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Optimizing performance

From: Ableton Live 9 Essential Training

Video: Optimizing performance

Adjusting preferences like buffer size can have a big impact on how your computer reacts when you're recording and mixing. Let's take a look at how to configure Preferences that affect computer performance, so that your system will work at maximum efficiency when running Ableton Live. So I'm going to go into Preferences using the key command, Cmd comma for a Mac or Ctrl comma on a PC. And you're going to want to select the audio tab. Now under the latency area, you'll see an option for buffer size. So, just a little background here, computers work more efficiently, when there is a chunk of data waiting for it at the instant that the computer is ready for the next piece of data. The larger that chunk, the more efficient the computer works. But in an audio program like Ableton Live there's a payback. The larger the buffer or chunk of data the more latency that you encounter. Meaning that when you're recording, you get the I played a note, and then you heard the note.

Optimizing performance

Adjusting preferences like buffer size can have a big impact on how your computer reacts when you're recording and mixing. Let's take a look at how to configure Preferences that affect computer performance, so that your system will work at maximum efficiency when running Ableton Live. So I'm going to go into Preferences using the key command, Cmd comma for a Mac or Ctrl comma on a PC. And you're going to want to select the audio tab. Now under the latency area, you'll see an option for buffer size. So, just a little background here, computers work more efficiently, when there is a chunk of data waiting for it at the instant that the computer is ready for the next piece of data. The larger that chunk, the more efficient the computer works. But in an audio program like Ableton Live there's a payback. The larger the buffer or chunk of data the more latency that you encounter. Meaning that when you're recording, you get the I played a note, and then you heard the note.

And there's enough delay that it's really disturbing. So the idea here is that when you're recording you're going to want to set this buffer as low as you can. And then, higher when you're mixing and editing, because at that point, you really don't care, whether or not that there's a few milliseconds of delay. So I would suggest setting the buffer at around 128 samples when you're recording. And then maybe upwards of 1024 samples when you're, mixing and editing. So note that Ableton will allow you to set this value to anything. But many interfaces actually have presets that they will work with and those are usually multiples of 32.

Like 32, 64, 128, 256 and so on. So, I'm going to click into this field and I'm going to go ahead, you'll notice that I can scroll up or down, and I can apply that to a different level or you can just click in here and type in the value that you want. So I'll click 128, and then I'll click the Apply button to set that. So you'll notice that now my input latency is a little bit more than four or around four and a half milliseconds. The output is almost four for a total of around eight milliseconds of latency.

Now that's going to be small enough that it's not going to bother you. But we can test how Live is going to be able to work with this by using this area at the bottom. Now if I click this button right here that says Off, it's going to start a test tone and then I can simulate kind of the load on the computer by pushing up this CPU usage simulator based upon what your current buffer size setting is. And the reason we want to know this is because if the buffer is set at too small a size, you may experience some distortion or dropouts in the audio. And this is one of those things that you often forget about, and you'll encounter some problems and you'll wonder what's wrong with your setup, and you'll just have to remember to come back in here and adjust the buffer size, okay? So, just to demonstrate this, I'm going to set this at a very low buffer size, and I'm going to push the CPU usage simulator up pretty high here, and then I'm going to click the button to turn this on so that we could hear that. So as I'm playing this, I'll actually push the CPU usage up, until we can hear what those dropouts or distortions sound like.

(audio playing) So you heard that crackling and popping and that's a really great indication that your buffer size is way too small. So again, I would suggest setting this around 128 samples or so when you're recording and that's for audio or MIDI by the way. And then when you are ready to mix and edit, bump that up to 512 or 1024 or something like that. I'll Enter to apply that and then I'm going to hit my Escape key to get out of this window.

Now, in the future, you can look up here in upper right-hand corner at this button on the control bar, where it says, currently says 4%. And this is the CPU usage indicator. And if you're getting upwards of 75, 80, 85% up here, that might be contributing to the problems. And so, either adjusting the buffer size, or taking a look at how many tracks you have running in the session, you may need to reduce that. But those two things will help balance the performance of your system and then I'll just point out one last button over here to the right of the CPU usage.

We actually see the disc indicator and that will show us if there's any problems actually pulling audio off your hard drive if that starts to light up. Okay. So now that you know how to configure the Preferences in Live that effects system performance. You'll be able to adjust the auto parameter, so that your system will work efficiently, whether you're recording or mixing.

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This video is part of

Image for Ableton Live 9 Essential Training
Ableton Live 9 Essential Training

80 video lessons · 12264 viewers

Rick Schmunk
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 2m 36s
    1. Welcome
      1m 6s
    2. Using the exercise files
      43s
    3. What you need to know
      47s
  2. 7m 44s
    1. What is a digital audio workstation?
      4m 13s
    2. Choosing the right gear and setting up a system
      3m 31s
  3. 11m 8s
    1. Setting up audio preferences
      4m 0s
    2. Setting up MIDI preferences
      2m 44s
    3. Optimizing performance
      4m 24s
  4. 38m 55s
    1. Nonlinear sequencing with Session view
      3m 42s
    2. Understanding the Session view window
      5m 8s
    3. Exploring the Live browser
      5m 49s
    4. Loading and playing clips
      4m 35s
    5. Moving and copying clips
      2m 55s
    6. Working with clip properties
      8m 17s
    7. Working with scenes
      8m 29s
  5. 24m 15s
    1. Using the browser
      4m 56s
    2. Searching for and auditioning clips and devices
      4m 19s
    3. Working with Live sets and projects
      4m 16s
    4. Managing files in Live
      3m 12s
    5. Exporting clips and devices
      7m 32s
  6. 33m 0s
    1. What is a software instrument?
      6m 29s
    2. Preparing to record MIDI
      5m 0s
    3. Recording and overdubbing MIDI
      4m 47s
    4. Using a computer keyboard to enter MIDI
      5m 26s
    5. Utilizing the pencil to enter MIDI notes
      5m 45s
    6. Taking advantage of third-party and multi-output MIDI devices
      5m 33s
  7. 33m 22s
    1. Navigating and zooming in the MIDI Editor
      5m 29s
    2. Configuring the MIDI Editor grid
      5m 2s
    3. Selecting and quantizing MIDI
      5m 3s
    4. Quantizing with grooves
      7m 23s
    5. Editing pitch and note duration
      6m 1s
    6. Editing MIDI velocities
      4m 24s
  8. 10m 10s
    1. Preparing to record audio
      5m 43s
    2. Recording audio
      4m 27s
  9. 34m 22s
    1. Understanding Arrangement view
      4m 10s
    2. Zooming in and out and playing in Arrangement view
      4m 46s
    3. Recording in Arrangement view
      4m 4s
    4. Recording from Session view to Arrangement view
      5m 22s
    5. Adding and using locators
      3m 32s
    6. Copying, duplicating, and editing clips in Arrangement view
      5m 53s
    7. Reworking clips
      6m 35s
  10. 25m 35s
    1. Understanding the mixer
      7m 36s
    2. Using sends and returns
      6m 52s
    3. Building headphone cues
      4m 58s
    4. Grouping tracks
      6m 9s
  11. 41m 7s
    1. Working with effect devices
      5m 59s
    2. Understanding EQ and filters
      7m 30s
    3. Using compressors and dynamic processors
      6m 26s
    4. Building interesting effects with delay effect processing
      7m 20s
    5. Using reverb effectively
      8m 5s
    6. Setting up side chain effects easily
      5m 47s
  12. 11m 15s
    1. Creating rhythmic patterns with the Arpeggiator effect
      6m 3s
    2. Building background parts with the Chord and Scale effects
      5m 12s
  13. 11m 44s
    1. Mapping keys with Keymap mode
      4m 12s
    2. Mapping device controls to the MIDI keyboard
      3m 16s
    3. Using the instant mapping feature
      4m 16s
  14. 31m 51s
    1. Recording real-time automation
      6m 24s
    2. Drawing automation manually
      7m 48s
    3. Automating clips in Session view
      8m 36s
    4. Editing existing automation information
      4m 57s
    5. Using fades to mask audio pops and clicks
      4m 6s
  15. 20m 59s
    1. Understanding the basics of warping
      8m 43s
    2. Creating clips that loop smoothly
      6m 37s
    3. Using warp features to quantize audio
      5m 39s
  16. 10m 12s
    1. Exporting audio from Live
      6m 29s
    2. Freezing tracks
      3m 43s
  17. 42m 22s
    1. Exploring Impulse
      5m 5s
    2. Using Impulse as a multi-output instrument
      9m 15s
    3. Getting the most out of Impulse instrument parameters
      6m 23s
    4. Exploring Simpler
      7m 50s
    5. Smoothing sample start and end points in Simpler
      6m 32s
    6. Tweaking the parameters of Simpler
      7m 17s
  18. 36m 55s
    1. Unlocking the power of FX racks
      10m 48s
    2. Utilizing instrument racks
      10m 13s
    3. Creating drum racks
      9m 50s
    4. Working with rack macros
      6m 4s
  19. 10m 22s
    1. Introducing Max for Live
      4m 52s
    2. Exploring the Mono Sequencer in Max for Live
      5m 30s
  20. 5m 54s
    1. Working with video files
      5m 54s
  21. 24s
    1. Next steps
      24s

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