Importing ancient Cubase 2.5 for Mac files

Hello. I have been neglecting my music for years, but want to get started again soon. I need to update my equipment and software first; my MIDI sequences were all created using Cubase 2.5 for Mac OS Classic (System 7). What are my options for importing my files into a modern version of Cubase for Mac OS X or Windows 7 64-bit?

My old 68040 Mac no longer works, so I don’t have the option of going back and resaving my sequences as Standard MIDI files (except by getting Cubase 2.5 installed in a 68000 Mac emulator, I guess), and I want to avoid that route if possible anyway, since I want to preserve things like project notes, part names, and ghost copies.

I did come across Re: Cubase VST Song import in Cubase 4/5: a solution – will Cubase SE/SL/SX 3 import my Mac Cubase 2.5 files? Do I need to use the Mac version for this to work, or can I use the Windows version as well? (I do still have a PowerPC-based Mac mini, though it is not currently booting due hopefully just to hard drive issues.) Any gotchas with resource forks of the HFS-based Mac files?

Thank you very much in advance for helping me resurrect my music.

I would not expect the SX3 to be able to import Cubase 2.5 files. It was only designed to import files from Cubase VST 5. The ideal scenario would be to go from 2.5 to Cubase VST 5, then from there to Cubase SX3, then up to Cubase 6 or 7, then up to Cubase Pro 8.5. You’ll need multiple operating systems for that.

That said, I would take a copy of the .all file from Cubase 2.5 and try to import it to SX3 to see how it does. In any case, none of your original plugins are going to be available, so you’re mainly just looking for the Audio and MIDI to be in the correct locations. I hope this information is helpful.

Thanks, Chris. This was Cubase 2.5, not Cubase Audio, so there’s no audio or plugins to be concerned about, just MIDI and some text.

Luckily I do have the ability to run Windows and PowerPC and Intel versions of Mac OS X, so multiple operating systems shouldn’t be a problem. At what point would I be able to switch OSes? I see that VST 5 was only available for Mac OS 9, so unless pre-10.5 versions of OS X for PowerPC allow running it properly under the Classic environment, I’d need to find 680x0 Mac ROMs to use with an emulator, assuming it’s not possible to use the Windows version.

Will a serial number for a current version of Cubase activate all the old versions you list? And I assume I wouldn’t be able to do any of this using trial versions?

Oh, I also have Cubasis VST (1.0, I believe) for Windows, which came bundled with a SoundBlaster, if that would help me at all.

The most widely used OS for this would be XP because it could run VST 5 and SX3. For Mac, you’d need some 9.x OS for VST 5 (I do not recall what 9.x system it supported) and likely 10.3.9 for SX3.

That said, I’m sorry but from Cubase 2.5, I am not certain if any of that would go directly into VST 5.

Personally, in your scenario, I’d probably focus on trying to get a Cubase 2.5 system running and export as a .mid file to import a Cubase Pro 8.5 directly.

Okay, thanks, Chris. Yeah, as I mentioned, I really don’t want to have to go the Standard MIDI route if I can avoid it, as I extensively use ghost copies, name my parts, etc., and I don’t want to lose all that. I’ve got XP running under Virtual PC, so hopefully going from Mac to PC will work and lost resource forks of Classic Mac OS files won’t be an issue.

Any response to the following questions?

Will a serial number for a current version of Cubase activate all the old versions you list? And I assume I wouldn’t be able to do any of this using trial versions?

A license of Cubase Pro 8.5 can open Cubase SX3 as long as you have installed the updated eLCC from I do not know if VST5 will open that way or not.

Hi Dan, I’m having the exact same problem (need to get my ancient cubase 2.5 files to work like modern midi files). did you ever figure out a workflow?

Hi, Pascal. No, I was anticipating getting a job soon when I posted that, but I’m still looking at this point. I will not be able to follow up on this project until I can afford to buy a new version of Cubase. I promise to follow up here as soon as I know anything, and I would of course appreciate it if you would do the same.

Thanks for the followup – glad to hear I’m not the only one who needs to figure out this particular data migration.