Wavelab 10 plugin performance on Macs

I’m having the problems with slow and laggy window movement only on WaveLab 10. I’m using Logic Pro X and WaveLab 9.5 on this very same machine and never had this problem on any of these two DAWs.

There’s also no lack of memory and GPU with the Radeon Pro 5500M. Even if the 2nd card (an Intel UHD Graphics 630) is used (which it isn’t, because then it wouldn’t be possible to use an external screen), there would be plenty of memory available for tasks like displaying a metering plugin.

Even if the 2nd card (an Intel UHD Graphics 630) is used (which it isn’t, because then it wouldn’t be possible to use an external screen)

What Mac hardware do you have exactly?
How can you know for sure the Intel UHD Graphics 630 is not used?
What screens do you have?
Do you have the problem with all plugins?

Do you mean you have both WaveLab 9.5 and 10 on the same machine, and the problem is only in 10?

I’m running a 2019 16" MacBook Pro, 8 core i9, 64gigs of RAM, Radeon Pro 5500M with 8gigs of video memory next to the integrated Intel UHD 630 with another 1.5 gigs of video memory.

The Radeon is used automatically when an external monitor is connected. The system information (“About this Mac”) also shows the Radeon being used as soon as I start WaveLab.

WaveLab 9.5.5 and 10.0.30 are both running on this machine.

My operating system is Catalina 10.15.4, ran 10.15.3 right before that.

My experience is exactly the same. 9.5 was way smoother than any of the 10 versions yet (even though it has improved).

I am running Wavelab on an iMac 2019 (8 core i9 + 40 Gb RAM). GPU is the built in Radeon Pro 580X, 8 gb)

I also sense something here, but it’s only obvious on my Mac Mini and MacBook Pro. My iMac Pro which I assume has better graphics/CPU doesn’t really have this issue.

My short term solution for my Mini was adding an eGPU but it does feel that WaveLab isn’t quite optimized for MacOS in the graphics department. That, or plugin developers are overlooking something that WaveLab 10 is sensitive to, and WaveLab 9.5 and other DAWs are not.

I thought it might help to demonstrate the issues I’m talking about, so I made a quick screen capture comparing the described behavior on both WL 10.0.30 and 9.5.5. It was done on my MBP, unfortunately not in the studio but on the couch at home right now, so there’s no external monitor, no dedicated audio interface, etc.:


In the beginning you can see my monity statistics showing how much CPU and RAM was available when I started the test.
Then I’m opening up the system information that shows you the initial use of the Intel Graphics Card.
When opening WL10, it’s loading up a montage with my standard master section plugins, all metering stuff. The effects used on the clip are bypassed. I’m indicating various areas of laggy and slow graphical display with the mouse. When moving the window for the NUGEN VIS-LM you can see that the window is dragging behind the mouse clearly. I’m then opening up the system information page again and you can see the Radeon popped up.

After that, I’m loading a montage with exactly the same settings in 9.5.5 for comparison. Everything is working a lot more easily and fluid.

Buffer in both versions is set to 512.

There’s not much CPU intensive stuff going on in the montages as you can see. As soon as I start to add more effects and processing to clips in the montage, the performance goes worse and worse pretty fast. WL9 doesn’t show this behavior at all, it’s very efficient and very stable.

I hope that helped to understand what I was talking about. Let me know if I can contribute any more information to help solving this problem. WaveLab is an important part of my professional work and I’d love the new version to work better on macOS.

One difference between 9.5 and 10, is that plugin processing happens all the time in 10.
You can stop this by clicking the Stop button while pressing Command.

Since you are using a NUGEN plugin which is notorious to be slow, I am half surprised about what you get.

Please try without any NUGEN plugi, and try with other plugins such as FabFilter, UAD or Steinberg.
Do you see a difference?

BTW, your URL is broken.

One last note:
In System Preferences > Energy Saver, you should DISABLE automatic graphics to force the Radeon 5500M to be used all the time. Else the OS swaps between Intel and the Radeon as needed.

Fixed the URL, thanks for pointing that out.

Disabling the automatic graphics didn’t really change anything in the WL10 behavior. Disabling Nugen didn’t either. Disabling ALL of the plugins actually did make it run a bit faster (of course), but that is not really a solution, here. There’s also no alternatives to most of these tools for me.
Also: As said multiple times before, they all work without a problem in WL9.

Thanks for your video. Various comments:

  1. In WaveLab 10, the bypass switch of a montage plugin, is truly “bypass”, while in WaveLab <= 9.5, that was an on/off switch. IOW, no CPU eaten for them in WaveLab 9.5, unlike WaveLab 10. Why this change? Because it allows clickless and smother audio transition when changing the state.

  2. I observe on your video a difference in favor of WaveLab 9.5, concerning meters, when all plugins UI are hidden. But maybe this is caused by #1. Not sure, but at least you would need to have these plugin active in both WaveLab versions to make a fair comparison.
    Apart this hypothesis, I don’t have yet another idea. The fact that the meters get slow, is due to the fact that your Master Section plugins, even hidden, are competing for CPU with WaveLab.

  3. When you move the NUGEN plugin window, I note that the WaveLab 10 graphics in the background, are more reactive than the ones of WaveLab 9.5, hence this is rather the opposite of what you said once. No?

Thanks for your reply!

  1. Regarding WL10s “true” bypass: Makes total sense and that’s a great new feature that makes before/after comparisons more easy.
    Now both plugins on the clip shown in the video are hardly CPU intensive, also the WL10 CPU meter doesn’t show much load. Out of curiosity I repeated the comparison without the plugins on the clip and that did not make a noticeable difference.

  2. I also repeated the comparison showing all GUIs from the plugins on the master section and the WL10 CPU meter still doesn’t show significant load. I noticed that only the Steinberg/WL GUIs were slow and laggy, the display of the 3rd party plugins was fluid. Maybe this behavior is different, when I have an external display connected, but due to the current pandemic situation I cannot get into the studio today to check this.

  3. That’s right, I hadn’t noticed that before, as I was always looking at the window being moved :slight_smile:… I payed attention to this now in my last comparison with all the plugin GUIs open and you’re right: As soon as I start moving windows around in WL9.5 the GUI display speed lacks more than in WL10. That’s a good sign of course, but is no direct help regarding the overall less solid performance of WL10 felt on my system.

I’ll also point out again that the shown comparison was done with very little processing being done in the according project. When working on a “full blown” mastering session with linear phase EQs or the use of other CPU intensive processes on various clips in a montage, WL10 becomes unusable for me, while 9.5.5 on the very same machine doesn’t break a sweat.

Now both plugins on the clip shown in the video are hardly CPU intensive, also the WL10 CPU meter doesn’t show much load.

The WaveLab CPU meter measures the audio performances.
What you observe is a GUI performance issue.
I understand the symptoms of the problem, but I don’t know why it happens: the GUI CPU bandwidth is divided between WaveLab and each plugin that has a UI. For some reasons, the plugins you are using consume more bandwidth in WaveLab 10 than 9.5, leaving less bandwidth for WaveLab GUI tasks.
I will try to investigate this (but later).


Hello, I can say that i feel WL10 smoother than 9.5, particularly in the montage section and i can put more plugins in the master section before stuttering compare to 9.5.
But only after plugin manufacturers have fix the problems that appear with the new WL10 versions, for now for me it was only plugin problems.
I’m on macos majave with the first generation of i7 with a GT710 gpu with 2Go of ram and so far i’ve never had this sort of graphic issue.

I’m experiencing awful, sluggish performance in WL 10 on my 27" 2019 iMac. My iMac was pretty much the top-of-the-line that year, 64GB RAM, Radeon Pro 580X 8 GB. Plenty of juice. But plugins like TDR Nova are barely useable, and WL’s stock meters play back at like 5 fps. This is very annoying; WL used to be responsive. Now it’s becoming a real problem.

I have the same iMac, though 2020 version.
I don’t experience bad performances. Maybe some of the plugins you are using cause this?


I’d say that it’s not hard to stress out even a very powerful Mac when working at 96k with some basic mastering grade plugins. I hope some optimizations can be made for the future. Something seems bottlenecked somewhere.