New features, vs making the existing work better

Cubase user for 12 years now.

I have a really strong sense that Steinberg gives most of its energy towards creating “new features” with every release, and the balance towards making the software work better, easier, more reliably, and more intuatively.

I read the forums often to figure out why I can’t get something to work, even after scouring the manual for hours. So often, I see a user throwing a tirade because they can’t get X to work… but then, they realized there was some button they neglected to press, or a technical detail on page 635 of the manual they may have missed.

And I presume the company’s software designers quickly disregard these hundreds of threads as simple “user error.” The problem with that attitude is this: What if the problem isn’t the humans, but the software’s inability to “think” like humans do, in its design?

What Steve Jobs brought to the table is a very simple idea: TECHNOLOGY SHOULD BE EASY TO USE.

For example, what if the Beat Detection algorithm was so good that it could actually read the musical content as accurately as a human would… and distinguish where the 8th notes are, vs the 16th notes? If this could be accomplished, then the user would not need to spend an hour tediously correcting the beat detection’s results.

What if the Quantize function could do the same, and work realiably without requiring hours of manual tweaking to game the software into doing what you really need it to do?

What if flattening free-warped audio files didn’t require another night of figuring out why the flattened track went out of phase alignment?

What if setting up sidechain compression with VST2’s didn’t require an hour of watching YouTube videos and creating “child busses?”

What if all the confused and frustrated users venting on the forums weren’t stupid after all, but… but what if we are the smart ones, and the software’s design has become too unwieldy, unintuitive, and bud-ridden?

But this post is in vain, because the continued focus of the company will be on the shiny “New Features!!” But really, I would be SO happy if there was never a new feature added again, ever… and ALL of the company’s resources went to making the current features work better, more reliability, more intuitively, more simply, and more… human.

Oops, the new feature just crashed Cubase.

1 Like

They have to keep up with the competition – Ableton, Logic, Pro Tools, and so on.
I for one think the new spectral-dynamic effects are quite nice, and fill in a long-missing part of the mixing chain.

That being said – how the Cubase interface works for time warp / hit points / time stretching of audio is just so unintuitive. I’ve used it for a long time, and still stretch sounds the wrong way half of the time, with or without “musical mode” on. (why is this even a choice?)

I also wish its basic channel strip controls (something as simple as Eq and gain) would be sample accurate. I had to write my own plugins to actually get automation that I knew I could rely on.

Yes, there are things they could really go back and re-vamp, and they could make it simpler, but I’m also not sure how many programmers they really have on the team. DAW software is not a massive profit maker, and can’t compare to the resources of a modern web application fueled by VC money and dreams of a billion dollar exit… Allocating the team onto features that make people upgrade (which is a steady revenue stream) and sell them compared to the competition (which brings in more subscriptions/upgrades) is necessary to keep the software alive in the first place!

I think that it would indeed be nice to have, at least, a small part of the whole Cubase team (I see 79 persons in it…) just working (slowly but surely) to fix things that don’t work as expected : this would allow us to have bug fixes as well as new features regularly. I don’t really care about ‘sample accuracy’, I must say. I would much better see them fix obvious bugs, such as :

  • the instrument and folder tracks inspectors misbehavior (no pannel pinning for the first, borked display for the second…),
  • the several windows that makes Cubase vanish when clicking on OK,
  • the mess in the overall remote control features : track Quick Controls, only 8 VST Quick Controls (how to use a tone wheel organ with that ?) , Generic remote definitions bugs, useless RCE with them, etc.
  • The Mediabay unable to deal with any VST 2.x stuff presets.
  • the channel name display in the MixConsole (there is place for two lines…),
  • the strange and non standard Cubase behavior in Windows taskbar (MROS is no longer the trend, these days…).

List of issues not exhaustive, of course, that are altering our workflow, this one being ESSENTIAL when trying to do something with a musical idea or inspiration quickly before it vanishes…

1 Like

Wow, I hate all of those, and could add somemore, like some missing keycommands that could make our life much better, or some sections of the info line that cannot be accessed by the TAB key.