Cubase – A professional DAW that became a music industry standard

“Cubase” is the name of the DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) that I’ll be talking’ here about.

It’s one of the big names in the music scene. It appeared in the very late 80s and got very popular in the middle of the 90s because of VST (Virtual Studio Technology).

Who got me to Cubase was Amon Tobin to be honest. I heard probably 99% of all his tracks.

Here’s a list though of other artists that are quite happy with Cubase: Cubase – Artists List

“So what can you do with that thing?”

That totally depends on what you plan to do with it. For simple recordings Audacity should be enough.

You want to edit, chop, tune and play around more? Overdub, distort and add some effects on there

with automation? Then Cubase might be more your style. Here are some basics on the subject.

“Steinberg” is the name of the company that programmed, released and sold copies of Cubase.

They have various hardware and software products. They offer seminars and look out for programmers.

Cubase Elements 9.5 costs 82,00,-€.

Cubase Artist 9.5 costs 259,00,-€. <— Needs a USB-eLicenser

Cubase Pro 9.5 costs 458,00,-€. <— Needs also a USB-eLicenser

USB-eLicenser: A lot of software gets cracked, because it only has software protection. Steinberg avoided going bankrupt or loosing a lot of money by cracker kids out there who would offer a lot of software cracked out there for free.

You need to possess a USB-eLicenser to try out a demo of a Steinberg product or to run the bought version that you own.

Cubase Artist & Cubase Pro NEED the eLicenser to start. So you need to add 30,00,-€ more to the equation.

If you tried out all the software from Steinberg you would come up to 1TB I suppose and you could try all that stuff out for free for 30 days as full versions. You could also just buy the eLicenser, try out the first demo for 30 days, try out the next demo for 30 days and so on and so on. This could go on for years or even decades. At that point of time there is already newer software out there that you could try out if you wanted.

The last cracked version of Cubase out there is version 5.0, after that nobody in the cracker scene managed to release a cracked Cubase. Legend has it a lot of cracker teams worked for version 5.0 to crack it after months and months of trying out.

To be honest… I tried out the cracked 5.0 version for 2 or 3 years. I did the same with NATIVE INSTRUMENTS KOMPLETE 7 ULTIMATE. I used both a lot so I bought my first full pro version of Cubase. It was version 6.0.

Other functions:

In Audacity you can theoretically add a couple of plugins but that is pure hell to work with that interface.

In Cubase you can add in the Pro version 64 VST instruments. I never hit a limit to be honest.

Cubase Comparison

What I also like about other DAWs and this one: You can insert them into each other.

Let’s say you start out with FL Studio. You add Cubase as an “instrument”. Your second instrument is Ableton

and your third one is Pro Tools. You need to route the stuff correctly then and you can work with all of them at once. The hard part is the routing though. Haven’t quite figured out yet how that works. Normally nobody does this. As your knowledge progresses and you try out programs that you want to get into you might discover yourself some functions that define your sound and editing character. You can add those audio effects and the programs even into video editing programs like Sony Vegas or Adobe Premiere Pro. Sometimes I edit a video and I don’t like the reverb effects from Adobe, Sony, FL Studio or NATIVE INSTRUMENTS. No problem. I just choose the path of Cubase effects that I like and add a reverb from their list.

Not only mic recordings and VST instruments are compatible with it.

You can record only MIDI data from your MIDI keyboard without an instrument you selected.

You can find yourself a free modular synthesizer plugin like VCV rack and add it as a sequencer and just record the sound from the program.

Expand furthermore as soon as you’re ready.

At some point you will hit a wall. That is what happened to me at least. When you have a low resolution screen a lot of windows are packed over each other and you have to click and click and click to get around. That wouldn’t happen with a high resolution screen and especially not if you had 3 high resolution screens. I edit nowadays ONLY with 3 screens.

The left one shows the faders and the main mixing console therefore.

The middle one shows the bars, scenes and track arrangements.

The right one shows the last piano roll I edited or the VST I had open before.

I even got a sticker set for PC keyboards. You put the stickers on certain buttons. Like the button “#8” shows you what you use when you press that key. You’ll select the pen tool in Cubase. This tool allows you to draw automation by hand or edit velocity. Stuff like that. You can also try to memorize the key shortcuts. Maybe you’re highly skilled in regard to remembering a lot of shortcuts. Who knows, right?

Shameless self promotion of a track of mine. Here you can see all 3 screens of mine. Paint combines all the screens.

My Peroration

Cubase is good for people who are in the middle segment of knowing something and the pro segment of knowing a lot in the audio editing and engineering niche. FL Studio is definitely better for beginners. But as the years have passed, I can’t work with anything else than Cubase. I might change some DAWs in the next years, but Cubase will stay my second true love that has last the longest of them all. FL Studio is the first-love-at-sight, but after some years the interface feels of. If you get Cubase you can get into Pro Tools. If you know those two you can get into other DAWs. It’s all a matter of perspective.

Buy the eLicenser, try out the demo. Take your time. Realize how much you’ll need this DAW or not.

A lot of people know about this kind of business models, but a lot also don’t know about it. So here’s my short explanation.

If you buy something from let’s say Adobe, then you have to pay monthly. Like 15,00,-€ per month to use Adobe After Effects. After 2 years you bought the whole version of the product. You can unsubscribe from your payment and got yourself a full version of the product. To get the newest version of it you have to pay monthly again though.

You don’t have that kind of trouble with NI, Steinberg, FL Studio, Pro Tools. Either you buy their software once (FL Studio, Pro Tools) and you got yourself the full pro version a lifetime long or you have to upgrade every 1 or 2 years (NI & Cubase).

You don’t have to pay if you don’t want, but then you got an older version. Some say that doesn’t matter and some say it does matter. I always realize the big changes of every update. I bought my Cubase Pro 6 back then as a full version for 500,00,-€ from ebay or so. The upgrade from Cubase Pro 6 to Cubase Pro 7 cost me 250,00,-€. That doesn’t hurt a lot when you see the tutorials and changes and what has happened over the time span of 1 – 2 years.

Edit: Somebody showed  this article in relation to VSTs. It’s quite interesting for you folks out there that wan’t to focus on free plugins and free plugins that are allready build in certain DAWs.

In a lot of cases money corrupts products, artists and companies. In the case of Steinberg I would disagree. I am happy that I bought their software and that I stopped using the pirated and free and veeeery old version of their DAW.

Help and support shall come for those who need it the most.

4 Replies to “Cubase – A professional DAW that became a music industry standard”

  1. This really sound very interesting, I’m new to this industry and had no clue about how complex this could be. It sound like you have done your homework and you know a lot about your topic here. I would love to see some videos if possible to get another perspective on how everything comes together, I am curious to to see the end product.

    Best regards

    1. In theory I have everything to make videos and I could show what to do here and there.
      The problem right now is my veeeery old PC. I even have problems playing simple songs without lags.
      As soon as I have the chance I’ll upgrade and I’ll provide videos for topics.

      In the end it isn’t that complex. You define how your song sounds, so you define it’s complexity.

  2. Cubase was a software very well known under the Atari St users, that was the time area of the 80ies and 90ies were the first home computers came out. Many started to use Cubase with their Atari St to make professional music. At that time I had to choose what kind of home computer to buy and decided for a Commodore Amiga.

    Over time I too got excited with synthesizers and making music with friends. That was the time I had to choose for the software to use. I liked Cubase, however as I was not a studied musician I was looking for a more simple way of composing music and landed with Music-X. This tool was easy to understand, ok it had not that many functions as Cubase, but for someone like me it was the easiest way to make music as a hobbyist.

    Cubase at that time was the tool for any professional making music and as time has shown they still exist today and bring this great software for the use on new computer systems.

    Today, I still make music, but forgot about Cubase. I was looking for an easy way, as still I am just looking for a controller bringing my ideas into a program so I can express my way of making music. I landed with Ableton Push 2 in combination with their software, which gives me a much easier way for creating music.

    Ableton is much more expensive, it offers like Cubase tons of functions and a samples library. Those libraries can be bought, luckily for me as I bought a used license through Ebay, the owner of that software had to transfer the license to me and it was only possible with the whole library he bought once included. So now I am the lucky owner of thousands of different instruments I can control through my Push 2.

    So this is for me, the better way of making music if you have basic knowledge and you want to make some tunes fast and easy. I am happy with my purchase of the Push 2 and the Ableton software.

    For any professional I can give the advise to give Cubase a try and see if this software can help you to make music like a pro.

    1. I knew that I missed some very important aspect of Cubase…
      I didn’t mention Atari.

      A lot of artists praised the Atari Cubase version. I also wanna give it a try. Never heard of Music-X on Atari before. Looks like a music maker on Playstation 1. If I find the time I definitly wanna try out every tracker and programm on every plattform. Good to hear about that Music-X thing therefore.

      I think the modern Cubase is way more easier to handle than the old one even.

      There is a big bunch of people out there who fell in love with Ableton Push 2.

      I only tried out a couple of cracked versions of Ableton and had serious issues cutting and pasting simple things. That might’ve been because

      A) The stuff was cracked.
      B) The handling on Ableton is complex.

      If I got the money I’ll spend it on Ableton. Doesn’t matter how I look on it, I can’t avoid Ableton. Never ever did anything live and I know Ableton is one of few solutions out there. Especially with the stuff that I’ve planned only Ableton might be able to do.

      I have a MASCHINE sampler and I know there are key bindings out there that allow me to use my MASCHINE sampler to some amount like your Ableton Push 2, but I also know about the INSANE remixers out there who use Ableton Push II in real time while recording. Talkin’ ’bout unleashin’ your boundaries there! Also nice to see that you can align the colors to every button and all that stuff. Gimmicks like that are never ever wrong. You can’t have enough gimmicks.

      The biggest minus for Cubase is the eLicenser stick.
      Garage Band comes for free on Apple Air books and you can get for 300,00,-€ Pro Tools for a live long.

      As a beginner stuff like this is a heavy decision.

      I mean imagine you just wanna try out a demo and have to pay 30,00,-€ to be able to get the demo running. That somewhat sucks of course.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *