Hi… I have been a licensed Cubase Pro User for many years (since 90s). I am on a project in Rio De Janeiro and realized that I left my USB Dongle back in the States so my Cubase 8.5 software won’t load. At first I did not mind purchasing another copy of Cubase but have been hit hard with the realization that it is about impossible to purchase anything in this country without paying 2 to 3 times the amount and being taxed what appears to be criminal rate. I would end up paying about 2 times more using sources out here…

So finally, after all this time, I realize what a pathetic system this UBS dongle is, even for honest licensed users as myself.

I have Arturia products on my system and can easily use online activation anywhere in the world.

My question is: Am I overlooking anything? is there a way I can use Cubase using a similar system as Arturia? And if no, is there a real, pro music source in Rio De Janeiro that I can turn to that may have a boxed copy with a USB key that I can purchase at a reasonable cost?

This experience seriously has me thinking about finally switching away from my favorite DAW. A simple mistake should not have such serious consequences IHO…

Any help or insight will be appreciated…


You should contact your seller or local distributor/support.

If you lost your USB-eLicenser, there is a process. You have to send an affidavit, you lost it, with the SUB-eLicenser number (you can find it in your MySteinberg account). Then you will get an replacement Activation Code, and the former one will be detroied. So the only one thing you jave to buy is the USB-eLicenser, where you will activate e replacement license.

For Cubase Pro, you need the USB-eLicenser. There is no way around.

All of your Steinberg licenses should be safe for as long as you registered your dongle to your MySteinberg. Even if you didn’t, the eLicenser Control Center keeps a log of what dongles were connected to your system so you can do that now. On Windows, the log can be found on ProgramData\eLicenser\Logs. The file you’re looking for ends with “POS_Used_eLicenser_Serialnumbers”

The biggest problem for you right now is that eLicensers are comically overpriced in Brazil. It might be a good idea to import one from America if you don’t need to use Cubase urgently. Vienna Keys tend to be cheaper than Steinberg branded eLicensers.

Thank you… Yes I don’t need to replace the Dongle because I have it back in New York. The issue is it was left behind. After I realized that I figured I’ll just buy a second copy but the prices here in Brazil are criminal. And pondering this further, my frustrations grows… I should not have to purchase another copy. I just activated my VCollection from Arturia using their online activation system that was practical, seamless, and easy. It knows what machine I’m on, it shows my my machine back home, etc. I know it was my mistake for leaving my dongle behind but the fact is I am a Steinberg Licensed user, I have my laptop, their software is on my system, I can’t run it because of their system. Being on the road as often as I am This really has me rethinking my DAW choice.

Sorry Steinberg, I failed in not bringing my dongle, but you failed miserably in still using this stupid system in 2016 and may cost you a long time client…

I am sorry for your problem. I can’t believe that Steinberg cannot offer a discount for users wanting a second dongle. There must be many people moving from one site to another worrying about forgetting or losing the dongle.

Depending on what you’re using Cubase for, Cubase Elements may be sufficient for your needs. I assume you’re using Cubase for recording or to play virtual instruments live? Cubase Elements can be bought online, it doesn’t require the USB-eLicenser and it can open Cubase Pro projects: https://www.steinberg.net/en/support/knowledgebase_new/show_details/kb_show/compatibility-and-interchangeability-of-project-files/kb_back/2020.html

You can download the free 30 day demo here to check how well it handles your projects: http://www.steinberg.net/en/products/cubase/trial.html

Note that Elements is missing some stock effects and instruments from Cubase Pro and Artist. It will still open the projects but the missing plugins will have to be replaced if you were using them.

The dongle is cheap, I don’t think anyone has a problem with their price in first world countries. The problem is that in Brazil anything electronic is ridiculous expensive, so the dongle can only be found for around 400~600 BRL (it used to be half that before the Petrobras scandal). Another issue is that piracy is rampant around here, in other words there’s few Cubase users and very few places sell dongles or legit software.

You could also download Cubase Pro 8.5 Trial, and use it for 30 days.

Steinberg ‘Zero Downtime’ is designed for this exact scenario:-

Small catch - you’ll need a spare USB eLicenser first - but that’s a lot cheaper to get hold of, hopefully, in your situation.

All the detail at the above link.

Hope that helps…!


I bought a Cubase Elements 8 license for exactly this purpose. I don’t like to take the Cubase Pro 8.5 dongle out of the house.

The project files are interchangeable. Features that aren’t available in Elements are hidden, but will still be there when you open the file again in Pro.

Sometimes Cubase (either version) crashes, eg. on quit. But I I’m used to Cubase crashing for various reasons anyway, so always do “save as” frequently.

The Cubase Elements 8 license is tied to one machine though. So I had to then buy a second for my other laptop.

I resent having to pay for three licenses, because of the dongle issue.

Cubase Pro purchasers should get a Cubase Elements soft-license included in the price, IMHO.

Edit: Actually, forget that. I get sad on the road trying to manage which projects have used which features. I hate that the Pro software is right there, installed, and paid for, but I can’t use it because of the dongle. And I have to to live within the Elements features set (eg. 4 inserts and no vari-audio). Steinberg should just switch to to a more customer-friendly copy-protection system!

Yes, everything is overpriced here.

If you really need a key right now, here is a place to buy it (but the price is crazy):


Can’t you just have Someone send you the dongle that you forgot ?