Transpose/Time Stretch causing bad pops/glitches on playback

Hello friends.

I know there are many threads about glitchy playback but I couldn’t find one concerning this specific cause.

How to reproduce the bad things

  1. Create empty project.
  2. Add an audio track (in this case I used two kick drum samples).
  3. Apply any amount of transpose (up or down, doesn’t matter) or time stretching.
  4. Loop a small section so the audio track will repeat.
  5. Hit that space bar.


Four out of five times, the audio track will get a nasty pop or dropout, which often appears at the end of the sample but can also occur during its body. It is usually one pop, but sometimes it happens more than once in rapid succession.

The bizarre thing is that once playback loops back around, the audio track does not glitch. I haven’t seen it glitch after initially pressing play, only on the first hearing. 50% of the time, when I hit ‘1’ to go to the start of the loop, the audio will glitch. It’s not as consistent as the first play but it still happens.

Bouncing the audio track in place (with the effect of the new sample not requiring any transposition) removes the glitching playback.

I would also note that if I take the same audio file and duplicate it within the same track and apply the transpose/timestretch, the playback will glitch on the first of the two, but not on the second. Normal playback resumes when it loops back to the start.

The VST activity thing doesn’t register any spikes in load/disk usage when the glitches occur.

My specs
CPU: i7-4790k
GFX: Nvidia GTX 980
RAM: 16Gb (2133mhz)
OS: Windows 10 64-bit
Cubase Pro 8.5.15
Audio interface: Steinberg UR44
Cubase is running off an SSD (same drive for OS).

All drivers are up to date. I wasn’t using any plugins (even stock ones).

I would really like this to stop as it’s a bit soul-crushing! :open_mouth:

Let me know if you need any further information.

Thanks, pals!


Well unfortunately I have the same problem and I haven’t found a solution so far. Ableton uses the same algorithms and everything is butter smooth there. Must be a problem within Cubase.

The only algorithm that kinda works for me most of the time without the glitches & pops is “standard-drums”. I set that up as the default algorithm in preferences & only switch to the more " advanced " ones when I really feel like I need them.

The weird part is that even when set to one of the tape-algorithms the pops still occur, even though there shouldn’t be any heavy processing going on with this particular algorithm…

I’ve been struggling off and on with glitchy, poppy Cubase playback for years. I refuse to believe my PC isn’t strong enough - I’m running an 8-core AMD FX processor and 32GB of RAM with plenty of power (running on Windows 10).

Lucky for me, I’m also a computer professional. I’d tried all the things listed in all the forums (faster this or that, more buffer, update drivers, different hardware, blah blah none of it worked), which are all good advice really, but in the case of Cubase it never seemed to help. I just a moment ago tried something that I hadn’t before that appears to have cured the problem. In task manager, under the “Details” tab (or the main processes list in earlier versions of windows), Find Cubase in the list (while it’s running) and right-click >Set Affinity to adjust the PROCESSOR AFFINITY. By default, all cores are selected. Also by default, programs and Windows tend to share the first one or two cores for background and essential tasks. If you uncheck “All Cores” and activate one by one but skip at least the first core, I’d be surprised if it didn’t help, because it sure helped me. I played a track with many VSTs/VSTis that always glitched when it got complex, and with the first core (Core 0) deactivated, it didn’t pop or glitch ONCE.

I just discovered this for myself, so I can’t say it will work for everyone, as it might just be crappy chipset drivers in my case or something, but I say give it a shot if nothing else works.

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Hey buddy do you know how to do the same on Mac? I am in a Macbook Pro 2018 with Mojave 10.14.6

Sorry, no I do not. I imagine there might be some way to do it, but I haven’t the slightest idea how to go about it as I am not used to Apple systems. My guess is it would require a terminal command of some kind. Unless there is a system settings panel for adjusting the CPU cores in Macs that I don’t know about.

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