Let me start by saying that, although I now routinely use several DAWs, Cubase is, by far, my favorite and I would like it to be the only DAW I have to use. For me, it has all the tools and features I need and is thoughtfully-designed and very easy to use. In fact, it’s so intuitive that I never read the manual; I was productive after just one day!
This takes me to the primary motivation for this post: the latest Cubase maintenance update (ver 11.0.10). I was planning to apply it, but after reading about the (new) issues, I decided to wait. To be blunt, we’ve been here before. Many times, in fact. And so what I propose, in earnest, is a way forward; Steinberg 2.0.
First, accept the fact that, these days, it’s difficult to release bug-free software. Every DAW I use has bugs. And this is true for plugins as well. But it’s not just music software. Think about recent OS releases by Microsoft and Apple. And don’t forget web browsers, streaming players, mobile phone apps, etc.
Okay, so here are a few suggestions (some of which have already been proposed by others within the community):
Continue conducting feature request surveys, sort them into an order that is doable given your resources, and then publish the list as a ‘menu’ from which you will choose as many as you can implement reliably.
Generate cash for a year’s worth of development before you begin coding. Potential customers will review the ‘menu’ and decide to pay based on what they see in the list. To be clear, I’m not suggesting a subscription model! Customers get to keep what they pay for – i.e., nothing anyone buys expires. If you choose to skip a year, you’ll have to pay more to catch-up; just like the current model.
Release new/improved features (from the ‘menu’) throughout the year to enable more folks to use the software longer and catch fewer new bugs sooner rather than many bugs all at once.
Crucially, open testing of maintenance updates to the entire Cubase community and limit these updates to nothing but bug fixes. Exactly when to schedule these will depend on how successful steps 1-3 work.
Please note that Cubase users are an integral part of all four steps above. Developing/maintaining complex software like Cubase would benefit from joint-interaction between Steinberg and its community of users.
Lastly – and I say this to the entire community – I’m sure that what I propose is not perfect, so please add/remove suggestions as you see fit.