CPU & Performance issues CUBASE 11 (Catalina, i9, 64go ram)


First of all, I apologize for my english, I may do some writing mistakes.

I’m dealing with serious issues for month with Cubase on my MacBook pro 16 (Catalina, i9 2,4 Ghz, 64 Go Ram, 4to ssd).
I’m a professional music producer and I use Cubase 11.0.20 literally everyday through different session of recording, composing or mixing. I was in a music session yesterday when my computer starts to going crazy. Barely 15 tracks were armed. I even had to cancel my session because I could not even keep working. I think it’s time to me to expose my problem.

For maybe 3 years, I constantly got some CPU issues. When I check the activity monitor, Cubase goes (for a normal session) from 300% to over 1000% of CPU usage…! The Audio performance inside cubase always peaking, sometimes on average load, sometime on real-time peak. I often got “Recording error: audio drop out detected.” message when I record, preventing me to go ahead in my recording session for example. The problem getting worse since a few weeks, I can even go until the recording step, I’m always peaking just by loading some vsts or audio tracks.

Here’s everything I’ve made:

  • I changed my Macbook Pro almost 1 year ago, the previous one always had a lot of audio drop out, but I feel like it was mostly because of his performance (i7, 16go ram).
  • I installed every update of Cubase hoping the situation will get more stable, in vain.
  • Increase my buffer size
  • Set the Asio guard to low, medium, high
  • Turn on/off multi processing
  • Boost Audio priority
  • Change the processing precision

I also tried to:

  • Disable Hyperthreading
  • Reset PRAM/NVRAM
  • Reset SMC
  • Reinstall Cubase (11, 10)
  • Turbo boost switcher

Honetly, I’m totally desesperate. I feel like I’ve check every topic on every forum on the internet, tried everything but the problem still goes.
The problem can be Cubase, or my Macbook pro, but I can’t tell…

I do not own a mac, I cannot help you directly, but this peaking disk activity in picture no. 2 really grabbed my interest, especially since you have an SSD. I have never seen such high disk activity for such a modest track count, and my systems are considerably weaker.

Are you sure the project sits on your ssd and hasn’t wandered off to cloud (dropbox etc.)?

I’m running on a Macbook Pro i7 16gb ram on macOS 10.14.6 Mojave and never run into any issues. It could be Catalina causing the problem, not sure if possible to downgrade to Mojave. I’m looking through your post but I don’t see the audio interface you are using. I’m using an Apogee Ensemble Thunderbolt and never have an issue. Make sure your audio files are going to a separate drive directly connected to your computer port. Turn off the internet while recording, Make sure you have any virus software disabled. Maybe get a cleaner program like MacCleaner Pro. Back up your system drive with SuperDuper as that will make any reinstall easier. Much better than Time Machine.

Hope this helps.

Yes, all my projects and samples are played from my internal SSD

Hey Gary, thank you for your response.

My audio interface at home is a RME babyface pro, but I use to connect every kind of Apollo at studios.
You’re right for the wifi, I use to disable it while recording tho.
I don’t have any anti virus on my Macbook.
I had maccleaner but uninstalled it last week to see if this was the problem.

Hi, I know I had trouble with Catalina and there is a know bug in 10.15.7 version that I saw online. I am running Cubase 11.0.0 because 11.0.20 was having issues of finding the license. In computers “anything can cause anything”. I would really start by going back to 10.14.6 or up to Big Sur. Reinstall the RME driver. Uninstall any unneeded software. I could be something with your computer too. I had a logic board go bad on my laptop and had to have it replaced which was an expense repair. Good luck. Sometimes starting fresh is the best way to go with starting with a clean install.

I had the same issues on Mac OS and Cubase 10.5

One thing I don’t see in this post is what sample rate and bit depth are you recording in? I mostly record in 48k/24bit. If your recording higher I would try to go down to 48K or 44.1k. These days most stuff gets compressed to mp3 anyway. I’ll record in 48k/24bit and mix in that too. Sample rate I’ll leave to a mastering engineer.

From the screenshots, I think it’s 44.1K/24bits, and that’s what even more perplexing.

I still believe that a cloud service is trying to upload project files to the cloud and hogging the disk. Disk usage is out of this world.

I record the most of my session in 44.1khz/24bits.

I’ve tried to upgrade to Big Sur to make some tests before a clean install of my macbook I’ll make this week end.

I’ve discovered something yesterday.
While I was working on a song, the audio performance meter starts once again to go crazy. I quickly opened the monitor activity and it looks like the problem came from “kernel_task” who peaked at 600% CPU. I read a few thing on some forums about this kernel task, this looks like a processus to cool down the cpu.

But the question is, does the problem really come from kernel task or from Cubase ? My laptop overheating constantly…

I also noticed that some VST (legits) like Repro or Serum was eating my CPU just by loading it once. Well, for an i9, 64go ram, it’s kinda annoying…

Plugins can take a lot out of the laptop. You might think about getting UAD plugins as they have external processing cards and takes all the load off of your main computer. I very seldom us native plugins. UAD has some great sounding plugins and you can have up to 4 external processing cards working .

I wonder about trying a laptop cooling pad? In my country they’re fairly cheap from Amazon and are bus powered.

You have a very powerful laptop, it is strange that it would choke up on so few tracks.