Low Latency MIDI Keyboard - Cubase Setup

Good Day

I use Cubase 8 Artist as my main DAW. I record in it and use it as a host for VST Instruments such as the ones that come with Cubase or from third party Companies like Native Instruments. Because I write, produce, record and mix my music all by myself all those tasks become intertwined which is my ideal workflow. This way I can switch between activities which helps me keep perspective.

This however causes my Highend PC to produce a high latency output of all the Virtual Instruments as my Projects often have several plugins active during the process. I’ve read up on latency in the internet and it seems that my Presonus Audiobox USB Interface isn’t exactly the most effective solution to my setup. Some say I just need a better USB interface like a Steinberg UR22mkII, others tell me to get a DSP based system.

Right now the latency is way too high. Cubase itself states that the output latency should be at around 2.49 ms but I and my Girlfriend (who isn’t even a musician) percieve it to be way higher.

What are your thoughts? Like I said, my PC it pretty fast:

i7 3.6 GHz 8 Core (4 Virtual) - 16 GB Ram - Windows 10 64 bit

Thanks in advance


Hi and welcome,

I would recommend a dedicated PC machine. There are companies oriented to the building of the dedicated studio computers. They know, which components talk each other the best way (for our real-time audio needs). This should lower the latency of the whole system. The Audio Device is of course part of it. I can cofirm, Steinberg products provide pretty good latencies.

And RME is really king of the hill, when it comes to USB and latency. From your description I don’t think that would help. If you are adding vst efx on your instrument tracks then you are adding more latency for every plugin you add.
Compressors and limiters can have a fairly big latency, depending on their “look ahead” way of doing things, try to power them off, not just bypass them, and see how the latency behaves.


Download and run this utility, it may give a clue to your latency problem…


Good luck.


Just a guess, here, and I have my own latency battles, but if you freeze more of the midi tracks you might find things are working with less latency. Only keep unfrozen the tracks you are actively working on. It might help reduce the CPU load, also, same for effects. If you are happy with how something sounds, apply the effect to the audio file and the processor would have to work in real time. True, you are now “married” to that sound, but the backup is always there.

Good luck with it all.

Hi all and thanks a bunch for all the good answers.
I actually figured out a lot of stuff while trying to solve my problem. Here is the Answer/Solution for those interested in this matter:

Linear phase - Yes, I was using linear phase processing on my Masterbus. This inevitably creates latency.

So problem solved? Not quite. While this very simple answer deluded me for embarrassingly long, I found other latency problems to which common solutions provide little to no answer. Many modern Daws and other Plugin Hosts and Chainers will display you the amount of latency. What they do not display is the actual total latency caused by processing/chain/components interaction.

This post http://www.dawbench.com/audio-int-lowlatency2.htm clears up a lot of it.

The main problem seems to be that most Audio interfaces are geared towards an audio engineering perspective. Most Audio Engineers do not perceive latency the way a Musician does. Of course, low actual latencies of 20ms are not perceived as an actual gap, but we musicians feel something is out of place. This can impact musical performance significantly.
Also the linked post shows, that even DSP based interfaces do not necessarily improve low latency performance.

Software also seems to be a factor.I get lower latency values using Kontakt as an VST in Cubase 8 than as a stand alone even though that suggests, that Kontakt as standalone would require less resources.

I think this problem seems to be a lower priority for many manufacturers. Many Daws and Hosts just like Cubase try to expand and cover a wide range of tasks. With these all round Solutions latency becomes just another problem.

As a musician I would like Companies like Steinberg to consider creating or optimizing a Solution for Music Performance. I wouldn’t mind paying for a Cubase Performance or something. It doesn’t have to be able to record. Simply Routing, Midi handling, Latency and Reliability would be paramount.

Many praise Ableton Live for flexibility, but latency is a factor in Live just as well.

What are your thoughts?
Cheers everyone