How to deal with RAM limitations and avoid Out of Memory crashes with the 32-bit version of Live

  • Live Versions: Live 1 - 9
  • Operating System: ALL


Various information related to memory consumption on different platforms, workarounds and optimization tips.


Live on 64 bit systems

  • On native 64 bit systems, the 32 bit-version of Live can address memory up to 4 GB.
  • OSX, Windows XP 64, Windows Vista 64, Windows 7 64

Live on 32 bit systems

Thus, when experiencing memory problems with large Live Sets, increasing the memory to at least 4 GB could already help.

What is filling all 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 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 those data, all other processes 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 filled. 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.
  • Now, performing any action in Live that needs more memory than currently available might result in a crash. These actions could 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 shown now.
    • Import one track of the Set via double click or drag'n'drop 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 and unfold the problematic Live Set in Live's browser as described above
    • Import a track containing clips via double click or drag'n'drop into the empty Live Set.
    • For all audio clips, turn the RAM switch in their Sample display off.
    • Proceed with the next and following track.
    • Save the new Set.