E-kit (with drum VST) not always triggering properly when recording into Cubase

The drummer in my band has an Alesis e-kit (DM10 mkii Pro) which he uses for rehearsals and recording. We record into Cubase 12 Pro and usually use a drum VST such as Steve Slater Drums. We have the e-kit connected to a Windows 10 laptop via USB Midi. Everything else we record is connected to the laptop via a Behringer XR18 mixer/interface.

Recently something odd has occurred - the e-kit triggers the drum sounds from Steven Slater Drums perfectly fine when we’re not recording. But as soon as we hit ‘record’ in Cubase, sometimes there are a few issues where the drum sounds won’t trigger properly, especially during faster drum fills. Any ideas what is going on here, and how we can solve it?

I’ve got the buffer setting in Cubase set to 128 samples. I lowered it to 16 samples, and it was maybe a bit better but still not always triggering the drums 100% when recording. At 8 samples, the sound started to sound corrupted, so I had to make it higher.

Generally I record at 24 bit / 48kHz. The input latency in Cubase is around 4.1 ms, and the output latency is around 4.5 ms.

The laptop is a pretty decent speed and spec, so I don’t think it’s the speed of the computer that’s causing these issues. But maybe it could be, I don’t know? We still get issues triggering during recording the e-kit even in a fresh Cubase project with just 1 track, so it can’t be caused by having too many tracks in a project taking up too much CPU power. The specs of the laptop are as follows btw:

HP Envy Beats edition with Windows 10 Home (version 22H2)
Processor: Intel Core i7 4700MQ CPU @ 2.40 GHz 2.40
Ram: 16gb

The computer has 2 disc drives - one is SSD (222 with 13.3GB currently free), the other is HDD (931GB with 841GB currently free).

I had to install Cubase Pro and Steven Slater Drums to the HDD drive as the other drive was running out of space. Do you think it makes any difference in speed of triggering and latency with software installed on the HDD drive as opposed to the SSD drive? I don’t get any other problems with latency on the HDD drive - audio, keyboard VSTs etc all work fine and with decent speed.

Ssd loads sounds into memory so all being on the same drive makes no difference. Do you have local turned off in the drum module midi settings? It should be. When you hit record are you recording anything else at the same time? I play a Roland td30 into my desktop with toontrack sd3 and I do also have ssd5.5 free (I don’t use it though as nowhere near as good as sd3) without hitting this problem.

I wonder if the midi buffer gets full or something else causes an issue by taking up cpu cycles. Have you ran the latencyMon program to see if there is a bottleneck?

Thanks for your reply and the suggestions. Where is the ‘latencyMon’ program in Cubase?

We usually multitrack songs 1 track at a time - obviously while recording 1 track, the previously recorded tracks/instruments will be playing back too.

I will look at the drum module to see if ‘local’ is turned off in the MIDI settings. What does this mean btw?

Also, what do you mean about SSDrums ‘loads sounds into memory’? Do you mean RAM, and that it loads whatever drum samples/presets you’re using into the RAM?

LatencyMon is not part of Cubase. It’s a program you can download (google it) it shows if there is a problem with real time audio.
Yes when you choose a kit in ssd it is loaded into ram.
Turning local off stops the module playing its own sounds. Some say it also helps with how it responds over midi

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