Wavelab 10 plugin performance on Macs

Wavelab 10 seems to continue to have a struggle with running plugins (even the latest release). The plugins are a pain to operate in Wavelab because any user action is very slow and adjusting parameters using plugin gui controls is random/haphazard.

Wavelab 9.5 was much smoother. Something needs to be done. I am running Wavelab on a 2019 iMac with core i9 (latest version of Mojave and 32 gb RAM). Wavelab performance is pretty far from ok currently.

What plugins have problems? What plugins don’t have problems?

Find attached a pic of my Mastersection plugins which I am running currently. I actually loaded the same plugin chain in Wavelab 9.5 and it works way better than Wavelab 10. In Wavelab 10 not only the plugin user interfaces lag but also the line indicating playhead position in Wavelab skips and jumps instead of progressing smoothly.

Adjusting parameters e.g. in Softube Tape plugin is not working good at all in WL10. The user interface graphic of Tape Reels rotating is running like in slow motion compared to WL9.5. However, I wonder whether this is about the individual plugins but rather some more generic issue. I can of course try to take them out one by one and see if the performance gets better.

The symptoms you describe, are like if something was eating CPU in the user interface, which causes wavelab not to refresh the UI as often as normally possible. This could be one specific plugin, I don’t know.
This is difficult to check from my place, but I will run some tests anyway.

I can of course try to take them out one by one and see if the performance gets better.

This could be useful. But don’t just bypass, you must remove a plugin.

I tried removing the plugins and adding them back again. There is no clear point where the performance would drop but it seems to take place gradually. There must be something really badly wrong with WL10 as it cannot cope with these plugins but Wavelab 9.5 can.

In 10.0.20, graphics speed will be optimized for cases like yours were numerous plugins are active.


Ok, thanks. Let’s hope that will speed things up.

I have this problem for a long time - since WL 9 or so and reported it several times. Handling gets sluggish, even with a few plug ins - you can feel a delay when using the plug in. It is persistent but not predictable and can suddenly start, usually after using a second or third plug in. This is on two different machines, one with High Sierra, the other with Mojave. This drives me mad sometimes, as I like to work fast and handle plug ins quickly.
And of course, none of these symptoms are with other software and plug in chaining of the same versions, like in Nuendo 10.
It seems now, that PG slowly admits there is a problem.

It seems now, that PG slowly admits there is a problem

I did not say so. Since WaveLab 9.5, the graphics on Mac (provided you don’t have a Mac Mini, or you have a GPU) are fine.
But on a extreme case such as:

Indeed, I have recently found a way to improve speed, by restricting some plugin UI activity, when they are not visible.

I’m talking about MacPro AND the newest generation of MacMini with i7 - they behave the SAME concerning this sluggish behaviour. The same plug ins and/or plug in chaines doesn’t exhibit the same problems on the same computers in Nuendo or Cubase. That should be prove enough. I double checked it several times.
On the MacMini I can even cut video with multiple tracks in Resolve and have plug ins open like Waves WLM+ and plug ins behaves smoother than in WL.
The studio Mac Pro handles in Nuendo man dozens of plug ins realtime with no noticeable sluggish behaviour, in WL ON THE SAME MACHINE it takes just two plug ins to start this sluggish behaviour. Even with only one plug in, like Softube Tape, I can see the simple spinning wheel graphic stumbling. I’m so long in business and tested in the past for Waves, AKAI, Emagic and even Steinberg, that I’m pretty sure something is wrong. I have many Steinberg products, even with double licenses and have no personal problem with you. It is just what I experience and it is ongoing now for some time.

I was having some serious issues with my Mac Mini and WL10. I have an iMac Pro at my main studio but for my home setup, I use a maxed out version of the new Mac Mini.

I almost always work at 96k and it was very easy to max out the CPU. I mostly noticed it when certain plugin GUIs were open and the CPU was already being pushed hard. It would make the audio have a weird stutter and slowed down sound, and the graphics were slow too.

But, when I closed the GUI, the audio was fine and graphics better.

I ended up getting a Sonnet eGPU (external graphics card) and this made a big difference. Now I can work as expected without audio issues and the graphics performance is better too.

When a Mac does not have a GPU (like for Mac Mini), the memory is shared between the graphic computations and all the rest. This affects memory caching, which is very important for performances.


I have a maxed out 2018 Mac Mini and am having the very same problem = unworkable, and I’m only working in 48KHz with 512 buffer size with some plugins oversampling. In Cubase Pro 10, I have no performance issues, and since I am mostly mixing, I use A LOT more plugins (some of which oversample) and work with smaller buffer sizes. No problem, smooth.

Plus, Wavelab’s affect on the GPU is horrendous, especially when you use 3rd party plugins. Will these issues be solved with an update? Is Steinberg aware of these issues? It’s real. I honestly believe these are optimization issues (either to Mac OS or to some third party plugins). I was really excited to work in Wavelab but it seems unworkable for now, really.

I just set up a new and well specced working machine on a Catalina system and my WaveLab performance issues persist. I initially installed version 10.0.20, then updated to 10.0.30 when it was released a couple of days ago. Graphics are still very sluggy on both versions as soon as I get a few plugins running (mainly metering tools), the overall “feel” is a lot slower than on releases prior to 10.0.0.

Let me know if I can contribute to solving this issue by providing any further info, logs, etc.

Best regards from Germany and thank you very much for your continuous work on this software that’s been helping me mastering sound and music since 2005!

What do you mean with sluggy graphics? What screen(s) do you use? What graphic cards?
I don’t think there is something that can be done on the WaveLab side.

Well, I can see some improvement on the graphics side, already 10.20 was better. The playhead indicator line is far from smooth in its progress (but skips and jumps less) and the the rotation of Softube Tape tape reels is still far from steady. However, most importantly, the installation went fine, the old project opened fine, plugin windows can be closed/opened swiftly and there were no audio issues (at least so far). I’ve only run the 10.30 now twice. I am on Catalina 10.15.4.

The framerate of various displays like the spectroscope or the phasemeter is lower than it is on version 9.5. I also experience this with 3rd party plugins like the Nugen VIS-LM or the MAAT DrMeter MKII. Also moving plugin-windows around on my screen feels slow and laggy.

I’ve experienced this on my previous computer, a MacBook Pro 15" retina model from 2015 (i7, 16gigs of RAM, Radeon R9 M370X, macOS Mohave), as well as on my current machine, a MacBook Pro 16" model from 2019 (i9, 64gigs of RAM, Radeon Pro 5500M, macOS Catalina), both on the MBPs screen and on my external Samsungs, connected via DisplayPort/60hz.

Edit: This problem was much worse in WaveLab 10.0.0 and 10.0.10 and got a bit better with the release of 10.0.20.

Also moving plugin-windows around on my screen feels slow and laggy

Really? This is not under the control of WaveLab neither the plugins, as moving a Window happens purely on the OS side.

This can’t be true, because plug ins that make no GUI problems with Nuendo or Cubase can cause those problems in WaveLab. If the same plug ins on the same OS, in different hosts act differently, then there must be differences in GUI handling by hosts.

One reason why the OSX GUI might have performance problem, is the lack of memory and GPU.
If the computer has no GPU (eg. Mac Mini), then the inboard memory is used for graphics, and this can have a big impact on performances.
WaveLab 10.0.30 uses less memory than earlier versions, yet, the above still stands.