Drop-outs in Cubase Pro 12 and 13 on Mac Studio M1 Ultra

I’ve been getting some concerning drop-outs lately in my Mac Studio M1 Ultra, a machine that has far more power than required by Cubase and many instruments loaded, unless of course there’s something wrong with it, but I don’t see anything weird in any other software.

At first I thought it was a project I downloaded from the VSL tutorials page, and those projects all use the Vienna Ensemble Pro server to load the instruments, but I don’t like that workflow, so I like each track in Cubase with its own instrument. So I converted that project in a way to be the same but use the VSL Synchron Player in each track.

Once I finished, I started playing back the timeline and just a few seconds in, it started stuttering. I would press stop, then play again, and same thing. I don’t want to make this ten pages long, but basically it seemed to me that Synchron Player was the culprit, because this was a rather short number of tracks compared to other projects I had opened and played without problems. In fact, recently I downloaded the Cubase project Lorne Balfe posted for Mission Impossible Fallout, which has over a hundred tracks, and since the project was from 2016, I had to replace everything but a few things, because even the libraries that he had back then were under Kontakt 5, so either I was going to do this project in Cubase 12 Pro Rossetta mode or replace everything with Kontakt 7 and my instruments.

Well, that project played from start to finish without any hiccups. But this smaller project, that had mostly the Synchron player with two VSL libraries was so heavy that it felt like using a machine from 1995.

So I thought it was that the VSL player and/or libraries were not optimized for Apple Silicon and that was it, after all, I searched online and many people were having the same issue.

But shortly after that I started noticing that Cubase Pro 12 was causing my mouse to stutter, like I would be moving the pointer and suddenly it froze but a quarter second later it would appear where it should’ve been. I will note here that I have a Microsoft Sculpt mouse that is USB, but I have the USB receiver connected to a USB extension cable that goes to my Mac, so the receiver is less than a foot away from the mouse.

Then I noticed that more and more, projects that had barely any tracks, were also playing with hiccups, and the audio performance meters were showing the peak going all the way to the right while I was hearing those hiccups or drop-outs, whatever they’re named.

Obviously I did all the usual troubleshooting, like setting the interface buffer to 2048, disk preload to 6 seconds, enabling and disabling the ASIO guard, etc.

The internal storage in this machine is 4 TB, and it’s the fastest drive I’ve ever had. According to the Blackmagic Disk Speed app, it goes up to 7 GB/s. At this time it’s not full, even if it’s close to, but it has 400 GB of free space.

So this kind of thing should not happen in a machine this fast. Everything in this machine is insanely fast, and every app that I use in it is just as fast. But there’s something going on. If this happened a year ago, I would probably go for the sure thing, meaning backup, wipe the drive and install the latest macOS version.

But that’s not an option anymore, because in the last year I have bought so many libraries that the 4 TB drive is not enough for all of them. I had to buy an OWC 4 TB SSD to put the rest of the libraries. So the usual downtime to make a backup, wipe the drive and reinstall macOS plus all the apps I have is a process that takes me several days before I had all these libraries. Right now, it would take me two weeks of reinstalling everything I have, because I know that it’s not just a matter of making a backup of all the libraries and then just install the software from each company and relink. For some companies it is, but I have read that people have had trouble doing that with Spitfire libraries and other companies as well.

So I need to find a solution, and see what’s causing all these spikes in CPU usage that I keep having. Granted, this seems to get worse the more tracks I have, because I don’t get them all the time. But today I started a new project, then dragged an audio file, and that caused a peak.

I already trashed the preferences recently, before Cubase 13 came out. I can try that again, but it’s a royal pain to set everything again the way you want it.

Any suggestions?

1 Like

I wish more people actually cared about this issue. The amount of threads I’ve seen is crazy on here and on other forums. Dating back 10 years! Dismaying as well. Knowing no one has even cared means I’ll probably never have stable playback.

Who needs functional playback anyway…Not like it’s a big part of the music making process or anything…

I guess we got a black Valve compressor with 13 now so that should fix it yeah? lol
Make new things, keep the old ones broken.

I take it you mean it was an issue also on Intel Macs, since Apple Silicon Macs didn’t exist 10 years ago.

Lol. Yes. Thanks for clarifying that for the thread.
I can’t believe this has been reported for so many years with barely a acknowledgement.

If you’ve been struggling this bad for a decade with Macs, perhaps you should give PCs a shot?

I gave Pc’s a shot years ago for production. Definitely nothing on Macs.
Nor have I ever had this on this Mac as a consistent user of Ableton, Logic, FL, Bitwig & S1.
Every single one has never had this issue. Cubase yup.
I use Ableton everyday no Issue.
Cubase has everything I need to never use another DAW again aside from a functional playback/audio engine.
After spending the last 2 days reading over 40 posts on the issue and seeing how widespread it is…(morso on windows from my reading*)
I mean, it’s clear that if people have been talking about this way back, the oldest I found being 11 years ago.
Sadly I don’t know how else to read this issue aside from Steinberg just doesn’t care.

As much as I love Vocalchain I would’ve preferred a stable audio engine to build a Vocalchain on first lol

I think you are making a false assumption here. People do not tend to post on forums how flawless their DAW is working. They come here when they have issues.
Personally, I don’t recognize the problems you are describing and I’ve used Cubase for decades on both Macs and PCs.

I know this was for the other person, but switching to PC is not the answer to anything unless all you want to do is play games, or PC gaming is a huge part of your life.

I have used both PCs and Macs since the mid 1990’s, and nowadays, nobody could convince me to use Windows as my primary OS. I still use Windows in my old PC that I built myself and it’s fine for some things, but these days Macs are the best platform thanks in great part to the Apple Silicon architecture, and to macOS. At least for artists and some other people, I’m not saying it’s the best for everything. If I had to work with networks, system management, etc, all those enterprise functions, sure, PCs are the best way to go for that, but for artists, these days, Macs are the best by far.

I think this is a matter of software makers becoming more familiar with the Apple Silicon architecture and adapting their code to it. VSL Synchron Player was really sluggish until recently, when they optimized its code for Apple Silicon (there’s a difference between software being Apple Silicon native and being optimized for it), and now it’s working great.

And well, when you see the sizes of some libraries, like the OT Berlin series, it’s obvious that even with the fastest SSD, it’s still heavy, so lots of instruments have to load and that takes time.

From where did you get the notion that PCs are for playing games on? That sounds a bit out of touch to me given that several world renowned artists, composers and producers run Cubase on a PC.

Definitely a false assumption lol

Generally you just need to look at most major studios to see what you should use:

Abbey Rd: MAC
Studio 301: MAC
Forbes st (Universal studios): MAC
Sony Australia: MAC

When the window’s peeps enter the session you know there’s going to be problems lol

Troll alert!

Pot, kettle, black…?

For every 10 user on these forums that have issues, there are a thousand more that do not.

Guy’s…Chill lol. We all love cubase. That should be enough to keep this civil lol.
If I’m wrong I’m wrong. I have no issue with that.
But there are issues with far less reporting on the forum with official recognition than this issue.
You may not be affected which is awesome. I wish I was you rn, truly.
But unfortunately I have these spikes. As does I believe the OP.
If you read any of those threads you would see for some this issue is something that has become progressively worse each new iteration of the software. With some more investigation it also appears that Cubase doesn’t discriminate between windows or Mac in regards to this issue.
For some of the posters this issue has plagued them for years with no one caring to acknowledge.
I imagine some may have moved to other DAW’s from the sheer non acknowledgement.

Now what might help is Iv’e noticed this happens on Cubase stock samples primarily. Especially when In musical mode*

Maybe useless info but it’s the best I’ve come up with to repro*


Just to be clear, I never said the issues you are experiencing aren’t real, I just don’t believe they are as widespread as you have made them sound like. If I could, I would gladly try to help, but unfortunately I’m out of touch with Macs these days and the threads I’ve seen with this or similar issues on PCs, there are just too many variables for me to know where to start. One of the threads you linked to above, a PC user, seemed to have solved the issue by using a separate SSD drive for their projects from having them stored on their system drive.

Obvious question perhaps, but have you raised a support ticket with Steinberg/Yamaha about this?

A good way to keep things civil is to avoid calling someone ignorant. Unless you’re someone publicly known as ignorant, like Donald Trump or similar. I have 30 years of experience with Windows PCs and about 25 with Macs, so you might disagree with me, but to call me ignorant is totally out of place. Granted, the troll didn’t know I had decades of experience with Windows PCs and Macs, but again, unless you’re referring to someone blatantly and widely known as ignorant, calling someone ignorant when you disagree with them is not a great way to keep things civilized.

Hey there!
Thanks for the response. Trouble shooting would be very different indeed. There are completely different options in the ASIO setting between both.

Unfortunately I am from Australia. So for whatever reason Steinberg decided we don’t matter enough to create tickets lol. So aside from to a local Yamaha dealer who never answers. Not much.
The forum has become the only place to source answers for those who fall outside the people the have deemed worthy.
My only hope generally has been a admin creating a support ticket so far. But I know there’s one that really doesn’t like me which has made it a little harder as I was downgraded to basic & banned for 1+ month so my reach and ability to interact is greatly reduced.

After spending so much money on Cubase/Absolute and all the extras packs (you should see the receipts) to then have to explain to a individual threatening ban “Im autistic, I have learning difficulties it might take me a little longer to get the rules” & to have the response be “you’re not special, follow or be banned” was a big shock.
I’ve honestly been afraid to post cause I was told I’d never be allowed back after the initial ban…That 1 month ban set me back so far in terms of study, saving, bookmarking posts and mental health in general.
But I guess I’m just a name on a screen to most people. They did the job though. They’ve made afraid to post anything really, great success

Point being I really appreciate any response I get. This forum is my only source for knowledge.

I don’t understand, you’re telling me that if you email support they flat out tell you “Sorry, mate, you’re from Australia, and we don’t offer support for users in your country”?

The way I see it, if they sell the software in your country (and this applies to the whole world, since the software is sold online, not at a retail store), you’re entitled to support just like everyone else.

It makes me sad to read that, and I hope it’s just a bad apple that doesn’t represent Steinberg as a whole. I hope it doesn’t sour you from keeping on learning Cubase, because it’s an amazing program that you can use to build any piece of music you can dream of.

However, if this forum is your only source for Cubase knowledge (and granted it’s a great source), you’re missing out on lots of other great sources that will speed up your knowledge considerably.

YouTube is full of great tutorials for almost anything you can imagine (Cubase or otherwise), especially Dom Sigalas’ channel, which has tons of great tutorials:

But there are so many channels dedicated to Cubase. Whether it’s Cubase or anything else, a great way to lear is to do a Google search like this:

Cubase Pro 13 how to [put here anything you want to learn at the moment].

You do that, and 99% of the time you’re going to get tons of results, many of which will be YouTube videos, and those will teach almost everything you want to know. It amazes me that there are so many people on that platform that spend so much time and money in audio and video gear and are willing to teach all these things for Cubase and so many other programs. Of course many of them get paid well by YouTube when they get a lot of views, but still, most of them don’t get rich doing it.

Please don’t be afraid of posting questions here. The users in this forum have been a huge source of knowledge for me in the now one year since I started learning Cubase, in fact in five days it’s going to be one year since I bought the crossgrade from Logic Pro X and I couldn’t be happier.

That’s true, and maybe it came out a bit differently than I intended. Surely you can do a lot of things with PCs, but these days, the Apple Silicon architecture has made Macs so fast and silent, that the only reasons I see to buy or build a PC would be if you’re a hardcore PC gamer and you want one of those sweet Nvidia RTX 40xx cards. Or if you’re a developer for Windows games, or Windows software in general, or systems architects, server applications, etc, etc.

But for creatives, whether it’s composers and musicians, video editors, motion graphics artists, 3D generalists and so on, nowadays nothing beats the Mac Studio Ultra. I had it for almost two years, and I punished the thing with Blender renders all night long, several nights in a row, or 4K video editing and rendering, and I never heard a fan noise. Had I done the same thing in a PC, the room would be a sauna and I would have to put up with excessive fan noise all the time.

Can a well built PC with the best components beat the latest Mac Studio Ultra in raw speed? Of course. If speed is the only thing to consider, then PCs are the way to go. I don’t have anything against PCs, I built many for myself and for friends over the past 25 years. But if you consider all things together, at least for most people, Macs are the way to go.