Are long projects heavy on the computer?

Hi everybody!

I am about to start to record a very long project. Its like a concept album, with about 50 minutes of music.
So my question is regarding computer performance. Is it the amount of channels and FX that effects
the computer load, or does it matter how long the project is? In other words, should I try to devide
my 50 minute project into perhaps three 20 minutes songs that I will later merge together, or will I be just as fine
putting it all into one very long cubase project?

thanks for the help on this!

It’s not really the length of the project, it’s always the number of things going on in it. For example, if you have a lot of VSTi’s then you may have a problem with heavy CPU usage and if you have a large number of tracks too. Also if you have a lot of events on the timeline you will see the GUI performance go down. Obviously all these things will increase with a longer project, but it’s not specifically the length that’s causing it if you get my meaning.

I deal sometimes with live gigs and these are up to 2 hours long, not usually a problem unless I start heavily editing and then I’m cutting up the tracks into a lot of small events. Cb becomes sluggish eventually because I’ll have hundreds of events on the timeline. To alleviate this I use the Track Versions to archive the heavily edited tracks and I bounce them to a new track archive as a single event - which keeps the speed up.

I also write songs which can be 30 minutes long and quite often I’ll render some instruments and turn them off (or freeze), and again, I’ll use Track Versions to reduce complex track edits to single events on the timeline.


Thanks! that’s some good advice. Using trackversions seems like a really good idea, I will most likely edit some parts quite a bit, so I will use that strategy. We have put so much time into making sure all the pieces fit together so it would feel a lot better if it actually was all in one piece (one project).

By they now that you bring up bouncing, I have always wondered, does it matter if the volume is changed on the track i bounce? In other wors do I need to clear out any settings on a that track before I bounce to get a nice empty track with no included FX? I mean ofcourse I will know if any obvious FX are added, but I have been a bit confused when it comes to volume

When I do longer recordings, I always disable automatic hitpoint detection.

Sounds like you need to be clear in your use of the word bounce.

Cubase has Bounce, Render In Place and Export, all of which can create new audio files and events in the project for you. Bounce is where you select a number of audio events and the raw audio becomes a single new raw audio event (file). The next is Render In Place (RIP), which can do the same thing but it can also include the FX that’s on the channel, or the channel volume, automation, mix bus effects, i.e. it can render various places in the signal chain. Export is for the main outputs (i.e. whole mix) and can also do individual channels as well (e.g. to create stems).

The reason I use Bounce is because I don’t want to include any FX, I just want a consolidated single audio event. In general I don’t use RIP, I prefer to run the FX in real time. Sometimes if I mix at another studio in ProTools then use RIP or Export to stamp a specific effect into the audio or to fix some automation. Saves me setting it all up again in PT.

Hitpoint detection, yes, this is known to slow things down, I always have it disabled.


Thanks for clearification on bounce and RIP.

I also got another “idea” about a strategy to use. I can simple start with everything in one project.
And if it works fine it works, however, if things should start to slow down because
I start to add to many things for my computer to handle I could solve that by using save as… and then save 3 times
with 3 different names. Then I can just delete two thirds in each version and keep one third of the project
in each of the 3 new projects and continue working with it.

OR I can do a combination of this idea and your suggestions of using trackversions where I not only use trackversions to get rid of edits
but also to get rid of whole parts of the song, and maybe here also split it up into 3 parts, about 15-20 minutes each.
If I use this technique it should be pretty easy to get everything back together as one track as the very final part while mastering.

Both viable strategies.

Only thing to watch out for is with the first solution, if you save 3 different projects then they will be sharing the pool, so don’t delete unused audio from one project because that audio will be needed by one of the other projects.

Another thing which will slow down with a big project is load and save times. One project I was working on took 1 minute to save and eventually I turned off auto-save because it interrupted too much of my flow.