(Mac) Cubase 6.5: unusual, unpredictable crackling

Hello everyone! :smiley:

( So this deadline I had of making a project had to be done with this most frustrating problem:( - Though it’s not necessarily urgent anylonger, I still appreciate any form of thoughts/consideration taken on this issue )

It regards, what I honestly think is some sort of a “bug” about asio time overload (and can’t find comparisons of, with what thorough research I have done on these forums, and others)

Alright before I continue, here’s the setup I have. And I honestly doubt it is due to my Macs components:

Mac pro 12 core: 2x 2.4 ghz 6-core intel Xeon
24Gb 1333 MHz DDR3 ECC RAM
Graphics ATI Radeon HD 5770 1024 MB
Software OS X 10.8.3

External soundcard:

T.C. Electronic Desktop konnekt 6 (Now one of my guesses is that the sound card is too inefficient)

VST’s used:
EWQLSO (East West Quantum Leap Symphonic Orchestra platinum plus)
EWQLSC (- Symphonic Choirs)
QL Stormdrum 2
Hollywood strings Diamond edition
Hollywood Brass Diamond Edition
Era Medieval legends (Engine 2 - yellow tools)

Cubase 6.5

Alright, I’ve the past weeks been working on, yes, quite a big project, containing 40+ tracks of pure Engine 2 instruments and Eastwest (play) tracks.
And not only that will I also be adding some vocals into it, when I am hopefully done with the tracks.

The issue began after topping the 30-35 tracks of these VSTs when I (and I have barely made past 1 minute of length) my asio time meter wavered at around 40-50% or so, believing it’s yet harmless, however as I added about 5 more Hollywood VSTs onto my tracks, I get these frustrating crackling/noises (otherwise Asio overload) and not mostly out of random, but in accordance to the metronome.

The funny thing is however my CPU usage hovered around 40% of usage (which usage shouldn’t be this high anyhow, if my mac is meant to live upto its qualtiy and esteem - I’ll explain that later) and my asio meter rarely flashes a peaking point, but otherwise remains consistently at 50%; when I mute and freeze some tracks I believe is overpowering, it still continues.
Basically I am unable to really progress any further, unless I am to endure distortion all the time and let my loudspeakers suffer.


I noticed quite a mysterious yet infuriating thing. Correct me please, if I am wrong, when you click activate on “Multi-processing” in the device setup menu, isn’t Cubase supposed to obviously process and sample? the tracks through my Macs multiple cores? Basically making my performance relatively run smoother, and -most- importantly sustain my Asio driver/time meter?

You see, when I uncheck “Multi-processing” my CPU indeed calms down, I think it falls whole 30% of usage and can easily process my otherwise huge projects – however! my asio meter goes sky-high, all the way to the peak so my project becomes… unplayable.

Do please specify anything I may have neglected of information, but I just -seriously- can’t figure out what is wrong. Trust me guys, I’ve been browsing through your forums, googled other websites, and indeed read many threads that are similiar to this - of what I have scoured at least (dunno if I’ve missed something though shrug )

Other than that, as a second question, since I still have Cubase 6.5, I wonder… could this issue partly be solved/improved if I upgraded to Cubase 7, or it plays no role?

And finally, i really wouldn’t want to freeze my tracks as a solution/work-around, when I am editing most of them + it can NOT be because of my macs incapacity.

Any immediate/soon responds is more than words can describe. I honestly am wandering lost in thoughts of what to do.

Sincere regards: Shayan Qureshi.

Not my intention to rush around with people, but with all due respect, any reply at all or suggestions are deeply appreciated.
I’ll re-state the dire importance of this topic being taken under any consideration, due to a deadline.

HI. Go back and edit your post and put ‘Mac’ in the title. You need Mac user input.

Anything rings a bell for anyone?

Well, first let me say that I don’t use a Mac or EWQL. But 35 to 40 tracks of high end VSTs will probably put a strain on almost any computer. I use a core i7 PC and I sometimes get distortion with only a few VST instruments like NI Razor. Personally, I think you’ll need to be willing to freeze some of those CPU hungry tracks.

Hey Jaslan, thanks for the much needed reply.

Freezing tracks was definately a solution or rather an attempt that was considered, which I’ve right now tried too but with another problem of course popping up, during the arrangement (pasting the song/midi together etc etc) when I freeze the tracks it did seem to help my CPU, but not the asio time meter. Thus not removing the crackling. The other problem being when I export my projects (see down below)

I had imagined ( which seems I’ve just been too naive) a mac of this caliber, its power and the confirmation, from what experts I could seek out, that this mac would -easily- handle EWQL’s indeed craving products, I gambled my money on it.
As I was under the impression, having read and seen many professional composers equipment, that a mac pro 12 core (24gb) would -atleast!- be able to handle a relatively large span of the biggest VST’s out there.
'cause if not, then what is? well unless you either pay a ridicilously lot more for a fully optimized mac pro, or connect a slave pc/mac to it. Buuut, not everyone has the money for such, right? I bet not the average succesful composer either.

But the funny thing is honestly that, when I do “uncheck”/deactivate “Multi-processing” my CPU usage hovers constantly at the low 10% of usage, or 15% max. And that’s with playback of the entire project, without freezed tracks. However with the disbenefit of my Asio Time meter takes a trip to the moon.

So I seriously am in desperate need of answers or any form of advice, since the past days of waiting, it seems that my ADAM A7X monitors has been destroyed by Cubase’s (and god am I tired of it?) inevitable screeching and scratching sound.
And I am sure I -may- have missed something, whether it being a simple setting or something in the control room, but I find it impossible to solve something liek this, for inexperienced people, that seemingly has no logic.

Have you had anywhere near the same issues as I, to relate to?

Another issue as well I just discovered was:
With the same project I’ve worked on ever since I created this topic, I managed, with difficulities, to get my project done. But so freaking typically, when I then export my project into “Export audio mixdown” whatever i do, whether it being set down the bits, samples, freeze tracks, shifting my indicators on te timeline, or choose format - the exported audio-file plays the track with CONSTANT screech/crackles, randomly.

Sorry for laying such load on you guys, and the rants, but honestly I’ve ran out of ideas and alternative solutions to this. I have naturally done what thorough researched I could already on the forums, before I posted these issues.
Some threads could relate to my problems, but not being close to solving them

I wonder. Should this be something Steinberg should look at?

Sincere regards: Shayan Qureshi

I don’t see if mentioned in your post have you tried increasing your buffer setting? What is it currently set at?
Also you mentioned a suspect interface have you tried a different interface and make sure you have updated drivers? Also, try a project with 10 or 15 Halion Sonic instances and see what happens. If the CPU handles that fine click on the tracks and duplicate them. If the CPU still handles those fine, you may be able to isolate the problem to your setup in EWQL.


You’re right I could do that for experimentation purposes, though the fact that I don’t know where and when my Mac pro’s cpu usage is truly being used, I in all honesty doubt the fruition in doing that.

As mentioned previously, the odd bug, error, misconception - whatever, the “Multi-processing” feature gives me is whenever it’s activated something… triggers my CPU to, I think, process each and every track with unnecessary load or something, as it goes up to a staggering 80-90% when 50 EWQL tracks are on the table.

Which, in some sense could be understandable, but if that were to be so… how come, if I uncheck my multi-processing, it dives down again and calms at 15-20%? But again, in turn the asio time meter has skyrocketed.
Due to all of that, the process behind my mac or sound-card becomes quite unreliable and hard to figure out. If nothing less, I thought it’d be the opposite way, that when you check “Multi-processing” the CPU usage is much less heavy-loaded, than off.
My buffer settings are at the regular, 44khz and 512 sample-load-thing… I however have tried to nudge up the sample rate, but the problem remain as strong.

As a quick other question that crossed my mind, isn’t there some kind of device (preamp?) that is designed, by somehow taking the blows of audio-spikes, to guard a set of monitors from such a damaging thing? If so, do you have any recommendations?

I’m imagining working on cubase I’ll more than once stumble across them again.

Bump again.

I suppose this strange issue really isn’t ringing a bell to anyone?


Had the same issues and it was Mountain Lion that caused this. Worked on it for weeks with no result and finally, after installing Lion again which gave no problems at all, installed ML again( same problems) and then did a Combo update ML and everything was fine again.
See for info:



Hey René thanks for the suggestion.

Unfortunately though, what possible solutions that was posted in the link didn’t seem to work or help the problem any bit, though it’s at least a good thing to know now that ML (mountain lion) seems to be taking its toll on audio softwares.

However I again stand with the problem, and it’s for some awkward reason so severe now that, what big project I’ve been working on lately, I can’t playback my track in any shape or form or record on the project, considering my asio time meter remains firm at its peak. It’s so severe that even unchecking “multi-processing” doesn’t help, which it somehow normally did before.

So again, my asio-time meter seems to have a lot of trouble with, naturally, bigger projects consisting of 40-50+ tracks of mostly PLAY plug-ins, making it reach ,very frequently and most of all unpredictably, its peak. Causing me to simply be incapable of making any relatively big projects.
And I insistently want to exclude the probability of my mac pro being too weak to handle the much pressure. Yes, PLAY’s VST’s is generally quite heavy, but come on!
I’ve seen professional composers setup and computer specifications (that was either below, matching, or were slightly higher than mine) and, for example, tutorials made by them where they have nearly 100 of (mostly) heavy tracks such as PLAY and Vienna. So my mac pro -can’t- be the reason, or as -if-, the primary reason.

The second weird thing to recall is the Multi-processing issue: checking the multi-processing function ceases down the Asio-time overload quite greatly, but seems to take a huge toll on my CPU (my guess is, it turns the functions principle upside down, making my mac only run it all on one core) whereby unchecking the “multi-processing” my CPU is much more calmer and hovers around 10%, but Asio-time meter goes sky-high… WHAT IS THIS?!

Any continual help is appreciated.


Anything that makes any sort of… sense? And I for the record just checked, this rather large project I said i’ve been working on, well, apparently when I open the project like 1 week past its most recent save, the peaking asio-time meter is even there now.

It all practically ruining my project I’ve spent hours and hours and hours working on

So, my fellow composers, I do hate to bother you with this crap, but honestly I myself am blank with this one and need some sort of advice.

Consider installing Lion again.

I’ve just today tried to reinstall my OS X - though it’s as mentioned Mountain Lion i’m running. Don’t think I can run my mac pro on the earlier OS, as if I’d prefer not to either.
But as I thought the damn strange problem persists. Nothing has changed.

I have been wondering as it’s the only logical explanation I can mind up, if there has to be one, if my sound-card… somehow can’t handle the pressure. However, the expert I bought it from recommended the hardware when I started up my studio, it’s nothing too fancy but neither a bad device. I as well told the guy which VST’s i’d primarily be working with and he said it’d get the job done.

Still looking for any sort of help and suggestions guys.

Unless I should simply bring this issue to a steinberg expert?

Reinstalling ML didn’t solve the problem, but the Combo update did.
As you can see in the appleforum there are lots of people suffering with ML sound issues.

This might help also:

Hi folks,
I’m a newbee here with the same sound stuttering issues since ML.
Thanks to my son I got rid of that by:

Finder View menu > Show View Options
Disable “Show icon preview”

I had found out that this problem only occured when opening a partition that showed a lot of icons.


I indeed see that ML’s OS has brought its issues upon many, which only I hope at some point apple will be capable of fixing.
However, assuming that most or just some composers today (mac users) are using the latest OS - ML, there must be some… way to work around it, otherwise I assume this issue has stalled a lot of mac professional composers, all of which doesn’t seem to be the truth for those I know of.

I did as well disable the icons in the Finder menu (thanks for making me aware of it anyhow) but unfortunately it didn’t help.

In truth though I’m more keen on believing that the… majority of this issue doesn’t have much to do with the OS, as I’d guess if this were an OS issue shouldn’t the crackling noises/asio overload persist with no exception? I mean I can play and arrange through a project in cubase, up until I reach about typically 30+ VST’s. But just because of increasing load, it really shouldn’t result in asio meter peaking.

One thing I didn’t get though, which combo update are you talking about? :astonished:

Appreciate the help you’re trying to give me, Renewal. I really do.

30+ VSTis at a 512 buffer is a pretty hefty load. Not surprising at all you are experiencing difficulties.

Just an opinion, of course.

It sounds like a simple case of finding the limits of your machine/soundcard capabilities.


Are none of your VSTs multichannel?

Meaning you can load from 8 to 16 individual channels within one VSTi?

Is that what you mean by “30 + VST’s?” In any case I actually can’t be certain the performance difference between individual VSTi and multichannel VSTi, but it’s worth a shot to try and get the total instrument slots down from 30 and utilize your internal channel routing more efficiently.

imo it is impressive that you’re able to chug past 20 with the confidence that you’re gonna add like 10-15 more lol

Thanks a lot for the heads-up Renéwal, I definitely seem to’ve overlooked that update. Though it unfortunately didn’t seem to improve my asio overload/general stutter problem, that problem is gone.

I understand it may sound as quite a heavy load, Scab Picken, and yeah it probably is, but before I brand my machine’s capacity being the/major part of the problem, I want to exclude any other possible causes.
Yes indeed I realise that regardless of the specs of your computer, you must act carefully and sort of even out the heavy load and performance flow.
I normally did run my projects with 512 buffer size, however the past days I nudged it up to 712 ms (fearing if I go any higher the latency will be too much than what it already is) and it doesn’t seem to’ve improved much. It did make the asio meter step down a little bit, of course.
So, as if it should be any hardware contributing to the problem, I still stubbornly judge my external sound-card, because (when the “Multi-core processing” feature is checked) even with the heavy load my mac’s CPU is on 50% usage or so, leaving much room left. Even way more if I uncheck the Multicore Processing feature, as you know.

I could go and freeze my tracks, which will probably be necessary anyway, but at 30-40 VST’s (even if it sounds like much) feels just too soon for me, as I’m working with orchestra libraries and in most cases I estimate I’ll easily round up on 60 tracks.

As for your remark, Mpayne0, you poked my curiosity there. The way I set up my VSTis are through “VST instruments” filling out my MIDI tracks through that panel, but I’m not sure if that’s how you mean with multi-channel. it sounds as though you can load up several… different? MIDI samples/channels counting as one VST, is that right or? I’m not loading up my MIDI channels through the “VST instrument tracks”.
For me it just somehow feels like this problem, though I may be deluded by wish thinking, is because of not utilizing Cubase properly, or the right way of handling heavy VST’s, and is relatively an easy fix.

Much obliged for the current responses btw