Cubase 12 Upgrade ASIO-Guard Issue

I definitely agree that Microsoft was not very creative when they chose that name. But that’s what Microsoft called it, so that’s the term Cubase uses. Rather than a different name, I’d prefer Steinberg make it work properly and not crash when, for example, unmuting MIDI channels, as often happens for me. But this is getting way off topic for this thread.

Sure. Thanks for your input.

Updated to MacOS 11.6.5. Seems cannot resolve the issue. My issue seems to be the system CPU consumption is not stable even when the playback is stopped. If I don’t touch the computer and no nothing is playing the ASIO-Guard will still going up and down. I also found that if I interact with other application such as when I typing in the forum in Safari now, it will higher the ASIO-Guard much faster, and the type response of the Safari input dialog is getting slow. I do not know if this is my system or C12’s problem. By the way, when I try to change the disk preload > 2s the disk cache meter flash like crazy. I don’t know why is that.

I’ve recorded the audio performance dialog about the behaviour but seems cannot upload in this forum. I’ve frozen many tracks with VSTi but still cannot resolve the growing ASIO-Guard issue.


Browsing through your experiences again, I get the feeling that we are talking about a bunch of different issues which all result in a loss of performance, comparing C11 with C12.
To get things resolved, I’d like to untangle these different issues. Please check thoroughly, which of the descriptions really matches your issue, and let me know in case I missed something. I’m moving from worst to lightest issue (don’t nail me):

  1. The project which in C11 played back, recorded and monitored just fine is now not running at all in Cubase 12, with exactly the same settings:
  • symptoms:
    – jumpy cursor/ UI
    – stuttering audio (“dropout” would be an understatement)
    – volume meters flickering (like audio turned on/off)
  1. The project which in C11 played back, recorded and monitored just fine is pushing Cubase 12 to its limits, with eventual dropouts happening:
  • symptoms:
    – clicks, pops, dropouts
    – playback works ok, with eventual dropouts
    – the Performance Meter shows a higher overall load, than in C11 with same settings/ project
    – the task manager / activity monitor shows a higher base load in C12 than in C11
  1. The project which in C11 played back, recorded and monitored just fine is having heavy dropouts in Cubase 12, especially when switching between the tracks:
  • symptoms:
    – dropouts and ugly sound when selecting some tracks
    – Performance Meter showing high Realtime load on these occasions
  1. The project which in C11 played back, recorded and monitored just fine looks like it’s pushing Cubase 12 to the limits, but no dropouts happening:
  • symptoms:
    – Performance Meter “Peak” bar is flickering and eventually jumping from low to almost 100%
    – Task manager/ activity monitor is not showing a significant higher CPU load in comparable settings C11/ C12

    • 2.:
      There are certain systems which show a significantly higher base load with Cubase 12; Issue 1. is probably the escalation of issue 2, depending on your system resources; we are working on identifying the root cause and the system properties of these severe performance issues. If you are affected by 1./ 2., you could help us by submitting (as PM to me!) your system information files (.spx or .nfo), so we can figure out which circumstances lead to the observed performance loss.

This might be a common experience with a certain preference which is “on” by default, but might have been disabled in C11:

  • when you select a track in Cubase, it will - by default - become “Record Armed”; I usually turn this preference off for each new version, because I don’t need it and it can cause CPU overloads:
    → “Record Arm” for VSTi tracks means, that your Midi keyboard input becomes audible; to provide a low latency feeling, the respective VST instrument is pushed to the low-latency processing path when record-armed; this path has a much shorter roundtrip latency and imposes a significantly higher processing load on the CPU; this can lead to dropouts, if the selected track contains a heavy VSTi and you run on a short buffer size
    → if you don’t need the “record arm selected track” feature, turn it off (you might have had it turned off in C11 and not yet done so in C12?). It’s also possible that due to 1. + 2., Cubase 12 is currently more sensitive with real time switching.

The impression of a worse performance can be caused by the new Performance Meter design. It shows additional info which was not present in C11; please see my related post further up the thread.

I hope no. 3 solves the issue for some of you (I always bump into this when installing the next generation of Cubase :crazy_face: ).
Just in case: my post is not meant as blame shifting à la: the issues are the users. I just need to get a clearer picture of what you are seeing.
So, if you are affected by issues described in 1./ 2., you could help us by submitting (as PM to me!) your system information files (.spx or .nfo), so we can figure out which circumstances may lead to the observed performance loss.

Thanks a lot, and enjoy the weekend!

Hi Chriss,
in my case it is definetly 2.
I would like to send you my spx or nfo files but Ihave no idea where to find those. Any hints?

1 Like

Hi Chriss,

Thank you so much for your continued assistance! I too agree that there have seemingly been several different issues reported throughout this thread. I very much appreciate your efforts to categorize the symptoms into workable groups. This is an extremely helpful (and needed) approach!

I will review the information you have provided and report back. Moving forward, I hope all users will reference your post as a guide when sharing their issues and experiences.

Thank you again for your time and all your help. Have a great weekend!

1 Like

First…I would like to thank Chriss for actually engaging with the users to try to sort this / these issue(s).

That being said, I am going to make an observation that sounds a little snarky…but I do not mean to be unhelpful and apologize in advance if it comes off that way.

Cubase has, undoubtedly, had issues over the years with CPU spikes. From my observations having used Cubase, Logic, ProTools, Reason, FL Studio, and Ableton…CUBASE has had many more issues handling CPU usage than any other DAW (over it’s lifetime). This issue comes up REPEATEDLY.

Here is the snarky bit: WHY would Steinberg CHOOSE to implement a VST meter that shows MORE spike activity if the program was performing just as well as the previous version???ESPECIALLY knowing it’s something we users have dealt with in the past and we are sensitive to.

I apologize a second time if this is unhelpful…but C12 was not ready for prime time IMO. Missing a release window is no excuse for making the public pay for the update, and then serve as the Beta team. My system isn’t spiking because the meter changed…and doesn’t spike on C11, or any other DAW.


What is interesting is I got more power back by having a midi or instrument track record armed. Not monitor armed, just record arms. Not recording either, just playing with the instrument tracks record armed.

I’m on a M1 Macbook Pro 16" and it all works. So I am not in any of the categories above but I was interested in those settings because I do not like having auto record arm on.

I have a project I am working on with 36 tracks and they are a mix of 6 FX tracks and 12 instrument tracks and the rest are audio tracks or group tracks. As a test I started to duplicate the tracks (up to 28 instrument tracks and a lot of audio tracks all with plug-ins) to see when I would hit the barrier and it would stop playing.
After it would not play anymore I inserted a midi tracks and record armed just the midi track (I did not hit the monitor button) and it has no plugins on the midi track, nothing. With that one track record armed the whole project had about 5% reduction in the ASIO guard meter and the whole project would play again.
So after that I found that the more instrument tracks I record arms the more the ASIO meter would go down but the peak meter would go up. I eventually armed enough instrument tracks to balance the fall in ASIO guard with rise in peak. That was at about 75% of the power meter. Now I had recouped another 25% to play with so I duplicated another one of the my instruments (with 5 plugins on the track) another 8 times. Pressed play and it worked, if I took them off record arm the whole project would not play for 1 second.
So in summary I had a project that could not play anymore because I did not have enough power to play it, ASIO guard maxed out into the red.
But after record arming a lot of , but not all, of the instrument tracks I could pull the ASIO guard down at the expense of real time peaks going up.
I could record arm just enough tracks to balance that and get 25% extra power on the power meter and start creating more tracks and it all played fine. All of the record arm tracks play as normal so nothing is not playing. It interesting that a balance can be found with instrument tracks that can increase a project performance by as much as 25% in my case.

Record arming audio tracks made no difference.

I’m on an M1 native C12 at 2048 buffer with ASIO guard on normal. Not an issue of course but interesting that C12 does not use all available resources before it will stop playing unless forced to use more recourses by record arming tracks. I was not recording by the way and not monitoring. Just using the red button on the instrument tracks and playing as normal.

As I said, I’m not reporting an issue, maybe this is expected behaviour but 25% seems like a lot to get back on a project that would not play under any other circumstances. I guess I would have expected low or normal ASIO guard to find that balance without record arming any tracks but it doesn’t, it seems to just swap ASIO guard for peaks or the other way round.

1 Like

All of them for me. #1 -4.

Not sure it it’s related to those problems encountered by all others.
The first days C12 worked nicely. The Demo project (Awesome Cubase 12 cpu performance - #7 by funkster1) played fine, I could change tracks, record arm them, play with the VSTi’s etc with no spikes, dropouts or other trouble.
CPU performance meter showed around 25% usage.

Then I started a new project, empty template with around 40 tracks & busses, 1 instance of Steven Slate Drums 5.5, two Reverb busses (Roomworks and Convology XT).

Recorded an acoustic guitar track, a shaker track, SSD playing only a 4 on the floor kick drum, a short Bass & Gtr. intro and that’s it.
Now, no matter what, I get constant audio dropouts at random positions. No matter what ASIO-Guard is set to (off, low, normal or high).
Performance meter is jumping around 30-50% CPU usage !

Left the house for maybe two hours, Cubase open, no changes to the project and when I came back I pressed “Play” → “A serious error occurred” (2 in fact).

Project settings:
44.1 KHz, 24-bit
Recording format: .wav
recording path: external SSD over USB-C, 3.1 Gen 1

Dropouts occur no matter the buffer size

System specs:
Win 10 Pro 21H1, 19043.1586
AMD Ryzen 5 3600 @4.00 Ghz, 6 cores (12 with SMT)
ASROCK B550 Pro 4 Mobo, SMT enabled or disabled doesn’t matter
32 GB RAM (dual channel)
250 NVMe SSD for system
1 GB NVMe SSD for samples
2 TB HDD 7200 RPM for personal files and stuff
NVidia G710 (fanless)
Roland UA-1010 Octa-Capture
BCR2000, Novation ZeRO SL mkII
Nektar Impact LX88+

Cubase 64bit 2022.3.19 (811.4 KB)

1 Like

Interesting…up until a couple of months ago I did not use ASIO GUARD for VE PRO. I use it now in LOW setting with a 256 soundcard buffer. I also noticed that when I record enable a VE PRO track that the CPU load in VE PRO drops approximately in half (exactly the opposite of what you would expect), Not sure what that means but it does not make much sense.


I agree it is odd though it does mean on a project with lots of Virtual Instruments I now know how to recoup a lot of power. Maybe Cubase always leaves some power in reserve in case you need to record. I would rather use it all when I’ve finished recording of course.

My cubase 12 projects had the same issue and it oddly turned out to be my Bluetooth to a printer. I turned off all Bluetooth and everything is working as expected. Just my scenario so far. Asio guard working properly also.

1 Like

My issue is #2. I’d guess that a project that was using 80% resources in C11 now will not play back in C12. I have an AMD system it’s a Ryzen 5 with 32Gb. Also as others have reported, the problems morph over time. It gets worse, the longer you use it. I have restored my system back to pre-installation and I can work in C11. I don’t want to sound ungrateful for everything I’ve gained from Steinberg. But this is going in the wrong direction. I have used Cubase continuously since Atari. Seriously! On Macs and now PC. In those years, I’ve got a few deals for groups with big labels and got paid well - and really; Cubase was there for it all. But now I feel that Cubase is heading in the wrong direction. Pulling features out of Nuendo and stuffing them into the program then just putting it out there, you might end up - like Atari. All the cool new features in the world don’t make up for what users really want. They want stability; a lighter footprint; quick exports and a way of knowing which plugins are chewing the memory. UAD have that. I’ve always disliked using ProTools but I can tell you that it runs way better on my current very expensive computer than Cubase. The fact that this update was fairly obviously not shipped to enough users for thorough beta testing, is really an insult to the user base. I’m wishing I had paid via PayPal, because according to them, I am eligible for a complete refund. It doesn’t please me to write this, but I feel that something’s wrong at Steinberg.


This is the first time since Cubase 5 that i didn’t upgrade immediately. This thread and the “Status Update” one keeps me from doing so. I hardlt ever us VSTi’s so I even doubt whether upgrading from 11 is even worth the money.

Hi there!

Just a shot in the dark…

Is there anyone in this forum who is running Cubase 12 with the elicenser DE-INSTALLED and DISCONNECTED?
And if yes, are there still CPU spikes?

I tried this, but it took my computer forever to open Cubase 12 without elicenser control center, so I have no way of checking this…

Thanks in advance.

Same here. The longer I use Cubase, be it 11 or 12, things get worse. Projects don’t load overtime. Plugins take forever to load. Once I restart the computer though, everything starts fresh. Everything loads. Then, overtime, things get more and more sluggish, until I can’t even open a project. I have to restart my computer again.

I really don’t know if this is a Steinberg or Windows 10 update .NET framework issue, or corrupted DLLs. I’ve already repaired all system DLLs using Restoro. Yet I’m sill getting the more-and-more-sluggish-overtime issue.

It is driving me nuts. I can’t afford to keep having to restart my damn computer all the time just to work.

1 Like

Ive been troubleshooting this problem in one form or another for 3 years, since C10.5 & 11, and now 12 does the same thing but worse. Strangely the actual “pops/clicks” heard in the audio have reduced. I see C12 hit 100% and go into red on its internal ASIO meter much more often than the same environment in C11, BUT I dont actually hear pops nearly as often. I guess that is an improvement?

Odd thing Ive noticed since C11, which is still true (for me) today:
I start C12, load a project, play some notes and notice a high ASIO average load and spikes to 100%.
I toggle my audio device’s buffer – to any setting. Just toggle it up or down. This usually clears the high spikes, and they dont come back until another session. The high average load is still there, but this “toggling” of the driver buffer settings calms some of this for me. Focusrite 8i6 gen3 interface, current drivers.

I dream of a day these workarounds and bizarre, nearly superstitious behaviors are not necessary to keep cubase running smoothly. Since cubase accepts a plugin format that steinberg invented themselves, one would imagine that by now an exception handler would exist that would catch 99% of the crashes that happen on shutdown, but so far that isnt the case and C12 crashes on shutdown most of the time for me. C11 only crashed 1 out of 20ish shutdowns.


I have noticed that too. It is very strange, what state is keep on the computer when cubase process is gone but are “freed” when the computer is rebooted? Is there a leak of some system resources like GPU memory or something? Some internal state on plugins? It seems to do a lot of VST2 plugin scans.


I really have no idea anymore.

1 Like