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MainStage 2.2.1 - CPU issues with old MacBook

1281 Views 9 Replies Latest reply: Apr 6, 2012 1:44 PM by Jowie RSS
Jowie Level 2 Level 2 (205 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Apr 1, 2012 9:41 AM

I just downloaded MainStage 2 for my trusty old MacBook - it's 2.0GHz Core Duo, 2GB... best spec you can make it really.

 

I use it to run both Ableton Live and Garageband with absolutely no problems... The CPU handles both apps fine, unless I have some stuff running in the background. But most of the time the CPU hovers around 50%.

 

So I was quite surprised when I downloaded MainStage 2 and started using it... The CPU is pretty constant at about 100%. Sometimes it goes up as far as 150%. And this is when idle! Although I don't have much memory, MainStage is not taking up a huge amount (about 350MB) and I still have some headroom left... So I'm assuming that isn't the issue.

 

I've looked at other threads and one solution was to up the audio buffer time in the preferences. Mine was already set to 256 samples, but I tried higher and it didn't make any difference. Can anyone help? I bought it for live performance, but considering how dodgy it's looking with the CPU, I'm a little worried about doing so.

 

Thanks!

MacBook, Mac OS X (10.6.8), 1,1 Core Duo 2.0 GHz 2 GB RAM
  • chiccorosso Level 1 Level 1 (145 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 2, 2012 4:10 AM (in response to Jowie)

    Hello Jowie,

    I'm afraid the new MS raised the bar for the hardware required.

     

    What i can suggest you is:

    - upgrade your RAM to 4GB, that shouldn't be quite inexpensive and for sure helps a lot,

    - modify your setup so that the sound remains under 0db (you can raise the volume from the amplifier)

    - remove all the "little-icons-in-the-menu-bar"

     

    If this doesn't gets you in a usable way consider removing some effect from your channels (like from the main out).

     

    i have a 2.4 core 2 duo with 4gb ram. It's usable, (i don't couple it with live) wihtout modifying the default buffer setting, but i'm saving money for a faster mac anyway Honestly MainStage is what i always wanted in 20 years of playing...

  • chiccorosso Level 1 Level 1 (145 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 2, 2012 4:11 AM (in response to Jowie)

    Hello Jowie,

    I'm afraid the new MS raised the bar for the hardware required.

     

    What i can suggest you is:

    - upgrade your RAM to 4GB, that shouldn't be quite inexpensive and for sure helps a lot,

    - modify your setup so that the sound remains under 0db (you can raise the volume from the amplifier)

    - remove all the "little-icons-in-the-menu-bar"

     

    If this doesn't gets you in a usable way consider removing some effect from your channels (like from the main out).

     

    i have a 2.4 core 2 duo with 4gb ram. It's usable, (i don't couple it with live) wihtout modifying the default buffer setting, but i'm saving money for a faster mac anyway Honestly MainStage is what i always wanted in 20 years of playing...

  • chiccorosso Level 1 Level 1 (145 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 2, 2012 4:12 AM (in response to Jowie)

    Hello Jowie,

    I'm afraid the new MS raised the bar for the hardware required.

     

    What i can suggest you is:

    - upgrade your RAM to 4GB, that shouldn't be quite inexpensive and for sure helps a lot,

    - modify your setup so that the sound remains under 0db (you can raise the volume from the amplifier)

    - remove all the "little-icons-in-the-menu-bar"

     

    If this doesn't gets you in a usable way consider removing some effect from your channels (like from the main out).

     

    i have a 2.4 core 2 duo with 4gb ram. It's usable, (i don't couple it with live) wihtout modifying the default buffer setting, but i'm saving money for a faster mac anyway Honestly MainStage is what i always wanted in 20 years of playing...

  • chiccorosso Level 1 Level 1 (145 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 3, 2012 6:08 AM (in response to Jowie)

    Hello Jowie,

    Nobody here is a "big boy", or at least I don't think I am. I apologize if that's how i sounded. :-)

     

    Personally I don't think an extra 0.5 GB RAM would change much. Many users saw an increase in processor usage when the sound reaches 0db (please note 0db is not max scale, is at about 4/5 of the meters.

    Istat while for sure useful eats some precious processor time.

     

    Mainstage uses quite a different architecture than garageband (or logic) in order to process audio and virtual instruments all in real time and also tinkers a lot into Audio Units parameters to give you the opportunity to change things live. Also a part of processing power is devoted to update the graphics in real time to give you a proper on-time feedback). Mainstage passes thru the interface vectors to update and manage your channels, that's a problem other softwares avoids by giving you a bitmapped and lower priority UI.

     

    Default effects are ok. Heavy load effects are usually the ones devote to convolutions like space designer.

     

    Anyway Main Stage since version 2.2 uses a lot of processor power. If the sounds are getting out correctly i think there's no issue in running 100% of the processor, but if you get garbled sounds or missing notes I would either consider a more powerful machine or a different tool for playing. (i know, it's sad to say that but at least I think it's honest).

     

    Please write here how it ended on your side.

     

    Best regards and good luck!

     

    Enrico

  • chiccorosso Level 1 Level 1 (145 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 3, 2012 1:45 PM (in response to Jowie)

    I have a 2010 macbook pro, a core 2 duo 2.4ghz with 4gb ram. I'm using it for my live performances, combined with pianoteq play piano plugin and all the factory plugins (mainly hammonds, rhodes, EXS24, ES2). My biggest patch having 7 instruments used in layer.

     

    Said that, i use mainstage without big problems but i have the feeling it runs a little "border line". As soon as I open a concert it goes up to 100% then it goes down and it stalls from 60% to 85%.

    I tried it on a i7macbook pro with 8GB ram and it ran very smoothly with 20% to 50% cpu usage.

     

    As for what you ask audio units doesn't takes up performances, unless you place them in a concert. So there's no real need to uninstall them if not to gain back hard disk space and simplify your setup. Remember also to disable bluetooth and maybe wifi. Those two things can impact on real time processes.

     

    I remain here waiting for your feedback good luck and you're welcome.

     

    PS: before mainstage was invented i used to play with logic, with a sound on each channel strip. It worked flawlessy on an old white macbook.

     

    Enrico.

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