The following troubleshooting tips & instructions are basically valid for all Steinberg sequencers running on Mac OS X since Cubase SX 1, Nuendo 1 and Sequel 1.
- Updating the eLicenser Control Center
- Initializing preferences
- Updating the sequencer
- Reinstalling the sequencer
- Updating device drivers
- Verifying memory usage
- Hiding the public VST plug-ins folder
- Further articles
Updating the eLicenser Control Center
The most common reason for license related problems is an outdated or corrupted eLicenser Control Center installation.
So if a USB-eLicenser (dongle) or a specific license is not being recognized, or you get any eLicenser Control Center related error messages when starting your Steinberg sequencer, you should download and install the latest eLicenser Control Center at first.
This help center article provides further and more detailed assistance in solving dongle and license related issues:
USB-eLicenser - Details, tips and troubleshooting
If your Steinberg sequencer is protected by a Soft-eLicenser, you will find more information in the Soft-eLicenser FAQ.
Corrupted application preference files can bring your Steinberg sequencer into all kinds of troubles, particularly after installing an update. Fortunately, refreshing the preferences files is straightforward:
- Quit the sequencer.
- Go to User Home/Library/Preferences and locate the folder which is named the same as your sequencer, for example 'Cubase 8.5'. This folder contains all preference files of your sequencer.
Since Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion), the user's Library folder is hidden by default. Here is how to access it: In the menu bar of Mac OS X click on 'Go'. While the menu is folded out, holding down the [alt] key (options) will show the 'Library' entry.
- Rename it (for example, from 'Cubase 8.5' to 'xCubase 8.5') to hide it from the sequencer. The folder will only be hidden safely, if the change will be done before the original folder name.
- If you find folders of previous versions of your program, make sure to hide or remove them, too.
Next time you start the sequencer, it will create a new folder with fresh preferences and default settings - which hopefully resolves the problem you've experienced.
Please note: If you find folders of previous Steinberg sequencer installations, make sure to hide them, too, by renaming or removing them. Otherwise, the sequencer would try to comply with them when creating fresh preferences. And exactly this could be the source of any error.
Initializing the sequencer's preferences does not necessarily mean that you lose all settings. For example, if you have defined your set of key commands that you want to keep, you can replace the corresponding file (Key Commands.xml) in the freshly created folder by a copy of the same file taken from the folder you've disabled by renaming.
Alternative ways: Instead of renaming it, you also can move the preferences folder of your sequencer from the User/Library/Prefences folder to another place, for example the Desktop. You even can simply trash it if you are sure that your user settings are not that hard to rebuild.
Another approach: Since in numerous instances the file Defaults.xml will be the troublemaker, you could also try if renaming only this particular file already solves the problem.
This Knowledge Base article provides further information on the preferences of Cubase and Nuendo and their location: Cubase and Nuendo Program Preferences Files in Detail
Making a backup of the preferences obviously is a good idea, especially when you customize a lot. And it's easy: Simply right-click on the preferences folder of your Steinberg sequencer within User Home/Library/Preferences and select 'Compress' (or on older systems 'Create Archive of') from the contextual menu. This creates a Zip file that you can always fall back on if you need to reset the preferences to your preferred settings. Of course, you could as well keep a common copy of the folder at a location of your choice.
Updating the sequencer
Check if your Steinberg sequencer is up-to-date. A current version might include a solution for the problem you are experiencing. Updates are available on the download page. The "Version History" document on the same page will tell you which issues have been addressed.
Reinstalling the sequencer
Reinstalling the complete application is only necessary on rare occasions. In general, these steps will suffice:
- Go to Applications and trash the application file, for example "Cubase 8.5".
- Optional: Go to User Home/Library/Preferences and remove (or hide) the preferences folder (see information on Initializing Preferences above).
- Install the sequencer using the original installer you've received on CD/DVD or as download. In case a newer complete installer is available on the download page, it should be preferred.
- Install the latest update available on the download page.
In case the reinstallation fails, this Knowledge base article provides instructions on how to manually remove Cubase related files:
Mac OS X: How do I uninstall an application completely?
Updating device drivers
Your Steinberg sequencer is dependent on flawlessly working audio and MIDI interfaces. Many problems are caused by bad device drivers. Check the homepage of your gear's manufacturer for updates. If you have installed drivers from a CD-R that came with an interface, you can almost be sure that they are fatally outdated.
Verifying memory usage
These symptoms may point out to insufficient memory (RAM):
- sluggish, unresponsive user interface
- seemingly random crashes
- white program or plug-in windows
Use the Activity Monitor of Mac OS X to get an overview of the memory usage. In case less than 500 MB free memory are available, the overall performance of the system as well as the stability of single programs might be reduced severely.
On a 64-bit system, you should make sure to run the 64-bit version of your Steinberg program and additionally installed plug-ins. Otherwise, maximally 4 GB of the installed memory can be used and memory issues might occur, even though the system memory resources don't seem to be exhausted. Read more...
Apart from the size of the installed memory modules, the amount of free memory depends on the individual way of working and the loaded project. In case your system is short of memory, you have the following options:
- Quit all redundant programs. For example, an internet browser running in the background with some opened tabs can easily consume 1 GB RAM or more. In case of doubt, use Activity Monitor to get an overview of the memory allocation.
- Sample-based VST Instruments are the biggest memory consumers within a project. Therefore, you should only use as many VST Instruments as necessary. If possible, do not use multiple instances of the same VST Instrument. Instead, use several MIDI tracks to address a single instance of the same instrument.
- If you prefer not to confine yourself to a memory-saving way of working, you will need to expand the installed memory, which might require a switch from 32-bit to 64-bit.
Hiding the public VST plug-in folder
If your Steinberg sequencer hangs or quits during the start-up or while loading a specific project file, it is likely that an installed VST plug-in is causing trouble.
This is how you can verify if a specific plug indeed is sabotaging Cubase.
- Quit your Steinberg sequencer.
- Go to Library/Audio/Plug-Ins and locate the folders 'VST' and 'VST3'. These are the default locations for VST (VST2) and VST3 plug-ins in Mac OS X.
(To keep it simple, these instructions only take the default locations into account. You might need to consider additional plug-in folders. Read more on VST plug-in locations... )
- Create two new folders at a location of your choice, for example in the Plug-Ins folder or on the Desktop. Name the new folders 'VST quarantined' and 'VST3 quarantined'. (Any other name will do it, too.)
- Move the plug-ins from 'VST' to "VST quarantined" and from 'VST3' to 'VST3 quarantined'.
Make sure you don't copy them! The plan is to empty the original plug-in folders VST and VST3. A convenient way to achieve this:
- Select the plug-ins you want to move.
- Press cmd + C to copy them to the clipboard.
- Go to the destination folder, for example 'VST quarantined'.
- To paste the plug-ins, press cmd + alt + V. This will move the plug-ins instead of copying them.
- Once the folders VST and VST3 under Library/Audio/Plug-ins are empty, restart the sequencer and, if necessary, load the problematic project.
If the problem persists, you know that it is obviously not related to a VST plug-in. In this case, just restore the original situation by putting the quarantined plug-ins back to their original locations.
In case moving the plug-ins did the trick, the source of error obviously is located in one of the quarantine folders. To find out the bad guy, move the most suspicious plug back to the original plug-in folder. Restart your Steinberg sequencer and see if it still runs correctly. Repeat moving plug-ins and restarting the sequencer until you've finally isolated the troublemaker. In case you have a lot of plug-ins installed, moving half of them at a time might speed up the search.
In these articles, you'll find further solutions for problems on your Mac:
- USB-eLicenser - Details, tips and troubleshooting
- Soft-eLicenser FAQ
- Mac OS X: How do I uninstall an application completely?