by Craig Anderton
ReWire is a software protocol that allows a ReWire client to feed audio into a ReWire host’s mixer, all within the same computer. (There are other aspects as well, such as transport sync between the two applications; you can find more information in Propellerhead Software's ReWire pages, as well as tutorials on using ReWire with various programs.) For example, Propellerheads' Reason makes an excellent ReWire client that can provide a suite of virtual synths for a ReWire host like Logic, Sonar, Cubase, Live, Pro Tools, and the like. Furthermore, some programs (like Ableton Live) can act as a ReWire client or host. So if you want to use Ableton Live’s groove-oriented features as a client with a more linear-oriented ReWire host such as Pro Tools, that’s possible as well.
Apple’s Logic Pro traditionally had a reputation of being temperamental to use with ReWire, but that changed with Logic 8, which greatly simplified the process. To illustrate the process of ReWiring with Logic Pro, we’ll show how to ReWire Reason’s mixed output into Logic, then how to assign Reason instruments to individual tracks.
Note that the order in which programs are opened usually matters with ReWire. With Logic Pro, the ReWire-compatible program has to be opened after Logic Pro, and closed before you close Logic Pro.
Start off with an open Logic project; click on Track, then select New (Fig. 1).
Fig. 1: Create a new track in Logic.
When the New Tracks dialog appears, select 1 track for Number, External MIDI for Type, and check Open Library (Fig. 2). Then, click on Create.
Fig. 2: Specify the desired parameters for the new Track.
Under the Library tab, a list of available ReWire devices appears (Fig. 3). Double-click on (in this example) Reason, or whichever ReWire device you want to use. The ReWire device will launch.
Fig. 3: Locate the ReWire client in a list, then launch it.
You now need to create an auxiliary input to accept Reason’s output. So, click on the Mixer tab, and under Options, choose Create New Auxiliary Channel Strips (Fig. 4).
Fig. 4: Create an auxiliary input that Reason can feed.
Now you need to define the auxiliary input’s characteristics (Fig. 5). Specify the Number (1), Format (stereo), Input, and Output. Under Input, select Reason and RW:Mix L/R to pick up Reason’s mixed output; then click on Create.
Fig. 5: Set up parameters for the auxiliary input.
Assuming the Mixer tab is still selected, you’ll see Reason’s main, mixed stereo output appear as a track (Fig. 6).
Fig. 6: Reason’s output appears as a track.
However, you’re not limited to feeding in only Reason’s mixed output; it’s also possible to bring individual Reason instrument outputs into tracks. Create another auxiliary input and define it (as shown previously in Figs. 4 and 5), then click on Create. In Fig. 7, Reason output channels 3+4 are being selected, because Dr. REX has been patched into these outputs in Reason itself.
Fig. 7: Reason output channels 3 and 4 are being fed into Logic Pro.
After clicking on Create, you’ll see a new track with the individual instrument you selected (Fig. 8). You can keep following a similar procedure to assign additiona instruments.
Fig. 8: A new track appears with the individual instrument.
Finally, note that this is also a good time to rename your tracks so you can keep your project organized. Assuming Track Name is selected under View, double-click on the track name and enter text into the text field.
Craig Anderton is Editor Emeritus of Harmony Central. He has played on, mixed, or produced over 20 major label releases (as well as mastered over a hundred tracks for various musicians), and written over a thousand articles for magazines like Guitar Player, Keyboard, Sound on Sound (UK), and Sound + Recording (Germany). He has also lectured on technology and the arts in 38 states, 10 countries, and three languages.