Ableton Live performs flawlessly using low latency settings while Propellerhead Reason performs badly using the same settings. In Reason the audio starts to glitch very soon even on songs which shouldn’t be causing issues.
I contacted the Props a few times about this but they never found a solution for this. They told me this was perfectly normal behaviour when using low latency values.
Well, Propellerhead (hope you are reading this) here’s a very SIMPLE reason which explains these glitches in Reason. And why they are not a problem in Ableton Live.
My MacBook Pro is using 2 graphics cards, one for high power discreet graphics card for best performance and a low power integrated graphics chip for better battery life.
If your Mac is using 2 graphics cards like mine you should be able to change the default setting ‘Automatic graphics switching’:
If this setting is disabled your Mac will only use the discreet graphics card. Although the performance of your Mac will be great, this setting comes with an issue which is not so nice: heavy battery/power drain.
You shouldn’t need to worry about this, the software you’re using will do the thinking for you. It should use the best setting and switch between both cards automatically.
To give you an example, at the moment when writing this, my MBpro is using the integrated graphics chip (low power). Even when the power adapter is plugged in. And even when watching a YouTube video in HD fullscreen this integrated graphics chip is used.
But as soon as I open Ableton Live my MBpro switches to discreet graphics card for optimal performance. And as soon as I close Live my MBpro switches back to the integrated graphics chip.
The reason why Reason is glitching
However, when I open Propellerhead Reason my MBpro will keep on using the integrated graphics chip instead of switching to the discreet graphics card! This totally explains why in Reason the audio will glitch while in Live it will not. Simply because it uses the low performance card! Switching to the discreet graphics card when using Reason totally solve the glitch issues! So simple!
Please Propellerhead FIX this! Make sure Reason only and always will use the discreet graphics card instead of the low performance integrated graphics chip!
Workaround: use the gfxCardStatus app
The simple workaround at the moment for this is to disable the ‘Automatic graphics switching’ setting under System Preferences > Energy Saver. But you need to enable this again when you want to save battery life. It is very inconvenient to change this setting every time you’re using Reason. So now what?
There’s a better solution: use gfxCardStatus, an unobtrusive menu bar app for OS X which shows which card is being used and which allows you to switch between both cards. When using Reason you can manually set it to ‘Discreet Only’ and Reason will definitely perform much better.
Download this wonderful free gfxCardStatus app and consider doing a donation: gfx.io
More info on graphics switching, see idownloadblog.com/2016/10/22/automatic-graphics-switching/
And let me say this again: please Propellerhead, fix this!
Also published on Medium.