Cubase 13 is great, but the look changed for the worse

From the moment I started using Cubase Pro 12 in March of this year I loved the GUI. It felt different from everything else, neither Mac nor Windows, very original and professional.

And I loved this weird font that looked old but at the same time not bad, like a good classic car. Not the full GUI, but the buttons like the mute and solo, things like that.

But now Steinberg has taken the awful course that Microsoft has been taking for the last two decades or so, making everything flat and boring:

I don’t know what font is 100%, but it seems to me that it’s a lame font like Arial or similar. Even worse, if you compare the buttons and other graphical elements, again they did the same with Cubase than Microsoft did with Windows, make everything flat and tasteless.

Look at the buttons in the first screenshot. They have rounded corners, not to much, but enough to make it look good. Also look at the surface of the buttons and you can see that they have a gradient that makes them look as if they are protruding from the background.

Now look at the second screenshot. The buttons don’t have rounded corners, they are plain rectangles, and they have no gradient, it’s just a flat boring red, yellow or gray. It has no personality like Cubase 12 had. In fact, it seems like a GUI that is about half way between the first design, and that it looks finished and polished in the first screenshot. It looks like a GUI from a much cheaper program, some free DAW that was just released in version 1.0.

So this GUI is a huge step back, I just don’t get it. They had a great looking GUI that needed some polishing in a few places, mostly functional stuff, and they just turned it into a cheaper looking version of that great GUI.

It’s not even across the board, because they made these buttons with sharp corners, but many other GUI elements have rounded corners as usual. So it doesn’t even follow its own style.

Please Steinberg, give us back the old GUI. Just leave the new great features in, but at least make it an option. It’s just a bunch of tiny bitmap files you have to put back in the app, that’s all.

115 Likes

Change… Never sits well with everyone. Over the yrs i have had to learn to switch off from developer design/GUI changes or id never get work done. Its taken me yrs to adappt to this and my outlook on this is simple… as long as everything does what i want it to do then i couldnt give a **** what these gui’s look like. My suggestion is dont get too use to cubase 13 because 14 will probably have a different look and feel. :beers:

9 Likes

The other issue that your screengrab comparisons highlight is that by using white for the icons and e,R,W button text it has significantly increased the overall brightness of the track listing section in the arrangement window.]

If you’re in the dark mode camp (I am) all the white text really distracts.

I also have no idea why the track title text is in a bold version of the font. Again this just adds to the overall brightness - and really doesn’t help legibility.
I’ve screen shotted my arrangement window:

31 Likes

The problem here is that people spend hours looking at the screen UI is one of the most important aspects of any software. People at Steinberg clearly don’t understand that different people require different UI settings for their environment. Not to mention how hard to read things negatively affect your eyes!

31 Likes

I am one of the people who most wanted to redesign the windows and the possibility of resizing the windows and redesigning the old look of warning messages, the menu bar and many old windows, but I was really shocked by the ugliness of the design in cubase 13. The design is uncomfortable and inconsistent, . the control room has a design, the mixer and channels are designed, the font is very ugly white, and there are things that you still cannot resize to take advantage of the space.

The plugin design in cubase its much better like vocal chain and other

10 Likes

Been using Cubase since version 5 and I have to say it’s never looked better in my opinion.

It’s more consistent, except for the Control Room, which still has the “Cubase 12” type buttons.

12 Likes

The mixer looks a lot like Presonus Studio One, which I own and find to have a clunky, boring gui! I prefer the v12 Cubase Mixer gui.

21 Likes

The new mixer design is absolutely horrific! WTF Steinberg?! I’d rather go back to using VST32 mixer from 25yrs ago. SMFH :-1: :-1: :-1: :-1: :-1: :-1:

27 Likes

As a user who flips between a 4K monitor and a laptop set up on the go regularly, I certain welcome this flatter UI change.

Way more legible for me and saves precious laptop screen real estate.

I’m here for it.

10 Likes

People don’t say whether they’re on Windows or Mac I’m Mac), but I like the look of the new interface on my MacBook Pro and on the 27" monitor attached to the Mac Mini. The differences are subtle but everything just looks a bit clearer and cleaner to me.

9 Likes

Opinions vary, they always do. Some like it, some refuseniks don’t. Same old same old.

But I think some of this is beyond opinion. Some of the specific decisions make it impossible to use for the visually impaired, and this part in my opinion - worse for everyone.

Here’s an instructive A/B between C12 (left) and C13, with a midi channel highlighted.

On the left, the highlighted track is unmistakeable in C12. The track is input monitored, clearly visible with a yellow highlight. Although initially obscure to a new user, the tiny keyboard icon next to the number 2 at the bottom is of course the way you open the VST UI. It is at least the only lonely icon in sight in that whole area, and once you know you know, and it turns yellow once activated, making it clear that your window is open somewhere.

Now look at the right, the all new-and-improved C13. This is genuinely the default highlight tint - almost indistinguishable from the un-highlighted track. You can make it brighter in settings all the way to the old peak white if you like, but then you have a new problem - it obliterates the white text. The simple pre-C13 solution to simply make it white and invert the colour of the font from white to black. Perfect - and now seemingly permanently jettisoned.

There’s a lot more stuff as well. A new permanently greyed out box called “Insert Recording” that does God knows what. A new dropdown under All Midi Inputs that filters that input by channel (not the output channel). Pointless. And it all takes up vastly more space. Irrelevant clutter.

As for opening the instrument, that is now lost amid the 50 Shades Of Grey. It is cunningly hidden above another grey icon, the E one that opens the channel settings pane and deselects the channel as it does so. Thanks for that. When you do find it, it stays greyscale white, barely standing out amid all the grey goo.

There is the new nice feature where a small graphic of the VST is shown, which would provide a solution to the visibility problem - except that doesn’t work on midi tracks at all which are connected to an instrument. Only the instrument track itself has the image. Also for whatever reason there are half of my instruments in Windows where the snapshot to create the icon simply doesn’t work (it does on the Mac).

This, I’m afraid to say, is a mess. A UX disaster zone.

There’s a lot of issues to make things as bad as they are, and I understand that they might not all be able to be addressed. Here’s the priority imo:

  1. Highligher. Revert to peak white, black text. Anything else gives us little chance, and the visually impaired no chance at all. This is the one that is, imo, essential as it has a disability accessibility issue attached.

  2. Colour and layout. Revert to a yellow input indicator. Stop blocks of near-identical options in flat shades of grey.

  3. Add small VST images to MIDI tracks, not just instrument tracks.

  4. Give us the option to eliminate cluttered new redundant “features” like “insert recording”.

58 Likes

I like almost all the changes, except perhaps for the top Inspector “iconic” metallic element with big record button missing (that @Guy_Rowland above highlighted).

I especially appreciate the console / mixer which finally doesn’t look out of place.

Great job! :+1:

3 Likes

Everything is way too white with this new UI. It’s like the screen is “screaming” at you the whole time. The bold font for th name, the Mute, Solo, Read, Write, record, Monitor Everything is White… Only the channel name should be white, the others should have a darker tone to avoid this “Screaming” all the time. The C12/C13 screenshot posted here shows exactly that difference and c13 is way more agressive.

42 Likes

I totally agree with you. Also the new inspector design is no better than a downgrade.
Adding VSTi Snapshot icon is great, but the FFT Analyzer in Channel EQ is gone, and the Colorize Channel tab is also deleted. The most annoying change is that you can no longer see all the 16 (in CuEle that is 8) insert slots, including pre-fader and post-fader slots, in one sight.
What’s more, there is no more smooth slippery sliding animation when clicking on tabs — this is not a major problem, though.

9 Likes

As good as all the workflow enhancements are, the gui/graphic changes are a giant step backwards.

27 Likes

100% agree

22 Likes

To the people complaining about the white text: some of us like white text. When the text is grey, even light grey, I can’t read it. And, in Windows since forever, grey means “inactive”, so counter-intuitive.
I, for one, wish that devs would focus less on the UI and spend more time refining existing features, adding new ones, and looking for bugs (looking at you, Mixers!).

9 Likes

Also, in the mixer, the empty send/insert slots, in C12, had the track background color with just a thin grey edge. Now, they’re just black rectangles, screaming at you that it’s an empty slot.
Another thing that bugged me: The fader itself is narrower now. In c13, we have now 2 black vertical rectangles to hold the meter and the fader, and to make them at the same width (which of course is better on the eyes), they had to squash the fader to fit that space. What about not having that container for the fader and make it like c12 ?? If you compare the channel width in c12, we had much more room for the fader than for the meter (which make a lot of sense!) and no one ever complained about that!
Another thing: The track names on the bottom.
C12 had a thick horizontal line to indicate the channel color and you had a darker version of the color as the name background. The result: All track names are white!
Now, in c13, the channel name background has the track color. So, if you have a light color, the font will be black and if you have a dark color, the font will be white. making it a total mess across the mixer.


21 Likes

Here’s another annoying thing (Windows 11). I have the arranger window and mix window maximised by using the windows functionality to snap to 50% of the screen each. All good - everything visible:


Now I save the project, quit Cubase 13 and re-open the exact same project, cubase has now resized both windows so that the bottoms are cut off by the Taskbar:

Basically a bug - and an annoying one as everytime I open a session I need to re-size the windows again

9 Likes

I sort of agree with you here. The contrast and shine between the white 2D channel text, and dark areas burn your eyes. Together with 2D stuff, everything starts to look like Studio One GUI wise, which I don’t like at all. Objects, menus are getting flat, and it is getting hard to separate menus from each other. There is no depth in the GUI.

Funny, its almost as when you’re mixing here, just with the GUI :slight_smile:

This is the way Studio One is looking, those times I’ve seens shots from its GUI, and I really don’t like it.

When all this is said, you probably can do some magic with the color stuff in preferences. Maybe also with the text?

SLL

12 Likes