Do you use a redundant playback setup?

I’m curious here, among AbleSet users, how common is it to actually run a redundant playback setup? I’m a software engineer by day, so tech doesn’t intimidate me in the live music arena. we’ve considered implementing this, but not sure it’s actually worth the trouble at this particular time.

my situation is somewhat unique in that I use AbleSet to run our show with Live, but I have the laptop connected to our X32 Rack via USB and Live uses the X32 as one big audio interface. the decision was made long ago that if the tech goes down, the show stops… so I took it a step farther and incorporated my live guitar signal processing to happen within Live in real time. I now run a wireless into the X32, route to a track in Live that has an amp sim and other plugins set up, and finally returned to the X32. I love everything about the setup - the simplicity, the sound and the fact that I have everything automated within Live - so I don’t tap dance on a pedalboard, all of my changes are programmed in via automation in Live. it’s a dream come true for me.

however, looking forward at a redundant setup, I’d have to find another way as devices like iConnectivity only support audio out. I thought about running a redundant setup and then potentially splitting my guitar input signal into both laptops via an iRig on each or something, as they would then both be getting my live guitar input. but then I thought… over the 3+ years I’ve been doing this, the laptop has only given us an issue a few times, and they were definitely exceptional circumstances. the overwhelming majority of the time, it’s rock solid.

what about other users here? are you running a redundant setup? what made you make the jump? has it ever ‘failed over’ during a show and saved you?

I use a redundant playback system live with AbleSet, 2 MBPs, iConnectivity PlayAUDIO12, and a network switch. It’s been wonderful, and it HAS failed over during shows before and kept things rolling smoothly (just make sure it’s set up properly for that purpose!).
I only have outputs in this rig, but my band was originally considering inputs, and here’s what I’d recommend based on what I looked up back then: AUDIO4c - audio interface for streaming, performance, and recording — iConnectivity

I definitely recommend a redundant rig, just to be ultra-prepared; AbleNet does a really great job of managing this!


We used to run the exact same setup as you, routing all audio through an X32 Rack for processing in Ableton Live. Most of the time it worked fine, but there were a few shows where Live would pause for ~200-250ms and then continue playing, which threw everyone off.

I think this was caused by a driver issue with an older version of macOS and it hasn’t happened in a while, but having a 2nd computer that automatically takes over in these situations just gives me more peace of mind.

If you need to route your inputs to multiple computers, the cheapest way would be to buy a split snake and two audio interfaces that you just use for inputs, and use the PlayAUDIO for redundant outputs.

If you have a larger budget, you could go with two RME DigiFace Dante plus a DirectOut EXBOX.MD connected to your X32 with an X-Dante card for your redundant setup. That gives you up to 32 channels of input and 32 channels of redundant output, and you only have to do one step of AD/DA conversion at the inputs and outputs of your X32.

I hope this helps!

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I use a single MacBook. Redundancy isn’t an option for me - would be if doing a professional large scale show of course. But I’m doing bars, clubs, 3 / 4 set cover gigs.

Was interesting reading your post Leo, as last night ( and has happened two other times ) Ableton stopped playback for half a second or something… I just had to wait, and jump back in when I realised what had happened.

When it happened last night I suspected what was as happening, it was like the song paused for that split second, then started back up exactly where it had stopped… just had to wait and jump back in.

Am interested in working out why - see if there is a fix in place.

Had a few gremlins last night - lighting wigged out - 3 lights just stopped working but all others kept working.

Some testing to do this week. :call_me_hand::call_me_hand::call_me_hand:

I don’t use redundancy currently. I’m hoping to add a Playaudio1U sometime though.
Call me lucky, but I have never ever experienced drop outs, or have playback stop randomly during rehearsal or a show in 400+ gigs.
My Live setup is fairly simple: I just run 4 outputs for tracks, no plugins/processes in real time, MIDI tracks that I use to control patch/scene/parameter changes (mostly PC and CC) on outboard gear (HX Stomp, rackmounted Axe Fx III, Quad Cortex and a VoiceLive vocal processor), and buffer at 2048 for minimum CPU strain + AbleSet’s latest stable release with performance view on the main MacBook, with a wired connection to an iPad.

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Buffer size! I leave mine at 256 as I am always adding parts during the week / building new songs / show is always evolving.

I wonder if setting to 2048 for live playback will fix this issue. Great tip!

Will try.

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If you’re just editing out, building your show and you’re not using any realtime monitoring and such, then using maximum buffer size won’t hurt at all.

Also, and though this may seem pretty obvious to many, I try to always make sure that every single file in my Live set is rendered the same, that is: same file format (I use WAV files, not AIFF. Just choose one and stick with it) same bit depth and sample rate (I use 24-bit/48k), and that the interface is set to 48 as well😅.

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I’m curious, what Macbook are you using? I run a 2021 MBP M1 Pro machine, 16GB RAM. I run tracks, a MIDI click track that triggers samples, a DMX plugin for stage effects, and my guitar signal through Ableton in real time with plugins and automation for it all. because of my live guitar signal, I have my buffer set to 64 samples. the only time we’ve experienced skips is when there’s static electricity zaps on microphones, or a grounding issue… the laptop and the X32 don’t like that. other than those issues though, it’s pretty rock solid.

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I’m on exactly the same machine as yourself. Monterey 12.3

I run Slate drums SSD5 & Goran Brushes Kit ( midi drum tracks - no recorded audio ), Audio Bass, couple extra percussion things, Tambo, Shaker… Sometimes midi sometimes audio. DMX automation for lights.

Pretty light i imagine compared to what some users do… CPU meter is always hovering well under 30%

I can’t say I’ve experienced a mic zap in the last 10 years… And have never come across grounding issues.

@leolabs You said an older version of MacOS was the issue… Would you say Monterey 12.3 could be the issue? Always reluctant to upgrade unless it sees improvements.

It might have been the issue, but I don’t know for sure, unfortunately. Our playback machines are currently running macOS Ventura and I haven’t had any issues with that version of macOS yet.

If you’re using an M1 Mac, setting the buffer size to a higher value might actually cause more dropouts as macOS tends to demote Live to the processor’s performance cores to the less powerful efficiency cores if it thinks the app doesn’t need as much processing power.

I’m not sure if this is still true for newer versions of macOS and Live, but we’ve been running our set on M1 machines with a 128 sample buffer without any issues. Here’s a video of Will explaining this. He recommends setting the buffer to 256 samples or lower:


Wow, didn’t know about that.
Still running on Intel Mac on Big Sur😅