Setting up an Audio Interface

  • Live Versions: All
  • Operating System: All

What is an audio interface?

An audio interface allows you to connect microphones, instruments and other sources to your computer, so that you can record them into Live. Audio interfaces generally improve the sound quality, allow you to achieve less latency and give you more options such as multiple inputs and outputs as well as record monitoring capabilities.

How to set up your audio interface

Most external audio interfaces use either USB, Thunderbolt or Firewire to connect to your computer. A USB interface is used for this example.

  1. Firstly, download and install the latest driver for your audio interface (if available). On Mac this is a Core Audio driver, on Windows there are various driver types available but ASIO is the best option. Windows users also have the option to install Asio4All which is a freeware universal audio driver. 
  2. Connect the USB cable between your computer and the interface. We recommend that you never connect audio interfaces to a USB hub, but always directly to the computer's port.
  3. Open Live's preferences to the Audio tab.
  4. Click on Driver Type and select CoreAudio (Mac) or ASIO (Windows):Capture.JPG
  5. On Mac, you can choose separate devices for both input and output, or you can choose to deactivate one of them (set to "No Device"):Screen_Shot_2018-01-11_at_17.18.09.png
  6. Input and Output Config lets you activate the inputs and outputs that you need. If you have a basic audio interface with 2 inputs and 2 outputs, these will be automatically selected in Live. Only activate the ones you need, to save CPU. In Live 10 you can rename all inputs and outputs for convenience: External_Hardware_with_Live_2018-01-12_at_17.37.19.png
  7. The default In/out sample rate is set to 44100 Hz. Using the chooser menu the quality can be increased to higher settings if needed:Capture2.JPG
  8. The buffer size can be set in powers of two starting at 32 samples. The lower the buffer size, the less latency, however the CPU load also increases. We recommend 256 or 512 as a good compromise. Find out more how to reduce latency in this article.Overall_Latency.png
  9. On Windows you might have to open the control panel of audio interface to adjust this, by clicking Hardware Setup:Overall_Latency.png

Connecting headphones and speakers to your audio interface

Make sure your monitor speakers are switched off before connecting the audio cables between your speakers and audio interface. Connect the inputs on your speakers to the outputs on your interface. If your interface has a volume dial, make sure this is turned down to the minimum.

Now plug your headphones into your interface’s headphone port. Finally turn on your monitor speakers, then you can increase the volume dial on your interface until you can hear something.