Poor DAW performance (groups, subgroups, sends...)

We already know that Cubase’s core management is not exactly marvelous, but it’s really weird to see how, when one wants to work on a project in the best way, that is, through groups and subgroups, there comes a moment when Cubase tells you no.

Why? Because the more organized you are, the more you use groups, subgroups, sends… (which is the correct way to work), Cubase tells you to forget it and maxes out your CPU. It doesn’t matter if you have an almost quantum computer.

Too many people, for too long, have flooded this forum with complaints about it, but Steinberg seems unwilling to pay attention, looks the other way, and chooses to distract with improvements no one needs, neglecting something as basic and necessary as this. Could I buy a desktop PC with 12,000 cores at 8 GHz so that this wouldn’t be a problem? Yes. The problem is that I need to work with a laptop, like a vast majority of professionals today, and no matter how powerful the laptop is, if the DAW is poorly programmed, it can do little.

DAWs like ProTools do allow working as needed in this aspect. Frankly, I don’t know what the engineers at Steinberg are thinking. I hope it gets better, but I’m hopeless.


Do you have any specific issue, please?

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I use groups, subgroups and multiple outputs, main mix 5.1 downmixed to stereo, with stems in both formats. Not a problem in Nuendo.

So like Martin wrote - do you have any specifics?

Without specifics SB won’t know what problem to solve.

I couldn’t say it’s something specific, simply because it’s a constant. In every project since I started using Cubase from time immemorial, this is something that always happens. It’s not just something I’ve reported; the forum is filled with the same issue in multiple threads. The more groups and subgroups, as well as sends are created in a template, the worse the CPU performance, whether you’re inserting plugins into those groups and sends or not.

Since time immemorial! quantum computer!! 12,000 cores!!!
No specifics!!! Get a grip on reality!!!
Stop flooding this forum & work with ProTools!!!

No it isn’t.


What does poor CPU performance mean to you? Be more specific. I’ve done a lot of projects with a lot of audio and Instrument tracks with groups, subgroups and sends in good quantities and I very, very rarely had performance problems.

Are you with Windows or Mac? What version of system and Cubase are you using? Are all your apps and plugins up to date? Under what circumstances CPU overloads occur. Give us more details…

I’ve always been surprised by fanaticism, on many levels. In politics, in religion, even in sports, but I’ve always thought how ridiculous fanaticism looks at the levels you’re displaying regarding software that is just 0s and 1s. From the moment you claim the forum isn’t filled with users constantly complaining about Cubase’s performance, you’re showing zero constructive thinking. And when you attempt to ridicule those who highlight existing problems, that’s when this fanaticism becomes evident.

Sure, Cubase performs exceptionally well, better than other Daws, and there’s really nothing to fix – it’s just me, with nothing better to do, bored and wanting to stir things up here.

Well… no wonder Steinberg hasn’t bothered to address these issues with fans like this, why would they bother?

What do you want me to mean when I say that CPU consumption is affected? That when I put bread in the toaster, it doesn’t toast enough? That the washing machine doesn’t wash clothes well?, Or what? I’m truly astonished by the responses I’m coming across.

In any case, thanks for your help, it’s been very useful. I’ll try to find a solution on a different forum than this one.

I hear you. I’m as well constantly frustrated by Cubase. My maschine is up to date and runs fine with any other software. Cubase instead keeps on with freezing and hanging on startup. Even on sparsely populated projects I experience seconds of delay on simple user actions, such as moving or resizing an audio part. It’s “lovely” to see the CPU ramp up to max and stay there for ten seconds just on dragging around some tiny audio event… Issues like that are not constant across projects or days or wheather situations, but rather unpredictable. And Yes, I tried to find the culprits in my system, but even a fresh install of everything and a stock Cubase doesn’t mean everything runs smoothly. Again: No other Software i use misbehaves like that. So it’s a Cubase thing, right?

If somebody’s system is running like ace that’s totally fine. Congratulations on that! But this is not everybody’s experience with Cubase, unfortunately. So, maybe, if the lucky ones don’t share these other peoples experiences at all and have nothing substancial to contribute, then maybe they shouldn’t answer at all. Especcially not in some rude manner.

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no ones being rude they’re asking for specifics. We need to quantify by what the OP means by poor performance.
I’m running a windows 11 machine-AMD7950x-64GB DDR5 ram and an M1 Max macbook pro with 64GB ram both using the same RME RAYDAT/Ferrofish interface via a Sonnet TB chassis, and buses and send do NOT have any noticable neagtive performance impact on either machine.

The OP was saying he needed to work on a laptop… well by Macbook Pro has actualy got slightly more performance on real world mixes than my Studio 7950x machine!! not much but I can add a few more plugins before it hits the red, so again, Laptop AND Desktop user here with windows 11 and macOS Sonoma with no issues regarding sends/busses.

so we need specifics… i.e. what plugins? how many are you slapping on each bus you’ve created… if you’re putting 2 instances of Ozone on every bus then of course it will grind your machine to a halt. So , again, specifics and people will help.


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I think you are mistaken. The majority of people who visit this forum have encountered difficulties with Cubase at one point or another. They often found answers to their problems on this site, to the extent that they allowed others to help them by indicating and explaining as clearly as possible the nature of the problem(s).

When you cannot find answers on this site, you generally refer to Steinberg technical support.

It does you no good at all to have a negative attitude and make your frustration known to others without specifying the reasons for your frustration. Have an attitude that allows everyone here to be constructive, friendly and respectful.

As Michael said: « We are the ones who make a brighter day. So let’s start…»

Just for context.

here’s mix running over 50 acustica Aqua plugins! with a load more algo plugins with buses-sends-automation etc running on. my Laptop, dropout free and smooth as silk.


Look, everyone benefits from Cubendo getting better. Everyone.

Here’s the truth though: Developers of any software can’t help you if all you say is “Oh, so it’s not working so well for me.” Developers need details. Without details things won’t get fixed. If there’s a bug for example and you can post a clear reproduction that other people can verify then typically people from SB will chime in and acknowledge it, and odds are far higher that it’ll get fixed.

So now I see several people saying that apparently CPU load is too high. Ok…

  • Which version of Cubase are you using?
  • Which version and build of Windows are you using?
  • What CPU, motherboard and memory are you using?
  • What storage solution are you using?
  • What project setup settings are you using?
  • What’s the track count?
  • Which plugins, and how many are you using?
    … and so on…

But we get nothing.

You should ask yourself this: If someone like Hans Zimmer can run Cubase when he scores for Christopher Nolan, do you really think he’s running into issues like this because of Cubase inefficiencies?

Not even I see what you see (and ‘yes’, my system specs are in my sig). I have zero problems moving/resizing events. Zero. Haven’t had that in years.

If you want help so that your situation improves you have to be willing to make at least some effort - you have to be willing to help people help you.

It never does that here.

Can you elaborate? Would you list your system specs, and most importantly create a step-by-step reproduction so others here can attempt to do the same? Include the number of groups, sub-groups, sends. For anyone to help out, you need to give much more specific information.

As a matter of fact, if the issue is just groups and sends, with no plugs in the project, you could post a .cpr for anyone to load. My guess is that the issue is more than the number of groups/sends etc.

It doesn’t here. But maybe I’m not using enough groups, subgroups, and sends.

It’s a traditional way to work, but I would never suggest it’s the correct way to work. I think you would be amazed at the different Cubase user groups, and how some users think out of the box how to use Cubase.

Complaints about what? Heavy use of groups subgroups and sends? I have not noticed that. Keep in mind most Cubase users never even participate here unless they have a question or problem.

That’s your subjective opinion. Your objectives may be different than another users goals. There are lots of improvements that I personally don’t think are necessary. But I don’t know Cubase like the developers of Steinberg including their short and long range development goals.

I used to use PT a little. Frankly I think comparing PT and Cubase is comparing apples to oranges. Yes, there are similarities, but I see PT as a recording/playback environment while I view Cubase as a total production environment filled with dozens of features not found in PT.

Don’t have time to get into any further details for now. Instead allow me to quickly ask one simple(?) question to hopefully give me some perspective.

Context: Cubase 12 on an Intel 13600KF @ const. 5.1 GHz, Z 790, 32Gb @ 5600 MHz, fast NVME, RME Raydat at 64 samples
Project: 44.1 kHz, 64 bit, one track, no plugins, Cubase not running / i.e. stopped

Content: Copies of a short (6 ticks) audio event at each 1/8th bar, 540 bars in total
Action: Select all the 540 bars via range tool, Edit > Functions > Duplicate
Question: Is it considered to be normal that the duplicate action takes a whopping 13 seconds, while primarly utilizing only one CPU core (to it’s max.), generating only 9% overall CPU workload and stalling the program until the job is done? Seems odd to me, but maybe I’m just asking too much from recent software on a recent PC in 2023.

Edit: All power management, speed stepping, turbo and similar settings are disabled in the BIOS, multicore enhancement is also turned off since it created more pronounced real-time-spikes within Cubase. Windows power plan is set to High Performance.

No, that is not normal.
I ran the the scenario that you described but with 48kHz and 32f bit audio engine and 256 samples buffersize.
I got approx. 1 second of delay when duplicating 3000 bars.

Seems very long to me. I think a copy-paste or duplicate command would likely hit the one core, yes. I mean, maybe there could be some threading going on but on the other hand it seems maybe it’s not necessary.

One thing I asked was which version of the OS you’re running. The newer generations of Intel CPUs have a ‘hybrid’ architecture with two different types of cores so you should be using Windows 11 (probably pro) for them. So, if you are then I’m at a loss.

I haven’t done what you’ve done, but I have copied maybe 40-50 tracks filled with different audio and automation (one hour’s worth of content on the timeline) from one place on the timeline to another (from hour 1 to hour 2) and it didn’t take anywhere near 13 seconds.

I’m on Windows 11. Don’t know the build version but it grabs updates automaticly…

The described scenario is just one shallow example of the “fun” I have with Cubase 12.

Are those events by any chance slip-edited – i.e. cut-down versions of longer events made by simply trimming the endpoints on one or both ends without bouncing those to new events (i.e. so the additional data beyond the endpoints of the visible clip is still in the underlying audio)? If so, does bouncing the clips before duplicating them change the result? (It could be that Cubase is needing to do a lot more work than it looks like it has to do, especially if each of those events has to be a copy, instead of just a reference to a single event.)

One scenario I’ve seen slowness in duplication on (and sometimes even crashes or hangs) is a scenario something like this, but where using ARA plugins (e.g. RePitch or VocAlign Ultra) on slip-edited clips that have the same underlying audio data. (One example would be tracking multiple takes of background vocals in a single looped operation, where all takes go into a single audio file, and the slip editing and comping of multiple takes is then referencing that underlying file for lots of smaller clips on different lanes.) Full disclosure: My system is far from state of the art (i7 5820k, and at some points when I’ve seen this, some of the data the ARA plugins are using may have been on a slow hard disk, though I’m currently using all SSDs for Cubase’s uses).