M1 MacBook Pro Cubase 11 12 and 13 unscientific performance test

Hello Cubase Friends

It’s been a while!

Last year I switched back to Mac after 10 year in Windows Town (prior to that Atari ST, Amiga, Powerbook 640C) and I now own a MacBook M1 Pro 16 gig with a Presonus Quantum + Ferrofish A/D.

I am on Venura 13.6.4 and since upgrading to Ventura I have been experiencing some odd load behaviour using my template. Which is:

2 x Konakt racks (8 instruments in each rack)
2 x Omnisphere
2 x Synthmaster
2 x Diva
3 x Reaktor synths
1 x Battery 4

Buffer: 192

All was well until recently when the processor/CPU usage started going through the roof with larger numbers of random crashes especially when using Kontakt/NI instruments. So I then stopped syncing my song storage with my Dropbox.

Mine is a relatively modest template I’m not Hans Zimmer just writing my own stupid electronic music OTB and ITB.

After much head-scratching a forum surfing I dowloaded C11 and C13 to run a test.

16 Instances of Diva playing a four note chord over an 8 bar loop
2 Instances of Kontakt playing a held chord (Spitfire String Instrument) over the same period.

I tried death mode (doubling to 32+4) which reduced the M1 MacBook to a gibbering stuttering wreck, it couldn’t even run the second monitor.

So in 16 Diva + 2 Kontakt Combination going solely by the Cubase Performance Meter on my M1 MacBook (kept clean with only Cubase running) 13 is best, then 11, then 12.

Freezing on all versions reduced the performance load to almost nothing.

I’m not really sure what to think about all this. I made a significant investment to step into Mac (I believed the hype) and the M1 Pro is without doubt the best laptop I have ever owned BUT it’s not a workstation. I think there are huge problems with Kontakt with NI under new ownership and rumours of developers leaving left right and centre and I think I am going to try and leave NI behind having been a customer since Komplete 9 but that’s not a Steinberg problem. I would be interested to know if Halion is a good replacement for Kontakt? I also use UVI which I like a lot.

There were no instances of any effects of processing running just soft synths.

I would rather not end up with a slave running Audiogridder but perhaps this is the step? Perhaps I should have stayed on Monterey?

These are my results after 48 hours of messing about!



Is everything updated and Silicon Native?

That could make a difference. I do run higher buffers when mixing.

Also, what is the memory on the laptop?

Everything is running native

No comment on the performance differences, although anecdotally, C13 seems to perform better for me.

Just a response on your Kontakt comment… and HALion, UVI, Kontakt, and NI in general. I’ve been very disappointed in NI for a while now and have been trying to migrate away from anything they touch, including iZotope and all their brands under the new big umbrella. However, NI still rules the world of major sample libraries, and it’s tough to find replacements for some of my many, many libraries, including Komplete.

HOWEVER if you can live without your old libraries, I have used HALion and UVI for many years too and frankly I love both of them. Just be aware that the selection of libraries for both HALion and UVI are comparatively limited. By “limited” I don’t mean there isn’t a huge variety, it’s just that Kontakt still continues to dominate that market. Just something to think about.

In terms of stability and performance across DAWs (I use a bunch of DAWs), I find HALion and UVI to behave overall really well, definitely fewer headaches in my experience. The rare few problems I’ve seen have been resolved pretty quickly. They are both pretty solid IMO.

For me, HALion and UVI Falcon are both must-haves in much of my work right now, and I can see a day when I never install any NI product again, once I separate myself from all my Kontakt libraries over time.

Good luck!