Is Cubase Popularity Dropping?

Yeah I’ve watched some of those.

Sure there is a lot of cool material out there (and some terrible!).
And sure the guy with the grey beard is cool, in a Gandalf kind of way, but the problem of Cubase not being cool enough to attract younger users remains.

Any other suggestions?

This turns out to be a great topic! Thanks for participating.

I wonder about the midi aspect. Cubase from the beginning has ruled. But in the 90’s Acid got huge. What happened to Acid? Early 2000’s I was lectured I should stay in the sample editing realm and ditch the Cubase drum editor because “nobody uses that anymore.” Even today, Dr. Luke to my knowledge stays in the sample realm and does little if anything midi. Do new users care or want to learn midi?

IMO a lot of this “popularity” is new users entering a greatly expanding DAW market. Maybe immature, inexperienced, and always the need to be cool, demanding instant gratification of Youtube videos instead of reading that huge Cubase manual. Which DAW makes it the easiest to learn?

I see similarities with NI. NI isn’t very innovative anymore. With mind-blowing Reaktor, Kontakt as the player, Absynth & Massive as just…huge, and Kore to control, morph, and classify any VST, NI was a innovation leader. But I guess they didn’t make much money? They abandoned Kore, ignored Reaktor, and dummied up a lame Battery 4 with a cool GUI. They took Kore concepts and struck gold with Maschine, all those Maschine expansion packs, Maschine Studio, and most recently Komplete Kontrol. NI marketing today is targeting a much wider market than in the past. I think Cubase is having to target a wider DAW market by releasing “cool” features and seduce hipsters while core functions and workflow, stuff experienced users value…suffer. Do professionals want another feature or do they want something so simple like…mix undo? I guess mix undo doesn’t sell copies of Cubase, but LoopMash does? Professional users are at the mercy of a prosumer market.

I think Cubase needs to target the professional user instead of trying to be all things to all users. Adding the word “pro” is a good start. As time progresses the DAW market will become even more segmented. I would gladly pay double or even triple the money for a DAW that is focused on core functions and workflow with fewer bugs. I hope someday there will be a market for a professional DAW such as this. Something to progress to when the kid’s ask about Zimmer and value workflow, discover midi, and understand how feature-rich Cubase really is.

Who cares if it’s the most popular?

I would answer that it is important, f.e. for the guys who try to create revenue with it, like in the topics example: teachers. If the youngsters are not intrested anymore, then this may hurt them, at least financially. But i certainly agree with the fact that the workflow and GUI shouldn’t be changed for cubase. Not what has been proven to be a winner.

But on the other hand i have seen young guys looking at cubase, in fact “staring” is a better word i guess, just not knowing where to start. The number of functionalities is immens nowadays and it takes quite some time to understand the workflow. In my opinion such a thing is counterproductive to get new people introduced to the program.

And no, not a single person is going to read the 1000 pages before starting the program.
Remeber how unpatient you were when you started working with the program.
You need very fast results and workflow to create “something”.

If you see, f.e. on the forum, questions like: hey i have no sound, how do i connect my soundcard to it, how do i record my guitar… that is not a good indicator for how easy the access to the underlying functionalities are.

Maybe introducing different profiles in the program with different GUI layouts could be a way to make it “cool” again.
F.e. a specific profile for the dance scene: a funky colored GUI with a simple sampler, certainly seperate drummodules like kick, clap, snare and hihat, renaming retrologue and add some rainbow colors… :sunglasses: … (joke) But at least the GUI like it is today should also be available and stay available.

It is difficult: Marketing. But if you see how much companies invest in it, and why, i guess it is important. And yes: Steinberg can not invest enough in it if it want to stay in BU. In the ideal world (for SB) two musicians would have a discussion about a DAW, while one says to the other: "what and you are still not using cubase (+ looks in disbelieve at the other)

:slight_smile: and a good starter for now would be if SB is going to bring us a good update with lots of new functionalities and repairs, for free… :slight_smile:

kind regards,

Well, at the start does anyone know how in-depth of a DAW they want? If you are determined, you will get it, and the rewards follow your efforts. So much of it depends on your comfort level and expectations.

Last week a collaborator who uses Logic browsed my project studio then after just 5 minutes understood why I use Cubase. “I can’t do this in Logic” is what I kept hearing. And I can’t do this on any other DAW to my knowledge. 3 mix consoles that can be linked, multiple editors, a drum editor something left out in most DAW’s, a history window…all these things controlled by KC’s and a MCU DAW controller. I would hate to try Cubase on a single laptop which is where most new users start, therefore becoming overwhelmed and popularity declining?
IMG_3586 edit 3.jpg
I think they may stare because it is the most feature-rich DAW and very flexible compared to others? It’s supposed to be “pro.” Does anyone think you can have the most flexible and feature rich DAW while it being the most simple and intuitive?

I’m in a generation that did read manuals…even the paper type. When I have a question, it’s not difficult to look up. But newer generations don’t read much. They expect Youtube for most everything. If you don’t get the instant results there is competition that will deliver…probably even more simple.

I would hate to see a DAW dumbed down for the purpose of increased market share which is exactly what has happened with NI. Their closest thing to a DAW is Maschine Studio, and that browser was dumbed down from Kore.

It seems to me at some point you have to draw the line and focus on your specific market. I hope CubasePro is for those who demand a higher experience.

I agree with all of the above, and a ‘pro’ DAW should not suffer in functionality and usability to draw new users. However, it’s still important I think, that Steinberg looks at how a new market can be attracted. Again, without ‘dumbing down’!

Tx for the answer. We agree i guess on 99%.

Fully agree.

That’s the topic, and from a BU point of view the number of licenses is essential, and for those who try to organise a (partial) living on this, not if one or a lot of the pro’s are happy.


imho i disagree. A GUI must take accessibility as it’s prime target, taking in to account that there are different profiles that want to access it. Being accessible is an art on its own. A GUI is not the way to go, it is the provided way to go.

You, like me, did probably grew up with it’s development, and we did read manuals, but not on first sessions. I’ve read it multiple times. The persons who jump on the track in a later fase are imho facing not something likewise. It can even become intimidating for them.

fully agree.

kind regards,


We took baby steps with each version. The 1997 version of Cubase was way different than today. Honestly, I don’t know if I could start out cold with a laptop on C8pro. I might have to try something simpler…at least to warm up.

“A GUI must take accessibility as it’s prime target, taking in to account that there are different profiles that want to access it.” How do you do that with a application that has been sort of piece-mealed together over many years without building a foundation and starting out fresh? Inconsistencies are evident. Windows management, always on top, full screen mixer,etc.

The OP makes a valid point, at least where he lives. Is it just marketing? These forums are a small part of marketing, but a lot of knowledgeable and professional users have vanished…or re-invented themselves with a new name and only participate in the lounge? :mrgreen: Or as someone else pointed out a registration process that ultimately turned him away from Cubase. How does tech support compare? Could live USA phone support help?

I have always thought the DAW should should depend on the production genre of your music. I hear Ableton is good for EDM. Logic good for EDM for Mac. DP is fantastic for everything, but for some reason it’s not popular. Studio 1 is just trying to capitalize on Cubase mistakes and catch up. PT good for mixing/tracking/reliability. Sonor seems to be dying a slow death, and Cubase…trying to be all things to all people. Your perception may be different.

i believe the fundamental problem lies with the want for instant gratification. These days every one wants a “magic button” - push it and you’ll have a fully composed song with chords, melody, rhythm and drums simply by clicking a few boxes.

the above illustrates that the user does not need to understand music theory to compose. similarly with 32Bit Float, it is almost impossible to clip internally; hence no need to understand gain staging… the list goes on. the disrespect for the audio industry is simply staggering.

Although technology is meant to simplify processes, the fundamental understanding of audio principles must still stand and be applied properly and not abused. this failure led to the Loudness Wars which an entire generation were just happy to peak out at 0.0db parallel compressed. in this day and age, along with the draw of the darknet, everybody who has a decent laptop is an expert, a producer, an editor etc… its unfortunate that in my years i have had my fair share of students and even colleagues who were so bold as to say “if it sounds right, its correct” - that is pertaining to eqalisation techniques and chaining plugins. some have even bragged to have boosted low freq eq to +24db wide and says its fine. there are even some instructional sites on the video channel providing seriously garbage advice.

in the past with only an eight track, there had to be consideration of noise and quality degeneration during overdubs. Effects were respected and used sparingly. music produced then sounded so much better based on the less is more principle.

fact is Cubase can do all of the above; throw in a ton of effects, nothing breaks all is well; including scoring, block loops, automation etc… even the arpeggiator allows for custom midi input. however, unfortunately its just too much work - they want a magic button. if a track requires more than 6 effects to process, IMHO that track is garbage. its simply using one mess to cover the other.

perhaps a marketing strategy for Cubase is to showcase all it can do and then split into a " wannabe expert’s" version and the professional version for those who really respect the industry. again IMHO simulate back the 0.0dbFS clip point and force all to respect the analogue signal chain. this will indeed separate the wannabes and those who actually know what they are doing.

however, this may become a double edged sword constituting a downward spiral. ManZ… what the hell do i know about marketing… :frowning:

a sad fact these days: the first rule of sales is to give the people whatever they want… drag drop, loop, boost bass, boost hi, play… sigh but cheers :slight_smile:


There are at least 2 broad markets/user types out there:

  1. I’ll call them musicians - but they’re more like “sound painters”.
    Using pre-fab elements - beats, samples, etc. - they drag and drop and cut and paste their creations together.
    Think EDM and Hip Hop. And Joe the Beat Master who does it at home for fun.

  2. Musicians who play and record instruments/vox and want a more traditional multi-track recording/mixing environment. This would also include Audio Engineers who do this for other musicians.

Users mostly fall into a little of both categories - ie Beat Masters want to record some vocals and Guitarists want to chop up their solo - but usually more one than the other.

And I really don’t think you can make both groups ultimately happy with one program.

This whole discussion has come up before - an interesting one:

It seems to me that if Steinberg wanted to jump big-time into the first category they should bring out a totally different DAW.
Maybe they could buy something already under development and tweak it up . . .
But the idea would be to make it an obvious “Cubase” outtake - with jump back and forth integration between the two (and some very cool name) - but a really focused drop-it-in-the-box segment manipulation, or something like that.

From a business standpoint both markets are attractive:

In the sample manipulation group (1) you’ve got everything from the at-home-after-work Beat Master who wants to impress Girls (or Guys - lets or PC here) all the way up to some serious Hit Producers. This is probably hundreds of thousands of people.

For the “Traditional” group (2) you’ve got TV/Film scoring folks and Mix Stages and Professional Studios and, of course, “Normal” musicians. This group may be smaller in this day and age but many of them are probably willing to pay a lot more for the right tools.
This is obviously the group Steinberg is most focused on given their Nuendo product (which Cubase mirrors) and Yamaha’s ability to add the much needed hardware components.

So, given Cubendo’s current strengths, I think Steinberg should continue in this direction. Trying to turn Cubase into Live wouldn’t work - and would alienate their strongest user base.

However, a companion program - aimed squarely at that type of user and fully integrated with Cubendo - might be a cool idea.


It’s not like they didn’t try <ahem!> Sequel </ahem!> but that didn’t do the trick it seems?

This separation is already there.
Steinberg has Cubase and Nuendo. Nuendo is more intended for top professionals, and Cubase is more do-it-all and play-with. Those who want just mixing exclusively, are more into Nuendo anyway (Chuck Ainlay comes to mind). Cubase is more of a good toy, and Nuendo is more a real pro thing.
At one point Cubase and Nuendo were almost the same, now separate flavor is slowly developing. Cubase seems to be going more into beatmaking market, and Nuendo is more large pro mixing and postproduction. No need for a third app, imo.
Maybe just those who are exclusively into mixing, need to forget about Cubase and switch over to Nuendo. And those who produce music by creating sounds are better off with Cubase.

Wow! Some Really great replies here.

To get a little bit back on topic, although I don’t disagree with what’s being said here, what could be done to get more future-professionals to at least know about the program?


, Nuendo, Cubase and Wavelab sure reaches a wide variety of users, but there is no easy cross grade/ upgrade plan. Form Cubase to Nuendo there is nothing for instance.

Nuendo is taking on ProTools now, which is good. But Cubase should be taking on Logic!

Anyway, I’m just a fan feeling worried the object of his affection might not be getting the attention it needs.
Also it’s annoying that teaching Cubase has become more difficult because people don’t know about it.
I’ve seen my google hit go down over the past two years…

Any more great replies…? Maybe it’s time someone from Steinberg chipped in?

Really? For Cubase there is Groove Agent, and LoopMash, but what new beat making tools have they introduced lately?

Nuendo has always been post production and…relatively expensive. I would pay the high cost and go Nuendo if it meant making everything that currently exists work as intended, less bugs upon initial release, focus on core functions and improve workflow. I can’t think of many new features other than wanting mix undo.

But the problem as I see it is for the most part what Nuendo gets, so does Cubase and vice versa. They used to leap-frog sound engines. Is VCA’s behavior different in Nuendo yet? I would bet that in time that will also change in Cubase. Yes there have always been some exclusive features in Nuendo but for myself that hasn’t justified the high price.

As far as what could be done to get future professionals to know about Cubase, I agree there should be easier cross-grades and update plans. What Roel wrote about the GUI I think is true, but with Cubase that’s a very difficult objective given the current state of a feature-rich Cubase. If students view Cubase as outdated or clumsy, isn’t that a sign of them desiring more instant gratification meaning something easier to use? As said prior, how can you take a DAW with more features than any other DAW, more flexibility than any other DAW, and make it easier to use than something that has less features and less flexibility…aka Logic?

By analyzing the navigation flow of large groups of different users and use that info for development and design choices.
That would make Cubase a little more logic :wink:

Cubase reached the rational end of it’s evolutionary journey a couple of versions ago. Features for the sake of features now drives the excuse for the new major release.

In terms of music making the upgrading of software is now pointless and in fact may even lessen the creative process by the introduction of more bloat and the traditional Steinberg ethos of breaking stuff that wasn’t broke. Plus the addition of a few new bugs to keep everyone on their toes :slight_smile:

In contrast, 10 years ago a new release brought excitement and a whole bunch of new features that were a real improvement

So I would say the popularity of Cubase isn’t dropping but the popularity of upgrading Cubase is dropping. Not good for profits. This scenario isn’t restricted to music software. Graphics software is feeling the same issues.

Adobe are moving to the rental model in order to maintain a revenue stream. Needless to say this is very unpopular with customers.

Steinberg will go the same way. It’s inevitable

You make some very strong points. So if it’s not features that should attract more users, it should be marketing, pricing, cross grade options and stability, right?

I really wonder what Steinberg has to say about the subject and after Oedipus, i start to dread the arrival of Cubase 9! :confused:

Well said. And that all applies to Nuendo too.

I’m sick of the constant new bugs and often pointless new features introduced with every update. And the way SB ignore user requests for years on end.

I may now be forced to stick with N.6.5 due to the fact that SB have apparently made changes to N7 that make it incompatible with my Tango control surface. I’ll be testing this in the next few days.

in every profession there will be those who look for short cuts and magic buttons. its just so unfortunate for the audio industry and graphic or media industry as a whole, the disrespect is almost criminal.

photographers use years of experience to hone their craft; setting the mood and setting their collection of equipment etc… just to get that perfect shot and ultimately print it. these days, a camera phone and with one or two magic buttons (plugins) in a graphic editor, wow… i’m a pro!!! no need to go to film school and or other skills needed; just pay a visit to the “shadows” and have the ability to click a few times on the mouse.

the reason software and hardware is expensive is the time and effort used in its development. Customers, users are paying the salaries of the good people who develop them. these developers are professionals in their own right too and they like the rest of us need an honest day’s wage for an honest day’s job. it takes a collective with resources to make these developments happen. an individual may have one skill however, many individuals will have many skills. incorporating them and we have a great development company. its now time for Marketing to get the word out… :slight_smile:

again it all starts at school and the community. teachers must encourage the fundamentals of engineering principles, after all, sound is a science. engineers on the other hand are always happy to share their time, experience and “naughty” tips whenever invited to speak. The “but” in this case happens to be some clown who would ask or say things like "hey i can do the same for much less or free - gifts from ghosts.

the audience is not interested in the tools used… period; they just want a good time. nobody in today’s market is gonna spend $100k on a home theatre system because simple compressed formats over ear buds will do. a simple quote from the pits where i’m at is “got picture and sound can already”. On the other hand professionals will be willing to spend and sacrifice for their craft because we all believe in using specifically right tools for the right job; aint gonna use the handle of a saw to plug in a nail.

going on with the subscription based model is the main reason why i left my previous commitment. i’m sure many who are here use Cubase and or Nuendo on a daily basis. as such we cant have the system break because of a bad update; its not just monetary costs but reputation. i darent imagine if a backend update is made to the mix console and suddenly all levels are blasted back to unity while giving a presentation demo.

my hope for Steinberg and crew is perhaps implement a modular system of purchase. The tracks, mixers, vsts, compressors, eq and all other essentials will be provided for as a base price. Perhaps then offering of (for example only) the score editor vs the loop based drum machine can be made optional. for me, i choose the score editor leaving off the drum machine. during install, the footprint would be smaller too.

EDIT: with a modular model, there is a higher chance of software and plug ins being backward compatible with hardware unless the base operating system changes. the install packets should come with drivers that support these hardware products as the physical hardware does not change.

cheers all :slight_smile:

I disagree with new features from 10 years up til now being pointless. From the top of my head I know I use the Track Visibility, Tempo detection, Audio to MIDI, Expression Maps more or less all the time and the Mix Console fits my mind perfectly even though I’ve heard complaints about it’s existence.

Right now I don’t need Score and Automation features much but that may change. They were available back then but heeeey … they’re transformed into something much better. That’s the end of my top of the head buffer this early in the morning haha but there are loads of other new stuff I use all the time.

I still have a triple boot including WinXP for seriously outdated stuff including Cubase SX 3 that I need once every half year if you spread it out. SX3 is a likable program but it’s so far behind it’s not even funny! I thing SX3 is about 10 years old, right?

If you just keep recording like you used to and make music like you did 10 years ago and you’re happy with that then that’s fine. Don’t upgrade! But saying nothing has happened is … wrong!

I’d like to add that I remember from version 5 or 6 maybe I’ve been thinking “what can they possibly add?” and I’m happy to admit I was … wrong! I look forward to 10 years of new features and Cubase Pro 14? :open_mouth: :laughing: