How to Use Ableton Live as a Virtual Instrument in Pro Tools

Hey guys! Ian Vargo with The Pro Audio Files here.

Today, I’m going to show you how quick and easy it is to launch Ableton Live as a virtual instrument within Pro Tools.

So if you prefer the feel and workflow of Pro Tools, but want to obtain some of the awesome sounds that you can get using Ableton that are popular amongst DJs and EDM producers, this will do the trick.

The first thing I’m going to do is create a stereo instrument track within Pro Tools, and then under inserts, select multi-channel plug-in, instrument, and if you have Ableton Live, it will show up. Let’s select it.

Next, let’s launch the program itself. One of the things that I really love about Live is it takes about five seconds to load, as you just saw.

I’m going to delete all but one MIDI track, and there are tons of great samples that come with Ableton. I’m a big fan of the drums, so let’s go to drum machines, select drums, and let’s select kit trax classic and drag it to this MIDI track.

And here, let’s pay attention to — instead of Master, let’s change it to rewire out. Because remember, we’re using the ReWire plug-in within Pro Tools to get audio from Ableton to Pro Tools.

We’ve got Mix LR. Let’s leave it there. We’ll talk more about that later. Let’s go back into Pro Tools.

Now, record arm the track, and make sure you can see the instrument tab, and instead of none, there we have kit trax classic, let’s select that. We should be able to hear Ableton within Pro Tools.

[drums]

So if you want to work on an arrangement or production that has multiple tracks in Ableton, and you want to be able to access all of those different sounds separately, you can do so.

Take a look at what I’ve done here. I’ve got several different tracks in Pro Tools, and on each of these tracks, I have an instance of Ableton Live, which again, opens this ReWire window.

Here’s where it might get a little bit complicated, so pay attention. We’ve got Mix L, Mix R, buss 3, buss 4, buss 5, buss 6, and so on. If we toggle over to Ableton, you see here my different layers. I’m going from ReWire out on each of those to the corresponding busses that end up within Pro Tools.

So here, let’s take a listen, and I’ll show you that you can access and solo each of these tracks individually.

[mix]

So we’ve got our drums…

[drums]

Piano.

[piano]

Reverse keys.

[reverse keys]

And each of those corresponds to a different track within Ableton.

So I hope this has been helpful. There are tons of great sounds in Ableton Live, and if you want to access them and control them within Pro Tools, it’s pretty easy to do so.

Again, this has been Ian Vargo with The Pro Audio Files. If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch. Thanks.

Ian Vargo

Ian Vargo

Ian Vargo is a Producer, Mixer and Audio Professor based in Los Angeles. He has worked on numerous major label and independent records. Learn more or get in touch on his website.
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