Cubase Multicore OSX. Is there an issue?

Hello there

I have read many posts on these forums and am even more confused now :slight_smile:

*It seems that Cubase has had many problems with using all the cores/threads on Apple computers in that past and still.
Is that true?
Has it ever been solved?
Is it a deep rooted problem in the software?

*If that has been a recurring problem. Would it then make more sense to buy a PC for our main studio computer?

*We’re running latest IMac Pro (8core-16virtual) with HighSierra and CUBASE 9.5 (we had to downgrade to 9 and 8 because of other bugs).
When we test the IMAC PRO with activity monitor and whatnot it is quite obvious that CUBASE does NOT use anywhere near the processing power available…
Will this be solved in a future update or is Steinberg products just not suitable for MACS?

PLEAASE let me hear your thoughts and please Steinberg also give us an hones answer about this…

Thank you


Well, I can tell you about my experience. I have a MacPro 6-core with 64 Gb RAM and SSD. I use an aggregate device with 1x Pure2 clocking 3x Fireface800. I need many physical I/O. I work 24 bit/44.1 KHz. I can’t record one single audio track because it contains crackles and the performance meter is acting like crazy even if nothing is happening (no VST instruments nor effects loaded, no audio files, sequencer stopped). Performance meter goes up and down and it hits again and again the peak. Moving the mouse causes peaks. Clicking somewhere in the arrange windows causes peaks. Even clicking on the peak to switch it off causes it to go on immediately.
So I close Cubase and start Ableton Live or Logic Pro and everything works like a charm which means the way I was used before, on my modest 2011 MacMini running 10.7 and Cubase 6. Cubase 6 + MacMini is still a solid combo while MacPro + Cubase 9.5 is a disaster, it’s simply unusable and that’s why I am using the other DAWs at the moment.
After many experiments on various Apple computers I came to the conclusion that there is something wrong in Cubase when it runs on modern Apple computers. I tried to run Cubase 9.5 on WIndows 10 in Bootcamp and it’s a disaster. So maybe the problem is in the Apple hardware/in the combination of Apple hardware and Cubase 9.5. Any average PC works better (which means IT’S USABLE).
So my advice is to install Cubase 9.5 on a Windows machine and have a test. You will be probably happy.

Definitely not a good spread over the cores here.
I am on a Mac pro 2013 6 core. A 88.2 project with approx 70 tracks and not exceptional amount of plugins is starting to stutter. Asio meter at approx 90% and hitting red. CPU meter of Mac at 6%

Selecting highest buffer size helps a little bit but not much.

I know Asio performance is not the same as CPU usage but what is the limiting factor here?

Since I had the feeling that Cubase did not utilize the processing power of my IMAC i have compared LOGIC and CUBASE…

Each track has a
FAB FIlter One synth playing 2 octaves
1 soundshifter 1 octave up
1 soundshifter 1 octave down
1 valhalla room 100 wet

I took a screenshot when my IMAC PRO starting having dropouts…

I have attached som screenshots but basically the track count is not very different between LOGIC and CB…

CB8 (performed a little better than 9 and 9.5)
BUFFER 64: 47 tracks
BUFFER 1024: 52 tracks

BUFFER 64: 51 tracks
BUFFER 1024: 54 tracks

SO i guess that Cubase does utilize the processor quite ok?? At least compared to LOGIC…

Or is there someone with a powerful PC out there that can run the test song i did??? Then write me and ill send it…


This has been a longstanding issue, very frustrating for us Mac users.

yes but it looks like cubase is just as good as logic which surprised me a little…

That’s interesting indeed. I haven’t tried Logic, but when I did similar tests about a year and a half or so ago, Pro Tools and Reaper both were noticeably better than Cubase as far as their CPU efficiency/when I looked at how the spread was across cores. I haven’t seen an improvement in Cubase since then with 9 and 9.5, personally.

How much of your CPU power can be utilised by Cubase depends hugely on the nature of your project.

If you have many individual tracks with a couple of plugins each, you will be able to run a very high track count, and load up all of your CPU cores to a high degree. However, if you have just one or two tracks with many CPU intensive plugins, routed through some group channels with lots of plugins, you can easily bring your CPU to it’s knees whilst many cores are lying idle.

See attached screenshot showing 24 cores all highly loaded running a Cubase session.

Interesting, thanks for posting about that. I have gigantic sessions with many tracks and groups and sends, most with plugins on them. In similar sessions with the same plugins (all scoring sessions, so they were setup very similarly) on PT and Reaper, there was far more CPU available and better spread across cores. That was my experience, anyway, on Mac Pros with Xeon processors. I see you’re on Windows – this thread was about OS X, so maybe there’s a difference in favor of Windows? I don’t know since I’m not on Windows.

I was a Mac user for many years -still am, but just not for my studio computer. Purely anecdotally (from seeing stuff online and from talking to friends) it does appear that Cubase currently runs slightly better on Windows. Anyway, I’m not sure if there is much difference between Mac and PC with this particular issue and I think to some extent it is present in all DAW’s. It’s easy to test:

  1. Take the plugin of your choice
  2. Create an audio track with 8 instances of that plugin.
  3. See how many times you can duplicate that track before the audio starts breaking up/crackling

Now repeat the process but instead of duplicating the track, route it to a group track with 8 instances of your chosen plugin. Then route it to another group track with 8 instances etc. You will find that the number of plugins you are able to run is vastly reduced if they are chained through multiple groups compared to if they are all on separate audio tracks.

Yes, I did this exact type of test a couple years ago when I first switched to Cubase and noticed that it hit the redline far sooner than both Pro Tools and Reaper (Reaper using the same VSTs/plugins as Cubase) did. Again, that was just my specific experience when doing this kind of testing.

I have found the opposite… in my case i can say on the same hardware between win 10 and mac osx 10.12.6 the mac side has been more stable and easily loads and is much happier with my 1000+ vienna template… i used to host it on external machines. now i can host it on the mac directly.

Well i’m on mac and have recently upgraded my mac pro late 2013 to the 128gb ram! in cubase i’ve maced it out and it’s stuttering all over the place but my memory app outside of daw says i’m on 12%!

I thought the last 2 times i upgraded it might sort it out but no… sigh… lucky it’s not my job because it’s not rock solid…
I’m now on cubase 10, high sierra (was on yosemite before with c9) and even though i love the new features (but still would like to be able to select the master as a stereo audio track source) i’m not going to invest in the next update.
So basically steinberg must be aimed at either pcs or… ? i don’t get it, i know hans zimmer uses steinberg… do what am i doing wrong? i’ve got the best mac pro 2013 128gb ram and it can’t even handle much!!! Do the pros use slave machines to run all the plugs and vsts? how do i do that? I recon all the daw companies need to create hardware dsp to resolve all this bs - like the uad octos but more generic cpu for whatever plugs on the system in the daw.
a bit annoyed. Aim gonna do my next mix in protocols and see if it uses more of my power.

For the case of a serial chain of plugins (not doing parallel summing of separate audio tracks), Cubase 10.20 multicore performance on Mac OS 10.13.6 is much worse compared to say Logic Pro 10.4.4. I suspect that when summing separate tracks with plugins, it is easier for any DAW to do parallel processing using multiple cores. But with a single audio file being processed thru a serial chain of DSP intensive plugins, e.g., doing audio restoration work, I suspect it is harder to parallelize across multiple cores because you can’t offset/delay part of the audio chain to make up for DSP latencies elsewhere. Distributing the DSP load depends upon how the program threads are written, how many threads the program needs to run, and what those threads expect for resources (and how long they need to run).

One test I did was to use all 3rd party plugins in a serial chain, with 1-3 plugins on each buss. The busses and plugins were setup exactly the same in Cubase and Logic; audio source track routes its output to buss 1 (with 1 plugin), buss 1 outputs to buss 2 (with 1 plugin), and so on and so forth thru 17 or so busses until the last buss sends to the main outputs. At the point where Logic was maxed out to run the project with good results, Cubase was behind by several DSP intensive plugins it just could not run.

From the activity monitor, Logic used 245% of the CPUs (out of what I presume if 800% for an i7 chip with 4 physical and 4 virtual cores), and I never saw it list more than 42 threads. After reducing the plugin count until Cubase would not choke, it never used more than 144% of the CPUs, and had a much larger number of threads to run = 85.

The fact that the thread count for Cubase is 2X as high as Logic is not necessarily bad, i.e., it may just have more low priority threads that seldom need to run. But while fewer threads (Logic) may need to run longer, higher thread counts (Cubase) can create more opportunities for blocking and overhead which thwarts distributing them in real time. I can’t prove that is what’s happening but it looks like it could be the case. Setting wise, Cubase was in 32 bit precision mode, audio priority was at the highest setting, ASIO protection was at the highest setting, and the audio buffer was at the max setting. Logic was using core audio, had its audio buffer maxed out, was set to use all 8 threads (which you cannot specify in Cubase), and the process buffer was set to large (which you cannot specify in Cubase). Logic however was in 64 bit precision mode (not 32) yet still ran quite a few more plugins than Cubase (though with no parallel summing of tracks there was likely no advantage).

I wish I could report otherwise, but for this case of serial plugin processing. Logic makes markedly better use of multiple cores.

Just recently bought a beast of a MacBook so I can keep running Cubase, mainly because I’m too lazy to start learning Logic. Still getting Average load peaks and fan running like crazy although Cubase is only using 30% of available CPU. This madness needs to end.

I also got the fully pimped out MBP 16" with the same spec and my fans sound like the laptop is about to take off whenever I am using CB10.5 Pro. I really wish Steinberg would pull their fingers out and get this sorted.