Purchasing legal copies of Cubase 5 or SX3

For years I have been happy with Cubase VST 5.1 , which when I started was far beyond my needs. Then I purchased a Tascam interface that included Cubase 5LE. There were major advantages in the setup but without the advanced editing and score capabilities… Recently I have been asked to print some scores of a few songs from MIDI files and have found VST5 to be severely limiting.

Ebay has digital copy of Cubase 5 but no license that I can see. In my situation I am hoping to avoid as much a learning curve as possible and keep using my interface that I am accustomed to. Since Cubase 5LE worked, I am hoping to use the full version 5. The trial versions I tried would not recognize my control interface (Tascam US-428).

Any advise here?

Dan B.

you can download legal and official SX3 from here

…but it’s the license they are after.

@dlbeaty You might want to have a look at Dorico SE 4

Please note, there are no trial versions of Cubase 5… what did you try?

Steve, thanks for the tip about Dorico. I have been looking at MuseScore, but I Dorico might be even better for my needs.

The trial versions I tried were the current versions. I think it was Cubase AI that I downloaded. I could not get it to work with my Tascam MIDI controller.

You might be right about that. Plus the Dorico User forum is super helpful.

Ah, I see.

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Steve, After spending most of a day with Dorico SE and MuseScore, I have discovered that these are more designed for working within the program. The imported MIDI files I created in Cubase VST5 do not translate to score as well as they do within the original Cubase program.

The features are much better in many ways. Adding lyrics and guitar chords is great. But the interface in Cubase is much easier to get the correct melody for a non piano player like me. I wonder if I keep this question up here a while I might find someone who has a licensed copy of SX 3 or Cubase 4-5 they could sell me.

What do you mean when you say Cubase 4-5 though? Are you talking Cubase VST5 or do you mean the later post SX versions? You’ll need SX3 because anything after that won’t be able to open your projects from the older Cubase VST.

Look for someone selling off a dongle for any version 4-11. You’ll be able to open SX3 no problem with that, convert your files, and then open up whatever version the dongle is actually licensed for. I still have my Pro 11 dongle ready for the day I get around to pulling out my old CD-Rs that have my old VST projects on them.


Thanks for the help. I would love to get SX3 if I could get one with either a LPT dongle or usb. I think I could make the transition easier with it. The versions 4 or 5 I was referring to are the later versions when they dropped the SX prefix.

I am a bit confused about the dongle situation. Are you saying that a version 4-11 usb dongle will allow me to run any earlier copy of Cubase? Do I still need an activation code to install the software?

Steinberg offers the full version of Cubase 4.1.0 on their site. What do I need to install and run it? I am not too concerned for converting older projects. I will likely keep them on the dedicated PC with Cubase VST5 on it.


So from what I have read so far, I could purchase a dongle that is licensed to Cubase 7, and use it on either SX3 if I could find a copy, or Cubase 4,5,6 and 7 from software downloaded from Steinbergs download archive?
Also, the usb key could be moved to different pc’s that have any of these programs on them?
Is it a complicated process to get Steinberg to activate the dongle for several programs?

Well, yes. But do read the replies to you, so you don’t miss anything, like where’s Cubase SX… :smiley:

FWIW there were trial licences for Cubase 5 - I’ve still got an unactivated Cubase 5 trial licence sitting in my MySteinberg account.

Steve, I have read all the replies. Sorry but I do not understand what you mean by “where’s Cubase SX.” All I could find from Steinberg were updates.

this one

Steve, Thanks for your patience. You are correct. I did not read everything. I overlooked the first link because it was concerning song conversion. For some reason, Steinberg included more full version downloads on that page that those on the second link and the archive.

Now I have one more question for clarification. For instance, if I purchase from an individual a dongle for Cubase 5, that dongle will allow me to use both Cubase 5 and Cubase SE/SL/SX3?

If anyone of you will bear with me on one more question. I found this comment on this forum:

“If you want you could also buy a Cubase 7 license and use whichever Cubase version you want. As long as the version you want to run is older as your license, it will be covered. IE: You can run Cubase 5 with a Cubase 7 license.”

That option seems best for me, since I am unsure which older version will work best on my system. So I found a Cubase 7 dongle on Ebay that states this:

“Best selling Key License Control Device Runs on Cubase 7 w/ DVD Module Package” Are there any caveats to this approach? If I could use it to activate an official copy of Cubase SX3, or the newer 4 or 5, I would be happy

There are a ton of scammers out there, and this is one of them. That item is only a dongle. No licenses. If there were licenses on it they would include that in the title. The retail price of that is 28 EUR/USD.

The absolute only way to buy a used Cubase license is described in the Steinberg Resale Wizard. (do a search). None other. Don’t even think about it.

A little warning: Read all documentation and fully understand what you’re buying, or you’ll be sorry. Cubase is one of the best known daws, therefore buyers are targets for scams.

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Thanks Steve. The most deceptive part is using the version 7 in the title. This is the very reason I am here asking questions!

I’d check around the bigger ‘music sites’ like KVR and GearSpace (aka Gearslutz). Both have a classified section and I’m sure you’ll find someone selling theirs legitimately there. All you need is a licensed copy of the dongle for version 4-11 and you’ll be set once you install SX3 and all the elicenser stuff. If you can find a Cubase user near you locally, maybe they’ll be up for coming over and letting you use the dongle for an afternoon to convert some stuff?

I’d avoid eBay as its too hard to tell what’s legitimate and not there. You really don’t want to end up wasting your money on some cracked program that wont do what you need it to (and wont be legit anyways).


Where are you based? I’m in Manchester.
I have a Cubase SX3 license I could possibly sell. Not sure of the process involved to transfer and not wanting to put any effort into it. I’m very busy, postal strikes, etc.
I also have a Cubase 11 (can open any version below) and Nuendo 11 on dongle and Nuendo 12 licenses which are not for sale.
I bought SX3 years ago as first purchase. Used Pro Tools for a while going through education. It became cheaper for me to get back onto Cubase through EDU discount than upgrade SX3 license. Been sat there worthless since.

Quite simple, if the SX license is the only one on the dongle. Find the process here