Live's MIDI Ports explained

  • Live Versions: All
  • Operating System: All

Track, Sync and Remote switches are dedicated switches found in Live's MIDI Ports Preferences.

They can be used to enable some of the following tasks:

  1. Playing MIDI devices in Live using a MIDI keyboard.
  2. Recording notes into MIDI clips.
  3. Recording parameter movements from an external MIDI device into Live.
  4. Synchronising Live with another device or application using MIDI.
  5. Manual MIDI mapping of functions in Live.
  6. Augmenting Control surfaces in Live.
  7. Enabling the User mode on Push and other controllers.

Important: Only activate the switches that you require otherwise you can create MIDI feedback loops.

Open Live's Preferences → Link MIDI. In the MIDI Ports section (highlighted below) you'll see each available MIDI input and output port and their respective Track, Sync and Remote switches.

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Track

The Track switch allows Live to send or receive MIDI notes and MIDI CC (control change) messages.

Activate Track on Input ports to enable:

  • Playing instruments/plug-ins in Live with a MIDI keyboard.
  • Recording notes into MIDI clips.
  • Recording MIDI CC messages into MIDI clips, for example to capture parameter changes from an external hardware synthesizer.

Note: The track monitor needs to be set to "In", or "Auto" and armed for recording.

Activate Track on Output ports to enable:

  • Triggering an external hardware device (like a synthesizer, drum machine etc).
  • Sending MIDI notes to another application (using a virtual MIDI bus).
  • Sending MIDI CC automation to an external device or application.

See our dedicated article: Using External Hardware with Live.

Note: Unless it has a built in sound generator, you won't ever need to activate Track on the output port of a MIDI controller.

Sync

The Sync switch allows Live to send or receive MIDI Clock, or receive MIDI Timecode. 

Activate Sync on Input ports to enable:

  • Synchronizing Live to an external sequencer, drum machine or groove box.
  • Synchronizing Live to another DAW using MIDI.

Unfold the arrow symbol to adjust the timing of the MIDI clock sync and to switch between MIDI clock and MIDI Timecode:

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Activate Sync on Output ports to enable:

  • Synchronizing an external sequencer, drum machine or groove box to Live using MIDI Clock.
  • Synchronizing another DAW to Live using MIDI Clock.
  • Synchronizing the LFO and arpeggiator of an external synthesizer or MIDI controller to Live.

See our dedicated article: Synchronizing Live via MIDI.

Note: Unless it has a built in sequencer or arpeggiator, you won't ever need to activate Sync on the input or output ports of a MIDI controller.

Remote

The Remote switch allows you to create mappings from a MIDI controller to parameters in Live or to send feedback to a MIDI controller.

Activate Remote on Input ports to enable:

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

Activate Remote on Output ports to enable:

  • MIDI controllers with LED's that reflect the status of mapped Live parameters.
  • MIDI controllers with motorized faders that reflect the status of mapped Live parameters.

See our dedicated article: Making custom MIDI mappings.