Wednesday, October 24, 2012

How to Use Logic Pro Virtual Instruments in Ableton Live

Although Logic support ReWire, this is only when Logic is the ReWire host. Logic has some great virtual instruments included, and it is sometimes handy to have access to these virtual instruments in other software.

This blog post will cover a basic and straightforward setup on how to use Logic's virtual instruments in Ableton Live.

We can sum up this setup as follows:
• MIDI data is sent from Live to Logic via the IAC MIDI Bus
• Audio data is sent from Logic to Live via the SoundFlower virtual audio routing device
• Audio data is sent from Live to the user via the built-in audio output

Here is a brief example video. MIDI data is sequenced and played back from Live using Live's transport. The notes are sent to Logic, where a virtual instrument plays them. The audio comes back into Live.

First of all, let's set up the audio devices. Install SoundFlower. Go to Applications > Utilities > Audio MIDI Setup, and go to Window > Show Audio Window to bring up the screen shown above. Create a new aggregate audio device by clicking on the small plus sign in the bottom left of the window.

Add the following audio devices to this aggregate device: Built-in Output, Built-in Microphone, SoundFlower (2ch).  Rename the aggregate device to "Built-in + SoundFlower".

Now, go to Window > Show MIDI Window in Audio MIDI Setup. The IAC Driver MIDI Bus device should be online. If it isn't, double click on the IAC Driver icon.

Make sure that the "Device is online" button is ticked.

Open Live and Logic (in that order). Go to the preferences in Logic and click on the audio icon. Click on the devices tab. Choose SoundFlower (2ch) as the output device. Choose SoundFlower (2ch) as the input device.

Go to the preferences in Live. Click on the Audio tab. Choose Built-in + SoundFlower as the input device. Choose Built-in Output as the output device.

Go to the MIDI tab in the Live preferences. Make sure that Output: IAC Driver (IAC Bus 1) Track is set to On.

In Logic, create a new Instrument Track. Select a virtual instrument that you would like to use.

In Live, create a new MIDI track. Route the output to IAC Bus 1. Create a new audio track. Route the input from inputs 3 and 4 (this represents the SoundFlower portion of Built-in + SoundFlower device). Route the output to outputs 1 and 2. Set the audio track to input monitoring.

As you sequence notes in Live and play back those sequences, MIDI data is sent from Live to Logic.