Abysmal performance!

I am getting fed up with hopeless performance on my 2010 12 core Mac and Cubase 9. My latest project has 7 instances of GrooveAgent LE (my go to sampler), a couple of NI Massive, a couple of Omnisphere and 8 audio tracks so pretty damn small really. I don’t even mix during the writing stage, I have used some processing, a few instances of Echoboy, Decimort, Decapitator, a couple of aux send reverbs, Hammer DSP and The Glue on the mix bus. I keep getting overloads, stutters and crackles.

I took a screenshot of my activity monitor and Cubase and while Cubase is maxing out my Mac shows just under 15% in Activity Monitor. I have tried different buffer sizes, multi processor and AISO Guard on and off etc. and very little significant difference.

Just what is going wrong with my system?


Omnisphere is pretty CPU hungry. So “couple of Omnisphere” could be the reason. Reverbs can be CPU hungry too.

That doesn’t seem right at all. Check device setup for Activate Muti Processing, and experiment with different settings for ASIO guard/audio priority/buffer settings. I can run 8X that amount of plug-ins on my 4 core i7 without even breaking a sweat.

Yeah I have tried all of that, Multi Processing on & off, AISO Guard on & off, individual plugins AISO Guard on and off, buffer settings from the smallest to largest. With AISO Guard on it is slightly better but only say 10%.

I came from a 4 core i7 Mac Mini and the performance was better on that. With Pro Tools I can load sessions that maxed out my Mac Mini and they show about 30-40% on my 12 core Mac Pro but with Cubase it is a complete disaster!

Oh dear! this might be part of your issue ‘Mac Pro 2010 12 core 2.66’ specifically the 2.66. Out of curiosity, How fast was your 4 core? When it comes to real time audio processing core speed is always king. You might have 12 but 2.66 is incredibly slow. That’s a lot of Ford Fiestas instead of a few RS turbos.

As for your Protools comment… I suspect that might be due to Protools being more tuned for core stacked machines, where as Cubase suits fewer, faster core set ups! (edit: well not fewer, that’s just a factor when considering price, faster and more will always be better, slower and more is often worse).

My Mac Mini was a 4 x 2.66 mHz

I have a Mac Pro 6 x 3.33 mHz in the commercial studio I run so maybe I will swap that with the 12 x 2.66 mHz I have in my home studio and see if I get an improvement. I only run Pro Tools HD in my commercial space so it is pretty irrelevant which I use there.


I don’t think it’s that slow for multi-core loads.

The problem is ‘Real Time’ audio and you only need to max out 1 core (Well not exactly… The asio buffer being maxed usually doesn’t get any where near maxing out the core, which means the 2.66 is even worse).

This is where you want to look

a 4core i7 4.2 or the 6core i7 3.7 would destroy a 12core 2.6

All this talk of CPU’s has got me wanting a new build.

Edit: should we not avoid the i7 altogether and go for the i5, ditching hyperthreading. Making the £100 cheaper 6core Intel Core i5-8600K @ 3.60GHz the better choice.

“The logic of audio processing - There are long lists of tasks that must be processed in sequence, and this means logically can’t be simultaneously multithreaded. For example: Plugins must wait for instructions from the Piano roll and Playlist before they make sound. Effects must wait for the audio stream from upstream instrument plugins before they can process it. Further, it’s not possible to parallel-process (multithread) instruments and FX that are on the same Mixer channel (their audio is mixed together), or even in the same Mixer routing pipe-line (when one Mixer track is linked to another and another, even FX processing has an order from top to bottom in the FX stack). Then, the Master Mixer track must wait for every instrument > mixer track > effect to be processed before it can process the audio through the Master effects. So logically, there is a lot of waiting that is a natural and unavoidable fact of DAW music processing. Think of a production line. This means the CPU may not be particularly busy, using all its cores and processing slots, yet it runs out of time to fill that tiny 5 ms audio-buffer because there was a lot of waiting for things that needed to be processed in sequence. It should be clear that fast processing is very important and this is not the same thing as multi-core processing. The best CPU is one that has enough cores to spread the work around AND can do the most work on a single core during each buffer time-slice. Which leads to our TIP: When comparing CPUs, look for the fastest single-core performance scores in a package with at least 4 physical cores. Most CPU benchmarks list single core performance. For example, the CPU Benchmark website lists the single core scores.”

Thanks, but I actually explained the same thing to someone else in another thread. :stuck_out_tongue: I guess it’s good that it’s becoming common knowledge.

Performance with that processor shouldn’t be abysmal, was my line of thinking.

Yes… Not abysmal but if I was to load one instance of Avenger synth I could easily run into problems on 1 core, having 12 won’t make a difference. For me anything under 3 is slow. 2.8 would be workable with some compromises but 2.6 would be too far past the 3 threshold. If one is spending money anything slower than 3 regardless to core count ain’t worth it. I want my next build to be as close to 4 as possible, preferably over.

When it comes to Cubase and DAWS people are wasting their money on the wrong things. We need more education out there about it. Bench testers don’t stress CPUs in test that fit our world. Manufactures don’t build them to benefit us. Is there even any point paying all that extra for an i7? Have we fixed Hyperthreading issues yet?

Tornadoted, have you tried turning Hyperthreading off.