Massive CPU spikes in Cubase 13

Hey folks. I’m having some issues with huge CPU spikes in Cubase 13 on my Mac. It’s been ongoing for a few months, although I can’t remember if it was the case in Cubase 12 or if it’s new since the upgrade.

First, the specs: A 2019 MacPro 16-core 3.2 GHz with 384 GB RAM, running Ventura 13.6.4. Cubase is up to date at 13.0.20. All my drives are M.2 SSDs, and all the sample drives are RAIDed SSDs, and everything’s testing fine, with plenty of data bandwidth.

My current project is about 30 instrument tracks, mostly SINE with a couple of Kontakt 7s. It’s an orchestral arrangement, with instruments run through busses to funnel down to the stereo mix. There’s some EQ on a handful of tracks, and 7 reverbs on sends. I’m generally running at a buffer of 384 or 512. While playing the session, iStat Menu is showing the CPU use for Cubase usually ticking along at around 200-450%, but I’m frequently getting CPU spikes up to 2,800%, which kills all the audio for 20 seconds or so.

I’ve tried a number of solutions, increasing the buffer up to 2048, removing plugins, removing unneeded tracks, etc, but the problem remains. There have been a few other issues such as getting poor system performance when connecting to VE Pro, and Pro Tools is getting overload errors with low track counts and no plugins, so it might not be a Cubase-specific problem. It’s driving me nuts though, and I need to figure it out. Any suggestions?


If you open up a blank session do you see any spikes?

Hey, thanks for the response. I tried an empty session, and the CPU hit was negligible. Not a huge surprise, in my bigger session there wasn’t much CPU use when the transport was idle. I have been having CPU overloads in other sessions over the last couple of months, just not quite as bad as this.

I did a little bit of experimenting, and have a little more information. The session in question at the moment has the Orchestral Tools Berlin Orchestra loaded, along with the Benjamin Wallfisch Strings. Only the used instruments are enabled. I did several runs through muting different sections to see if it’s one particular thing that’s causing the trouble, and it looks like it may be a cumulative thing with the BWS patches being the most CPU-intensive.

I first tried muting the BWS, everything played through fine. Re-enabling BWS and muting another section (Berlin Winds or Brass) also played fine, it was only a problem if it was all of them. So I tried remapping the BWS MIDI to Berlin Strings patches, and playing along with everything was no problem. So it seems to be that the BWS patches are more CPU-heavy.

One thing that just crossed my mind is that most of my Orchestral Tools libraries are on one RAIDed M.2 drive, and even though I’m getting around 5000 MB/sec of read speed it might be too much. I’ll maybe try moving them to another drive and see if that helps things, then report back.

Ahh well, worth a try. It turns out the sections were fairly well spread across my drives, but the BWS and Berlin Brass were on the same one, so I moved the brass, and initially it seemed to be better, but on multiple plays the problem returned and seemed to get a little worse over time. Don’t know if that means anything or not, but I thought I’d mention it.

CPU peaks are a huge problem in Cubase 13. I feel that the way Cubase 13 handles Plugins and VST instruments is in dire need of optimization. I just downloaded AudioGridder and 99% of my spikes disappeared as seen here:

Hey, thanks for the info, I’ll check out AudioGridder and see if that helps. I’ve also got VE Pro, so my next step is to try that out.

Same here, I discovered this lovely program about 5 months ago now and it has absolutely been a game changer. Before I would be lucky to get 8 channels (4 VST , 2 Audio, 2 FX) before my Cubase maxed out the audio system, causing all sorts of audio goodness, lucky my speakers were on low XD

With AudioGridder - I can easily run 20+ VSTs, 10+ Audio and 10+ FX channels and it pushes everything to about 75% according to Cubase’s meter.

This video was helpful for me, so maybe for others too?