Propellerhead Software
Old 2013-03-28, 00:03
ryaz ryaz is offline
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 11
Question Am I at the mercy of my machine

So I think I've reached my Mac's limit with Reason. I'm at a point where my Mac slows down so much during playback in reason that I keep getting the dreaded "Your computer is too slow to play the song".

I have taken the advice from Propellerhead's page (can't find the link now) about the 10 ways to increase performance on Reason, which did work for a while, which until now it's giving me that message again.
I have every browser shut down and only have adium (aim) running. Also tried multiple system reboots and all the advice from that page mentioned above and freed up my disk storage to 20 gigs with no visible performance increase. I feel that I am at the mercy of the performance of my machine (not software settings) because everything starts to get SUPER choppy and even the audio starts giving out until giving me that message 1 second later.

Reason 6.5

Here are my mac's specs:
Mid 2010 Macbook Pro
2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
Upgraded to 8 GB RAM. (max for this model)
Also dual screening to a second monitor (not sure if that decreases performance)

The reason I'm asking is because I don't want to just assume it's because of the low RAM (compared to a maxed out iMac 32GB) and actually BUY an iMac with a RAM upgrade just to find that I'm having the same issues and just wasted a whole bunch of $$$.

So I'm wondering, is my mac n cheese just not powerful enough to handle? Not enough RAM, need stronger processor?

ANY help / advice is appreciated! I'm pretty much at a stand still in my mix, because I can't audibly listen to the mix and makes changes without having to export and listen (takes forever).

Thanks for looking!
Old 2013-03-28, 09:07
platzangst's Avatar
platzangst platzangst is offline
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 1,347
Originally Posted by ryaz View Post
So I'm wondering, is my mac n cheese just not powerful enough to handle? Not enough RAM, need stronger processor?

Take my advice with a grain of salt, because I use PCs, not Mac. But in general, RAM will help only with how much data Reason can have floating around for quick access - for example, samples loaded in devices. RAM won't help your computer process the data any faster, at least not in a measurable sense. You'll need a better processor.

I am somewhat in the same boat as you, since I've been running on a dual-core AMD chip that has served me well for about 8 years, but is bogging down with some of the newer, fancier features of Reason. And now that Windows 7 is required for the upcoming Reason 7, I've been kind of forced to commit to a new machine altogether.

While there's many features that could help your Reason experience (I've heard that SSD hard drives really decrease loading and boot times, for example), and having more RAM certainly couldn't hurt, for the audio problems you describe I would concentrate on getting a better processor over any other option. The only thing besides that which could possibly help your performance is if you aren't using some form of ASIO driver for your audio. ASIO drivers generally give better performance, so if you aren't using such a driver now, you might get better results if you switch. But that's no guarantee, and if you are already using ASIO drivers then you're pretty much down to a new processor of some sort.
Hey go listen to my new album it's almost like music.
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Last edited by platzangst; 2013-03-28 at 09:15. Reason: DEcrease, not increase, agh
Old 2013-03-28, 10:16
Rattmowe Rattmowe is offline
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 169
It sounds like you are at the limit of what your dual Core2 can handle.

RAM won't be a performance issue unless you have it maxed out, i.e. you have lots and lots of multisampled instruments open that require plenty of system memory. If you max out the RAM, the system starts storing the things which should be in RAM on the hard disk (this is called paging) and then things get very slow.

One other possible performance bottleneck is the hardrive itself, if you have lots of audio (and it has to be a hell of a lot) in the project, getting the data from the hard drive can be where the problem lies. You'll know this because you'll get the 'disk overload' warning LED next to the automation overide LED.

But, apart from these two possible things, the most likely thing is that your processor is not powerful enough to handle the audio rendering. The best thing to do would be to get a new computer with a quad Core i7. A dual Core i7 will give you some headroom because the i7s are quite a lot more powerful than the Core2s, but you'll run out fairly soon if your projects are already maxing out your Core2 duo.

I hit exactly the same problem, I had a MacBook (2009) with Core2 duo 2.26GHz, eventually I found it was failing on some bigger projects, I had to resort to the 'blind export' workaround you mentioned and/or bouncing down audio. I upgraded to 2.6 GHz quad i7 MacBook pro and it's great, my biggest projects don't really even pull more than 3 or 4 bars on the DSP meter.

Get 8Gb of RAM at least, Lion and Mountain Lion take up quite a lot of RAM just for the OS. I've actually upgraded mine to 16 Gb via OWC.
Old 2013-03-31, 04:05
ryaz ryaz is offline
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 11
Thanks for the inputs guys. You all are correct about my processor. I tried running my song in my brother's i7 with ZERO problems. On my current mbp, I would be crap out at 95% CPU usage, however on my brother's i7, at that same point, it was only at BIG difference.

I've already placed an order for a refurnished i7 mbp and just have to wait it out til then.

Awesome, thanks guys!
Old 2013-03-28, 12:35
MrPaully MrPaully is offline
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 236
Originally Posted by ryaz View Post
2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo

There's your problem. I wouldn't bother with music apps on anything less than a Quad these days.
Old 2013-03-28, 14:14
RXTX's Avatar
RXTX RXTX is offline
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 562
How many instruments/effects/audio tracks can you add before it craps out on you?
Old 2013-03-29, 02:36
Nazlive's Avatar
Nazlive Nazlive is offline
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 89
I'm working on:

Macbook mid 2009
Processor 2,13 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
3 Gb ddr2 800mhz ram
160gb 5400 rpm

Not many audio tracks, but every thing works smooth, especially reason.
Try a new clean install of osx, and erase your drive.
Check also your disk settings, and maybe a new harddrive with 7400rpm, or an SSD could help out. I think the processor should be fine with reason. Is your ram 2x4 or 1x8?
Old 2013-03-29, 02:38
Nazlive's Avatar
Nazlive Nazlive is offline
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 89
From what i have read, most applications barely support duo core. Quadcore isn't giving much more performance for music. Most of it is in writing on diskspace.
Old 2013-03-29, 08:55
dthree's Avatar
dthree dthree is offline
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 416
Yep, problem is the Core 2 Duo.

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