Reduced Latency When Monitoring FAQ

Reduced Latency When Monitoring is an option in Ableton Live to bypass Delay Compensation for a monitored track. This means you can temporarily bypass the latency added by Live in order to keep all the tracks in your Set in sync.

Using Reduced Latency When Monitoring

Troubleshooting Reduced Latency When Monitoring

Using Reduced Latency When Monitoring

When is Reduced Latency When Monitoring useful?
This option is useful if you experience latency while monitoring a recorded signal, when a Set has latency introduced by devices on other tracks. For example, take a Set with 8 tracks, that has various devices and plug-ins on each track. If while recording a virtual synth on a 9th track using a MIDI controller keyboard, the response to your controller is noticeably late, you can try enabling this option to shorten the lag between pressing a key and hearing a note.

Does this remove latency from the monitored track?
This option removes the latency added by Live to compensate for latency elsewhere in the Set, in order to keep all your tracks in sync. However, any latency introduced within the chain of the monitored signal itself remains. This may include latency introduced by devices on the track itself, on Group Tracks, tracks the monitored audio is routed to, and/or the Main Track.

Return Tracks latency is bypassed, but if the monitored track’s signal is being routed through a Return with latency-introducing devices on it, the signal from the monitored track and the signal from the Return will sound out of sync. The Return Track will output later than the monitored track, causing a doubling or echo effect.

What is Delay Compensation?
Live devices and third-party plug-ins may add latency to a track based on the sum of time it takes your computer to apply each device’s process. Learn more about viewing the latency of a plugin or Live device. Since the amount of latency varies for each track, without compensation the tracks in a Set would not play back in sync with each other. To account for this, Delay Compensation delays each track in the Set by the amount needed to ensure that the playback of all tracks is aligned. Take, for example, the following configuration of three tracks:

Track 1  Track 2
  • Monitoring set to IN/Auto
  • Record Armed
Track 3 
Devices A + B Instrument C Device D
latency 100ms latency 20ms  latency 50ms


For these tracks to sound in sync, Tracks 2 and 3 must be delayed to match the track with the longest latency, Track 1. With Delay Compensation active, Tracks 2 and 3 are adjusted so all tracks experience 100ms of latency.

In this example, there is a software instrument on Track 2 that you want to monitor while recording along with your Set. Since Track 2’s audio is being delayed to stay aligned with Track 1, you’ll notice that the sound of the notes you play, for example on a MIDI keyboard, also happens noticeably later than your keystrokes.

To play and monitor your instrument without the notes sounding late, you can enable Reduced Latency When Monitoring, to bypass the delay that had been applied to Track 2. With this option on, Track 2 plays back with only the latency induced by its own devices and anything in its audio signal chain.

Note that any latency along the signal chain of the monitored track is not bypassed, whether on the track itself, or on tracks where its audio is routed. These may include:

  • Group Tracks
  • Other tracks to which the monitored signal is routed
  • Main Track, if audio from the monitored track is routed to the Main Track

While latency introduced in Return Tracks is bypassed when calculating Delay Compensation for a monitored track, this means the monitored audio and the signal from that track sent through any Return Tracks will no longer be in sync.

Which latency compensation is NOT bypassed with this option enabled?

  • Main Track latency, for instance if you've added effects such as lookahead limiters or compressors on the Main Track, is not bypassed if your Set outputs all audio through the Main Track.
  • Latency induced by devices on the monitored track itself is not bypassed using this option.
  • Latencies introduced in Group Tracks or other tracks receiving signal from the monitored track are not bypassed; for example, if the monitored track is routed to a track with a lookahead compressor, if or another track with latency-inducing devices is receiving input from the monitored track.

When should I use Reduced Latency When Monitoring?
Reduced Latency When Monitoring only applies to monitoring a signal in Live generated by a track with Monitoring set to In or Auto and armed for recording. When monitoring hardware, instruments or microphones in a track in Live while other tracks in the Set contain latency inducing devices, you may want to enable this option. However, we recommend you review the troubleshooting tips listed below to make sure it’s suitable for your situation.

This option is not a “fix” for latency induced by audio processing devices on the track itself or in its signal chain. Since your computer takes time to apply audio processing, the most effective way to avoid experiencing latency while recording is apply processing after recording.

Specifically, devices used during mixing and mastering such as noise reduction, linear phase EQ, and pitch shifting may incur heavy processing and introduce significant latency. If these devices are present in the audio signal of the monitored track, whether on the track itself or on a Group, Return, or Main track, their latencies are not bypassed using this feature. In that case, you can take steps to temporarily remove or delete these devices while recording, or create a template for recording that avoids these processes, before moving to a mixing or mastering configuration. When following this workflow, Reduced Latency When Monitoring can still be useful as a workaround, for example if you need to add a newly recorded part to a Set that already has mixing and mastering processes applied.

For tips on reducing latency in general, visit the guide How to reduce latency.

How do I enable Reduced Latency When Monitoring" ?
You can enable this option in Live’s Options menu. Its state is off by default, and saved with the Set itself. When creating a new Set, this option will be disabled.

Troubleshooting Reduced Latency When Monitoring

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 for the monitored tracks, they may sound out of sync with the rest of the tracks in your set.

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