Neat Tip:How to use TWO audio interfaces with Live (MacOS X)

Share your favorite Ableton Live tips, tricks, and techniques.
Posts: 10
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2004 9:23 am
Location: Brisbane, Australia

Neat Tip:How to use TWO audio interfaces with Live (MacOS X)

Post by ashleybrown » Tue Jan 20, 2004 12:42 pm

I know a lot of people have struggled with this concept - how to pre-listen when you only have the built-in sound card and your main audio interface is two channel out only?

Rather than using mono outs (as per the tutorial) I have figured out a better alternative.

- Using Jack Tools, create a 4-out virtual interface.
- In Live, select Jack Audio Server O 1/2 as your master, and Jack Audio Server O 3/4 as your pre-listening outputs
- Run up another program that can output to your built in sound-card (I was using Plogue Bidule)
- Setup Jack Tools to output to your main audio interface, then...

In Jack Pilot:
- route Live Out 1/2 to your external audio interface
- route Live Out 3/4 to the other audio app (in Plogue Bidule, I did this via the Jack Insert VST plugins)

Voila - that's it! Now I have pre-listening working in stereo through my built-in audio, and my master running on my 'proper' audio interface. Even better you can patch both outputs through an external mixer for monitoring the way you are used to.

I can't believe I've managed to get this working - everything I've read said this was not possible. DJ's and live performers everywhere are going to love this.




Post by Guest » Tue Jan 20, 2004 5:16 pm

cool - is jack mac only or is there a pc equivolent?

Posts: 10
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2004 9:23 am
Location: Brisbane, Australia

Post by ashleybrown » Tue Jan 20, 2004 11:00 pm

"Jack (the Jack Audio Connection Kit) is a low-latency audio server, written originally for the GNU/Linux operating system, and now with Mac OS X support. It can connect any number of different applications to a single hardware audio device; it also allows applications to send and receive audio to and from each other." - - From

So I guess you PC guys are out of luck unless you are running Linux, sorry! ; )

Posts: 432
Joined: Mon Dec 17, 2001 3:29 pm

Post by SongCarver » Wed Jan 21, 2004 10:22 am

thats very awesome ashley!

What sort of latency are you getting with that setup?

We almost just need a little application to 'forward' any audio sent to it to the main outputs..



JacK what?

Post by LP » Wed Jan 21, 2004 6:59 pm

Thanks for the tip, this is what I've been looking for, but I'm having trouble getting it to work. Live tells me it doesn't like Jacks' sample rate being zero when I rout it to my audio out. I wonder if it's because I'm using an Mbox. (grrrrr) I did make sure Jack knew about the Mbox, but it doesn't want to play anything, and tells me it has trouble building a playback engine.
I've tried many routing cominations but none seem to work.

What sort of audio out are you using that works for this?


Alex Reynolds
Posts: 989
Joined: Sat Jul 13, 2002 5:48 am
Location: Philadelphia, PA, USA

Post by Alex Reynolds » Thu Jan 22, 2004 12:38 am

Try Cycling74's free Soundflower:


Works great for me!



Simple two audio out method!

Post by LP » Thu Jan 22, 2004 11:38 am

Thanks for the Soundflower tip, but I couldn't get it to work with the Mbox. BUT WAIT! Check this out:

Live set with Mbox as in/out.
Jack VST plug on track one, with Jack not authorised to use Mbox.
In Jack's Connections Manager, link Live's JackVST to the built-in audio.
No need for any other audio app to rout through. (although Plogue Bidule is pretty cool in its own right!)

I know you don't get to use the pre-listening in the sample browser, but if you dedicate a track with Jack VST as an the audition track, you can work on it on headphones without affecting the main playback, and drag it to another track when you're ready.

Hope this helps someone.javascript:emoticon(':D')

Posts: 10
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2004 9:23 am
Location: Brisbane, Australia

Post by ashleybrown » Fri Jan 23, 2004 3:20 pm

I still have to test this to verify the actual latency but it seems very low. Also no noticable pops and cracks (although a few people have mentioned that they've experienced this with either Jack or Soundflower).

I'm using a Tascam US-428 (4 in , but only 2 out). I use this for the main mix. And now I can use my PowerBook out for pre-listening to samples, cueing up stuff etc... I've actually been routing both the tascam and the powerbooks line out through a Beringher desk for a little more control over the monitoring. And I need to run Bidule anyway, and although I haven't tried this yet, I reckon I might just be able to tie my VSTi's in Bidule back through Jack to come out through Live (and the main mix)!

Overall very impressed with Jack so far...

Setup is PowerBook G4 500, 512 MB RAM and OS X 10.3


Post by Guest » Tue May 11, 2004 6:51 pm

how do you create a virtual 4 output device in Jack??

Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Jul 21, 2004 5:26 pm

Post by akashik » Mon Sep 06, 2004 9:17 pm

Instead of using Bidule or any other cpu intensive app, use Line In from rogue amoeba with jack tools. and it´s free.

then you can route Live´s out 1/2 to for example Audiophile 2496 outs via jack tools and then live´s 3/4 PLF to your built in sound card via jack tools through Line In. There´s a little bit of latency that you can adjust to an almost unnoticeable delay.


Macbook Pro 2.8ghz
Leo 10.5.8
Audiophile USB

Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2004 4:11 pm


Post by kupe » Tue Sep 14, 2004 7:42 pm

I ve an imic and no other audiointerface just the built in audio (g4) tryed all possibilitys but it didnt work for me with LineIn and Jacktools had someone luck with that?


Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Jan 20, 2005 4:08 am
Location: Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

Making it work

Post by chris_beckstrom » Thu Jan 20, 2005 4:15 am

Check it out: I spent a long time trying to figure this out (these things don't come easy to me)

1) Open JackPilot, LineIn (freeware), and then Live
2) Live:
- Input: [your external audio interface]
- Output: JackPilot
Master: Jackpilot 1/2
Prelisten: Jackpilot 3/4

3) LineIn:
-Input from: Jack audio server
-Output to: [your external audio interface]

4) JackPilot:
make these connections:
1) LineIn out 1->Built in audio in 1
2) LineIn out 2 ->Built in audio in 2
3) Live out 1 ->LineIn in 1
4) Live out 2 ->Linein in 2
5) Live out 3 ->Built in audio in 1
6) Live out 4->Built in audio 2

5) Hit "Pass thru" in LineIn, and it should work

Upon re-examining this, I'm not sure exactly why it works... but it did for me! I hope this helps

Posts: 347
Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2005 11:44 am

I've got line-in and do i do it?!

Post by zfigz » Tue Nov 15, 2005 9:33 pm

Chris, maybe you could clear this up a bit. I open up Jack, LIneIn, and then Live.

When you say to set the input from JAck Audio SErver, I never see that as an option in LineIn...I see it in Live but not in LineIn, could someone give me head's up on this?

Posts: 4757
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 7:17 pm
Location: Indianapolis, USA

Post by AdamJay » Tue Nov 15, 2005 9:44 pm

just to update this thread
since OSX 10.4 tiger, folks may want to consider using Tiger's built in "aggregate audio" features in Audio Midi Setup.

you can combine multiple soundcards at the Core Audio level now.
very, very handy.

Posts: 347
Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2005 11:44 am


Post by zfigz » Tue Nov 15, 2005 9:45 pm

my, I'll try that...thanks Adam for the heads up...

Post Reply