Cubase 12 upgrade and older "dongled" licenses

It is by now well known that the new C12 license, in addition to allowing the “dongle free” use of Cubase 12 (alone, with no “old” licensed VST instruments or effects), is unable to run older Cubase versions, which continue to need their dongle.

So, if I’m not mistaken, anyone wanting (for any reason) to be able to use all Cubase versions must have two separate licenses: the new “online” C12 one and also the “local” C11 one inside a dongle.

What about those users who buy an upgrade to C12 (from an older version) ?
Do they find themselves in the above mentioned situation?
In other words:
can anyone, here in the forum, confirm that once you have bought just the upgrade to C12 you are still able, with your dongle, to fully run the older Cubase stuff?

Yes. If you upgrade from a previous version using eLicenser (Cubase 11 or below, same for Nuendo) the previous license on the eLicenser must be available for validation of the new license and it will be transformed into a “non-upgradeable” state. But it will continue to run older versions as usual. I upgraded Nuendo 11 to 12, and N11 is running fine that way (didn’t try older versions but I don’t see why that would be different - the license must appear the same to them). It is just the same with Cubase.

That is only valid for upgraded licenses. If you bought Cubase/Nuendo 12 new however, you won’t receive an old license and will not be able to run those older version of course.



Thanks for your useful reply.
It therefore appears that “old” customers have an advantage in this case, as their upgraded C12 license, unlike what used to happen in the past, is much more “powerful” than one freshly bought from scratch.

Too bad that the company has not also decided to provide a way to transfer the old licenses to the new servers and integrate them into the new license system, while providing software drivers capable of emulating, in the eyes of the old products (obviously uneditable), the presence of dongles.
Surely it would have been a more demanding (and expensive) choice for the company but perhaps, by one of the most prestigious DAW producers, it was legitimate to expect it (or, at least, to hope for it).

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Steinberg is only part way through the transition to Steinberg Licensing.

In the next few weeks, they are going to start the process of re-licensing current versions that are some way from the next paid update to Steinberg Licensing, seemingly starting with WaveLab 11. Groove Agent 5 seems likely to follow, which will likely start the process of re-licensing extensions to Steinberg Licensing.

There is an endpoint when the eLicenser servers will be switched off and it will be impossible to carry out any more server transactions. Before this happens, I would not be surprised if there is a minor release of all older versions still in support and the ability to re-licence those applications to Steinberg Licensing.

That’s interesting information.
Did you find any Steinberg official statement about their actual intentions?

Steinberg announcement of WaveLab 11 and WaveLab Cast transitioning to Steinberg Licensing.

Groove Agent 5 and Backbone to transition to Steinberg Licensing (see the ‘Upcoming releases’ section).

All actively-maintained software to transition to Steinberg Licensing before eLicenser is turned off (see the “Can I continue using my eLicensers?” section).

The rest is a small amount of deduction on my part. Steinberg have said in the forums that they continue to refine their plans.

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Thanks again (for the useful links, this time).
I think the third one contains some quite significant statements:

“The new Steinberg Licensing system does not apply to versions of our products prior to the first version that uses the new system: so if you buy, say, a new license for Cubase 12 as a brand new customer, you cannot run Cubase 11 or earlier
[a detail that, in itself, makes the C12 license much less “powerful” than its predecessors]
“but if you are an existing Steinberg customer who updates to Cubase 12 from Cubase 11, you can still run Cubase 11 or indeed any previous version of Cubase provided you connect your USB-eLicenser containing the license for Cubase 11.”

So it seems that while the company has (obviously) plans to use the new Licensing System for all the new software versions which will be gradually released, they have no intention at all of making it possible to transfer old licenses (residing on USB eLicensers) to the new servers in order to run older licensed software in the “dongle free” way.
Which, combined with the intention of switching off (sooner or later) the eLicenser servers AND with the fact that they
“are no longer manufacturing new USB-eLicensers”
“expect it to be possible to buy USB-eLicensers for some time to come”,
hints quite clearly that all users, sooner or later, will have to somehow… accept the idea of buying updates.

So it seems that while the company has (obviously) plans to use the new Licensing System for all the new software versions which will be gradually released, they have no intention at all of making it possible to transfer old licenses (residing on USB eLicensers) to the new servers in order to run older licensed software in the “dongle free” way.

For what it’s worth, Groove Agent 5 currently works with both eLicenser and Steinberg Licensing. (The latest update added Steinberg Licensing support, but the dongles still work.)

I wish ALL Steinberg products offered this option. I never had any issues with the eLicenser, and I’ve had all sorts of weird problems with the new licensing system.

That looks like a kind of “middle ground” situation.
The latest update is needed, anyway.
Which seems to confirm, indirectly, the intention not to provide any way of transferring old licenses to the new License System.

PS. How can you be sure that “the dongles still work” with the latest GA5 update?
Couldn’t it be that the dongle “seems” to work but the authorization to run GA actually comes from the new Licensing System?

It appears that you can run older version Cubase 10 using dongle even though you upgraded Cubase 10 to Cubase 12.

PS. How can you be sure that “the dongles still work” with the latest GA5 update?

I couldn’t find it yesterday but when the update first dropped, I saw some text about how GA5 was the first Steinberg product to work with both licensing methods. It makes sense, though, yeah? Think of all the people like me with the Absolute VST Collection- which is still eLicenser-based. If it didn’t support eLicenser, then GA5 would break for any Collection owners who installed the latest updates.

It surely makes sense.
It should mean that once you have upgraded GA you can use it not only inside C12 but also with older versions of Cubase (provided you have a suitable working dongle).
However, I think I understand that to actually be able to work with both licensing methods you must have (or purchase) the latest version of the VST, released after the release of the new Licensing System. The “dongle free” ability is not provided if you want to keep using the VST versions you already own, without upgrading them.
Or am I wrong?

Yes you can, but you have to use the USB-eLicenser (which eventually, sooner or later in the future, will cease to work).
Steinberg appears to have no intention of transferring old licenses from the local USB dongles to the new centralized License System.

Right, you have to download the latest GA5 update to have the option of Steinberg Licensing.

Also, WaveLab 11.1 works with both eLicenser and Steinberg Licensing. But only as a transition; WaveLab 12 will apparently be Steinberg Licensing only.

Does anyone know if it’s possible to sell my C12 non-dongle licence (which was an upgrade from 11) yet still retain the dongle with C11 and earlier? I really don’t use Cubase so it would be for the rare occasions when I am looking at a legacy project.

That is not possible, because the eLicenser, containing the upgraded license, belongs to the new release. You can find the relevant information in the resale assistant in the Support pages area

Hmm, not clear when it’s the other way around. I want to keep the elicensor 11 licence and stick, and sell the C12 which does not reside on a stick.

That is what the last line in the screenshot says, the eLicenser containing the upgraded license of Cubase 11 and the Cubase 12 license using the new licensing system can not be sold separately.

So you either need to keep both or sell both. One or the other is not possible.

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