Difference Between AI And Elements?

Hi, new Cubase AI user here. Coming from Sonar and more recently Reaper. I’m very impressed with AI and what I can do with this “free” product (I purchased a UR-22 a few years ago, but only now decided to check into Cubase). I am wondering just how it differs from regular Cubase, specifically Elements, which I plan to upgrade to, and possibly Artist after that, if I need it. I had Sonar Pro 8.5.3, never upgraded to Sonar X, went to Reaper instead. It looks like Cubase is a better workflow for me. I’m a classically-oriented hobbyist, using GPO, EWSO Gold, Vienna SE and Cinematic Strings.

One specific question: does the score editor in Elements/Artist differ from that in AI? I can use the one in AI, but a better one would be helpful.

That’s it for now. Any info would be helpful!



Here’s the main things that are missing in Cubase AI compared to Cubase Elements:

-No Hermode tuning
-No Dither effect
-No Remote Control Editor
-Only 4 Insert effects and 4 Send effects per channel (Elements has 8 of both)
-Can’t quickly switch between the primary and secondary timer display format (For example switch everything from bars+beats to seconds)
-No Sampler Track (this gives you the ability to quickly turn any audio selection or file into a playable instrument, includes filters and envelopes)
-No Arranger Track (plays different sections of a project in any order you want, without moving anything)
-No Chord Editor in the piano roll (allows you to quickly draw chords or edit selected note groups)
-You can’t disable tracks (good for making big templates with many VST instruments/effects pre-loaded)
-Limited Channel Strip (Cubase AI has EQ and normal Compressor ONLY - Elements adds low+high pass filters and gain before inserts, Noise Gate, Tube Compressor, Vintage Compressor, EnvelopeShaper, Tape Saturation, Tube Saturation, Brickwall Limiter, Standard Limiter, Maximizer)

Cubase Elements-only insert effects (separate from the channel strip):
PingPongDelay, VST Amp Rack, Brickwall Limiter, Compressor, EnvelopeShaper, Maximizer, Tube Compressor, VintageCompressor, StudioEQ, StepFilter, UV22HR Dither, Rotary, Pitch Correct auto-tuner, StereoEnhancer

Cubase Elements-only VST instrument and content:
Prologue (synth), Acoustic Agent for Groove Agent SE 4 (deep sampled drums)

For Cubase Elements vs higher-tier versions, this should give you a rough idea of the differences: https://www.steinberg.net/en/products/cubase/comparison.html
Overall Artist and Pro are a big improvement over Elements, and you should definitely look into buying one of them if you like Cubase. The MIDI implementation in Cubase Pro is very complete and powerful.

You’ll need Cubase Pro for the full version of the score editor.

Thank you Romantique TP for your reply, which is very helpful and informative. I use Notion for finished scoring. As a hobbyist, I find it sufficient. As long as the score editor in Elements/Artist allows me to do my basic editing (copy/pasting instruments, changing velocities, volumes etc) it should also suffice.

I can’t seem to find anything like an Event List in AI, which both Sonar and Reaper have. I like to enter CC events that way. But I can certainly adapt, if I need to do it differently, so long as the workflow is good.

I will be checking out Elements soon, I just got my access code. It’s really cool that you don’t have to install it, just enter the access code. Very easy!

I’d like to ask something on this subject myself if I may, rather than starting a new thread…
I understand Romantique Tp’s explanation of the difference between AI and Elements, but my installation is both… so I’m confused. It is “Cubase AI LE Elements 8” (bundled with UR242), but it doesn’t contain the features that Romantique Tp listed.
I guess it doesn’t really matter except that I want to upgrade to Elements 9.5. On the upgrade page (https://www.steinberg.net/en/shop/buy_product/product/cubase-elements-95.html) it lists “Upgrade from Cubase LE, AI, Essential or Sequel” but it also lists “Update from Cubase Elements”, at different prices. It doesn’t give a version number, so I guess 8 would be acceptable, but I’m not sure. Could anyone shed any light?

If it came with the UR242 it’s almost certainly LE or AI as that’s been a package for several years.
The executable file for LE, AI and indeed Elements is the same. What functions are available are determined by the license. If you check your eLicenser that will tell you which exact version you have.

Steinberg and Yamaha hardware come with Cubase AI.

Hardware from other manufacturers come with Cubase LE, which has more limitations besides the ones I listed.

But mine says “Cubase AI LE Elements 8”, hence the confusion.

In the eLicenser?

Ok, yeah, in the elicencer it says AI so thanks for pointing that out, I get it now.
Anyone know if the number version matters for upgrading to Elements 9.5? It doesn’t mention the version number on the upgrade page, but as I have AI8 perhaps that doesn’t qualify for an upgrade to Elements 9.5?

You can upgrade any version of Cubase AI or LE to Cubase Elements 9.5.

Thanks Romantique Tp and planarchist!