macOS 10.14.6 Serious CPU issues / Background Processes

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Vaultnaemsae
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macOS 10.14.6 Serious CPU issues / Background Processes

Post by Vaultnaemsae » Thu Aug 29, 2019 8:40 pm

Ableton Live 10 user here. My MacBook Pro Retina mid-2015 (macOS 10.14.6) is experiencing problematic processes during audio processing/recording that result in heavy glitching and breakup of audio signal and high readings on the CPU meter in Ableton live (up to 80%ish). Processor is a 2.5GHz Intel i7 (quad core with turbo boost/4 virtual cores), RAM is 16GB…I really think it should be able to handle what I’m throwing at it and it usually does — until it doesn’t.

The background processes I can identify as problematic are:
-Ableton Index — CPU readings up to 90% but usually only for 20 seconds after starting Live 10;
-backupd-helper/mediaanalysisd/photoanalysisd/Photos Agent — I assume these are related…they can be running anywhere from 30% up to 140% according to Activity Monitor;
-kernel_task — I’ve seen it reach 350% twice and 800% twice in Activity Monitor — it only happens when running Live 10 — I think this is the main problem.

Some other things:
-I had a 2011 iMac connected as an external display via Thunderbolt. Removing it seems to have temporarily improved the situation today but I've also had problems without it being connected;
-I do use a complex aggregate device consisting of 5 or 6 audio devices that operate at different sample rates (either 44.1 or 48kHz)— but they work together fine — until they stop working fine;
-I’ve had problems in the past with Automatic Graphics switching activated…it’s off now.

In my tests I was playing in realtime 4 VSTs on individual MIDI tracks: Syntronik, Audulus, Ableton's External Instrument tool, Studiomux (w/ iPhone). This doesn't seem like a big ask considering what I've seen people do on older machines.

It’s killing my creativity. Right now with nothing but Activity Monitor open and all other apps closed the system is 98-99% idle. I really hope somebody can give me some advice here. Thanks in advance.

fishmonkey
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Re: macOS 10.14.6 Serious CPU issues / Background Processes

Post by fishmonkey » Fri Aug 30, 2019 3:04 am

your aggregate device sounds like a nightmare to me.

regarding background processes on a Mac, this guide is a great place to start:

https://figure53.com/docs/qlab/v4/gener ... -your-mac/
badbrainz wrote: I'm a drummer, so I'm already at an intellectual disadvantage here

TLW
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Re: macOS 10.14.6 Serious CPU issues / Background Processes

Post by TLW » Fri Aug 30, 2019 11:26 am

Trying this mightbhelp - viewtopic.php?f=4&t=230967
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.

Tarekith
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Re: macOS 10.14.6 Serious CPU issues / Background Processes

Post by Tarekith » Fri Aug 30, 2019 12:33 pm

Running everything at different sample rates probably isn't helping.

jonljacobi
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Re: macOS 10.14.6 Serious CPU issues / Background Processes

Post by jonljacobi » Fri Aug 30, 2019 5:36 pm

Running a second display (4K TV) is a no no for me while recording. So is mixing sample rates on aggregate devices. I just switch between input devices now. The program is still loading stuff for quite a while after you run it so higher CPU usage is to be expected.

TLW
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Re: macOS 10.14.6 Serious CPU issues / Background Processes

Post by TLW » Fri Aug 30, 2019 7:12 pm

From Apple's instructions for creating an aggregate audio device:

"For your aggregate device to work correctly, all devices in the aggregate device need to have the same sample rate.
The sample rate of each device should match the sample rate of the device chosen from the Clock Source pop-up menu."

This might explain the issues.

https://support.apple.com/en-gb/guide/a ... c7edb4/mac
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.

Vaultnaemsae
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Re: macOS 10.14.6 Serious CPU issues / Background Processes

Post by Vaultnaemsae » Fri Aug 30, 2019 8:36 pm

Thanks for the replies. I'm yet to fully investigate this further but will in the coming day or so. I'm also leaning towards the aggregate devices' sample rates being the issue but am yet to 100% confirm this. Unfortunately, the devices I'm using have locked (and incompatible) sample rates -- a bit of a headache.

I briefly tried to run the same live set today with a single input device and it worked fine so I'm suspecting the real-time sample rate conversion is hammering the CPU into oblivion.

jonljacobi
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Re: macOS 10.14.6 Serious CPU issues / Background Processes

Post by jonljacobi » Sat Aug 31, 2019 5:48 pm

I’ve got a Marshall CODE that only operates at 48khz only for some bizarre reason. It would work in an aggregate sometimes, but other times the aggregate would go belly up. I finally just gave up and started recording from it via the line out.

Tarekith
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Re: macOS 10.14.6 Serious CPU issues / Background Processes

Post by Tarekith » Sun Sep 01, 2019 1:26 am

My Line6 Stomp HX is the same way, 48k or nothing :(

TLW
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Re: macOS 10.14.6 Serious CPU issues / Background Processes

Post by TLW » Sun Sep 01, 2019 5:09 pm

I’ve just tried a small experiment.

Three devices aggregated into one then set to different sample rates, one as master audio clock. The result is a very unhappy Mac.
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.

Vaultnaemsae
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Re: macOS 10.14.6 Serious CPU issues / Background Processes

Post by Vaultnaemsae » Mon Sep 02, 2019 3:44 pm

I've been trying to resolve this issue today and am not really any the wiser. Simplifying and (as much as possible) aligning the devices' sample rates helps a bit -- sometimes. But then I went back to testing single devices (no aggregates) and I was sporadically experiencing the same issues -- kernel_task readings at 200-300%+. This happens not so much when using softsynths but when processing incoming audio through amp sim plugins: Helix Native, Bias FX, NeuralDSP Archetype, and to a lesser extent S-Gear. Strangely enough, I can run most of these same plugins combined in different hosts, DAWs or as standalone apps without any significant issues.

One thing that seems to have had a beneficial impact in Live 10.1 was adding the suggested 'Options.txt' file in the hidden library preferences and setting the FPS to 15...it seems to cut the CPU consumption in half. Sets that were spiking at 85~100%+ are now running at between 25~50% with the options file in place. But I don't know -- it could just be a coincidence because I removed the options file and reopened my set and it still worked fine for a while but then went crazy again when I played with the oversampling options in Archetype.

Vaultnaemsae
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Re: macOS 10.14.6 Serious CPU issues / Background Processes

Post by Vaultnaemsae » Wed Sep 04, 2019 3:57 am

I spent some time working on this problem yesterday and got it all working (even at a 64 sample buffer setting) without pops n crackles -- and on 2 different computers. It's more or less reliable now. It’s also a very flexible guitar performance/recording rig ever.

The one thing that appears to have had a major impact on performance was using a custom 'Options.txt' file in the Ableton Live 10 Preferences folder that lowers the FPS — I set it to 15 and it seemed to immediately almost halve my CPU usage. Thanks for the lead on this, TLW.

For anybody interested I'll describe the setup.

On the USB HUB (and following the order in the aggregate device):
1. Roland VG-99 (44.1kHz) Drift correction "ON"
2. Boss GP-10 (44.1kHz) Drift correction "ON"
3. Axe-Fx II XL+ (48kHz) Set as Clock Source (N.B. the Axe-Fx is in USB Input mode)
4. iConnectAUDIO4+ Port 2 of 2 (48kHz) Drift correction "ON" *Port 1 of 2 is an iPad for iOS synths
5. ATR2100-USB Mic (48kHz) Drift correction "ON"

My guitar runs into a Roland US-20 13-pin splitter box which allows [A / B / A+B] for using the the Roland VG-99 / Boss GP-10 in parallel. Setting up the aggregate this way should enable reamping on devices 1, 2 and 3. If reamping wasn't a concern, I would’ve just used analog connections. but I wanted to be able to access all functions fairly simply and quickly. Also, I had to adjust the buffers of the Roland/Boss devices individually in their respective driver interfaces under the macOS System Preferences.

In Live 10 I can now route anything anywhere. Much to my surprise, the conflicting sample rates seem to not be causing any problem at all at this time. But I wonder, what’s going to go wrong next?!?!?

Some issues I encountered along the way:
- I can confirm that using macOS’ target display mode disrupts regular CPU performance. Once connected, I have to continuously increase the buffer every time audio starts crackling. I think I'll give up on this possible use case scenario — which is a pity because I like the idea of a 2nd monitor.

- Another issue that I think was contributing to the audio mess was that I occasionally use ‘Studiomux Generator’ (VST) and the audio device it creates was defaulting my iPhone's sample rate to 44.1kHz every time I reconnected it. Manually readjusting it to 48kHz seemed to clean things up a bit. Studiomux is a bit hit and miss but it’s great when it works.

- When I tried to set up the same Live set on computer 2 (2011 iMac on High Sierra 10.13.6) the iCA4+ would crash Live every time I touched (yes, touched!) the iCA4+ or adjusted it’s routing in the Live set. I created a new aggregate for computer 2 without the iCA4+. I guess I’ll use IDAM or Studiomux instead of the iCA4+ on this device as needed.

- Another culprit was audio utility app 'Loopback 2'. I haven't really tried to troubleshoot it but deactivating all devices that were 'ON' significantly improved performance.

jonljacobi
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Re: macOS 10.14.6 Serious CPU issues / Background Processes

Post by jonljacobi » Wed Sep 04, 2019 4:16 pm

Tarekith wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 1:26 am
My Line6 Stomp HX is the same way, 48k or nothing :(
Sucks. Especially when you have 44.1 max stuff you want to use it with.

Vaultnaemsae
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Re: macOS 10.14.6 Serious CPU issues / Background Processes

Post by Vaultnaemsae » Sun Sep 08, 2019 11:59 pm

I now think it wasn’t the iCA4+ causing problems. On computer 2 (2011 iMac on High Sierra 10.13.6) Live would crash every time it launched. From what I can gather Live 10 seems to by default launch using the previously used interface. It always crashes when that device is an aggregate with any sub device missing. In my case the USB Mic cable seemed a bit flaky and thus was breaking the aggregate, I think. When I touched the iCA4 + it may have disrupted the USB cable.

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