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How to reduce CPU load in Live?

  • Live Versions: 8-9
  • Operating System: ALL

Symptom

Live's CPU load spikes to high values, resulting in dropouts, crackles or glitches of the software. 

Solution

There can be different reasons for this to happen, and this article will provide a step by step checklist to reduce the CPU load of Live.

  • Lower the Sample Rate in Live's Preferences → Audio. Try setting it to a value of 44100 or 48000 Hz, which will reduce CPU load drastically if you have used a higher value before. Ideally, you should pick the correct setting before starting a new project, rather than changing it while working on an existing one.
samplerate

Live's Audio Preferences tab is where the used Sample Rate can be set.

  • Increase the Buffer Size in Live's Preferences → Audio, ideally to a value by the power of 2, like 128, 256, 512 or 1024. Keep in mind that the higher this value is, the higher will audio latency be.
buffer size.png

Under the Audio Preferences tab you can set the buffer size to a different value.

  • Check the harddrive of your machine if you have sufficient space available. As a rule of thumb, you should always have 10% of your hard drive's capacity available as free space.
  • Make sure the Multicore/Multiprocessor support is activated in Live's Preferences → CPU.
Screen shot 2013-06-04 at 5.22.53 PM.png

Make sure to enable Multi-Core Support from Live's CPU Preferences tab.

  • Make use of the freeze function for tracks containing CPU-heavy devices. To freeze a track, right-click it and choose "Freeze Track".
freeze track.png

The Freeze Track option from the context menu.

  • You can also resample tracks containing CPU-heavy devices. Please refer to Live's Manual Chapter 14.5. Resampling for further reference.
  • Check the Activity Monitor (Mac) by pressing [cmd][space] and typing "activity monitor" into Spotlight, or Task Manager (Win) by right-clicking your task bar to see if other applications might be consuming much CPU and/or RAM on your machine.
activity monitor.png

Loading OS X Activity Monitor using Spotlight

TaskManager.png

Accessing Task Manager on PC to monitor system resources

In this article you can learn why Live's CPU Load meter might display different values than Activity Monitor or the Task Manager.

  • In Live's Preferences → Audio → "Input Config" and "Output Config" disable inputs and outputs from your audio interface if you are not actively using them.
InputConfig.png

Limiting the amount of active analog inputs and outputs is another way of reducing CPU load.

  • Put CPU-heavy effects into Return tracks so that you can process more than one track with the same effect.
  • Use the Warping algorithm Complex and Complex Pro sparingly, and eventually consolidate those clips.
  • Reduce the polyphony of your Sampler and/or Synthesizer instruments.
polyphony.png

An example of how to monitor and to reduce maximum polyphony when working with third party insturments

Some Live devices come with a Spread parameter (e.g. Utility, Corpus, Operator): please use this sparingly.

Spread.png

Operator's spread mode can be quite CPU intensive.

  • Set the Reverb to "Eco" mode.
Eco mode.png

The Reverb Eco mode can be set using the Quality drop down menu.

  • De-activate the Hi-Q switch on audio clips. This setting improves the Sample Rate conversion when transposing audio files, at the cost of higher CPU drain.
HI-Q.png

The Hi-Q button can be toggled from within the Sample Box.

  • De-activate your Wi-Fi.

Related tags: performance system