Cubase 10.5 and 11 (Pro) audio drop-outs -- Dell Optiplex 980

A few weeks ago I was trying to write some music using Spitfire Labs BBC Orchestra plug in. I found that with even just a few tracks (about 4 or 5) that some would not play back, or would play back patchily, i.e. with lots of drop-outs.

I figured this might be because they’re so resource hungry, even though there was plenty or free RAM on my 16GB PC. This was discouraging.

Over this weekend just gone I thought I should just record SOMETHING less intensive, so decided on Let It Be. This is more about me learning how to record and how to use Cubase, rather than about creating a great cover of the song.

I recorded the right hand piano part (I’m no keyboard player, hence the requirement to record the two hands separately!), some organ, the bass line, and a few bits of (midi) drums. All very rough, but these are really just guide tracks.

Yesterday, during my lunch break (working from home) I took advantage of the fact that both my daughters were out and recorded the lead vocal and some b-vox Oohs.

I couldn’t hear the Oohs, as I was recording them, because I had monitoring off, but then I realised I also couldn’t hear the Oohs I’d already recorded when I was laying down the next ‘Oooh’. I didn’t really need to hear them though, so just carried on (it was only the 4 bars long first chorus so didn’t take long).

When I went to play it back properly to see if my b-vox sound any good, I found I was getting the same drop outs.

Looking the the System Tray icon for my audio interface I saw that the Buffer Size was quite low (256 IIRC), so I upped it to 1024.

No change.

I uninstalled the software and drivers for my old audio interface, and rebooted.

No change.

I can’t work like this!

I swear this didn’t used to happen. What could be causing this?

PC is a Dell Optiplex 980 with 16GB RAM.
Interface is a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (3rd Gen)
Disk is SSD (70GB free space)

WTF is going on? My DAW is basically unusable!


Try to increase your Audio Devices’ Buffer Size, please.

Could you test your system by using LatencyMon utility, please?

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Buffer size already set to 1024.
LatencyMon’s report:


Your system appears to be suitable for handling real-time audio and other tasks without dropouts.
LatencyMon has been analyzing your system for 0:02:55 (h:mm:ss) on all processors.


Computer name: OPTIPLEX980
OS version: Windows 10, 10.0, version 2004, build: 19041 (x64)
Hardware: OptiPlex 980, Dell Inc.
CPU: GenuineIntel Intel(R) Core™ i7 CPU 870 @ 2.93GHz
Logical processors: 8
Processor groups: 1
RAM: 16374 MB total


Reported CPU speed: 2926 MHz

Note: reported execution times may be calculated based on a fixed reported CPU speed. Disable variable speed settings like Intel Speed Step and AMD Cool N Quiet in the BIOS setup for more accurate results.


The interrupt to process latency reflects the measured interval that a usermode process needed to respond to a hardware request from the moment the interrupt service routine started execution. This includes the scheduling and execution of a DPC routine, the signaling of an event and the waking up of a usermode thread from an idle wait state in response to that event.

Highest measured interrupt to process latency (µs): 238.50
Average measured interrupt to process latency (µs): 11.185944

Highest measured interrupt to DPC latency (µs): 225.80
Average measured interrupt to DPC latency (µs): 3.322729


Interrupt service routines are routines installed by the OS and device drivers that execute in response to a hardware interrupt signal.

Highest ISR routine execution time (µs): 200.793575
Driver with highest ISR routine execution time: dxgkrnl.sys - DirectX Graphics Kernel, Microsoft Corporation

Highest reported total ISR routine time (%): 0.086620
Driver with highest ISR total time: dxgkrnl.sys - DirectX Graphics Kernel, Microsoft Corporation

Total time spent in ISRs (%) 0.111082

ISR count (execution time <250 µs): 131033
ISR count (execution time 250-500 µs): 0
ISR count (execution time 500-1000 µs): 0
ISR count (execution time 1000-2000 µs): 0
ISR count (execution time 2000-4000 µs): 0
ISR count (execution time >=4000 µs): 0


DPC routines are part of the interrupt servicing dispatch mechanism and disable the possibility for a process to utilize the CPU while it is interrupted until the DPC has finished execution.

Highest DPC routine execution time (µs): 383.611073
Driver with highest DPC routine execution time: ndis.sys - Network Driver Interface Specification (NDIS), Microsoft Corporation

Highest reported total DPC routine time (%): 0.151722
Driver with highest DPC total execution time: USBPORT.SYS - USB 1.1 & 2.0 Port Driver, Microsoft Corporation

Total time spent in DPCs (%) 0.601635

DPC count (execution time <250 µs): 492923
DPC count (execution time 250-500 µs): 0
DPC count (execution time 500-10000 µs): 17
DPC count (execution time 1000-2000 µs): 0
DPC count (execution time 2000-4000 µs): 0
DPC count (execution time >=4000 µs): 0


Hard pagefaults are events that get triggered by making use of virtual memory that is not resident in RAM but backed by a memory mapped file on disk. The process of resolving the hard pagefault requires reading in the memory from disk while the process is interrupted and blocked from execution.

NOTE: some processes were hit by hard pagefaults. If these were programs producing audio, they are likely to interrupt the audio stream resulting in dropouts, clicks and pops. Check the Processes tab to see which programs were hit.

Process with highest pagefault count: teams.exe

Total number of hard pagefaults 4233
Hard pagefault count of hardest hit process: 3316
Number of processes hit: 61


CPU 0 Interrupt cycle time (s): 12.129113
CPU 0 ISR highest execution time (µs): 117.074504
CPU 0 ISR total execution time (s): 0.193113
CPU 0 ISR count: 28211
CPU 0 DPC highest execution time (µs): 365.973001
CPU 0 DPC total execution time (s): 5.323588
CPU 0 DPC count: 217123

CPU 1 Interrupt cycle time (s): 5.998443
CPU 1 ISR highest execution time (µs): 200.793575
CPU 1 ISR total execution time (s): 1.362820
CPU 1 ISR count: 102753
CPU 1 DPC highest execution time (µs): 330.08920
CPU 1 DPC total execution time (s): 2.447969
CPU 1 DPC count: 209372

CPU 2 Interrupt cycle time (s): 0.968416
CPU 2 ISR highest execution time (µs): 49.061859
CPU 2 ISR total execution time (s): 0.001020
CPU 2 ISR count: 69
CPU 2 DPC highest execution time (µs): 383.611073
CPU 2 DPC total execution time (s): 0.159542
CPU 2 DPC count: 16981

CPU 3 Interrupt cycle time (s): 0.745518
CPU 3 ISR highest execution time (µs): 0.0
CPU 3 ISR total execution time (s): 0.0
CPU 3 ISR count: 0
CPU 3 DPC highest execution time (µs): 93.263158
CPU 3 DPC total execution time (s): 0.110505
CPU 3 DPC count: 9870

CPU 4 Interrupt cycle time (s): 0.841848
CPU 4 ISR highest execution time (µs): 0.0
CPU 4 ISR total execution time (s): 0.0
CPU 4 ISR count: 0
CPU 4 DPC highest execution time (µs): 118.246411
CPU 4 DPC total execution time (s): 0.135787
CPU 4 DPC count: 13858

CPU 5 Interrupt cycle time (s): 0.569075
CPU 5 ISR highest execution time (µs): 0.0
CPU 5 ISR total execution time (s): 0.0
CPU 5 ISR count: 0
CPU 5 DPC highest execution time (µs): 63.291524
CPU 5 DPC total execution time (s): 0.057137
CPU 5 DPC count: 6061

CPU 6 Interrupt cycle time (s): 0.819487
CPU 6 ISR highest execution time (µs): 0.0
CPU 6 ISR total execution time (s): 0.0
CPU 6 ISR count: 0
CPU 6 DPC highest execution time (µs): 101.486329
CPU 6 DPC total execution time (s): 0.127898
CPU 6 DPC count: 12930

CPU 7 Interrupt cycle time (s): 0.580051
CPU 7 ISR highest execution time (µs): 0.0
CPU 7 ISR total execution time (s): 0.0
CPU 7 ISR count: 0
CPU 7 DPC highest execution time (µs): 77.235475
CPU 7 DPC total execution time (s): 0.070227
CPU 7 DPC count: 6745


How does the Audio Performance meter look like? Does it help, if you freeze one of the track? Is 1024 the maximum, your ASIO Driver allows?

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I’ll have a look tomorrow.

I don’t know how to do this.


By the way, I recreated the track in Reaper and that plays it back perfectly, so this does seem to be a Cubase problem.

Cubase 11 - AudioMon

I guessed you meant ‘Disable Track’ so tried that. No change.

I was using the Focusrite ASIO driver supplied with the Audio Interface, which offers a maximum of 1024. I just tried switching to the ASIO4All driver, which offers 2048. I tried it at 1024 and all the way up to 2048, but still no change.

MYSTERY SOLVED, albeit revealing a new one.

Every audio track I added had this Insert included:

This seemed to be acting as some kind of limiter, As soon as I pick a different preset (and even then returning to the original as shown above) the vocal lines behave just fine.


However, that still leaves the mystery of why the insert is included in the tracks’ settings in the first place.


Disable the Gate on the plug-in. This will solve the issue too. Your signal is (most probably) bellow the Gates’ threshold, so the Gate is closed.

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