Steinberg Cubase

Cubase is a MIDI sequencer and digital audio editing program the Hamburg company Steinberg. It first appeared in 1989 and achieved a thrust distribution in 1996 through the introduction of the Virtual Studio Technology VST, which later was little the industry standard.

  • 2.1 full program
  • 2.2 Function Reduced descendants
  • 2.3 sister product Nuendo
  • 5.1 Cubase iC (only iOS )
  • 5.2 Cubase iC Pro ( iOS and Android )
  • 6.1 MIDI
  • 6.2 Audio 6.2.1 ASIO Architecture


The software is used in professional studios or private home studios. It forms there usually the headquarters of a production environment for music or audio recordings. Cubase can perceive depending on use single or many of the functionalities that are kept in a recording studio in the form of analog devices such as tape recorders, mixing consoles, effects units and electronic sound generators. Thus, the program can be supportive or used exclusively in the production of either, the latter being the fully automated restore all settings offers ( "Total Recall" ) and is often referred to as a production " in the box" ( ITB).

Cubase is no accompanying machine, ie its primary purpose is not to create little musical input from perfect as possible and voluminous arrangements. Rather, the software is used for recording, editing and mixing for various individual tracks to a total recording. Here, the focus is on improving individual signals, but are not to invent it. Although individual functions are included for use in live performance or musical creativity, but Cubase is essentially a tool to retain existing ideas in the best possible quality.

Core functions of the software

  • Single or multiple track recording, detailed editing and playback of audio signals.
  • Recording, detailed editing and playback of MIDI data.
  • Manage and track -based grouping of all signals and signal sources within a so-called project.
  • Managing tempos, time signatures and project sections regarding the timing and musical structure.
  • Operation of software instruments (VSTi plug- ins) as a tone generator.
  • Driving and integration of external audio and MIDI devices.
  • Mixing audio signals together in groups and / or a sum signal ( a virtual console ).
  • Apply effects ( VST plug- ins) to audio signals or signal groups in real time or offline.
  • Transcribing MIDI data as notation.
  • Time-based automation of the virtual console and the individual signals.
  • Synchronization with external devices ( such as tape machines) and integration of video files.
  • Generating audio mixtures ( mixdown ) in mono, stereo or multichannel formats up to 5.1.

Computer requirements

The computer on which Cubase is operated, requires external interfaces. For the recording and playback of audio is an audio card, preferably with fast ASIO driver needed. For the recording of MIDI data, a corresponding interface must be connected to the computer. Then internal and external tone generator (eg, synthesizers) and MIDI input device (usually keyboard / keyboard, but also MIDI guitar, MIDI controller, etc.) to be connected via MIDI.

The extent of the use of software instruments and audio effects determined together with the requirement of very short audio latency significantly the requirements set by the operation of Cubase in terms of computing resources. For a contemporary music production ' in the box' with the current version of Cubase is a computer current generation with superior features is recommended.


Cubase was initially written for the Atari ST and later ported to the Apple Macintosh and Microsoft Windows. For the latter operating systems Cubase is available today.

The latest versions for the Atari platform were Cubase 3.1 (1993) and Cubase Score 2.0r6 (1994 ) for the Atari ST and Cubase Audio 2:06 (1994 ) for the Falcon.

Names and versions

Full program

The manufacturer shall, to the names in the course of history varies multiple times, the version numbers partially reused, which makes filing and estimating the relevance of a particular version difficult. For example, Cubase 4 is about eight years younger / newer than Cubase VST 5

The following table shows the versions of Cubase since 1997 in the chronological order of their appearance until today (Paid or Major updates are taken into account). Unless otherwise stated, the versions specified are parallel or published every few months for the Macintosh and Windows platform.

  • Cubase VST 3.5
  • Cubase VST 3.6
  • Cubase VST 3.7
  • Cubase VST 4.x (Macintosh only)
  • Cubase VST 5.x
  • Cubase SX
  • Cubase SX 2.x
  • Cubase SX 3.x
  • Cubase 4.x
  • Cubase 5.x
  • Cubase 6.x
  • Cubase 6.5.x
  • Cubase 7.x
  • Cubase 7.5.x (since December 2013)

The change from VST to SX was held in 2002, the first SX versions of the last VST version 5.1 were functional clearly inferior; Rather, the product is provided because of the increasingly challenging maintainability of the program code with release of Cubase SX on a completely new code base while completely rewritten in principle.

Reduced function derivatives

Currently, four smaller versions of Cubase with reduced functionality and less grave goods (eg, plug-ins, sample content, etc.) are sold:

  • Cubase Artist (currently version 7.5 )
  • Cubase Elements (currently version 7)
  • Cubase LE (currently version 7, only as an addition to hardware products or magazines)
  • Cubase AI (currently version 7, only with Steinberg / Yamaha Hardware available )

Steinberg has changed the names and names of these additives reduced versions in the course of history again and again. Other names examples of smaller versions of Cubase that existed at some point in the history of the product once:

  • Cubase
  • Cubase VST
  • Cubase SE
  • Cubase SL
  • Cubase Studio
  • Cubase Essential

The name Cubase was used again in late 2012 as a term for Steinberg's first sequencer app for iOS.

Sister product Nuendo

The software Nuendo by the same manufacturer includes all the features of Cubase, provided that the additional product NEK is installed and licensed. Nuendo and Cubase are virtually identical in terms of their operation. Cubase project files can be opened with Nuendo and further processed there. Nuendo also provides additional functions for video dubbing ( post-production ).

Compatibility of file formats

With regard to the created project files was overall upward compatibility. An object created with one of the small Cubase versions or earlier project which can be opened even in the major or current versions ( Cubase 7, Nuendo 6). However, this does not reversed in most cases.

Since the release of Cubase 4, the old file formats of the " VST " product line and their precursors can no longer open, why Steinberg for users of the latest versions free of charge an older version of Cubase SX / SL / SE 3 for the project import available. Thus, even the very old songs and projects from the last millennium still in the current versions are indirectly available.

Copy protection

All major versions of Cubase use for more than ten years USB dongles for copy protection to prevent unauthorized disclosure of the programs. Cubase can be installed simultaneously on multiple computers, but it only works on the computer to which is connected the dongle. Licenses that are still stored on the used until 2002 LPT dongle for the printer port that can be transferred on request by the support of a USB dongle.

There are two versions of USB dongles, the older in practice performance disadvantages at work may cause with Cubase. Therefore, the first generation dongles (up to about 2003, recognized by the greater length ) to be replaced if possible by the latest version of eLicenser.

The copy was originally developed by the German company Syncrosoft and acquired in 2008 under the term of eLicenser Steinberg. It is effective and has the appearance of unwarranted usable versions prevented since the end of 2009.

The heavily stripped-down versions of Cubase (eg Cubase Elements, LE, AI) use so-called ' Soft-eLicenser ' as copy protection. Here, the license will not be stored on a hardware dongle, but linked to a single computer. Such licenses can be transferred manually to a USB -eLicenser on request and are then usable by repositioning the dongle on different computers. This step is not reversible.

Apps for remote control of Cubase

Steinberg has released two apps for Apple iOS and for Android, allowing remote control Cubase functions. The apps are available for the respective platforms in the usual app stores. They only work with the two biggest Cubase versions.

Cubase iC ( iOS only )

Cubase iC allows the control of the major transport functions of Cubase. Furthermore, the individual events of the Arranger track can be especially jumped to navigation within a project.

Cubase iC Pro ( iOS and Android )

Cubase iC Pro offers the advanced navigation in a project to control the mixer, so that, for example, cue mixes can be controlled remotely. The starting of a roll-call arranger Events is here - unlike Cubase iC - is not possible.



All they ever published versions of Cubase MIDI support for communication with electronic musical instruments. Cubase is in the MIDI area very well equipped when compared to its competitors. MIDI data can be recorded, manipulated almost any quantized in time and are processed very comfortable in various " editors " said sub- windows. For real-time manipulation in addition there are numerous MIDI plug -ins available. A special drum editor allows user-friendly editing via MIDI performed drum recordings. The only weakness is the handling of MIDI system exclusive data that are largely ignored in the software since the release of Cubase SX.

At times, sales Steinberg MIDI interfaces with technology for increased timing accuracy ( ' LTB ') to compensate for the technical weaknesses of MIDI. These devices are, however, no longer being offered for many years and are only available on the used market, although LTB is also supported in the current versions still.


Cubase works in audio since the first VST versions of track - or channel- based and offers a complex mixer to the audio signals by means of EQ and insert or send effects as well as in the current version with a complete channel strip per track to edit and mix together to subgroups or output channels. The channel Automation offers a very wide range of possibilities for the automated time-triggered change in value. The features of Cubase in the audio range is generally good, but it lacks a real-time object-orientation for individual audio clips when compared to competing products.

A unique feature in the large versions of Cubase is the so-called 'Control Room', which is a complex bus system to provide different listening situations so that, for example, several musicians can simultaneously receive individual headphone mixes while simultaneously reproduced on the central desired output of the R mix. Comparable can be realized from other products or only with high manual effort.

Cubase offers since version 5 under the name ' VariAudio ' functions for the correction of pitch and time of monophonic audio recordings.

ASIO Architecture

1996 Audio-Stream-Input/Output-Architektur (ASIO) was introduced for Cubase by Steinberg. The ASIO architecture enables together with an ASIO -compatible sound card fast transmission of audio signals. By using the ASIO architecture delays in recording and playback of audio signals ( latencies ) could be reduced so that VST instruments can be played virtually in real time. Instead of a disturbing latency of several hundred milliseconds modern sound cards can record audio with a few milliseconds latency and play. For cheap sound cards without specific ASIO driver a popular wrapper exists in the form of the ASIO4ALL driver of a third party.

The achievable performance when using ASIO depends both on the used computer and its configuration as well as from the audio hardware and the ASIO driver used there. For users that require extremely short delay times, there are overviews that can serve as buying guides. Are in power - especially for Windows operating systems - instructions for correct configuration of an audio - computer available to achieve the best possible performance.

VST interface

1996 was implemented with Cubase VST open to other vendors plug- in interface for virtual effects called Virtual Studio Technology ( VST). In 1999, he improved the VST version 2, 2006, finally, the version 3 of the interface that is currently present in version 3.6.0. The third version was added very slowly by the third- party developers in the early years, but now is made more and more. As before, however, audio plug -ins and virtual instruments from third -party still appear as VST 2 plug- ins.

VST plug- ins can act as audio effects, virtual instruments and MIDI effects. There are also providers of hardware - based effects for VST interface; in view of the computational power of current processors, however, the hardware platform is now used rather than copy because as a necessary complement of computing power. Cubase is supplied by house with a handsome plug-in bundle, in the case of Cubase 7 these are, for example, 66 audio effects, 18 MIDI plug -ins and virtual instruments 5.

Steinberg has for many years on the company's website by registering free of charge the necessary SDKs, so that both commercial and hobbyist programmers with relatively little effort can create new plug-ins. Programs such as N.I. Reactor or Synthedit allow to create instruments and effects for VST interface also people without programming experience.

The VST interface has become a standard for digital audio editing programs on Macintosh and Windows systems, which is no longer supported for new MacOS versions of all programs. Instead, get other interfaces, such as the AU interface ( Audio Unit ) or AAX / TDM used. However, Steinberg products continue to support under Mac OS X, the house VST interface. Also available as VST instruments and effects are now emulations of real existing hardware.

Nowadays it is possible to dispense entirely with outboard equipment and perform all productions with VST instruments and effects on PC or Mac based. Process outsourcing computation- or memory-intensive plug-ins exist on other computers, but lose in the course of increasing the computing power and the introduction of 64 - bit operating systems are becoming increasingly important (eg the built- in Cubase VST System Link, or - as an example of a third party - the software FX Teleport ).


  • To 1989 - Manfred Rrup and Karl Steinberg had 1983-1988 with the products Pro -16 and Pro -24 already has a name in the field of programming MIDI sequencer for the Commodore 64, the Apple IIe, Atari ST and the Commodore made Amiga, and founded the company Steinberg research GmbH.
  • 1989 - Steinberg released the first MIDI sequencer Cubase Platform: Cubit. In addition to a range of new features, the sequencer has been especially improved in terms of usability. Cubit is written for the new operating system M.ROS, which is available for both the Atari ST, Apple Macintosh and the PC.
  • 1990 - Cubase 2.0 offers an expanded notation system and the feature "Phrase Synthesizer" ( basically a complex Arpeggiator ) and is available for both the Atari ST and the Apple Macintosh. Compared to Cubit, it is compiled for each operating system. In parallel, a beginner version of the sequencer with the name Cubeat is offered.
  • 1991 - Cubase Audio ( Apple Macintosh) now allows recording audio data. This function can Cubase become a serious alternative to the classic recording with tape.
  • 1992 - Cubase appears for Windows PCs.
  • 1996 - Cubase VST (Apple Macintosh) will be presented at the Frankfurt Musikmesse. The "Virtual Studio Technology " allows the integration of real-time effects in the form of plug -ins. This gives the user all important functions and equipment are use in the studio virtually available. 1997 Cubase VST is also available for the PC.
  • 1999 - With the Cubase VST version 4.1 (Mac) and Cubase VST 3.7 for PC available to the user now only virtual effects and virtual instruments ( VSTi ) are available. Apart from the advantages of the extended VST 2.0 interface, it is 2.0 (Audio Stream Input / Output Architecture ) is possible, among other things through the open architecture Audio ASIO to play the instruments with low latency. Both VST and ASIO establish themselves long since become a de facto standard.
  • 2000 - Cubase VST 5.0 is released. Both the Mac and the PC version have the same features for the first time. So far, the Mac version had more features than the PC version.
  • 2002 - In the spring of 2002 Steinberg at the NAMM show in California, the new versions of their sequencer before: Cubase SX ( Pro version ) and Cubase SL ( beginners version).
  • 2003 - The enhanced successor Cubase SX2 is published. The Steinberg company is bought by Pinnacle Systems.
  • 2004 - The version of Cubase SX3 appears. Yamaha makes Steinberg at Pinnacle Systems.
  • 2006 - Cubase 4 comes the end of 2006 to the market. On the addition of " SX " is omitted. The VST3 standard is introduced.
  • 2009 - Cubase 5 comes from January 2009. In addition, Steinberg is a remote controller application " Cubase iC " before for the iPhone and iPod touch that allows the haptic control of Cubase 5.
  • 2010 - Steinberg released in June the free program update 5.5/Cubase Cubase Studio 5.5.
  • 2011 - At the Winter NAMM 2011 introduces Steinberg Cubase 6.
  • 2012 - Steinberg released the paid update Cubase 6.5.
  • 2012 - Cubase 7 is released in early December 2012.
  • 2013 - Cubase 7.5.0 has been available since December 4, 2013