How many VST plug-ins can you run without problems?

Instead of posting a long sad story about snaps, crackles and pops, PCIe drivers, BIOS settings, Windows 7 services, etc. about how I’m not able to get my computer to perform the way I want, I just thought I would ask everyone a few simple questions.

(A) How many VSTs can you run in Cubase 6.x before you start having performance / audio problems?
(B) What is your computer’s chipset (i.e., i7, Pentium 4, etc.)
(C) What is the Audio interface you have (i.e., EMU-1212m PCIe, Presonus, Firewire, USB, etc.)


I have plugs that I could run 100s of and others where half a dozen instances would cripple my i7 so there is no easy answer to how many I can run.

I usually have to up my buffers to 1024 or more and freeze tracks to complete a busy song. I also spread effects between tracks and groups which seems to help spread the load across cores…I can usually get the asio meter up to around 80-85 before problems. If I have loads of heavy plugs on a single track then problems appear when asio time is as low as 50-60%

The project I have open currently has 51 plugs but is already over 70% asio time as I have some hefty stuff running…I think the most I have counted running live before is around 120 but a lot of those were very low cpu console and tape emus…now I’m using Slate VCC, VTM and quite a few instances of Acustica Nebula which all eat cpu fast.

My i7 is a 930 @ 2.8Ghz and my current soundcard is a Steinberg UR28M.


I’m using mostly NI Komplete 8 (Guitar Rig, Kontakt, etc)
Cubase Effects on some tracks.
I have a Pentium Extreme Edition 955 3.46Ghz Quad Core with 8GB of RAM. and an EMU-1212m PCIe soundcard.

I’m really worried that when Komplete 9 comes out I won’t be able to run BLEEP. :laughing:

Thanks for the advice, I’ll try grouping some like tracks.

A) It depends what plug-in exactly, do you use, and how do you use it. Altiverb is different, than internal parametric EQ, or than UAD, which are based on HW acceleration card. In the Komplete 8, there are differences too, ofcourse. Kontakt is different from FM8, Reaktor, Absynth. In the Kontakt, it depends, which sound do you load.

B) Intel is good choice.

C) RME or Steinberg is good choice in my opinion, thanks to great stable driver with low latency.

thanks. I’m trying to get an idea if a new i7 hex core with Quad Channel memory will help enough to make the investment pay off or not.