A friend of mine and I want to jam together on our laptops using Live. I've got a Mac, and he's got a PC running Windows 7. Using MIDI to sync the two laptops is very unreliable; even with Live 8, there is noticeable clock drift, and if we want to change the tempo, the laptops go out of sync and everything sounds terrible until the MIDI clock "settles".

On Mac OSX, this is a no-brainer: use the network MIDI interface and airport (or ethernet), and everything works great. But how can I sync a Mac with a PC with the same level of reliability and synchronization?

  • The Ableton forums frequently see people complaining about the MIDI sync feature in Live. This is secondhand information from me, but supposedly your problem is not uncommon and has caused several people to give up entirely.
    – Warrior Bob
    Dec 13, 2010 at 20:48
  • do you have some links to the forum?
    – bluszcz
    Nov 13, 2012 at 14:07

4 Answers 4


Try rtpMIDI from Tobais Erichsen to add a MIDI interface on your PC compatible with the OS X network MIDI interface.

MIDI sync should work just fine. My guess is that if it isn't, your external MIDI interface is dropping some messages (maybe due to a full buffer?), and you are losing some timing clock messages. I've seen this happen with many MIDI interfaces... specifically those from Alesis.

Please post back if this doesn't work for you. You might also try a different MIDI adapter.

  • Nik Reiman: The rtpMIDI works Perfectly. :D
    – user8147
    May 4, 2014 at 9:00

I've even noticed the integrated network MIDI sync in Mac OS produces bad results. A hardware MIDI sync option is probably your best bet. Firewire sound cards with MIDI interfaces on both ends should work flawlessly.

Cheap alternative shot might be using OSC? I've had better experience with OSC for controlling VDMX from Live over the network. That might involve sending TAP commands from one end to another with a Max4Live device, or using an OSC MIDI wrapper.

  • Why mention firewire? That is irrelevant here. If you were trying to imply a quality external audio interface with built-in MIDI, I assure you there are plenty of quality USB options as well.
    – Brad
    Dec 15, 2010 at 21:49
  • I agree w/ Brad here. Actually FW will make no difference here, as the MIDI interface for an external audio interface will still suffer the same latency issues due to MIDI's transmission speed. The fact that FW can transfer very slow MIDI packets to your computer very quickly makes no difference.
    – Nik Reiman
    Dec 16, 2010 at 7:47

This happens because the quality of the internal soundcard on the PC laptop is crap and whatever it is using for its clock (even if its synced it still keeps its own time) is not very solid.

I am assuming that you are attempting to do this via a network and therefore aren't using either an external soundcard (firewire or usb, MAudio Fastrack for ex) or an external MIDI interface (MOTU MTP AV, for example) on the PC. The MacBooks have a surprisingly Pro Audio capable soundcard and as such are quite capable of keeping sync with other MacBooks yet a PC Laptop's built-in soundcard will almost NEVER be up to snuff. Sorry but you need a Audio/MIDI interface for the PC or another Macbook to make it work over the network.


There is in fact another solution that I'm about to try. It's called Coperlan Manager, and you can find it here : http://www.copperlan.org/index.php/download

Works on mac and windows, and it appears to be driverless.

Apparently super simple, cross-platform software for midi over ethernet, with no extra hardware needed.

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