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What is ReWire?

Published: Thu February 24, 2005  News Feed

ReWire is a system for transferring audio data between two computer applications, in real time. Basically, you could view ReWire as an \"invisible cable\" that streams audio from one computer program into another.

ReWire was developed by Propellerhead Software AB in 1998 and first appeared in Propellerheads\' ReBirth RB-338 and Steinberg Soft- & Hardware\'s Cubase VST, allowing the two programs to communicate in a way that hadn\'t been possible before. Since then, a version 2 of ReWire has been released, with several significant improvements and additions. Today, a number of software applications from different manufacturers support ReWire.

So, what can ReWire do?
ReWire has the following features:

Real-time streaming of up to 256 individual audio channels (up to 64 with ReWire 1) from one application to another.
Real-time streaming of up to 4080 individual MIDI channels from one application to another (255 MIDI buses with 16 channel per bus). This feature requires ReWire 2.
High-precision synchronization - complete, glitch-free sync between the two applications, with no settings to make and no parameters to worry about.
Common transport functions - if both applications have built-in sequencers of some sort, you can play, stop, rewind etc. in any of the applications and they will both locate to the same position.
Additional querying - one application can \"ask\" the other about audio channel names, etc. This feature requires ReWire 2.
How do you use ReWire?
To start with, you need two programs that support ReWire. One of these programs is the \"synth application\" (the application generating audio) and the other is the \"mixer application\" (the application to which you want to stream the audio). Typically, the synth application could be a stand-alone software synthesizer such as Propellerhead Software\'s Reason, while the mixer application could be a hard disk recording program, audio sequencer, digital audio workstation, etc.

After you have activated ReWire in the mixer application and launched the synth application (in that order), the following happens:

All audio from the synth application will appear in the mixer application. This means you can use the mixer application to adjust levels, add EQ and effects, etc. For example, if your synth application is Reason, you can have the sound from the different Reason devices appear on separate mixer channels in the mixer application, where you can freely mix and route them.

You can route MIDI from the mixer application to the synth application (requires that both applications support ReWire 2). This means you can have any sequencer track etc. in the mixer application play a sound source in the synth application - in effect, you can control everything from the mixer application.

If both applications have built-in sequencers, transport will automatically be linked - start playback in one application and the other follows automatically and instantly, in perfect synchronization.

That\'s basically it! For a more detailed walkthrough, click here!
Sounds great! How do I get it?
You don\'t download or purchase ReWire - it\'s not a separate product. If a program supports it, ReWire is a part of that program and is automatically installed when you install the program.

Two programs that support ReWire are Propellerhead Software\'s Reason or ReBirth RB-338 - if you own both you can run them together with Reason as the mixer application and ReBirth as the synth application. Reason can also act as a synth application as mentioned above. For this, you need another mixer application - an audio sequencer program that supports ReWire.

Here is a list of programs that support ReWire.

  • Ableton Live - Synth and Mixer application
  • Adobe Audition
  • Arkaos ArKaos VJ
  • Arturia Storm
  • Bitheadz Retro AS-1 
  • Bitheadz Unity DS-1
  • Cakewalk Sonar 2.0 or higher
  • Cycling \'74 MAX/MSP
  • Digidesign Pro Tools 6.1
  • Emagic Logic Audio 6.0 (Mac OS)
  • Emagic Logic Audio, versions 4.7.3 - 5 (Windows & Mac OS 9)
  • Emagic Logic Audio Platinum 6.1 with Digidesign Protools TDM and ESB (Mac OS)
  • Emagic Logic Audio Platinum 5.0 with Digidesign Protools TDM and ESB
  • Companion E&D Intuem RW
  • Mark Of The Unicorn Digital Performer 4
  • Mark Of The Unicorn Digital Performer 2.7 and 3.x
  • Opcode Systems Inc. Vision DSP
  • Opcode Systems Inc. Studio Vision
  • Plogue Art et Technologie Bidule
  • Propellerhead Software Reason
  • Propellerhead Software ReBirth RB-338
  • Raw Material Software Tracktion 1.2
  • Refuse SoftwarereFuse
  • Sony ACID Pro 5.0
  • Sony ACID 4.0
  • Speedsoft Audio Tools VSampler 3
  • Steinberg Cubase SX
  • Steinberg Cubase SL
  • Steinberg Cubase SE
  • Steinberg Cubase VST 5.1 (PC)
  • Steinberg Cubase VST 5.1 (Mac)
  • Steinberg Cubase VST 4.1r2 (Mac)
  • Steinberg Cubase VST 3.7 (PC)
  • Steinberg Nuendo 1.5 and later
  • Synapse Audio Software Orion
  • Toontrack Music dfh SUPERIOR
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