For many years, I've been dealing with a lot of issues in my SB Mac setup. The common answer for most of them was "performance issues", but that never was a valid answer for me, so I've been expending big amounts of time to find the way to fix all my issues and, now, I'd like to share with you all how I’ve got my setup more reliable.
My setup: Mac Pro 3,1, with a lot of stuff connected through USB, a Blackmagic video card and two EuCon MC Artist devices. UAD, Waves, Native Instruments and SoundToys plugins are my main tools, but I do have tons of them.
My issues: crashes. Lots of them. Using the Nuendo or Cubase, exporting, quitting. EuCon related crashes. VideoOutput driver crashes.
This is my research to improve stability:
- Clean system. My actual setup is years old, and I have tons of preference files from old times. Have a clean system and install only what you need. Having an Internet connection does not make any difference in Mac. In fact, I’m working on a Maverick based setup, installing only the minimum necessary (i’m trying to simplify things).
- USB hub chains. That was a major deal breaker for my system. I found that more than two USB hubs in chain caused instabilities and crashes. Simplify how many devices have in your system. To avoid issues I have an USB hub directly connected to the computer just for all my keys (eLicensers, iLoks). As a curiosity, MacOS doesn’t let you use start keystrokes when you are using the keyboard and the mouse through a HUB. Not a major issue, anyway.
- Memory. I use to have at first 4 GB, them 8 GB of RAM. One forum user leaded me to this: get lots of memory. I got al I could, now I have 22 GB of RAM.
- VideoOutput component crashes and CPU spikes. In some systems, most of them with Blackmagic cards, even if your not using any video, you could have crashes of this component. If you don’t, you’ll see the CPU meter dancing, with big spikes.
The video component works as connector to a separate thread, so you may have the opportunity to save everything and restart the software. Sometimes, it crashes from the start, so it’s a major pain in the *star*, even worse if you are in the room with your client. I found that using the videooutput.component from the Nuendo 5.5 stabilized everything. I’ve lost the inline frame preview, but everything is MUCH better now. I could not fix Cubase in the same way, but I know that SB is working in a fix for that issue.
- Kontakt crashes. Sometimes, Kontakt crashes when you open the window. It’s not a common issue and it seems to be solved in the last version.
- EuCon crashes on quit. It issue was solved magically in Mountain Lion when I added more memory. In my Maverick setup, Nuendo is still crashing on quit, but SB has fixed this issue in Cubase 7.5, so it will be part of Nuendo eventually.
And that’s all. Now I’m pretty happy because my system lets me work everyday fluently, something new in my life :-)
Finally, I’d like to thank to everyone who tried to help me in this process.
I hope my story helps to someone else :-)