am i wasting my tell me

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
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am i wasting my tell me

Post by unusable » Mon Nov 28, 2005 7:19 am

here's my disappointing and frustrating story....

I've been lurking around here for a while (but probably not long enough).
I have been recording music in Cubase on a powerful(but now dated) Carillon system running XP have a delta 1010, with a measly 768MB RAM, I also run reason, recycle...plugs....vst's etcetera. I am very happy with this setup as it has enabled me to make music at ease.

the music i make (like many others) is primarily sampling my own acoustic music and making it a little more electronic in feel and sound.
Enter my ableton discovery, i was looking for a way to take it to the live stage and after doing some product research found live 5. WOW, downloaded the demo onto an old toshiba laptop and started monkeying around. did some more research and saw the applications in which people were using this on stage and was again blown away!

looked up specs and system req's, made a planned approach to get some firewire converters, got the focusrite saffire, got a g4 powerbook 1.67, 1 g ram, and the new 7200 drive. i'm thinking "shit this is gonna be great" I am ready to throw this shit out the window, as i most probably won't be able to return the system to apple.

With the demo loaded on this powerbook, i record a couple tracks, put in some drums and guess what happens next, i can get the audio to click and stutter with little effort, so little effort that it is laugh-able. Tested both the onboard sound card as well as the saffire and can duplicate the problem, although harder with onboard sound due to the cpu power required in the kernel_task for the saffire.

I am a n00b when it comes to mac. so expert users please reply, tell me, is this all i can get outta this machine? does anyone have success with similar hardware?, cause I can in fact change my focusrite for something else, if that would in fact work. I could upgrade my RAM, but I have a feeling that it's the processor/ableton making me crackle?

Or maybe I'm not using the software right. When you've recorded an audio loop, do you always have to edit the entire sample down to the section you're using, or can you have the whole take there? Do you have to freeze tracks all the time during your recording/playback?

finally, was live 4.1.4 better?really?

it's just utterly ridiculous, I appear to have more than enough juice, but it's running like shit...

if you've made it this far, thanks, kind of a rant but i'm frustrated,


(please don't give me any shit on my powerbook choice, i'm trying not to think about it)

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Post by Johnisfaster » Mon Nov 28, 2005 7:33 am

I'm on a g4 too. you get a crackle now and then but you have to do some stuff to keep that from happening.

first off, go to your system preferences and click on energy saver, click options, then click "processor perforance" to make it on the highest setting.

the other thing you need to do is run disk utility now and then to repair your disk permissions, you'll find that in your applications folder under "utilities"

and lastly you need to remember to unplug your internet when you're making music. make sure there are no other applications running the background. remember that on a mac when you close a window the program is still running. you have to actually tell it to quit not just close the window.

oh yeah and make sure you're using the latest drivers for your audio device.

and and and fiddle with the latency settings in your ableton preferences.
It was as if someone shook up a 6 foot can of blood soda and suddenly popped the top.

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Post by Johnisfaster » Mon Nov 28, 2005 7:34 am

you've got more ram than me by the way. so if you do all that right there you'll be running even better than me. and I'm running quite well.
It was as if someone shook up a 6 foot can of blood soda and suddenly popped the top.

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Post by rhythminmind » Mon Nov 28, 2005 8:08 am

adjust your buffer/latency... put it at 512 just to see if it clears up your issue... if so try 256, ect untill you find your safe limit.. 256 should be playable.. | |
"Any experiment of interest in life will be carried out at your own expense."

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Post by eyeknow » Mon Nov 28, 2005 8:18 am

The buffer is HUGE...

I get this odd problem where for some reason live will load the buffer at 64.........and at 24/96, this just doesn't work. I find 512 is best.....that's just me.

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Post by Machinate » Mon Nov 28, 2005 8:22 am

check your power settings, mate.
mbp 2.66, osx 10.6.8, 8GB ram.

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Post by glitchrock-buddha » Mon Nov 28, 2005 9:26 am

one other important thing you may not be aware of. If you don't absolutely need to use the "complex" algorithm for your audio loops, then don't. One loop can use 10% of your cpu with that. You're probably using it because it defaults to "complex". It sounds quite good when changing the tempo drastically, but usually you can use one of the other modes like "beat" or "textures", which hardly use any cpu power. I too have a 1.67 Ghz powerbook, and there simply is no cpu power to spare, and to be safe, avoid going over 70% cpu power to avoid crackles. If you're playing live, and really can't have any dropouts, I personally would stay under 60%, because of spikes.

Ya, it's kinda crap. Doesn't compare to centrinos. I figure I'll stick to Logic for now, and just keep getting to know Live gradually until I can rely on it more heavily when faster powerbooks come out with Intel chips.

Did you get my reply to your private post by the way?
HAven't had time to give you a shout yet. will try.


Professional Shark Jumper.

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Post by unusable » Mon Nov 28, 2005 11:56 pm

thanks a lot guys, I've been reading all the comments here and in the bugs & problems forums regarding crackles and pops. Although I've run through most of this already, I'll try it all again, just for fun.

I've got an RMA for this system so I'll be busy tonight getting this sorted, one way or another. but it seems that the live system req's are far below what's really needed, at least that's what it appears to me.

Am I crazy? Am I just messed up? Should I stick with it? my unfamiliarity with osx is not really holding me back, as there's tons of instructions for these issues throughout the forum, which has been useful and equally frustrating when no results come of it.

in my mind 4 grand for a system that pop's and clicks in unacceptable(unless it's my own setup fault). we will see, and I'll post anything else reagrding my tech issues in the bugs & problems forum

thanks again,

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Post by sonsofthehounds » Tue Nov 29, 2005 12:21 am

1.5ghz 12" at least 20 plug ins running on 20 tracks 6 plug ins are instruments with automation.


this is on an m audio 410, notoriously bad for cpu/latency issues.

no cpmplex warps etc, 1 gig ram, no drop outs and still responding to midi auto etc.

the powebook does enough for me although the latency os fckd on the 410!
macbook 2.16 ghz, live with gear now gathering dust.

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Post by louZ » Tue Nov 29, 2005 1:06 am

Check out the Live 5 performance test here:

Live performs better on PC.[/url]

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Post by Michael-SW » Tue Nov 29, 2005 9:35 am

Turn off the wireless network too.

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Post by unusable » Wed Nov 30, 2005 12:13 am

well. I tried it all, optimization, onboard sound card, energy saver, complex mode, buffer settings, blah blah blah. I've done it all mentioned in this thread as well as other places where things were popping and clicking, no real fix, just a scaled back problem that is intermittent at best.

went through apple tech support to optimize performance, have also gone through everything here.

in the end nope, no way, nada, it sounds like shit with this setup(soon to be out the door) it'd be a cold day in hell before I felt comfortable with it on the stage. but if I can figure out a live set that focuses on me staring at the cpu meter rather than the music, then I'm good to go. maybe I can fool some people into thinking it's idm.

I sent the pb back. I don't think it was the pb, I really liked it(but a little bit of an underperformer IMO) but the only purpose for this pb would've been live, in a stage setting. i am considering myself fortunate, as I'm not losing anything, unlike many others. I've already wasted too much time trying to get something to work that just dosen't.

so I'm gonna learn my lesson. Take my converters down and try it out, don't trust the manufacturer. As it appears many people are having success, hopefully I can too get lucky with a $600 software package.

I thought the software was great other than my problems and I'd really like to use it in a stable enviornment. maybe 5.03 will be out when i'm back, until then,

see ya,

ps no one said that I should in fact stick with it or that i was crazy.......

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Post by DividedByDirt » Mon Jan 09, 2006 11:17 pm

For me, this could possibly be a focusrite issue. Recently I bought a copy of Future music which had free demo versions of the new Focusrite saffire compressor and EQ plug's. When I installed them and began to mess around they sounded absolutely great then after using them on a couple of channels live would just suddenly quit, mid-session.
This was becoming totally infuriating when eventually Live (4.1) just simply wouldn't play any audio at all. Nothing. I'd press play on the transport bar and see the triangle light green, yet nothing.
It wasn't until I came across a thread with a similar problem on here that I realised what had been causing all the problems. It's a real shame because they sounded lush and really added a lot of warmth to the mix, I'm just not prepared to have them anywhere near my new computer as I don't want to go through what 'Unusable' has gone through.
Get rid of the saffire mate, uninstall everything and start again. I'll bet my bottom dollar it's the focusrite.


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Re: am i wasting my tell me

Post by smutek » Mon Jan 09, 2006 11:51 pm

unusable wrote:got a g4 powerbook 1.67, 1 g ram, and the new 7200 drive......With the demo loaded on this powerbook, i record a couple tracks, put in some drums and guess what happens next, i can get the audio to click and stutter with little effort, so little effort that it is laugh-able.....

Man, sorry to hear about your problems. I have to say, albeit too late, that I really do not think the problem was with live or your powerbook, unless you recieved a bad unit. Live definitely runs better on windows but what you are describing is abnormally poor performance. I have been running live on a 1.25 ghz powerbook for the last two years and have not experienced the issues you describe. I had some problems with dropouts when I was running 512 ram, but an upgrade to 1.25 gigs solved that for me. A gig should have been plenty for you. I do permission repairs but outside of that I do not optimize, or shut off the airport or internet connection or anything anyone else suggested above. You probably had a bad unit or, like the poster above said, your plugs were messing you up.

You should have stuck it out man.

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Post by eyeknow » Tue Jan 10, 2006 1:06 am

I feel ya

There is a "random" mac-sucks thing that get all these people saying how cool it is (and it is) and then, once in a while you hear horror stories. I thought it was just me!

I work with people who have so called "underpowerd" macs all the time......and they work great. But I NEVER have good's like turn the power on and you are out of cpu/memory!

I am hoping for better luck myself when the macintels come out (and have had some field runs) and at that point I'd like to get a powerbook.

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