Dongle Down! Can anyone help?

OK. My Steinberg dongle is dead. No red light. Nothing. Now what?
I’m on location for a job, and obviously can’t call Steinberg to get any help.
Is there anyway to activate a soft license, or a temporary one of some kind? There has to be some kind of work around, and I can’t wait for the new dongle to get there.
I need to get this software up 6 hours ago! What can I do? Please help!

If you can get to a place that sells the dongle, you can buy another dongle and activate a Cubase 7.5 trial.

(Have you verified that is actually the dongle by plugging it into someother computer?)

(Bummer. Hope you get it sussed out asap.)

Steinberg-developed eLicenser needs to have a feature similar to iLok’s premium “Zero Down Time / Theft / Loss” protection.

How it works is brilliant. It’s cheap. It’s simple. The service auto-renews on a credit card on file.

Total peace of mind.

Imagine that, iLok got something right, for once. Well, and their new lic. manager app is better than eLicenser’s, too. They really did a 180.

Steinberg needs to catch up in this area. The dongle hardware need not change. It’s just software and services.

Cubase is professional-grade software and deserves to have the best possible solution for ensuring true zero down time.

Thanks for the replies.

Yep. Definitely the dongle. Tried it on several machines to no avail. I’m out in the middle of nowhere so nothing near by with steinberg keys on hand. Got one coming from Amazon. Job is lost now thanks to Steinberg support. (or lack there of)

Yes Jalcide. A true zero down time solution would be ideal, and should be in place if they won’t give us a number to call. I get why they do what they do to a certain extent, but it’s things like this that I need to be able to call someone NOW. I’m not calling cuz I don’t know how to use the software or my computer. When I pick up the phone I need help NOW, not 24 to 48 hours from now. That’s just absolutely worthless to me. -I gave you the money, now give me the support.

This is the third incident in the past 6 months where I lost work that could have been easily saved with a direct phone call to Steinberg. I don’t know if I can keep doing this. If not for the investment, I wouldn’t. Avid’s gonna win me back yet…

Just saw on the website that they actually recommend that you purchase several dongles, so you have extra when one fails. In this day and age, shouldn’t something this simple AND important be virtually indestructible and fail proof?
And even if I did have a spare, don’t I still need a Steinberg Rep to get my licenses downloaded to it?
There has to be a better way.

I read elsewhere on the forum that a new system is in the works, which is needed. I hated the dongle for a long time before I finally submitted. :wink: When there’s a demo availble there’s always that…

Really sorry to hear about your loss, BoydPro. This shouldn’t be happening with in 2014 with the kind of technology we have available. Even companies with far less resources and user-base than Steinberg / Yamaha have found more elegant solutions.

The better way is exactly how iLok does it (now, since ZDC and TLP).

I don’t think the issue is the dongle, it’s the lack of ZCD and TLP.

I’ll be saddened if a non-dongle-only approach is the offering.

NOT having a dongle is a nightmare when a computer crashes, enjoying the peace of mind of image-backed-up HDs, updating computers, moving, multiple computers, multiple locations, when mobile, etc.

A dongle keeps things fluid and dynamic and allows the user more flexibility, independence and robustness when things go down (no cloud needed, no internet needed – once it’s configured, it’s fully encapsulated. no phoning home, no reliance on distributed, fussy, moving parts).

I feel there are three ways to do it – all with a dongle option:

  1. Dongle with true ZDT and TLC (no calling, no waiting, no bs. – spare dongle and you’re good to go).

  2. Ability to de-authorize unlimited via dongle or keyfile (like Plugin Alliance). If it gets lost, you deauthorize via a secure web page. Simple as that.

  3. Have the software serialized to the user, but without any restrictions on number of computers or number of times it’s authorized. Once you own it, that’s it, it’s yours forever.

Many of my favorite plugins are #3 (Cytomic, Fabfilter, SKNote, and others), but I can understand a developer not wanting that. So, #1 and #2.

Anything else is an tradeoff-based solution, at best.

At worst, it’s a client-work-losing, or even complete, total loss scenario: hope you have insurance, can get full coverage for it ALL – fine print included – and don’t mind a rate spike, and can get all the sales prices you hunted for over the years, again. Heck, hope you can even BUY some of it again (some software continues to work for years even after the company has dissolved).

No one should have to buy software, twice. For any reason. There is no excuse for something that’s entire in the digital domain.


Aloha guys,

Just to chime in.
If you are really serious about location work where $$$$
and spontaneous creativity/production is on the line,

When on the road take spare everything.
Better to have and not need than to need and not have.

Specifically for road work, my approach (tho’ a bit costly) is to have several
safely stored licenses (not just blank dongles) carried
just for these types of ‘travelling’ outages.

A bit pricey yes ($500.00 each) but this way the ‘show goes on’ without a hitch
and you don’t really have to pay for them.

Why? Because in the end your client(s) does.

Good Luck!

When you’re a pro you’re a pro all the way
from your first overdub till the last tune you play. :wink:
(plagiarized without permission…)

I have a license on one dongle, and a second dongle with the 25 hour ‘all steinberg’ license on it (that comes with a boxed Cubase). It really is relaxing.

Yeah, if one takes their work seriously, then a backup dongle is a must. I don’t travel much ever, yet I have a backup dongle sitting here just in case. $40 is much less expensive than loosing $40 and looking a fool because your clients can’t record because of a failed dongle thingy.

Try to explain that to someone paying much more per hour than the cost of a dongle and you can’t perform the work.

There is a great analogy in there I bet…


This must be the most stupid advice I’ve seen in ages. If the dongle fails you can’t transfer the license to a new one!!! So even a hundred spare dongles would be of no use, what so ever. Unless Steinberg expects us to buy multiple licenses of the software aswell.

Well, that’s alright if your dongle breaks down on a weekday and you can get the problem resolved within 25 hours. But what if it happens on Friday night? And to boot, you’re on location in middle of nowhere recording the annual moonshiners 3-day festival? Would you feel as relaxed then aswell (with a hundred angry moonshines chasing you into the woods)? I sure wouldn’t!

Actually, I prefer the dongle alternative over CR-codes and similar protection systems, any day. Steinberg needs to adress two problems. The material. as long as Steinbergs stubbornly makes the dongles out of plastic, “they will break”. Stronger material (meta, carbonfiber, etc) would go a long way. There really need to be a “panic” option available. Does Steinberg really not care if their customers loose thousands of dollars because of broken dongles?

Well, it is 25 hours of actual usage, so it could last through a weekend, and there’s also the possibilty of using trial licenses. I agree though, these are workarounds.

I also keep an unused trial activiation code handy.

you’re on location in middle of nowhere recording the annual moonshiners 3-day festival? Would you feel as relaxed then aswell

For that I would for sure show up with a second dongle with a trial license on it, especially if I was planning on partaking! :laughing:

Or track using Cubase AI or Cubase LE.

Another workaround / workflow I’m considering, for reasons other than having backup licenses, but that’s a nice side-effect:

Buy two copies of Cubase to use in a distributed, two-computer configuration via Cubase’s VST System Link feature.

(VST System Link uses one ADAT – or similar – digital channel, between two sufficiently equipped audio interfaces to inject some sync data to keep the two, or more, computers in sample lock and to matrix the audio in and outs between the computers.)

Do that at the home studio, to offload processing on the main CPU. Use Dropbox to sync the project files to a unified folder.

Then, when you’re on a gig (or in an emergency where one Cubase dongle goes down) you’ve got the spare dongle with working license all ready to go.

This doesn’t address the Theft / Loss protection missing in eLicenser, but if you wanted to build a distributed DSP system, anyway, the bonus is that you’d have a spare eLic with an actual license on it.

I’m considering doing this since Vienna Ensemble Pro has not released their “FX Rack” solution yet (and with no firm date on it) and solutions by Waves’ are too expensive for a hobbyist like me. And UAD doesn’t provide a sensible number-of-instances to price ratio, for how I’d be using it. One grand for 8 premium UAD effects vs a 600 dollar rackmount PC that can run 100 native premium effects, is a no-brainier for me. Enter VST System Link.

Just a thought.

Two questions:
How long is an unused trial activation code valid?
Can one order a trial activation code if one already owns full license?

I never checked how long it would be valid for, but I imagine that it’s valid as long as that particular trial version is available.

Don’t know about the second question, but I imagine you can.

I am a Zero Downtime client, but I would prefer do not pay any other service after a purchase anyway. Moreover, Zero Downtime requires you log in every 90 days in order to reactivate the insurance clicking on reactivate. I did not understand why it was necessary but they require this step after 90 days. I think I have to remember a lot of things while I am working on a project and I do not want to be worried about other problems.

I mean, I invest thousand of dollars in sound libraries, plug-ins, sequencers and I would prefer avoid problems while I work for a project.

I need to be able to reactivate all my products whenever I need. If I have to repair or change my DAW and reinstall everything I have to invest time for that and I would not have problem in the reactivation process.

I would not have problems while I work for a client.

I think we are on 2014, I believe it is not impossible find a common solution for avoiding this kind of issues.

As far as I am concerned, I would choose just software that provide the license key with a personal account (like as Native Instruments, Cinesamples, Audiobro and other providers) where I can download the software I purchased whenever I need and the list of my own licenses. So I have just to download the always upgraded version of the software and reactivate it solely.

In this case I had not choice, Cubase for me is The Sequencer although I have DP8, ProTools, Sequoia, Ableton Live, Logic Pro. I work with Cubase and I rely on Steinberg. I am sure they are working on a solution for that.

I would suggest this kind of solution rather than the dongle:

1) Every user/studio will have a personal account with username and password
2) In every user/studio account the user will have his licenses registered
2) Every license key will allow to run Cubase up to 2 DAW/PC/MAC simultaneously
3) In the Cubase Menu bar a new voice Activate where the user has to login with his own username and password and then click Ok in order to authorize the software.
4) When the user authorized the software, the voice Activate changes in Deactivate so if you worked in a different Company you have just to click Deactivate before leaving the Studio. The user can deactivate the authorizations by his personal account everywhere because if he forgets to deactivate the software in another studio he can do it from the iPhone/iPad/Macbook Pro/PC/Smartphone :stuck_out_tongue:

Support is OK actually. As you say, you ARE “in the middle of nowhere…” Can’t expect everything I suppose. Could you not get thru on the support numbers listed here? As far as I can tell the trial lasts 30 days. Not sure how many times you could pull that trick though.

This suggestion looks an awful like any other C/R protection system out there. They all have one thing in common: They’ve been cracked. I seriously doubt that Steinberg has any interest in replacing their hard-to-crack dongle protection with an easy-to-crack C/R protection.

Unfortunately, we live in a world where copy protection is a necessity. That’s life, I guess.

Also your suggestion requires a Internet connection (mobile or fixed) to work. This is not always available, for one reason or another.

I’d say that SteveInChicago’s 25 hour ‘all steinberg’ license is the best solution yet, if it’s 25 hours of usage, not 25 “clock-hours”.

By the way, Steve, what do you do when the 25 hours are up? Is there any way to renew it, or are you up ****-creek if something happens on your next location recording?

I have spare dongles, but only one license. If I have a physical failure with the dongle, what’s the process of getting my licenses moved over to my spare - is that something that a support person can accomplish for me?

I’ll be going back to gigging in bars, so now that I have spare hardware I’d like to know the full process so I have a disaster reccovery plan in place.

Has anyone been through this with a failed dongle?

Hi Svenne,

the trial code never expires.

You can request one yourself from the products’ pages, or ask to receive one by phone or mail.

Note: you can’t activate the trial of the same version twice on the same dongle.