Clipping - new to Cubase

Hi, I’m really new to Cubase. I imported a midi file that I purchased, has several instruments. When I play it sometimes the Average Performance level goes red in a few spots on the track. Other times I play it and it doesn’t. What’s the best way to deal with this issue and why isn’t it always consistently clipping?

Often because you are trying to use too small a buffer setting, particularly on Mac. Also can be RAM related, maybe why it sometimes doesn’t happen - close all other apps and see if it still happens.

Post your system details for more help.

Thanks for your reply. I’m on a PC A6 Quad Core @2.6Ghz, 6G of Ram, 64bit, windows 8.1. Using an AudioBox 1818VSL from Presonus. I fired up the task monitor and watched while the song was playing. CPU @ 35%, RAM 44%, Disk 5%. I closed down other open apps, but didn’t seem to make much difference, still see the inconsistent level behaviour going into the red zone, with other apps off.

How do I adjust the buffer setting, as this certainly seems a likely candidate to the problem? I looked in the manual and it states “Under Windows, you adjust the buffer size settings in the control panel for the audio hardware (opened by clicking the Control Panel button on the driver page in the Device Setup dialog).” Didn’t see anywhere in the audio settings where I can change the buffer size.

I did go into the Device Setup screen in Cubase 7 in the VST Audio System settings I changed the Audio Priority to Boost, in the Advanced Options section. Still see the same problem though, even with this change.

The clips do happen inconsistently, but always in the louder sections of the song.

Opened the VST Performance window and it shows a real-time peak…so I assume this is a CPU problem even though task monitor doesn’t show it. Am I understanding this right? From what I read in the manual, I need to use instrument freeze option…have to figure this out. I have 5 midi tracks in this song using VST Intruments and HALion Sonic SE.

The buffer setting is under Devices>Device Setup> Audio>Control Panel - this should give access to your sound card’s buffer setting. The menu labels I put here are not precise, I don’t have Cubase or Nuendo on this computer. It’s not under Advanced. There’s a button somewhere on the Devices setup page (I think) with the name of your sound card on it. That’s the one. Maybe someone with Cubase in front of them can chip in.

Just to clarify are you talking about CPU performance problems or audio signal clipping?

Richard, I believe this is a CPU performance problem only but it causes distortion on the play back. All my tracks, 5 in total are midi vst intruments.

David, I tried a couple things. First I used the freeze function, which fixed the problem. Now in the VST Performance the real time peaks were really low and no problem any more. :slight_smile:

I’ve got a related question here though I was only able to find the freeze function under Cubase Devices>VST Instruments and it froze all the 5 tracks. No individual freeze option for any of the list of tracks in this window. How do I freeze individual ones? There is no freeze button on any of the track Inspectors either in the Project window. Is there some setting to enable the icons? Is it that I’ve not configured something, since I just imported a purchased midi file and imported it? Also, I went to the track control settings dialog, and freeze isn’t there? I’m missing something…

Now back to configuring the buffer size. I couldn’t find anything that would change the buffer size viaControl Panel>Hardware and Sound>Devices and Printers>AudioBox 1818 VSL. The AudioBox is an external box connected by USB. Next I went to my Audiobox display screen, here I found an Outputs menu option and USB Driver Setup. Whew found it! The ASIO Buffer size is set to the largest setting possible 2048, clock source Internal, ASIO Sample rate at 96khz. I tried smaller buffer sizes and the problem got a lot worse. So 2048 is the best I can get.

Try ASIO Sample rate at 44.1kHz and then adjust buffer size to 256 for example.

Hi, thanks for all the help so far. I adjusted the buffer to 512 and sample rate to 48Khz, VST performance problems are gone! Whew!

I was hoping that was it, but I’m still getting a few clicking problems in the song. Checked the MixConsole. All of the levels are fine. No VST Performance problems, but there is still a few clicks now and then, not too loud but definitely noticeable. Any recommendations?

I am taking it that you have Multi-processing enabled - if not that could help a lot. Also you could try disabling Asio Guard, as I find this often increases the CPU load. (As ffg said Devices>Device Setup> Audio>Control Panel) If you are guitarist a 512 sample rate is very difficult to work with. As a matter of course I run my system at 128 for tracking.
It might be useful for us to see the system that you use. Many people on the forum have a byline at the bottom of their posts. This can be set up in My Cubase - together with an avatar should you wish.

Adjusted down to 44.1kHz, 24bit, 256 buffer. If I go to 128 buffer size I start seeing VST Performance issues again. With 128 buffer the VST Performance shows ~35% peak, that’s with the song not even playing, not a setting that works.

I had ASIO-Guard on, but now have it turned off, as per your suggestion. I had Multi Processing set on already, to take advantage of the multicore. Dropped down from 24Bit to 16Bit…I still hear the odd click when the track is playing.

If I watch the Windows Task Manager while this song is playing I see Cubase is only using about 17.5% of my CPU and 456.7MB of memory…seems the CPU has lots of room left, yet VST Performance shows a higher CPU usage.
We’ve made progress, but still not there yet. :open_mouth:

Reading the manual, recommends that the “Adjust for best performance of: Background services” be set in the “Advanced system settings”. Tried this but still hear the clicks every once in a while.

Is it possible that the faint click noise I hear periodically is external, in my equipment, PC and bleeding through? I’ve invested a fair chunk of $$ in this setup, would hate to find one of these items is the source of the problem. This is really getting frustrating!

Absolutely sure it’s not clipping somewhere? Try disabling all tracks and/or running vst’s except one and listen carefully. If nothing bad happens then slowly increase the number of tracks till the problem reoccurs. Sometimes a plugin is misbehaving even when levels are on the safe side.

Sometimes the data transfer of the hard disk to the motherboard is the culprit. Not too long ago I had a similar problem. At first, out of the blue, I had massive spikes and crackles. ASIO and Disc metering maxing out. Only when I changed the SATA cable from the hard drive to another port things got better, but still not full proof. Changed cards (I have a Motu PCI system, luckily I had a spare pci card) but the ever so slightly, but highly annoying clicks, stayed. Eventually I ended up buying a new computer, because I didn’t trusted the motherboard anymore.

The clipping noise was happening earlier in the louder sections of the song, when I had the earlier VST Performance problems. That is now solved.

These random clicks seem to happen any where in the song. I had already tried muting all tracks except for one…still hear it. Its typically a light clicking sound. I even tried lowering the volume of the single unmuted track really low and I still hear the clicks once in a while.

When the song isn’t playing, I do not hear those clicks at all, so I thought that would rule out my h/w and power supply.

Problem Solved. Must say, being a new person on the forum, much appreciate everyone’s help!!!
Went to see if I could find a newer version of the driver for my PreSonus AudioBox. My hopes went up when I read their release notes and they mentioned a fix for click and pops. Installed it and presto, clicking is gone. YEAH!!!