Collaborating on Cubase Projects --> missing Kontakt & Maschine Samples

I wonder if we are doing something wrong, but lately we’ve been having a lot of issues with missing samples, presets, patterns, etc when sharing Cubase projects between different systems. Even worse, it is not always that we even know there is a missing plugin or sample library, as Cubase doesn’t tell us. This makes is very cumbersome to collaborate on projects, when we constantly have to hunt for samples or print everything we do to audio. That’s fine if you do it 4-5 times. But when a project is shared 40-50 times it becomes very unproductive and not very supportive of the creative process.

What are we missing? Are we doing anything wrong? How are others dealing with this? Is this a Steinberg or Native Instruments issue?

We both work in Windows 10 Pro with similar but not identical setups. We use Arturia, Spectrasonic and Native Instruments plugins heavily and both have the latest V Collection 8, Omnisphere/Keyscape/Trilian and Komplete Kontrol Ultimate 13 Collector Edition + a bunch of other stuff and odd sample libraries. But those are our go-to sound sources.
The file structures are similar in both systems, in that we both have separate disks for samples and projects, but the file paths are not identical. We are heavy users of the Komplete Kontrol (KK) software as we use the KK Keyboards to play, edit and control VSTs.

Here’s the first annoying thing: When my collaborator happens to use a plugin or sample library that I don’t own in the KK-wrapper in Cubase, Cubase just loads an empty instance of KK without alerting me to the fact that the plugin/sample library is missing. So, I open the project and think that have all samples and plugins, when in fact I don’t, as Cubase didn’t tell me. Is this a Cubase or a KK issue?

The second very annoying issue is for instance NI Alicia’s Keys. Every time we open a project that has been saved on the other system and that includes this piano we always have to scan for all of the samples, as they show up as missing. This happens every time we ship a project back and forth between systems. Shouldn’t the Kontakt database take care of this?

Let’s move to Maschine, which we use as a straight-forward plugin in Cubase and as the project progresses often integrate properly into Cubase, so that we can play/record it as a normal VST in Cubase too. As with other sample based instruments, we often find that samples are missing. Again, without Cubase reporting it, as it is sample libraries wrapped in the Maschine VST. Additionally, it usually leaves out any patterns we have programmed too, so I get a project from my collaborator with a Maschine instance that is completely empty. Not always, but often. If it was always, it is easier to fault find, but as it appears randomly, it is very difficult.

Finally, I ran into another sample library issue yesterday. The NI AR Modern Drummer library was missing all files. I opened it fine when running KK standalone. Back in Cubase again KK complained that is was missing 17850 samples, even after pointing it to the folder where all of the files should be located. So, this is obviously different to the Alica’s Keys issue, as that is solved by just pointing the VST to the folder with the missing samples.

We always keep our installations up to date with the latest updates and run KK and Maschine in standalone mode after all updates, before using them in Cubase.

The biggest problem is with NI sample libraries. But NI has built a database/library of all samples, so they should be indexed. So, as I pull up an instrument my database should know where my Alicia’s Keys samples are located for instance, regardless of where they are stored on my collaborator’s system, Otherwise, what is the point with indexing those samples and libraries in the first place?

As we use a lot of Spectrasonic stuff too, we almost never have a problem with this. In fact, I can’t recall that we ever have had this problem with Omnisphhere, despite is large sample library.

So, how are you all dealing with these issues? Or are we the only ones having these problems and everyone else share Cubase projects with NI sample libraries without any problems at all? I can’t remember that it used to be this bad and that it has gotten worse of the last 5 years or so. Is it supposed to be this difficult?