Cubase 12 Pro realtime audio processing is inferior to Studio One 6 Pro?

Hey guys,

Same VSTi (EW Opus) in both, but in Cubase it sounds narrower and brighter and in Studio One it’s duller and wider. I thought it might be the pan law at first, but after trying different ones in Cubase there is still the same difference.

Interestingly enough after the mixdown the results are identical for both Cubase and Studio One, but inside DAW’s Cubase sounds different somehow, so I guess it’s because of how it’s processing the sound in realtime. By the way Studio One sounds the same inside DAW as the mixdown result. I’ve checked all settings to be the same in both programs.

The project is simple: one bass drum ensemble instrument track with 2 inserts, Infinite EQ and VMR comp. All levels and settings are identical.
Studio One 6 vs Cubase 12 project: Projects: Opus instrument + Infinity EQ + VMR comp - Album on Imgur

Here a Dropbox folder with audio examples (48k/24bit wav’s): Dropbox - Cubase 12 Pro vs Studio One 6 Pro sound - Simplify your life

I’ve tried to switch Cubase to 64bit, it sounds a bit different, but still not the same as mixdown or Studio One.

So I see 3 reasons why it happens:

  1. There is a bug in Cubase currently.
  2. It’s a mistake in my setup.
  3. Cubase 12 Pro realtime audio processing is inferior to Studio One 6 Pro?

Let me know what you think guys.


I think the third option is correct

That’s a bummer, if it’s so.


In my experience with such tests its most likely 2.
You need to check all variables to make such a comparison.
For example, is control room active? Any processing going on there? Maybe some levels set in CR?
Also, try realtime export in cubase compared to a non-realtime export. Make a null test. If there are actually differences, check for everything else. Maybe plugins behave differently when doing realtime vs. non-realtime export (not likely, but possible).
What else is there? Automation e.g. can behave differently in DAWS, and depending on the buffer size.
Remove the FX plugin from such a test, they introduce further possible variables. Do the same test with another VSTi to make sure it’s not a plugin problem.
Make sure the instrument track is not record armed.

So many things that can go wrong with such a test.

The “processing engine “ in a DAW, while technically very complicated, is very basic in its operation: put data in a plugin, receive data from a plugin. If there is something wrong there, it would be noticeable to a lot of people.


It’s not complicated, there’s a clear difference between midi and audio in cubase

I will investigate further. Thanks.

Thanks for Cubase.
Cubase is pre-production software, not production software.
Too many problems, too many bugs, but it has a lot of functions to do creation.
Since Cubase SX1, it’s bug after bug on my projects.

I have a difference in sound between Studio One and Cubase
But the difference is not in the midi specifically, but rather in the sound recording
Cubase amplifies the sound a bit. The sound in Studio One sounds more natural
I’ve tried it more than once, but when I Mixdown the file, the sound is the same for both

The problem did not bother me much, and I was trying it in Cubase 11 PRO vs Studio One 5 PRO

I have not done experiments for a while
But I was surprised and thought I had wrong or uneven settings

I also have experienced better sounding realtime in Studio One with the same plugins but I couldn’t find a way to expose it. I would recommend trying to reproduce your mix with yet another DAW like Ableton Live (I could also hear the difference there). Personally, after all the (sometimes obvious) bugs that I have experienced with Cubase, I wouldn’t be surprised if it had one affecting the realtime mixing process. Despite paying 500eur for Cubase Pro (I stopped at version 10.5) I am now using Studio One and Ableton Live (with zero bugs).

I have accidentally found this old topic recently:

And experimented with switching off ASIO Guard for plugins individually in Plugin Manager combined with switching in off Globally. The difference was so huge that I sat down for half and hour with my jaw dropped. Then just for curiocity I tried it with previous versions of Cubase and came to conclusion that the last workable verison for people that mix in analog was probably 7.5, because since that something wrong is happening with realtime playback and sound of Cubase overall. My feeling that during the last decade it became more and more toy-ish, syrupy and 2D. Just try v7.5 and after the initial feeling that it sounds sharper you become to notice how much more of the detail you can hear.