How to avoid latency when recording vocals or live instruments?

Hi there, I've browsed for some time regarding this topic but still I want to ask this question again.


Our songs seem to be quite complex and allthough I've got quite a good system we're still having enormous troubles recording vocals and live instruments (e.g. guitars, bass, external synths etc.).


I run with a rme multiface II and have latency times of

Input: 6,5ms

Output: 7,2ms

in Ableton Live

(6GB Ram; 2,8GHz Quadcore and Win7 64bit)

I'm running the most recent asio hammerfall dsp drivers and I know I could bounce the whole track and record external lines there to reinsert them in the project for further tweaking and adjusting but isn't there a simpler way?

I tried using track delay but was astonished that I needed around 300ms to make it sound on track and then on playback the recorded lines started to drag pretty soon...

Am I missing something?

Thanks in advance!


GTonal 6 years ago | 0 comments

4 answers

  • Ableton_Support Ableton staff
    20 answers
    154 votes received
    2 votes

    Hi there,

    Please reference our comprehensive article about dealing with latency:

    In particular, what may be helpful for you is to use the function Reduced Latency When Monitoring.

    In addition, your interface may also support direct monitoring, whereby you monitor directly through the interface itself.

    If you are still encountering issues, please contact support directly with a status report:

    6 months ago | 0 comments
  • Warrior Bob
    60 answers
    116 votes received
    0 votes

    Any latency at all can be a giant pain, and you're always going to have some when working with computers. 

    Your computer is plenty powerful, and you seem to have figured out how to get a decently low latency (13.7 roundtrip) with a buffer that apparently isn't causing dropouts, so you've gotten the major technical tweaking out of the way. 

    Personally, I like to monitor live instruments before they ever reach the recording converters. You can do this with hardware zero-latency monitoring if your interface has this, or you can rig it up with a mixing board, so long as you don't mind that being in your signal chain. 

    Check the Live manual for "Driver Error Compensation." Some interfaces have additional latency built in on top of what's reported through ASIO, and Live can try to automatically adjust for that by moving your recordings back in time a bit. The manual describes an exercise that can be used to figure out how much this latency is so that you can compensate.

    6 years ago | 0 comments
  • GTonal
    1 answer
    0 votes received
    0 votes


    Monitoring before it enters is okay but doesn't work when you need to hear the actual song, especially for vocals.

    It works fine when I bounce the whole track and open a new project where I insert the sample and record the vocals there, no latency as there's only around 1% cpu usage.

    Let's see what the driver error compensation changes... ;)

    Thanks again for the reply!

    6 years ago | 2 comments
  • ben amato
    7 answers
    5 votes received
    0 votes

    I'm having a similar problem. i have about 10 ms reported as a round trip latency. Monitoring isn't a problem but everything always gets laid down almost a 32nd beat late( at about 105 BPM).

    I have been trying the driver compensation, but actually it seems to have no effect at all whether it is at -300ms or +300ms. 

    This was on my stage Macbook setup with a zoom R24 as an interface. I just tried it right now on my iMac studio system with an apogee duet. Latency is slightly less, about half a 32nd note. But again the driver error compensation value appears to have no effect at all.

    I pretty much always use audio quantize for percussion parts, but I realise now that I am often blaming the human for playing behind when it's the latency . 

    If anyone has advice I'd be vey grateful . I can't see what i'm doing wrong, but the Driver Error Compensation ain't working on two different systems ...

    2 years ago | 1 comment

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.