Live's CPU Meter

As of Ableton Live 11, Live offers track Performance Impact metering and a global CPU Meter to help gauge CPU activity while using Live.  

CPU Meter
CPU Overload Indicator
Activity Monitor / Task Manager
Track Performance Impact

CPU Meter

Live's CPU Meter value is not the same as the percentage of overall system CPU used by Live shown in macOS Activity Monitor or Windows Task Manager. For more information, see the dedicated article Monitoring Live’s CPU usage on your computer. Here is an overview of the CPU Meter value:

  • Live measures the time needed to process each audio buffer and compares it to the time it takes to play one audio buffer. For example, 50% on the CPU Meter means Live's processing of one audio buffer takes half as long as it takes to play this buffer.
  • Values over 100% are possible; this means that the processing takes longer than playback, which is likely to result in audio interruptions.
  • Because they may impact the processing power available to Live, other applications and computer processes can cause CPU spikes in Live's CPU meter.

As of Live 11, when Live's CPU Meter display is set to "Current," the measurement is more active compared with Live 10. This is expected, as the Meter displays peak CPU usage with this setting. The CPU Meter in Live 10 only measures average CPU, which results in less extreme fluctuations.


The first time you start Live, processes like Browser indexing take place in the background which use resources like CPU, Disk and RAM to complete. You may see increased values in the CPU Meter until these are done.

CPU Overload Indicator

The CPU Overload indicator is based on current (peak) CPU usage. In some cases, with the CPU Meter display set to "Average," the CPU Overload Indicator may become illuminated even though the Meter does not appear to reach 100%. This likely means current usage momentarily surpassed the overload threshold, while average CPU consumption remained below the threshold.

If you no longer wish to see the CPU Overload Indicator, you can right-click on the Indicator in the top right corner of Live and disable the option CPU Overload Indication.

Activity Monitor / Task Manager

You can monitor Live's percentage of your computer's CPU usage, including Live's background processes, in macOS Activity Monitor or Windows Task Manager. For how to reduce Live's CPU load, see Reducing the CPU load on Windows  or Reducing the CPU load on macOS.

Track Performance Impact

You can display current CPU usage for each track in your Live Set, to help determine which individual Set elements have the largest impact on the global CPU meter.

In Live 12, click the triangle at the bottom right corner of Live to show the Mixer Config menu, then enable Performance Impact.


In Live 11, at the bottom right corner of the Mixer area, toggle Show Performance Impact by clicking the button marked "C."


When enabled, track performance impact is displayed below each MIDI or audio track mixer.


Ableton offers these in-depth help and learning resources: