Low buffer rate = misery

Hey guys, recently upgraded my computer from XP to Windows 7, and I upgraded from cubase sx 2.0 to cubase 6. I’m running a very old pc and I know that this was probably a massive jump for my system, but I can’t get any lower than 1024 on my sound card when I’m running 2 tracks of VST plugins. One is EZ drummer and 1 is a VST amp simulation.

I already know that my Pc has limitations, but I was running 30 tracks with multiple plugins and EQ (all audio) at very low latency before on my system, with no issues whatsoever. Since the switch I haven’t tried recording just audio yet, but was shocked that with 2 to 3 tracks of VST I’m crashing the sound card.

My sound card is the RME multiface hdsp pci card with FireWire. My driver says that it is up to date, but I accidentally downloaded multiple versions of the RME driver. I don’t know how to verify if I’m running the correct one, but when I tried to reinstall the updated driver from the site, Windows tells me that I have the correct one.

If I’m doomed to run at 1024 because of how old my systems is, that is what it is, but I’m trying to figure out if I’m missing something.

I am running the 32bit on a pentium 4 windows 7 3GB ram

Thanks in advance, I have seen a lot of posts that have helped me to refine my settings, but I’m still stuck at 1024. Please let me know if this is normal. This is my first attempt at recording with VST instruments. I am used to just recording my band. 12 inputs, set at a very low buffer rate (128) and then overdubs. Never any issues.

My main concern is when I record my band, the drummer has a problem with latency. I will try to record 10 tracks of audio with no VST at a low buffer rate to see what happens as well.

And you have all the visual effects turned off? You should have looked into how people have gotten c6 to run on XP. Win7 is a lot to ask of a 3gb ram and a p4. I ran c4&5 (5 only as a demo) on an old P4 box fine…only having to go above 128 for final mix downs.

My win7 uses a gb of ram just idling. And every bit of window moving and graphics like that hit the CPU WAY harder than xp did. Granted, I’m now on a c2Q w/8gb and a 9500gt/1gb video…I can only imagine what it would do on the old radeon 9600aiw/p4/4gb system.

My point is that I didn’t detect significant CPU usesge growth between 4 and 5 on the p4…or on 4 to 6 on the c2q, so you hog in this case is likely win7.

i didn’t check the visual effects. I will look at that as soon as I get home. When I first got the computer it was set up by a pro. I had a service install the windows 7, who was unfamiliar with how to optimize the computer to run audio. I thought that they had held all my settings, but I found the internal sound card still on, so I’m assuming that the visual effects are still on as well. I did notice that Cubase did a cool fade in. That should have been a hint.

What if I add another Gig of ram to bring it to 4?

Your P4 is the bottleneck, RAM won’t help. Drum VSTi’s and Amp Sims are some of the most resource intensive plugs.

C6 (and W7) will not be optimised for that computer. As you’re not too sure what you’re doing (if you did you would have factored in a new computer system) as well, I’d say chances of you getting Cubase6 working there for more than 5 minutes at any sample rate is pretty slim.
Bad news at this time of year is never welcome but if there are any late presents arriving pray that it’s a new i7 system.

The “latest thing” is never the latest thing. You also need to buy at least another four “latest things” to get it to work.
All the best.

ps: Just the FSB on that computer will block ram data traffic to the CPU so don’t throw any more memory sticks at it.

Conman, thanks for the brutal honesty. If I understand correctly you are saying that my computer is insufficient to run all the software. What is FSB? Sorry again for my knowledge base, is this something I can work around or is it time to start all over again?

Front Side Bus or Northbridge if you look them up. It’s a communication bridge between the Ram and the CPU that can get overloaded with data especially where a lot of midi and sound libraries are involved.
The newer i7 systems have direct communication which speeds that dataflow up considerably.
When I saw the specs for both W7 and then C5 I knew I was in for a sea-change. Though the i7 systems have been out for a while I believe there’s longevity there and although there are new computers imminent they won’t be too different other than bells and whistles like touch-screens or iPad like protability. There might be new moves for music applications but a good i7 system looks stable to me for some while.
Pity at the moment that drive prices are high but, with the new computer moves coming soon there may be bargains to be had so shop around and do your research thoroughly and you could end up with your ideal WORKING C6 which I think you’ll be more than happy with.

BTW the earlier answers are sound enough so look into them but especially go to your Soundcards support site for the latest drivers. On that system for playing midi into, I’d set latency at 10ms down to no less than 6 milliseconds (128 samples?) otherwise you may get crackling. On playback, to get more FX etc then you could increase that.

Besides Conman’s other good advice, the one above is a gem. Don’t get hung up on the idea of having to always operate at a single latency/ buffer rate.

Ultra low latency is only necessary for live midi recording, i.e., playing a midi like keyboard, guitar, wind, etc., against a track playing in your DAW, or for monitor mixes for ‘artistes’ recording audio, e.g., vocal or guitar, against tracks playing back in your DAW and wanting to hear/ monitor themselves.

The only other time it even matters is if you are automating effects and trying to precisely ramp a parameter at a specific spot in your track or mix. Yes, there can be a lag as you adjust a parameter, but just loop the section and wait until the eq, comp, delay or whatever sounds right.

I’m sure with your RME gear you have the ability through the little icon in the system tray to stop Cubase and change the buffer size as often as you would like. Just use it until you get that i7 … and then keep using it.


At 128 all I get is snap crackle pop. I appreciate all the help, and I don’t want to make it sound like a $2000- investment is no big thing, but it just seems inevitable.

I am going to try and reload the proper driver for my sound card. I will keep refining my settings, but i’m still fritzing out. I tried to record 10 audio tracks with no latency, which is what I need to record my band, and it was breaking up at 256.

I know I’m coming off as not sure of what I’m doing (partially true) but it was more like I’ve used this system for so long with no issues that I lost track of time, and I didn’t really investigate what I had, compared to current tech. I bought a new drive and found out about SATA. I increased ram and found out about DDR 2 and 3.

it all started when I wanted to try ezdrummer, ezdrummer said update your cubase, cubase said update your windows, and windows said update your ram, and the next thing I knew, here I am.

The best thing is, I know when I get it all ironed out, that people like you guys are here. It was a whole different world when I first built my system, no one to talk to. Thanks again!

Mich I say time to face facts get a new PC. A core i5 will give you much better performance. Take a look around your studio and sell something, failing that hire out the wife, but get a new PC.
I have run Cubase on all sorts of 32 bit systems and its just endless frustration, if you move to 64 bit its going to be like opening all the wndows and letting the air in

I just want to thank everyone for your help. I took the plunge and got myself an i7. I especially want to thank Conman for the edumaction I got on computers in the year 2012. I was still looking for a pentium 5. Now I can’t wait to start asking stupid question about upgrading from Cubase 2.0 sx to C6. :open_mouth:

Godd one. It may be an idea for some time after, while you’re getting used to the system to press “Windows start key(next to CTRL)+Pause”, copy the specs that you see and put them in your signature just so anyone here knows to some extent what you’re using and what, if any, problems are likely to be.
You’ll likely get a couple of niggles with a new system but I’m pretty confident it should be a painless transition.

Your P4 is the bottleneck, RAM won’t help. Drum VSTi’s and Amp Sims are some of the most resource intensive plugs.

I can run Cubase 4 and BFD2 on my old P4 at 128 without batting an eye. EZ Drummer takes a fraction of the machine. The Amp Sim, which he didn’t name can bleed a CPU…and I’d just suggest that they also SUCK, so buy an amp and two birds-one stone! :slight_smile:

The Win7 with 3gb and (areo and 1gb OS footprint, combined with a drum app that does NOT disk stream, will kill a P4) were the likely biggest issue.

As to how you record a band at 1024—by using the hardware monitoring in your RME like you should STILL use if it was at 128. I’d kick you out of the band if you made me monitor live mics at 128 samples. :slight_smile:

I never recommend upgrading OSs on old machines. I assume you did that just to put C6 on? You could be using Cubase 4 or 5 with your license in XP. Or I’m pretty sure there’s a way to get C6 to install. I didn’t notice C5 (demo) use much more resources on the P4 than C4. The new machine went from 4 to 6, so I can’t be sure, but…With the double driver thing, it also sounds like you have something misconfigured–Win7 handles Firewire differently than XP, too…but, the thing is…

They’re not wrong…if you’re in a place where you don’t know how to optimize and troubleshoot…the answer is you need to go buy a faster machine…and hope that just being horribly overpowered will make up for not getting to the bottom of the poor config. :slight_smile:

Why did you make this upgrade? EZ Drummer also works fine in XP. Some particular feature in C6?

Hey Popman, ezdrummer said i had to upgrade my Cubase to at least 3 so I figured why not go all the way to 6. Once i looked at C6 it said to go to windows 7. I over estimated my computers ability to handle everything.

As far as amps go,I have that pretty well covered, it was more of the fact that one amp VST and I midi channel of ezdrummer shut me down at a sample rate that wasn’t even that great (256). And I figured I would ask before I went and bought anymore stuff.

“As to how you record a band at 1024—by using the hardware monitoring in your RME like you should STILL use if it was at 128. I’d kick you out of the band if you made me monitor live mics at 128 samples.”

I won’t lie, but I never had to use my direct monitoring when recording previously, because I had my machine set at the highest sample rate with 1ms of latency, and only the drummer would give me grief, so for him I would use the headphone out of my RME (you’re not a drummer, or even worse a keyboardist are you?) .

Really, I had no issues for 8 years, but then again, I never upgraded anything either. It was just silly to try and cram 100 pounds of s**t into a 10 pound bag.

I will post my specs after I hook everthing up this week and test it out.

Man, that is a HUGE difference in computing power that I’m sure won’t go unnoticed.

Core i7 + Win7 + Cubase 6.05 = Bliss

Let us know how it goes :slight_smile:

Well, VSTi are generally more demanding than audio work. For the record, my point with my BFD2 reference is it sucks way more resources than the lite ex drummer. Regardless, VST instruments as a rule are what push machines-not audio production.

I am a keyboardist…and have been a finger drummer most of my life. :wink: but, I’d call bass and guitar my most accomplished instruments. I am terribly sensitive to latency. I actually use an analog feed for vocals and fret less bass, fwiw–even converter latency has a negative effect on my pitch perception. Canary in a coal mine, maybe…but, just saying–the longer I play, the less tolerant I get of gear compromises.

Is the amp sim the built in Steinberg sim? I use it if I ever need to tax my quad core. I mean, it doesn’t max it, but it takes an absurd amount of processing for as lame as it sounds. IMO.

I just think you have you have too much running on an old machine to NOT fully optimize. First step is to go back to what you did with the old install–typical audio project. Forget the amp sim and ezD for now. Apples to apples, see how much performance difference you’re getting. You need to keep in mind, I’m an IT admin for a living…so, I know how to strip things back and diagnose bottlenecks for optimization. Which is why I can do what I can on the p4. However, I would frankly never try to run win7 on it. HUGE resource hog. Nice OS for a modern machine…but, old hardware+new OS is generally a recipe for performance issues.

Try the audio alone. Disable areo I’m Win7. Kill any AV. If that works, then add eZ drummer. It was made in the era of dual cores and G5s…it really should be fine. Worst case, you get the drums programmed and print as audio, which you should do anyway, but that’s another rant…if it can’t handle audio alone near to the performance the old install did, you should look at putting xp back on. C6 will run in XP, even if not officially supported. If you can’t get it to go, get steiny to give you a download of c5. I know for a fact it works perfectly fine in xp on a p4 2.6. Your license for 6 should allow 5 to run…and will be new enough for eZ drummer.

Or, of course, you can always throw a new machine at it. But a new machine to run a lite drum app should not be needed. I think the new OS, combined with its handling of FireWire, and maybe that awful amp sim are all working against you. Also, if you have driver weirdness, that may be a factor, but likely has something to do with the FW driver of the OS with an old FW controller.

I really didn’t NEED a new machine. I made the decision because I want to give VSL samples full 64bit ram access so I could load whatever without being careful not to overload the ram. It’s nice to have more machine than you need. But, it not a requirement. Not for 44khz audio and eZ drummer.

Core i7 + Win7 + Cubase 6.05 = Bliss


I won’t lie, but I never had to use my direct monitoring when recording previously, because I had my machine set at the highest sample rate with 1ms of latency, and only the drummer would give me grief, so for him I would use the headphone out of my RME (you’re not a drummer, or even worse a keyboardist are you?) .

I’m curious as to why the drummer should give grief. I’m a drummer and I can work at 8ms no bother. That’s better latency than my drum kit.
Unless you are lying… :mrgreen:
Maybe he heard the beats before he played them. :mrgreen:

Never never never tell a drummer about latency!!!