Troubleshooting Sunday Keys for Ableton Live CPU Problems

If you are having trouble with Sunday Keys for Ableton Live, check out the below troubleshooting tips. You'll need to have 16 GB of RAM to use Sunday Keys, and at least 2.0 gHz processing power. 

  • Turn off IAC Driver. If you need to use it, open Ableton Midi preferences and turn “Track” “Sync” and “Remote” off for both input and output for all your IAC instances in Ableton Midi Preferences. Then you should be able to turn on IAC and then turn back on ONLY the exact midi preferences you need on for IAC. There may be extra, unnecessary settings currently turned on that Ableton is listening to, which is causing the freeze up.
  • Adjust buffer size - you'll want the buffer size set to as high as is tolerable. You'll want to just test this out on your machine.
  • Make sure In/Out Sample rate is 44100 or 48000
  • Trim down the Set as you feel the need by removing instruments from the "Instruments Go Here" racks present on each track, just keep in mind that you'll be affecting the layered worship patches as you do.

If you are using a PC, there are some good best practices here for running Ableton on Windows:


If you have a dual core processor check out the link for CPU optimization. Also many security/antivirus apps like Norton and McAfee are known to slow down your computer, usually if the auto scan setting is enabled, so you might do some research into that to see if you can optimize that software or temporarily disable it when using Ableton Live. (Do this at your own risk and always follow best safety practices for downloading files on the internet or opening emails etc.)


CPU issues:

If you are having an issue with the mod wheel having a CPU spike, this is due to an unfortunate default in Ableton Live that passes midi CC data through to all instruments open in a Set, even when they're inactivated via Chain Selector (as all the bypassed instruments in Sunday Keys are). This is also why a sustain pedal press can cause some CPU peaks as well. For that we first recommend adjusting your audio buffer settings where possible to reduce the likelihood of the issue. It is normal for some data to be sent by these controls that is passed thru to all the instruments. It’s how Live handles midi by default and it can cause issues for some, for others it’s not a big deal, and it seems to vary from user to user. 

Regarding the mod wheel, we generally just discourage using it as a part of your rig for this reason. A great solution is to use a separate midi controller like the nanoKontrol2, and we like it so much that we have it programmed with a knob to open up the master filter (far right knob). We hope Live will eventually allow folks more flexibility over how midi is passed thru or filtered by a given instrument but until then there are some of these unfortunate constraints inherent to the program.


Additional CPU Troubleshooting Tips:

  • Unplug your keyboard entirely and use Live’s Musical Typing feature to see if you can recreate the dropouts. If the CPU usage is still through the roof w/ all peripherals disconnected and only using musical typing, your computer has the recommended specs and you've checked on your Preferences in the tips at the top of this article, this is a strong indication that the issue isn’t midi/hardware related. 

    If you can’t recreate the drop outs, the next step is to dig into your midi data to make sure you're not sending more data into Ableton Live than necessary is the next step. Do this by grabbing a midi monitor plugin (or using Live’s if you own Suite) to see what midi data is coming in when you see this behavior. 
  • Try disabling Sforzando to see if that makes a difference. You can do this by deselecting the yellow circle in the upper left of the plugin. 
  • Make sure you're not sending data on ALL/OMNI midi channels, but rather just one. (You can also use midi monitoring tool to check this out.) 
  • The mod wheel (and other controls that send on common MIDI CCs like it) is passed through to all instruments in a Set in Ableton Live, even if those instruments are not selected in Chain Selector. It's possible to bypass/turn off this behavior, but then changes between presets aren't seamless. It can be turned off on each individual track by navigating into the rack where all the individual instruments reside, clicking “Chain” and then right clicking on chain selector and choosing “Chain Selector Filters Midi CTRL” from the drop down menu. The problem with turning it off is that if the you are holding the sustain pedal when changing patches the old patch will sustain infinitely. Might be tolerable for some if they are really looking for an optimization, but you'll want to consider that. 
  • You should be able to drastically improve performance by midi mapping controls where desired within Sunday Keys so they aren't passed through to the instruments. This would require turning on “Remote” for the keyboard and then midi mapping to whatever parameters. Note that by default this would cause the sustain pedal to not work until the mapping to scene in Track 1 is removed. 

Issues with Sustain Pedal:

  • Check to see if your pedal is plugged into the wrong port on the back of your keyboard. Make sure it’s labeled “pedal” and not volume or expression - the keyboard/port designates what kind of data it sends. Some sustain pedals are designed to send half pedal and/or continuous pedal data. That means that instead of just On=127 Off=0 that they send a constantly varying stream of data between 0-127 based on how far down the pedal is pressed. This is bad because it's sending too much data, and you want to use a basic on/off pedal instead with Ableton Live.
  • Try grabbing a midi monitor plugin (or using Live’s if you own Suite) to see what midi data is coming in when you see this behavior.

How to find and use the Midi Monitor in Ableton Live Suite

Midi Monitor for Mac

Midi Monitor for PC


If you are still having issues with CPU in Sunday Keys for Ableton, reach out to us here with what you've tried so far and your specific situation. 

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