Cubase and NI Action Strings Performance Problem

I’m using NI Action Strings via Kontakt but it’s badly affecting performance in Cubase (Cubase 8).

Attached image shows the Cubase meter with just 2 instances of this (buffers setting at 1024).

CPU is only showing 3% usage at the same time, so it’s not straining the CPU.

Can you advise how to fix this?

Please note that it does not do this in Pro Tools, Sonar or the Kontakt stand alone on the same PC.

Any help appreciated


This looks typical for cubase , unless your having drop outs, performance issues if so then it’s a matter of kontakt settings , disc vs ram usage.

No dropouts but obviously as I then start to add more instrument tracks, the meter starts hitting the redline and crackles/pops then.

How do I fix this?


First, what are your specs and how many plug ins can you run before crackles ?

I run about 25 VST plug ins & that includes 4 instances of kontakt for the string sections. VST Meeter sways from 33% to 50% to 95% at times. Is I just get by. I have a lot of hardware synth gear now and accoustic instruments I play and record so less dependency on CPU. And frankly more fun.

I dint think cubase could run 50 plugins on my PC if I had that many.

But I also have waves and lexicon plug ins set up with about 20 fx tracks ( for reverb and delay sends ) and I can drop in the inserts as many waves limiters and compressors as I need, my PC with cubase seems to handle that aspect of CPU load specs are below.

Oh I see your specs now…So part of your issue i believe is the haswell. I believe it’s multi core , 6? And your CPU clock is low.

I had terrible performance with two haswell systems and sent them back, they couldn’t run my templates ( at that time I had about 35 + VST plug ins ) instead I got
The fastest CPU I could w’10 % over clock and just 4 cores.

Cubase does not take advantage of 6 + core chips…so the fastest CPU is the way to go.

There are many threads on this.

Processor is 8 core…

But, this is only an issue with Action Strings with Cubase on the PC. It’s fine in Pro Tools or Sonar.

I generally get much better performance out of Sonar than Cubase on my system. But Action Strings seems to take chunks out of the performance in Cubase. …and I don’t get the problem at this level with any other Kontakt library I use.

I have got some large projects in Cubase (35+ VSTis & VSTs easily) that run ok. But there’s definitely a point it gets to more quickly in Cubase when it just can’t handle any more.

But despite Cubase struggling at that point, processor usage is not high. This is a point I have seen consistently when using Cubase… there seems to be a lot of under-used processing power.

I have some much bigger projects in Sonar that work fine - projects that I simply cannot replicate in Cubase.

I also started using Pro Tools this year, which has also faired well.

Why do I get such bad performance with Action Strings in particular in Cubase, but not in Sonar or Pro Tools?

i see, I think 8 cores is even worse for cubase, i don’t have action strings but maybe it is a CPU hog VST and it’s exposing a weakness in cubase, your benchmarking with sonar is a good illustration of this…I would check the NI forum and see if action strings is an issue with others.

Thanks - I’ll take a look.

More and more, as my work and projects have grown, I’ve had to err away from Cubase at the start for this very reason. It’s a real shame, as I like Cubase, and the MIDI editor in particular. But it’s no benefit if I can’t get the work done. That’s actually why I started using Pro Tools.

The processor is actually 4 core, only “8 core” when hyper-threaded.

I know Steinberg used to recommend turning hyper-threading off for older versions

“6. Disable Hyper-Threading if your CPU supports it (e.g. Intel i7) and you use older sequencer versions than Cubase 7 and Nuendo 6” … from

…But I’m using Cubase 8, so that should not apply I guess??

The other major issue I have with turning HT off is that certain VSTs and other software I use then suffer, causing more problems. I have a couple (can’t remember which ones off the top of my head) that require HT to be on.

I actually have projects that I did in Cubase 7.5 that simply will not play without major dropouts in Cubase 8. This was a problem I had to fire-fight for a long time before I reached a point where I could use another DAW. I had a support req. with Steinberg over this that was never resolved (and still isn’t!).

I’ve had to migrate a lot of those Cubase 7.5 projects to Sonar and Pro Tools (the ones that would not work in Cubase 8).

Worth mentioning on that point, that I did not get this problem with Action Strings in Cubase 7.5.

Yes your confirming what many discovered the late 7x and 8x interface is inefficient compared to ealier versions. Once asio guard was introduced many found themselves unable to run what they could before, and the latest multi core systems and it worse for many…Let’s hope cubase 9 remedies this.

Time will tell!

Yes, I upgraded to 8.5 but found that worse than what I’m getting with 8

For me, Cubase 7.5 was the best balance of reliability & performance on this system… but even that couldn’t touch the scale of the projects I have in Sonar on this same PC. I find it very frustrating.

I’ve tried various combinations of settings but cannot get a marked improvement on the performance in Cubase with NI Action Strings.

I also re-tested with Cubase 7.5 and the performance is notably better than 8. That doesn’t help me, though.

There are a few well documented Kontakt bugs in action strings, the most annoying (PKB 1390) been around Since its release, It’s so annoying, a three note (or more) chord will drop out any notes over two at random and only plays a two notes chord back, fed up of badgering NI about i for the last two years. If you use Kontakt, and action strings, email NI and ask them when it will be fixed. I’ve got two years of emails claiming it will be fixed in the next point release, still waiting… :frowning: