Any Mac users experiencing slow choppy graphics in Ardour and/or Mixbus?

Hello Everyone -

My main rig is a new Mac Pro (just purchased yesterday) - quad 2.8 Xeon, 3 GB ECC ram, 1 GB ATI video, separate drive for audio etc. I have a second machine, a mid 2010 iMac with dual core 3.2 GHz i3, 4GB ram, 512 mb video etc etc.

In both machines, Mixbus 2.0.6, Ardour 2.8.12 demo, and Ardour 3 beta all share the same issue, the edit window graphics seem to be somewhat “stifled” (for lack of a better word) - scrolling the timeline or zooming in/out (even with ZERO tracks in the session) is painfully slow and choppy (making drum editing impossible).

The mixer in all apps, on the other hand, seems to be handled much nicer.

Tried in both machine running Lion 10.7.4, on the iMac I downgraded to 10.6.8 to see if anything would change which sadly it did not.

Anyone else experience such anomalies?

Tried it - playing with the settings did change graphic performance in the finder (as you stated, for the worse) but no change in the Mixbus edit window. I have no idea what it means, if anything at all (probably not) but with the “Frame Meter” open (from the Quartz Debug app), the mix windows shows about 35 fps while the edit windows shows 5 fps and a lot more cpu usage. Oh well, not sure what to do but as long as I want the super sweet sounds of that eq and compressor, I will continue to work with it and hope perhaps something in the future will improve it, whether it be by the Ardour team, the Mixbus team, Apple, or an act of God.

Thanks all for the help.


Thanks John -

Funny I didn’t make the connection that was you :stuck_out_tongue: Thanks for the info - that debugger app is part of the Xcode I believe, so I will install it and check it out, certainly can’t hurt, especially thanks to carbon copy cloner :wink:

Thanks much! I will report back with the findings.


Calculomicon wrote:

As for the horizontal scrollbar - I am on my Mac Pro at the moment and it is about the same as my iMac (which was in the video link). What would that indicate?

Hi Calculomicon,

Thinking about it a bit more, that scroll bar issue is probably a red herring. Your session was roughly 2 minutes long. So I loaded up one of my own sessions (also 2 minutes long) and my scull bar was much shorter than yours. After I posted, I realised that my session starts at 10 hours timecode whereas yours starts at zero timecode. It’s that difference in start time which probably accounts for the scroll bar difference.

Going back to that article you found - yes, that’s where it all started between myself and Kris. I found a utility somewhere called the “Quartz Debug Application”. I don’t remember much about it now but I recall that it had various settings which I could adjust and some of them made a very noticeable difference to my graphics performance. Read through the section about turning 2D acceleration on or off. From what I could tell, the Quartz Debug App displayed those settings the wrong way around. That’s probably why so many people think it’s turned off by default when in fact it’s turned on. If you can find the Quartz Debug App (I think it’s on your install CDs) it might be worth experimenting with it.

John - Interestingly enough I dgg up an article on the internet last night that talks about this issue, and I even saw that Kris chimed in on a few things - but I haven’t gone through the doc at length, which I will be doing here soon.

I have also spoken several times with Ben about this issue - but things have been a bit silent on that front lately - perhaps a new update is coming.

As for the horizontal scrollbar - I am on my Mac Pro at the moment and it is about the same as my iMac (which was in the video link). What would that indicate?


Calculomicon - about a year ago, Ben Loftis (Mixbus developer), Kris Rietveld (GTK+ developer) and myself were trying to track down some other problem with sluggish graphics. Although we concluded that it wasn’t relevant in our case, we did find a LOT of reports on the internet about Apple Macs shipping with 2D hardware acceleration disabled. This was over a year ago so it’s probably been resolved by now but perhaps worth considering.

One thing I noticed in your video is that the editor’s horizontal scroll bar seems very wide for a session of that length (I’d expect it to be much shorter). Does this problem happen with other sessions or only with that one?

Hey Paul !

I´ve seen a change in (graphic) behaviour with Ardour/Mixbus since I upgraded to 10.7.3 and with 10.7.4 it became even worse.
The DSP isn´t used to capacity (23-50%) and the scrolling problem occurs Calcumicon was talking about.
Before 10.7.3 I didn´t experienced this problems at all. With the DSP at 95% I understand if the system is becoming sluggish, but this looks like a problem with the graphics package.

Hopefully you developers will get 10.7.4 to solve the problem, but next month will be the release of 10.8 and we will see what apple will bring to us :wink:


@Calculomicon: that’s not a reasonable assumption at all. I have a brand new (well, 3 month old) quad core Mac Mini with OS X Lion sitting right next to me and it runs Ardour just fine. What I was looking for was a clarification that you’ve seen a change in behaviour with Ardour and/or Mixbus or that you have only seen it performing badly (whatever that means) …

I never described Ardours’ or Mixbus’ performance as “badly”, if we’re referring to my saying " it isn’t as bad as on my iMac", that’s a relative description… so I recall that statement and in it’s place I say " I apologize, I am on the Mac Pro right now and the graphic performance / response is better than on my iMac". But my original question still remains… I am looking for a way, if possible, to improve the editor graphic performance on my Macs using Mixbus.

I am a new user to MB/Ardour, the performance that shows in the video above is all that I know (on Mac), I have no previous experience with either application on Mac OS except last year when I downloaded a demo of Mixbus 2. When I installed it, it ran the same as in the video above and I uninstalled it. I recently had a client that had Mixbus on his PC and we used it for his production, I absolutely loved it, so now I subscribe.

In the previous paragraph I said “…is all that I know (on Mac)” because I initially used it on PC - where, aside a few bugs, runs quite beautifully on Windows 7. My problem came then with not having enough DSP on my older AMD quad system. Being a long time Mac user I decided to buy a Mac Pro and thought perhaps my problems would be over.

At any rate, Paul - I realize you are the main man behind Ardour - and Jack (which is an amazing piece of software too) and I do not wish to be, or appear as, an insensitive a-hole who doesn’t care about the work that goes into something - because I am just the opposite and sometimes my internet lingo may not come across as intended! I never meant to make any implications of the overall status or quality of any of the software we are speaking about.

I’m no longer clear quite what you’re discussing here, so could you clarify

I suppose I am not clear on what I am saying or trying to do anymore either. All I know is that I have tried, within my level of understanding, every troubleshooting step I know, or could dig up on the internet, in an attempt to get Mixbus to run smoothly on my computer… including changing operating systems.

I apologize for comparing software - I had a thought that it may come up after I wrote it… what else can I say to say that my computer runs graphically sound without comparing products. I don’t expect Mixbus or Ardour to do what everyone else does, that’s one thing I like about it.

Well I guess I will just assume that a brand new macintosh computer just can’t hack running mixbus or ardour. I’ll have no more questions. Thanks for your time.

@calcumicon: its very important (for us) to completely separate comparisons with other software and ardour (or mixbus) changing its behaviour across releases or in response to system upgrades etc. I’m no longer clear quite what you’re discussing here, so could you clarify?

That is on my 27 in iMac. However performance is about the same on my Mac Pro with double the video card (1GB on mac pro) and a 20 inch at 1680 by somethingorother. And on this Mac Pro I am running 10.7.4 - i just bought it yesterday so it came with 10.7


EDIT: Okay - I apologize, I am on the Map Pro right now and it isn’t as bad as on my iMac… having went from the iMac to the Mac Pro just now I can feel it is more responsive on my MP, but it still feels a bit sluggish as compared to some other apps like Pro Tools - but I find Mixbus on my MP more usable at least… but not at a drum editing level where I would have hundreds of cuts and need to zip around the timeline.

Thanks guys!

We believe that the problem exists only on the newest version of Lion (10.7.4). Since no developers have this version, solving it is going to be tricky.

While the graphic performance on Mac doesn’t seem to be quite up to par with Linux performance, I wouldn’t really call it to choppy myself either. I still use both on Mac and Linux and haven’t had an issue doing work in either, though the Linux machine(Which I should note is fairly customized by me for this purpose) definitely reacts faster.


Hmm that looks more choppy than I am used to yes, but I also notice it looks like you may have a higher resolution screen than I am using (1440 x 900 in my case)? I am wondering if your zoom level combined with the amount of tracks you are viewing and the higher resolution is meaning you are seeing worse performance than I am used to.


Thanks for the answers. I purposely downgraded my iMac to run 10.6.8 and it is exactly the same - here is a video of my iMac running Mixbus - can I assume it is similar enough to Ardour?

Ardour and Mixbus run with similar performance on my iMac - the DSP is always good, just things like scrolling become slow. Additionally I have Studio One and Pro Tools 9 on the same machine and the video card performance is smooth. I realize that there may be some code or libraries that are not exactly native to Mac? Well, I am certainly no developer, so please excuse my ignorance.