ASIO compatible hardware on Mac OSX?

I notice the System Requirements for Cubase Pro 10, Artist & Elements recommend “ASIO compatible hardware for low-latency performance”.
Does Cubase still not have native support for CoreAudio in OSX? This is frustrating as Steinberg Cubase has always been well supported on Apple computers, even right back to Cubase 1.0 on the first Macintosh. I’m a longtime user of Cubase running on Macintosh computers and I have always believed in the stability of Steinberg’s software on Apple’s hardware. Some of my audio interfaces are even proprietary to Mac OSX such as my Apogee products, for example the Apogee Ensemble is exclusive to CoreAudio with no ASIO compatibility. I may have to switch over to Apple Logic if Steinberg decides to keep going in this direction towards ASIO and away from CoreAudio.


There is no change on Cubase side. All CoreAudio devices are fully compatible with Cubase. There is the CoreAudio2asio component in Cubase, which takes care about it, same as it is since Cubase is on Mac platform.

I’m aware of the CoreAudio2ASIO conversion that Cubase utilizes on Mac OSX. I just wish that Steinberg would make a version of Cubase designed for native CoreAudio from the ground up similar to ProTools or even Logic for that matter so that latency performance is equal either way. Maybe it’s the VST plugin aspect that is preventing this from happening, and I know Steinberg invented the VST technology so I can’t see them ever using AudioUnits for Cubase. I’m not sure if this is actually a contributing factor or not I’m just speculating here.
Bottom line is Cubase performs better on ASIO compatible hardware than CoreAudio and that’s not very attractive to Mac users, or Apogee customers for example.


It has nothing to do with VST. Ableton Live on Mac is using CoreAudio and VST, same as Studio One, Reaper and many others.

Steinberg is also inventor of ASIO.

I don’t know, but I expect, to change to the CoreAudio on Mac would be really expensive. I can’t imagine the investment would return. That’s my only personal guess based on no data, just feeling.

Okay yes I forgot about Ableton and Reaper on the Mac, you’re right. It has obviously nothing to do with Steinberg’s VST technology, but now that you mention they also invented ASIO technology I’m thinking it most likely has more to do with that. Steinberg would definitely provide native support for their own ASIO audio protocol before Apple’s CoreAudio.

Apogee’s new Ensemble2 utilizes Apple’s Thunderbolt which provides some of lowest latency available, and I’m starting to think you need Logic or any other DAW with native CoreAudio support to fully take advantage of that. As a Cubase lover and a Mac user, I’m starting to feel torn.

You will get the same low latency with Cubase and the new Apogee’s Ensemble2 as with Logic or ProTools.
Cubase’s CoreAudio support is on pair with that of Logic or ProTools, so no reason to feel torn. It’s just the requirements page that’s not written properly.

is the next update out this week or next?

I really hope that’s true, and if so Steinberg should definitely look into rewording the System Requirements when it comes to that part; “ASIO compatible hardware recommended for low-latency performance” because that states otherwise and sounds quite concerning to Mac users.

Well I found this performance comparison video online, It’s done on Cubase Pro 8 but both tests were performed on the same computer running Microsoft Windows and Mac OSX. The audio interface is a RME Hammerfall which is both a CoreAudio device as well as being ASIO compatible hardware. The outcome is pleasantly surprising, ASIO Guard appears to be very efficient on both platforms;

I’m no expert however I do know CoreAudio is a Low Level API in OSX which is inherently different than the way ASIO audio protocol works on Windows.
I do know using a CoreAudio device on Mac basically allows the audio interface to essentially become “part of the computer” because CoreAudio is such a Low Level API within OSX. A common belief is that Cubase performs better on Windows than OSX but It appears ASIO Guard in Cubase is just as efficient if not more efficient at handling CoreAudio on OSX as it is at handling ASIO on Windows. This is apparently all thanks to CoreAudio2ASIO which is integrated much deeper into the UNIX base code of OSX than I previously realized.

I know Steinberg created the ASIO protocol but I don’t know what advantage “ASIO Compatible Hardware” would give Cubase better “Low-Latency Performance” but Steinberg has written this recommendation in the System Requirements for some reason?

I am a fanatic Mac user. I am a fanatic Cubase (Steinberg) fan. But… Why is it so hard to use a Mac aggregated device in Cubase? I know, CoreAudio, Asio. Looks like a ego-tripping power-struggle. Technically? Todays hardware and software latency should be a bit insensitive at this point. Or am I a bit ignorant? Steinberg, please, support for CoreAudio besides ASIO on your (preferred?) Apple platform.

I was psychologically stuck in the same boat as you for a while, I felt torn because I love running Cubase on the Mac but I had this notion that Logic had better native support for CoreAudio.
I was wrong, it’s just not so, and it took me a while to reach this conclusion.
Because Apple’s CoreAudio is such a well designed Low Level API the CoreAudio2ASIO protocol that Cubase utilizes is integrated much deeper into the UNIX base code of OSX than I previously realized. Cubase uses CoreAudio just as efficiently as Logic or any other DAW for that matter. It’s a non-issue really.

@HenryBartsch Henry, thanks for your reply
But, (there’s always a but…) when using a aggregated device in Cubase it mostly becomes a distorted output. When using the same device in Garageband or an other “CoreAudio” compliant application there are no issues like distorted sound or so. Even MacOs apps like Music sounds good. make you think the connection between Mac and Cubase fails at a point. And I’m not THAT sophisticated to make an technical right decision. Please help lakeman?

Hmm interesting, I used to utilize an Aggregate Device consisting of two PreSonus FirePODs(FP10) on my MacPro without any problems in Cubase.
When creating your aggregate device in the MacOS Audio/MIDI Setup be sure your Clock Source is set to the Master device, not the Slave or Internal.
Also the Sample Rate will be limited on an Aggregate Device so do not set it higher than the combined devices can handle together, in my case 44.1kHz was the maximum Sample Rate for two daisy-chained FirePODs.
Make sure you select the Aggregate Device that you created in the Cubase ASIO Driver under VST Audio System.
I have since replaced my two FirePODs with two M-Audio ProFire26/26 which do not daisy-chain over FireWire, they utilize Toslink ADAT instead. Otherwise I would still be able to do it myself and help you more.
There are some great online tutorials on how to properly set up Aggregate Devices.
But I have very successfully recorded using an Aggregate Device in Cubase on the Mac, in fact my band’s entire album (Second Wind from Blacktop Recess) was recorded like that and it was very stable the entire time.

Henry, didn’t get it working. Possible my stuberness. I wanted to use different hardware at the same time. An USB-connected UR242, a firewire-to-thunderbolt-adapted Gibson RIP, a Logitech webcam with micro and the built-in in and out. With over 30 years of experience in ICT I should have known better. It’s too divers. Not all devices use the same sample rates. Asking for trouble. When creating an aggregated device out of one device it works like a charm. Combining (probably incompatible) devices drives Cubase bezink. Thought that I should mention this. Maybe somebody can clarify? Better off with hardware chaining technics (ADAT and so)?