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Cubase Elements

Sequencer / Multitrack by Steinberg
Cubase Elements
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Favorite DAW - Best Audio and MIDI Software - KVR Audio Readers' Choice Awards 2022Favorite DAW For Production - Best Audio and MIDI Software - KVR Audio Readers' Choice Awards 2021Favorite DAW For Production - Best Audio and MIDI Software - KVR Audio Readers' Choice Awards 2020Favorite DAW For Production - KVR Audio Readers' Choice Awards 2019
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Cubase Elements

Cubase is one of the most powerful music creation software packages in the world. With its unrivaled range of flexible tools, you can create any kind of music quickly and intuitively. It comes packed with a wide range of virtual instruments, effects and thousands of sounds. Whether you're a professional composer or a music production beginner, Cubase provides you with everything you need for turning your ideas into music.

The three versions of Cubase - Elements, Artist and Pro - all share the same pristine sound quality and ease of use that make Cubase one of the world's most popular recording and production solutions. Depending on the size and complexity of your projects, your feature requirements and budget, you can choose the Cubase version that fits you best. If you find that you need more facilities, of course you can upgrade.

New features at a glance: :

  • MIDI Remote integration for enhanced external device mapping [Pro・Artist・Elements].
  • Improved editing workflow to make hitting deadlines easier [Pro・Artist・Elements].
  • Audio to chords lets you focus even more on the music [Pro・Artist・Elements].
  • Sample Accurate Volume Automation [Pro・Artist・Elements].
  • Native Apple silicon support [Pro・Artist・Elements].
  • New flexible Steinberg Licensing [Pro・Artist・Elements].
  • A range of other tool and performance improvements [Pro・Artist・Elements].

Steinberg Licensing

Cubase 12 makes use of the brand-new Steinberg Licensing system. From Cubase 12, you will be able to use Cubase with your single-user license on up to three computers without the need of a USB-eLicenser dongle. There is a detailed introduction of Steinberg Licensing that will answer all of your questions on migrating to the new system or offline usage.

Compare the Versions of Cubase

User Reviews Average user rating of 4.00 from 1 review Add A Review

Cubase Elements
Reviewed By ebsynth
October 11th, 2022

Downloading and installing Cubase Elements 12 on MacOS requires at least 9.33 GB of disk space when including the required application and recommended libraries Halion Sonic SE 3 and Groove Agent SE 5 sample and loop libraries. Additional libraries and loops can also be downloaded if the user so wishes. All this can be easily managed using the Steinberg Download Assistant and Steinberg Activation Manager applications. The Steinberg Library Manager application allows the user to do custom installs of the libraries, samples and loops ... on an external disk for instance.

Steinberg is moving away from the USB-eLicenser system which means that you can now activate your single user license online and use it on three different computers. See https://www.steinberg.net/licensing/. Using the same MySteinberg ID that you used for downloading Cubase, you can also join Steinberg forums at https://forums.steinberg.net to discuss further software-related issues.

Being an erstwhile Logic user, one evident missing feature was not being able to use virtual instruments that only existed as their VST executables. So, it was mainly for this reason that I decided to purchase Cubase 12 Elements at a very tempting price point i.e. with a 40% discount. It turns out that the VST exclusive virtual instruments that I wanted to use were all in their 32-bit versions so they were useless anyway (read: they had to be purged from my MacBook Pro running Big Sur.) Nevertheless, I did some preliminary tests to get some idea of Cubase's workflow. This review then, is limited to the workflow in my MIDI home studio.

My first test was to integrate my MIDI hardware synths. This was very straightforward for most of my synths since Cubase Elements already contained configuration files for many classic prominent synths like the Yamaha DX7II, Korg Wavestation, Clavia Nord Lead, Roland JD-800 etc. However, in the case where a patch script (in Cubase parlance) did not exist for certain MIDI hardware, I had to search the internet for these files. For this literally hundreds of patch scripts could be found in the downloads section of rivetedstudios.com. Adding the necessary scripts to the /Applications/Cubase*/Contents//scripts/patchnames/inactive/* folder was easy enough requiring administrative permission. However, after relaunching Cubase and attempting to "Add MIDI Device" in the MIDI Device Manager, the newly added patch scripts were not recognized by my Cubase installation. I am looking into this issue in the Steinberg forums.

It was also not possible to set up an external MIDI instrument like a virtual one since the "Audio Connections" dialog box did not have an "External Instrument" tab in the Elements version.

With regards to setting up external MIDI keyboards for specific compositions, recording Sys-Ex dumps seemed impossible. Consulting the Operations Manual, this setup requires that you uncheck the SysEx boxes in the Preferences —-> MIDI —> MIDI Filter dialog box. Setting up custom patch banks was now easy.

Recording MIDI tracks using external synths was straightforward and rendering their respective sounds on to a separate audio track also went smoothly when routing audio outputs from the synth via an external sound card into the DAW.

Configuration scripts for well-known external MIDI controllers like Arturia Keylab, Korg nanoKontrol. Akai MPK and Novation Launchkey are also included in the software.

Navigating the timeline using key commands was easy enough using the "B" (back to the beginning of a segment) and "N" keys to the end of a segment. Shift-N was then required to proceed to the next segment. The "G" and "H" keys could be used to expand and contract the timeline. Without going into further details of the key commands my one complaint was proceeding backwards and forwards in bar length increments or triggering "Record" on an armed track could only be done using a numeric keypad with Num lock enabled. I was obliged to use the mouse pointer on the Transport bar for these operations since the Num Lock function does not exist on my MacBook Pro.

Creating Instrument tracks from both VST and VST3 collections was seamless. Tracking using external keyboard controllers was also a breeze.

Even though I have highlighted a couple of persistent glitches above, I considered my money well spent.

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