Troubles with audio dropouts

Hello all my Steinberg friends,

I’m having some issues with rando dropouts happening. It SEEMS to be happening on more than a single project, so I’m starting to get concerned. It happens with varying frequency. Once it begins, it usually happens about every 30 seconds to every 2 minutes. Sometimes, it’ll have times where it happens every 10 seconds or so. It can be debilitating to a creative workflow for sure. The dropouts manifest as a 1-3 second STOP in the audio, and then playback or recording will stop. If recording, the dropout will come up with an error message “Recording was stopped due to an audio dropout” or some such error.

For reference, my specs are:
Cubase 13.0.2
MacOS Monterrey
Mac Studio M1 Max, running on Apple Silicon
32gb RAM / 4TB SSD
RME Babyface Pro (not Pro FS)

Resources are barely registering on the ASIO Guard meter.

For troubleshooting, I’ve attempted to do the following:

  • plug RME interface directly to computer (rather than using a KVM, as I normally do)
  • remove each and every track (with plugins on it) one by one to narrow down if a plug-in was causing it
  • remove each and every VSTi one by one to narrow down if a VSTi was causing it
  • Swap USB cables between RME and system.
    None of the above have had any positive effect.

I’m embarrassed to say I’m stumped here, In the 20+ years I’ve been using Cubase on much less capable systems, I’ve always seem to have been able to drill down to whatever the issue was, not the case now. haha

Any thoughts would be appreciated. The one thing I have NOT done was to rebuild the whole project in a brand new Cubase project. Sometimes I’ve found that can eliminate all the gremlins, but that would be the scorched earth approach and rather time consuming given the amount of stuff going on in this one. That will be last resort.

Also, I should mention that I’m brand new to Apple, I’ve been a Windows guys my whole life so I’m a LITTLE out of my league. I’ve followed an optimization guide for optimizing MacOS for audio work, but there really wasn’t much to tweak save the obvious stuff like don’t have DropBox running, don’t do updates, etc.