Is 16GB of RAM enough for Ableton (Checked)

Ableton Live is one of the world’s leading DAWs (Digital Audio Workstation) and is packed with features and popular tools. But all these features mean that Ableton requires a hefty amount of power from your machine.

This begs the question, what is the correct amount of RAM to run Ableton Live, and will 16GB be enough?

Here’s How Much RAM Ableton Needs:

Ableton Live requires different amounts of RAM for different tasks. 16GB of RAM would be plenty for the average Ableton User, effectively running multiple tracks and third-party plugins. Certain tasks could run on 8GB of RAM, and more intensive projects would run better on 32GB of RAM.

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How Much RAM Do You Need To Run Ableton?

RAM (Random-Access Memory) can be explained as a short-term memory that stores data as your computer’s processor needs it.

This function is crucial to your computer’s performance, as the quicker your processor can access information, the faster your machine will run.

Just like most other DAWs in the music industry, Ableton Live requires decent specs from your computer in order to operate smoothly and efficiently.

This is also dependent on what you’re looking to do with Ableton Live. Certain projects can become bloated and stacked full of third-party plugins, one of the main offenders when it comes to using RAM and CPU power.

Another reason for Ableton Live using a lot of resources from your computer would be using lots of tracks within a project, especially when all of those tracks are filled with audio effects and plugins.

This is often unavoidable when working on big projects, which is why it’s important to acquire the correct amount of RAM to run Ableton Live efficiently.

Different Ableton versions also require different RAM specifications.

Here are the minimum RAM requirements for each Ableton version:

Ableton Live 11

  • Windows – 8GB RAM
    Mac – 8GB RAM

Ableton Live 10

  • Windows – 4 GB RAM (8 GB or more recommended)
    Mac – 4 GB RAM (8 GB or more recommended)
    Is There an Advantage To Having 8GB, 16GB or 32GB of RAM for Ableton?

Ableton is often quite power hungry, especially if you’re running big projects or mixing and producing using multiple tracks and third-party plugins.

The more RAM you have at your disposal, the more processes your machine can handle at the same time. This makes it especially good at handling the intensive and power-hungry nature of DAWs like Ableton live as well as other music production software.

The answer to this question is also dependent on what you’re looking to use Ableton Live for, as the nature of your Ableton use determines the need for more power or not.

8GB of RAM will be fine for most Ableton users, as the need for massive sample libraries or huge multiple-track projects isn’t necessary.

  • If you’re looking to use Ableton Live for simply recording or using onboard sound packs, 8GB of RAM might be the right option for you.

16GB of RAM will be powerful enough for more advanced Ableton Live users, as that amount of memory will be able to cope with large amounts of strain.

  • If you’re looking to use a host of third-party plugins, which often require far more resources, or if you’re looking to include large sample libraries like Kontakt in your production, 16GB will do the job well and efficiently.

32GB RAM would be necessary for very advanced professional producers and mix engineers, as there is not much that couldn’t be handled with that amount of RAM.

  • In certain spheres of music production, such as sound design for film and television, massive sample libraries are needed to create large soundscapes and intricate details. These libraries are incredibly resource heavy on your machine, meaning 32GB of RAM might be needed to cope.

The term “the more the merrier” is definitely applicable here, as it’s always better to have more RAM than you need to not run into any hiccups when trying to mix or produce quickly.

However, another factor to take into consideration is cost. On Windows computers, you can interchange parts a lot easier than on Macs. This means you upgrade specific parts (like RAM) for a fraction of the cost on Windows in comparison to Mac.

Mac price points differ exponentially once you start looking at upgrading your RAM and CPU.

When considering what amount of RAM will be necessary for your needs, consider what you need Ableton for, and what you’re willing to spend.

Is RAM More Important Than CPU?

A CPU (Central Processing Unit) or processor, is the brains behind a computer, essentially the electronic circuitry that instructs computer programs and executes tasks.

Both the RAM and CPU are equally crucial in your computer’s performance capabilities, especially when considering how well they work together.

A more powerful CPU will help when it comes to streaming or running multiple programs. But at the same time, more RAM will help to improve performance in complex operations and programs as well as helping with multitasking.

If you’re using a lot of real-time software synths and effects on Ableton Live, CPU can really come in handy. Whereas when using large sample libraries like East-West or Kontakt, RAM can make the difference.

  • A faster CPU results in more real-time processing capabilities, meaning you’re less likely to hear skipping and crackling on Ableton Live. The Audio Buffer Size can also be kept to a minimum, meaning you have less latency when tracking.
  • RAM will allow you to load more and more sampled sounds into your project without it crashing.

Both functions are equally important and assist each other in ensuring your machine doesn’t become sluggish when running power-hungry programs like Ableton Live.

Again, another consideration is cost, as upgrading your CPU is far more expensive than RAM. It’s important to understand your needs and how much you can afford when deciding what kind of CPU or RAM to get.

How Can I Increase My RAM For Ableton?

This is all well and good, but what if you’re just looking to run Ableton Live on the equipment that you have? Or maybe you’re running into the problem of Ableton Live becoming slow or freezing when you’re trying to work on your project.

Let’s dive into how you can possibly free up some of your existing RAM to ensure that Ableton Live runs to the best of its capabilities.

Ableton Live is designed to utilize as much RAM as it needs to ensure that it runs smoothly. This means that it’ll never use up all your existing RAM unless it absolutely has to, enabling you to run other programs on your machine at the same time.

If you have 16GB of RAM on your machine, and Ableton Live is only using 6GB, it means that Ableton only needs 6GB of RAM at the current moment.

But what if your Ableton Live project is running slowly or even freezing?

One reason could be that that while Ableton might only be using 6GB of RAM, your entire system is using the other 10GB. This is unlikely unless you’re massively overloading your computer with tasks and software running simultaneously.

Here’s how to increase RAM on your computer:

  • Make sure you restart your computer.
  • Close power-hungry programs like Google Chrome, especially where multiple tabs are open.
  • Adjust your sample-rate within Ableton Live

Certain VSTs and third-party plugins are much more power-hungry than others, so if you’re still having some performance trouble, it might be necessary to try to adjust your Ableton Live project accordingly.

One foolproof method to alleviate strain on your RAM and CPU is to “freeze” and then “flatten” your Ableton tracks, especially the ones that are using a lot of audio effects or known VSTs that utilize more power than others.

Freezing an Ableton track records it into a temporary audio file, meaning that it’s reversible but limits the amount of editing you can do in that specific “frozen” track.

“Flattening” a track can only be done to an already “Frozen” track, which then turns it into a normal audio file that you can edit and adjust. However, once flattened, all the audio effects and MIDI information is lost.

So although the “Freeze and Flatten” method is very helpful in creating some breathing room for your machine, you have to make sure that you’re completely happy with your Ableton tracks, as there’s no going back!

Be aware, that Ableton does not automatically save your work, so before freezing, ensure that you have saved your project

What Are The System Requirements For Ableton?

Having a good understanding of your objectives when using Ableton Live as well as making sure you have the correct specifications on your machine are both crucial in how Ableton can work for you.

Ableton Stipulates the minimum requirements for Live 10 and 11 as follows:

Live 11


  • Windows 10, Windows 11
  • Intel Core i5 processor or AMD multi-core processor
  • 8 GB RAM
  • 1366×768 display resolution
  • ASIO-compatible audio hardware

As you can see, Windows and Ableton are fully compatible.


  • macOS High Sierra 10.13 to Ventura 13
  • Intel Core i5 processor
  • Apple silicon
  • 8 GB RAM
  • 1280×800 display resolution
  • Core Audio compliant audio interface

Live 10


  • Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 10
  • 64-bit Intel Core i5 processor or AMD multi-core processor.
  • 4 GB RAM (8 GB or more recommended)
  • 1366×768 display resolution
  • ASIO-compatible audio hardware


  • macOS El Capitan 10.11.6 to Ventura 13
  • Intel Core 2 Duo processor. Intel Core i5 processor
  • Apple silicon using Rosetta
  • 4 GB RAM (8 GB or more recommended)
  • 1280×800 display resolution
  • Core Audio compliant audio interface


Ableton System Requirements