Any book recommendations for learning Cubase?

Hey guys - Longtime (20+ years) Cakewalk/Sonar user here transitioning to Cubase…

I’m an old school hardcopy manual reading guy, does anybody have any recommendations of books to buy for learning Cubase?

In the past when I got a new piece of hardware/software I would take the manual to a coffee shop, get jacked on caffeine and read it cover to cover highlighting the stuff I liked, taking notes in the margins, dog-earing important pages and adding my own index in the back cover. Since nobody provides hardcopies of the manuals I find that I miss out on some of the cool features that these toys provide because I’m not reading the manual any more. I absolutely can’t stand reading PDFs and I’m not going to print out 1000+ pages.

I already know the basics of audio recording, DAW use, MIDI, etc. (I’ve been doing this for 25 years!) so I’m not looking for an intro to home recording book.

I installed a trial version of Cubase to troubleshoot a hardware issue I was having with a couple USB connected synths and Sonar, and not only did I find that everything worked great but I found a much better and inspiring workflow in Cubase! For years I felt like Sonar and I were the couple that should have broken up but stayed together mostly out of familiarity. We were fighting more than making music and it was rare that I finished anything due to frustration with the DAW…

I’ve been watching a lot of videos on Youtube and they have been incredibly helpful but once again not a replacement for a solid hard copy reference.

Anyways, any recommendations are more than helpful!


Hi, my first post here.

I’ve arrived here after many years with Logic, and a brief flirtation with Studio One and Ableton. Actually I started on Cubase on the atari (cough), so I’m actually returning, but things are a bit different now.

So like Bigfrog I’m also looking for a hardcopy book, reading a PDF on iPad is not only a nasty experience, it simply isn’t conducive to learning in the same way, at least for those of us who aren’t proper ‘digital natives’ (under 25?).

Unfortunately the only guides I can find are written for Cubase 7. Is it worth buying one of these and then cross referencing and annotating changes in 8? As a Cubase noob I just don’t know how much has changed and whether this is viable…


I would recommend Youtube. It is much more effective if you can see it done.

Hmmmm I’ll see if I can get used to it. I’m a fast reader and good at quickly absorbing information off a page, and I like being able to scan back and forth, cross reference, and get an overview of structures and things. Videos are totally linear, definitely the best for understanding a single issue but really slow to get an overview…

Hi guys! You could alternatively study & experiment with the ‘Key Commands’, implemented within Cubase’s file menu if Windows is your OS.

I moved from reaper to cubase and I’ll tell you how I learned cubase quickly: start your next project in cubase and have the operation manual in an adjacent screen.

Steinberg did a fantastic job with the manual and I find the explanations easy to follow for the most part. Once you hit a roadblock, google the question or YouTube it (for things like score editor, variaudio, time stretching, etc). For tips and tricks ask the forum. You might not work on a project that hits every major feature of cubase but you’ll get very comfortable with it and it beats reading books by a country mile.

Now I feel like a fish out of water when I open reaper. :mrgreen:

I just did a quick search in the Amazon books section which did produce a bunch of Cubase books. However they mostly seemed to be older and about earlier versions of Cubase. Which would imply there isn’t much of a market anymore for Cubase Books. That said a book about Cubase 6 etc. could still be useful. For the most part the way Cubase works hasn’t changed much in recent versions. Granted these books wouldn’t include newer features & capabilities, but what they do cover will in general still be valid. And where it isn’t correct, it should be fairly clear what to ignore comparing the book to what you see on your screen. Also the “what’s new” videos can help bridge that gap.

Bad news is it doesn’t seem like Amazon has anything focused on C8, and with C9 just around the corner everything will soon move another generation back.

Unfortunately the same technology that makes Cubase possible has killed paper books, along with all the other “old-school” things like jokes and actual social interaction. The problem is simply that any paper book on Cubase already has a very limited market, and given that there is only at most a two-year window per version, few publishers are going to be interested in risking publishing anything that specific. That being said, there are one or two books that are still helpful even though they were written around the time of Cubase 5 or 6, in particular Steven Millward’s “Fast Guides”.

I was amongst those who lamented the move to PDF-only manuals with Cubase 6, and still keep my paper Cubase 5 manual on the shelf. The only other alternative is use a printing service but I would tend to agree with keyman_sam’s recommendation to work through a project with the PDF open on an additional screen.

There are some excellent video resources though (yes, I know … you want a book!) such as macProVideo and Streamworks Audio, and don’t forget Steinberg’s YouTube channel.

Get on the Groove 3 mailing list and wait for a one-month subscription bargain. They’ve got a number of very good Cubase tutorials that can easily be digested in a four-week period. Of course, they’ve got loads of other great content as well, and you might find yourself going back for more months for non-Cubase stuff.

As to the previous comment about PDF documentation, I got myself a tablet expressly for viewing PDF manuals - one of the best investments I ever made. I’ve got the equivalent of a four-foot high stack of printed PDF material sitting next to my bed. Every time a new version of Cubase comes out (or Wavelab or any number of other software titles that issue yearly updates), no trees die in the service of up-to-date documentation.

Actually Groove 3 has a sale going on right now. And thanks for reminding me to extend my yearly subscription during the sale.

Thanks for the suggestions, everybody.

I did not know about Groove3 but it looks like they have a lot of stuff there. I do like videos a lot but it’s more time intensive than a book and you have to take notes for future reference. Personally the combo of video and book are ideal, kind of like college.

Does anybody have any experience with these online print services for printing the manual?

Thanks again!

I am old skool too… a little too old… :wink:
I suggest its much easier to watch you tube videos. I have a dual monitor system and have a tutorial on the left and Cubase on the right, and as the video proceeds, I go to the program itself and do what the other guys doing. It works better because there is muscle memory involved and your eyes are on the real thing.

There are free vids on utube, esp the steinberg site on utube, I go there mostly for trouble shooting. But if you want series of competent detailed walk throughs, then their are sites like Ask VIdeo, and Groove 3 which for a monthly fee (as much as the price of a book), will give you access to thousands of top class methodical courses.
Didn’t Beethoven use that stuff? Paper I mean??

Yeah, I’ve got a spare tablet and a laptop that I use while learning this stuff but I’m pretty stubborn with what I want. I want a dam freaking manual. :wink:

Anyways, I just got a subscription to Groove3 so I have plenty to work on (and not just Cubase but they have a decent selection of vids on a couple other pieces of software I own). And I have a notebook, pen and highlighter for me to take notes in.

I thought Beethoven just hummed the melodies to his scribe… oh wait, that was Paul McCartney.

Maybe you do want paper in your hands, I have a E book reader, but always go for paperbacks. Unfortunately the manual is not available on paper any more. I wish I could help you.
The Operation Manual in Help as got better and better though. I know it’s not what your asking, but I did read through the whole thing once, making notes, and it was worthwhile.

Anyway - welcome to Cubase and the forum. I just came back after a few years holiday, I do know it can be a struggle. The program has got ultra smooth and sophisticated, sleek does mean more buttons though… it’s gonna take a while, (like getting an appointment at the NHS - you can’t rush it) get your cocoa ready…

I did suggest one time that Steinberg could publish the manuals on Lulu as a possible solution, especially as the PDF is downloadable for free. That way, anyone who really wanted paper could order one for a reasonable fee. Some companies already do this.

There is already one there on Cubase, not from Steinberg, but I don’t know if it would suit the OP:
Music Technology A-Level - Cubase 8 by Darren Jones
As for standard local print shops, I do remember some people having some success, but the manuals are so large that it’d probably span several bound volumes, and would likely be hugely expensive as a one-off.

The Complete Guide to Music Technology using Cubase 10