Driver Error Compensation

Is it normal for driver error compensation (DEC) to fluctuate in it's effectiveness.  By this I mean, do the settings need to be adjusted based on the amount of CPU that is being used by the computer at the time? Or instead, is it a more stable quantifiable measurement based on an external connection i.e. the type of sound card used.   The reason I ask is firstly because I am looking to set the DEC with a certain degree of accuracy and would prefer to set it once and feel confident that there is as little latency as possible. Secondly, I have noticed that through my own experiments the compensation does vary somewhat and in turn requires re-adjustment.  Is there anything I can do to eliminate this variable and achieve my goal? 


beat roots 4 years ago | 0 comments

1 answer

  • Nick Dixon
    15 answers
    14 votes received
    1 vote

    I am just an Ableton user but this information may be helpful.

    The Driver Error Compensation may need to be adjusted whenever you update hardware(primarily audio interface), software(primarily hardware driver, firmware, or Ableton), operating system(Windows or Mac version), or if you change your audio preferance settings in Ableton.

    For example, if you change your audio interface's driver buffer sample size this may alter your driver error compensation.

    1. Always make sure you optimize your driver buffer sample size and other audio settings in Ableton's audio preferences first.

    2. Then, use the built in lesson from the help menu to set driver error compensation.

    The Ableton website has video tutorials for both of these in the help section.

    Once you do it a few times you no longer need to read the instructions and can test it quickly.

    Do not make the error of adjusting the driver error compensation to a negative number just to make Ableton say their is zero latency. What that actually does is move the delayed recorded audio later instead of adjusting it properly to be on time.


    Keep in mind no audio preference settings are perfect for every project so become familiar with them.

    If you are doing a smaller project with all live recording you may prefer a lower less latency buffer sample size. However keep in mind smaller buffer size will wake your processor more frequently resulting in fewer tracks being required to max your CPU.

    Therefore, for a larger project with dozens of heavily effected and processed tracks you may need a to raise the buffer size to prevent your CPU from maxing out.

    After the recording phase a larger buffer size and a little more latency is not as big of a deal.

    From my understanding just increase by multiples of two and you should be able to get away with adding more effects to the audio you already recorded without maxing out your CPU as quickly as if you kept the buffer size at your recording phase level.

    You may even have room to add MIDI instruments. Then to go further with your MIDI without maxing CPU you can right click and freeze your MIDI tracks so Ableton plays them back as audio instead of preforming the VST instruments each time. 

    Also, keep in mind a sound card or audio interface can help offload audio processing from your computers CPU.

    One last note, streaming sample libraries from a dedicated drive, preferably solid state or at least a 7200 RPM hard disk, separate from the Hard drive your Operating system and Ableton are on will improve the amount of sample streaming you can achieve with VST instruments before maxing out your hard drive. Some larger sample patch based streaming requires multiple hard drives. An example of this is if you want to spread out the streaming of large file size Hi Fi Orchestra with Choir sample libraries. This is good to know because sometimes your Hard Drive can not transfer all the data and the Ableton CPU monitor says it is maxing out but it is really your hard drive maxing out. You can troubleshoot this issue by going to your task manager's performance tab and monitoring if your Processor, RAM, Disk, or connectivity is the one maxing out. 

    This may not be the answer you are looking for but I hope it is information that you find helpful. 



    1 year ago | 0 comments

You need to be logged in, have a Live license, and have a username set in your account to be able to answer questions.

Answers is a new product and we'd like to hear your wishes, problems or ideas.