Question about Ableton and RAM (memory)

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Christian_R
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Joined: Fri Apr 23, 2010 1:07 pm

Question about Ableton and RAM (memory)

Post by Christian_R » Mon Feb 04, 2019 3:24 pm

Hi,

I have an iMac 27 inch from 2013 with 24 GB RAM.

Sometimes when I have lots of tracks playing at the same time, it can be a little too much for the machine to handle, so I think I will buy some extra RAM so it runs at 32 GB RAM.

Does anyone know how much of a difference that makes? If it just gets a little bit better, I'm happy :)

justanametouse
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Re: Question about Ableton and RAM (memory)

Post by justanametouse » Mon Feb 04, 2019 4:01 pm

That's quite a bit of RAM already. Are you using a lot of large sample libraries? If not, adding more RAM probably isn't going to do much for you.

jlgrimes
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Re: Question about Ableton and RAM (memory)

Post by jlgrimes » Mon Feb 04, 2019 5:01 pm

Christian_R wrote:Hi,

I have an iMac 27 inch from 2013 with 24 GB RAM.

Sometimes when I have lots of tracks playing at the same time, it can be a little too much for the machine to handle, so I think I will buy some extra RAM so it runs at 32 GB RAM.

Does anyone know how much of a difference that makes? If it just gets a little bit better, I'm happy :)

Don't know but in general, RAM usage tends to go up in the following situations:

1. Using primarily audio tracks
2. Using large sample libraries
3. Having many programs open at once


If you hare having high disk usage, ram might help, but an SSD or 7200 rpm hard drive might also help as well. If you are low on hard drive space (or have a drive that is very fragmented), that could be the bigger factor. I haven't really heard these days if more than 16 gigs or ram makes much difference for audio but it can't hurt and is usually a fairly cheap upgrade to do.

Christian_R
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Re: Question about Ableton and RAM (memory)

Post by Christian_R » Mon Feb 04, 2019 7:53 pm

justanametouse wrote:That's quite a bit of RAM already. Are you using a lot of large sample libraries? If not, adding more RAM probably isn't going to do much for you.
No, I mostly use normal MIDI instruments. But some of the songs have many tracks with effects from different plugins etc., so that is probable the reason.
jlgrimes wrote: Don't know but in general, RAM usage tends to go up in the following situations:

1. Using primarily audio tracks
2. Using large sample libraries
3. Having many programs open at once

If you hare having high disk usage, ram might help, but an SSD or 7200 rpm hard drive might also help as well. If you are low on hard drive space (or have a drive that is very fragmented), that could be the bigger factor. I haven't really heard these days if more than 16 gigs or ram makes much difference for audio but it can't hurt and is usually a fairly cheap upgrade to do.
I only have Ableton open, and sometimes Chrome, and I mainly use the MIDI tracks. I think I will try to upgrade since RAM isn't that expensive these days.

Thank you both for the reply ;)

justanametouse
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Re: Question about Ableton and RAM (memory)

Post by justanametouse » Mon Feb 04, 2019 8:52 pm

If you're using a lot of plugins, that's adding CPU strain. Adding RAM won't really alleviate that problem. Trying freezing tracks or bouncing them to audio. You could also put the plugins on a "low quality" mode while you're working and turn them up when it's time to bounce if they have the option.

jlgrimes
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Location: Atlanta, Ga

Re: Question about Ableton and RAM (memory)

Post by jlgrimes » Wed Feb 06, 2019 5:00 pm

jlgrimes wrote:
Christian_R wrote:Hi,

I have an iMac 27 inch from 2013 with 24 GB RAM.

Sometimes when I have lots of tracks playing at the same time, it can be a little too much for the machine to handle, so I think I will buy some extra RAM so it runs at 32 GB RAM.

Does anyone know how much of a difference that makes? If it just gets a little bit better, I'm happy :)

Don't know but in general, RAM usage tends to go up in the following situations:

1. Using primarily audio tracks
2. Using large sample libraries
3. Having many programs open at once


If you hare having high disk usage, ram might help, but an SSD or 7200 rpm hard drive might also help as well. If you are low on hard drive space (or have a drive that is very fragmented), that could be the bigger factor. I haven't really heard these days if more than 16 gigs or ram makes much difference for audio but it can't hurt and is usually a fairly cheap upgrade to do.

If you are using midi tracks mainly, this shouldn't affect Ram or disk usage, as midi is pretty low bandwidth data. Midi tends to affect CPU use if using softsynths. If you are using large sample libraries however, you could eat up ram.

You can monitor your ram usage on a performance monitor program which is usually built into OS. I doubt you are using alot of ram unless you are using alot of soft samplers.

jlgrimes
Posts: 1222
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Location: Atlanta, Ga

Re: Question about Ableton and RAM (memory)

Post by jlgrimes » Wed Feb 06, 2019 5:00 pm

jlgrimes wrote:
Christian_R wrote:Hi,

I have an iMac 27 inch from 2013 with 24 GB RAM.

Sometimes when I have lots of tracks playing at the same time, it can be a little too much for the machine to handle, so I think I will buy some extra RAM so it runs at 32 GB RAM.

Does anyone know how much of a difference that makes? If it just gets a little bit better, I'm happy :)

Don't know but in general, RAM usage tends to go up in the following situations:

1. Using primarily audio tracks
2. Using large sample libraries
3. Having many programs open at once


If you hare having high disk usage, ram might help, but an SSD or 7200 rpm hard drive might also help as well. If you are low on hard drive space (or have a drive that is very fragmented), that could be the bigger factor. I haven't really heard these days if more than 16 gigs or ram makes much difference for audio but it can't hurt and is usually a fairly cheap upgrade to do.

If you are using midi tracks mainly, this shouldn't affect Ram or disk usage, as midi is pretty low bandwidth data. Midi tends to affect CPU use if using softsynths. If you are using large sample libraries however, you could eat up ram.

You can monitor your ram usage on a performance monitor program which is usually built into OS. I doubt you are using alot of ram unless you are using alot of soft samplers.

Christian_R
Posts: 117
Joined: Fri Apr 23, 2010 1:07 pm

Re: Question about Ableton and RAM (memory)

Post by Christian_R » Wed Feb 06, 2019 5:45 pm

jlgrimes wrote: If you are using midi tracks mainly, this shouldn't affect Ram or disk usage, as midi is pretty low bandwidth data. Midi tends to affect CPU use if using softsynths. If you are using large sample libraries however, you could eat up ram.

You can monitor your ram usage on a performance monitor program which is usually built into OS. I doubt you are using alot of ram unless you are using alot of soft samplers.
Thank you for the reply! I have another question too that you might know the answer to:

Does inactive MIDI tracks in a project affect the CPU usage in any way? I have a bunch of MIDI tracks (30+) in my project that I might use later. But they are all muted for the moment, so I guess that won't affect the CPU. But I'm not sure :)

justanametouse
Posts: 95
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2018 11:54 pm

Re: Question about Ableton and RAM (memory)

Post by justanametouse » Wed Feb 06, 2019 6:17 pm

Christian_R wrote:
jlgrimes wrote: If you are using midi tracks mainly, this shouldn't affect Ram or disk usage, as midi is pretty low bandwidth data. Midi tends to affect CPU use if using softsynths. If you are using large sample libraries however, you could eat up ram.

You can monitor your ram usage on a performance monitor program which is usually built into OS. I doubt you are using alot of ram unless you are using alot of soft samplers.
Thank you for the reply! I have another question too that you might know the answer to:

Does inactive MIDI tracks in a project affect the CPU usage in any way? I have a bunch of MIDI tracks (30+) in my project that I might use later. But they are all muted for the moment, so I guess that won't affect the CPU. But I'm not sure :)
Yes, it will still use CPU. You should deactivate the plugins on tracks you aren't using.

[jur]
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Re: Question about Ableton and RAM (memory)

Post by [jur] » Wed Feb 06, 2019 6:42 pm

Also try to increase your buffer size.
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TLW
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Re: Question about Ableton and RAM (memory)

Post by TLW » Thu Feb 07, 2019 12:28 am

Adding RAM won't make a difference unless you are actually short on RAM so the Mac is writing to the swapfile all the time.

Run the MacOS Activity Monitor (found in the utilities part of launchpad) and switch to the memory tag. The most important thing to look at is the "memory pressure" section at the bottom if the window. If it's in the green when running your biggest and/or most sampler-heavy projects then adding RAM won't make any noticeable difference to performance.
Live 10.1 Suite, M4L, 2014/15 MacBook Pro 15.3” Retina i7, OS Mojave 10.14.5. RME UFX, assorted synths, guitars and stuff.

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