I believe these 5 areas would improve Cubase for a wide user base. Apart from a stable system, workflow I believe is the real area to work on right now.
Musical Form / Overview Editing
Problem: To move an entire musical section, I have to tediously check every MIDI event to contain overlapped/early notes.
Request: A better method of seeing/managing musical form (exposition, development, etc.)
Benefit: This would help songwriters & composers to organize, move, and copy entire sections of a piece… easily.
Bendable Curves… everywhere!
Problem: Editing hundreds of data points, even with the grab handles, is slower than working with modern curve tools.
Request: MIDI CC data, project automation, and every last line or dot in Cubase… should become bendable curves.
Benefit: Those who want 50 points can have them. Those who want 2 with a bendable curve have a faster workflow.
Saving Motiffs / Sketches in a Sequence Manager
Problem: Who doesn’t get ideas which we either save for later, save for another project, or save to experiment with?
Request: A manager which would allow saving ideas and making versions (different orchestration or altered motiffs).
Benefit: This would help me manage ideas throughout a film. It would help me keep track of developing themes.
Benefit: This would help anyone composing or songwriting in managing their creativity. Who likes forgetting ideas?
Dockable Windows with Custom Layout
Problem: It feels a bit like cleaning up after a toddler in terms of window management and it wastes screen real-estate.
Problem: The VST Instruments Layout didn’t actually give us real docking. We want full, custom, clean layout options.
Solution: Dockable windows + Multi-monitor support. This is cosmetic, I know. But who wants to marry frankenstein?
Benefit: Custom layouts for users mean happy users and more attractive and marketable software.
Enhanced MIDI Editing - Piano Roll
Problem 1: Few useful toolbars. The best stuff is hidden in macros/menus. Macros are often ineffective workarounds.
Solution 1: Native editing tools which are music-oriented, and a custom macro/function bar for quick access.
Solution 2: More robust macro commands (doesn’t replace the need for solution 1, just adds to it)
Benefit: The more native and more musical, it will attract far more users. Improved UX for newcomers and power users.
I’d argue for the piano roll getting a facelift too. But that’s wishful thinking.
VST Expression in Cubase 5 was a favorite for a lot of users. That’s evidenced in several forums and even the Sound on Sound reviews. That was 7 years ago. The next best update for me was 6.5’s better video handling. Since then it seems the agenda has been to compete with a DAW which many unfortunately call the “industry standard”. The truth is, for studios it often is. But for composing it isn’t. To quote a friend and fellow UX design enthusiast, “Boosting sales while ignoring retention is like turning the faucet up as it pours into a strainer.” I can’t speak to Steinberg’s road map, I just hope midi editing and project/composing workflow is a big part of the next release.
I bought Cubase to score films using multi-articulation instruments (orchestral and otherwise) and synths. I need tools that enhance my efforts in that arena. I am only one user. But hopefully these can be part of your road-map. I believe they will mostly help more user types than just myself.