What is audio MIDI setup used for?

What is Audio MIDI Setup?

Audio MIDI Setup is a utility app included with macOS that allows you to manage audio and MIDI devices connected to your Mac (Audio MIDI Setup for Mac). It provides an interface to configure and set up your audio and MIDI interfaces, instruments, and devices. The app shows all available audio sources and destinations on your Mac, such as built-in audio, external audio interfaces, virtual audio channels, and inter-app audio.

In Audio MIDI Setup, you can choose audio devices for input and output, manage sample rates and bit depths, create aggregate devices to access multiple interfaces as one device, configure MIDI studio setups and routing, etc. It allows seamless integration and communication between audio apps, hardware instruments, MIDI controllers, and virtual instruments on your system (emagic mt4 and logic? [SOLVED]).

In summary, Audio MIDI Setup provides a centralized interface to configure and manage the audio and MIDI setup on your Mac. It enables routing audio and MIDI between apps, hardware, and virtual instruments for music production, audio recording, live performance, and more.

Configuring Audio Devices

Audio MIDI Setup can be used to configure audio interfaces, built-in audio devices, and other audio hardware connected to your Mac. Some key settings that can be configured include:

Sample rate – The standard sample rates are 44.1 kHz and 48 kHz. Higher sample rates like 88.2 kHz and 96 kHz provide better audio quality but require more system resources.[1]

Bit depth – Common bit depths are 16-bit and 24-bit. 24-bit provides greater dynamic range and audio resolution compared to 16-bit.[1]

Buffer size – Lower buffer sizes reduce audio latency but require more processing power. Adjusting this can help minimize audible clicks, pops, or crackles.[1]

In Audio MIDI Setup, you can configure each audio device’s input, output, and channel layouts. This allows you to optimize the settings for specific equipment and use cases.

Managing MIDI Devices

The Audio MIDI Setup utility allows you to connect and manage MIDI devices like keyboards, controllers, synthesizers and more on your Mac. You can view all available MIDI input and output ports and troubleshoot any connection issues.

To connect a MIDI device, simply plug it into your Mac via USB or MIDI interfaces. The device will appear in the MIDI Studio window automatically. You can click on a device to view its input and output ports. For external devices like MIDI keyboards, you may need to install the manufacturer’s drivers before the device shows up properly.

If you are having trouble getting your MIDI device to connect, first check that drivers are installed correctly if required. Try disconnecting and reconnecting the device, or connect it to a different USB port. You can also click the “Rescan MIDI” button in Audio MIDI Setup to refresh the devices list. If issues persist, consult the device manufacturer’s documentation for troubleshooting tips.

The MIDI Studio window is useful for identifying any MIDI connection problems between apps, external devices and virtual software instruments. Make sure MIDI input and output ports are matched properly between your external gear and music software.

Creating Virtual MIDI Ports

Virtual MIDI ports can be useful for routing MIDI between applications on your computer without any physical MIDI cables. They act like virtual endpoints that MIDI can be sent to and from. Some key uses for virtual MIDI ports include:

  • Sending MIDI from a music production app to a plugin hosted in another DAW
  • Routing MIDI between apps that don’t otherwise support MIDI routing
  • Connecting MIDI keyboards/controllers to music apps without a physical MIDI interface

To create virtual MIDI ports in Audio MIDI Setup, follow these steps:

  1. Open Audio MIDI Setup (located in Applications > Utilities)
  2. Select Show MIDI Studio in the Window menu
  3. Double click the IAC Driver icon
  4. Click the Add button under IAC Bus to create a new virtual port
  5. Double click the port and rename it to your liking
  6. Repeat as needed to create multiple virtual MIDI ports

This will create both a virtual MIDI input and output port with the same name. They can then be used by MIDI apps and routed to each other. Refer to your DAW or app’s documentation for specifics on selecting virtual MIDI ports as inputs and outputs.

For more details, see this guide: Creating virtual MIDI ports

Setting Up Aggregate Devices

Audio MIDI Setup allows you to combine multiple audio interfaces into a single aggregate device for more flexible routing options. This is useful if you have multiple audio interfaces connected to your computer and want to access all their inputs and outputs from a single device.

To create an aggregate device in Audio MIDI Setup:

  1. Open Audio MIDI Setup
  2. Click the “+” button in the bottom left corner
  3. Select “Create Aggregate Device”
  4. Check the boxes next to each interface you want to include in the aggregate device
  5. Name the aggregate device
  6. Click “Done”

The aggregate device will now appear as if it’s a single interface, with the combined inputs and outputs of the selected interfaces. This allows you to route audio between the interfaces as if they are all part of the same device. You can create multiple aggregate devices to suit different workflows.

For more details see this helpful guide: How To Create Output Controls For A Multi Output Device Mac

Using I/O Labels

The I/O Labels window in Audio MIDI Setup allows you to assign custom names to your audio and MIDI ports to help identify devices (1). This can be useful when dealing with multiple audio interfaces or MIDI devices connected to your system.

To access the I/O Labels window, open Audio MIDI Setup and choose “Window > Show I/O Labels” from the menu bar. You’ll see a list of all your audio and MIDI ports. Double click on a port name to edit it and type in a custom label. For example, you could name your audio interface’s inputs and outputs something like “Scarlett 2i2 In 1”, “Scarlett 2i2 Out 1”, etc (1).

The custom I/O labels you create will be available in audio production apps like Logic Pro. Having descriptive names for your ports makes it much easier to identify and route devices in your projects (2). Simply enabling the I/O Labels in Logic Pro will replace the generic port names with your custom labels.

In summary, the I/O Labels feature in Audio MIDI Setup is extremely useful for naming your audio and MIDI ports in a way that makes sense for your workflow. Taking the time to properly label devices will save you a lot of confusion when routing in music production apps.

Enabling DLS Music Devices

The Apple General MIDI DLS (Down-Loadable Sound) Synthesizer is a software instrument included with macOS that allows you to play MIDI files using high-quality instrument sounds. To enable the DLS synth in Audio MIDI Setup:

1. Open Audio MIDI Setup and go to the MIDI Studio window.

2. Double-click the IAC Driver icon.

3. Go to the Properties for Driver window and check the box for “DLS Music Device.”

This will add the DLS Music Device as an available instrument in Audio MIDI Setup. You can now route MIDI data to it to hear MIDI playback using the DLS sound bank 1.

In addition to the built-in DLS synth, you can also use Audio MIDI Setup to connect software instruments from third parties like Native Instruments or Arturia. To do this:

1. Install the software instrument on your Mac.

2. Open Audio MIDI Setup and go to Window > Show MIDI Studio.

3. Click the + icon to create a new External MIDI track.

4. Select the software instrument from the dropdown menu.

Now your software synths will show up as available MIDI devices, allowing you to route MIDI data to them for playback.

Troubleshooting Setup

If you run into issues with audio or MIDI devices not working properly, there are some troubleshooting steps you can take in Audio MIDI Setup to try and resolve them:

Check for missing devices – Open the Audio MIDI Setup app and make sure all your connected audio and MIDI devices are listed. If any are missing, try disconnecting and reconnecting them. You may need to restart your Mac as well.

Reset audio settings – Go to the Audio window and click the gear icon in the bottom left. Choose “Reset Audio” to revert audio configurations back to default. This can fix misconfigured audio devices.

Change sample rate – If you’re getting crackling sounds or pops, go to your audio interface or sound card’s settings and change the sample rate. 41Khz or 48Khz usually works best. Make sure it matches your audio software’s sample rate.

Update drivers – Check the software/driver versions for each device and update them if necessary. Outdated drivers can cause conflicts.

Isolate MIDI issues – Try disconnecting all MIDI devices except one. If that MIDI device starts working properly, the issue is with the other devices. Reconnect them one at a time to identify problems.

Repair MIDI connections – Make sure MIDI Out is connected to MIDI In for each device, and that devices show up in both the Audio and MIDI Studio windows. Delete and recreate virtual ports if needed.

Reset MIDI settings – In the MIDI Studio window menu, choose “Reset MIDI Settings” to clear any bad MIDI configs.

If you still can’t resolve problems after trying these steps, searching Apple’s support site or contacting the device manufacturer may help debug more persistent issues.

Alternatives to Audio MIDI Setup

While Audio MIDI Setup is the default app for configuring audio and MIDI on Mac, there are other options available. Many Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs) like Logic Pro, Cubase, and Ableton Live have their own audio and MIDI configuration settings built in.

For example, Logic Pro has an Audio preferences window that allows you to select audio input and output devices. You can set sample rates, buffer sizes and enable/disable devices directly within Logic. This means you don’t need to use Audio MIDI Setup if you mainly work in Logic.

DAWs like Ableton Live also have preferences for configuring audio and MIDI routing. Live allows you to set up multiple audio and MIDI inputs and outputs without needing Audio MIDI Setup. The main advantage of using a DAW’s built-in configuration is that it’s tailored specifically for that software.

Hardware audio mixers are another alternative for audio routing and configuration. For example, connecting synths and microphones to a mixer, then connecting the mixer’s main outs to your audio interface can handle much of the audio routing. This setup bypasses the need for configuring aggregates and complex routing in Audio MIDI Setup.

The main downside of hardware mixers is the lack of flexibility compared to software solutions. While mixersexcel at simple audio routing, Audio MIDI Setup provides more customizable options for complex professional setups.


Audio MIDI Setup allows users to configure and manage audio and MIDI devices connected to a Mac. It provides an interface to create virtual MIDI ports, set up aggregate devices that combine multiple inputs/outputs, apply I/O labels, and enable DLS music devices. The utility is most commonly used when experiencing issues with audio interfaces, MIDI controllers, or virtual instruments not behaving as expected in music production software.

Audio MIDI Setup should be used whenever audio or MIDI devices are not working properly in other applications. It can help troubleshoot system configuration problems by providing greater control over how devices interact with each other and the system. While alternatives like the Audio Devices pane in System Preferences allow some basic setup, Audio MIDI Setup provides more advanced options critical for music production and pro audio work.

In summary, Audio MIDI Setup is an important utility for media professionals to optimize audio and MIDI workflows on a Mac. Whenever experiencing issues with audio devices, MIDI devices, or virtual instruments, Audio MIDI Setup should be consulted to identify and resolve any system configuration problems.

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