How to avoid crackles and audio drop-outs

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

Buffer Size

An audio buffer size set too low or at a wrong size might be responsible for crackles and drop outs. To change the Audio Buffer Size open Live's Preferences → Audio. Always use a value expressed in powers of two: 32, 64, 128, 256, 512, 1024. Note that a larger buffer size will improve your system performance, but at the same time it will also increase the audio latency.

If the buffer size cannot be changed, please see if the following articles help:

The buffer size of the Apogee Duet can't be set precisely

The buffer size of my Digidesign/Avid interface can't be changed

The buffer size of my ASIO-driven audio interface can't be changed

Hard Disk Performance

If the hard disk cannot read or write audio quickly enough, this condition causes a gap in the recorded sample; when playing back, you will hear dropouts. In this case you will be able to observe the Disk Overload indicator turn orange.

Disk Overload Indicator.png

To avoid disk overload do the following:

  • Use RAM mode for selected clips, by clicking twice on an audio Clip and activating the "RAM" button in the Sample box.

While doing this, make sure to monitor your RAM usage to avoid an Out of Memory error.

RAM Icon.png

The Clip's Sample Box.

  • Consider using lower sample rates (recommended: 44100 Hz) .

Sample Rate.png

The Sample Rate section of Live's audio Preferences

  • Consider recording audio with a 24-bit resolution instead than 32-bit.

This setting can be found under Preferences → Record/Warp/Launch

Bit Depth.png

The Bit Depth and File Type for audio recordings can also be set in Live's Preferences

  • Consider bouncing some tracks together in order to save further HD resources. From the "Export Audio" dialog, you can also render a specific track to Mono. This will also reduce the workload of your Hard Disk.

Please refer to Live's manual, Chapter 32.2 for more tips on how to manage Disk Load.


Observe Live's CPU meter: if the value indicated there gets close to 100 percent, the processing is being maxed out and it’s likely that you will hear gaps, clicks or other audio problems. Note that the CPU meter takes into account only the load from processing audio, not other tasks the computer performs.

Please read this article for tips on optimizing your CPU usage.

Also related:
Why does Live's CPU meter show a different load than the Activity Monitor/Task Manager?

Refer to Live manual, Chapter 32, for more insights on how to optimize your system resources.

Audio Interface

if using an audio interface, please make sure that the drivers and firmware (if applicable) are completely up to date

It is usually recommended to use the audio drivers that come with your audio interface, but if you are using a generic audio card on Windows and you have problems finding an ASIO driver for that device or are experiencing issues with the existing drivers, please try using Asio4All, which is a freeware universal ASIO driver.

If your audio card is connected via USB, please make sure to plug it directly to your Computer USB port and avoid using a USB hub.

Finally, on some new Macs and PCs USB 3.0 ports are installed. Please make sure that your audio interface is compatible with this protocol.

Further Troubleshooting (Windows)

In case you're still experiencing issues with audio drop-outs, please see our guide to optimising Windows for audio.