Cubase 12/13 - Unstable performance meter

Just as in Cubase 12, the performance meter exhibits instability when using certain plugins, or virtual instruments at 128 samples 48Khz, which is the maximum acceptable sample buffer for me not to start feeling the latency.

I have tested the same plugins, on the same system, at the same sample rate and sample buffer, with Studio One 5.5 and the performance issues do not exist there.
MacOS and Windows. Apple silicon and Intel based Macs.

At 128 sample buffer, if I instantiate Slate Audio VSX on the control room, that will use up 25-30% of the available performance meter. In Studio One 5.5 it will use about 8-10%.
Loading up a single instance of Kontakt 6 or 7, and a library patch, or EastWest Opus, or Spitfire sampler, and the performance meter will start peaking during a performance, going from maybe 20% to 100% and everywhere in between, resulting in audio dropouts.

Testing the same instruments in Studio One 5.5, and there are no issues with stability or audio dropouts.
Testing the same patches standalone in EastWest Opus, and it defaults to 64 samples, and has zero issues with any of the Orchestrator patches that I have tested.

This is with a M1 Max Mac Studio and a UAD Apollo Twin mk2. I am about to give up on Cubase for hybrid audio/virtual instrument use, as the performance is unusable at acceptable sample buffers.

I had really hoped that there would be some serious optimization that would happen between version 12 and 13, but it appears that nothing has improved at all in this regard. Very disappointing!

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Video evidence. https://youtu.be/vgKnuSvKLT0

Something that I tried last night, with what I found to have very surprising (and promising!) results.

I downloaded an installed AudioGridder and ran it on my Mac Studio locally. From within Cubase 13, I loaded the AudioGridder plugin, and then hosted EastWest Opus inside of AudioGridder instead of inside Cubase 13.

The Cubase performance meter did not budge at all during playback. It just stayed solid and stable at about 5-10% usage.
The server latency did feel a bit much though, so I will have to see if there are settings to get the latency down to a more manageable level. Felt like maybe 512 sample buffer.

I have heard of people using Vienna Ensemble Pro to load instruments outside of the Cubase environment to keep things stable, but had no idea that it was this effective.

Steinberg should really provide their own external plugin host that integrates seamlessly with Cubase, if that is what is needed.

I’ll upload another short video later, showing how dramatic the difference is when hosting externally using AudioGridder vs inside of Cubase 13.

Audiogridders system specific , i had exactly the same idea 3 days ago , loaded as local server and my cpu was runinng at 71% and then i dropped the latency right down to the same as the Rme 1024 for tracking and it spiked toooo much for use , Audiogridders one of these that either works or it’s a total no go on local . I have an old 3770k top dollar spec PC here which i keep meaning to connect but i prefer not to use network adaptors to be honest

I watched your Youtube video and wanted to try out an equivalent test on my machine, which is a MacBook Pro M2 Max with 64gb. I also use an Apollo Twin Mk2 as a sound card. In my case I have it at 44.1Khz, 128sample buffer size, and externally clocked to a Steinberg UR824 for he extra 8 channels on ADAT. So, maybe reasonably close to your setup.

I opened a Cubase 13 project I’ve just started, currently just with some Groove Agent 5 drum tracks rendered to audio and a Halion 7 electric piano. I loaded a stereo instance of Abbey Road 1 orchestra patch from Spitfire Audio and a library patch, Basement Sprites, from Kontakt 7. I can play several notes of all three virtual instruments simultaneously without approaching overload. The audio performance meters are: real time around 15%, ASIO-guard (whether medium or high) less than 5%, peak usually hovering around 20%. I say ‘usually’ because when playing the first note, or any note after sufficient time for all playing samples to stop playing, the real time meter goes up to 50% before quickly falling back to around 20%.

I know there are some differences in our setups but as a rough and ready contrast, my experience is significantly different to yours., which makes me wonder if there’s something else going on with your system.

Steve.

…and I’ve just noticed that the Peak meter jump to 50% only happens with the Halion instrument (Vibrant suitcase vintage amp pano) - when I don’t play this the peak meter stays pretty solidly on around 20% or less.

Steve.

It is only certain plugins and instruments that are effecting the performance meter in this way for me. Most are not as extreme as EastWest Opus. Kontakt libraries can be pretty unusable though, as can certain Spitfire Abbey Road 2 patches.
The key thing is that the same issues are not present at the same same buffer and sample rate either running stand-alone, or hosted in another DAW. The stability and performance with those plugins is specific to Cubase 12 and now 13.

When I host those problematic instruments or plugins within AudioGridder, the performance issues in Cubase 13 go away.

Good luck with Audiogridder, hope it solves your issues. As a matter of interest, which Kontakt libraries are you having issues with? I don’t have Opus or Abbey Road 2 so can’t compare.

Steve.

I am hoping that AudioGridder will function as a decent workaround, as long as the latency is workable. I’d really just like to see Steinberg fix their stuff. I’ve invested a lot in their software over the years, and supported them, but don’t feel like they are supporting their own software well enough at all.

I was having some issues with a few Komplete Ultimate libraries, where Steinberg identified a ‘creeping load’ issue, when the performance meter usage would suddenly become excessive on certain library patches in ‘India’, for exxample.
I gave them performance traces from my system, and they were able to identify the issue, and then forwarded the findings to Native Instruments.
Apparently neither Steinberg or Native Instruments could figure out how to resolve the issue at the time, or provide a workaround.
It also appears that they were unable to resolve it for Cubase 13.

Other 3rd party libraries that were really bad were 8Dio Intimate Studio Strings, which became unusable since Cubase 12, but is fine in Cubase 11.


Kontakt, track armed. Erratic performance meter and execessise usage of performance meter.

Kontakt, track armed and hosted through AudioGridder running locally on same machine. Much more stable. Minimal performance usage.

Audio track selected. No virtual instrument armed. Completely stable. CPU is usage is low in all instances.

What is going on with Cubase and the hosting of VST instruments?

After a few days of experimentation, it is extremely clear to me that Cubase is struggling as a VST host with several 3rd party plugins/instruments.
I am actually shocked by how effective this workaround is, and am hopeful that it could help Steinberg figure out what is going on!

I also have a performance problem. There are no such bugs in Reaper and Logic.
(iMac 5k 2017)

I found a solution that works for me!
I downloaded an orchestral template online, and suddenly none of the performance issues were present. Then I just stripped it down, and saved a “Default Template” version in my Project Templates (see screenshot for how to save correctly).

I’ll attach the template file here for others to use. This is extremely strange, seeing as if I build a project from scratch (using the “Empty” template), the performance issues are there…

TL;DR: Download the attached project file, and save as default project template correctly to solve the audio dropout issue.

Let me know if it solves it for you.

Default Template.cpr (99.4 KB)

This is curious Peter. Did this solution hold for you? I mean I’m sure a lot of us are using templates that have been carried over thru multiple versions.

Anyway I’m happy to find this thread & to know that others are seeing the exact same behavior after in Cubase versions after 11.