Error message

I just got mac book pro 2.53 ghz and ardour says something like “disk system not fast enough to read” when i try to play back simple recording. any idea what i should do?
i installed jack and that seems to be working fine
thanks for any help!

external harddrive doesnt work, how does one check the plug ins issue?

It means exactly what it says, your disk was not able to read data fast enough to keep up with Ardour.

Use an external disk is the easiest solution.


IMO the error message is an overly simplistic reaction to any system slowness. There can be any number of reasons why data cannot be read from the disk in a timely manner, only one of which is the disk system itself. I sometimes see this message when in reality the problem is that a plugin is hogging the CPU. Changing the disk system will obviously not fix this.

Telekon’s problem may or may not be solved by using an external disk. If one is readily available, it’s certainly an easy place to start troubleshooting.


i loaded it up on a USB thumb drive and this didn’t work, should i be using a external HD with firewire?

Yeah, most USB thumb drives would be too slow to handle the data bandwidth. Look for something that will support a sustained flow of at least 30MB/sec.


That is why it was worded as the ‘Disk System’ for the error message. However since the OP mention just playing back a simple recording, I was assuming there wasn’t much in the way of plugins etc. that was causing it, which would in turn point towards the disk, which is by far the most common cause of that error.


Yes USB thumb drives are notoriously slow access, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see that they are even slower than your internal HD in as far as sustained data transfer.


CPU load is maybe 2-5%, which is why i am confused.

This isn’t a large session, Lets say I have one track with 3 seconds of sound, no playback. Also the recording will stop due to error message about 3-4 seconds in. Bit rate is 32, i think

I have tried with only ardour and jack running, no dice. Also I’m running OS X 10.5.7 any issues there?

Any more suggestions?

also is bit rate fixed through jack?

@telekon: bit rate at the h/w level is determined by JACK. Ardour, and all JACK clients, never see this - they see only 32 bit floating point data.

There are no particular issues known with 10.5.7. the message you got means just what it says - the disk system did not supply data fast enough for ardour’s needs. it doesn’t tell you why, and the possible answers to that question are quite numerous and rather complex. it tends to be an either/or situation: sometimes, people have systems (or even just specific disks) that can’t be used for audio like this, no matter what. meanwhile others have apparently similar systems and never encounter this issue.


Simplest way? Check your CPU load, if it is sitting close to 100% utilization, there could be an issue.


How big is the session (how many tracks and plugins)? What sample rate? What else is running on the laptop at the same time? Make sure any virtual machines are shut down!

For reference I can record 16 tracks simultaneously and playback several times that many at 44.1kHz using a Dell D420 laptop (Intel U2500 @ 1.20GHz) and a Western Digital My Book Studio external drive (1TB) connected via USB2.

A Mac Book Pro should be much faster than my laptop!

(FWIW I did recording tests over both USB2 and FW400 and didn’t notice any difference in CPU utilization using top.)