Buy separately for Mac and PC?

Hi two questions if I may.

  1. Do I need to purchase Cubase separately for Mac and PC or can I just purchase it once and then use it simultaneously on a PC and a Mac.
  2. Does Cubase regularly update / upgrade for free or are the big upgrades paid.
    Thanks in advance.
  1. A license covers both platforms.

In a nutshell: The new licensing allows use for up to 3 machines simultaneously. Once activated they don’t need access to the internet, however you do need to be at a machine to release a held license.

If a machine fails and you’re unable to do this, then currently Steinberg support will free the license for you.

  1. Usually there is a paid update once a year with all other updates free within that period.

The paid “update” cycle alternates between major (x.0) and minor (x.5) versions 12 months apart. i.e Cubase 9.0 was a major paid update, then 9.5 was a minor paid update. However, Halfway through the life of those updates is a sale that enables you to update at around 40% cost vs getting it on release - which many opt for.

Cubase 12 is on a new licensing system however, it’s entirely possible this cycle could change and the next “paid for” update is Cubase 13 in 2 years, rather than 12.5 in 1 year… Who knows! :slight_smile:

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I understand they’re not doing the .5s any more…

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Thanks, much, for the quick replies.
I presume the paid updates continue for a “finite” period - whether a year or two - right?
Would you also know if people who purchase the On Sale version (there is one on now) get the paid version updates.

Historically, Steinberg has released 4 to 6 patch releases over a 12 to 18 month period for each release. If you look a the Announcements, you can see how they handle and announcements, end-of-support, last-patch-release etc.

My perspective is that there is a reasonable chance that Steinberg will make the promised feature set work as expected, but nothing more.

Yep got it thanks.
So I presume the discounted version should also hopefully function like the fully paid version but no more.
On another note, I was about to get Studio One Professional, when I realised they save a lot of stuff (not core stuff to be fair) for their subscription version.
So I decided to focus my energies on Cubase.
At least, when you buy it, you seem to get the best version available in the moment.

In the past there was always a final update about 18 months into a minor or major versions life. So one presumes it will move to a 2 year cycle now. Potentially meaning that buying a Cubase update on launch in future could provide 24-30 months of updates.

I don’t think anyone is entirely sure at this point. In the past I think there has been a lot of pressure to build in new features once a year for the paid update and doing away with that yearly cycle should hopefully see more bug fixes and stability being a stronger focus?

Yes, no different. It’s purely to give sales a boost after the initial release period.

There’s a lot of fear among Presonus users since they were bought by Fender, too. Both are great DAWs and offer a similar set of features. Have you tried the demo of both? That would be my advice… New version of S1 is due next week.

Thanks for the reply. Yes I am trying both. Most probably will give Cubase a bigger shot, although here also, I think some of the instruments are light versions of the full apps, but more than enough to get by for starters at least. It seems great though. Btw I think I am pampered by Logic where updates are free either perpetually or for a long time - of course Apple charges a huge premium for its hardware and of late, well, it’s gone through the roof. hence am also considering Windows now. Any of you guys have experience with Windows - the lag used to be a worry in the past, but I hear it’s great nowadays. Please ignore if this is off topic. Cheers.

It’s only HALion Sonic SE that is compromised in that manner, but it’s still very good for bread and butter sounds… The core library with Cubase just sounds a little thin to my ears, so need to be processed or layered to get the best out of them.

Groove Agent SE library is pretty decent, but you don’t have the ‘drummer’ component which many love in Logic. So I’d probably call that a draw there! :slight_smile:

It really depends on your genre of music as to how “light” you’d find such instruments, if synths are of interest Padshop and Retrologue are pretty solid - that said, Alchemy in Logic is super lush… I don’t Cubase has anything that comes close to that.

For me Cubase is strong on musical theory concepts and using the chord track and everything that comes off that, is where I find actual differences to my workflow and final output of music when switching from Logic.

Also, the ability to be able to route tracks into others was very much welcome. i.e. the output of VST’s that generate MIDI Can be routed into a different instrument track - the only way of doing this in Logic was via IAC bus.

Lag is not a problem, other than vs Apple Silicon I find that you can spec a PC so much cheaper so performance is actually better bang for buck, which inherently reduces lag.

I went from a 12 core 2012 Mac Pro running Logic to a cheap i7 4790 CPU desktop that I picked up from eBay as a “tester”, wasn’t expecting much but it won me over so I’ve stayed on Windows since. :slight_smile:

The main negative going from Mac to Windows for me is how great Core Audio is, you don’t appreciate it while using a Mac. But as soon as you go windows, there’s issues such as sample rate locking to certain apps, the need for ASIO drivers, and issues where ASIO takes exclusive control of an audio device.

This means, for example, that if you’re using your DAW and wanted to jump onto a youtube video for a tutorial or something - it just won’t play.

You have to make sure that Windows and your DAW is fixed to the same sample rate AND that the audio interface your using has some kind of multi-client support (i.e. it’s ASIO driver doesn’t kidnap the windows driver!). I still find it a real pain if using a laptop and it’s built in interface.

My main machine is fine as it’s all dedicated hardware. But it’s something to be aware of if you’re looking at windows laptops and think you’ll use built in audio. Personally, I think with Apple Silicon, it’s unique enough to warrant the additional cost.

I jumped at a time where they were putting stupidly small SSD’s in and anything i7 and above was having thermal issues. Didn’t help that my macbook had the butterfly keys issue, just got sick of Apple and dongles hanging off my “portable” machine. Since M1, however, I keep thinking of jumping back.

Thanks so much for the detailed reply.

So if I understand it correctly, cubase isn’t as rich in instruments as logic, but it does a decent enough job. And for the other stuff it does seem awesome even to me. This is a tough choice still. I haven’t done much music but logic has always been home to me. But in my brief interaction with the cubase trial, it feels like a serious and grown up’s software.

Apologies, I meant latency when I said lag - hopefully you also meant the same thing. So, basically easy enough to sort in Windows these days?

Will be using an audio interface, not sure exactly what you mean by built in audio. Do you mean the asio drivers or the hardware. I will be using a desktop PC with a Scarlett / Clarett or some such. Also considering the RME Babyface but it’s pricey.

I do imagine the other audio issues you mentioned can be a massive nuisance but I can live with them if it means I can leave the “walled garden”. I’m tired of paying a huge amount for every damn thing and then being told I am still buying a cheap device. At least that’s how I see it right now.

In the meantime I just found out that the M1 Pro laptop base model is ok for my budget, but the thing is I don’t even like laptops. And it is the base model. I am hoping they’ll release an iMac with a M1 Pro chip soon. But in this matter we have to wait and watch as they never announce anything in advance as we all know.

So you think M1 is worth the extra cost? You seem a tad sold on it.

It’s just different, I prefer the stock instruments in Cubase - they just work very well for me and can find what I like easily. Trouble with Logic is that I grew tired with the sounds as used most of them for almost a decade! So it’s all very subjective.

I’ve always liked the Yamaha Motif sounds, so when first using Cubase I really liked the stock sounds and ended up adding to it via the Steinberg Absolute collection.

The stock effects, particularly compressors in Logic are much better than what’s found in Cubase though. But then the whole mixer and channel strips I find much better in Cubase.

I get far better results with Cubase over Logic and that’s my main reason for using it. Things just sound great, it has a very complete suite of tools and I adore variaudio for vocal tunings., fact that it links in with Chord track is just bliss! :slight_smile:

Oh it’s one of the largest DAWs out there used by some top professionals, Steinberg were one of the original innovators of audio software and are responsible for the invent of the mainstream VST plugins and instrument formats.

I don’t know if you’re aware but original members of Steinberg split off and helped develop Studio One into the DAW it is today, hence why it’s quite similar. But to recommend one or the other is an impossibility really, too subjective. Using the trials as you’re doing is the best method to find out what works.

You won’t get any issues with interfaces like that, it’s more if you’re just wanting to plug headphones directly into a laptop (i.e. no interface) where the issues arise. On a Macbook this is just simple and straight forward, not so much on a windows laptop.

Similar, if you ever want to aggregate multiple audio interfaces into one - so simple on Mac.

RME will guarantee you the best results, even though they are expensive their drivers are solid. But it depends if low latency reliability is all that important to you. i.e. if you’re recording guitars and applying real-time amp sims and such like, it probably is.

Yeah definitely, Even the base Mac Mini M1 is a great machine for audio. Silent, efficient and affordable. Although the 16GB model is minimum really, and you do need to expand them via external SSD’s.

If I didn’t need a windows machine for compatibility with my work I’d be straight back in the Mac world. As I said before, I didn’t like paying premium price for Apple standard components back with the i5/i7/i9 models - I just feel that Apple Silicon machines at least have a justification now. i.e. there’s more valid reason for SSD and RAM to not be user upgradeable.

I look at the Macbook Air M1/M2’s. They can run for 10-15 hours, handle 4k video and pro level audio, and without fans spinning up. It’s revolutionary.

But of course, it really depends on your needs - if you’re not mic’ing up and recording then fan noise isn’t as critical. Then you have people who game on their audio rigs so tend to go the windows route so they’re flexible.

Others just like to be able to self build and dictate which components their machine run on. So many factors as to why people choose what they do. :slight_smile:

Tried inserting my reply, referencing your paras but couldn’t get it fully right.


Didn’t know about Steinberg Absolute. I guess this is where they hide all the best stuff. Does make the decision a little tricky knowing that somewhere down the line there may a lot more expense. Then again if the regular version has a lot of stuff, that’s just FOMO.

I think I am going to make two short songs one in Logic and one in Cubase with my existing machine, and then decide. Like you said, try it out. Especially since I am still new to all this. Maybe try Studio One later as well. The problem is that I am not looking at the DAW as an independent decision - on one side, one Logic is free / paid for as far as I am concerned but on the other Cubase has a sale right now and won’t be at this price forever. Also I just did a thorough audit of all the stuff I am used to in Apple - from iCloud where I store all my daily files, to simple things like Apple Books which is very very useful. Damn the ecosystem! :slight_smile: … so now I am doubting how much I want to move to Windows.

I do record guitar. Nothing spectacular, but it’s important to me. Although… I am considering the Boss GX 100 in which case I will go directly into the machine via USB or Line In. But I presume even then latency will matter.

As to the M1, I am going to take that as a recco. Yes I do mic as well, I sing (if you can call its that) my own stuff, so, fan noise is important. So yes I’m right on the fence right now but I get the feeling Windows will be a bit of work even though I am having it done by someone and Mac will be simple. Interestingly enough the Mac Studio Base model is more or less the same price as the MacBook Pro M1 base model. And since I don’t need portability, it makes a lot of sense. Only issue is finding a compatible monitor that doesn’t cost me a limb or two. Also not sure I need all that graphic power (which I think is the point of the Mac Studio). But that’s the one I’ll probably get. Plus, it has several ports. Of course there is also the hope they will release an iMac Pro but so far there’s no signs. As to Cubase I think I will buy it sometime even if I stay with the Mac. Maybe get the Elements version. Maybe switch to it fully if I get tired of Logic. It’s too good to resist.

Thanks again, I think I have most if not all the info I need.

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Just another question - is a single purchase of Steinberg Absolute also useable on 3 different machines, Windows and Mac, like the Cubase license is. I can myself making the jump at some point, it seems pretty interesting. Thanks in advance.

At the moment Absolute is tied to the eLicenser. So you’d need a USB dongle and move it across the machines as you use.

Pretty sure that once HALion gets moved across to the new system (Steinberg Licensing), then Absolute will follow. Question is whether it’s a free update or not, it may only be HALion 7 that is compatible.

If that’s the case, no idea if Absolute users would get that free of charge as there was no such major update with Absolute 5.

Ah the legendary :slight_smile: dongle. I do hope they move it across; the Cubase trial has been a busy yet pretty smooth install.
Utterly last question I promise - do you know of any universal contact number or, preferably, email for support. When I follow their links I end up being directed to country specific support. I am in India and all I can see is what I suspect is a distributor number for Yamaha.
Thanks!