Can someone explain the audio performance meter to me? It doesn't appear to reflect reality.

I wonder if someone can explain the audio performance meter a bit further beyond the manual, as it doesn’t appear to reflect the reality I’m seeing:

In a particular project I have running, the average load meter is edging towards the red end of the meter, indicating overload.

The real time peak when running the playback hovers a bit below halfway, indicating it’s far from overload.

Shouldn’t these two meters be fairly similar, or are they measuring two completely different things?

Also, when I playback the project that is when my CPU usage is at its highest according to my Windows 10 Task Manager, but it is still only showing CPU usage total of around 30% and Cubase is about 27%/30% of this. This is far from maxed out, but the manual says the Average load meter “Shows how much of the available CPU power is used for audio processing.” It doesn’t seem to do that at all.

Am I missing something?

Yes you are. If you do a little search on the forums, you might find the same question with a link to a good youtube video.

I’ll post a link to the video which may be of interest to others.

Thanks for posting the link. That video was awesome. Should be required watching for anyone using a DAW.

Thanks. Very helpful of you.

Wow, that’s great.

In a previous lifetime I used to write real-time code so I understand the topic. But I could never have explained it as clearly as in this video - not even close.

Saved the link so it can get pasted into every “My meter says…” post that pops up.

A very simple way to understand the performance meters on most DAWs is how much time it takes to empty buffers. If the buffers are taking longer to empty due to heavy processing the more likely a glitch will occur. Ozone with all its modules functioning is holding the audio up from streaming quickly. In a slow machine this in most noticeable. It is not just about the CPU but also the input/output internal to the machine.