Just bought Dorico2-do I need a USB eLicencer

I’m a Cubase user and have a steinberg elicencer but I’m trying to figure out if Dorico licences to a computer, 2 computers (1 Mac and 1 pc) as per the downloads page I was brought to. Or is it the same as Cubase - ties to a USB eLicencer?

You can either use a soft eLicenser and use it on one machine, or use a USB eLicenser and use it on multiple machines.

Dorico has never required a USB eLicenser, but you can only use your licence with one machine unless you put it on a USB eLicenser. Once you have put a licence on a USB eLicenser, you cannot move it to a soft eLicenser, so if you are not sure put the licence on a soft eLicenser for now

With the current 50% off sale for Cubase, USB eLicensers are difficult to find. You can put your Dorico licence on the same USB eLicenser as your Cubase licence for now - and if you wish, move it to a separate eLicenser later on when you can buy another one.

I believe that the only current Steinberg products that require a USB eLicenser are Nuendo, Cubase Pro, Cubase Artist and WaveLab Pro. The latest versions of Absolute and HALion can be held on a soft eLicenser, and Iconica has never required a USB eLicenser.

Daniel has indicated that the new licensing system that is under development will offer additional flexibility, but there is no time scale nor commitment over features as yet.

Mart, I don’t know if you can have different signatures on different Steinberg forums, but posting a list of complaints about some other Steinberg product in red won’t achieve anything here, except to be mildly annoying!

Hi Rob,

I’m a longtime Cubase user and those particular points have been not addressed in several years of my bug reporting and requests. I got tired of resubmitting them. Support isnt helpful either. So apologies if my signature with my daily grumblings are not to taste on my new Dorico forum post. I suppose I’ll remove them from the signature now that I’m crossposting.

kind regards



Thanks for this David. I’m not sure if I missed this info elsewhere but it’d be good as a sticky. It wasn’t apparent to me what the licencing arrangement was. In my situation I have a studio DAW workstation but also like to do score work from home and on the go so I@m hoping by new licencing system your referring to the option of cloud licencing so I dont need to either remember my USB licencer or be tied to the 1 machine. For the moment it’ll go to my laptop until I learn the software in my spare time. Excited to explore it!

And just so there’s no confusion, Daniel has explicitly stated (a few days ago) that the new licensing system will NOT be I place for Dorico 3. We will likely have to wait until sometime in 2020.

The post of Daniel’s that you mentioned is here.

What remains to be seen is whether current versions of Steinberg products at the time will get a free update to switch to the new licensing system when it becomes available, or whether they will remain on eLicenser until a chargeable version update. I hope for free updates, but am sure it is far too soon for Steinberg to take this sort of technical and policy decision, let alone publish it. In other words, whilst it is possible that Dorico 3 might move to the new licensing system during its lifetime, we cannot assume that it will. We might have to wait for Dorico 4 for more flexible licensing.

I can cope with all but one of my Steinberg products on a soft eLicenser on my main computer - the exception, Cubase Pro, has to be on a USB eLicenser. This is inconvenient in that the soft eLicenser products are tied to that machine, but I am unlikely to do any serious work on my Surface Go even if I had my products there. Using a USB eLicenser on the Surface Go is a pain, as the only USB port it has is a single USB-C port, so you need to use an adapter or hub. If I get desperate for Cubase and/or Dorico on the Surface Go, I’ll buy educational licences of Elements; I’m unlikely to go beyond the limits of Elements with the Surface Go’s modest processor and small screen. If I buy any Elements licences I can always put those licences through a paid version upgrade once one is available and sell them on once the new licensing system is here.

For those that don’t know, Steinberg’s educational pricing only covers full licences and crossgrades for a subset of their products, including Nuendo, Cubase, WaveLab and Dorico. Educational licences are not for resale and should not be used for paid work. You can only upgrade an educational licence using an ordinary retail upgrade - after such an upgrade, the licence is an ordinary licence that can be resold and used for paid work.

As you say, at least we know for certain now that Dorico 3 will be on the current eLicenser platform at release.

Dear David,
I had to buy an USB licenser for Wave Lab pro… Dorico feels like the exception actually :wink:

That depends.

  1. If you want to Dorico on just one computer, you can use a soft elicenser for your computer on which Dorico is installed.
  2. If you want to Dorico on more than one computer, you have to move your license to the Cubase dongle (same one you already have for Cubase), and then stick that dongle into the USB port of the computer you are using Dorico on.

So you do not necessarily need a dongle.

But keep in mind, once you move the license to your dongle, that’s a one way street. You can’t move it back to a soft license, on a computer.

Thanks Peter. Going to go with my home laptop soft elicenser until I learn how to use this thing! :smiley:

That isn’t strictly accurate. There is no reason you can’t have two dongles, one for the Cubase licence and the other for Dorico, if you sometimes want to run Cubase and Dorico on the same computer, and at other times on different ones. See https://www.steinberg.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=103308

You can move a licence between USB eLicensers - so you can start off with Cubase and Dorico on the same dongle, then subsequently split the licences between two dongles.

You can move a licence from a soft eLicenser to a USB eLicenser.

What you cannot do is move a licence from a USB eLicenser to a soft eLicenser. Once you move a licence to a USB eLicenser it must stay on a USB eLicenser.

Hey folks,

I already own Dorico 2.2, and just work from one computer so I don’t have an e-licenser.

However, I’m just about to buy Cubase 10 because of the discount and crossgrade from Logic Pro X. So I’ll be buying an e-licenser.

I DON’T want my Dorico license to go on the e-licenser. Is there any red flag moment when I’m installing Cubase where I might accidentally agree to move my Dorico license on the e-licenser? Anyone have the same setup as I plan to?


Each license is carefully labelled within eLicenser Control Center. Just make sure you leave the Dorico 2 license where it is :slight_smile:

As pianoleo says, just leave your Dorico licence on the soft eLicenser. I have Dorico Pro and Iconica Ensembles licences on a soft eLicenser on my main computer and a Cubase Pro licence on a USB eLicenser.

I would disconnect your USB eLicenser before carrying out any eLicenser transactions involving your Dorico licence in the future, such as upgrading to Dorico 3 when it is released. The Dorico licence should stay on the soft eLicenser where you put it, but you cannot accidentally move the licence to your USB eLicenser if it is not plugged in!

If you have multiple eLicensers available when activating a licence, from memory you are asked to choose which eLicenser the licence should be stored in unless the licence is restricted in some way. You cannot store a Cubase Pro, Cubase Artist, Nuendo or WaveLab Pro licence in a soft eLicenser.

Thank you, David W and Pianoleo!

You are correct Rob, you could have several Steinberg dongles, one for Cubase, and another one for Dorico, if you have multiple computers and want to use one program on one computer, and another program on another computer. Perhaps even more, if you also have Nuendo etc.

I have two iLoks, 2nd and 3rd generation, one for my PT licenses (and certain plugins), and one for all my EW and some other plugins. If you move back and forth between computers you have to plan where you want to put what, and make sure you remember it (and have backups, and zero downtime plans if necessary).

You can drag Steinberg licences freely between eLicensers in eLicenser Control Center if both eLicensers are connected. There is one key restriction - you can move a licence from a soft eLicenser to a USB eLicenser, but you cannot move a licence from a USB eLicenser back to a soft eLicenser.

I would not want to be dragging licences around too often - the memory elements in a USB eLicenser will have a finite life, and there is a non-zero risk of something going wrong every time you move a licence. However, it is not a disaster if you arrange your licences across USB eLicensers in a way that does not work for you or if your needs change temporarily, such as needing all your licences on one eLicenser whilst travelling - just change things to fit your needs.