Cubase 12 on the M1 - initial testing

Hi there,

So I’ve been running a little test since January when I got a Macbook M1 Air to play around with.

I made a cubase project that used around 48 instances of Arturia Pigments. Arturia stuff runs on anything lately and I am really happy with their plugins. Here are my results:

System 1:
i7 3930K with 32GB RAM and Mojave (Hackintosh). Cubase 10.5 Pro.

System 2: Macbook Air M1 with 16GB of RAM and Cubase 11 and 12

Testing conditions:
All background apps were closed and the project ran locally from the built-in SSD on both computers. I repeated this test multiple times.


System 1 renders this project in 3:11 minutes. Respectable. I am happy how well it performs after now almost 10 years.

System 2 with C11 renders this project in 2:47 minutes. Already impressive given the fact that Cubase 11 runs on the Rosetta layer.

Since C12 is now M1 native, I gave it another try and rendered the project out with the just released update: the render time is 2:37! Even faster than with Cubase 11, which is of course expected giving the optimizations.

A bit of a fun fact: I rendered everything out locally and then noticed with my last test that I had accidentally rendered out onto my network volume instead and it still rendered 10seconds faster.

I am really happy with Cubase 12 so far (ignoring the hick-hack I had to experience today with getting my license activated) and want to give the developers my sincerest thank you! I am still playing and testing around with Cubase 12 until I upgrade my main workstation with a new mac but from what I notice, it runs very stable and fast. I am very happy with this. You did an amazing job!

Is anyone else testing around with it? What is your experience?

it seems that Cubase wasn’t running in M1 native mode due to a bug. More details here:

As most of my insert plugins are not yet optimized for M1, I will have to wait until they are. According to the vendor (iZotope), this should happen pretty soon.




If Cubase 12 was running in M1 native mode, the performance should be much better. The reason why the difference is not that big ( 2:37 vs 2:47) is that it is running in Intel (Rosetta) mode. You can check that by running the task manager: the type column will tell you “Apple” when in M1 native mode, “Intel” otherwise.

hotdamn you are right. I just checked in the activity monitor and it says “intel” - how do I get it to launch in native mode? the checkbox for using rosetta in app properties isn’t checked

seems this is a bug and is only remedied by checking and unchecking:

Yeah initially I thought it was because I was using some non-M1 VST’s, but even when merely opening Cubase 12 without anything else (no project loaded) it says “Intel”…

Set it to lunch as Native, then restart your computer. That should do the trick.

1 Like

It seems some of the plugins I have loaded into the effects buses are also not M1 native - that is for two plugins: Ozone and a little plugin called “La Petite Excite”. iZotope is working to make their products M1 native but I am unsure about the exciter plugin. This makes things a little more complicated. Sure, I can replace it by just using another exciter but it messes with the test a little.

As the iZotope plugins are not yet updated to be M1 native, this means I will have to wait until doing further testing…

If you are talking about unchecking the “Open with Rosetta” box in the info menu, I did that obviously (it is its default state). Have you tested this ? If not please do not make others waste time to test for you… :slight_smile:

I saw somewhere else that a person had the same problem that it kept opening in Rosetta after unchecking the “Open with Rosetta” box. But after restarting his computer it opened in native mode. Can’t find the post now. Just trying to help.

But since Robert needs to run in Rosetta cause of 3rd party plugins, I guess it doesn’t matter to him.

I did go into the app properties and checked “open in rosetta” - then closed the properties, opened them again and unchecked it. then I launched Cubase 12 and it gave me all the “plugins not supported” messages. Activity monitor says “Apple” in the process column. This forums purpose is not to waste its users time. But if it means to figure out a problem together, then no time is wasted at all :metal:

Indeed. And I apologize if I seemed a bit aggressive. (I did add a smiley, and added “if not”…) But I also tried this and it didn’t work initially. Apparently, you have to exit the Properties (as you clearly explained) before unchecking the box. No reboot necessary, though.
In any case, back to your initial post, since you now seem to have Cubase truly running in M1-mode, can you measure a bigger difference when Cubase is running in M1-native mode ? That would not be a waste of time. :stuck_out_tongue:

It’s hard to do an accurate test right now if I can’t replicate the same testing environment.

However, I just took another project I had lying around where I used 7 instances of Retrologue 2 to make a quick loop. Rendered 12 bars on my older i7 workstation and then on the M1:

The i7 renders it out in 4 seconds while the M1 does it in …around a second? This is by no means a sufficient test. But I must say that it feels a lot snappier than my older system.

Let me know if you want me to test a specific plugin or project file on the M1

I’ll have a bit more time on my hands on the weekend as I have to do some “regular” work inbetween :stuck_out_tongue:

1 Like

I made some test on fly and what I can say is that the performance in Rosetta is similar to Cubase 11 but with the graphics is more fluid and smooth. In Native M1 version the fluidity and the smooth is more accentuate and I can use 4 more tracks without a glitch.
24 tracks in playback and 1 track armed and played in live at 48Khz 128 sample buffers at 5ms of latency. I use Analog Lab that because is native M1 but is not light on cpu…
Cubase 11 20 Analog Lab in playback and 1 played = muddy and jerky
Cubase 12 Rosetta 20 Analog Lab in playback and 1 played = fluid and smooth
Cubase 12 M1 Native 24 Analog Lab in playback and 1 played = fluid and smooth


Another test, but with some more optimised for M1 and aggressive 32 sample buffers…
The session:

8 tracks of Retrologue
8 tracks of Padshop
8 tracks of Spitfire Labs
8 tracks of Spitfire Labs another sound
8 tracks of Soundpaint
24 LiquidSonics Seventh Heaven
16 Valhalla VintageVerb
1 track armed

All fluid and smooth without a glitch.
This session on Cubase 11 don’t go, start and stop with spinning wheel…
The CPU is full loaded around at 735% of 800% and the instruments load very fast.
Cubase 12 in native mode is very promising and this is the first version.


Very cool, thanks for sharing!

Hi guys,

My brain is boiling :slight_smile:

If I run Cubase 12 natively, can I then use VSTS/Plugs that are using rosetta? Can I mix and match? Like Native Komplete

If not, can I run Cubase 12 in rosetta mode even tough it is native?



1 Like

Cubase in Rosetta mode will run anything your heart desires.

Cubase in native mode will bring up a blacklist window with all non-M1 native plugins deactivated/blacklisted.

1 Like

hi.What this means for me is choosing.I would had to choose running mode and loose some plugins anyway.