Performance issues with Ardour 6.5 under macOS 11

Hi everyone,

Ardour always felt pretty smooth and fluid on my machine. This is no longer the case after upgrading to macOS 11 Big Sur and Ardour 6.5. There’s now a noticeable lag which is most obvious in e.g. the clocks in the transport sections or in plugin meters that now update significantly slower. But it can be felt across pretty much the entire interface that Ardour is basically less responsive.

Ardour does not indicate a higher DSP load than before. I noticed that with a fresh session, only one stereo track added and just playing back a region without any plugins, Ardour’s CPU usage is at about 86 percent. This seems pretty high to me, but I don’t know because I never had a reason to measure Ardour’s CPU usage before.

I upgraded to macOS 11 first and then to Ardour 6.5 but hadn’t used Ardour in between, so I can’t say for sure whether it’s the OS update or the application update (or a combination of both) after which the issue occurred.

I already tried uninstalling and re-installing Ardour, but with no luck. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Hmm, that’s strange: I also recently upgraded to Big Sur and am running Ardour 6.5.0 and am not seeing any performance differences (same goes for Mixbus). DSP on a session with a few mono tracks and audio buses with effects is around 25%. This is on a 2014 Mac Mini with 8 gigs of RAM.

Yeah, the difference is pretty obvious. My machine is a Mid-2014 MacBook Pro with 2.5Ghz Quad-Core i7 and 16GB RAM. Here, Ardour idles at around 2-3% CPU. This increases to ~ 40% with playback running in an empty session with no tracks and to at least ~ 70 %, normally ~ 85 % with a single track and one region added.

Starting playback is when things start to lag, meaning I can work somewhat normal in Ardour as long as I remember to press Stop before doing anything. But I definitely don’t remember Ardour being so resource hungry. I haven’t made any changes to my Audio/MIDI Setup or my machine’s hardware.

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