Setting up a virtual MIDI bus

  • Live Versions: All
  • Operating System: All

A virtual MIDI bus can be used to send MIDI messages between different applications on the same computer, or to create complex MIDI routing in Live.


On Mac, you can use the IAC bus to create any number of virtual MIDI buses. This driver can be activated in the Audio MIDI Setup Utility.

1. Launch Audio MIDI Setup and select Show MIDI Studio from the menu.


2. Now double-click the IAC Driver icon and check the option Device is online in order to activate it.


3. You can rename the port if needed.

4. You can also enable any number of additional ports (buses) by clicking on the + sign.

5. Once this is done, the ports will appear in Live and can be used to send or receive MIDI Note, MIDI Control Change, and MIDI Sync messages.


See our guide on how to configure the MIDI ports in Live to understand how to use the MIDI Ports settings.


Windows does not come with a native virtual MIDI driver, but there are a number of these available for free:

  • RTP loopMIDI  developed by Tobias Erichsen, who also programmed a version of the Network MIDI driver for Windows.
  • MIDI Yoke, as a part of the MIDI OX Utility, is probably the best-known Windows equivalent to Mac's IAC Bus. Note: It's 32-bit only, so it won't work with Live 10 or any 64-bit version of Live.

Sending and Receiving MIDI messages to another computer or device

If you need to stream MIDI data such as MIDI Note, MIDI Control Change, and MIDI Sync messages from one computer/device to another, you can use a virtual MIDI network instead.

Ableton offers these in-depth help and learning resources: