Challenge to Steinberg – Cubase 13 / HALion Sonic 7 audio dropouts

This is a challenge to Steinberg using Cubase Pro 13 and HALion Sonic 7 latest versions as of 11/9/2023.

Or to anyone who would like to set up the following example and report their results and/or comments as to what is causing the audio dropouts and how to stop them.

I am using Windows 10 latest version. I have a UR44C for audio interface.

Create a new Cubase Pro 13 project

Add HALion Sonic 7

Populate all 16 slots with whatever presets you like – my list is below

As you test, you can mute whatever combination you like but should have at least 2 slots that are active

I route all slots to channel 1

Load the pads with a chord progression preset on all active slots and trigger some pads for a second or two as you work through the pads using your MIDI controller

Optionally, you can just hold down some chords for a few seconds and go through a chord progression as you like

Maybe some of the presets in my list are too resource intensive?

Please let me know if you have all kinds of audio dropouts and glitches and if the CPU maxes out or the audio stutters

I use the list below

Preset Status Channel
Cello In Concert Muted 1
Full Concert Strings Enabled 1
Dreamy Pad Enabled 1
Concert Solo Strings Enabled 1
Heavenly Angel Pad Enabled 1
Heavenly Voices Enabled 1
Flutes of Sadness Muted 1
Lush Hybrid Strings Enabled 1
Heaven’s Tears Muted 1
Velo Analog Strings Enabled 1
Warm Orchestral Strings Enabled 1
Angels & Strings NoteExp Enabled 1
Studio Finger Bass Muted 1
Dreamy Pad Muted 1
Chord Builder – 124 Muted 1
Full Octave Strings Enabled 1

Is it just too much for Cubase and HALion Sonic to handle with more than a few slots populated and being triggered at the same time?

Or is it better to create separate instances of HALion Sonic for each sound?

I sometimes get audio dropouts with just 1 slot on some presets

I’d really like to know if anyone has a workaround or how to stop the audio dropouts

I would like to layer sounds that I like, maybe there is a better way that avoids dropouts for the presets I am using?

Thanks to anyone who attempts to repro this!

Hi,

Have you tested your system by using the LatencyMon utility, please?

Sorry for the delay getting back to you, been busy with other things.

When I run latencymon I get the following.
Your system appears to be having trouble handling real-time audio and other tasks. You are likely to experience buffer underruns appearing as drop outs, clicks or pops. One or more DPC routines that belong to a driver running in your system appear to be executing for too long.

This was on both of my systems, Windows 10 Home and on Windows 11 Pro and using the default settings of latencymon. I’m not sure what to make of this or if I am using latencymon correctly. Please provide some details or instructions if I am not running it properly.

FYI, The Windows 10 Home system is not that powerful and I try to run the UR44C at 128 or 256 buffer when just playing HALion Sonic 7 in Cubase 13 so it might be expected to have some dropouts since this system is only 2Ghz.
My other system is Dell XPS8960 Windows 11 Pro with 64GB ram and i9-13900KF Intel 13th gen 3-5.4Ghz so it does not make any sense to me why latencymon says this system is having trouble with real-time audio. I’ve made as many optimizations that I can and turned off services/processes and scheduled tasks based on a document I downloaded from the Gig Performer site.

Please let me know if you have even tried to load HALion Sonic 7 with more than 4 slots and just mess around playing chords and notes or load up pad preset chords and play those. Do you get dropouts and glitching? What do you do to fix that? Or is this a known issue and maybe you can suggest a workflow?

Thanks!

Hi,

The Latency on utility provided some advices, what you should change in your system. Please, follow the advices.

I finally had some time to make some tweaks to the XPS8960 system and updated everything I could find based on a performance document I downloaded from the Gig Performer site.
This system is now much more usable. I can load up HALion Sonic 7 with 4 to 8 slots or create separate instances with 1 slot each and play without major issues or dropouts.
However, sometimes if I play for a few minutes and then let the project sit and I watch the performance monitor, It will spike like seen in this link - NO rant , just facts Cubase 13 Audio engine Spikes compared to Cubase 12 - #95 by skijumptoes

I hope Steinberg can fix that in the next maintenance release.

I wish you or someone in Steinberg support would just try some of these things so you can see for yourselves. I suspect that you may already have reproduced some of the scenarios but may be having difficulties fixing.

FYI, I am still having an issue with my lower powered laptop. It has an issue with the acpi.sys and latencymon reports this. I did also have an issue on the XMP8960 when running LatencyMon while Cubase was playing back some MIDI, it just stuttered like crazy and a small dialog poped up, but I forgot the messages, something about dropouts I think, and I had to end task. So I assume you cannot run LatencyMon while playing a project in Cubase. LatencyMon does not seem like a reliable tool if it causes this.

Thank you for your replies.