Instrument tracks causing stuttering during playback

Hey guys. I’m using Cubase 5, and I’ve had a problem where if I use a lot of instrument tracks, which I use for keys, drums, bass, synth, basically any other instrument other than guitar, during playback I get awful stuttering. I use ASIO4all as a driver but know next to nothing about the technical side of things. The ASIO buffer size is at 2048 samples, the latency compensations are at about 500 for In and Out. Don’t know what that means. I have tried with multiple settings and it still happens. I noticed that it is slightly worse if I copy and paste whole tracks to use with a different preset at the same time, like a synth bass or something, but it still happens without the copying. I do a lot of indie music and the plugins are fantastic for the sort of vibe I’m going for, but it’s just not possible to listen to playback properly :frowning:

Any helpers?


You say…

“if I use a lot of instrument tracks”

Maybe that’s part of your problem, you’re trying to use more resources than your computer has. What are your computer specs? Processor? Ram? How many hard drives are you using & what speed are they?

At what sample rate are you recording at? Have you tried different rates? Is your sound card sample rate set the same in Cubase?

I don’t know much about ASIO4All, but I’ve heard it works for some, but not others. What sound card are you using, the one built into your motherboard, or an audio card (also referred to as audio interface) built specifically for computer audio recording? If you’re using the audio card built into your motherboard, I’d get an inexpensive prupose built audio card with proper ASIO drivers. Steinberg has the UR22, a simple & basic audio card with quite a lot of features for like $150. Or you can buy a used card for even much less.

But I’ve only got 5 on this current project that is aggravating me… I’ve got an AMD A4 processor, 6 gb RAM (I think). I’m using a laptop so fairly certain only one hard-drive, don’t know how to check the speed…

Sample rate is - I think - 41000 Hz. Again, not a clue what it means or whether it would make it better or worse. I do have an audio interface that I’ve (only recently) managed to make work with ASIO4All, since the drivers for it aren’t updated for Windows 8. I used to have to record into Audacity and then export it to mix it in Cubase. Not exactly optimal! But it’s still happening with the interface through Cubase.

To check your ram (and other information about the system), go to ‘Computer’ & right click/open that. Besides opening your laptop up, the only way I know how to check your hard drives rotation speed is going to "control panel’ & look to see what model hard drive you have, then look that up on Google (?) If it’s a good new laptop it’s probably 7200 RPM. Never used a slower drive than that myself, but if it is I’d change it to a 7200 RPM drive. If you’re serious about recording audio on your laptop, I’d see about getting a 2nd hard drive.

But I tend to think it may be ASIO4ALL drivers not working for you, or you audio card not wanting to play well with that laptop. Consider trying another audio card with it’s own proper ASIO drivers . Get a decent audio card if you’re serious about recording.

Then again, if you’re using only one hard drive, and with a bunch of VSTi’s, that can be a problem if you’ve got a lot going on, with the hard drive working so hard. Most DAW users use 2 or 3 hard drives…
#1 HDD OS/Programs
#2 HDD VSTi sample content
#3 HDD song projects
The only way I know how to give an example; more lanes on a freeway allow more traffic to pass through, otherwise traffic will bottleneck. In the case of a computer, information can bottleneck.

Another thing I’d check while at it, it Cubase’s performance meter, and your Task Manager for Ram & CPU usage. At some point, any computer will start choking if you’re just running more than it can handle. Even my old DAW, a quad core @2.5 Ghz with 4 GB ram can do a lot. But times when I just had too much going, I’d get strange things happening…like tracks playing out of time with each other, not to mention the usual issues.

Know thy machine!

You should always make sure of your sample rate going into a project within your computer & your audio interface. Some audio interfaces don’t like to work set to certain rates (so I hear).