Modern GUI & more

Steinberg should abandon this old and amateur looing UI and make it look more real/modern. When it comes to the GUI Cubase is way back in the rear mirror compared to other DAW’s like Studio One 3.5 and Sonar. They look really professional while Cubase doesn’t. I know it’s been mentioned before, but the tons of various looks depending on what window you have open adds to the frustration.

One thing that I think need an instant fix is all the windows needed to work. Just look at Studio One which is awesome regarding this. Almost everything is in the main window and/or can be grouped together. If I for as an example use multiple soft synths they group up and I only have one window showing the one selected with tabs for all the ones in the back as with web browsers. This way you only need to have one window open instead of multiple covering lots of working space. This would be better still if we could have the possibility to group and ungroup after taste. If Steinberg implemented this in Cubase it would remove lots of frustration.

+1 I couldn’t agree more. The GUI is in need of more modernization to become more efficient and workflow friendly.

+1 Just make it subtle. Don’t try to invent the wheel. Look what is good, try to maintain it. Look what bothers the users most (there are some excellent posts here with detailed and imho very good suggestions) and implement that.

Sonar is visually ok, but Studio One V3 has the worst GUI besides Ableton Live. Please, no Studio One look. Studio One looks like Windows 3.1.

Some people will always dislike any GUI. Period. A complete re-design is not necessary - I feel that the general base of Cubase GUI is fine, but what we absolutely need is for Steinberg to give us consistency and to make things as clear as possible, with as less fumbling with the mouse and excessive clicking as possible. The current GUI is fine as a starting point, just give us those things.

I agree with the functionality of being able to tab through all of your VSTs is extremely useful in S1 but I don’t love the overall look of S1. The mixer in S1 seems cluttered and not enough visual separation between the channels. However, I do like that you can colorize the channels there.

Personally, I would like to see the GUI move in the direction of dockable windows as in Wavelab. The lower and right zone concept is okay but it still doesn’t allow for as much flexibility as Wavelab. Keep in mind, I am only speaking about the functionality of dockable windows from Wavelab and not the graphics or overall appearance of the program.

So for me more tabs and dockable windows is my wishes for the GUI.

don’t get so hung up on looks! taste changes often and (for professional users) unnecessary. every time someone tweaks the visual of a workstation it requires more or less subtle re-learning of the workflow. what is more important: becoming fast and efficient and staying that way through the upgrades of a software or having to adapt to some visual changes that may or may not be an improvement to the actual functionality of the software?

It would be pity if Cubase turned itself into the look of Studio One.

If you stare at S1 long enough, it is too flat. Feels like touching through sketches on a dark sheet, if you call that “Modern”.
In Cubase, the sliders, buttons and UI elements are more 3D/real to the eyes. Feels like operating on top of physical gears/equipment.

S1 puts itself so much in “mono color”. Makes you feel that you probably don’t need a color LED monitor.
It lacks of color transition between boundaries of UI sections (visual separation).

It would be miserable on a laptop screen with Studio one “everything in one window” philosophy.

+1 more tabs and dockable windows
Dock : it gives flexibility on customization/allocation. You can either snap everything on a large main screen or arrange them in tabs in order to get max view area.
Tabs: Sharing the same screen real estate instead of splitting it in blocks like S1

Really like “Edit” “Mix” “Browse” in lower right corner in S1. That’s tabs.

I use Cubase & Studio One myself (one by need for a few features and one cause I prefer it)… but I’ve seen few UI’s that impressed me as much as FL Studio’s.

At first glance, I thought “holy crap it’s actually modular!.. AND SHINY!!” lol

…but then I realized that Cubase is actually pretty modular as well. You can customize a TON in Cubase. But is it easy to? I think that’s my biggest problem. I can’t drag and drop toolbar items to reorder them. Is it fair to expect that? Maybe not. But do I? Sort of. A rule in UI is that people bring outside experiences in. If I feel great about UI features in one program, I’ll feel frustrated using another. It feels like being forced to use Windows 3.1 to edit a 4K video. It’s TOTALLY unfair. But it’s inevitable.

There’s so much in Cubase that’s dialog-box heavy (and Dorico too, IMHO). And while I appreciate the desire to have a DAW that can do anything… the biggest frustration point I’ve ever had in Cubase is that it takes too many instructions to tell it what I’m trying to do. There’s other eye candy and bonus features I like in other DAWs. But EVERY program has it’s winning features. What every program doesn’t have, is an intuitive way to access them. DP’s chunks are 10,000x better than every other DAW for film scoring. Nothing could beat the modular sequences. But the DAW is at least the most insanely stupid difficult DAW out there to use.

Cubase isn’t hard to use. I’d say a lot of it “just naturally” makes sense even. It’s just the number of steps to do things that gets me.

A few things that make for more steps:

1 - Dots instead of Curves (piano roll CC lanes)
2 - Dots instead of curves (tempo lane)
3 - The tempo lane in general. The two edit modes, which one is default, and the grid feel very odd. I have to either use it with scalpel-like precision or not use it. I can’t describe this perfectly. It’s just very scalpel to me. Very capable! Just very scalpel.
4 - I can’t add 3 automation lanes to 20 instruments at once. There’s no macro way to do it.
5 - I can’t re-color 5 tracks at once. It’s one-by-one.

Note that #5 isn’t a big deal every day, but is when I build a template. When do I build templates? On day one using the program. So when I returned from Studio One, my first thought was literally “Really Cubase? You struggle with this basic thing?” EVEN THOUGH the very reason I switched back was due to a limitation in Studio One (rewire limitations, far more severe than mass track coloring), it still feels like I had to switch back to “the old clunker” simply cause Studio One can recolor 1,000 tracks at once… Again, that’s not fair to Cubase, but sometimes the littlest things annoy you the most. No program gets everything right, obviously. But honestly I’d rather the basic things be more right than the bigger things. The SECOND I can accomplish the tasks (features I need) with a program, the only thing I care about at all is workflow. Cubase can pretty much accomplish anything. It’s known for that very reason. So if the number of steps of ‘the little things’ could be reduced in several key fundamental areas… I honestly think that would go miles towards making Cubase a favorite DAW again.

I intend this to be helpful, not damaging in any way.


It was pointed out to me that you CAN in fact recolor many tracks at once. You just can’t do it from the inspector pane on the left. I get why. There’s a logic to that. But if I have multiple tracks selected, I’d rather the track inspector behave according to multiple tracks wherever it can. For instance, it’s super easy to add 200 MIDI tracks and have the channels auto assign in ascending order. It’s a life saver… until I have to reassign all of them later. After adding all my automation lanes by hand (no macro option dang it) and adding transformer plugins to various tracks… finding out I have to reassign tracks is a nightmare. To be fair, reassigning is tedious in every DAW. But to my original point about the inspector… if I could highlight multiple tracks and use the same inspector to EDIT multiple tracks… using editing features DESIGNED for multiple tracks, then I’d feel far more at home in Cubase. This isn’t a complaint about what I have in front of me. It’s just a thought about what it could turn into. Cheers

I forgot to say, given all the comments about S1’s GUI…

The main reason S1 gets praise is cause their UI is probably the easiest to use. So I wouldn’t quite call it Windows 3.1, it’s more like a version of a modern OSX that looks like Windows 3.1 lol The DAW just can’t do anything you want it to, which is where Cubase really shines.

That said, I don’t love the look of Cubase either. FL Studio looks the nicest IMHO. And while I WANT to say looks don’t matter… let’s face it… a pretty girl is a pretty girl. Which brings me to this point… While I can’t stand a lot in Reaper, custom skins are far more attractive than a few color adjustment options. The ability to give your DAW a face-lift any time you’re bored with it may seem trivial. But I would point out that this software is made for artists who like to make art, not people who love pencil pushing. :wink:


Completely agree with this opinion. Well stated.