When using Live’s Export Audio/Video command, the default behavior is to render offline, faster than real time. In most cases this works just fine, however, there are some cases where you’ll want to force live to Export your song in real time, playing the audio as it goes.

For example, very often, I want to give a song a last critical listen as I’m printing the final mix of the day’s work. For this, it’s nice to be able to listen while exporting in real time.

Another more complex example relates to my Virus TI hardware synthesizer. This device has an associated VST/AU plugin that allows you to run the synth as if it were a softsynth, sending MIDI and audio over USB. The catch? It doesn’t support offline rendering. You either have to manually record the Virus’ output to audio tracks (not a bad idea), or force Live to export in real time.

To force real time rendering, just drop an External Audio Effect into an empty track and assign its in/out to a pair of unused jacks on your interface. This device always forces a real time export to occur, since Live assumes it has to do hardware processing. Want to go back to offline exporting? Just deactivate the device using it’s Activator switch:

Picture 69

Whenever you use External Audio Effect to connect to the outside world, Live will automatically render in real so the audio can be processed by your external hardware.