Avoiding Out of Memory crashes

  • Live Versions: All
  • Operating System: All

Using the 32-bit version of Live 

Out of Memory crashes or errors are more likely if you work with the 32-bit version of Live because it can only utilize a maximum of 4GB of RAM. Because of the overhead of the operating system and other system components, 32-bit applications have a practical memory limit that is somewhat lower; usually between two and three gigabytes. 

In previous years, computers had considerably less physical memory than the 32-bit limit. In order to make it possible to use applications with large memory requirements, operating systems would frequently swap data between the (fast) physical memory and the (much slower) hard drive. As memory usage increased, performance would decrease so severely that the user would never actually approach the 32-bit limit.

Due to the increased availability of 64-bit operating systems and inexpensive RAM, modern computers now often have more physical memory available than the 32-bit limit. As a result, data is rarely swapped to the hard drive, and the computer remains responsive even if the 32-bit limit is approached. However, once an application actually exceeds this limit, it will crash.

Should you have 4GB of RAM installed on your computer, we highly recommend installing more RAM (if possible). Also, you may want to optimise the Live Set per the instructions below.

Using the 64-bit version of Live 

From Live 10 on, our software is available in 64-bit only and we generally recommend using this version over the 32-bit one. Since we have discontinued the 32-bit version of Live, this version is only recommended for computers with a 32-bit operating system or with 4 (or less) GB of RAM installed.

The 64-bit version of Live can support a theoretical maximum of 16 exabytes of RAM - which is much more RAM than computers actually have. Find out more about the differences between the bit-rate versions of Live here. Keep in mind also that Out of Memory crashes can still occur in the 64-bit version of Live if you exceed your computer's maximum memory usage. 

 Recommendations for dealing with Out of Memory crashes in Live

What uses up the memory?

  • Live devices or 3rd-party plug-ins that use lots of samples are very memory intensive. Ableton's Latin Percussion is a good example, but also plug-ins like Omnisphere or Kontakt are memory intensive when used with large sample libraries.
  • Enabling clip RAM mode loads the audio file referenced by a clip into the memory instead of reading them from disk in real time.
  • An extremely large number of clips might also lead to problems, even when the RAM button is not enabled.
  • Besides this data, all other processes run by Live and the operating system need memory.

Why do 'Out of Memory' crashes occur?

  • Live doesn't know how much of the memory reserved for its operation is already in use. With the scenarios described above - having RAM mode enabled for too many audio clips and/or working with large sample libraries - it's very easy to reach the limits.
  • Performing any action in Live that needs more memory than is currently available could result in a crash. These actions might be:
    • Editing operations on clips and tracks (e.g. Copy, Cut, Duplicate)
    • Adding more samples
    • Adding devices or presets

Live Set RAM optimizations and workarounds

  • Flattening tracks that contain said memory consuming devices frees up memory.
    • First, freeze the tracks.
    • The Flatten command then replaces any original clips with the audio files created by the freezing and then removes the devices and the samples from the Set.
  • If a Set containing memory consuming devices already crashes on loading, it can be restored like this:
    • Open an empty Live Set.
    • Locate the problematic Live Set (*.als file) in Live's browser.
    • Unfold it by clicking the little arrow on *.als file - all the tracks contained in this Set are now shown.
    • Import one track of the Set via double-clicking or dragging and dropping into the empty Live Set.
    • Now, freeze and then flatten the imported track.
    • Proceed with the next and following tracks.
  • If a Set containing many (large) audio clips with enabled RAM mode crashes on loading, it can be restored like this:
    • Open an empty Live Set and unfold the problematic Live Set in Live's browser as described above.
    • Import a track containing clips via double-clicking or dragging and dropping into the empty Live Set.
    • For all audio clips, turn off the RAM switch in their Sample display.
    • Proceed with the next and following tracks.
    • Save the new Set.