CUBASE 7 and Seagate USB3.0 Drive (noise)

I bought a usb3 3tb external drive. copied a couple of songs onto it. got massive spikes in Cubase hd meter and audio stutters. at all latency settings. songs that played fine from my internal sata drive and an external usb2 drive. very disappointed, so I use it just for backup. now, i’m reading this thread and see it could be a more general usb3 issue…

Whats the speed of the external drive? Many of them run at 5400 rpm. Also I think a lot of it may be down to how many platters/read/write heads are on them as well. Theres a seagate 1tb external here (usb 2) and the chattering of the heads seeking/reading is awful but it’s OK for acrchives.

Got a tiny little 1TB WD (USB 3) bus powered drive tha fits in a sirt pocket and it’s superbly quite and speedy as well.

There’s a seagate 1tb internal drive that some libraries are stored on and thats quite chattery as well whilst loading large libarary in kontakt whereas the three 1TB WD Blues have always been extremely speedy and quite on what ever task has been demanded off them.

Its worth also Check out the BIOS on boot up (usually by holding the del key down dooring the boot process will take you to the BIOS) as well and make sure that Full speed or High speed tranfers are set right on the USB rails (the difference on those settings can go from 12mps FS as compared to 487mbs HS) Also make sure in the BIOS the USB porst are not set to emulate FDD (Floppy Disk Drive)

Hope some of this may be ueseful to some one :slight_smile:


I have the same problem with two Seagate HDDs (Backup Plus 4TB, USB 3.0 and GoFlex Desk 3 TB USB 3.0). They both show the problem of dropouts/noise upon playback of a project with Cubase Elements 6.0.7 (64-bit) on a Windows 7 64-bit system. It doesn’t matter whether they are connected to a USB 3.0 or USB 2.0 port.

Interestingly, the same drive (and same project of course) work fine when connected to my MAC Book.

Furthermore, (after discussion in the German forum Wiedergabeproblem mit externer USB Festplatte - Auf Deutsch - Steinberg Forums) I have stored the project on a USB 3.0 stick and tested all my USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports on the PC. Everything worked fine with the USB stick. Moreover, also a WD My Book 2,5" USB 3.0 2TB drive (small one powered through the USB cable) worked fine both from USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports.

So it seems that the problem just exists with the Seagate HDDs. I have also tried to format them in different ways (GPT, MBR, smaller partitions below 1 TB - but of course always NTFS), but nothing helped.

I wonder, whether someone has already found a solution here. Thank you all.



You have to do that only if your 3tb is your OS drive. Win 7 has a 2tb limit for the OS drive. AFAIK, Win 8/8.1 has no such limit. Non-OS drives can be as big as you want and windows will read the entire capacity.

Just as a general rule, DO NOT USE EXTERNAL DRIVES for audio (or samples, to a lesser extent), especially if you work with a high number of audio tracks. Use internal SATA III, it’s way way better. I use my USB 3.0 externals only for backup/archives.

Dear papi61,

thank you for your response.

Just to make sure: the external USB 3.0 drive just carries the project data. System and Cubase are of course installed on an internal SATA drive. The USB drive works fine otherwise (fast data transfer, I can use the full 4 TB space when formatted with NTFS in GPT mode). Its just that problem with playback in Cubase.

I agree with you that internal drives should show a better performance, nontheless I should stress that I usually have really small projects with less than 10 audiotracks, no instrument plugins and maybe just 2 or 3 simple effects. As I said in my posting, they work fine even on USB 2.0 sticks and also the small 2TB WD HDD did not show any problem.

So I am still not sure a 100% whether the brand (Seagate) is the problem or whether Cubase just works with drives max. 2 TB (once more, I am only talking about the project data, not OS or program code).

Once more thank you for taking your time to respond.

Best Wishes for the New Year.



+1 :wink:

I can definitely rule that out. I use 3 tb SATA III internal drives on both my master and slave machines and they work extremely well. Until a few months ago, all my machines were running W7Prox64, no issues at all. Those 3tb drives from Seagate and WD that you can buy at Costco for $100 are not really meant for the kind of heavy usage an audio drive gets. They’re basically backup drives.

P.S. Happy new year to you, too. May 2014 bring you lots of musical joy. :mrgreen:

Try another high-quality USB3 cable…

It can be other things causing problems.
Have you activated some wrong setting in Windows 7? Like old XP tweaks causing the problems? :unamused:
Check these settings…

Disable AERO? = shall be ON…always…!

Program Scheduler to Background tasks? = Shall be set it to PROGRAM

“POWER Setting”, USB port to sleep = Should be set to NEVER sleep etc.

Best Regards


I have internal new SATA 600 Seagates Hard-drives here too with Cubase 7. No problems.

Best Regards

This thread is over 1 year old, but I have just started experiencing this very same problem (under C8pro) with external Seagate USB3 drives.

I can run projects quite happily off an HP USB3 and of course internal SATA drives, but suddenly my ext. Seagate drives no longer want to play nice. All was fine until a couple of weeks ago. I have no explanation for this though I doubt it’s actually a problem with Cubase(?), and wondered if anyone actually found a solution?

Um… No. Unless you’re talking about a second, internal SATA in a tower, or course. But a lot of folks on laptops have to use external drives because (almost) everyone knows you shouldn’t be recording to your OS drive.

I suspect folks are having USB 3.0 issues because USB 3.0 is inherently flawed in that it is very, very noisy. (Just do a search for wifi interference and USB 3.0. There’s also an Intel white paper on the subject) This noise is most likely what is causing these sort of issues.

Try looking into:

  1. More robustly shielded USB cards, drives and cables.
  2. Thunderbolt or Firewire alternatives.

I’ve since removed the Seagate drive from it’s external USB housing and inserted into a hot-swap SATA bay. Works fine there, (though for some reason it didn’t recognise the partition? - so I had to re-partition it). This really does seem to suggest that there’s something dodgy with these Seagate USB boxes, particularly when used with Cubase.

Physically it looks well shielded… inside the enclosure is a metal casing. The articles I read regarding USB3 radiated noise seemed to suggest that the drives were often a source of interference noise but this didn’t actually compromise the drives performance, but rather just interfered with nearby WiFi.

Just as a general rule, > DO NOT USE EXTERNAL DRIVES > for audio

I’m not sure of the rationale behind this? I have run projects from USB3 drives hassle-free for a couple of years (up until this current Seagate issue). USB3 performance has proven to be more than adequate for my Cubase needs, and in fact USB2 has worked well for me in the past also. Cubase launches from an SSD and my libraries are on another internal SATA drive, but the projects themselves and associated audio run quite happily over USB.


I have seen the same symptoms with Cubase 6.5 to 8.5 in conjunction with Advanced Format 4K sector drives - Advanced Format - Wikipedia

Newer high capacity hard disks are moving to 4K sectors, especially the high end enterprise disks.

We have a large number of computers running Cubase in an enterprise environment and have run into the problem as all our newer enterprise storage arrays now use 4K sector disks.

It would be interesting to see what sector size was reported when the drive was in the USB3.0 caddy.

From an admin command prompt run: fsutil fsinfo ntfsinfo c: (replace c: with the relevant drive letter). It will list Bytes Per Sector and Bytes Per Physical Sector.

If both are 512 you have an “old format” 512 native hard disk. If both are 4096 you have a new 4K native disk. If they are 512 and 4096 respectively you have a 512e disk. (Support policy for 4K sector hard drives - Windows Server | Microsoft Learn)

I created a quick video for support to illustrate the issue: - YouTube. Same computer, same install of Windows/Cubase, same project - the only difference is two internal SATA hard disks, one 4K Native, the other 512 Native.

I’ve also analysed Cubase file operations using Process Monitor (Process Monitor - Sysinternals | Microsoft Learn) - see attached image. The audio corruption/white noise coincides with INVALID PARAMETER errors on the reads Cubase is trying to execute.