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How do I determine where the problem is? I'm Waves 7 and 8 VST plugins and using up all 4 cores of CPU running Windows 7 64 bit with 8 gb ram I'm not sure what steps I should be taking to eliminate possible causes such as virus/malware checking, which I've already done and found nothing.

I can tell you that over the past month, the CPU usage has been increasing when I'm running Ableton Live with all the plugins for the session I'm working on. Now at 85%, I cannot work anymore because I'm unable to hear the audio clearly. I'm at a standstill...

Any help is greatly appreciated.

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Probably the first thing you need to do is increase the buffer size until you stop hearing crackling.

Also, are you using ASIO? If not, you should be. It performs much better than DX. If you don't have a soundcard which shipped an ASIO driver, you can get ASIO4ALL instead.

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