Why do my Live Sets sound different when played back with Live 9.2?

  • Live Versions: 9.2
  • Operating System: ALL

Due to a number of improvements to the Ableton Live engine, there is a small chance that certain Live Sets created with previous versions of Live will sound slightly different when opened and played back with Live versions as of 9.2.

Changes to how Live handles and compensates latency

Prior to Live 9.2, automation and modulation were not latency compensated. In Live Sets with a large latency (caused by specific Live Devices or third-party plug-ins), the automation or modulation would have been slightly early in comparison to the latency compensated audio playback. In certain cases, this became noticeable to the point that it was necessary to manually offset the automation in order to perfectly align audio and automation.

Because Live 9.2 now compensates automation and modulation as well, such Live Sets where this has been manually adjusted might sound different.

One easy approach to fix this is opening the set with Live 9.1.10, then freezing/flattening all the tracks affected by the problem and saving it as another set.

Another approach would be to temporarily revert to the previous (i.e. 9.1) way Live handles latency compensation, so automation and modulation are not compensated for this time.  This can be achieved entering the option string

"-Pre9.2LatencyBehavior"

into Live's Options.txt file. How such options are applied to Live in detail is covered in a dedicated article.

Whenever you create a new Live set or when your work on your older sets is finished, please remember to delete said option again to be sure to benefit from the latency compensation improvements.

More information on latency compensation in Live.

Changes to the Complex and Complex Pro Warp modes

In Live 9.2, the Complex and Complex Pro algorithms have been updated in order to provide a better sound and a more reliable tempo detection. While the updated Warp modes have been thoroughly tested and show a substantial improvement on the absolute majority of the tested samples, still certain sets created with Live 9.1.8 or earlier might sound slightly different if audio clips were warped with the Complex modes.

Differences in sound might especially be audible when the speed or quantization (e.g. by applying Grooves) of the source audio is substantially changed, or if extreme stretching is applied as a result of specific Warp Marker positions. 

One way to deal with this is opening the Live Set with Live 9.1.8 and consolidating all Complex-warped audio clips affected by the problem (as long as they are clips in Arrangement View) and then save this as a new set.

Note that the consolidated clips might still be warped afterwards, so you might want to deactivate Warping here or set the Warp mode to Beats, Tones, Texture or Re-Pitch, since these modes will not affect the sound as long as the clips are played back at their original speed.

Another approach specifically for clips warped with the Complex Warp mode would be to temporarily revert to the previous (i.e. 9.1) Complex Warp behaviour, so these clips will sound exactly like they did in previous Live 9 versions for this time.  This can be achieved by entering the option string

"-ComplexV2"

into Live's Options.txt file. How such options are applied to Live in detail is covered in a dedicated article.

This option only affects Complex mode, there is not a similar option for changing the behavior of Complex Pro.

Whenever you create a new Live set or when your work on your older sets is finished, please remember to delete said option again to be sure to benefit from the updated Warp modes.

The third way to tackle these changes in sound is to actually adjust the Warp Markers of the affected audio clips to gain different results.