ASIO Guard discussion

Hi Guys,

I’m trying to make sense of how ASIO Guard manages its buffer settings - in my case under OSX.

ASIO guard uses two buffers, one for record enabled tracks (this is the buffer that is set by the user - eg 128 samples), and another for all other tracks that are not record enabled. It appears that this playback buffer can not be manually set by the user, but instead is either fixed or possibly dynamically changed according to the resources required by the project.

In the settings menu under VST Audio System, the latency of the user-set (recording) buffer is shown as an input and output latency in ms. The total of these two figures is the round-trip latency. In the attached screen shot, the round-trip latency is 8.322ms (total of input and output).

Below that is the ASIO-guard latency (this would be output only, given that ASIO-guard’s buffer is for playback tracks).
For a user buffer of 128 samples, this ASIO-guard latency is 11.610ms. With a bit of trial and error, I’ve worked out that this is equivalent to a buffer of about 400ish samples.

When the user buffer is increased, so does the ASIO-guard buffer. Interestingly, when any buffer below 128 samples is selected, the ASIO-guard latency remains at 11.610ms.

My question is… is it possible to increase the ASIO-guard buffer manually even when the user buffer is low? For example, would it be possible to have an ASIO-guard latency of 49.38ms (the equivalent of 2048 samples) while still running at a very low user buffer?
Or conversely, does Cubase increase this ASIO-guard buffer as required, when running at a low user buffer, as the project demands it?

I would love some further information on this aspect of ASIO-guard from one of the Steinberg moderators. It’s a great feature and will definitely have a huge impact on performance, but I’d like to understand the mechanism behind it so I can get a feel for how much of a performance improvement might be delivered.

Cheers and thanks in advance,

I’ve been having problems with CPU spikes for quite some time. Projects with less than 25% showing on the asio meter would even fail to render on occasion.

I was hoping the new 64 bit UAD plugins would save the day, but, alas, not. (Although, this does seem to have helped, since I am no longer using the bridge as much.)

The most annoying factor in this scenario is that sometimes during a real time render (which I have to use because I use hardware), a glitch will happen, and the render doesn’t stop, If I’ve already heard the mix too many times, I will often just fix one issue, then send it along to a client, who then gets to notice the glitch and report it to me, making me look somewhat incompetent.

This really burns me up. So I spent the $150 on the upgrade. My questions, to anyone who has experienced issues like this, are - will the asio guard system help? How will I know?

I would love to hear from one of the moderators on this one! Chris? Helge?

Cheers and thanks,

I think you are better off getting to the bottom of your issue rather than trying to place one band aid over another.

My experience with ASIO glitches like that is that it usually comes down to a problem outside of the ASIO system, not Cubase or the ASIO drivers itself. It may be that something else in your system is hogging resources for an instant and causing buffering in ASIO, thus the dropout. The worst culprit for this kind of activity is I/O Wait caused from delayed access to the harddirve, your virus scanner, a faulty harddirve or a bottle neck at the chipset level can cause IO Wait and make the whole system come to a screaming halt.

What sort of motherboard and cpu do you have ? and how are your harddrives configured ?

I suggest you download the free utility DPCLatency checker (or LatencyMon.exe if you have 64bit). Run this and it will show if you have any issues with interrupt hogs which usually are the culprit in these kinds of problems.

The moderators are probably not the ones to ask. They seem to be managerial rather than programming types.
My guess is no it’s not dynamically assigned. They leave it to the genius of the user to utilise.

system info.jpg

system info.jpg
I have a lynx AES16e, L22, UAD quad and solo. I suppose I should try turning the antivirus software off. Variaudio seems to cause issues; I’ve noticed I get more successful renders when I bounce any tracks with it.

Just as an add to this^. I just recently had sudden, severe ASIO spikes on a normally competent i7.

It was caused by a malfunctioning KVM switch. Nothing to do with audio, nor anything internal. Just a stupid monitor switch. Removed it, now no spikes. :slight_smile:

Recently something happened to my system that has caused the performance options window to come up every time I restart my computer. It informs me there is an issue with the specified paging file size, which apparently is now set to zero. I can see how to change that, but I have no idea what I should specify, or why this has happened. Wondering if this could be related somehow to the cpu spikes - any ideas?

Steve, you absolutely and positiviely should NOT have antivirus switched on!

I think it’s about time we had a permanent thread on how best to set up your DAW for music.

There have been so many threads on this before and yet on almost a weekly basis I see people trying to run Cubase etc alongside an antivirus prog.

There are many other tweaks for Windows which may also help your situation. Too many for me to write it all down here again. You should Google ‘set up Win 7 PC for DAW’ or something and follow all the advice.

Trust me, I did all that (along with disabling the uneccessary services); the antivirus is the only thing - I know better, but when Cubase is having difficulty with a particular render I will shut it off, and it never helps, so I tend to leave it on.

Are you sure part of the antivirus is still not running in the background?

Could you post a list of running processes perhaps (after you’ve shut down AVG)??

Have you checked your IRQs for potential conflicts?


AVs should not cause any untoward clicks under normal circumstances while using Cubase. If you are getting system messages about pagefile sizes and errors then I’d google away from here and look at more general computer problems.
A lot of these issues are caused by system failures rather than a program like Cubase and can usually be resolved by finding programs or settings responsible but sometimes can only be fixed by an OS reinstallation which is no bad thing after a couple of years.
Rarely it could be a BIOS setting or two which requires a deep breath and diving boots.
My guess is that if you tried another DAW you would still get similar issues.
Always check the connection chain first including your audio and midi cables as well as the internal connections.
ASIO Guard seems to work here but my system buffers are generally well behaved so I guess I’ll have to try stretching the envelope a bit more.

System info looks odd for a four core 8 thread processor


services 1.jpg
services 2.jpg
services 3.jpg
Haven’t checked IRQ’s…

Here is the last services jpeg, just a few more.
services 4.jpg

Asio Guard is not helping here, but I use mostly UAD and External plugins - to which it probably does not apply.

It’s 2 cores, 4 threads

And here are the IRQs. I really appreciate the help guys.

Are you sure its not supposed to be 4 core a thread?