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Ableton Live 6 and 7 on Dell Inspiron 510m

With Ableton Live 6, the audio engine seems to run more smoothly on the old Dell machine. However, care must still be taken to avoid clicks. I have the following protocol:

  • Control Panel > System Properties > Advanced > Performance Settings > Advanced > Processor Scheduling: Background Services
  • disconnect network and stop firewall (ZoneAlarm really kills performance)
  • if possible, configure your soundcard driver to run in high priority
  • using SpeedSwitchXP, set processor to run in 'Maximum Performance' mode. This performs better than 'Dynamic Switching'.
  • stop all unnecessary software (Firefox, WinAmp, etc.)

... It works, even with low latency, as long as I don't run amuck with processor-hungry synths.

Ableton Live 5.0.1,2,3 and 5.2b on Dell Inspiron 510m

... doesn't necessarily work!


I have experimented with different configurations, and there was audio dropouts, regardless of CPU load, HD usage, etc. on each of them:

Minimal DirectX:

  • No explorer.exe
  • No ACPI
  • DirectX / WaveOut with built-in SigmaTel Audio

Minimal ASIO:

  • No explorer.exe
  • No ACPI
  • ASIO4ALL driver with built-in SigmaTel Audio

USB sound, no Speedstep

  • No explorer.exe
  • U2A USB soundcard with ASIO4ALL
  • Intel Speedstep disabled in BIOS

USB sound, no network

  • No explorer.exe
  • U2A USB soundcard with ASIO4ALL
  • LAN Controller, MiniPCI, Wireless Ctl disabled in BIOS

All of the above with explorer.exe and all services

All of the above with U2A USB soundcard with native ASIO driver

All of the above with U2A USB soundcard with native ASIO driver without any external devices attached


Bugs to Avoid in Ableton Live 4.0.3

Erosion Bug

It seems that the Erosion plug-in makes annoying clicks when rendering (every so often, it outputs a sample with the value of 0 regardless of the input). Reproduce these steps:

  1. start a new Live Set
  2. drag 'Rhodes.wav' from the demo track to audio track 0
  3. set the tempo to 129 bpm to avoid time-stretching clicks
  4. add Erosion to the track, set 'amount' to 0
  5. render a few bars to disk

The result: there is a click at sample 3527 in the right channel


Don't use Erosion, use LowBit instead.