DAWs and Live Performance tools supporting MPE (wiki)

A list of DAWs and how they can be used with expressive instruments.

DAWs with MPE support

  • Bitwig Studio
  • Cubase
  • Traktion Waveform
  • Ardour
  • Camelot
  • Ableton Live 11

Live Performance environments, which support MPE/voice per channel

  • Max/MSP
  • Mainstage (a few instruments are voice per channel)
  • GigPerformer
  • Pure Data - user coded!
  • Usine Hollyhock
  • EigenD - open source

DAWs which support OMNI channel, but not recording multi midi channel midi

  • Logic Pro X (a few instruments are voice per channel)

Other DAWs, that might be problematic !?

  • Propellerhead Reason

a more in-depth discussion of each these is warranted in separate threads, particularly how musicians use them


A DAW does not need to support specificaly MPE as long it has no restriction in recording Midi completely with all Midi channels. The free Ardour for example just works out of the box with any MPE capable VSTi, as does Logic. A DAW like Bitwig, which translates Midi to note expressions for its higher resolution, has to specifically deal with MPE which did create difficulties in the past. (fixed now…)
Live failes, as it ignores Midi channels and throws away crucial information…

May I ask why Logic is labeled as not being able to record multi midi channel? Does it relate to an older Version? I also would say that most of the synths support MPE. The exceptions are instruments which are not ment to be bent, or the older ES E-M-P and ES1.

I made a little scripter to turn any mono synth into a MPE capable poly synth in Logic or Mainstage.
The little sequence I recorded proofs that Logic does record MPE

Another scripter helps with synths that have a limited pitch bend range. All Apple synths seem to be able to be set to 48…

My Logic version is 10.4.4 on Sierra

the important distinction in my mind is
can the daw record an MPEs instruments data on one track.

last time I tried Logic could not record multi channel data on one track, it could only allow it to be passed thru? has this changed? can you now record multiple channels on one track, and see which CC and notes relate to a particular channel (touch)

the next step, for me, is then does the DAW provide tools which allow editing where the expression is attached to the note
e.g. is timbre (cc74), pressure and pitch bend attached to the ‘note/touch’ that it belongs too.
on a daw that doesn’t support per note expression… you have to edit the note and automation separately- and given the amount of data involved thats not very pleasant :slight_smile:

so yeah, none of the daws ‘fails’ , even Live can be make to record and play MPE , but its just not very pleasant to do , as midi is spread over different tracks and the expression data is not ‘connect’ to the note…


My example project has the MPE data recorded within one track. You can also edit it. Its not too comfortable, as you need to filter by channel but it is complete imho…
The advantage of Cubase and Bitwig is, that they deal with note expressions, a VST3 concept. There the cc information is translated into an expression bound to a note…

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cool, perhaps you could talk about how you get logic to work with MPE in a separate topic. (MPE for logic?) - I’d love to hear more about how you set this up, what your scripts do etc.
I’ll admit my knowledge of Logic is years old… perhaps I should revisit it, given it another go :slight_smile:

Ive been meaning to write up a similar post for Live (MPE for Live), as similarly it can be bent to handle MPE, using a few tricks including M4L.

I think its cool, if we can use the daw we are familiar even if it means a bit of extra work.

Camelot from Audiomodeling - live playing environment with MPE support

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