VST Instruments and ASIO Performance

I’ve been using Cubase since version 7.5. I’ve noticed as newer versions have come out how I can get fewer and fewer virtual instruments running on a project. Back then, I moved to Cubase from Sonar. The main reason I moved was that I was fed up with Sonar crashing all the time and losing hours or days of work due to corrupted projects. But I soon noticed when I started working on larger projects with Cubase 7.5 that I could not come close to matching track numbers that I had in Sonar. But it was manageable.

In 7.5, I had large orchestral templates with sample libraries and and synth VIs. I’m on Cubase 11 currently and I get problems with over 50 VIs, with only a few being sample-heavy. Notably, the ASIO meter average is almost at max. It does spike and cause dropouts, even with higher buffer settings. It’s becomes unworkable when using plugins also.

Freezing instruments helps a little but not really enough. It becomes a bit easier when it comes to rendering everything as audio for mixing, but that’s ideal if you need to make changes in the VIs.

Does anyone else have these issues and what options do I have?

I find I can instantiate many instances of CPU hogs like Amplitube 5, Crysalline, Impact Soundworks Rogue and Spitfire Audio Abbey Road One and Two but I need to watch out for spikes when the tracks are ‘live’ as opposed to cached using ASIO Guard. In my case I am ending up with fewer tracks than I used to because the VSTIs and VSTs I use now are much more resource intensive than the ones I used to use so I suppose this is no surprise. I have an 8 core Intel 5960 running at 4.35 ghz so the machine is not underpowered but I will be looking to upgrade in the next two years to a 16 core machine.

I don’t think the CPU is being used as effecitevely as it could be… when I check using Task Manager or the Resource Monitor, on the higher count tracks, the CPU usage is somewhere between 24-30% depending on how many VIs ‘working’ but the asio meter avg is in the middle of the last sector. This gets very frustrating when you’ve not even finished a piece of music and might need more VIs.

It is a common misconception that the VST performance meter should mirror your CPU load. Real time audio is taxing more than just the CPU and in many cases, the CPU is not the weakest link. That is why you see a low CPU utilization while still experiencing audio drop outs. Motherboard bus speed, RAM clock speed, ASIO driver performance and OS and BIOS optimization settings are just a few of the other links that make up a low latency DAW.


Disclaimer: I am not a computer scientist and am in part repeating what experts in the field have explained to me regarding real time audio and computer performance.
I also stopped building my own PCs a few years back and now purchase them from a reputable DAW builder company.

I’d like know why I can still use my VI orchestral template in Cubase 7.5 but not Cubase 9/8.5/10/10.5 and 11. It’s made up of sample libraries and VIs (c. 250 tracks) and has fx busses for reverbs and delays, as well as sub-busses, groupings and mix bus processing. The asio meter in cubase 7.5 gets nowhere near as high as it does in 11. I want to move away from 7.5 but have had to keep going back to it.

Have you confirmed that a v7.5 project and a v11 are using the exact same versions of plugins?


dman2014…music applications stress many parts of a computer; frequently, the capabilities of the CPU is not the most critical component.

Here is a link to a video that does about the best job I have seen that discusses this complex subject in a way that is understandable by those of us that aren’t computer engineers: CPU Performance vs. Real-Time Performance in Digital Audio Workstations (DAW) - YouTube

I hope you find it interesting and useful.

I seem to have hit an impasse with this again.