Anyone experiencing hard freeze+crash on Macbook Air w/ Live 9.1.5 and up?

This super-annoying problem has been happening for a while now starting with Live 9.1.5 on a 2012 Macbook Air (i7, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD) running everything from Mountain Lion to El Capitan.

It happens the same way almost every single time. With Live open and with a set open in Live as well as 3 to 5 other apps (usually Safari, Mail, MPlayerX), the Mac will suddenly completely freeze with the screen frozen (trackpad pointer will not move, no keypresses work except to hold Power Off down for several seconds). If I wait, eventually the frozen screen will go black and the Mac will power off on its own, almost always followed by a reboot. Upon reboot and login, Live will ask to recover the crashed set and point at the crash report.

This happens WITHOUT any external peripherals attached. I usually do not bother to attach my USB audio interface, a MOTU 4Pre, since a lot of track editing and MIDI work can be done without it, but in this case, I have not even had a chance to install the 4Pre's drivers for El Capitan yet, so the Macbook Air does not "know about" the 4Pre at all.

The Console log app ALWAYS shows nothing interesting preceding the reboot. I see the time of the reboot, and right before it, there is about a minute of blankness. Only once or twice out of many crashes did Mac OS X capture a diagnostic report to send to Apple, but these reports did not say anything that Ableton support was able to use.

I do not recall having this problem way back before Live 9.1.5. At the time, I was running Mountain Lion.

After the crashing started, I went through all the troubleshooting steps with Ableton support and we were never able to pin anything down. Out of desperation, I tried formatting the drive and reinstalling the OS as well as upgrading from Mountain Lion to Mavericks, Mavericks to Yosemite, Yosemite to El Capitan, doing wipe-and-installs to try to start fresh each time. I also upgraded whenever a new Ableton Live update came out (always 64-bit, but I did try 32-bit once on Ableton's recommendation).

I even brought my Macbook Air in to Apple for hardware diagnostics. They did not find anything wrong but decided to err on the side of caution and replaced the entire lower half of the Macbook Air (basically keeping the screen only). My AppleCare was about to expire, so they said they'd do me a solid and replace the: logic board w/ SSD and RAM, trackpad, battery, top cover w/ keyboard. I basically got a new Macbook Air.

Yup, you guessed it--the Macbook Air still crashes with Live open, even after all those upgrades, wipe-and-reinstalls, and the hardware replacement.

I can't prove any correlation or causation due to the lack of diagnostic logs or data or error messages. But it is strange how the Macbook Air will run fine for WEEKS until I open Live and then crash roughly 45 minutes to an hour after Live has been opened.

It's almost like there is a slow memory leak that affects the kernel--it fills up slowly and then BAM, a hard crash.

I am seriously considering switching to Windows for running Ableton or switching away from Ableton entirely.

Is anyone else experiencing this problem on a Mac with Live 9.1.5 or newer?

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dchang0 11 months ago | 0 comments

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