Driver Error Compensation FAQ

What is Driver Error Compensation?

Your audio interface reports a specific latency value to Live. This value is used to offset recorded audio and MIDI when the recording track's monitor is set to "Off". However certain interfaces may report an incorrect latency. Driver Error Compensation allows Live to compensate for this. You can adjust it in Live's Preferences → Audio. In this FAQ we'll refer to Driver Error Compensation as DEC for short.


When should I use DEC?

If the recording is out of sync with the monitored signal, then it's likely that you need to adjust the DEC amount. Here's a hi-hat on a drum machine triggered from a MIDI clip in Live, and recorded back in as audio. You can see that the recording is out of sync.


I'm experiencing latency in Live during playback, do I need to adjust DEC?

No. Although the "Overall Latency" amount in Live's Audio preferences is recalculated when DEC is adjusted, it does not affect overall latency in Live for playback. DEC is only applied to recorded audio and MIDI. To reduce latency during playback see our guide on how to reduce Latency.

How do I calculate the correct DEC value?

Live has a built-in lesson including a specifically calibrated set which allows you to set DEC. For the lesson you will need a cable and an audio interface with at least one physical input and output. This can be found in the help view:

Live 1-9:  Help → Help View → Audio I/O → Page 8 of the Lesson, click the link for Driver Error Compensation.

Live 10:  Help → Help View → Audio I/O → Page 18 of the Lesson, click the link for Driver Error Compensation.

Live 11:  Help → Help View → Audio I/O → Page 8 of the Lesson, click the link for Driver Error Compensation.

I've adjusted the DEC amount but it's having no effect on the recordings, why?

DEC is only applied if the monitor on the recording track is set to "Off". If monitoring AND recording on a track where the monitor is set to "In" or "Auto", then DEC has no effect.

Which audio interfaces require a DEC adjustment?

class-compliant device (also known as plug-and-play) is one that doesn't require extra drivers to connect to your computer. Usually DEC should be used for devices running in class-compliant mode.

On the other hand, interfaces which require their own native drivers report accurate latency values, meaning that there should be no need to adjust DEC for devices running in native mode. 

Should the DEC value be positive or negative?

The DEC value can be positive or negative, depending on the specific offset needed.

Does the buffer size/sample rate affect DEC?

The value is only correct at the buffer size and sample rate used when testing. If either of these change then it needs to be calculated again and adjusted.

What's a standard amount of DEC to adjust?

There's no standard amount, as this will vary depending on your interface and the current audio preferences. Usually the latency may vary from around +/- 1ms to 20ms. If you're setting DEC to a higher value than 20ms then you may experience issues. If you're struggling with out-of-sync recordings, contact support and we'll help you out.

Ableton offers these in-depth help and learning resources: