Cubase 12 without the dongle

I just upgraded to 12 and was so excited about getting rid of the dongle.
But you need the dongle for internal plugins WITHIN cubase?

In retroperspective I understand that there has been some clarification about this, but it is also CLEARLY left out in the sales pitch.
I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if there’s some basic features that doesn’t work without the dongle anymore and will promoted to work again in some future upgrade…
What’s the point in releasing a “no dongle” version of cubase that doesn’t even function with the internal plugins? It doesn’t make any sense does it?


Which “internal plugins”?

If you mean FULL versions of Halion or Groove Agent for example then it was known they’ll need the dongle for a while still.

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Indeed it is only bought steinberg plugins which was known. It’s not the stock ones that come with it.

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It wasn’t known to me. Perhaps if you frequent the forums it’s come up in discussion, but I don’t and you shouldn’t need to for a caveat as big as this.

There’s nothing in the advertising blurb that says all the Steinberg plugins will still need the dongle. There should have been an asterisked note somewhere stating this.

I don’t know about ‘ditch the dongle’ but I think it’s time for me to to ‘ditch Steinberg’s plugs’ and buy someone else’s…


It’s pretty clear from the information provided on Steinberg licensing and direction the roadmap starts with Dorico and Cubase:

We are beginning the transition from eLicenser to the new Steinberg Licensing system. Over time, as new versions of our creative tools and instruments are introduced, our product line will use Steinberg Licensing — starting with Dorico 4 and Cubase 12 in 2022. We expect the overall transition will take between one and two years.

That’s direct from the link on the steinberg homepage at the top of the screen - Steinberg Licensing: A New and Exciting Era Begins | Steinberg

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They will be ported over to dongle-less authorization eventually.

Also, you didn’t really had to follow the forums - for Halion the dongle is required and it was pretty clear that 1st products that go dongle-less are Dorico and Cubase and other will follow suit later. Halion, etc. are separate products.

As others have stated, this only concerns external bought plugins like Groove Agent. Not the ones which are included in Cubase.

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I haven’t seen the roadmap. I don’t come to the Steinberg website unless I have reason to, which in this case was to upgrade to Cubase 12 and there was nothing in the blurb about other Steinberg plugins not working.

Sure the info is there if you look, but it wasn’t presented to potential purchasers as part of the marketing for the product. I think it should have. been. I’m not a fan of companies that sell products that require you to live on their website to find out all the caveats to their claims.

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As opposed to every other company always listing what features are missing or obsolete in their other products when they release a new version? Get real :slight_smile:

Also, it’s not like you can’t use them anymore - they work exactly in the same way they did 2 days ago for you.

I’m not talking about other companies and I haven’t had problems like this with the vast majority of the many other company I buy plugins from.

A major part of this update (and the main part for me) was ditch the dongle - and I can’t. Two days ago I hadn’t parted with £85.

Anyway, you have your point of view and I have mine… but there are many people posting that they weren’t aware of this (like the OP) so that speaks for itself imo.

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But you can! Finish old projects in v11 (or bounce the stuff out to audio) and don’t use Steinberg’s products that still require the dongle for couple of weeks / months with new projects in v12. As you said you have lots of other plugins, so I’m sure you’ll find replacement for Halion, Groove Agent, etc. for the time being.

I’m not sure what all this has to do with Cubase. This is the Cubase forum. You are talking about Steinbergs plugins. They don’t have anything to do with Cubase. They’re separate products. They are purchased separately.

Nothing has changed yet for these plugins. They always used eLicenser protection, and they continue to do so until Steinberg updates them to work with Steinberg Licensing. Just like Cubase and Dorico, which have been updated to work with Steinberg Licensing now.

Thanks antic, I take your point and realise it’s not the end of the world and I don’t want to over-react.

Actually, being positive, I’ve found I can actually plug headphones into my Macbook and they work automatically whereas with C11 I had to menu dive to get them working… so that’s a pleasant surprise! :slight_smile:


Just to make it clear: I don’t want to stop this discussion, it’s just that it adds unnecessary misunderstanding and confusion.

We have to distinguish between Cubase’s internal plugins, and the plugins which you can buy separately from them. Yes, there is some overlap (Retrologue, Padshop etc.), but, those plugins won’t require eLicenser if you have a Cubase 12 Artist or Pro license. If you don’t, and you bought them sparately (not with Cubase 12), they still require soft or hardware eLicenser.

As a rule of thumb: Everything Steinberg which isn’t Cubase 12 or Dorico 4 still requires eLicenser (soft or dongle, depending on the product). As far as Steinberg stated, all of that software will be updated at some point to support Steinberg Licensing.

You can read this article, which will be updated once another product will be updated to use Steinberg Licensing:

In general, their support pages are a good source for such questions.

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To be fair, it seems like everything is actually fixed at this point though. I feel a little bit stupid because I’m starting to wonder if I did something wrong and it was working from the beginning.

And I don’t want to piss on on the devs in that way if I’m the one being totally wrong. Everything seem to be working now in groove agent and halion now . So I’ll let it be with that.

This seems to also include content packs, btw – need the dongle, can’t separately use them on the laptop.

Which content packs? Surely not the ones included with Cubase (you don’t need any copy protection for them anyway).

Again, that’s a spearate topic. This is the Cubase forum.

It’s nit the ones supplied with Cubase and as you say a separate topic.

Definitely bummed out about this as it didn’t immediately occur to me this would happen but totally makes sense. The biggest one is Groove Agent. I use that regularly. Hopefully that will be one of the first ones they migrate over. :slight_smile: it Is really nice though to pop open Cubase 12 and everything is buttery smooth without the dongle.

I have the songwriters drum kit for groove agent, and Simon Philips drums, and they will not now work with cubase 12 unless the dongle is in place.