Using Live and ReWire
- Live Versions: All
- Operating System: All
ReWire is a software protocol developed by Propellerhead which lets you synchronize two DAWs and stream audio and MIDI from one (the ReWire Device) to the other (the ReWire Host) on the same computer.
Live can run either as a ReWire Host or as a ReWire Device. However some DAWs may only run as ReWire Host. If your specific DAW is not listed here, check their manual to see whether they support ReWire Host or ReWire Device, or both.
In case you have further questions about how ReWire works, check our ReWire FAQ.
If you are experiencing technical issues with ReWire, check our Troubleshooting ReWire article.
- Installing ReWire
- Live as ReWire Host
- Live as ReWire Device
ReWire gets installed together with Live. After installing it, just launch Live while no other DAW is running simultaneously. 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 Device to another DAW until now and you decide to use Live 9 as the ReWire Device 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 Host and ReWire Device 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 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 Host, start Live first.
Once the program has finished loading, you can launch the second application, which will automatically run as ReWire Device.
By pressing the play button in either the ReWire Host or the ReWire Device application, both DAWs will playback in sync.
To hear the audio generated from the DAW running as the ReWire Device, create an audio track in Live and select the ReWire Device in the track's Input Type chooser ("Audio From" drop down menu). Additionally, enable Input Monitoring for this track.
ReWire provides a large number of channels to allow the routing of individual tracks from the ReWire Device 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 Device, create a MIDI track in Live first. Next, in the MIDI track's Output Type chooser ("MIDI To" drop-down menu), select the ReWire Device. The Output Channel chooser will now let you choose a specific track or device from the session in the ReWire Device DAW.
Live as ReWire Device
Before starting, please note that when Live is running as a ReWire Device:
- No VST or AU plug-ins are available.
- It is not possible to use MIDI controllers as native Control Surfaces in Live.
- Max for Live is not available.
- No physical audio inputs/outputs are available in Live. The ReWire Host application is handling the audio interface and the ins/outs. External material can be recorded with the ReWire Host application only.
- MIDI sync in and out is disabled.
- For Live 9: In the CPU preferences, the Multicore/Multiprocessor Support button is disabled, and the Multicore/Multiprocesser Rewire setting is enabled:
Launch the DAW you intend to use as ReWire Host first.
Depending on which application you are going to use, Live will either automatically run as ReWire Device without requiring any action, or it will be necessary to load a specific ReWire object in the ReWire Host application before launching Live.
The following is a quick reference for some of the most common DAWs with which you can use Live as a ReWire Device. We recommend referring to each application's user manual to find out more details.
Cubase requires activating a ReWire Device before launching Live, otherwise it will not run as ReWire Device. 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 Device (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.
If Logic is running, Live will automatically start in ReWire Device mode (provided both programs run with the same bit architecture as mentioned above). Please note that Logic can only be used as ReWire Host.
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.
If you are using Logic 7 or before, please check Logic's audio preferences and disable (uncheck) the option for “Release Audio in Background if Stopped.”
In Logic X the ReWire behavior has changed: in order to use Live as ReWire Device, 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 Audio Panel > Devices tab. 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. Logic X offers ReWire Host functionality only. It can not be run as ReWire Device.
1. Start Logic, then start Live. Live will display "Running as ReWire Device" in the splash screen:
2. To send MIDI from Logic to MIDI tracks in Live, create a new External MIDI track in Logic.
3. In the Library view, choose Ableton Live > (name of MIDI track in Live you wish to send MIDI to).
4. To receive audio from Live in Logic, go to the Mixer view. Under Options, choose "Create New Auxiliary Channel Strip".
5. Choose "Ableton Live: RW:Mix L/R" as the input for the Auxiliary Channel Strip. Be sure to turn up the track volume.
In case you have not yet used Live, launch it once standalone. This way, it can install its ReWire engine in your system. Afterwards, close Live and launch n-Track. Go to the n-Track "Add Channel" menu, select "Add Rewire device" menu, and select "Ableton Live".
Activate the ReWire channels in the n-Track ReWire menu.
To see the ReWire channels in n-Track's timeline, select the arrow on top left corner and check "Show Rewire channels".
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 Device.
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.
First start Live and once it is fully loaded, launch Reason. In this order, Reason will launch as a Rewire Device. The ReWire connection has been successfully established when you see the active audio driver in Reason's preferences as well as the Hardware Interface list "Rewire Device Mode."
If you want to route multiple audio outputs from Reason to Live, wire the respective Reason devices to the available channels of Reason's virtual Hardware Interface. For more information about Reason's routing options, take a look at the Reason manual.
To hear the audio generated from Reason, create an audio track in Live and select Reason in the track's Input Type chooser ("Audio From" drop-down menu). Additionally, enable Input Monitoring for this track
By default, the main audio output of Reason is the ReWire channel 1/2. If you have wired multiple audio outputs in Reason's Hardware Interface, create an Audio Track in Live for each stereo output in Reason and select the respective Reason channel in the track's Input Type chooser ("Audio From" drop-down menu).
As a ReWire Host, Live can send MIDI messages to Reason. Create a new MIDI Track in Live and use the track's Output Channel chooser ("MIDI To" drop-down menu) to select the target device in Reason. Live will list all the devices that have been created in the Reason song and which can be controlled via MIDI.