Transfer Logic Project to Ableton Live (Explained)

Logic Pro X and Ableton Live are two of the most popular Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs) in usage today and both have an incredible capacity for music creation.

Being a songwriter and artist I have found both to be so useful: each with their respective strengths.

There are instances where it may be necessary to move Logic Pro X projects into Ableton Live and in this article we look at whether this is even possible and some of the ways this can be done.

Here’s Whether You can Open a Logic Project in Ableton Live:

Logic Pro X projects cannot be opened in Ableton Live directly. There is no way to convert or reprogram the actual Logic project that would allow it to open in Ableton. There are, however, methods to move your recorded audio and MIDI from Logic into a new Ableton session.

Macbook open with black headphones resting on keyboard

How Can I get Logic Files onto Ableton Live?

Each DAW has a unique file format for its projects. And, as mentioned above, the format of Logic files is not directly compatible with Ableton Live.

Therefore, you will need to export your Logic Pro X files as standard audio and MIDI files.

Here’s how:

    1. In Logic, select the audio channels you would like to export.
    2. Then, click ‘File’ > ‘Export’
    3. Now, select ‘X Tracks as audio files’
    4. Enter your desired audio settings and the location you want your exported audio files to be placed.

The exported files will then need to be imported to Ableton. Generally, exported audio can be dragged and dropped into any other DAW to recreate your original project.

How do I Import Audio Files into Ableton?

Compatible audio file formats are pretty standard across most DAWs (e.g mp3, WAV, etc.), making the process fairly simple.

What is essential before importing is to set your Ableton Live session to the same tempo (in bpm) and time signature (eg. 4/4,  6/8, 2/4). This will lay out the correct bar counts and subdivisions making the placement of audio far easier.

Importing audio into Ableton is as straightforward as dragging and dropping the audio into a session.

Alternatively, select an empty clip slot in an audio track and click “create”> Import Audio File…”

You can place the audio exactly where it’s needed, either as a clip in session view or at a particular time position in arrangement view.

It’s important to make note of where your audio is placed in your original project.

How do I Correctly Bounce Audio from Logic?

Bouncing and exporting audio files is quite an easy process but it is a task that needs to be done correctly in order that a “mirror image” of your Logic project can be produced in Ableton.

  • Bouncing audio refers to the process of exporting a whole musical arrangement and converting it into a single stereo audio file.
  • Exporting, by contrast, results in individually exported audio tracks or regions.

If there are multiple instruments or samples that you wish to combine into one stereo audio file (e.g., a drumkit or percussion rack with individual sounds) then simply:

  1. Solo each track and drag out the loop cycle to the length of the song.
  2. Press ‘cmd + B’ and set the audio to whatever format and quality you desire.
  3. WAV files at 24 bit with a 44.1kHz sample rate are recommended.

How do I Export MIDI Files from Logic Pro X?

The process to export MIDI from Logic Pro X is simple:

  1. Make sure the MIDI that needs to be exported is all in one continuous MIDI region (join multiple regions across the duration of a song).
  2. Drag out the loop cycle to the length of the song.
  3. Right-click on the MIDI region and select ‘Export as MIDI file…’
  4. Choose the desired location for exported MIDI.

How do I Import Midi Files into Ableton?

“MIDI” stands for Musical Instrument Digital Interface and is the universal language of digital instruments across any DAW.

This is incredibly useful because MIDI can be exported from a particular DAW and then imported into another DAW to reproduce the same arrangement and playing of software instruments.

  1. To import MIDI files into Ableton Live click ‘Create’
  2. Then, ‘Insert MIDI Track’
  3. Once a MIDI track is created and an empty clip slot is selected.
  4. Now, simply click ‘Create’ > ‘Import MIDI File…’

Please note: To complete the process of importing MIDI, the correct software instruments and patches must be loaded onto these MIDI channels to recreate your original software instrument performance within your new Ableton Live project.

Does Ableton Support AAF and OMF File Types?

AAF (Advanced Authoring Format) and OMF (Open Media Framework) are file formats that are used by DAWs such as Logic Pro X and Pro Tools, as well as some video editing software.

These file formats provide a way of exporting and importing large projects that have multiple audio tracks, including all track references, time positions, automation, clip gain, pans, markers, and, even some effects.

Unfortunately, Ableton Live does not support AAF or OMF file types. If this is a requirement for you then it is suggested that you try other DAWS (e.g. Logic Pro X and Avid Pro Tools) that do support these file types.

For a more in-depth look at file compatibility, please read our article about what files open in Ableton Live.

Final Thoughts

Working across different DAWs can seem daunting from the outset but having the above information and applying these skills will make moving between DAWs a far more seamless experience.

In my experience, some DAWs handle different aspects of music creation better than others, and having the ability to maximize the strength of each DAW by easily moving your audio and MIDI from one DAW to another is such a useful tool.


Moving a Project from Logic (or any DAW) to Ableton for DJ-ing

Export a Logic Pro project as an AAF file