Don’t worry, your Mac isn’t broken. It’s just a image, every Mac user of you knows and probably hates. The spinning wait cursor, a.k.a. marble of doom, beach ball of death or spinning pizza.

Today, I’m going to show you some tips to make sure you see this awful image not during your production. Check my Pro Tools performance tricks.

First of all a very obvious tip: quit all other applications, when you’re working with Pro Tools. Especially when you’re running several other apps during Pro Tools, it will cost you precious RAM and processor power.

Withing Pro Tools, visit the Playback Engine window (Setup –> Playback Engine) and set up the CPU limit to the highest percentage available, so Pro Tools can take control of most of the processing power of your computer.

When you’re done with recording or not recording new tracks in your current session at all, you can set up the H/W Buffer Size to a higher amount of samples (1024 samples is a good value). This enables your computer to work with a larger amount of data. Just make sure you lower the Buffer Size, when you’re recording again.

If you’ve got several processors in your computer, choose the highest number of RTAS processors available, so your computer can use all the processors for Pro Tools.

Making Plugins inactive is another effective strategy. Here’s an example: You’ve got a male VO and a female VO in your template, but you’re only using your female VO. Time to get rid of all the male VO tracks plus the according sub bus (if you’re using one). This will lower the number of Plugins in your session and as less Plugins you’re using, the better your performance gets.

Speaking of sub busses: a great way to save CPU power. Use sub busses instead of using the same Plugins on all of your tracks.

When it comes to composing with virtual instruments, here’s a great tip, I got from Oli. When you’re done with playing all your tracks, record them as audio, then make your MIDI tracks and instrument tracks inactive (I prefer hiding them, so they won’t annoy me in my session). I prefer working with audio more than with MIDI and instrument tracks.

That are just a few basic tricks, I guess the computer experts here have a wide arrange of tips and tricks, but I wanted to keep is basic and not to complicated. Hope you could use one or two tricks to improve your performance during production.

Cheers and have a nice weekend.


  1. This is great information guys! I just got my new PT9 system the other day, so this was very useful and has helped speed things up quite a bit!