Upgraded to Mac 12-core, have same ASIO/CPU in Cubase

That machine should be smoking everything so something is amiss. Could you please describe what a big session consists of? Are you also running the Apollo 8 via Thunderbolt? You should be able to run extremely low latency.


Hi , Ive been using a 6 core machine since new (3years) now and cubase always overloads the audio core even when my cpu is very low . so there always been an issue between audio core and cpu .

This may or may not be relevant to the problems you are having but I noticed a while ago that the way you have your tracks routed makes a HUGE difference to your ASIO meter and your ability to run high plugin counts. In a nutshell, if you have lots of complex Group channel routing with long plugin chains, your ASIO meter will be higher than if you just have lots of individual channels with the same plugins arranged in short chains.

I did some tests a while ago (this was with Cubase 7.5). I had a session with the exact same plugins (24 x Waves Kramer Master Tape) and the ASIO load ranged from 15% right up to 100% depending on how the tracks were routed.

#1. ASIO meter at 15%, Windows CPU at 15%
24 x stereo tracks, each with 1 instance of KMT, no group tracks.

#2. ASIO meter at 45%, Windows CPU at 11.5%
3 x Stereo tracks, each with 8 KMT instances, no group tracks.

#3. ASIO meter at 100%, Windows CPU at 11%
1 Stereo track, with 8 KMT’s, routed to two groups in series, each with 8 KMT’s. i.e. a continuous chain of 24 Kramer instances.

Absolutely I agree with you. I think it’s clear that there’s room for improvement with multithread handling in Cubase.

Yeah I’d be angry too. I built a new PC a couple of years ago and didn’t get as much horsepower increase as I was expecting although I did at least get a reasonable improvement. I gotta say, I’ve heard several people recommend that you go for clock speed rather than core count when it comes to a CPU for DAW use and this thread supports that statement for sure.

Does the 12 core outperform the 4 core in a straightforward plugin count test. i.e. how many Ozones can it run when you have individual tracks with one instance per track, and no group routing etc? i.e. not a very real world situation but I would have thought the 12 core wins hands down here.

When you’re comparing Reaper and Pro Tools plugin counts, is the routing/channel setup the same as what you are doing in Cubase? Just going from memory, on the DAWbench website, Cubase was one of, if not THE best at plugin counts but that’s going back a few years.

To me it looks like Cubase is only using 1 thread to process each track. One track or channel with a lot of plugins could max out the computer. If possible it could worth a try, distributing the plugins over more tracks.
For example routing all tracks to one or more group tracks and distributing the plugins you normally would use on the master between them. I’m going to try it when I got some time on my hands again.

Well yes, I think that’s what is shown by the testing that I posted above. It seems that whatever is the complete path of a signal has to be processed by a one core. i.e. if you have a channel with some plugins and you route it to a group that also has plugins, that complete chain of plugins has to be assigned to a single core. This means that if you have a long plugin chain through various groups, you can max out the ASIO of a 12 core CPU even if 11 of the cores are completely idle.

Actually I suspect any group channel gets assigned an own thread, thereby distributing the CPU load more evenly. But I’m only guessing here, have to actually test it on some projects that are running near max ASIO load. I have been playing around with Halion Sonic, trying the different number of cores that it is allowed to use, that can make a huge difference depending on the number of instances. A better thread distribution inside Cubase would be appreciated and the only real solution, when comes to workflow and ease of use. I just don’t see it coming anytime soon. :-/

I find that if I offload large parts of my projects to Vienna Ensemble running on the same machine I can get much more from the CPU. I’m guessing Ensemble distributes the processing more evenly across the cores. However, if you go down that route you will need to disable ASIO Guard for Ensemble as they do not play nicely.

Just from my brief tests, I’m don’t believe that’s right. As per the tests I posted above, you can see a clear difference in ASIO load when you have the exact same plugins in a group routing situation versus having them just on individual tracks. If I remember rightly, when you make a long chain of plugins running via a group or two with nothing else in the session, you can see a single core being heavily loaded whilst the others are virtually idle.

The same seems to apply for FX tracks as well. i.e. take a track full of plugins send it to an FX channel and the whole lot gets loaded up onto one core.

Agree with you there. I’d hazard a guess that it would be a big job to improve this situation.

Just did another quick test…

Empty project, with one audio track and one FX track, both of which have 8 x Kramer Master Tape. See the attached CPU monitor picture. Whilst the session is playing, CPU 0 is loaded at about 55%. As soon as I enable the Aux send (so the signal passes through all 16 plugins), the load goes up to 100% yet all the other cores remain very lightly loaded. I switch the aux send off and the load drops again as you can see in the picture.

This is just one example, I can’t say that this happens ALL THE TIME but speaking as someone who knows very little about computer coding, it doesn’t look like the most efficient way of doing things.

Intersting (I made that other post to the Nuendo forum). The detail and comments here about groups & routing etc.

Shall check that. It would be fair to say that most of my material is indeed sub-grouped & also making for bounce /export stems ease etc etc.

BTW, also agree about the earlier comment about ‘CPU speed vs. core count’. In my experience that has been true & in an earlier MP 5,1 I used a 3.33GHz 6 core for exactly that reason. On my ‘new’ MP however ( a custom refurb) I took this into account and it is a 3.33 GHz 12 core (i.e., identical CPU horsepower); I also went with 6 x Ram slots (48GB) which is recommended as having performance improvements for this machine (6 ram slots vs. say 8). Anyways, the point is that the CPU speeds are identical, the cores doubled, but with apparently no significant performance improvement on Cubase or Nuendo.

I did a quick test that has me a bit confused.
I ran 20 tracks filled with plug-ins and everything in the strip, 2 groups and 5 fx tracks a total of 225 plugins the 23 of them Ozone 7 on IRC4. The ASIO meter around 85% and the CPU around 75% NO DROPOUTS
That is leaves me with one conclusion the ASIO meter is pretty logarithmic , as the same project with a modest 37 plugins shows ASIO around 50% CPU is around 27%.
I have to investigate some more, but at least I now know that I can use a lot more plugins than i thought.
i7 3770K 3.5Ghz @ 4Ghz I should add.

I agree.
I wonder if it would be possible to run Reaper alongside Cubase, just as a instrument host. On Mac it should be possible to do with the onboard software. VSL is a little pricey but probably worth the cost.
If there was a roadmap from Steinberg regarding future development there would be a lot less guessing.
But I feel your pain, I hate spending money on something that in theory should be a massive improvement, and then realizing it’s not.
Best of luck finding a workable solution.

Unlike most DAWs, Reaper can run in Rewire slave mode (also Live & Reason). Many used Reaper for exactly this purpose of hosting incompatible VIs and plugs when Pro Tools 10 /64 bit /AAX was first launched.

Copied across from the Nuendo Forum:

FWW, did some tests with a VI-only project: with and without auxs and groups. Can’t say I found any appreciable performance differences (at least, as identified by the Steinberg performance meters or the Apple Activity Monitor). Cubase forum seems to indicate otherwise, but has’t been my experience. I did notice however that Cubase 8.5 seems to do a little better with overall CPU load than Neundo 7 for the same project. Possibly newer code.

Otherwise, the ‘threading metering’ is a little odd: all 12 cores seem equally engaged (vs, different cores showing different loads, some with none etc say like Pro Tools), and, when viewing the 24 ‘threads’ the second thread of each CPU shows as doing bugger-all. Re. the CPU readout on Apple activity monitor, this would seem to show that there’s till a lot of Ram and CPU left idle in the background. One solution that works fine is to rewire slave another DAW as host for VIs etc: Ableton Live or Reaper for example. That certainly puts some serious VI grunt into the system.

Anyways, overall I see as just an interesting sideline really. Nuendo in general is very pleasing to work with overall in my experience. BTW, the Rewire implementation is the best I’ve used.

Hahahaha…welcome to LaLaLand Brother!

Man I wish I could be there to look at your sessions. I also have a hunch about the Apollo but would need to try my own test. I’ve always found Steinberg’s ASIO meter to really hit everything including drive I/o and audio interface activity. I really thing the issue lies elsewhere.

Has anyone noticed that Stiny does not show up here, or on my Thread or on GS or any Topic
or Forum that has to do with this particular issue. Imagine how many technical questions
people here asked and yet no word nothing, not even a HI nor SCREW YOU GUYS WHO CARES.

Just to give some more perspective….

As an example of a real world situation, I’ve attached a picture of core loading on the session I’m working on right now. The 12 cores are fairly evenly loaded in this example -all at about 35-65%, with the ASIO meter at about 75%. (This is a session with 160 tracks including 16 Groups and 12 FX Tracks).

Going back a few years, there are lots of tests on DAWBench.com showing Cubase to be competitive with other DAWs on CPU efficiency and often coming out the winner. Maybe just in the last few years, other DAWs have advanced in this department and we now have to wait for Cubase to make an advance and be back on top! I guess it’s a constant arms race and don’t forget, Pro Tools had a revised audio engine quite recently so one might expect it to be ahead in the game right now.

I know this is bad timing as you have just bought a new Mac but if you ONLY want to be concerned with plugin counts, DAWBench tests consistently suggested Cubase can run a lot more plugins on Windows. Again, that is going back a few years and obviously there are many other reasons why one might prefer Mac (and I do think it’s a nicer OS myself which is why I’m typing this on a MacBook!).