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Cubase dropouts due to high DISK access Effects Pedals, Units & Accessories
Old 2nd January 2011
Gear Nut
Pringles's Avatar

Question Cubase dropouts due to high DISK access

Hi guys and happy new year 2011!

I'm having some troubles with a project with 80 audio tracks in it. There are only audio tracks and no VST Intruments or effects are loaded. When I play back the project and fast forward/rewind, I get a 100% peak in the DISK meter (not CPU) followed by an audio dropout of 1 second. One of these dropouts even costed me a big fat Windows freeze and I had to reset manually the computer.

Note that this problem doesn't occur when there's only 1 audio track in the project.

I don't know if this can be considered as a "normal" behavior for Cubase as there may be too many audio tracks, but this would be surprising.

Can someone with Cubase please try the following:

- Create a new Cubase project

- Import 80 audio tracks (those can be mp3 songs, it doesn't matter)

- Solo one of those tracks

- Play back the project

- Fast forward or rewind while the project is playing (hit SHIFT and + or -) and let me know if any droputs do occur or if the DISK meter peaks and freeze the project for 1 second?

Thanks in advance!
Old 2nd January 2011
Gear Addict
drycappuccinoguy's Avatar
I am guessing you need more memory. When you run out of physical ram it starts storing in on your hard drive. If you have enough it can write any disk access to the cache and it will get committed to disk sometime when the OS feels like saving it. You can check your resource usage in the task manager in Win 7, probably the same in XP if you are using that.
Old 2nd January 2011
Lives for gear
What is your HDD setup? Do you use a separate drive for audio? Is it usb/fw/esata?
Old 2nd January 2011
Gear Nut
Pringles's Avatar

Thanks for the replies, I forgot to mention my system specs:

OS: Windows 7 Home x64 Full retail version.
CPU: Intel C2Q Q9650 @ 3Ghz
Cooling sys: Noctua NH-U12P
MB: Asus P5K
RAM: 4x 2GB OCZ Reaper PC2-8500 @ 1066Mhz
GC: Gigabyte HD 4850 1GB DDR3
SSD: OCZ Vertex Turbo 60GB 1.5 FW (SYSTEM)
HD: 2x Seagate 500GB 7200rpm ST3500320AS Barracuda 7200.11 SATA 3Gb/s
PSU: EarthWatts 500 Watt 80 PLUS®certified (comes with the Antec Sonata III case)

The system is on a different drive than my Cubase projects (both SATA II).

As for the CPU usage while playing back the project it goes between 10 to 15% and the amount of RAM used is 1.70GB so I've got quite some space left.

I'd like to add that this is the first time I'm noticing this behavior but it's also the first time I'm working with 80 wav files. I already worked with 150 tracks in a project but those were a mix of waves, VSTis, effects, MIDI so it's hard to compare.
Old 2nd January 2011
Lives for gear
matucha's Avatar
How full is the drive? Did you try to defragment the disk (volume)?
Old 2nd January 2011
Gear Maniac

Originally Posted by matucha View Post
How full is the drive? Did you try to defragment the disk (volume)?
80 stereo tracks is 160 mono tracks.. I think that's quite a lot for the HD to be honest. (I assume they're stereo since you say we can import 80 mp3 files). HD speed isn't only about mb/sec. The read head has to find the data also.. And with 80 tracks it's bouncing between 80 different places. You can test if i'm right about the read head by putting the tracks on the SSD. See if it's a cubase error are a HD error.

Have you tried importing those same tracks in pro-tools to see if that works?

I think you're better off deleting all the silence so there are only some 20 tracks playing at once..
Old 2nd January 2011
Lives for gear
lasso's Avatar

Even more important: what sample- and bitrate are you working at?

If you're trying to stream 80 96 kHz 24 bit stereo files I can understand you hard drive is taking a little beating.

@ 44.1 / 24 you should be allright.
Old 2nd January 2011
Lives for gear
DeadPoet's Avatar
my project drive is a 1st gen sATA hdd. 90 (mono) tracks at 88kHz makes my cubase (c5.5, q6600, 2gb ram, winXp32) behave like yours as well. Simple solution: stop before jumping/rew/ffwd, wait 1 second before pressing play.

Annoying? not really once you get used to it. Stops me from getting into even more tracks.

Old 2nd January 2011
Gear Nut
Pringles's Avatar

Defrag the drive was the first thing I did but it didn't change anything.

I think you guys are right, 80 stereo tracks are 160 mono tracks and maybe I am too much demanding for my Seagate HD. As for the sample and bitrate, I'm working for this project at 24bit 44100Hz.

I'm gonna do the test on the SSD and see how it turns out.
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