GarageBand: Misleading ‘Too many tracks’ message

Posted by Pierre Igot in: GarageBand
May 21st, 2005 • 7:46 am

This happens to me quite regularly. I have a project open in GarageBand and have been working on it for quite a while. It has a number of tracks (possibly 10 or more), many of them software instruments.

The last time I worked on it before switching to another application and doing something else, it worked just fine. My system had a bit of trouble keeping up with things visually (the tracks are not scrolling very smoothly), but the colour of the playhead never went beyond yellow (orange). It didn’t become red, indicating a critical state in terms of performance.

But now I switch back to GarageBand, where my project is still open, and I start playing it — and, within a few bars, I get the alert message telling me that I have too many tracks and that GarageBand cannot keep up. I try again and again, and each time I get the message after a few bars.

Then I quit GarageBand and relaunch it, and everything is fine again. GarageBand is back to being able to play all the tracks, and never going beyond the yellow level in the playhead.

To me, this clearly indicates a flaw in GarageBand. The fact that, after quitting and relaunching it, things work fine again is a clear indication that the problem is not with my machine, or with my current work environment, i.e. with the number of applications that I have currently open, etc. (When I quit and relaunch GarageBand, I don’t quit anything else at the same time. Everything else stays the same.)

The flaw is that something in GarageBand thinks it doesn’t have enough resources, when it does. Or else something in GarageBand causes a performance deterioration over time and is “flushed” by quitting and relaunching the application.

Regardless of what the cause is, the alert message is misleading — especially since it recommends that I reduce the number of tracks, etc. I don’t need to delete tracks. Quitting and relaunching the application fixes the problem, with the same project and the same number of tracks.

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