Ok, back in again.
Been at this all awake hours during entire weekend and Monday.
I called support, and managed to work myself upwards on the chain of bosses, all the way to what I believe is one of the main offices. Talking to someone who I won’t mention by name here. I guess they heard on my voice that I meant business, and I ended up with a telephone bill of €12
Although the response was good this time, there were lots and lots of details and mostly ‘speculations’ as to what could be the problem, trying to isolate them down to a modus of testing. There seems to be no question, that the unpredictability of different component’s compatibility is a factor that Steinberg’s software appears much more sensitive to, than the bulk of DAWs out there. You could clearly feel it, in the conversation, by how immediate, current and fore-fronted these kinds of concepts were available to the person’s mind and thinking. The idea of looking into exact error-searching through following the data stream and processing logs, was not as much to the forefront.
I have to say, I’m not used to this ‘abstract’, blindfolded ghost-hunting approach to computer problem solving. I haven’t had to with any other DAW in the past. So I say that I was deeply disappointed that it wasn’t only a local software/hardware issue. I grew up with a university doctor of software development as a dad. He says that what I describe seems like a level of abstraction in control of the software and its issues which is very coarse compared to what is possible, and it could reflect the attitude/approach of the programmers/makers.
Provided my conclusions are correct, I cannot see this as anything else than a manufacturing choice that surely could’ve been better. As I told the other part: this is an issue that has dominated Cubase’s behavior for more than a decade. If Cubase/Nuendo redo this, keeps all the tools and workflow, but get the stability and sensitivity in league with Reaper/samplitude and a few others, then I’m quite sure think Steinberg can kick Protools off the throne in a 5-year period. I’m not a Protools hater. I’m just using it as a comparison of where Cubase ‘should’ or ‘could’ be.
All in all, I’ve borrowed a friend’s computer too, and made clean installs of the system (win 8.1 pro) on both. Making absolutely sure there are no resource conflicts and processes turned on that doesn’t need to be. Point with another computer is to compare with my own, so I can exclude hardware incompatibilities as the fault. This time, Cubase works noticeably better. It’s the Artist version 8.0.0; haven’t gotten to examine the updates yet. The 32>64 bit bridging however just works slightly better than before, which in my experience equates to ‘pretty bad’.
I managed to find out one source of my problems, which means one problem less to deal with. The problem was … when you first get the Cubase artist package and install it - like I did just 1 week ago - you are offered a 48 hour trial of Cubase Pro. (Or was it 24 hours? not sure).
I started several of my test project in Pro, which included trying out surround tracks and a few other oddities. I was just trying things out.
After 48 (24?) hours, Cubase reverts back to Artist, and the option to open the Pro version is no longer offered. Surround and other oddities is something which Cubase Artist do not support. So when I opened these test projects in what was now Cubase Artist, Artist seems to keep info about the configuration data, so that once you do open the project in Cubase Pro again you will get access to surround tracks and other oddities - even though you save the files in Cubase Artist. But in practical usage usage, the Artist version translates the multichannel tracks in real-time to stereo tracks. This seems to have caused a f***up in the interaction between many tracks and the plugins on these tracks - some of them being 32-bit VST2. Some of these tracks were hooked up to multi output instruments, such as Kontakt. Kontakt then may have been requested to provide a surround output from a 2 track output, but only in theory, not in actuality.
Once I created entirely new projects, and tried the same things again, some of the abstract instabilities were gone.
Tests will continue, I’ll make a big mix now. 150+ tracks. Since I started this thread, I will keep the forum posted. But so far, one might determine that Cubase is mad sensitive before it starts working fairly well. That sets it apart from the bulk of DAWs out there today. Many plugins acts rather strangely in Cubase, some has their functionality set down by 75%. Empty Room Systems DDim chorus, which works great in all other DAWs, will just allow for 1 single setting. It resets itself to that setting no matter how much you try and change it. It doesn’t do anything like that in any other DAW I’ve used it with. There are many other examples.
If there is ever just the slightest little anomaly in the project. For example a plugin that stopped working, or the soundcard being a little feisty, then you can’t quit Cubase without it crashing during the close down process. This is a threat to project files. It may corrupt project files because the saving process can get interrupted.
This has happened to me literally hundreds, maybe thousands of times under many years. If I look in my ‘old projects’ backup, every project has got “Songtitle.cpr”, and “Songtitle-1.cpr”, “Songtitle-2.cpr” and so on up until like 15-20 different saving of each project. These versions were automatically made by Cubase, from saving the file after Cubase displayed the familiar “A serious error has occurred” dialog (this dialog must’ve been around for at least 10 years). Looking in the backup folders, this is a consistent pattern, as well in projects from 15 years ago to projects from 3 years ago, and all the way in between.
Why am I going on like this? Because I loooove Cubase, I almost can’t imagine being without it. But I just can’t use a software that … hm … imagine having Madonna to your left and having Cubase acting up and crashing before both of your eyes, over and over. Your career is over right there. Producer David Foster nowadays records exclusively on Cubase, but his ‘private’ engineer/assistant/tech guy - Jochem van der Saag - claims that he won’t use no Cubase version above SX3. Not reliable enough for pro work. Shania Twain’s “Today is your day” was made on SX3. The recording session is available to watch on Youtube.
I won’t use SX3. I need to get v8 working as stably as possible, to see if it can be trusted with advanced requirements and in a professional setting. And I am a bit crazy, and a bit loud, but if you read this far, then at least you got some interest in what’s going on as well
To be continued ….