Is Cantabile more responsive than Ableton? Or educate this newbie!

Please excuse some background. I want to learn some music to play with my cousin and figured a MIDI keyboard would be the way to go since I have nice computer equipment. I’d learn some bass lines and figure out some drum tracks, etc. First I start trying out software. Like Reaper. But the time between my pressing a keyboard key (Akai LPK25) and hearing the sound I could fry an egg. I read up a little bit and with my computer programming experience realize why latency is a problem. Maybe I just need to configure Reaper correctly, maybe I should just get use to it. Anyway, my cousin’s son is a Berklee grad and uses Ableton Live. So I just tried that. It’s more responsive than Reaper, but still, seems delayed. Or is in my imagination, or again, should I get used to it or learn how to configure my equipment? I’d like to use my Lenovo X1 Carbon i5. I do like the fact that Ableton comes with built in sounds. Indeed, I found Cantabile by stumbling across yohng 4front piano (

Okay my question. Is it correct that I can either get very responsive MIDI with Cantabile but no built in sounds and sequencing OR built in sounds, etc., with Ableton but not as responsive MIDI? I would think with so many people using Ableton latency wouldn’t be a big problem, but wouldn’t be surprised if people just factor the latency in as they play.

Right now, my experience is only Cantabile gives that real live-keyboard feel. Thanks for anyone’s explanations in advance.

The latency you’re experiencing is almost certainly down to the audio interface you’re playing through, its driver, and its buffer size setting.

Different DAWs and plugin hosts have different audio engines with different strengths/weaknesses, but I think you’ll find that the differences you see are down to different audio interface/driver configurations. Otherwise, the responsiveness should be fairly similar. So I’d recommend checking your audio settings in each application.



When I play through Cantabile, it seems instantaneous. When I played the simplest sound through Ableton it seemed a bit delayed. Even when I checked “Delay compensation” and “Reduced Latency While monitoring”.

I understand that with a powerful computer I can probably get practically zero latency. But maybe not a laptop without a dedicated sound card?

Yes, you need a dedicated audio interface using ASIO drivers to get the kind of no-latency response you are looking for.

ALTHOUGH- I say that but I actually used a laptop to practice with with only moderately good specs and I used ASIO4ALL through the built-in sound card and it worked just fine for basic playing, no heavy-duty CPU hog plugins. You might want to give that a try first, it’s a free driver. But in the long run dropping a little cash on something like a small Focusrite Scarlett will probably be what you need. Then, download Brad’s e-book about how to tweak you pc for best audio performance, it will make a big difference.

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Thanks, I just installed ASIO4ALL and as you and Neil predicted the latency issue is gone. Thanks for telling me about the e-book, will get!


Cool! I should have put the link, here it is:

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Also, turn off plugin delay compensation in Ableton because it kinda does the opposite of what you want.

Hi! make sure you set your audio interface settings acording to your needs… and use only ASIO drivers…

I’m a professional musician and I play every day with local bands …I’m using Komplete audio 6 interface with a 520ms latency at 48k and no latency or glitchs problems at all…I have been using for 3 years cantabile every single day, and have never
had any latency problems or have been let down on a gig because a crash…even using the on board audio interface ( with Asio 4 all) ASIO drivers are the key!!

Cantabile 3 for me is the pro choise if you want to perform on stage with decent latency and rock solid stability

I have Ableton live 9 suite as well and runing smoth using Asio drivers but Live 9
will never match the unlimited midi routing - binding capabilities of C3 when you need to manage large amount of pluggings with sofisticated set ups

my spects: sony Vaio with a i5 2.3gh, 12 gb ram, 250 GB SSD, Cantabile and 3
Komplete audio 6 usb, Novation 61 keys Midi controller, and novation Zero MKii
Roland rd800


520ms latency? Do you maybe mean 512 samples buffer size? That would be too much latency for me to be honest. FWIW, ASIO4ALL is just a WDM wrapper. Definitely better than MME but if your device has a dedicated ASIO driver in 99% of cases you should use that.