this is my first post, but I guess there won’t be many (if any) to follow. I wanted to post this to give some feedback to Steinberg, also maybe someone from the company would like to comment.
Please note that I am not asking for support, I merely want to give feedback.
First, my situation is this: I am completely new to the whole topic, but I want to get into music production (on a very rookie level at first of course). So I hardly have any experience with DAWs and haven’t bought any until now. I bought all the hardware I deemed necessary, among which was an audio interface by a german company. Bundled with the interface was Cubase LE 5.
I was really excited to play around with Cubase since I heard so much about it. So I wanted to install it right away. In goes the DVD, click Setup and …eLicenser. What. is. that. It almost looks like some sort of malware, with that hideous logo, and now what? It wants to install a driver on my laptop? Well Google tells me that this is indeed something associated with Steinberg products so I reluctantly install this ominous software, fully aware of the security and stability risks for my system that come with a driver like this. I really wanted to try Cubase.
Finally the installation completed, I run Cubase and the first thing I get is a notification that I have to register with Steinberg with a “mySteinberg” account and activate it. Well, okay, if I really have to. My initial excitement over Cubase has already faded a bit, but I am willing to jump through that hoop as well since it is still a kind-of reasonable request and I have already come so far etc. So I go through the whole registration process, “mySteinberg” account, fine, activate. Now I am asked for some kind of license number and I am told that I find this in the “License Control Center” (or something). Open that up, bleak nothingness welcomes me. No option to generate a key or whatever. Hrmph. This is starting to become irritating.
So, another Google search reveals that there should be an entry for Cubase in this Control Center nonsense, but for some reason I don’t have that. Oookay. Something must have gone wrong with the installation. Uninstall everything. I did want to start working with Cubase like half an hour ago but okay. Let’s give it another shot. Reinstall again. Aha, there goes a “LCC2 caused exception ???” (paraphrased, but the question marks were actually there), right in the middle of the installation. And something with an RPC call failed.
What followed was about 1 1/2 hours of uninstalling, rebooting, going through running services to see if something is not as it should be, searching for traces of a driver zombie that might cause the problem, all assisted with Google. I came across numerous threads where this “eLicenser” nonsense was causing problems. Most shocking to me were these two findings:
1.) Apparently, if I have like a “proper” Cubase version (not LE), I need some kind of USB dongle? Are you serious? I am working on a damn laptop, when I got everything set up, I have zero USB ports left. Especially not for some useless USB dongle. I am not willing to carry a USB hub just for Cubase.
2.) As if that wasn’t bad enough, I came across a number of threads where the whole licensing ordeal just stopped working from one day to the other - in readily set-up, production systems. I can’t believe people put up with this. I was working in software engineering once, and I myself developed a licensing solution. It was absolutely unthinkable that a working license for a production system would just stop working. The company policy was to rather allow the user to use his system without a license for a period of time than just deactivating the software. But obviously, this is not Steinberg’s concern.
At some point, I just had enough. I got a trial version of Ableton Live 8, put that installation DVD in and clicked setup. And you know what? No license dongle nonsense (I use the word “nonsense” a lot because I do not want to use the more adequate terms in a public forum). No compulsory registration on some website. I finished the installation, started Live and a popup came informing me that I need to activate the trial. Click activate, enter email-address on an Ableton website, and done. That’s it. All set up (licensing-wise). In less than a minute.
So the verdict is that I am now running Ableton, which I am getting used to and consider buying in near future. Never, at any point in time, did I get Cubase running. Based on this whole licensing system I do not want any other Steinberg products in foreseeable future either. This situation is quite sad really, because Cubase might have been the better product for me and I might have ended up buying a “proper” Cubase instead of Ableton. I know that I could have asked for support, but I am not really willing to use a product that requires technical assistance before I ever even used it.
Phew, what a rant. I do hope you see my point though. My question for Steinberg is: why do you treat your paying (or bundled) customers like that? I can’t speak from first-hand experience but I am pretty sure the bad crackers out there have long found a way to bypass this licensing system. So the only ones that have to put up with this system are the paying customers. Is that really what you want?
I would really appreciate some statement from Steinberg since I am really anxious to get answers to these questions. Cubase has quite a reputation and I am sure there is a reason for that. I am actually sorry that I didn’t get to use it, but the situation as it is is simply unacceptable for me. Is there any chance this will change in near future?