Cubase 8 Crashing and Crackling Problems - VE + Pro Tools

Cubase 8 has been unstable lately, crashing every 20 minutes. It has also started having this cracking sound on start/stop play when synced to Pro Tools (particularly when the clock icon in protools locks).

Everything (the load, template, etc) is the same has it has been for a while - just started having problems about a week ago. I can’t quite put my finger on the exact date, but the issues could have started after the most recent VE pro update.

Out of frustration, I moved back to Cubase 7 and the crashing issue has attenuated (not completely stopped) but the crackling sound is still present.

Here are my specs:

Cubase 8.0.10

Pro Tools HD 10.3.6

VE Pro 5.4.13715 (with Kontakt 5.3.4)

OS 10.9.5
64 gigs ram
6 cores

I’ve tried reducing the Kontakt load, multiple restarts, etc. Any help would be much appreciated!