Knowledge Base

Setting up DAWLink with your DAW

What is DAWLink?

Why DAWLink?

Previously, Video Slave/ADR Master used MIDI Timecode for synchronized playback and MIDI Machine Control for locating while not playing. This worked well but had some drawbacks. To work around a bug with the MTC Pro Tools sends while looping for example, Video Slave/ADR Master also needed to be attached as a HUI controller when using Pro Tools. For synchronized playback on another machine on the local network than the one that hosts the DAW, additional services like Apple's own network MIDI or a physical MIDI connection were needed.

While this all has been working for years we felt like there was a need for an easier and better way to connect Video Slave/ADR Master to the DAW. Ideally, the user would have as few setup steps as possible and the setup would be easy if Video Slave/ADR Master runs on the same machine but also when running it on another machine on the local network. That's the whole idea behind DAWLink.

How does it work?

For best operation, we wanted to avoid the need for separate applications of some sort and we wanted to allow the user to stay within his DAW at all times. So we came up with the idea of a plugin living directly in the DAW session.

Technically speaking, DAWLink consists of two parts:

  • a ReWire bundle
  • a DAW plugin

For the first part, DAWLink acts as ReWire device that can be connected to the DAW just like any other ReWire slave. ReWire provides very accurate timing information so it is the perfect interface to act as a timing source. As ReWire doesn't have any kind of user interface for settings etc, the ReWire bundle is accompanied by a VST/AU/AAX plugin which provides a user interface to setup the connection to Video Slave/ADR Master along with a few other settings.

You can grab the DAWLink installer directly from the DAWLink site. The ZIP file contains both an installer for Mac (.pkg) and for Windows (.exe). When running the installer for your respective operating system you can choose which components should be installed. You currently have five options as shown in the screenshot below (four on Windows as AU is a Mac-only format):

The ReWire bundle however does not need to be installed by all means. The ReWire bundle is the file that contains the actual ReWire protocol implementation. All ReWire-enabled applications on the same machine use the ReWire bundle. DAWLink will only install the ReWire bundle if the currently installed one is older.

If you're using other applications relying on ReWire (other DAWs but also apps like SourceConnect do for example), it may make sense to skip installing the ReWire bundle to make sure they are still working as expected after installing DAWLink. However, it is usually not a problem to have the latest ReWire version installed.


At the time of this writing there are some restrictions when using DAWLink with some DAWs. These may or may not be an issue for you but we still want to list them here so you're aware of them. As we still think that DAWLink improves and simplifies the user experience, we provide it as is while we're looking into finding ways to overcome these limitations. What you currently cannot do with DAWLink:

  • Tempo changes (all DAWs)
    Video Slave/ADR Master needs an absolute time reference and it can only determine that through ReWire using the position in "musical units" in combination with the tempo. When the tempo changes, the timecode cannot be calculated correctly, hence this is unsupported at the moment.
  • Half-speed playback (Pro Tools only)
    Video Slave/ADR Master will not follow half-speed playback at the moment.
  • Scrubbing using the scrubber tool in Pro Tools (F9)
    Video Slave/ADR Master will not properly follow scrubbing using the Scrubber tool out of the box. DAWLink will however create a virtual MMC MIDI port which you can use in Pro Tools as an MMC destination.
  • Wrong timecode positions towards the end of very long sessions
    If you're working in really long sessions, you may notice that Video Slave jumps to seemingly random spots after moving after a certain position (something in the ballpark of 19:25:00:00 at 120 bpm). The reason is a technical limitation with ReWire's maximum timing value. As ReWire doesn't count seconds but musical ticks, you can extend this maximum value easily by setting the session's tempo to e.g. 60 bpm.

Setup in your DAW

Audio Plugin Setup

When loading in the plugin it will likely show "ReWire connection not (yet) established" at first. This doesn't mean anything bad in particular, just that the plugin hasn't yet received a message from the ReWire device. After you have loaded the ReWire device (see below), just click into the session's timeline once or hit play and it should change to "ReWire connection established".


To connect to a Video Slave/ADR Master instance running either on the same machine or on a machine in the local network, just select it from the Destination list. The list is refreshed automatically when new instances appear or disappear but it might take a few seconds after starting/closing Video Slave/ADR Master for it to show up in or to be deleted from the list.


Some DAWs don't support higher frame rates than 30 fps. If you're using higher frame rate videos in Video Slave, you can set the frame rate of DAWLink to a frame rate of up to 60 fps manually in the UI using the dropdown menu.

If you require higher latency values in your session (e.g. if you're using a large number of plugins in your mix session) you may need to compensate for the resulting delay to make sure the playback is in sync. You can enter the delay compensation value in samples here. The value will only be applied during playback.

If you want to use DAWLink only for the purpose of linking the DAW project with a Video Slave / ADR Master project, you can also turn off the sending of synchronization information here.


As stated above, you can now also connect your Video Slave / ADR Master project with your DAW session. This lets you remotely open a Video Slave/ADR Master project. There's even an option to load the project automatically when the DAW session is loaded. This integrates Video Slave and ADR Master into the DAW and it makes it session handling a lot easier - especially if Video Slave/ADR Master runs on another machine on the network (not running the DAW).

ReWire Setup

ReWire Setup in Pro Tools

The setup of ReWire in Pro Tools is rather straight forward.Just drop the DAWLink ReWire instrument into the first insert slot of the same track where you have also placed the DAW Link AAX plugin. It's categorized under multichannel plug-in -> Instrument -> NLA DAW Link ReWire. Move the DAWLink AAX plugin to the second insert slot. It can be found in multichannel plug-in -> Other -> DAWLink.

It should then look something like this:

Due to the fact that ReWire is a protocol based on musical units, please make sure that the Conductor Track in Pro Tools is turned off and that the song tempo marker is at the very left of the timeline in the tempo track. Otherwise, the timecode positions will be completely off.

ReWire Setup in Logic

ReWire devices are loaded by Logic automatically if a certain preference is set when the application is launched. You can check if ReWire is enabled and enable it if needed by opening the application's Audio preferences (Logic Pro X -> Preferences -> Audio). At the bottom you will find a dropdown menu next to "ReWire Behavior". Set it to "Live Mode (Rewire and Internal)".

This setting will be stored independently of the project and you will only need to enable it once.

ReWire Setup in Cubase/Nuendo

You can then enable the ReWire device by selecting it using the Studio -> ReWire menu. This setting will be stored independently of the project and you will only need to enable it once.