Mac Mini 2018 - system overload issues in Logic

dryjoy

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 19, 2009
145
7
I’ve been having system overload problems with Logic on my 2018 Mac Mini. I’ve tried almost everything I can think of to resolve this issue, and could really do with some input. It’s driving me mad and at this point I have some regrets about getting rid of my trusty 2009 Mac Pro.

The Mini is a 2018, i7, 16GB RAM, 512 GB SSD, Mojave 10.14.6, Logic 10.4.7. I’m using an Allen & Heath mixer with USB 2 interface and an external USB 3 7200 rpm HD for audio.

The issue is that playback of almost any Logic project is interrupted by a massive CPU spike on core 1 causing a system overload in Logic. This affects any project, even simple ones with no more than eight tracks of audio and NO plugins and NO software instruments. These CPU spikes occur quite frequently, I’d guess at least every 10 - 15 minutes but sometimes more often.

Things I have tried to remedy this in various combinations (to no avail) are:

  • Selecting an empty audio track during playback (although my understanding is this is only relevant for projects with software instruments, and my problem occurs regardless of whether I am using any software instruments);
  • Experimenting with every conceivable audio preferences setting in Logic;
  • Ensuring that all other applications are closed when using Logic and ensuring there are no user startup items;
  • Ensuring that the Mac is disconnected from the network and wifi is off when using Logic;
  • Various different combinations of USB sockets, Thunderbolt adapters etc for my audio interface, HD and peripherals (EMagic MIDI interface, keyboard and mouse);
  • Playing back my projects through the internal Mac Mini audio with the Allen & Heath interface disconnected (having read about the issues with the T2 chip and USB 2 audio interfaces);
  • Disabling automatic updating of date & time and location (online advices suggests this appeared to resolve audio issues for some Macs with the T2 chip)
  • Creating a new user account on my SSD and playing back my Logic projects from this account (was wondering whether anything that had come across from my old Mac when I imported my user account from time machine backup could have been causing problems);
  • Copy a small Logic project with a couple of audio tracks and no plugins to the SSD drive and playing back from there (to eliminate any issues caused by the external HD, although the HD activity monitor in Logic looks fine);
  • Looking for problematic processes or issues in Activity Monitor and the Console logs (although I’m not really sure what I’m looking for, I haven’t seen anything burning CPU when these system overloads occur).

I think that’s about everything I’ve tried, although I may have forgotten something.

The only thing I can think of now is to try a clean reinstall of the OS, just in case something weird has come across when I imported my user account and applications from my old Mac, although as noted above I have already tried creating a fresh user account.

Obviously that’s a bit of a hassle and I would really appreciate any ideas or advice about this before I try that.

Thank you very much for anything you can offer.
 

ekwipt

macrumors 6502a
Jan 14, 2008
777
193
Is the Allen and Heath mixer compatible with Mojave or Catalina? Also, it's supposed to be used more as a DJ interface then a fully fledged audio sound card, it could just be that's it's not suppose to be able to be played at such high track counts.

Just a guess though...
 

dryjoy

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 19, 2009
145
7
Is the Allen and Heath mixer compatible with Mojave or Catalina? Also, it's supposed to be used more as a DJ interface then a fully fledged audio sound card, it could just be that's it's not suppose to be able to be played at such high track counts.

Just a guess though...
The mixer should be compatible with Mojave and Catalina as it is class compliant, and in any case the issue occurs exactly the same via the internal Mac audio, so it’s nothing to do with the mixer.

Thanks for the suggestion though.
 
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Luap

macrumors 65816
Jul 5, 2004
1,208
520
Was the somewhat infamous T2 chip + USB2 Audio interface issue ever really fully resolved? Thats where my finger is pointed anyway!
 
Last edited:

user_xyz

macrumors 6502
Nov 30, 2018
296
308
I’ve been having system overload problems with Logic on my 2018 Mac Mini. I’ve tried almost everything I can think of to resolve this issue, and could really do with some input. It’s driving me mad and at this point I have some regrets about getting rid of my trusty 2009 Mac Pro.

The Mini is a 2018, i7, 16GB RAM, 512 GB SSD, Mojave 10.14.6, Logic 10.4.7. I’m using an Allen & Heath mixer with USB 2 interface and an external USB 3 7200 rpm HD for audio.

The issue is that playback of almost any Logic project is interrupted by a massive CPU spike on core 1 causing a system overload in Logic. This affects any project, even simple ones with no more than eight tracks of audio and NO plugins and NO software instruments. These CPU spikes occur quite frequently, I’d guess at least every 10 - 15 minutes but sometimes more often.

Things I have tried to remedy this in various combinations (to no avail) are:

  • Selecting an empty audio track during playback (although my understanding is this is only relevant for projects with software instruments, and my problem occurs regardless of whether I am using any software instruments);
  • Experimenting with every conceivable audio preferences setting in Logic;
  • Ensuring that all other applications are closed when using Logic and ensuring there are no user startup items;
  • Ensuring that the Mac is disconnected from the network and wifi is off when using Logic;
  • Various different combinations of USB sockets, Thunderbolt adapters etc for my audio interface, HD and peripherals (EMagic MIDI interface, keyboard and mouse);
  • Playing back my projects through the internal Mac Mini audio with the Allen & Heath interface disconnected (having read about the issues with the T2 chip and USB 2 audio interfaces);
  • Disabling automatic updating of date & time and location (online advices suggests this appeared to resolve audio issues for some Macs with the T2 chip)
  • Creating a new user account on my SSD and playing back my Logic projects from this account (was wondering whether anything that had come across from my old Mac when I imported my user account from time machine backup could have been causing problems);
  • Copy a small Logic project with a couple of audio tracks and no plugins to the SSD drive and playing back from there (to eliminate any issues caused by the external HD, although the HD activity monitor in Logic looks fine);
  • Looking for problematic processes or issues in Activity Monitor and the Console logs (although I’m not really sure what I’m looking for, I haven’t seen anything burning CPU when these system overloads occur).

I think that’s about everything I’ve tried, although I may have forgotten something.

The only thing I can think of now is to try a clean reinstall of the OS, just in case something weird has come across when I imported my user account and applications from my old Mac, although as noted above I have already tried creating a fresh user account.

Obviously that’s a bit of a hassle and I would really appreciate any ideas or advice about this before I try that.

Thank you very much for anything you can offer.

What does Apple say??

Do you have another audio Interface to use to see if you can duplicate the "Glitch"?

ETA: I have the same Mini config you have and with Logic and a Focusrite Scarlett I have absolutely No Problems.
 

RhianB

macrumors 65816
Sep 3, 2016
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1,211
505 USA
1.) Id talk to Apple. See what they say.
2.) Talk to Logic support folks if possible.
2.) If they’re useless, I’d backup your Mac & then do a fresh install of OSX & Logic & see if you can reproduce the glitch.
3.) If it is still present, I’m curious if it exists with an earlier version of OSX.
All guesses but the path Id take.
 

dryjoy

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 19, 2009
145
7
1.) Id talk to Apple. See what they say.
2.) Talk to Logic support folks if possible.
2.) If they’re useless, I’d backup your Mac & then do a fresh install of OSX & Logic & see if you can reproduce the glitch.
3.) If it is still present, I’m curious if it exists with an earlier version of OSX.
All guesses but the path Id take.

Thanks, RhianB.

I've already tried 2 & 3, with both Mojave and Catalina. Can't go lower than Mojave, as that is the OS this Mac came with.

Got my support call with Apple booked for about 10 mins from now. Kind of dreading it, TBH - they'll probably make me do loads of simple stuff I've already tried.
 

brownbird

macrumors member
Mar 6, 2005
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Worldwide
Be careful about assuming that something is working just because it's class compliant. Recently I had a "class compliant" USB hub cause other usb devices (not connected through the hub) to randomly disconnect. At the same time my daw would beachball for several seconds. It baffled me but as soon as I disconnected the hub everything worked perfectly. Sh*t happens... even with class compliant devices. It would be work it to perform a true troubleshooting scenario, including booting in safe mode if need be in order to rule out other software and hardware that's silently causing a problem.
 
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dryjoy

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 19, 2009
145
7
Be careful about assuming that something is working just because it's class compliant. Recently I had a "class compliant" USB hub cause other usb devices (not connected through the hub) to randomly disconnect. At the same time my daw would beachball for several seconds. It baffled me but as soon as I disconnected the hub everything worked perfectly. Sh*t happens... even with class compliant devices. It would be work it to perform a true troubleshooting scenario, including booting in safe mode if need be in order to rule out other software and hardware that's silently causing a problem.
Thanks for the advice. I’ve been doing more testing since last week, and I’m pretty sure it’s my HD enclosure causing the issue.
 

3SQ Machine

macrumors regular
Dec 8, 2019
111
41
When I tested out a Mac Mini for my Logic Pro X workflow I had the same issue of 1-core spiking and causing overloads (it also caused syncing issues and didn't play well with my peripherals). Drove me crazy (and settled on an iMac that didn't have these issues instead).

The only thing that made the Mini manageable was (1) not selecting an "active track" during playback (a track with lots of plugins); (2) keeping buffer size 256; and (3) using only "native" resolution on my monitor (was trying to power a 4k -- whole 'nother conversation).

This was using a test project that my (base) 2013 i5 iMac could play at 32 buffer and I needed these tricks for the mac mini i5 2018 to play the same exact project.

Also, make sure you investigate activity monitor for any other CPU/memory hogs interfering.

Of course, wouldn't be surprised if it's this bus-related enclosure issue that you're investigating also. Good luck and let us know what eventually solves it.
 
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dryjoy

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 19, 2009
145
7
When I tested out a Mac Mini for my Logic Pro X workflow I had the same issue of 1-core spiking and causing overloads (it also caused syncing issues and didn't play well with my peripherals). Drove me crazy (and settled on an iMac that didn't have these issues instead).

The only thing that made the Mini manageable was (1) not selecting an "active track" during playback (a track with lots of plugins); (2) keeping buffer size 256; and (3) using only "native" resolution on my monitor (was trying to power a 4k -- whole 'nother conversation).

This was using a test project that my (base) 2013 i5 iMac could play at 32 buffer and I needed these tricks for the mac mini i5 2018 to play the same exact project.

Also, make sure you investigate activity monitor for any other CPU/memory hogs interfering.

Of course, wouldn't be surprised if it's this bus-related enclosure issue that you're investigating also. Good luck and let us know what eventually solves it.
Thanks. Interesting experience, and quite unfortunate. These Mac minis should be great for music production.

I’ve ordered another enclosure for my audio HD to keep it separate from the other drives and out of the enclosure that seems to be causing the issue. Will see how that goes.
 

3SQ Machine

macrumors regular
Dec 8, 2019
111
41
Thanks. Interesting experience, and quite unfortunate. These Mac minis should be great for music production.

I’ve ordered another enclosure for my audio HD to keep it separate from the other drives and out of the enclosure that seems to be causing the issue. Will see how that goes.
Yeah I REALLY wanted the Mini to work and was bummed it didn't. I even tried two of them in case one was a dud. I started music production on a core2duo Mac Mini and, on paper, the 2018s seem to have the performance sweet spot. Didn't want to stay with the iMac form factor, but oh well.

Of course, I'm also powering more equipment now and I think the lack of dGPU in the mini steals more CPU (on one core) than advertised if trying to use a large 4k monitor. The T2 is the great unknown also, although seems to be no issue in the MBP 16".

Good luck--hope this is the cause so you can get back to writing!
 
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dryjoy

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 19, 2009
145
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Good luck--hope this is the cause so you can get back to writing!
Thanks. I hope so too. I don’t have as much time for music in my life as I would like these days, and I’ve spent a fair proportion of the time I do have messing about trying to sort this issue out.
 

user_xyz

macrumors 6502
Nov 30, 2018
296
308
Thanks. I hope so too. I don’t have as much time for music in my life as I would like these days, and I’ve spent a fair proportion of the time I do have messing about trying to sort this issue out.
That's too bad.
What if you switched out your 7200 HDD for an external SSD like the T5?

Let us know how this issue resolves. Good Luck
 

dryjoy

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 19, 2009
145
7
OK, so my lovely wife got me a new USB 3 HD enclosure for Christmas. I've put my audio HD in there, and this seems to have solved the issue. I think the Mac Mini and the 4 bay enclosure I originally purchased to go with it don't get on so well. I still have three drives in the 4 bay enclosure, just not the audio one - and that seems fine.

It's hard to be sure until I've really spent some time working with it, but it's passed my standard tests which it would always fail previously. Quite a relief - finally starting to bond with this Mac Mini (although I still find the number of cables, adapters etc hanging off of it hard to deal with, having been used to a Mac Pro tower).
 

rhett7660

macrumors G5
Jan 9, 2008
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Sunny, Southern California
Thanks, RhianB.

I've already tried 2 & 3, with both Mojave and Catalina. Can't go lower than Mojave, as that is the OS this Mac came with.

Got my support call with Apple booked for about 10 mins from now. Kind of dreading it, TBH - they'll probably make me do loads of simple stuff I've already tried.
What did Apple say?
 

dryjoy

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 19, 2009
145
7
They made me increase my buffer size (didn’t make any difference) and do more testing running projects from the internal SSD (which led to the solution).
 

dryjoy

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 19, 2009
145
7
Yes it does seem so. I’ve been doing quite a bit with Logic the last few days, and not run into the issue again.