Optimizing CPU-Intensive Devices

To optimize performance in Ableton Live on macOS and Windows, follow these tips to reduce the performance impact of devices in your Live Set.

Optimize tracks
Device Settings
Clip and Warp Settings
Close Plug-In Device Windows

Optimize tracks

1. Freeze and Flatten
To reduce performance impact of a specific track containing CPU-intensive devices, Freeze or Freeze and Flatten the track.

  • Freeze creates a temporary render of the audio and deactivates devices.
  • Freeze and Flatten removes devices and renders the current state to an audio file.

Right-click on the track header and choose "Freeze" or "Freeze and Flatten Track."

freeze and flatten.png

2. Resample
To resample a track, create a new Audio Track and record the output of the affected track. You can then deactivate the devices on the original track, or delete it.

3. Place CPU-intensive effects on Return tracks
Return tracks allow audio from multiple tracks to be sent through the same instance of an effect, reducing the number of device instances needed. Learn more about routing audio in the Live Manual

Device Settings

1. Reduce polyphony
Reduce polyphony of your devices, plug-ins and multisample instruments. The fewer voices currently in use, the less CPU is used.


2. Turn off Spread
Some Live devices, like Corpus, Operator, and Sampler, have a Spread parameter that generates two detuned voices per note. Turn Spread off to reduce processing demand.


3. Live 10 and earlier: Set Reverb to "Eco" mode
Eco mode controls the tradeoff between reverb quality and computer performance. Eco uses minimal CPU resources, while High delivers the richest reverberation.


4. Turn off filters, LFOs and effects
Turn off any unused parameters in devices.

5. Use the standard filter circuit
Cytomic filter circuits (OSR, MS2, SMP, PRD) use slightly more CPU than the standard filter circuit (Clean).

Clip and Warp Settings

1. De-activate Hi-Q mode on audio clips
Hi-Q mode improves sample rate conversion when transposing audio files, at the cost of a higher CPU load. The Hi-Q button can be toggled in Clip View.


2. Use Complex and Complex Pro warping sparingly
Use non-Complex warping algorithms or turn off warping where possible. Consider consolidating or resampling warped clips, or freeze tracks that contain Complex warped clips.

3. In Simpler or Sampler, disable warping
Or, use an algorithm other than Complex or Complex Pro.


Close Plug-In Device Windows

Rendering device windows (GUIs) may add to Live's processing load. Close plug-in device windows when not interacting with or modulating the device parameters.

Ableton offers these in-depth help and learning resources: