Avoiding Disk Overload

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

A hard drive’s access speed (which is related to, but not the same thing as rotational speed) can limit Live’s performance. Most audio-optimized computers use 7200 RPM or faster drives. Laptops, to save power, often use 5400 RPM or slower drives, which is why projects on laptops usually have lower track counts.

SSD drives allow faster data transfer speeds, thereby helping to reduce the likelihood of these issues occurring.

The amount of disk traffic Live generates is roughly proportional to the number of audio channels being written or read simultaneously. A track playing a stereo sample causes more disk traffic than a track playing a mono sample.

If the hard disk cannot read or write audio quickly enough, you may hear dropouts. In this case you'll see the Disk Overload indicator turn orange. This is more likely to occur if triggering multiple large audio files at once.


To avoid disk overload do the following:

Enable RAM mode for selected clips. This loads the sample into RAM rather than streaming directly from the hard disk. Be careful however not to load too many clips into RAM as you may exceed your allotted memory. We recommend using the 64-bit version of Live to utilise more than 4GB of RAM. More info: 32-bit vs 64-bit FAQ


RAM mode is also available as an option when using Multisample libraries in Sampler.


Try lowering sample rates (recommended: 44100 Hz) .


Try recording audio with a 24-bit resolution instead of 32-bit. This setting can be found under Preferences → Record/Warp/Launch


Try bouncing stereo tracks to mono, or bouncing some tracks together in order to lessen the load on the hard disk.

This is taken from our main article on how to avoid crackles and audio dropouts.