Are there buffer sizes to avoid?

Hi all,

In Ableton live for a better CPU usage it’s not possible to use other buffer sizes than multiple of 2 (32, 64, 128, 256, 512 etc…)

There is no restriction for Cubase, does it mean we can use intermediate settings (160, 192. 320… etc.) without any consequence for the CPU ?

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This isn’t something Cubase controls. The buffer size is set in your Audio Interface. Every interface I’ve seen offers just a short list of buffer sizes - which I assume exists for some reason. You could just change it and see what happens.

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Can you post a screenshot that shows this in Cubase? Like @raino I believe it’s your audio interface’s drivers that determine how buffer size is selected. Most manufacturers use powers-of-two selectors, but some, like Roland or Focusrite, have their own ways of representing the sample buffer in their control panels. This isn’t a DAW-specific thing.

Also, the size of your sample buffer doesn’t affect your CPU usage. Higher sample rates and plugins are what tax your PC. The sample buffer is just a safety mechanism to help your computer deliver consistent audio while under high compute load. Changing the buffer size alone doesn’t affect CPU utilization, but it sure as heck can affect your listening experience!

Last time I looked, buffer size has quite an effect on CPU usage. The smaller the buffer size the more often the CPU has to reload the buffer. This is compounded if you use a higher sample rate. Google it.

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The general rule of thumb is that you need low latency when recording so when monitoring you don’t hear delay which can mess up your performance. When mixing you can set your buffer to it’s highest setting which will allow any latency due to plugins to go unnoticed. My usual practice is to set my buffer down to 64 samples for recording, but set it to 512 or 1024 samples for mixing and playback.


I don’t use so many tracks in my projects (around 50 most of the time).

With a buffer size set to 160 or 192 I have a latency between 8 and 12 ms which is a good compromise for both recording and mixing.