Reduced Latency when Monitoring FAQ

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What does "Reduced Latency when Monitoring" do?

In a nutshell, "Reduced latency when monitoring" is an option in Live which allows you to bypass device or process related latency, in order to achieve less latency when monitoring.

Can you explain that in more detail?

Certain Live devices, third party plug-ins, and track delays can add latency to a set. Each track may have a different overall latency, so Live's Delay Compensation delays all tracks in the set by varying amounts for perfectly aligned playback.

Take for example three tracks: Track 1 contains several devices which brings its overall latency to 100ms, Track 2 has a latency of 20ms and Track 3 has a latency of 50ms. With Delay Compensation active, all tracks are delayed to the longest track latency time; therefore Tracks 1, 2 and 3 are adjusted so they all have 100ms of latency.

Track 2 contains an instrument. In order to play it, you need to set the monitor to "In" or "Auto" and arm the track for recording. As Track 2 is being delayed by 100ms so that it's in time with the rest of the tracks, it's going to feel quite sluggish when playing it.

This is where "Reduced latency when monitoring" comes in. The overall latency of the set is bypassed for monitored tracks. So when Track 2 is monitored the latencies are now Track 1 - 100ms, Track 2 - 20ms and Track 3 - 50ms.

Essentially, with this option active the monitored track(s) ignore the increased latency of the entire set and instead reduce their latency to the minimum possible.

How do I enable it?

It can be enabled in the Options menu and its state is saved in each Live set.

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When should I use "Reduced Latency when Monitoring"?

"Reduced Latency when Monitoring" only works when you're monitoring an external signal in Live, ie. When the track's Monitor is set to "In", or "Auto" and armed for recording.

Example #1: Monitoring in sets with latency-inducing devices

If you're monitoring hardware, instruments or microphones in a track in Live which contains various latency inducing devices, we recommend that you activate this option so that the additional latency is bypassed.

Example #2: Triggering external MIDI devices via a MIDI and audio track.

When controlling external MIDI gear without using the External Instrument device, the audio generated by a hardware device might be played back by Live with some delay, depending on the audio buffer size and the amount and type of devices in use.

By using a negative Track Delay for the MIDI track, it's possible to compensate for this delay, but this will only work if the option Reduced Latency when Monitoring is enabled. Because in fact the audio generated by the external synthesiser is being monitored in a different (Audio) Track, using a negative track delay on the MIDI channel automatically delays all other channels including the audio track which is monitoring the signal.

"Reduced Latency when Monitoring" allows this additional latency to be bypassed, and the audio signals will now reflect the changes of the negative Track delay.

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Why am I getting clicks while using Push when "Reduced Latency when Monitoring" is enabled?

When "Reduced Latency when Monitoring" is active, clicks can take place when setting the Monitor to "In" or record enabling tracks due to sudden changes in the track's delay compensation. This is particularly obvious with Push, because of the fact that the device auto-arms selected tracks. While performing live, you might want to disable this option to avoid annoying glitches. 

Why do tracks with automation sound different?

When this option is active, automation recorded on armed tracks is placed at the wrong time relative to recorded audio and MIDI if latency-inducing plug-ins are currently in use. As a result, what is played back sounds different from what is recorded.

Why is my monitored track out of sync with the rest of my set?

When "Reduced Latency When Monitoring" is enabled, input monitored tracks will have the lowest possible latency, but because normal Delay compensation is bypassed, they may sound out of sync with the rest of the tracks in your set.