Synchronizing Ableton Live between 2 macs using Wifi is a straight-forward, but complex process. Using the Core Midi settings in Mac OS X it is possible to sync computers without needing any additional hardware or software. The instructions below will guide you through the process of creating an ad-hoc wireless network, creating a core midi session, and setting the Midi Sync preferences in Ableton Live.

  1. You must decide which computer will be the master and which will be the slave. The master will be the computer sending the timing information and will be the only computer that can change the tempo.
  2. Next you will need to make sure that your computers are on the same wireless network (note: this does needs to be a local wireless network, both being connected the university wireless will not work)
  3. If you are not on the same wireless network, you will need to create one. To do this, on one of the computers go to your airport menu in the menubar and select “create network”.
  4. Give your network a name and choose the security preferences you would like. Once this is complete you will see your airport icon in the menu bar change.
  5. Once the wireless network is created, have the other computer join it through its airport menu.
  6. Next, you need to set up your Core Audio/Midi settings. To access these go to your “Go” menu in the finder and select “Utilities. From within the utilities folder open the program “Audio Midi Setup”.
  7. In Audio Midi setup select the Midi window (you may need to go to the window menu and select the Midi window there).
  8. Once in the Midi setup window double click on the network icon.
  9. In the Midi Network setup window click the plus “+” sign below the session window. Session 1 should appear in the window and you can then rename this window and select the box next to it.
  10. In the bottom left corner of the window make sure the “Who may connect with me:” setting is set to “anyone”.
  11. On the other computer you should now go through the same settings, except in the directory area of the network setup window you will see the other computer appear. Click on the other computer and then click connect. The two computers are now synced!
  12. Now you will need to go through the settings in Ableton Live.
  13. In Ableton Live on the Master Computer go to the preferences menu and select the MIDI Sync tab.
  14. In the MIDI Sync Tab you will need to enable Network Session Output Sync.
  15. Now on the slave computer go to the same preferences tab and enable the Input Network Session 1 sync.
  16. Finally, on the slave computer enable external sync by clicking the “EXT” button in the top right hand corner of your Ableton session window.

A video tutorial of this process is embedded below.

Wireless midi sync between two macs running ableton live from Clark Nova on Vimeo.

This content is published under the Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

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