There is nothing worse than creating a banger new song and having Ableton crash before saving the live set.
Later versions of Ableton Live have a built-in save feature that will store information in case Ableton crashes.
However, the automatic save feature is not perfect, and many of us have lost valuable parts of a set due to Ableton crashing in the middle of a cook-up.
In this article, we look at how to stop Ableton from crashing by look at some of the possible causes of Ableton crashing and how to fix those issues.
Step 1: Check your audio device
Generally speaking, your computer’s inbuilt soundcard will not handle Ableton Live well and could result in a crash.
The inbuilt soundcard may suffice some MAC users, but most inbuilt soundcards in Microsoft PCs and laptops are trash.
Therefore, you need to install ASIO4ALL V2 here (for free).
It is a low-latency audio driver for windows that will enable Ableton to process audio better and run your bigger sets smoother.
Once you have installed it, make sure it is enabled by going to Options in Ableton Live, then Preferences.
In the Preferences, box select Audio and change the Driver Type to ASIO and the Audio Device to ASIO4ALL v2 or your audio interface.
This will reduce your chances of a DAW crash.
Step 2: Make sure your battery charger is connected
This may seem like a simple thing to overlook, but it has tripped me up a few times.
I have had Ableton crash because my laptop was not getting enough power to run it.
I am not sure why it does not run properly off battery power, but I found that having the charger connected drastically reduced the number of times Ableton crashed out on me in the middle of a session.
Step 3: Monitor your VSTs
If you notice that Ableton crashes when using a particular VST plugin, you can be fairly sure that that VST plugin is the culprit.
Some cheap and nasty VSTs can crash your DAW.
Pirated VSTs, in particular, cause all sorts of problems, with DAW crashes being one of them.
The solution to that problem is to go legit or look at purchasing a license via a payment plan.
On the other hand, some VSTs are particularly CPU intensive, like Serum.
Personally, I have not had an issue with Serum, but I know of many people who have had Ableton Live crash when they use it.
The reason for that is that their computers are not powerful enough to run all of the powerful engines within Serum, especially when the set has multiple tracks using Serum with additional effects.
You can check your CPU load up the top right of the DAW (see where it says 20%).
However, if your computer struggles with CPU-intensive VSTs, don’t despair. There is a way to solve that problem so you can still use your favorite VSTs.
Step 4: Freeze/flatten midi tracks to avoid CPU overload
Since the most common reason for Ableton Live crashing is CPU overload, the best way to remedy the issue is to lessen the load on your CPU.
For those of us who throw everything but the kitchen sink into our mixes, this may sound like heresy. I, for one, agree that less is not always more. However, there are ways to lessen the load on your CPU without having to give up the elements you love.
The easiest way to do this is to Freeze your midi tracks.
Freezing temporarily renders your midi track (which is CPU intensive with its VST instrument and effects) to audio, which is far less intensive on your CPU.
Of course, you cannot change anything about that track while it is frozen – hence the term ‘frozen.’ But doing this to your midi tracks can help ease up the load on your CPU.
To do that, right-click on the track you want to freeze and click ‘Freeze.’
You will then see the track turn blue, ala frozen.
If you are happy with that track and will not make any further changes to it, you can commit to turning it to audio by right-clicking on the track again and selecting ‘Flatten.’
Doing this before your final mix will help reduce the load on your CPU and the chances of Ableton crashing.
You can read our full guide on how to bounce a track in Ableton HERE.
FAQ – How To stop Ableton From Crashing
Why does Ableton keep crashing?
For any of the reasons discussed in the article. Best to revisit each step to troubleshoot.
Why is audio delayed while recording on Ableton?
This is known as latency. To avoid latency, you need to have the proper audio drivers installed, such as ASIO4ALL v2.
Why, when you load a song in Ableton live, does it sound somewhat choppy?
It could be for any of the reasons mentioned in this article. Best to go through each step to troubleshoot.
Does the USB port on which your devices are connected can cause this behavior?
Faulty connections can trigger the DAW to crash. This also happens sometimes when I plug in a midi controller or audio interface during a session.
How come Ableton live 9 crashes upon any playback?
Check your audio driver and see step 1.
So there you go, a few reasons why Ableton might be crashing on you, plus some tricks on how to stop it from happening.
Ultimately, it boils down to how good your computer.
Having plenty of RAM, a decent CPU, and a fast SSD drive can drastically improve Ableton’s performance and prevent that dreaded crash report flashing up!
For a kick-ass computer, check out our complete studio PC build HERE.
about the author
Hi, I’m Casey, a musician, and writer from the Australian surf coast.
I make midtempo bass music under the name ‘Cavedweller,’ which was inspired by the past and Plato’s cave sages. Originally from a musical background in heavy metal, I also play guitar and drums for the band Mountaris – signed to US record label Transcending Records.