Stock versus bought in performance?

Hello all,
Looking for some advise as to plug ins and CPU usage.
First, some background. I am running Cubase Pro 9.3 and, over the years, have installed various extra plugs (both free & bought in) from various manufacturers.
Waves has been my normal choice, with everything from eq & compressors right up to NX and TG12345.
Whenever I used these plug ins there was a distinct jump in my CPU meter and the more I used the higher the reading until it overloaded and started dropping out.
With some plugs (NX and TG12345 for example) just one instance caused the CPU to spike and if I tried to load another plug anywhere on the project it just basically stopped functioning as it should.
This weekend I tried a little test, 5 mono audio guitar parts, Nova mono EQ and H mono compressor on each, all tracks sent (around 50%) to an FX track with a single stock Steinberg reverb on it, and finally a TG12345 on the stereo out mix bus, and that’s it!
My CPU meter showed 60-65%, and any additional plugs caused the scale to max leading to drop outs!
I then substituted all the non Steinberg plugs with “in the box” plugs, and the CPU fell to 15%?
So here’s the question, am I doing something fundamentally wrong with my plugs? Have I loaded them incorrectly, are they in the wrong location, or am I missing something really obvious here?
One thing I did notice was that, in the plug in manager, it wasn’t showing the path to the Wave plugs in the bottom section, so I added it, and once the computer had finished scanning, there was of LOT of blacklisted Waves plug ins that weren’t there before??
I can give more details about plugs and locations etc. If needed, but I was really just looking for some guidance?
I would like to get this working properly before I go for the 9.5 version.

Thanks for reading,

Jim B

Steinberg’s plugins are indeed very CPU efficient. Most of them where designed back when most of us were still using Pentium 4 CPUs, which had only one core, and that core was anywhere between 5 to 10 times slower than a single core of a modern CPU (which often have 4 or more cores). Needless to say, they had to optimize these plugins very well to ensure that they would be usable on most recent computers.

These Waves plugins you mentioned are much newer, and the TG12345 emulates several elements of an analog channel strip, so higher CPU usage is to be expected. I looked up the CPU on your signature and it seems that the performance of each individual core isn’t that great. You can reduce the CPU usage by increasing your ASIO buffer size a bit, and activating ASIO Guard.

Note that Cubase Pro 9.5 allows you to use a new 64 bit summing engine that will reduce your CPU usage a bit by default, and this performance improvement will be even greater if you use VST3 plugins that support 64 bit double precision output, like the Steinberg plugins. Yes, they run even better in 9.5.

Thanks for looking Romantique,

If I understand you correctly, Steinberg’s plugs are , from the CPU loading aspect, better than most, and that I would need to upgrade my computer to enable greater flexibility with the plugs I can use?
I have been using Asio guard anyway, but I will admit I never play with buffer size as I haven’t had to!
Would I need to increase or reduce buffer size to help CPU load, and is there such a thing as a recommended buffer setting?
Your comment on the new 64 bit summing engine is interesting as well. Do you think that, by “default”, this would also improve Waves plug performance on my system?

Sorry if I am asking stupid questions, but I don’t really know much about what goes on “under the hood” as fast as DAW’s are concerned!!

Thanks for your help,

Jim B

Yes, a faster CPU would definitely help a bit.

You can just use the highest buffer size that doesn’t bother you (increasing the buffer increases the delay between playing a note and hearing it). You can set it pretty high while mixing to maximize the number of plugins you can use.

The 64 bit summing engine seems to be a bit more CPU efficient even if you’re not using VST3 plugins that support 64 bit output. In that case the difference in CPU usage wont be very big, but it still helps. I don’t know if the Waves plugins you mentioned support 64 bit output.

Also I forgot to mention, but your laptop might be using a power saving plan, which will make the CPU usage appear higher since they slow down your CPU to save power. Take a look at Windows’ Power Options and check if it’s set to High Performance.

Thanks again Romantique,

I will have a play with buffer settings during a mixing trial later today.

One thing that still bothers me though, and I mentioned it in my OP: why did I suddenly have a lot of blacklisted plug ins after creating a new path and scanning? Surely this means my plug ins weren’t loaded in the correct place?

I am still not sure that I have put my plug ins in the correct files on my computer as I would appear to have 4 different plug in locations??

Any advice for me would be gratefully accepted!!

Jim B

Hi all,
Just updated to Pro 9.5 and all my blacklist has vanished!
I’m not complaining, I just don’t understand the reason why?
After a short test the 9.5 does seem to give me better performance from non stock plug ins, although there’s not much in it, so I am basically a happy bunny!!!

Thanks all.

Jim B