How to reduce latency

  • Live Versions: Live 9.2 and later
  • Operating System: All

There are two main sources of latency:

1. Audio interface latency

All audio in Live is processed in defined parcels of time, called an audio buffer. This helps to minimize dropouts or glitches, as the buffer allows time for all events to be smoothed out. The buffer size is defined in Live's audio preferences. The bigger the buffer size, the bigger the latency. In addition, the type of audio driver and the interface you use affect latency.

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2. Device/Plug-in related latency

Certain Live and Max for live devices, as well as certain plug-ins and processes can add latency. Delay Compensation is used to ensure that all tracks in a set playback in sync with each-other. However this adds latency, especially if there is a device or process in the set with a very high latency amount. You can hover over the title bar of a device to see how much latency it has.

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How to reduce audio interface latency

Open Live's Preferences → Audio. The settings you change below will affect the Overall Latency field.

1. Reduce the buffer size

The smaller the buffer size, the lower the latency. There's a trade-off though, in that lower buffer sizes require more CPU power. Therefore you may notice audio dropouts at lower buffer sizes, depending on the overall CPU load of the set. Here's how to reduce the CPU load in Live.

2. Raise the sample rate

Sample rate refers to the amount of samples which are carried per second. The higher the sample rate, the lower the latency. Higher samples rates however also put additional stress on the CPU.

3. Disable the Audio Input Device

If you're not recording from an external source, then set the Audio Input Device to "No device". This will reduce the overall latency value. Note: It's only possible to select one device as input and output when using the ASIO Driver on Windows.

4. Use ASIO audio drivers on Windows

It's difficult to achieve low buffer sizes when using the default MME/Direct X driver on Windows. Install and use the ASIO driver for your interface. If no native ASIO driver is available for your device use ASIO4ALL instead.

5. Use a dedicated audio interface running native drivers

Dedicated audio interfaces usually have native drivers and offer better sound quality than built in soundcards.

6. Don't use Bluetooth devices or cast audio

Streaming audio wirelessly using Bluetooth or WIFI adds much higher latency. We highly recommended using a cabled (USB/Firewire/Thunderbolt) interface instead, or use cabled headphones.

How to reduce device/plug-in latency

1. Freeze and flatten plugins and devices which introduce latency

Tracks containing devices which introduce latency should be frozen and flattened to permanently remove the latency. Delay compensation must be active in the Options menu before you freeze and flatten the track.

2. Reset Track Delays

If you adjust a track delay, then every other track in the set is compensated so that everything plays in time. Freeze and flatten any tracks with active track delays.

3. Close the editor window in Max for Live devices

Max for Live devices introduce additional latency when their editor window is open. Close the editor to remove the additional latency.

Further Reading