Live 32-bit may crash when working with Sets that use a lot of memory

  • Live Versions: 8-9
  • Operating System: ALL

The 32-bit version of Ableton Live can use a theoretical maximum of four gigabytes. 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 increasing 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. But once an application actually exceeds this limit, it will crash.

Prior to version 8.1.3., Live would simply crash without warning when exceeding the 32-bit limit. Since 8.1.3., Live will now show a message box shortly before the crash. But the crash itself cannot be avoided.

If you find that Live is frequently crashing as a result of running out of memory, try the following:

  • Reduce the usage of large sample-based instruments
  • Reduce usage of Clip RAM Mode. When a clip is in RAM Mode, the audio referenced by the clip is loaded into the computer's memory rather than being read from the hard disk. This can be useful for preventing dropouts due to slow hard drive access, but will increase Live's memory usage.
  • Use fewer instances of the Looper device. Each instance of Looper requires a fixed amount of RAM, and multiple instances may cause Live to exceed the 32-bit memory limit.

For further information, please see our dedicated 64 bit FAQ page.