Cubase 11.0.41 Win10 - dropout issue on first playback & workaround

Hello to all,
I have a strange phenomenon every time I load a project containing VSTi tracks.
On first playback, I get dropouts and other midi timing issues whether the project is small or large.
On subsequent playbacks everything goes smoothly.

I have tried with various sound cards (RME Digiface, Steinberg UR22mk2, Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Gen2), with Nvidia and AMD video cards, various Cubase Studio settings: without success.

My system is an ASROCK X570 Taichi motherboard with a Ryzen 9 5900X, 64GB, NVMe SSD drives under Windows 10

Another way to avoid the problem is to do an audio-mixdown of the project before the first playback (which is faster). In this case I have no problem with playback afterwards.

Do you have any idea what is causing the problem?
Thanks for your advice.

Bernard

Hi,

To me it sounds, the problem is, the VSTi’s library is not loaded to the RAM yet, once you hit the playback for the first time.

I don’t know, if it would make sense to wait a bit more after the Cubase load (maybe the plug-in is loading the library in the background).

Hello Martin,

Thank you for the suggestion but it is not the case.
I checked before the start of the read that the activity on the libraries SSD was inactive. I get a heavy activity when loading the project and then nothing; this seems to confirm that all the required samples are loaded into memory at playback time.

Furthermore, I also noticed that for a given project, the audio stuttering and dropout on first playback always occurs non-randomly at specific time-codes; this proves that the origin is clearly deterministic depending on the project.

Once again, on subsequent playbacks no more problems…

See if it helps if you have no track record armed. I have the exact same issue on occasion and could never figure it out, but I gave up early as for me it is not a big issue.

An armed or unarmed record track makes no difference.
Even with the workaround working well this first playback is driving me crazy but, my guess, I will have to live with it.
Indeed it’s more annoying than critical…

I would say it is critical with clients present.
What instruments are doing it with you, here it is Kontakt mostly or maybe always…

You are right, but for projects with VSTi I am fortunately alone as a composer.
In front of clients I only work in classic audio recording as a sound engineer… and in pure audio mode I have no dropout worries on this PC.

Kontakt : yes but not only, I also use libraries that use their own sample player (Spitfire Audio, EastWest, VSL,…)

I checked that the problem also occurs on first playback with Cubase demo songs which only use Sonic SE as VSTi as far as I know.

Very strange isn’t it?

I have the same issue with no VSTi running. Just audio files. First playback, same locations in timeline.

Intriguing…

Suggestion:
Disable your anti-virus software before opening the project, as well as any unnecessary SW that runs in the background (like oneDrive, DropBox, widgets of any sorts).

My theory:
Starting a project triggers all sorts of background tasks, some might run only once on the first playback.
Imagine the antivirus that scans every file on the first time you ‘touch’ it, but the next time it just recognize this file and says “Ho, I know this one - no need to rescan it”…

Make sense, but doesn’t seem to help in my case.

Not the cause here too

Update….

I finally found the cause of the problem (at least in my case).
The culprit was : “Steinberg Audio Power” scheme !!! :astonished:

In Studio setup I had “Steinberg Audio Power” scheme activated ,as suggested.
Very strangely this was the problem…

I deactivated this option and activated in Windows Setup>Power & Sleep>Additional power settings>High Performance instead and miracle… the droupout problem on first playback disappeared.

Now Cubase works as it supposed to be without any audio dropout issue.

For me this fixes this issue. Hope this could helps others. :wink:

2 Likes

Thanks for updating!

If your fans make too much noise, or you’re running on batteries, you might prefer tweaking this power scheme instead of disabling it altogether.

Having the same issue here.

It’s not just on first playback or onload though… it’s whenever an instrument is loaded/enabled or disabled. Of course it’s terrible on load of a project, because it has all the active instruments to load; and sometimes when you think it’s done… it’s not really. But it’s to do with loading instruments, and so it happens every time you add or remove something.

I built a template a while ago in 9.5, so I only have to enable/disable tracks I want. In 9.5 enabling a track would only take as long as it takes for Kontakt to load the instrument. It was fast and super convenient. But now… Cubase is showing Audio Processing activity (off the scale) for much, much longer that it takes to actually load the instrument. Same again when disabling it (which really makes no sense). Whilst this Audio Processing is taking place, nothing will work. This can take a minute, several minutes… on the odd occasion it literally doesn’t stop and I have to kill the whole session.

I’ve updated to the latest version, I checked the Audio Power setting, I’ve uninstalled the 9.5 instance, I’ve even cleared out some plug-ins that I wasn’t really using (though knowing those weren’t the cause).

I’m ‘only a hobby composer’, so it’s not like my livelihood depends on this, but I don’t have as much free time as I’d like to make music, so these looong delays really kill my flow and any enthusiasm I had. I’m seriously thinking about reverting back to 9.5 and cut my losses on the upgrade. I was sooo looking forward to 11 and now I regret upgrading.