How To Stream Ableton Audio On Zoom? (Use Third-Party Programs)

Zoom is one of the most well-known and widely used video chat platforms around, and has been a mainstay for online meetings and catch-ups.

It has also transformed the music industry, allowing for seamless collaboration, education, and sharing of ideas globally.

Despite Zoom’s obvious convenience, routing audio from Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs) like Ableton Live to it can be challenging and require the use of third-party plugins.

In this article, we’ll jump into how to use third-party plugins to stream your Ableton audio to Zoom.

How to Use Third-Party Programs to Stream Ableton Audio to Zoom

Zoom is the go-to video chat platform for millions, offering versatile “Meetings” that can accommodate anywhere from one-on-one to 100 participants for up to 45 minutes on the free plan. For larger meetings, the “Large Meeting” plan is available, which can host up to 500 participants.

Zoom’s “Screen Sharing” and “Recording” features make Zoom a popular choice for music producers and musicians, who use it to share music, collaborate, and offer lessons.

In the modern age, the connection between producers and musicians across the world has never been easier, but video chat and conference programs have not made it any easier to integrate DAWs or audio software into their processes.

This is why we’ll need to turn to third-party plugins to find the answer to our connection issues.

Mac and Windows operate in completely different ways, which means we’ll need different programs and methods to stream your Ableton audio into Zoom. But don’t fear, we’ll make sure to go through all the steps for both operating systems as clearly and efficiently as possible.

How to Stream Ableton Audio to Zoom for Mac:

The Mac operating system will only need one third-party plugin to work and be able to route audio from Ableton through to Zoom. We’ll be looking at Blackhole as a quick and efficient option for this.

Blackhole is a free, open-source program that can be used to route audio between applications on your Mac computer.

Follow these steps to use Blackhole to stream your Ableton audio to Zoom:

Step 1: Download Blackhole
The first step is to download and install Blackhole. Once the installation is complete, make sure to restart your computer.

Step 2: Create a Multi-Output Device

The second step is to create a “Multi-Output Device” through your Mac Audio Settings.

  1. Using Spotlight to navigate to audio Settings, Click the plus icon on the bottom left-hand corner.
  2. Now select create ‘Multi-Output Device’
  3. Once the device is created, choose which devices will be included. These would devices would be your audio interface as well as ‘Blackhole 16ch’
  4. Make sure to check the ‘Drift Correction’ box next to Blackhole.

Step 3: Setup Ableton Settings

Next, open up Ableton Live and navigate to Live’s ‘Preferences’

  1. In the ‘Audio’ tab, select the ‘Audio Output’ menu and choose the ‘Multi-Output Device’ that you’ve just created.
  2. For your audio input, you can select your audio interface or whatever you’re going to be using to capture sound.

Step 4: Setup Zoom Settings

The final step is to set up your Zoom settings.

  1. Navigate to your settings by clicking the gear icon on the top right corner of your Zoom application.
  2. Then, select the Audio tab on the list on the left.
  3. In the ‘Microphone’ drop-down menu, select ‘Blackhole 16ch’ as the input device.

Your Ableton audio should now be routed to Zoom’s input, where your microphone or any virtual instrument can now be heard in a Zoom meeting or call.

How to Stream Ableton Audio to Zoom for Windows:

The Windows operating system is a little more complicated than Mac when it comes to routing audio, and will need a few more external applications to get it working. But don’t worry, we’ll run through all the steps you need to take to get your Ableton audio running through Zoom.

The third-party plugins we’ll be using are ReaStream, a free plugin developed by Reaper, as well as a free audio driver called VB Cable. We’ll also need another program called OBS, which is software for video and audio live-streaming.

Here are the steps you’ll need to follow to stream your Ableton audio to Zoom:

Step 1:Download OBS Studio

The first step is to download and install OBS studio, software designed to allow for video recording and live streaming.

Step 2: Download ReaStream
The next step is to download and install Reastream from Reaper, which is an application that allows for audio to be routed between programs on your PC.

Step 3: Download VB-Audio Virtual Cable

Once you’ve got ReaStream set up, you’ll need to download and install a Virtual instrument Cable by VB-Audio. Once you’ve extracted the download file, make sure to run the application as an administrator.

Step 4: Create an Audio Input Capture Device on OBS Studio

Once OBS Studio is open, the next step is to create a new Audio Input Capture Device.

  1. To do this, in the Sources window, click the plus button.
  2. Navigate to audio input capture, and under ‘Device’ select an unused input.
  3. The next step is to right-click on the Source Input you just created, and select ‘Filters’ from the dropdown menu.
  4. From the Filters menu, select add a VST Plugin and select ReaStream.
  5. In the ReaStream window, select ‘Receive Audio’
  6. Next, open up the settings wheel on the Audio Mixer window, and head to Advanced Audio Properties. Under ‘Audio Monitoring’ select ‘Monitor and Output’
  7. The final step in OBS Studio is to navigate to OBS Settings on the bottom right and go to the ‘Audio’ tab, and under ‘Monitoring Device’, select VB-Audio Virtual Cable.

Step 5: Configure Ableton

Now head over to Ableton, and navigate to your Plug-ins folder. Once you’ve found the ReaStream plugin, drag that into your Ableton master bus channel as the last plugin in that chain.

Next, select ‘Send Audio’ and ‘Local Broadcast’ from the dropdown menu.

Step 6: Configure Zoom Settings

We’re almost there!

  1. On Zoom, navigate to your ‘Audio Settings’
  2. Under your ‘Microphone,’ select ‘VB-Audio Virtual Cable,’ which is the other end of that virtual cable.
  3. For the highest audio quality possible, make sure to set your ‘Suppressed Background Noise’ too low,  and checkmark:
    • ‘Turn on original sound,’
    • ‘High fidelity music mode,’ and
    • ‘Stereo audio.’
  4. Make sure to turn on the ‘Turn On Original Sound’ on the top left of the window in zoom.

That’s it, your Ableton Audio should now be routed to the input of your Zoom!

Here’s a recap, to give a simpler understanding of the mechanics of this process.

We start by sending audio from our Ableton Live to OBS Studio using the ReaStream by Reaper plugin. From there, we send the audio signal from OBS to Zoom, via the VB-Audio Virtual Cable, which acts as a virtual pipeline for routing audio between applications.

Please also check out our article with easy explanations for common problems on Ableton Live 11.

Final Thoughts

Although this might seem like quite a tedious and overwhelming process, it’s well worth the effort, as it opens up the ability to use Zoom in all kinds of new and exciting ways.

Setting up Zoom to stream Ableton audio can enhance live streams and music production sessions, stepping up the level of your online profile. It also allows for live performance to an audience and collaboration with musicians globally.

Integrating Ableton audio into Zoom improves the audio experience on video chat for both the performer and the audience, allowing for a deeper connection between musician and listener.


Ableton Help – How to route audio between applications

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