VST Performance meter pinning

Recently I see the VST performance meter(now called Audio performance in v11) pinning, and when that happens the music temporarily stops. This is happening on most projects, even those that never had this problem before. My PC is robust & I confirmed the CPU, MEM & Disk are not the problem. One work-around is to freeze a bunch of tracks, but I’d rather get to the root cause. This started happening a few weeks ago while I was running v8.5 & continues on v11. I did recently install more plugins, but I’m not using more plugins on projects. Has anyone else seen this behavior? Any suggestions are much appreciated.

What plugins are in the project? Sometimes a hungry cpu plugin can do that.
I use Superior Drummer 3 and was having realtime peaks in the audio performance meter, I discovered that switching from 8 cores to 1 core option inside Superior Drummer fixed the problem.
There are plugins that don’t like the asio-guard option and when disabled they perform much better.
Other times a VST2 version behaves better than a VST3 and viceversa, softube plugins come to mind.

Try disabling (not bypassing) VST instruments and plugins one by one to see which one is the problem.

Thanks for the tips @Sonico. I’ll try them & report back. It may a few days due to work.