I’ve been struggling for a week with a matter that might shed some light - not a solution but something related.
Every hour from system startup, windows 7, I get a peak in the red - regardless of something is playing or recording, just idling stopped in Cubase.
When recording, while this hourly thingy is coming, recording stop and get a dialog over dropouts.
Playing back when this is coming - i get serious crackles.
I tried increase asio buffer size - no difference.
Asio Guard on - much lower peak meter idling - but red peak comes either way.
I ran 32-bit engine, and tried 64-bit no difference.
This never happends in Sonar, doing the same thing.
So certain things going on in system - affect Cubase audio more than other apps.
I have removed certain Check for updates in various software - Adobe something could cause this, not on the hour but 12 minutes after system startup. Turning that off that went away.
All that remains now is that hourly thingy - currently no clue what it is.
The hourly thing for me - comes exactly, looking in task manager and uptime - 2s after the hour every time, round the clock.
No network up.
There might be related to your stuff, don’t know - just shared the info.
Something seems overly sensitive in Cubase regarding this.
In Sonar I never hear a pop.
Next step for me - is going back to Cubase 8 or 8.5 and see if the same.
My next crackles/peak comes in 13 minutes from now, got to go…
EDIT: No C8 is the same, but not sure if it runs on an engine from 2015 or current one.