Focusrite Crackling On Ableton? (Solved)

The Focusrite range of audio interfaces is a widely popular and powerful offering in the world of music production, but what happens if your Focusrite is crackling when using Ableton Live?

Don’t stress! In this article, I’ll jump into some reasons why this might be happening and get you some solutions to get your production back on track!

Female sound engineer looking at mixing desk

Your Buffer Size May be a Problem

If you’re experiencing crackling or glitchy audio with your Focusrite Scarlett interface, it’s worth checking the size of the audio buffer.

What is buffer size you ask? Let’s get a brief description of what that is, and how it works:
The buffer size determines how much audio data is processed at one time, and if it’s set too small (64-128 samples or below), you may experience audio glitches depending on your computer’s specifications.

To adjust the buffer size, access your DAW’s audio settings through the following steps:

  1. Open Ableton Live and go to the “Options” menu at the top of the screen.
  2. Select “Preferences” from the drop-down menu.
  3. In the “Preferences” window, click on the “Audio” tab.
  4. Look for the “Buffer Size” section and increase the buffer size.

If you are still experiencing audio glitches or latency, try increasing the buffer size even more to reduce the strain on your computer’s processor.

Keep in mind that increasing the buffer size will increase the latency, which is the delay between when you play a note and when you hear it. So, you’ll want to find a balance between a buffer size that’s large enough to avoid glitches but small enough to keep the latency at an acceptable level.

Another thing to keep in mind is that if you’re plugging your headphones directly into your computer, you’re not utilizing the audio interface itself.

Instead, you’re using the integrated sound card that came with your computer, which may not provide the same quality and stability as the Focusrite Scarlett interface.

If this is the case, be sure to plug your headphones into the headphone output on the interface to get the best possible sound.

You May Need to Change Your GPU’s PCIe Slot

If you’re using a Windows machine to run Ableton Live with a Focusrite interface, this might be the section for you!

What exactly are GPUs and PCIes? Let’s get into a quick description of each:

  • PCIe: The PCIe stands for “Peripheral Component Interconnect Express”. It’s the slot that acts as a connection interface for hardware devices like graphics cards in a computer.
    GPU: GPU stands for “Graphics Processing Unit”, but more commonly just known as the “graphics card” in a computer.

Changing the PCIe slot that the GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) is installed in can potentially improve its performance if the current slot is malfunctioning or not providing enough power.

Some users have experienced a fix of the Focusrite crackling in Ableton Live issue simply by switching their graphics card slot.

Here are the steps to change the PCIe slot of a GPU:

  1. Shut down your computer and unplug it from the power source.
  2. Open the computer case and locate the current PCIe slot where your GPU is installed.
  3. Unscrew the bracket holding the GPU in place and gently remove the GPU from the current PCIe slot.
  4. Locate the desired PCIe slot for the GPU to be installed and remove any coverings or brackets.
  5. Insert the GPU into the new PCIe slot and secure it with the bracket and screws.
  6. Close the computer case and plug it back in.
  7. Power on your computer and check if the GPU is recognized and functioning properly.

Other users have found that switching the PCI_E from auto to 8X8 and to Gen 4 has fixed the crackling within Ableton live issue as well.

It’s important to note that sometimes the default settings in the BIOS may not be the best option for your system, so it’s always a good idea to double-check and make any necessary adjustments.

Please also take a look at our article about Focusrite Scarlett and sound distortion issues – with solutions!

There is a DPC Latency Error in Windows

First off, what on earth are DPC latency errors?

DPC (Deferred Procedure Call) latency refers to the time it takes for the Deferred Procedure Call (DPC) routine, which is a part of the Windows operating system, to complete its tasks.

DPC latency errors are a common issue that can cause audio dropouts, pops, and crackles. When a device driver takes too long to complete a task, it can cause latency issues that can lead to audio disruptions.

Here’s how to resolve DPC latency issues:

Use Fewer USB Ports

Firstly, you can unplug any USB devices that you are not currently using to reduce the workload on your computer’s USB ports. This can help to free up resources and reduce latency.

Disable On-Board Audio

Secondly, it’s a good idea to disable any onboard audio that your computer may have. This can help to avoid conflicts between the onboard audio and your external audio interface.

To disable on-board audio, you can go to your computer’s Device Manager, find the on-board audio device, and right-click on it to disable it.

Disable Network Adapter

Thirdly, disabling your network adapter can also help to reduce latency. This is because network adapters can generate network traffic that can cause latency issues.

Here’s how to disable your network adapter:

  1. Go to the Control Panel on your computer.
  2. Click on the Network and Sharing Center.
  3. Select “Change adapter settings”
  4. Right-click on the network adapter you want to disable.
  5. Click on “Disable”
  6. Turn Off Anti-Virus=
  7. Lastly, turning off your anti-virus software temporarily can help to reduce latency as it can also consume a lot of system resources. However, be sure to turn it back on after you have finished recording or mixing.

By following these steps, you may be able to reduce DPC latency and enjoy a smoother, more stable audio recording and playback experience.

Hopefully, the crackling issue is a thing of the past!

You Need to Optimize Your Windows PC for Audio With Focusrite

Because Windows is such a versatile operating system that can be used for a wide variety of applications (including music production), it means that it can also be quite finicky with so many adjustments being available.

This means that if you’re experiencing crackling or audio dropouts with Ableton and Focusrite, there could be a wide range of reasons for the issue.

Don’t fear though, if you’re looking to improve your experience of Ableton and Focusrite on Windows, here are some tips and tricks that might come in handy:

Install Latest Drivers

Ensure that you have the latest version of the Focusrite driver or control software installed. You can find the latest version for your device on the Downloads Page of the Focusrite website.

Focusrite Notifier

If you can’t see the Focusrite notifier in your taskbar, go to your taskbar, click on the arrow facing up (^), locate the Focusrite notifier (presented as a small ‘F’), and drag and drop the Focusrite Notifier into the main area of the taskbar.

USB Selective Suspend

To disable USB selective suspend, follow these steps:

  1. Search for “Edit power plan” in the Start menu
  2. Click on “Change advanced power settings”
  3. Click “USB settings”
  4. Click “USB Selective suspend setting”
  5. Click “Disable”
  6. If you have a laptop, two options will appear, “On battery” and “Plugged in.” Select “disable” for both.

This feature can cause problems with devices connected via USB, so it’s a good idea to disable it if you’re experiencing issues.

Please also read our article with solutions for Focusrite Scarlett disconnecting. 

Background Services

Here’s how to disable background services:

  1. Set processor scheduling to “Background services” by selecting “System” in Control Panel.
  2. From there, go to “Advanced system settings” > “Advanced” tab > “Settings” under “Performance” to bring up the “Performance Options” window.
  3. Then head to the “Advanced” tab and set processor scheduling as “Background Services,” and click “Apply” then “OK”

Disable Startup Programs

It’s good practice to disable programs that launch automatically upon startup and can negatively impact your computer’s performance.

Here’s how to disable startup programs on Windows:

  1. Open the “Start” menu and search for “Task Manager”
  2. Select “Startup”
  3. Select the “Start-up impact” tab at the top
  4. Identify the programs you want to disable on startup
  5. Right-click on them and select “Disable”
  6. It is recommended to disable “Cortana” to prevent it from using the inputs on your audio interface at inconvenient times.

Disable System Sounds

It’s also a good idea to disable system sounds that can interrupt your recordings.

Here’s how you can disable system sounds:

  1. Search for “Control Panel” in the start menu
  2. Select “Hardware and Sound” > “Sound” > “Sounds” tab
  3. Under the “Sound Scheme menu” select “No Sounds”
  4. Click on “Apply” and then “OK”

Custom Power Plan

If you are experiencing issues with your computer’s performance while running audio applications, creating a custom power plan can help improve its performance.

Although these are a lot of steps, it’s worth following them to create a high-performance power plan for your audio applications:

  1. Open Control Panel: Click on the Start menu, type “Control Panel,” and select it from the results.
  2. Select Power Options: In the Control Panel, select “Power Options”
  3. Create a New Power Plan: On the left-hand side of the window, click on “Create a power plan”
  4. Choose a Power Plan: Select “High Performance” from the list of options.
  5. Name Your Power Plan: Give your power plan a unique name that will help you identify it easily. For instance, you could name it “Audio Workstation”
  6. Customize Your Power Plan: In the next window, customize your power plan by setting “Turn off the display” and “Put the computer to sleep” to “Never”
  7. Disable USB Selective Suspend: Under “USB settings,” select “USB Selective suspend setting” and click “disable”
  8. Set Processor Power Management: Under “Processor power management,” set both the minimum and maximum process state to 100.
  9. Customize for Laptops: If you are using a laptop, two options will appear: “On battery” and “Plugged in.” Select “disable” for both.

Check out our article, Focusrite Scarlett No Green Light? 5 Questions (Answered)

Final Thoughts

Crackling on Ableton Live while using the Focusrite interface can be an incredibly frustrating problem to have and can get in the way of your process and rhythm.

Although there are a lot of possible causes for this annoying issue, it’s worth taking the time to troubleshoot through all of them to get to the bottom of your sound woes.

You’ll be back to creating your next hit in no time!

Read here to find common reasons why your Ableton audio is distorting.


Optimizing Your PC For Audio on Windows 10