Rant - Cubase handles corrupted plugins really badly

I’m very sorry to do this, but after years of the exact same issue, I’m going to have a rant about the programming. While I’m not a programmer, I can “best guess” what’s going wrong.

My total guess: When a plugin instrument gets corrupted, Cubase holds the corrupted version either in the project file or somewhere else, and it is STILL loaded into RAM, even if you have disabled the plugin and/or removed it from the project previously.

This means that:

  1. I open a project with a project with a corrupted plugin in it in SAFE MODE
  2. I completely remove the corrupted instance of the plugin
  3. I save the project as a new version
  4. I cold start my PC
  5. I re-open the project in normal mode
  6. I ‘try’ to open a new, FRESH instance of the plugin in that project.
  7. Cubase crashes without any dump.

The only way to get that plugin open is to either create a new project or open an old version where the plugin wasn’t corrupted, which the latter usually doesn’t work, so I end up having to either re-mix a whole project from scrach for clients or use a different plugin instrument.

Anyway, here’s the tl;dr:

Cubase handles corrupted plugin instances really badly, corrupting the whole project file along with it, disabling any ability to work on that project ever again. The project file also cannot be wiped in safe mode and used as a template. Corruption carries on, even after new saves of the project file with plugins disabled/removed completely.

Sorry for the rant. I’ve just had it with spending countless hours trying to recover corrupted project files, only to have to restart from scratch. Seriously thinking about moving to another DAW due to it. I’ve reinstalled Windows, reinstalled Cubase, reinstalled ALL plugins (took days to re-download huge libraries), and the issue still persists.

I’m sorry, but it sounds to me like the “corrupted plugin” is the real problem here. What plugin is it and have you contacted its manufacturer?

Native Instruments Kontakt - happens with multiple different instruments, usually the 60s, 70s, 80s, etc Drums.

Synthogy Ivory Grand Pianos - most of the time it’s fine. It’s only when I’ve had an issue with NI Kontakt that I disable it, it works fine. Then next project opening Ivory Pianos crashes it.

I’ve had it with Slate plugin effects, Plugin-Alliance, etc.

It’s not the plugin manufacturers. It’s Cubase’s dealing with them. I create a new proejct and they load fine. I try to load them in the corrupted project and they crash Cubase.

Cubase has had this issue since God knows when. Version 9 or 10? All of the plugins have been updated multiple times since then and work fine in most projects. It’s ONLY in some projects where it decides to flip a bit and now NEVER able to load the plugins inside those projects again.

I see. Yeah, doesn’t sound like the culprit here are any of your plugins, but rather a corrupt Cubase project. I don’t know if a corrupt project is salvageable, but have you tried creating a new, fresh project and import all the tracks from the broken one? Does the issue follow the imported track(s)?
If the issue is repeatable, I guess you could send it to a Steinberg developer for analysis.
Sorry I couldn’t be of more help.

Creating a new project and reimporting all audio, creating the plugin instruments again, solves the issue. The only issue then is having to remix the project from scratch, and/or (if able to), copying track settings so I can reload the plugins on each track - except, of course, the plugins that were on the tracks with the corrupt instances of the plugins.

It’s been one of the most frustrating issues I’ve ever had with Cubase. Many hours lost. Perhaps they’ll find a bug somewhere, or maybe rework how corrupted plugin instances are dealt with so the projects don’t crash before they’re fully open.

That would be the hard way of doing it. Have you tried using the Import Tracks from Project feature?

Hi, thanks. I never knew this was a feature!

I’ve just tried it. It crashes with no error messages (same as when trying to open the corrupted project).

It works when importing all other tracks and omitting the defective tracks (with corrupted plugins on). So I can probably export the MIDI separately from those when in safemode.

This workaround will save me tonnes of time in future. Thanks so much!

This could actually be a good thing in regards to troubleshooting. If you’re willing to spend a little more time helping Steinberg devs out, you could see if Cubase created a dump file when it crashed, if it did, post it here in the forums. If it didn’t, there is a way to “record” a dump file for analysis but requires you to install a small application. I can’t remember what the app is called, but it has been mentioned in these forums by Steinberg devs a few times.

Most welcome. :slight_smile:

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Unfortunately it doesn’t record a dump when it crashes and simply closes the application, so I’ll certainly have a look for the app you mention exists somewhere to see if I can record a full crash dump.

Thanks again for your help. It’s greatly appreciated!