PreSonus Blog

Recording ReWired Programs

I had a bunch of legacy Acid projects from my pre-Studio One days, as well as some Ableton Live projects that were part of my live performances. With live performance a non-starter for the past year, I wanted to turn them into songs, and mix them in Studio One’s environment.

 

Gregor’s clever video, Ableton Live and Studio One Side-by-Side, shows how to drag-and-drop files between Live and Studio One. But I didn’t want individual files, I needed entire tracks…including ones I could improvise in real time with Live. The obvious answer is ReWire, since both Acid and Live can ReWire into Studio One. However, you can’t record what comes into the Instrument tracks used by ReWire. Nor can you bounce the ReWired audio, because there’s nothing physically in Studio One to bounce.

 

It turned out the answer is temporarily messy—but totally simple. First, let’s refresh our memory about ReWire. 

 

Setting Up ReWire

 

Start by telling Studio One to recognize ReWire devices. Under Options > Advanced > Services, make sure ReWire Support is enabled. In Studio One’s browser, under the Instruments tab, open the ReWire folder. Drag in the program you want to ReWire, the same way you’d drag in an instrument. (Incidentally, although you’re limited to dragging in one instance of the same ReWire client, you can ReWire two or more different clients into Studio One. Suitable clients includes Live, Acid Pro, FL Studio, Renoise, Reason before version 11, and others.) 

 

After dragging in Ableton Live, open it. ReWired clients are supposed to open automatically, but that’s not always the case.

 

Now we need to patch Live and Studio One together. In Ableton Live, for the Audio To fields, choose ReWire Out, and a separate output bus for each track. In my project, there were 9 stereo tracks (Fig. 1).

Figure 1: Assign Ableton Live’s ReWire outputs to buses. These connect to Studio One as track inputs.

 

Then, expand the Instrument panel in Studio One, and check all the buses that were assigned in Ableton Live. This automatically opens up mixer channels to play back the audio (Fig. 2). However, the mixer channels can’t record anything, so we need to go further.

Figure 2: Ableton Live loaded into Studio One, which treats Ableton Live like a virtual instrument with multiple outputs. 

 

Recording the ReWired Program

 

As mentioned, the following is temporarily messy. But once you’re recorded your tracks, you can tidy everything up, and your Live project will be a Studio One project. (Note that I renamed the tracks in Studio One as 1-9, so I didn’t have to refer to the stereo bus numbers in the following steps.) To do recording:

 

  1. In each Studio One track, go to its Send section and choose Add Bus Channel. Now we have Buses 1-9—one for each track.
  2. Our original instrument tracks have served their purpose, so we can hide them to avoid screen clutter. Now Studio One shows 9 buses (Fig. 3).

Figure 3: The buses are carrying the audio from Ableton Live’s outputs.

 

  1. Create 9 more tracks in Studio One (for my project, these were stereo). Assign each track input to an associated bus, so that each of the 9 buses terminates in a unique track. Now we can hide the bus tracks, and record-enable the new tracks to record the audio (fig. 4).

Figure 4: Studio One is set up to record the audio from Ableton Live.

 

  1. Now you’re ready to record whatever is in Ableton Live over to Studio One, in real time. 
  2. Fig. 5 shows the results of unhiding everything, narrowing the channels, and hitting play. At this point, if everything transferred over correctly, you can delete the ReWired tracks, remove the buses they fed, close Ableton Live, and you’re left with all the Live audio in Studio One tracks. Mission accomplished!

Figure 5: The Ableton Live audio has completed its move into Studio One. Now you can delete the instrument and bus channels you don’t need any more, close Ableton Live, return the U-Haul, and start doing your favorite Studio One stuff to supplement what you did in Live. Harmonic Editing, anyone?

 

Bonus tip: This is also the way to play Ableton Live instruments in real time, especially through Live’s various tempo-synched effects, while recording them in Studio One. And don’t forget about Gregor’s trick of moving Studio One files over to Live—this opens up using Live’s effects on Studio One tracks, which you can then record back into Studio One, along with other tracks, using the above technique.

 

Granted, I use Studio One for most of my multitrack projects. But there’s a lot to be gained by becoming fluent in multiple programs.   

 

  • jake hobbs

    I have been told that “the days of Rewire are numbered in the audio world” since Reason dropped support with Reason 11. Shame. It is really handy being able to use other programs inside S1.

    I suppose you can ghost input the busses for Notion in the same way?

    Melodyne have depreciated the Rewire protocol on favour of ARA with version 5.

    As for the days are numbered, it came from a reputable source. What this actually means for other programs like Reaper or Notion, I don’t know.

    Yes, score editor can be used it Studio One, I know they are keen to push that feature. But it lacks a lot of what makes Notion viable. Like handwriting recognition.

  • Chris Perry

    yes, that’s how I occasionally use it as well. Good reason not to upgrade to 11 any time soon!

  • Chris Perry

    Well that’s annoying. Occasionally I rewire Live 10 to S1 for some specifically “Live” drum racks or synths. FL runs as a VST or AU within S1, so i’ve found that’s the best way to access some of the FL sounds conveniently. One of the main reasons I moved to S1 was to avoid the multi-daw system I was using. PT for audio and mixing, Logic or Live for programming. S1 is the best of everything (most of the time) for me!

  • I do not own Live 11, so this tip was based on previous versions. However, I just found out that ReWire has been “de-activated” in Live 11. Apparently Reason Studios won’t develop ReWire any further; however, since it was developed originally in conjunction with Steinberg, perhaps they’ll keep it alive…I’ll see what I can find out. Of course there are other options, like virtual patch cables, but that’s not as convenient as far as I’m concerned.

  • True, but when adding Live to Studio One, I’m using it for the tools in Live. I’ll add any VSTis in Studio One, and if the audio needs processing, I’ll do that in the audio stream. If I’m bringing over an existing project, which is rare, I flatten tracks prior to rewiring. Of course, the main limitation is that you can’t improvise with non-Live tools, within Live, when it’s rewired. However, read what I just posted at the top, which is much more problematic.

  • Chris Perry

    ALL 3rd party plugins (both audio and VI) are disabled when using Ableton as a rewire slave—unless they have changed this in Live 11. So, yes, anything natively Ableton is fine, but if you have a project that uses anything third party, you can’t rewire it seamlessly.

  • Virtual instruments in Live work fine, I don’t know why you’re having a problem. Drive the Ableton instrument from your Ableton MIDI track, set the instrument output to the ReWire bus, and record it into Studio One like an audio track. Or, play the instrument through Studio One, and record into Studio One. Or, create a MIDI file in Studio One, and import it into Live instead of using a MIDI track in Live. Can you please be more specific about what you’re trying to accomplish, because I have no problem getting Ableton Live instruments, driven by their tracks in Live, to record into Studio One.

  • Amoebacrew

    Yeah nice. but you forgot to write that virtual instruments will not work for the slave app. This looks like a good solution, but it is not. Studio one needs support for ableton link a long time ago.

  • Fair enough 🙂 Here’s the short form: Assign Live tracks to Studio One tracks, and send each Studio One track to a bus that terminates in a record-enabled track. Click on record.

    This is actually one of those things that’s easier done than said. But I wanted to be as thorough as possible for those who haven’t used ReWire, or done real-time, track-to-track recording in Studio One.

  • Ken Beck

    Wow. I’m exhausted.

  • Jakub

    Super, thanks 🙂