64-bit vs 32-bit - FAQ

  • Live Versions: 8.4 - 9
  • Operating System: All

Which version does Ableton recommend?

We recommend using the 64-bit version of Live on machines with a 64-bit operating system and more than 4GB installed memory. On machines with 4GB memory or less, or on machines with a 32-bit operating system we recommend using the 32-bit version of Live.

As the majority of our users are now using the 64-bit version of Live, it is the default version when downloading Live from the User Account. Though of course, you can change the dropdown in case you need to download the 32-bit version.

What is the difference between the 32-bit version of Live and the 64-bit version?

The terms 32-bit and 64-bit refer to how much of your computer's memory (RAM) can be used by applications. The 32-bit version of Live (like all 32-bit applications) can use up to 4GB of RAM, which means that it may not be possible to use very large sample collections or very memory-hungry plug-ins.

In contrast, the 64-bit version of Live can use a theoretical maximum of 16 exabytes of RAM - much more RAM than computers actually have. This means you can work with Live Sets (natively, with third-party plug-ins, and in ReWire configurations) that are much larger and more memory-intensive than in the 32-bit version.

I have a 64-bit operating system, can I only use the 64-bit version of Live?

Not necessarily. Current 64-bit versions of Windows and Mac OS X still support 32-bit applications.

Does the 64-bit version of Live perform better than the 32-bit version on a 64-bit operating system?

If your system has more than 4GB of RAM, then yes. But if not, then there will be no difference. The main advantage to be gained from the 64-bit version is the ability to address additional RAM. 

However there are no differences in the CPU handling between the 32-bit and the 64-bit version.

Does it make sense to run the 64-bit version when I have 4GB or less RAM installed on my machine?

No. The advantage of the 64-bit version is that it can address more than 4GB of memory. In this case the performance of both the 64-bit and 32-bit versions would be exactly the same.

What are the system requirements for the 64-bit version of Live?

You can use the 64-bit version of Live if you are running a 64-bit version of Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8 on a PC, or Mac OS 10.5 or higher on an Intel-based Mac. A minimum of 8GB RAM is recommended.

Can I install the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Live at the same time?

It is possible and there are no technical issues to be expected by having different Live versions installed at the same time, but to keep things simple, we don't recommend such a setup. Please note that you will need to manually rename the application after the first installation (Mac) or choose a different installation folder (PC).

Can Ableton Live 64-bit load 32-bit plug-ins?

In short, no. A 64-bit host can only handle 64-bit plug-ins.  All modern plug-ins should be available as 64-bit versions, in fact some only exclusively so.

It is possible to "bridge" a 32-bit plug-in with a third party tool (such as jBridge or 32 Lives). In this case the bridge runs as an application between the plug-in and the host as kind of a translator. This makes the plug-in compatible with 64-bit hosts. 

It is to be expected that a plug-in translated in this manner will never run as dependably as a 32-bit plug-in in a 32-bit host or a true 64-bit plug-in in a 64-bit host. 

Is Ableton developing its own 64-32-bit plug-in bridge?

No. There are no plans to implement our own 64-32-bit plug-in bridge.

I've installed the 64-bit version of Live, but none of my plug-ins are showing up. Why is that?

You need to install the 64-bit versions of the plug-ins too as 32-bit plug-ins will not display in the plug-in folder in Live's browser when using the 64-bit version, and vice versa. In case you are using a custom VST folder, then this may need to be changed to the folder where your 64-bit plug-ins are installed. Please see our dedicated articles about installing and using plug-ins on Windows and on Mac.

Can I use ReWire with the 64-bit version of Live?

Yes, ReWire (with Live as either master or slave) works properly. Both Live and the other ReWire program need to be running in 64-bit mode.

Can Live Sets, Live Clips, and device presets made in the 32-bit version of Live be opened in the 64-bit version of Live?

Yes. Live documents made in 32-bit versions of Live are completely cross-version compatible and will work properly in the 64-bit version of Live, and vice versa. If the Live Sets use features which are not available in the 64-bit version, those features will be limited or disabled as described below:

  • Max for Live in Live 8 - in a 64-bit version of Live 8, the Live document will load and play, but the Max devices will behave as if they were bypassed. In 64-bit versions of Live 9, Max for Live is fully supported.
  • Plug-ins - Live documents that were created using 32-bit versions of plug-ins will work normally, but only if 64-bit versions of the same plug-ins are installed. 

Does the 64-bit version sound better or different than the 32-bit version?

No. There's no difference in the resolution in Live's internal processing between the 32- and the 64-bit version.

Are there any limitations in using the 64-bit version of Live?

The only limitations of using the 64-bit version of Live 9 are related to the Bridge functionality, as The Bridge is now a legacy product from Serato. It has been superseded by Link support.

The 64-bit version of Live 8 does not support Max for Live or The Bridge.