I have some questions about the instruments available with Cubase Pro

First, I can type into the media search bar and find huge lists of instruments, but I’m only able to use a few. Why is this? Do I have to download something?

Second, what exactly IS included with Pro? I thought all of the libraries were available, but I can only find an option to buy things such as Halion and Absolute. Are these not included with Pro? How do I download things that are included?

Sorry for so many questions, but I’m having a VERY hard time navigating the site and finding any information on this stuff, and nothing comes up on google. The only answer I ever find is “Cubase comes with thousands of instruments!” And all I can ask is “where?”

HALion and Absolute are not included in Cubase. As to the others, you may need to be more specific. It sounds like you may have installed some instruments or libraries that are not included and have no license for.

The items in the Cubase Pro 11 list that’s available in the Steinberg Download Assistant.

1 Like

Ok, thank you for showing me where to find it all. I’ve just been so overwhelmed the past week trying to use Cubase. It seems like a great program but it expects a LOT of the users compared to other DAWs.

Sorry, I’m an idiot. I was so overwhelmed last night trying to deal with issue after issue with Cubase, my brain kind of shut off. I was using filters, but they’re named like instruments, which was really confusing me. It still doesn’t quite make sense why something named “Bright Piano” would be a filter called DualFilter, an EQ, etc with the same icon as instruments. But that’s what I was seeing. Sorry for the confusion.

Bear in mind that not all instruments seen in Download Assistant are included in program and free. They are just available :wink:



So they’ll show instruments from packs I have to buy?

It can be confusing if you are not used to the Cubase ecosystem and naming. Two things matter for this:

  1. Prior to Cubase 11 there was a full and upgrade installer only (two in fact, one containing Artist/Pro content and the other one for LE/AI/Elements) which contained everything. Some people complained they didn’t like you’d have download the full package if you do not use those instruments or factory sound sets, for a longer time.

So they separated those in the Steinberg Download Assistant. Which is actually nice, but may lead to confusion to newer users if you browse the instrument section while SDA is downloading and installing Cubase.
So as steve said, you simply check and download ALL the content in the screen shown and NOTHING else from any entry (unless you need to conserve space of course. But as you paid for it and the content might inspire you to do create more music). Then just quit Cubase and on the next startup it will find all the new stuff, ready to be used in any projects.

  1. The naming conventions can be tricky. Like HALion Sonic SE is NOT the same als HALion Sonic! SE stands for Starter Edition I think. Just because it appears in the SDA without needing any serial number it might be included for free. That’s the one thing many people do not know.

I’d like if Steinberg included a small note like “You can download this, but need a licence/must purchase this for that to be used!” on all extra items for newer people. Yes, reading the manual is a thing and many people do not use it sadly. Even for a complicated software like a DAW where you have to put in some effort and bite through it, but making it slightly easier right from install isn’t a bad thing.

1 Like

It sounds like Cubase is trying to do a lot of new stuff and right now it’s just new and confusing and not particularly user friendly. Hopefully it will be a little less overwhelming for new users in the future.

That’s all good information to have though so I really appreciate that. And I totally agree that it would be nice if they had little notes on things about what’s available and how to use them. I definitely feel left in the dark a lot.

Oh sorry, my last message was supposed to be a reply.

Every DAW has its pros and cons. No one is better than the other, although it is said Cubase is used more by classical and film composers I think, not really sure.

[Removed that part - forgot OP already had a full Pro 11 licence]

As for your question on included (Pro) content:
I think the Pro 11 stock plugins, like Frequency 2 and the included compressors for instance, are really good and save you a lot of money. Not only if you are just starting out and have little experience in mixing. As for the included instruments HALion Sonic SE has some cool presets, though I only use a tiny amount of them regularly. This is purely personal taste, though.
Retrologue 2, Artist and Pro only, IMHO is a really good classic substractive synthesizer if you are into this stuff, including a very powerful arpeggiator and FX section. Sadly it doesn’t get too much love, only because it is a stock instrument. I have little to no knowledge for the others like Groove Agent SE in, as I use third party plugins for drum programming and others. Again, this is just my personal taste what is the “best”, and if you want to buy the full version of those SE versions later or not.

So Artist/Pro should not be valued solely for the included instruments imo, but more for the insane amout of very little, but time-saving and inspiring functions Elements does not bring,

No. The items in the list of the Cubase section that I posted above are included.

Only if they are items not in the list referenced above .

Steve, see “optional”?


Like I said, if it’s in the list it is included. End of story.

“Optional” simply means it’s not necessary to install for the program to run.

You are probably looking at a PRESET for the filter that would be applied to get a piano to sound brighter. Yes, it’s a lot to learn.

Steve, the question was which ARE included, You showed a picture also with optional ones which ARE NOT included.


You mean included with purchase, or something else?

All the items Steve showed in the screen shot are included with your purchase of Cubase Pro 11.

While some of them do say optional (and some recommended) that doesn’t mean it is something extra to buy. The “optional” means that it is not necessary, as in required, to install these packages in order to use Cubase. Before C11 all of these were included as one huge download. Now they are broken out so folks are not forced to download a bunch of content they have no intention of using. Optional means it is your choice to install or not. But you have already purchased it with C11.

1 Like

Ohh I think you’re right.