Cubase Pro Portable

Please produce Cubase Pro Portable.

What do you mean?

It’s called a laptop

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What do you mean? It’s called a laptop

@LoveGames, with a portable version, you could maintain a single installation exactly as you want, with all settings, plugins, etc. configured precisely as you like, and use that single setup on various systems.

For those who frequently work on different computers, replicating that setup via the traditional install process is time-consuming and often needlessly laborious, especially if the OS environments are substantially different between machines.

Even for those who don’t frequently work on different computers, a portable Cubase would make it much easier (at least on Windows) to migrate when you acquire a new machine. There would be no installation, re-making/importing settings, reconfiguring plugins, etc. You would simply move existing your setup to the new machine.

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Pretty sure that the Window’s Registry would balk at doing this. Like most programs Cubase depends on a whole bunch of Registry entries both existing and being properly set. That occurs during the installation process.

Pretty sure that the Window’s Registry would balk at doing this. Like most programs Cubase depends on a whole bunch of Registry entries both existing and being properly set. That occurs during the installation process.

@raino, thanks for your note. For a standard installed application, you are correct. The point of a portable application is that the application is self-contained in a single directory with no use of system registry, system files, etc. The application is adapted to work this way. At this time, portable apps are a fairly widespread solution provided by many software companies.

For reference:

Portable apps are popularly known by platform-based examples such as those found here and here and here and here, although it seems highly likely that a portable Cubase Pro would be built and released directly by Steinberg rather than released via one of these platforms. Examples of self-authored releases of commercial portable software are numerous; here are just a few quick examples: GoodSync ($300 version); Sublime Text, Beyond Compare (which offers a traditional and a portable install in one installer), etc. MusicBee isn’t commercial but is an example of a portable audio application that utilizes ASIO drivers and multiple plugins.

I don’t think (but don’t know from a reliable source) that Cubase makes extensive use of the Windows registry. Most of the settings are contained in the many xml files in the settings folder. I think Steinberg does this mainly for compatibility reasons between Windows and Mac

Interesting. I’d think doing that would be easiest for an entirely self contained Package. How would this deal with the huge variety of 3rd party plug-ins. Also seems like there would always need to be some configuration to account for things like different audio interfaces, MIDI controllers and the like.

@raino, excellent points.

The user would set the plugin locations in Cubase. Obviously, Steinberg would have to reconsider the enforcement of standardized locations such as (on Windows):

C:\Program Files\Common Files\VST2
C:\Program Files\Common Files\VST3
C:\Program Files\Common Files\Steinberg
C:\Program Files\Steinberg\VSTPlugins

In the year 2021, it seems to make sense to let the user decide where to keep plugins, rather than define that they be placed in any particular location.

Yes, the user would need to install required drivers and make hardware configurations on the target machine(s). The advantage of portable Cubase, though, is that any hardware-related configuration would be set once for the Cubase application, and thereafter would not need to be set up again for additional machines. (On the new machine, you would ensure required drivers and hardware configs are set. Then you would simply move the pre-configured Cubase application to the new machine.)

Setting aside that we can currently put them wherever we want, I was thinking more about licensing and instillation. Most of the plugins I have are in some way or another tied to a specific machine. I suppose there are solutions to this. But considering the number of 3rd party plugin developers, seems like that would require an awful lot of cat herding.

What do you figure the market size is for something like this and how much more might they pay for the capability?

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This is a fantastic idea. But the practicalities feel daunting.

This is true for VST2 plugins. From testing, it seems that Cubase ignores any VST3 plugins outside of C:\Program Files\Common Files\VST3.

For some users, plugin management already involves a lot of cat-herding anyway. :slight_smile: There are a few solutions for installation management:

  1. Many plugins are already portable, in that they are distributed in a .zip file and require no “installation” into the OS. These are easily deployed into multiple systems via a sync tool.
  2. For those plugins that require installation via an installer, there are some OS-level virtualization tools that can help make them more portable. Also, the user may just have to manually install some plugins until a future time at which more plugins might be portable/modular.

Regarding plugin licensing, many plugins utilize a hardware-based solution (such as iLok and eLicenser) which can be easily moved system to system. For those licenses that are computer-based, the issues would remain for the plugins on any system, whether or not Cubase itself is portable.

In numerous industries, quite a lot of organizations and users are turning to portable and virtualized software to simplify management. This is a vast trend.

Think about migrating your current setup to a new system. By the time you factor in setting up Cubase, (and any other DAWs and production apps you’re using) and all of the associated plugins as you mentioned, it can be a truly huge task involving days or weeks of migration. Simplifying Cubase installation by simply allowing it to be moved from one system/drive to another, all settings intact, would result in significant time savings.

People often put up with huge hassles (and the enormous resultant time waste) because they don’t realize that better solutions could be possible. If not only Cubase, but all apps (and even plugins) were made with portability in mind, the hassle and time waste could be largely eliminated. This is worth real saved money and recouped time for every user, which is worth paying for.

This is not a hypothetical for me right now (although thankfully not urgent). Figure several SSDs will get physically migrated.

I see the benefit. But getting from here to there is more hazy.