Cubase 12 licensing

So I purchased Cubase 12 pro today (upgrade from Cubase 11 Pro), very happy to finally ditch the dongle!!! After some minor hiccups due to slow activation servers I start up cubase 12 with the dongle disconnected. My Cubase installation is 100% steinberg products only, so imagine my surprise when Steinberg VSTs such as Halion 6 and other licensed media STILL require the dongle.

I can not begin to express how extremely disappointed I am. This is borderline false advertising. Or is it actually false advertising? Despite claims otherwise from Steinberg it would seem I still need to use the f***ing dongle until Steinberg gets their ducks in a row and migrate ALL products to the new licensing system. I don’t know how long that will take, but I read rumours speaking of years… WTH Steinberg!! Can I get a refund please? I have no need for the other features of Cubase 12, I just wanted to get rid of the dongle.

This was discussed many, many, many times since the new licensing was announced. Each Steinberg product that uses the dongle will migrate to the new system as new versions of the various products are released. The first product to migrate to the new license scheme was Dorico, followed by Cubase today. Presumably when Halion 7 is released is when it will migrate.

FYI the intention is to not migrate all products at once to avoid the risk of breaking everything at once.

Steinberg has been very upfront about all of this. Sorry you didn’t pay closer attention before buying.


Upfront in these forums maybe, where I do not linger. Still want a refund. This wan’t mentioned at all in the product page

Then I’d suggest you take that up with the store. Nothing can be done about that here.

Yeah sounds good, but also I want to express my experience and my view on things. I would expect I’m not the last to come to these forums to bitch about this…

I’m sorry to hear that we didn’t meet your expectations in this transition. We’ve tried to be as open and transparent as possible about the transition. Here’s the relevant section from New Steinberg Licensing FAQ | Steinberg


Thanks for your reply. At a very minimum this page: New in Cubase 12: Time to Embrace a New Era | Steinberg needs a few disclaimers.

Something like: "* Please note that the dongle may still be needed for other products in the steinberg line up and that we expect to migrate fully over the coming two years, pending your upgrade to major versions of these other products. "

Again, I don’t frequent the forums here. I’ve seen no communications and experienced no transparency.

But OK, I realise you consider this to be normal. I DO expect more from pro-grade software

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Thanks for the feedback. I’ll discuss the need to be as clear as possible about this point with the team.

Ohhhh Dear , it is very well stated that ONLY Dorcio and CUBASE will be dongle free , anything else that you require a licence for still needs the dongle , that’s plain and simple to see and is your fault for not researching and checking before moving to C12


Even with a refund you’re still on a dongle for Cubase mate. Many of us also have iLoks, so there’s that too. Anyway, nice update, program feels snappier and after years of waiting i can finally warp multiple audio tracks at once in Cubase.

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One thing I didn’t understand and without any basis is the fact that we can install Cubase 12 on 03 computers, but I can’t run the software on more than one machine at the same time. Example: I am in my studio and the technician is in Room A recording, after he finishes the recording, I simply go to the computer in Room B to master the product, but I cannot run Cabase 12 to finish the recording while the technician in Room A is still you have Cubase open. I didn’t understand absolutely anything that Steinberg did with these 03 fake licenses. I will need to buy another Cubase 12 so I can Master (Room B) while the technician takes a recording in Room A. A real Steinberg joke and I’ve been a Steinberg user since 2009 when I bought my original Cubase.

Why is this important detail not spelled out CLEARLY in the marketing materials. I do not even recall seeing an * and a disclaimer. Am I expected to read every Cubase announcement concerning this?

I never made it past the marketing materials. I do agree on the plan so as to cause minimum impact. Good plan. TERRIBLE communication of the critical details needs to be improved and not hidden away on the back of napkin placed in a spot no one will look at. We are generally busy folks do not have time to hunt down details. Please communicate widely next time.

How did you do this before the licensing change? Did you have 2 dongles (separate licences)?

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I do not understand what your issue is. The move to Steinberg Licensing does not suddenly allow multiple people to use the same Cubase licence simultaneously. It is the same “one person per licence” system as before, only with the concession that you can have the licence installed on three computers at the same time.

If you need Cubase in Room B for mastering whilst your technician is recording in Room A, you need two licences of Cubase 12. Nothing has changed, as you would have needed two licences of Cubase 11 for this scenario. However, Cubase 12 gives you additional flexibility, as you could leave your Room B mastering rig activated and have the same Cubase licence activated on a laptop or Windows tablet that you used for working at home or field recording.

Steinberg Licensing is similar to Adobe Creative Cloud and Microsoft 365 - you can activate on several computers simultaneously (two for Creative Cloud, I cannot remember the limit for Microsoft 365), but these products are “one person per licence”.

The new system helps users like me, who have a main system and a Windows tablet (in my case, a Surface Pro 7+). Previously, if I wanted to use my Steinberg software on the Surface, I would have to move all the licences to a USB eLicenser and take that with me (less than ideal on my Surface, which has one USB-A and one USB-C port). Steinberg Licensing allows me to activate my main system and my Surface at the same time; I can use whichever device I have with me without needing to worry about a dongle or Internet access to activate and deactivate licences.

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I have upgraded to Cubase 12, and generally things are working. However, every time I start up, it spends about 20 seconds “checking licenses” before loading my projects. This is not my internet connection problem. I have a Gb connection. Can’t you start the application and ping for licenses sometime in parallel? Perhaps using a cached license in the meantime? For the 99.99% of users who are honest, this will really improve the experience, and for the 0.01% who are dishonest, it will just shut them down in the first minute or two.

fyi @Mark_Sl the system isn’t going online. Have a look at the 1st paragraph in the New Steinberg Licensing FAQ | Steinberg

Thanks Steve,
So now I’m even more curious. 20 seconds seems an awful long time to check cached licenses. I’m hoping there’s a way to fix this.

A post was split to a new topic: None of my midi devices work properly now and I don’t have time to start writing scripts…