Dongle Sadness

I have bought every paid upgrade since before VST24.

I use Cubase Pro 8 on my MacBook and on an old Mac Pro in my home studio.

Now I have a train ride to work where i could do some Cubase work “on the go”. But there is no way I can bring my eLicenser. There is barely enough elbow room to type. Even if I used a USB extension cable and velcro, I’m already juggling my bag, my glasses, a flask of coffee and a ticket. And I’m worried I’ll break/lose/forget the dongle.

So I have just bought a Cubase Elements 8 license, for dongle-less operation in this situation. I couldn’t afford to buy a whole other Cubase Pro 8 license, so I could have it on soft licenser.

I still have to worry about maintaining file compatibility, so effectively can’t use the Cubase Pro 8 extras I’ve paid for, unless I am willing to fork the project into two versions at some point, and export/import between them.

This doesn’t seem fair after all the money I’ve paid as a legitimate user.

Anyone else facing this issue? Any better ideas?

We love mixing “in the box”, with no “outboard gear” … except the sodding dongle is not in the box. It’s outboard.

I think a Cubase Pro 8 license should include activation on two machines, and no dongle.

Even the strictest software vendors I know - Final Draft, Toom Boom and Articulate Storyline - operate like this.

thanks for listening.

I do think that a Cubase Pro license should also entitle you to a free license for Cubase Elements so that you have the option to use Elements when you don’t want to carry a dongle with you. I’m considering buying Cubase Elements for this reason but it does seem a bit unfair when I’ve already paid for Cubase Pro.

Good idea!

I’m not a great fan of the dongle because I sometimes have to travel with it too. But, they could make it very small, the size of those wireless mouse dongles, i.e. virtually flush with the USB socket. And, I think they should allow the licence to be transferred to a particular computer - the eLicencer software looks like it would do this but it doesn’t work for Cubase Pro! I think too that Steinberg should allow us to store our licence in the cloud so that we can run one instance of Cubase on any computer anywhere as long as we have internet access to the cloud licence. All of these possibilities brought together quickly, intuitively and usefully using the eLicencer software, i.e. moving the licence between these various options.


It is ok to say, “I wish it came with a free copy of elements, etc…” Just like it is ok to say, “I wish my job paid more money and I had to work less…”
But it boggles how someone can say something is “unfair” when it is simply an offer that was made for a product under some terms for a certain price and they accepted that offer. If it was “unfair” why would one agree to the terms?
I just don’t get it.
What’s “fair” is the offer that the vendor makes and the consumer accepts…

hi Jaslan. thanks for your point-of-view.

But in fact, it is not very clear before you purchase, how the practicalities of the Cubase versions, and their protection, fit together.

I’ve been through numerous support communications with Steinberg to discover that:
(1) Once a license has been assigned to a USB hardware licenser, it cannot be moved to a machine-specific soft elicenser.
(2) the Cubase AI LE Elements product is one installed application that enables certain features at launch, depending what license you have.

So it seems there could be a more elegant solution, for a legitimate user who doesn’t want to bring the dongle while travelling than “The program will quit now”.

Better models exist. eg. Waves lets you move licenses from USB drive, onto the machine’s hard disk, or even to the cloud, as needed.

When the protection scheme obstructs a common use-case (laptop while travelling) for legitimate users, there is room for improvement.

No it is not the same, because Cubase Elements is a subset of features I have already licensed in Cubase Pro.

And I will not be using both products at the same time.

My only motivation for licensing Cubase Elements, is that it uses a software-only protection scheme.

Because Steinberg has no mechanism to move my Cubase Pro license between machines without requiring a dongle at launch.


EXACTLY! :slight_smile: Nobody is asking for anything extra as such, just the possibility of using some features they’ve already paid for without the risk of losing a valuable dongle whilst on the road.

It’s similar to the poor Nuendo guys who pay for Nuendo and then also pay for the NEK only to see various new features in Cubase that they don’t get for another 6 months. Personally, I think they should be given a license for Cubase, or maybe a 6 month demo license until the features are added to Nuendo. It’s just my personal opinion. Nothing more!

For example, VCA faders are largely demanded by post guys and they didn’t get them until 6 months after Cubase.

It’s not so much about ‘fairness’, just more about keeping your customers happy and loyal and most importantly paying money to your company.

If you have any Steinberg virtual instruments that you regularly use, then I don’t think Cubase Elements will help you in the way you want. Any instances of Halion, or GA4, or whatever that isn’t an included SE version, will require a license on a dongle.


No, if you buy a second (lesser) license, you have two Cubase licenses. You didn’t buy another way to get to your first licensed product’s subset of features. Whether you use the products at the same time or not is irrelevant, because there is no way of making sure that is the case, and the vendor has no intention of checking either way.

Ofcourse anyone is free to ask for a different licensing scheme (and many have done so already), but this is what you signed up for when buying the product, like Jaslan said. Nothing unfair about it.

Not exactly… Cubase Elements has a feature that is NOT available in Pro. Namely, the ability to use it without the dongle. So Elements is definitely not a subset of the features.

Along the same lines… This IS absolutely asking for something extra because the very feature you are asking for (being able to use Cubase without the dongle) has NOT been paid for already. This feature costs money (EVERY feature costs money…).

Obviously, the world of software licensing is VERY complicated. They cant just sell you the program like Kitchen Aid sells you a toaster. So… they have to have licensing conditions, which both must agree to when the sale is made.

It is the same as buying a hamburger, paying for it, taking a bite, and then complaining and saying it was unfair that it didn’t come with cheese. Yes… It IS the same. A product was offered for a price. The offer was accepted. The transaction is complete. Nothing unfair happened.

I am pretty sure steinberg had said they are working on a different dongle with a smaller form factor.

Size does matter :wink:

Harder to break a small dongle. Steinberg said it was going to be about the size of a bluetooth dongle. Supposed to be released in 2015.

Dongle copy protection has cost them thousands of sales over the years. Maybe privileged lines of credit makes up for that I don’t know, but a lot of people have moved on to other software.

You seem to be quite sure of those ‘facts’. Any source to back up these statements, or is it a ‘gut feeling’? :unamused: