Cubase can't handle more than 50 Kontakt Instances

So, I was waiting for Cubase 9 to see if they optimized the engine and overall performance. Unfortunately no.

I began to experiment with the idea and huge benefits of a Disable/Enable orchestral template. However, Cubase simply cannot have more than about 50 or so Kontakt instances on Mac. The minute I get to about 53 to 55 instances, Cubase’s realtime peak goes crazy and the system becomes unusable.

At about 50 instances, the performance meter sits at about 40-45% on my 2010 8core Mac pro (2.4). The moment I exceed 53 or so Kontakt instances, the performance meter gets slammed in red.

As a test, I went to Reaper, and was able to load 158 instances of Kontakt! I ran out of Ram, and couldn’t test to load more. But at 158 instrument-loaded instances of Kontakt, Reapers performance meter was idling at 14%!

This is insanely frustrating. No doubt, Cubase is my favorite DAW. But performance differences of this magnitude will definitely make it very difficult to justify staying with Steinberg.

Agree? Disagree?

Here is a user who has an identical problem on Windows:

Can’t speak for the rotten Apple you have,

Here’s 200 Kontakt5 (Alicias Keys) playing on a PC.

Performance meter at about 40%

Each 4 bar loop is triads

And here’s the same PC playing 400 Kontakt5 (Alicias Keys) !!

And those are PLAYING performance rates.
Loaded and stopped is somewhere around 20%

Kontakt allows you to tweak it’s parameters quite extensively.
Can you increase the performance by letting Cubase handle multi CPU rather than Kontakt?

Why the grade school-level insult (rotten Apple)? No need. At all. Period. Stop that crap.

To the OP: My trashcan Mac 6-core/32g RAM can load up to 172 Kontakt instances with Alicias Keys, idling is about 20%, playing starts to get some peaks. Buffer is at 512. At 173 instances CPU shoots to around 85%.

Something could be amiss with your system or setup for something this under par to happen. What processor is on your Mac? Believe me, I’m not immediately blaming the computer because I know Cubase needs to improve a lot in this area on both Windows and Mac (Reaper or Pro Tools both have way more capacity CPU-wise than Cubase, as well), but your experience sounds extreme.

Can you tell us how much memory is in your MAC (important detail)?
Because it has more to do with RAM capacity then CPU capacity!

Except that he can load way, way more in Reaper, and he actually hit the RAM ceiling there (not the case with Cubase, for him).

It’s not grade school at all, don’t be so sensitive. I didn’t insult you - IMHO Apple is a way overpriced mid level PC.

If you put the same money into a custom PC build that you spent on your MAC you’ll have a system with at least double, and in most cases, quadruple the power and REAL WORLD capability.
And yes, I’m more than qualified to hold that opinion.

OP: Can you give me some details on your particular system?

Sorry fretthefret. Your posts are classic first “shots across the bow” for a Mac vs PC flame war. You can easily post the same info without inflammatory remarks. I’ll leave these, but please keep it in mind.

I’m not interested in any imaginary flame war Steve but if as a moderator you have a problem with my post, feel free to flex that mod muscle and do your worstest. :smiling_imp: :smiley:

Hey Guys,

Thanks for chiming in with your thoughts. First off, the only permanent allegiance I have is to my family… certainly not to corporations… so I have no care with regards to Mac vs PC, or Cubase vs Reaper for that matter. Its simply an issue of preference, but also an issue of results, for sure.

To answer a lot of the questions above, Im currently using a 2010 Mac Pro 2.4ghz 8-core with 32gb Ram. I am using 2 PC slaves with 64gb of RAM each. My setup works great, except for the elaborate routing, hassle, and maintenance associated with multiple computers.

My goal is to see if I can finally transition to a single computer using the enable/disable feature. The Mac i am currently using is definitely not powerful enough for this objective and I am fully aware of this. So, If in fact it is possible to run a full orchestral template on a single computer, I am definitely happy to upgrade and get rid of my current setup.

My personal 1st preference is: MAC with Cubase. I am willing to pay a premium for the Mac. I am willing to pay a premium for Cubase. (The cost of upgrading Cubase in 1 year is more than the cost of Reaper for several versions.)

However, if the tangible results are ridiculously far apart, then I have no choice but to jump ship (Mac to PC or even Cubase to Reaper).

That’s what I’m talking about! Thanks Frett. So you can actually play 400 tracks, at the same time, and the computer doesn’t crash??? You have 400 individual Kontakt instruments, each loaded with Alicias keys, playing?

Thanks Oliver. I was planning on getting the trashcan Mac 8-core 3.3 with 64gb + ram. So, would you say that you could run 100 Kontakt instances at the same time with out too much trouble on your system? To your other question, I disabled multi-processing on Kontakt, and didn’t find it helped much. My best performance was on ASIO on High.

Thanks for you input guys… see my own results below:

So because everyone chose Alicias Keys as our test format, I did the same thing on my 2010 Mac Pro 2.4ghz 8-core with 32gb Ram.

Before each test, I restarted the computer just to make sure no ram was somehow still being used. With Reaper, I was able to load 250 instances of Kontakt with Reapers performance meter idling at about 20%. (Not Playing) I could have loaded more, but it wasn’t necessary. As far as playing, I was able to play about 100 instances at the same time, but obviously my 7 year old Mac was struggling pretty badly.

Up to about 50 Tracks on Cubase, the performance meter was idling at about 33%. (Not Playing) If I pressed play, the performance meter got close to about 95% with 50 tracks playing.

Now, the minute I start adding additional Kontakt tracks, the performance meter, specifically the real-time, goes up drastically even when idle. By the time I got to 61 Tracks, Cubase becomes unusable and essentially crashes:

As a moderator on another forum, I would also respond to you with a ‘thank you’ and just wish you the best in life…


I’ve also noticed that performance really suffers after 50 or 60 instances of Kontakt. Though this was on Nuendo 7 on my PC with 64 gigs Ram. Haven’t tested Cubase 9 as I gave up trying to use one Kontakt instrument per articulation and am using VEP pro 6.

You’re welcome jpm999,

Yes all 400 instances were playing Alicia’s Keys (in ULTRA mode) at the same time, and no, the PC doesn’t crash at all.
It’s also ultra quiet! I have it on the floor, but you could sit right next to it and mix.
At full out max load it doesn’t get any hotter on the thermistor monitors than 47ºC.

and the price… about USD $3200
(With Thunderbolt, USB C (3.1), USB A 3.1, USB 3.0 and USB 2.0)
It would take a $9,000 mac to equal the performance of that $3200 system.
The main problem being that the $9,000 Mac would also slow right down in the second hour of use as
the CPU’s are thermal throttled. (it gets hot and slows down)

For that same $9k you can build a custom beast PC with 56 cores that no Mac available anywhere could touch!
With that you can do post on 3D/4K video at ridiculous speeds.

For under $5k choose a 40 lane CPU Intel “x” version like the 5960x (8 core/16 Thread) or the 6950x (10 core/20 Thread) on an x99 motherboard with 64GB to 128GB DDR4 and at least a 1060 video card.
You won’t ever regret it!

Did I mention… during that 400 instance (ULTRA) play I also had 3 instances of Windows Explorer open, 4 separate instances of Chrome (each with at least 15 tabs open), and 2 Adobe Acrobat Readers - Not to mention the 120+ processes that were running on the system at the same time.

You might have missed my other posts where I showed 2560 AUDIO tracks, not Instrument, playing back at 40% load.

I basically have the same computer as the OP. I, too, wanted to get rid of slave computers and VE Pro. I did a similar test about a year ago. I ended up with around 70 Kontakts in Cubase. Logic I could get to 200 or so.

No need to compare to PC performance. It’s been proven time and time again that Cubase runs better on PC.

I’m stuck on Mac because I work in Film/TV. I’m not gonna buy an outdated Mac Pro, and don’t want the headaches of a Hackinstosh.

I had to switch to Logic for my TV work because I could get so much more power out of it.