows Live to send MIDI Clock signals. 

This switch needs to be enabled for:

  • Synchronizing another computer running a sequencer to Live.
  • Synchronizing an external drum machine or groove box to Live.
  • Synchronizing the LFO and arpeggiator of an external synthesizer or MIDI controller (e.g.: AKAI MPK 49) to Live.

Unfold the arrow symbol to adjust the timing and settings of the MIDI clock sync:

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See also: Synchronizing Live via MIDI Sync and How to synchronize Live via MIDI Network Sync

Remote

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Activating Remote for a MIDI Output allows Live to send feedback messages to a MIDI controller.

This switch needs to be enabled for:

  • MIDI controllers with LEDs that reflect the status of mapped Live parameters.
  • MIDI controllers with motorized faders that reflect the status of mapped Live parameters.