Cubase Audio Issue and PC Upgrade


First of all I would like to apologize if this is not the right place to ask this type of question, but it seemed the most logical to me.

Recently I’ve noticed that I’m experiencing audio issues inside Cubase. A lot of clicking and popping sound problems and lag which make mixing pretty much impossible. When I open the Audio Performance window with F12 the Average Load and the Real Time Peak seem to always be in the red or pretty close to it

I’ve tried changing some setting and things got a bit better but the problems still occur even when I:

  • Have my buffer size set to 1024 which is the max
  • Activated ASIO-Guard Level at high
  • Audio priority is set at Boost
  • I’ve Activated the Steinberg Audio Power Scheme

Even when I freeze all VST tracks sometimes the problem continues

I use:

  • A Windows 10 x64 based PC
  • Cubase 10.0.5
  • Intel(R) Core™ i7-4790 CPU @ 3.60 GHz, 4 Cores
  • 16 GB of RAM
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 750 Ti Graphics Card
  • Kingston shfs37a240g SSD
  • Mostly Waves plugins and some iZotope ones(mostly for mastering)

I’m willing to upgrade my PC hardware but after looking online I’m not entirely sure which component I should upgrade first. Should I go for a new CPU(which one)? More RAM(how much)? Some people say it could be a GPU problem?

Any suggestions and help would be greatly appreciated

Thank you all :slight_smile:
Kind regards,

Your pc should be fine. I have an older less powerful one without these issues and running at buffers 64 samples. I suspect the problem is your video card. You need to get dpc latency checker and that will show you where the problem lies.

So do you by any chance have some kind of utility installed for your SSD? I had a Micron SSD and installed the utility and it caused a ton of CPU spikes and pegged my meter. I uninstalled it and most of my problems went away.
The other thing to try is set the processing to 32 bit instead of 64 bit. This can make a big difference on some machines.
Go into services and disable the nVidia containers. You don’t need those at all and they eat up CPU cycles.
Also, run msconfig and check the Startup tab for any extraneous services that run at startup that can be disabled.

You can also run Latency Monitor and see what services or programs are causing issues

Can you elaborate on what these containers are?

So these are the results from LatencyMon

Any ideas how to proceed?

Couldn’t find an actual solution in Google for the wdf01000.sys driver

“You’ll see a lot of “NVIDIA Container” processes running on your PC. This program, named nvcontainer.exe, appears to be responsible for running and containing other NVIDIA processes. In other words, NVIDIA Container isn’t doing much itself. It’s just running other NVIDIA tasks.”
It does stuff like supports the tray icon and notifications, automatic updates, provides telemetry, network game streaming, Shadow Play helper (open GForce Experience by hotkey) and a bunch of other things that you in no way need for audio production. These services can take up to 10% of your CPU cycles in some cases.

Yes. Go to the Drivers tab and click the “Highest Execution” header if needed to sort highest execution time first. Should look like this

Now you need the ones mine is displaying at the top: the NTkernel, NVIDIA Kernel, DirectX, Storage port, etc. Most things that are Microsoft you don’t want to touch. You are on the right track with Googling the service, and I usually Google “Is it safe to disable XXX”. Then try disabling the service if you’re comfortable with the info you found. I then do the same thing, but sorting on Total Execution. Also, I would probably only run for as long as you usually are working in Cubase, and actually it’s good to go jiggle the mouse or hit the shift key or something every 15 mins so any “Unattended” tasks don’t kick in and skew the results.
If this is new to you, I would start with only disabling one thing at a time, and write it down or take a screen cap, and rebooting and try a few common tasks and make sure everything is OK before tackling any others. The Stats tab, also gives a good overview of the analysis and is worth a peek.
The help page does a pretty good job of explaing how to use it. Hit the “?” icon or go here

Also, check the Processes tab and sort the “Hard Pagefaults” column. This has to do with how Windows handles using the virtual memory in your system. This is also a big issue. Things you can do to decrease page faults are disabling programs that cause them if possible (or at least while you’re working in Cubase), decreasing the size of your pagefile (virtual RAM), and increasing the size of RAM. It also helps to have your pagefile located on a very fast drive like an SSD or preferably an NVMe drive.
The Latency Monitor help files do a good job of explaining things:

You say recently this started to happen. Did anything change for this to start? Sometimes a clean windows install can clear out a lot of problems. Let it load drivers itself and go through the list of tweaks for power settings etc and run latency mon again. I have three PCs in my house. One is an old i7 960 with 18gig ram (this had Triples) and about 10 year old if not more. another is an old server with a xenon 3.3ghz with 16gig ram and a i9 9900k with 32gig ram. The i7 has an amd video card. The xenon a radio 1030 and the i9 I use the onboard graphics. All three work great down to 64 samples for buffers. The i9 can run more plugins and I use a m.2 for quick sample load but apart from that there isn’t a huge difference

This is what I got.

In the meantime I updated all the drivers that were out of date but to no success

I had similar issues with a worse PC (8Gb RAM) and it was Cubase’s fault (CPU spikes in 10.5.30 - #2 by SF_Green).
I’m now running Studio One Artist and Ableton Live Standard successfully. I would really prefer to use Cubase, but those sound pops are a show stopper. I hope they are able to fix this in future updates.

AVAST antivirus, is the first thing I would remove.

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Agreed with that. Also try suspending updates and see if that makes a difference. I would still be tempted to re-install win 10 as that will clean up a lot of rubbish

One of the things the Kernal Mode Driver Framework ,KMDF, is involved in is Power Management. If you have already tried using the Stienberg power management options in the preferences, then try using the windows High Performance setting, and if your version of Windows has a High Performance specifically for your CPU (mine has “High Performance for AMD Ryzen”), try that one. Also, go through the advanced settings and make sure everything is set to 100%, and never off.
Also, go to System > Manage > Device Manager and expand all your USB entries, right click on each, go to the Properties > Power Management tab and disable “Allow the computer to turn this device off to save power”
Then retest with Latency Monitor and see if your KMDF value has gone down.

It does worry me that it may be something else. I know with a clean install on all three of my computers without any power tweaks I passed the latency mon test and they all worked without a glitch. I just did the other tweaks afterwards to make sure.

Disabled AVAST
Disabled "Allow the computer to turn this device off to save power” on all USB entries
Tried the Windows’ High Performance settings
Updates are paused

Not much of an improvement

I reinstalled Windows 2 months ago and the problem was present both before and after the reinstallation, so I don’t believe that will help

In the meantime though I found something interesting. In this particular project where the cracks and pops appear extensively I have an instance of Superior Drummer 3 and 2 instances of Waves Bass Fingers. I opened a project from yesterday where I’ve frozen the Superior Drummer tracks as well as the two Bass Fingers tracks. The project runs fine, no cracks or pops with an average load of about 80-90%. I decide to unfreeze the Superior Drummer and Bass Fingers tracks just to see what will happen and as expected brutal cracks and pops appear basically making any listening experience impossible and the average load is slamming in the red.
But here is where the interesting bit happens - I close the project and open it again without saving. Superior Drummer and Bass Fingers tracks are again frozen just like in the beginning when it played fine. But this time even with these VSTs frozen the cracks and pop are again present and unbearable making me even more confused than before…

I bought a new beefy Dell Precision for music and suffered thru the same issues you are, tho the names of some of the culprits (files, processes, etc.) were different. The worst was ACPI.SYS—related to power management, as I understand it. I got to a workable state that involves a large buffer size, ok for me since I don’t do much recording. These things helped:

Glitch Free - Cantabile - Software for Performing Musicians. - the most extensive audio tuning guide I’ve found short of hacks that are too out there for me; and - Process Lasso, a utility that allowed me to set processor priorities for Cubase so that it wasn’t fighting with ACPI for CPU. This brought the DPC delays down.

I don’t claim to understand this stuff so you experts out there, please excuse me if I’m imprecise in what I’ve said here. I’m just sharing what worked for me.

I use SD3 and generally have around 3 instances of it open without any performance hits. I think there is a problem though if you use grid editor in SD3. I don’t use midi inside SD3 as I am used to Cubase drum editor which I have used for years.

Do you have an onboard graphics card? If so have you tried removing the nvidia card and using the onboard with the driver windows loads? Doing that would rule it in or out.

So, if you are using MIDI, you should change you Audio Priority setting to normal. You said in your first post you have it set to Boost:
Audio priority is set at Boost

This is a very misleading setting. I finally read the manual on this one. You should only set it to Boost if your Project contains ONLY Audio and no MIDI. Otherwise you want the Normal setting to give Audio and MIDI equal priority. That may be why when you engage SD3 and Bass Fingers you get the issues.

From the manual:
Audio Priority (Windows only)
This setting should be set to Normal if you work with audio and MIDI. If you do not use MIDI at all, you can set this to Boost.

Cuabse 11: Setting Up Audio VST System

Good point