A 'lite' ver of Cubase for registered owners on the go.

I recently went thru replacing my USB key for my Cubase software.
During the process I made a suggestion to the customer service department.
They suggested I post it here on the forum so that the developers could read it and get a sense if there was an interest in it. So here goes.

(My apologies in advance if this topic has been hashed out before, I’m not aware that it was from my perspective)

It has become a very common situation that most composers have a fairly good laptop these days and often take it with them to many places and use it for music while traveling or when they are out and about around town.
My own situation is such that I’m member of a music organization that I volunteer to archive all our important events.
I usually bring my laptop to our luncheons with guest speakers, to our master classes that are open to the public (featuring well known composers, arrangers, orchestrators) and our occasional award dinners.

I normally record the audio straight off the board onto my laptop into cubase.

I’m sure some of you bring your laptops to gigs, rehearsals, jam sessions or other events where you wish to record the audio quickly and simply and not fuss too much with other software that you don’t use frequently, as Cubase is your choice of software to work with and you’ve purchased & own a professional version of it.

Wouldn’t you find your situation better served if you had a downloadable free lite version that you could record those events with that didn’t require you to be in the dangerous position of having to take along your USB key? Meaning a version that was a ‘lite’ version (say: no score editor, or audio editor, or midi editor) that allowed you to record say 24-32 tracks of audio and 16 - 32 tracks of midi? And was serial number based for authorization, like Cubase AI is ?

I think that registered (paid) users of a professional version of Cubase should be able to download such a copy (making it a minimal expense for Steinberg) and lets say that you couldn’t register it without the USB key inserted and perhaps had to renew the registration periodically (e.g. every 6 months or once a year).

What are you thoughts? Would you really like to have this option? Please post your answers here so the developers can get a sense of the perceived value of such a version.

Steinberg suggests getting the USB key fully insured for the amount of the purchase price of the program. That doesn’t solve my problem. It creates another. And it only starts a process that creates a waiting period for a claim to be settled. In my case, the insurance policy has a $500 deductible to keep the yearly insurance bill down to a reasonable yearly payment. So a claim for the USB key itself doesn’t make economic sense, let alone waiting the length of time it takes to settle a claim.

(Please refrain for rec. other software/hardware items in lieu of Cubase, or how you’ve managed to overcome this issue using cracks, etc. - that’s not the point of this thread.)

Another option would be to make an app for iPhone Cubase app (and avail on other smart phone platforms) that does a similar function (rec) and also can be used for playback on gigs, that allows transfer of files between the phone and cubase. If it worked as described (non- editor based Rec & Playback version) that would be cool too. Free to registered users (of course, when I say free I also mean I wouldn’t mind paying under $25 for it either).

(also, no need to quote this whole post to your reply it will remain at the top of the thread)


el profe, LG


Excellent post and most cogent. This does get discussed here, but this post details an excellent suggestion.

I would be extremely happy if this were the case just as you have outlined.

+1 for a “lite” version of Cubase.

Owing 2 licencies for the reasons you described above,1 full and 1 Studio,i can propose a much simpler solution.
For the registered owners of Cubase 6 they could offer a (let’s say) 50% discount to C6 Artist (non resalable).
This discount should remain active for the following upgrades too,of course
I would be more than happy with this deal.

Why do you need a laptop? Blue Fire on iPhone. Problem solved.

I’ve often thought about this…

It’s not exactly convenient in a mobile situation to have a fragile and important dongle hanging off your laptop.

It would be nice if there was a way to run the software sans dongle, once it had confirmed that you are a registered owner - maybe insert the dongle during the install, which then uses a ‘soft’ license - maybe even asking for the dongle again after X days, or requiring that you log into MySteinberg after a certain time.

excellent responses, please folks (who haven’t replied but have read this (I can see the count)…do you civic duty and put a reply, so the Steinberg developers can see the interest. The more replies, the more likely they’ll look into a solution.


el profe, LG

That’s a pretty interesting suggestion. Free Cubase LE or AI license for full “Cubase” or “Cubase Artist” owners might be a very good addition.

  • Yu

Good thinking there!

Cubase Tracker with limited editing possibilities, available for registered customers. A bare bones multitrack recorder under the arm with 16 or [insert number here] inputs in a box under the other arm would certainly open some possibilities. Kind of an multi track eyedropper tool for you to sample separated parts of your reality and then take it back to the lab to frankesteinize!!! :smiling_imp: Yummy!

It would add a lot to Cubase as a platform having this opportunity which won’t need a full installation of something that you won’t use in the field nor a dongle that can break or get stolen.

However, there is no such thing as a free lunch … but that’s off topic or maybe for another topic

It would make sense to Yamaha as well if they want to make hardware and sell … :slight_smile:

On a second thought isn’t there some soundcard out there that comes with Cubase LE and is also equipped with dual ADAT lightpipe inputs. That would sort of solve the problem.

You want solutions or sympathy? :smiling_imp:

Another suggestion…

You could use Sequel. I was playing around with an LE in the last few days. A few comments:

  • Really easy tu use.
  • Projects directly importable to Cubase.
  • Manages and records instrument tracks with sounds from Halion One
  • Several automations available, also control via MIDI for transport, mixer, etc, via MIDI Learn.
  • No dongle to lose, only Soft-eLicenser.

I honestly don´t know, how many inputs you may use at once or how many tracks you´ll be able to record at a time, but I can confirm, that the direct import to Cubase works great, with all audio, instrument tracks, effects and automations. Might be an option for you, and definitely a cheaper one than make an insurance for the dongle.

Or maybe we could convince Steinberg to make us an offer to buy Sequel way cheaper, when you already have Cubase. Even a (intelligently) limited version could be useful. Or include it in the Cubase 6 package…

Just my 2 cents.


I use Cubase 5 LE on my laptop for recording on the move, this is free with many interfaces etc, mine came with an ESI controller keyboard, I use a MOTU 8-PRE to record 8 tracks at a time then transfer to my studio machine for mixing.

Great suggestion.

This would be a great solution for me having both a studio at home and a mobile setup.
Also it would be nice to be able to edit waveforms and change fileformats on the go.


yes, I really like the idea of this too - having an LE or AI version of Cubase (free) alongside my registered full version… I would absolutely use it instead of say, PTools M-Powererd, that I see comes free with the little (4/6 channel) M-box interface for mobile/location recording.

Don’t know how much this might diminsh the relationship with h/ware manufacturers, that have been carefully built up over the years (if SB started simply handing out an AI or LE version)… maybe it wouldn’t hurt at all…

However it’s not so easy to say what this lite version will have and what it will skip.
Some musicians would use it for gigs.So some effects and instruments are necessary .
El Professor needs it for recording,others would want just to work some ideas on the go,
so basic midi and audio editing can’t be skipped.
And of course compatibility is crucial.

If this is ‘lite’ for you–it isn’t for me.

I don’t think you will be able to record 32 tracks of audio without using gear that represents the monetary equal of several Cubase USB keys.
But what if you dropped an 19" interface worth much more than the Steinberg key itself? As you can’t get ‘lite’ versions of hardware boxes, you will handle those darlings very carefully.

That’s why I’d suggest the following:

  • Choose one piece of 19" hardware you will most likely use for recordings outside your studio.
  • Have a single USB port bridge added to the backplate of that box.
  • Place your Steinberg key inside the box.
  • Use an USB cable to connect the ‘hidden’ key to your laptop.

Now your Cubase key will rest safely in a box you won’t easily drop or misplace because it represents an important part of your recording equipment.

With a new version of Sequel on the cards, I would think this is a ‘cut down version of Cubase’ that would work for most situations - and it’s dirt cheap for what you get.

No idea what’s in version 3 but I imagine it would work for you in this situation.

Hope this helps.

"Steinberg suggests getting the USB key fully insured for the amount of the purchase price of the program. "
In sweden the insurance is not valid if you dont have proper backups of your software. Sure you can get a new dongle, it only costs 10 bucks or something, but not the content of the dongle.

How about a Cubase that runs in a very limited mode if no eLicenser is present?

The same executable gets installed on your studio computer and on your laptop. If you need to do a “heavyweight” mobile session then you need the USB eLicenser, otherwise you travel without it and get, say, 8 audio tracks for recording and playback, no mixer or editing, and playback only of MIDI tracks, no internal VSTis, just external MIDI and 3rd-party VSTis as this might be necessary for guide tracks or demonstration.

So: USB Key => full capabilities, no USB-Key => limited “portable” mode.

From a marketing perspective this would also act as a disincentive to Cubase users trying out cheaper, less restrictive DAW products – and perhaps getting to like them!

That’s already available in several versions, cheaply, or even free. It just isn’t called Cubase.

I would love this as well, I’m very hesitant to take my key anywhere. I would love a basic Cubase version which can playback existing projects and do some light editing for when on the stage/at friends etc.