Safe, easy upgrade to 12?

I’m on Cubase 11. I’m a very busy music producer/composer with a backlog so I can’t afford significant downtime chasing problems or fixing bugs. But I want to lose the dongle. 13 is too new and will likely have teething pains, so 12 it is. But both here and other forums on the web Cubase 12 has a terrible reputation regarding stability and reliability.

As I’ve said before, I also use Premiere Pro, Photoshop, FL Studio and Visual Studio. These are all huge, complex programs with zillions of lines of code, decades of legacy code, and which accept lots of third-party plugins/add-ons. But I never bother to schedule time for upgrades with them because upgrades usually go smoothly so I don’t lose time or work.

My PC is a Windows 10 Pro, Xeon W-2255 CPU (10 physical cores) , 64G RAM, 1TB SSD, NVidia RTX 4000. It runs Cubase 11 and either Premiere Pro or Adobe Audition simultaneously, if needed, with adequate performance. What should I do before upgrading to Cubase 12 to have the same level of confidence?


Cubase 13 is out from today.

You should download the Trial Cubase version and test it on your unique system.

I think I made it very clear in my OP that it makes no sense to get the initial release of 13 - there will certainly many initial problems to iron out. Why would I want to try the initial release of any software when there’s already a mature version that’s been out for over a year? Or are you suggesting that the early release of 13 is more stable than the mature release of 12?

The other thing that bothers me is your suggestion that I should "test"version 13. When I install a new version of Premiere Pro or Visual Studio I don’t do so to “test” it. I do so to get work done. It is not the customer’s job to test software; the customer buys software with the expectation that is has already been tested. Testing is the company’s job. The only software I test is what I write.

Cubase 12 is no longer available to buy since Cubase 13 has been released.

It’s perfectly reasonable for someone to suggest trying out the software before purchasing. There’s no call to do a forensic dissection of Martin’s post and fault it.

Try the software make sure it works on your system. It’s the only way.

It’s still on their website (Cubase Pro 12 Downloads | Steinberg). All new revisions of software go though a “teething” period and it usually take a few rounds of patch releases before they’re stable. So it would not be reasonable for Steinberg to expect their customers to be guinea pigs. If someone is looking to buy a stable version of any complex technological product (software, camera, car, etc) it is quite common to buy the last rev of the previous version of that product when stability matters.

The other thing is that these products are extremely complex and intricate so one individual giving something a “try out” may not encounter something that turns out to be a major problem.

How do I get a stable version of Cubase without a dongle? As I said in the OP I use other huge complex products with lots of legacy code and third-party dependencies without expecting to have to test or debug them. How close can I get to that with Cubase?

Besides your need/wish to become dongle-free, there is no reason imho to update either to 12 or 13. I skipped 12 for very good (or concerning the software very bad) reasons. I had an unused Cubase 12 license and was getting the grace option, so I was so naive (ok, for a collaboration I have to go to 13 anyways) to go to Cubase 13 and the only things I noticed within 30 minutes were issues. I can’t even use the refreshed MixConsole as it is broken (showing only meters, nothing else). This is again a very poor launch of Steinberg. Cubase 12 was all in a mess (imho and by various user reports and admits by some staff of Steinberg) and so it seems to be with Cubase 13, for which they had a long time to develop. Stay with Cubase 11 is best at the moment! Maybe the burden of the dongle is smaller than a software which is causing you headaches…

Thank you! That’s one of the things I’m trying to get a handle on. I’m always afraid I’m going to lose or break the dongle; and just the idea of a dongle seems like a rumble seat or a rotary-dial telephone - something from another age. But now I have Cubase 11 working pretty well with just a drip-drip of minor annoying problems but few show-stoppers. So you’re saying stick with the devil I know ( the dongle) instead the devil I don’t know: bugs, crashes, uncertainties of Steinberg software. That sounds like good advice.
Stability is my number-one priority - the ability to walk into my studio, sit down at my computer and MIDI keyboard, and get work done. I have no interest in testing and no confidence that a simple “try out” will reveal anything. I just installed a new Photoshop and a new FL Studio and I have no plans to test them - I just expect to use them. Thanks again!

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Welcome and I understand you!
In means of stability, Cubase never let me down (of course I have my specific setup, can’t compare to anyone most likely). But yeah, Cubase 11 was/is a nice devil,. which deserved more final fixing and it is really rock solid here. I can let it run for hours/days, nothing gets weird. Start it, use it, swear on it, finish with it, close it. Nobody can yet make a statement on CB13’s stability and performance, just do I know that CB12 let not just a few down on that side.

Yes, that was the big breakthrough for me with Cubase 11. For the first year I was getting frequent crashes and hangs. But someone suggested it can’t stand to be up running for long. Certainly not overnight. Even leaving it up when I step away for lunch or dinner is unsafe. Once I got in the habit of working for two or three hours then closing it and exiting and going away for a little stretch (better for my health, too) and then coming back and restarting Cubase I had no more crashes!!

I leave my PC up and running sometimes for a week or more often with Adobe or Microsoft apps up all that time and never have a problem.

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On my Mac Cubase is running all the days and weeks through.

But what’s your point? I’m glad you got lucky. But lots of people are reporting problems, both with 12 and 13. And I don’t have time to waste fighting the kinds of problems they’re having. And as a former software design engineer I know the amount of work (and product knowledge) it takes to do extensive testing and I don’t have time for that, nor is it my job.

So I’m looking for a systematic strategy for a trouble-free upgrade. But as Etchell said, there probably isn’t one so I’m best off sticking with 11.

If you buy a C13 license you can still install the last C12 version. I found 12.0.70 to be pretty stable, but obviously mine and others experience may not replicate to yourself.

If you installed C12, or C13 you will still have C11 on your system, but as you alluded to, there can be some base changes made to media bay or Cubase libraries which could affect your C11 setup.

Most notably is that with C12 they discontinued some items (loopmash etc) so you need to check that won’t affect you. I’m pretty sure installing C12 converted some bundled plugins to be VST3 only too, which is another consideration.

Personally, I take routine snapshots of my entire system and so updates don’t concern me so much as I have that safety blanket. If you’re doing this without such a backup/restore strategy then it’s entirely on yourself to make the decision.

If you’re not sure then stick with C11. But you don’t want to sit on it too long due to the eLicenser tech being obsolete in the future, moving to C12 now would still mean you’d get good support and help on it should you get any issues.

I do complete system backups, but their purpose is incase of a catastrophic system failure, ransomware attack, or other system-wide recovery. They are not set up to just back out of one installation of a bad piece of software. If I installed a new version of Cubase on a Friday evening and then decided on Monday morning that it was no good, I could recover the entire system back to the way it was on Friday, but in doing so I would lose everything else that happened during those 3 days. (not to mention wasting 3 days of my life.)

I’ve been shocked at the number of people here who think the expectation of doing that should be part of my strategy. (" If 12 or 13 don’t work out then you can just go back to 11"). That this is such a widespread idea here says something about Cubase’s stability.

moving to C12 now would still mean you’d get good support and help on it should you get any issues.

Steve says 12 is no longer available. But even if it is, how stable is it and what is the best low-time-cost strategy to make sure I have no problems? I can’t believe it’s even necessary to worry about this stuff. For decades when I wanted a new version of Premiere Pro or Visual Studio I just installed it - no problems. Once I had to install a new video driver for PP - it added an extra hour of work.

It’s not ‘your’ strategy neither is it a ‘cubase’ thing, Configuring your backup plan so that you can restore a system drive without affecting content or data is professional 101. Particularly if you’ve been operating in this way for more than a few years.

I’ve never had to do it because of Cubase, but I have other software.

So, Stay on C11 if it works, and you’re not prepared to utilise your restore mechanisms unless it’s only for catastrophic reasons. Pay someone to do it for you, if it concerns you that much. A restore takes less than 30 mins.

Windows can do checkpoints for system software. So I backup system state and do full disk backups, literally every day. A checkpoint backup only covers system files, Registry settings, stuff like that. It fits on a thumb drive. It’s not enough to selectively uninstall Cubase 12 and turn it back into Cubase 11. I’ve never needed anything between those two levels of granularity.

Also. it doesn’t matter if the restore only takes 30 minutes. How many hours or days of using 12 or 13 might I waste chasing down problems before getting the to point of making that decision?

Cubase and many of its ardent fans are too cavalier about people’s time. I want a high probability that the new software will allow me to get back to work with minimal interruptions. As I said, I never even have these conversations with Adobe or Microsoft products of comparable complexity, legacy code and 3rd-party dependencies.

I think you’re overcooking this way too much. Why should you need to take extra measures specifically for C12?

If you click the update button on Adobe or Visual Studio software without blink, then i’m not quite sure what’s so inherently scary about Cubase really. (?).

A Cubase 13 license will allow you to run 12. You don’t need to use 13 until you are ready. You don’t even need to install it. If the time comes that you want to, the license is already there.


I’m not sure why you even want to upgrade, unless there is a feature in 13 you can’t live without? It seems there was no compelling reason to upgrade to 12, has that changed with 13?

I’m with you. In fact, as someone who had worked in a lot of large companies, it is usually policy not to take latest releases, especially x.0 releases, potential teething problems are too problematic for staff and customers.

Given your pipeline of work, unless there’s a compelling reason or feature you need, I’d be staying on 11.

Because there are a lot more problems reported on Cubase 12 and 13, not just here but all over the web - Vi Control, KVR Audio, Reddit, etc. I’m active on user forums for the Adobe products and Microsoft products, so of course I see occasional crashes or other mystery bugs for them, but nothing remotely on the scale of the blizzard of problems reported all over the web against versions 12 and 13 of Cubase.

But on the other hand we have some people who had smooth upgrades with no problems so I want to find out if there’s a way to get that result.

BTW, yesterday I upgraded my FL Studio from version 20 to version 21 with no apparent problems so far, and frankly, none expected.

As I said in the OP I’d like to get rid of the dongle. I’m always afraid I’m going to lose it or break it. and a dongle just seems to old fashioned in the 21st century. Also I expect tech support here will become harder to obtain as fewer and fewer people will be using that version over time.

I’m perfectly satisfied with the features of 11.