Here is what's wrong with Cubase UI

This post is not intended to offend or insult any of the original designers or developers. The purpose of this post is to discuss the current design of Cubase and where it is heading.
Cubase is a decent DAW, however I feel that it has the potential to be much better if some sections of it get reworked.

Inconsistent Design:

  • There’s absolutely no consistency with design
  • There is no common design language.
  • Inconsistent colors, buttons and dialog boxes.
  • Any symbol can represent anything

In my option, UX and Audio Engine, both need help. Here are a few examples of what I’m talking about:
How many of these do you notice? Is there any other UI quirk that you find annoying?

Arrange View:



Setup Example:

Some very good points here.
Another thing that bothers me a lot is all those Inconsistent windows. Not all windows are updated to the new look. I really don’t believe that it is a HUGE work that from 10.0 till 10.5 they didn’t have time to change all the windows.
Other thing that bothers me is a lot of different font sizes all over the application.


I agree in some points but in other I disagree.

For example different “Solo” buttons shape and color makes really sense here. Because every of these buttons have totally different meaning.

Solo track has totally different meaning than Solo Editor. Solo Editor doesn’t mean Solo track at all. And totally different meaning has Deactivate all Solo State, what is more like a Reset button.

Same for the record button. Record to the track does something different than Record to the editor.


Btw - have you tried opening the F4 audio connections window yet? Just make sure you’re wearing sunglasses. :smiley:

Inconsistency and the need to always rearrange certain things which almost makes it a different daw every time there is a new update.
Just as your brain gets used to a certain way things work a new update changes that.
If only Steinberg let us customize more things and not force us into it then it would have been a much better experience.

WoW… terrible :confused:

Allegro - very good points and well explained / detailed.

I don’t have issue with the first two images as they are different functions and sections of the program

there are other GUI issues though which they are sorting out over time. You have to remember, Cubase existed way before S1 or many other DAWs, so there are sections of the program that are over 10 years old GUI wise. It’s more complicated to change things including GUI in an already built architecture than it is to make something from the ground up based only on modern code and graphics.

The KeyCommands in 10.5 for instance finally got updated! yessssssssssss! no more tiny macro window.

Hoping VSTconnections window is next along with a re-work of how External FX functions.

Very good points indeed! I am new to Cubase and noticed some of the inconsistencies right away, but was not sure if it makes sense to post them (“It is what it is”). If I am not mistaken they had changed to a flat design from Cubase 9.5 to 10, and obviously not everything could be overhauled within a year. But does it really take them 3 (or more) full years until Cubase 11, getting cleaned up old graphical elements? Clearly the buttons on the tracks, the Mixer and in the Inspector are from way back and have not adapted to the new look. I don’t think there is any reason why they should leave it that way - otherwise they should not have changed the design in the first place. I suppose back in the days the design was a bit different and everything had these kinds of gradients to make this fake 3D impression of depth, in order to make it graspable. Nowadays everybody knows that these elements can be pushed / toggled so consistent colors between same elements are way more important than gradients. Also when you look in the key commands or for example generic remote, the scrollbars look very old. I mean is it really that hard to maintain something like this? To be honest I am very happy they at least managed to drop the obsolete gradients on the inserted tracks, which made everything look a bit unclear.
By the way, the icons of the two noteheads in the Transport bar looks different as well for example. I get it - one is for the tempo and the other one is for the time format, nevertheless, I think they should have used the same icon with the addition of the arrows for the tempo.


I’m hoping that the dropping of Win7/8 support was in part so they can clean up some stuff that only exists for legacy purposes - including GUI inconsistencies.

:astonished: !!

When activating “Cycle” - the area between cycle-markers and their bar numbers become almost black…

That is something you can change in Preferences/Custom Colors/Ruler Background

Exactly! I really don’t think updating the design takes this long…unless they’re working on a grand fully scalable and modular, vector based redesign. We can always hope for the best :smiley:

I actually agree with what you have to say as well. These different solo buttons don’t have to look exactly the same but a similar art style would’ve been great. Right now, the buttons look like they’re following different UI trends from specific time periods (eg. early 2000s, 2019 etc). Then once these designers have a rule established, they should not break it.

For example:
Why is it that the “E” symbol can do so many things and look exactly the same but for the solo button, every type requires a new design?

I’m glad they were able to get rid of some of these gradients as well. Just noticed these icons you mentioned which also brings us to an interesting point. I fear that the designers of Cubase are changing everything just to be trendy but there is no real “intent” behind it. This would be like me randomly using a beautiful harp glissando in the middle of a piece just because John Williams once did it and it sounded good. Art and style is a completely subjective thing but when you’re contradicting yourself stylistically, that’s when your idea becomes weak.

For example:
The style of Logic, Live and ProTools. Even though i’m not a fan of every design, they’re very intentional about it. Logic still uses gradients but they’re properly done for the most part. Some people say Live looks like an excel spreadsheet but its very intentionally done. Function over beauty. I also feel that this could be one of the reasons a lot of Cubase users keep complaining about small design changes (as opposed to other DAWs where complains are about global artstyle). They subconsciously feel that the designer didn’t really “mean” it.



You have a fair point. Based on some of their new design changes however, where sometimes they use a full window design, other times a floating pane without any apparent reason, I went ahead and started this thread. Is it really intentional or is it randomly worked on by different “teams” who have their own way of doing things?

Again, I just hope I’m wrong here or even if I am right, someone from Steinberg reads our discussion :slight_smile:

To each their own, but I can’t stand Logic or Ableton look.

Logic looks like an iPad app even when on a normal screen an with both programs I just feel very claustrophobic and closed in. There’s something clunky about them to.

Sometimes separation in design is a good thing in the sense of being able to compartmentalize tasks and organization. and the thing to know about Cubase/Nuendo, is they are open-ended production programs. They aren’t just music making programs, they are management programs. They are meant for the end-user to invest some time in customizing the orientation of everything. I feel much more constricted in other programs.

Cubase gives you access to everything without always throwing it in your face.


I actually think Cubase is the best looking DAW right now (apart from some windows still being ancient).

-ProTools looks old and stale no matter what
-Logic looks like a basic music iPad app
-Studio One sort of combined ProTools and Cubase look, but I find it a bit too flat and boring, seems more like Photoshop GUI
-Reaper sort of lacks direction and focus
-FL Studio is FL Studio
-Like FL Studio, Ableton is Ableton… sort of very oneway oriented. both a bit too dinky feeling

Cubase 10.5 actually looks really really good guys, they just need to update the out-dated parts now, and maybe give people control over the channel name colour in mixer, progress the lower-zone functionality a bit more, and that’s it.

One of the big discussions in the forums the past 3 years, was getting lost in all the major GUI changes… very much looking forward when GUI solidifies and it’s really almost there.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the GUI improvements over past few years… but what’s more important than always improving the GUI, is a GUI that stays the same… ie, it’s not fun for the GUI to be a learning curve ball every release.

That’s exactly what I was about to say as well :laughing: There’s definitely a reason i use it as my main DAW. In fact, I probably like it a little too much to the point where i’ve started nitpicking about these details instead of actually making music. Here’s how my arrange window looks like right now. Also, under Preferences>Event Display>Audio, setting the waveform outline intensity to minimum makes the waveforms look so much cleaner.

I know how it is, the musical mind is capable of nitpicking into anything! It’s good when the software doesn’t easily take that focus away from the music - you shouldn’t have to think about the software or be distracted by it - you should always feel “in the music” or production.

Looks good. If you haven’t already, I recommend getting into Workspaces, it helped me a lot. I have a Workspace set that is in the templates I use, so it’s the same across every project and I get instant access to the things I rely on the most to get things moving and sounding good… all assigned to hotkeys

Exactly on point! Im glad I’m not the only one