Cubase 6- worse performance on Mac?


I am a PC user for a long time but since I am thinking of buying a laptop and Wavelab 7 is now Mac compatible, I thought of going for a new MacBook pro.

Although macs are well regarded for music production, I have read in a lot of sources, forums etc. that Cubase does not run as good on OSX as it runs on Windows. Is this true? I have been very happy with the performance of Cubase 6 on my Windows 7 machine, and it would be terrible if I shelled out 2500 euros just to find that Cubase does not work as well on my i7 MacBook pro.

I would be glad if you could share your experience about latency, stability etc.
Thank you!

Take this purely with a grain of salt as I don’t own a Mac and can’t say if this is completely true. But, I’ve read that it has more to do with poorer multicore processing in OSX than Cubase’s coding. Someone more learned in this will most likely have the whole story.


I’m running 6.0.2 on a Mac Pro and C6 seems to be running really good to me. Though, I think what you plan to do with C6 has to has to be taken into consideration. For me, I’m doing more MIDI sequencing than audio editing/recording. However, the work I’ve done with audio has been really great in C6–much better than Pro Tools in my opinion (workflow-wise at least).

Concerning your topic, I haven’t used Cubase on a PC, but from my experience of it on a Mac, I’m finding it to be really stable. I’m coming from using Logic for the past 4 years which was a headache everyday running a giant MIDI/instrument template. Plus, from what I’ve read on this forum, it seems to me like a lot of the threads concerning the instability of Cubase has come from Windows users (just from what I’ve observed, not trying to start an argument). Maybe CPU performance is better on a Windows system, but I feel stability might be better on a Mac.

So again, it all depends on what you’re planning to do with it. My Mac Pro is plenty powerful enough for what I need to do, and when running my template of 400+ tracks, I need stability more than performance because that’s a lot to reload every time a crash occurs.

I use both Mac and PC, I network them using VST bridge and both platforms work well together. I have not had as much success using the 64 bit version in mac as I have in the PC. I have also had a lot of issues using Vienna Instruments and Vienna Ensemble PRO on the mac with Cubase 6 as the GUI does not seem to work in 64 bit. Also Some 32bit plugins don’t work on the Mac that work on PC. It really all depends on what you are doing, if you are doing mostly midi the Mac is a great choice but if you are running tons of VSTi I would check w/developers to see how stuff will run in 64bit. All my 32 bit apps do work great on mac though…

Unfortunately Cubase performance, especially at low latency, can be around 4x better on Windows. I’m a Mac user myself, and still get work done, but I wish things were better. Logic doesn’t have this issue, so it doesn’t seem to be a Mac thing, more likely a casualty of the cross platform support.

The good news is that barring the VST Bridge, Cubase 6 is very stable, much more so than 5 was.

my experience from previous versions is that mac has better audio performance generally, but steinberg was never a good mac audio soft maker, did not follow up fast enough mac, unstable. they make better pc versions of the same soft. only a few can follow up fast enough mac, not steinberg. my opinion though…

All cross platform DAWs perform better on Windows than Mac.
The only reason why Logic performs better than Cubase on a Mac is because it “cheats”… if I remember correctly, Logic actually runs all tracks at the highest latency/buffer settings except whatever track(s) that is armed for recording/playing which will be set to the user specified latency/buffer.

Do you have a source on this? (not that I don’t believe you, but it would be an interesting read) has a cross platform test with multiple daws represented witch seems to confirm the performance penalty running OSx. Within the limitations of the test system(s) of course.

And the stability? Well I chose Win7 x64 as successor after many years of stable work in XP 32 and it’s as stable as any audio Mac I’ve worked on, neither more nor less. I’ve always thought that the instability reputation of Win comes from the easiness of filling your computer up with a lot of crap that you don’t need.


The source for my cross platform statement is

As far as the Logic “cheating” thing, I remember it being mentioned in multiple threads on the Gearslutz music computers forum…

The issue with Macs is the scaling across multiple cores.

Having read all your posts carefully, it makes me wonder why one should choose Mac instead of a Windows PC. I have been using Win7 64 bit with great success up to now loading huge templates with no single glitch.
Being frustrated by the minefield of PC laptop market, I decided to go for something more tried and tested like a MacBook pro.
All in all should I be better off with a PC laptop?

Maybe, but must indeed choose your laptop with care. Low DPC latency is a MUST. And the only way to know if a particular laptop is any good in that respect is to TEST it hands on.

So, put dpc latency tester on an USB stick and go to a shop and test the laptop. Beware: buy the model you have tested. Another model from the same brand, even an updated batch (same model number but "better chipset/ cpu etc…) may behave completely different…!

Or: buy a dedicated audio machine from ADK for example…


P.S. Macbooks (pro) are BAD audio machines running windows…Sometimes not, but it depends too much on driver versions…

Apart from the malware issue, which should be perfectly controllable on a DAW computer, I’d just refer you to the old basic rule “A computer is merely a machine for running your chosen software, not an end in itself”. If your chosen software is Cubase, a PC seems the right machine to choose. If it MUST be a laptop, buy from a specialist source. But must it be? There’s more to a DAW than just the computer. Are you really setting up a fully mobile system? Or have you just convinced yourself you haven’t room for a proper computer?

No, I have already a very powerful desktop system as you can see in my signature. But from September I will be moving a lot and I may have to do some work on location so a laptop is a must. Still, it seems so hard these days to find a laptop that works. I thought this was the case with MacBook Pro’s. Windows 7 are pretty stable for me and I was expecting a MacBook pro to provide at least the same performance or even better. I would not expect it to be worse, that’s for sure. I am still wondering why so many people use MBP’s if they have such a terrible performance !

Well, malware IS an issue for many users. And it’s possible to buy a cheap-and-nasty PC. But the two applicalions that matter to me, Cubase and Sibelius, run better on PC than Mac.

What amuses me are the number of MacBooks I see being toted around, used for nothing but email and iTunes.

Well, in my opinion that is greatly exaggerated and not true… I have a Macbook Pro from 2008 (Core 2 Duo at 2,5 GHz with only 4 GB of RAM) and I get absolutely satisfying performance with it. Apparently Windows systems have a considerably better performance at low latency (the figures at Dawbench speak for themselves) but to me the performance of my MBP at a latency of 128 samples seems really fine. If you buy a new MBP with quad-core Sandy Bridge processors and 16 GB of RAM you will certainly get amazing performance, far better than on my now old MBP. All general benchmarks of this new generation of MBP’s I’ve seen support this.

Often people tend to see only raw performance and imo that is just one part of one’s DAW experience. Cubase 5 and 6 have been absolutely stable and reliable for me on my Macs and the performance has been great, too. I don’t care if on Windows I can run 50 multiband compressors more at 64 samples latency as I wouldn’t need that anyway. And if you work with lots of VSTi’s then you will have a hard time on a notebook anyway because for most sample based instruments you need additional hard drives for streaming…

With a Macbook you get a system that is very well built hardware-wise, has high quality components, lasts for years, is usually very quiet and light weight. The operating system is a joy to use and never gets in your way; in my experience (and I actually come from the PC world and used to build my own Windows machines) OS X gives you far less annoyances than Windows. You don’t have to tweak any system settings, you don’t have to deal with antivirus, you don’t get annoying system pop-ups and notifications, you just install your software and you’re good to go. Also on my Mac systems I haven’t witnessed the slowing down of the system over the years as I have with Windows, my OS X installations seem as quick and snappy as they were at the beginning.
For audio work, the built-in sound cards of Macs are all low-latency capable without special drivers and additional audio hardware so if you’re on the road you can work with VSTi’s with just a midi keyboard and without bringing any audio interface.

All this leads to a very pleasant working experience and is more important to me than the ultimate low latency performance. And I would be quite surprised if you couldn’t get enough performance out of the new Sandy Bridge MBP’s actually.

Still, the best bet would be to try to find someone with a new MBP who let’s you make some Cubase benchmarks so you can judge for yourself.

Do all the new mbp have sandy bridge processors?
Also, you mention 16gb of ram whereas in all MacBook pro specs it is said that they can take up to 8gigs of RAM.
Am I missing something?

bump :slight_smile:

optimised pc notebook shouldn`t be a difference to mac, mine runs cubase well, dpc shows 0,2ms latency. windows optimising for audio is neccessary offcorse.

The problem with asking the question macbook vs pc laptop is that it is a totally invalid comparison. Macbooks come in a handful of varieties, all in quite the same segment as well. But there are hundreds of different PC laptops, from cheapo to business class. Even comparing a single brand of laptop against macs are useless since apple don’t have a gaming line, budget line, enthusiast line etc.

If you want to do a comparison, compare what is relevant, in this case, the OP wanted to know about the performance between Pc and Mac, that would best be translated into choosing two as identical systems as possible and test different DAWs. Done, dawbench has cleared that up. Now, you can start to look start other factors, like pricing, stability, usability.

Probably it would for most people end up in the question: will a laptop with the same high standard in build quality, component matching, testing and support as a similarly speced macbook cost more or less? I don’t know, I chose a mid line plastic fantastic that never got to do much audio work in the end but it’s still in service and working without a hitch after four years, now with win7 it’s faster than ever.

And the OS:s? We’ve got OSx at work and win7 at home. Both are good, logical, quick and reasonably stable. I can do what I want to do in both systems and both have annoyances. I wouldn’t expect it to be any other way.