Does Cubase Pro 10 still require a Dongle?

Hi all,

I am replacing my workstation with a laptop and at the same time I need to get rid of USB dongles. :slight_smile: When working mobile, I find USB dongles pretty annoying and also the risk of damaging or losing the dongle is too big. So I was wondering: Will I still need a USB dongle, if I want to work with Cubase Pro 10 or is it possible to save the license on my hard disk or SD card or something?

I found a list of soft-elicenser software products on the website, where Cubase Pro was not included, but this was from 2017. On the Thomann store it is written, that a USB dongle is still required, is that true???



Ok thanks. What a pity. Dongles are so outdated :slight_smile:

I hope this will change in the future.

I read somewhere on this site they are working on a dongleless system.

What a shameful world we living in. The most successful antipiracy system over the last 9 years, is about to go down. Im leaving to Marss

Hi !

Well, that pretty much depends on your usecase. People, who need to use their license on multiple systems would be screwed without the HW dongle …

Halion 6, Dorico, and some new VSTs are using the Sel., so it looks like it’s coming. You can still move the license to a usb key.

SB will not make the mistake of having poor copy protection, and Cubase is probably the most attractive Steinberg product to hackers, maybe that’s why it’s not done yet.

As cds points out, if you are not using a dongle, you’ll be sh-- out of luck if you want to run the software after a crash without online access, or need to run it on a different computer. In a professional setup this would be an unacceptable circumstance.

Woah, I was just about to buy Cubase for half off switching DAWs

Thanks for this info. I’ll wait for Cubase to catch up and go dongleless … maybe next year

Used Cubase for 15 years. Like it a lot. Haven’t used it for the past 2 years, precisely because I have multiple system. Can’t be bothered with a software that forces me to remember and hook something up to usb-ports every time I’m going somewhere/changing between portable and desktop.

Studio One, also a great DAW, lets me install it on up to 5 (5 !) different computers and use at the same time. No dongle needed. Seriously, there just aren’t any excuses for the dongles anymore…

If they ditch it and let us have it installed on at the very least two computers, I might come back.


That’s an opinion from the perspective of a customer who is inconvenienced. Of course you have only data from what you have personally seen, with which to evaluate the extent to which software piracy is prevented by the USB Key.

Read my post above too.

I don’t understand this. And what professional setup today doesn’t have internet access? Ah, well, the professional studio where I work is actually a good example of that. We didn’t have stable internet when we made the switch to studio one (just about digging fiber). Never, ever had any problems with starting the software after the occasional crash though. Or when starting on a different system. At times I had to use my phone as a connection point for a bout 30 seconds, but after that no problem at all.
Internet only needed when activating things though. No problem starting an already activated product, even when offline. So that argument is pointless…
I don’t have enough fingers, however, to count how many times I’ve forgotten the dongle in one system and therefore not being able to start working on another. Not to mention having to use USB-hubs in portable setups because you run out of USB-ports, thanks to dongles…

I think of it like this. There are two excuses to be made for the dongle:

  1. Steinberg can’t market Cubase well enough to get people to buy it instead of turning to piracy.
  2. Steinberg can’t make software that is hard to crack.

My point of there being no excuses for having the dongle relies on the fact that there are companies out there that make great DAWs without dongles.

And why not have both? Dongle for those who want that and something else for those who want that/aren’t afraid of not being able to start the DAW without an internet connection.

And more companies in the industry are getting this. Just go watch Slate Digitals YouTube video about ditching the dongle/making it optional.

Quite often I have clients that ask me about what DAW to get, and which one is “the best”. I usually give Cubase high praise, along with Pro Tools, but eventually tell them to look into Studio One. Main reason - multiple activations and dongle free.


A recording engineer or composer doing field recording/work in a remote location, someone working on a project who doesn’t know where they will be from day to day, someone working in an underground location without wifi or wired access, someone whose mobile service doesn’t include hotspot service, someone without a cable long enough to reach the ethernet jack on location… etc., etc., etc.

Nobody is saying there should only be dongled access to the software, so it’s not really necessary to debate that question.

I had to buy the Steinberg dongle in the past to get the Portico plugins to work. I also had an ilok for other plugins. After a couple years, both my dongles got stolen. I was able to reclaim 95% of my licenses with the help of the publishers and ilok. However, Stenberg had no way of dealing with this. I send dozens of emails for months trying to reclaim the licenses on my Steinberg dongle until I eventually gave up.

Long story short… I’d stay away from Steinberg’s dongle.
Steinberg has had Zero Down Time for several years now. Are your licenses still registered?

That’s true.
However, every situation you just mentioned works extremely well with Studio One. Precisely because there’s no dongle to remember and move between setups. No required internet connection once installed. Ability to activate on multiple machines (for studio, portable rigs etc.).

The steinberg dongle is - comparatively - a nuisance for us users, nothing else.

You asked

and I answered.

But is required prior to installation If disaster has struck, such as a catastrophic disk failure, on a gig where there’s no online access. You can have a backup of your files and system, but not a backup of your license. With a hardware USB license key you can do the install without online access for both the software and the licensing system and get back to work.

For you, something with this career-destroying capacity might never come up, and if you have read this thread or many like it, you would have read that the alternative that people are asking for has been implemented in Dorico, Halion, Halion Sonic and newer VST instrument products, where you can choose a software or hardware license container.

It’s perfectly logical that you should defer using the superior program :wink: until this necessary-for-you feature is realized.

So if the dongle breaks, is lost, gets stolen or has been forgotten somewhere everything works fine if you’re without internet access? I mean, you cant really do much about that zero downtime unless you have access to your steinberg account (and a spare extra dongle) so… Can’t really see the difference there.

And if we ever have jobs where catastrophic failures like the ones you describe could happen we have redundancies like raid backups and an extra laptop ready for use if needed. I think that is common practice for most professional recording engineers/producers/composers/artists.

Also, talking about music production programs in terms of overall superiority is just unnecessary, since they’re all great and excel at different things. Doesn’t mean they can’t improve though, and when it comes to Cubase the licensing can be greatly improved!

I’m not debating you. So carry on.

Not upgrading until it is dongle-free

I really like Cubase and prefer it over most DAWs; but I can’t be bothered with dongles for my laptop workflow, I need portability. I have a regular dongle (USB-A), so, because of USB-C, i need a dongle for my dongle. Forget this madness. Just get it on the App store, let Apple/Microsoft manage the privacy side of things, or work on something dongle-free. It’s time to move forward.

In all honesty I prefer he dongle, for me it means that if I am on the move I can install Cubase on a different laptop and just plug in the dongle with no issues. Go to a friends house with a set of audio files to do some recording then realise he isn’t using Cubase, no problem, install the program and bang in my dongle and were away and of course when the dongle is removed the program won’t work on that computer so no issues with piracy. Getting onto piracy, the dongle for Cubase has been the only unhacked hardware I know of in the computer world, my only wish is that it was the size of one of those wifi mouse dongles to avoid breakage. O am totally happy that if I lose my HD to failure or lose my dongle I can easily recover my Cubase.

One thing I do think would make Cubase very appealing to new users would be to release old versions as free use, for example if Cubase 5,6 or 7 was available as a download to use as freeware it might get a lot more people interested in upgrading to the latest versions.

Dongle = Yes
online registration = No
Subscription = Definite NO