Signal routing in Live

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It’s way too hot over here in Holland. 35 – 38 degrees Celsius where we normally get temperatures around 20 – 25. Needless to say; this isn’t the best time to sit behind the PC but I still wanted to post something. My minimum sits at 1 post per week. So this week a short but hopefully still helpful post. And if temperatures are going to drop later this week I’ll try and add some more posts in between.

When it comes to signal routing then nothing can really match Reason in my opinion. Its support of virtual patch cables can really help you create crazy setups. Of course, the downside to all that is that a lot of stuff needs to be done manually. Side chaining a compressor? Find the sound source yourself, optionally split it using a CV audio splitter and then connect it to the compressor device as well as the intended output.

Even so; Live’s routing schemes shouldn’t be taken lightly either. Lets take a closer look at signal routing in Live…

IO Section

The first thing to do is pull up the IO section. You can do this by clicking the round I-O icon at the right side of the screen. These screenshots show you how it looks like in both the session and arrangement view, though I’ll be focussing on the session view in my post.

Once you pulled up the IO section you’ll notice that you can setup both the incoming as well as the outgoing signal. That is your entry in Live’s routing scheme; here you can control how the signal routing is supposed to be setup.

Pushing and pulling

This is not an official description mind you, but just the way I like to describe it. Every track type in Live, audio & MIDI, allows you to push and pull. However; keep in mind that routing affects what is coming out of the entire track.

As such; if you put an Instrument on a MIDI track then the only kind of outgoing data will be audio. As such you will no longer be able to sent MIDI to another track, simply because only audio is coming out now.

In those cases you should rely on “pulling”, as can be seen in this screenshot (the IO section in the Session view).

If you place an instrument on a MIDI track then ‘MIDI To’ will be replaced with ‘Audio To’. But that doesn’t stop you from being able to add a new MIDI track and use “MIDI From” so that you can basically ‘pull in’ the MIDI signals you wanted to sent over.

The same applies to Audio channels, apart from the changing output option. If you want one track to resample whatever is playing on another track simply use the ‘Audio From’ option.


When you have a VST which supports both incoming audio and MIDI then rest assured; Live has you covered. In those cases you’ll find your audio track sitting in the ‘MIDI To’ box and the moment you select it it will become very clear that the MIDI data is being sent to the VST device sitting on the audio track.


As said; a shorter post. Basically it comes down to the mixer section being much more extensive than you may realize at first. Its not as extensive that you can send one audio signal right into another instrument, but it comes pretty close (and with M4l….).

Bottom line; next time you try to send data across (‘pushing’) but it doesn’t work try the alternative; ‘pull’ the data in as explained above.