Compartmentalized cAMP/PKA signalling is now recognized as important for physiology and pathophysiology, yet a detailed understanding of the properties, regulation and function of local cAMP/PKA signals is lacking. Here we present a fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET)-based sensor, CUTie, which detects compartmentalized cAMP with unprecedented accuracy. CUTie, targeted to specific multiprotein complexes at discrete plasmalemmal, sarcoplasmic reticular and myofilament sites, reveals differential kinetics and amplitudes of localized cAMP signals. This nanoscopic heterogeneity of cAMP signals is necessary to optimize cardiac contractility upon adrenergic activation. At low adrenergic levels, and those mimicking heart failure, differential local cAMP responses are exacerbated, with near abolition of cAMP signalling at certain locations. This work provides tools and fundamental mechanistic insights into subcellular adrenergic signalling in normal and pathological cardiac function.