C7.5 Multithread processing performance experience?

Has anybody had any experience with ASIO performance under heavy load/processing demands on C7.5? More specifically, can anybody assertain that their multicore CPU capacity is properly utilized by Cubase under high-load conditions?

As my standard VSTi template has grown larger over the last year or so, I’ve also grown more concious that Cubase’s processing performance was more easily reaching its max “capacity”, which I define as the point where I start getting real-time audio playback drop-outs. Since moving to C7.5, I decided to formally assess my “system’s capacity”. Two scenarios: Cubase in standalone, and then Cubase with Vienna’s VEP5 hosting all my VSTi template (which is the way I traditionally work).

I’ve recently run a lengthy series of tests for the two scenarios (C7.5 standalone, then C7.5+VEP), under same conditions: a number of concurrent audio tracks plus insert FX’s, and a number of VSTi’s plus insert FX’s, and a number of FX’s on the master bus. Fairly simple tests. Then two different set of tests: First, point was to increase number of FX’s keeping audio and VSTi tracks fixed until ASIO drop-outs in realtime playing started to show (by hearing and red indicator on Cubase’s VST performance meter). Second, point was to increase number of tracks while keeping FX’s fixed.

My system: Intel 990X @ 4.34GHz on Intel DX58SO2, 24GB Patriot DDR3 2000, system and multisample/VSTi drives on SSD’s, and a couple RAID arrays on SLI card for archiving and multimedia. Running Cubase 7.5 on Win7 x64. Mackie Onyx FireWire 24-bit/48kHz at 128 buffer, 5.4ms latency.

On Cubase: Multiprocessing was enabled, ASIO Guard enabled (disabled produced worse performance), audio priority was in “boost”.

System performance was monitored in several ways, through Cubase’s VST performance monitor, using Intel’s Extreme Tuning monitor utility, using Windows Resource Monitor. LatencyMon was used before tests to confirm external system drivers/services where not a factor/issue on ASIO latency and performance.

Without delving into other details at this point for brevity’s sake, my key observations are two-fold:
a) C7.5 standalone: I very rarely saw the multicore in-use count go over 2, although VST performance was peaking out.
b) C7.5+VEP5: I managed to substantially and importantly increase the VSTi+FX count hosted on VEP before maxing out. I could see the multi-core count move to 6 during the playback and heavy load. I was even able to add extra audio tracks on C7.5 before maxing out. So VEP as “middle-ware” proved to be a considerable improvement.

Bottom line, my preliminary conclusion is that I’m quite puzzled and very confused about C7.5 multiprocessing capabilities. Something did not look or feel right, performance was well under what was expected.

Has anybody done some research on this? Actual hands-on experience?

my question, then, is why do we all have these crazy powerful machines that programs like cubase can’t even utilize to their fullest potential? 24GB of RAM on 8 cores, to hardly use the CPU?

You need to understand the difference between ASIO performance and CPU. To add, you need to investigate why 3rd party plugs aren’t programmed to use all the cores.

How do you measure Cubase’s ASIO performance?

Meter on the Transport.

My observations and preliminary conclusions are based on audible and noticeable drop-outs. Drop-outs that where visually confirmed on the Cubase VST Performance window.

From the Cubase manual, in reference to the VST Performance window:

• The “Average Load” indicator shows how much of the available CPU power is used for audio processing.
• The “Real-time Peak” indicator shows the processing load in the realtime path of the audio engine.

On the one hand, there is a CPU-load gauge, on the other, an ASIO-load gauge. Overloads on either one were always associated (audibly confirmed) with drop-outs.

So two questions come to mind:
1- on the CPU side, why does the “Average Load” max out while there is only 2 cores used? (very rarely 3 seen, but still 4 or 3 idle at any time)
2- on the ASIO side, why is Cubase unable to handle VSTi’s and FX’s to the substantially better extend VEP5 did?


I’ve seen this topic come up several times (and posted about it myself) but am yet to see an answer that is 100% clear.

Regarding multithread processing specifically, from my observations (simply looking at the Windows Resource Monitor) all my cores seem to have a roughly equal load. The problem I find is that the the Cubase ASIO meter will max out WAY before the actual CPU will be maxed out. So in other words, a lot of CPU power is going unused. And yes… I know, the ASIO METER IS NOT A CPU METER because this is the (unhelpful) response that is always posted when this issue is raised. But WHAT EXACTLY is the bottleneck here? It’s usually blamed on poor ASIO drivers (I run a Steinberg MR816 interface so you would hope it would have a well written driver) but I’ve read various reports of VE Pro being able to run many extra plugins alongside Cubase so what is it that stops these extra plugins being run within Cubase itself? Why does the ASIO driver allow a higher plugin count when split between two pieces of software as opposed to being run in one single piece of software (i.e. Cubase)?

i got burned on another forum by putting this statement online, but i fully agree to the simple fact that combining the VEP with Cubase has much more performance capabilities. What i understood from all the technical replies from developers was that when we use a single DAW with lots and lots of vsti’s they (the vsti’s) all call for some kind of priority at the same time with a result of peaking asio metering, (a kind of bottleneck) and that this is not the case with VEP where you actually divide the vsts over several servers and instances who handle these priority callings in a (and there seemed to be consensus) very well controlled way trough servers. So it seems that the system setup that VEP gives you is a unique way (for the moment) of handling your VSTI’s so that they are spread “well balanced over the different available cores”. It seems that the vienna guys really do have a winner here with their VEP. And fact is: they know that too and are asking quite a lot of monney for a vst host. But i indeed love the VEP. VEP seems to be the king of the vst-hosts for the moment.

Roel, there are a few loose ends that bother me though, and I’d like somebody with more clarity and understanding than ME to try to enlighten ME and those who may also be concerned about this.

My test used a SINGLE instance of VEP, hosted on my main DAW PC, concurrently with C7.5. No extra servers, no extra instances, no extra audio interfaces, no extra processing power whatsoever. Yet, the performance improvement was substantial. Not 10%, not 20%, not 30%. In rough terms, again without delving into the details for simplicity sake, I managed to more than double the number of insert FX’s used on the VSTi’s hosted in VEP, plus extra master bus FX’s on VEP, plus added several extra audio tracks in Cubase. This is why I undoubtedly call it substantial. BTW, I actually have a good amount of documented evidence (including screen snapshots) of my tests, should we reach a point they may aid the discussion.

Yet, even after my somewhat extensive browsing of the topic on here, and other technical sources, I have yet to find any reasonably solid reference addressing this topic in any meaningful extent. This, aside from vague comments here and there that you can easily dismiss for their vagueness/emptiness…

Even consulting older Cubase manuals (v5,6), the concept of multithreading/multiprocessor support has always been very lightly addressed on them, and to an extent that makes the topic sound more like an empirical trial and error hidden art than a technically-supported fact-based set of principles and guidelines. Which I find very frustrating and disappointing.

i hope you get the correct answer by a techie because i agreed with you on what you said above. And i was no referring to extra hardware servers but to the 32 and 64 bit servers that are hosting the plugings on your main system. That is the way i use them and that was appointed to me as the reason of the big difference.

A more simple test to show you.

Start one f.e. single omnisphere or other very very powerfull synth you have with its most consuming preset. Watch the asio meter slam to the right in cubase.
Now do the same thing with the same vsti loaded in the VEP. Do you seen ANY movement of the asio meter??
Actually: that wouldn’t even be possible because the asio handling is not done by cubase but by VEP.
But you do have a processor load indicator in VEP itself. And that one will definitly slam to the right.
But…: their you find the difference you notice. VEP doesn’t come up in the way the meter slams in cubase. They actually show different things. Cubase shows ASIO, and VEP shows processor load. But still, and indeed, as you noticed the ASIO performance in cubase reaches its limits way before the processor load is being reached.
That is called “proces management” as i could understand.
The best way to compare this is with the taskmanager in windows since this is one tool to measure two different programs.
What you probably will notice is that the way the processes are divided over the different cores is completely different whan using VEP than when using Cubase.
That was what i was trying to explain above. It’s “the way” the host handles processes. The fact that VEP uses seperate servers and instances seems an important difference between DAW handling of the same thing.
But again: hope we can find a definitive answer, because it is an important one to understand.

happy musicing,
kind regards,

Not meant to enter into a debate on this, but your use of the terms “servers” and “instances” is very confusing to me, specially on your last paragraph. That’s why I thought it was worth making my previous clarification. I’m not sure what you mean by separate “servers and instances”. Technically, to me, that is inaccurate. There was only ONE VEP server in my case, only one instance. I do, at this point and with the evidence in hand, agree with the notion that VEP seems to handle multithreading substantially better than Cubase. But not sure why.

Any of you know ANYTHING about computers at all? In depth I mean (genuinely curious). Have you actually built your own?
You’re much better off asking this question on another music tech forum. If you don’t actually know much about computer innards then you’re only likely to get confused answers here, but you could get lucky.
I’d cut and paste the whole question to the Sound on Sound forum, see what discussion you generate and then bring it back here to fine tune your findings if it turns out that the consensus is that Cubase has a screw loose.

Ehhh, yes. Much more than you may think. And yes to your second one as well, been doing so since after my first PC, a 8088 CPU, really, many ages ago.

Not sure I feel any motivated to try your suggestion. Would prefer relying on experiences from real (specialized) Cubase users here than navigating thorugh tons of fluff from a general user base.

General user base will know, collectively, a lot more than anyone here about what might cause what you observe other than Cubase. If you just think it’s Cubase you might not get far in a hurry in this forum alone.
If you’re sure it’s Cubase then repost this in the Issues page of the forum.
You’ll certainly get bitten a lot less on other forums than here and the answers (the meaningful ones) will be easier to understand if, as your reply states, you are used to building your own rigs.
Most here just know Cubase whereas others will know whether it’s the computer or Cubase and a lot of times will know what would make Cubase behave that way, what wouldn’t and how to fix it if it can be fixed.

PS: An awful lot of very knowledgeable Cubase users are on the SoS forum because this forum can get a bit up it’s own sack.

I have experienced the ASIO meter maxing out whilst there is plenty of CPU power going unused (according to Windows Resource Meter) on more than one computer. In fact, I have just built a new PC (Intel 4930k to replace my i7 920) and both machines show the same behaviour. The ASIO meter hits max and audio starts to break up but the CPU useage might only be at 40% in some cases, and on my setup, that appears to be spread quite evenly on all cores. One common thing is my Steinberg MR816 audio interface but I have read many reports of the same experience from people with various different computer/interface setups.

Why do so many people seem to think the AISO meter indication is any thing to do with the CPU meter in windows?


Would some of you more knowledgeable in ASIO care to share your understanding as of how the ASIO meter may max out, name some examples of that in your hands-on experience? Some seem to imply there is no relationship with processing capacity whatsoever, but nobody really seems to have a clue as of why or even whether or not this is something they have factually tried themselves.

You’re not overclocking by any chance?