MP3 decoding, video playback and export in Live 10.1.2 and later (macOS)

  • Live Versions: 10.1.2 and later
  • Operating System: macOS

What framework does Live use for MP3 decoding, video playback and video export?

Up to and including Live version 10.1.1, Live uses QTKit (Quicktime) on macOS. As part of the transition from 32-bit to 64-bit technology in macOS 10.15 Catalina, Apple has dropped support entirely for QTKit. 

As of Live version 10.1.2, Live now uses AVFoundation for MP3 decoding, video playback and video export. AVFoundation is Apple's recommended replacement framework.

Does this apply to other compressed audio files too?

Yes. All compressed audio file decoding (eg. MP3, M4A, FLAC etc) now uses AVFoundation instead of QTKit.

Does this affect performance?

The compressed audio file decoding experience should be unchanged. Video playback and exporting is now much faster. 

Does MP3 export use AVFoundation?

No, MP3 export/encoding uses the LAME MP3 Encoder and is unaffected by this change.

Are there any unsupported formats in AVFoundation?

Any videos or files created using older formats or codecs that rely on QuickTime 7 are no longer supported in macOS 10.15 and in AVFoundation. See this list of compatible formats on macOS Catalina.

Note: Although listed in the compatible format list linked above, AVFoundation itself does not support image files like jpeg, gif, png. Therefore, it's no longer possible to add image files to Live sets. However some motion JPEG files are supported.

Can I convert unsupported formats in order to use them in Live?

Yes, if you're using macOS Mojave (10.14) or earlier, these files can be converted into a supported format by opening them in QuickTime Player. Apple has published an article with instructions: Converting legacy media files.

If you've already updated to macOS 10.15 Catalina, you'll need to use another computer with an older macOS to convert your files as your unsupported formats simply will not open.