Setting my son up with a Cubase DAW - seeking advice

Hello! We are setting up our son with a DAW for Christmas and need advice. He is in high school and is wanting to write music and work on film scoring. We already have purchased the PC and Cubase 9 Pro and want to make sure we get everything else we need.

Remaining Budget - $500

We are looking at the Yamaha NP32 (76 key) keyboard for $250 and a NanoKontrol2 from Korg for $60. What else do you recommend? Are these even what we should be getting? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!


Thanks very much!!

You’ll also need an USB audio interface for low latency, high quality audio. Steinberg’s own UR22mkII has nice Cubase integration, and it can record external sources (microphones, guitars, keyboards…) at very high quality for the price if he ever needs to do that.
https://www.steinberg.net/en/products/audio_interfaces/ur_series/models/ur22mkii.html

You might be able to find it for cheaper at other stores.

Everything else sounds good to me.

You’ll probably be left with about $100 bucks after this. It might be a good idea to either buy some higher end headphones or start saving for some instrument sample libraries.

You have some good monitors (speakers) too, don’t you…? Or is it to be headphones to start with…? :wink:

Your son has the makings of a very good set up there.!

(PS:- if there’s any budget left, I recommend an upgrade to C9.5. Not critical of course; but for film scoring work, the new metronome/time sig features will be worth it I’m sure, down the line).

Depending on how long ago you bought Cubase Pro 9, you may be entitled to a free grace period upgrade to 9.5. You can check here:
https://www.steinberg.net/en/support/grace_period.html

You will definitely need an audio interface as already pointed out by Romantique Tp and I can also second his recommendation for Steinberg interfaces. And of course speakers and/or headphones will be required.

Is your son a beginner with all this or is he already experienced? If he’s just starting out, then a PC with Cubase, an audio interface and a MIDI keyboard should be enough to get going with as there’s quite a learning curve to this software.

RE: The MIDI keyboard… any USB MIDI keyboard will do the job really. The cost will vary depending on number of keys, feel of the keys and general build quality. If your son is a high level pianist then this may be important but if not, then the choice of keyboard should not be critical. Yamaha one you mentioned will do the job nicely.

Btw… if you want to avoid the frustration of your son not being able to use his great present immediately, make sure you get the necessary cables to connect the audio interface to the speakers/amplifier.

scrap the nanokontrol…they are a pain to set up for beginners…when it’s early days linking midi devices can be very frustrating and just takes time that could be used getting to know the functions of the DAW…

as mentioned above, get some decent monitors…they can run into the tens of thousands EACH at the higher end but for a beginner you should be able to find a nice pair of 5 inch monitors (you don’t want big ones unless you want to hear him practicing from every room in the house) for $250…you could probably even find cheaper ones but they will be terrible quality (maybe)…companies like FOSTEX make pretty decent monitors… IMPORTANT NOTE!! Ensure you buy what is known as ACTIVE monitors, these speakers have matching amplifiers built in which means you won’t need to buy an external (matching, do you know how to match an amp to speakers? me neither) amp

you will need an external sound card/audio interface…again, just a simple two channel unit should suffice at your sons level

make sure you get all the necessary cables…you’ll need two mono ones to connect the monitors to the soundcard and a usb cable to connect the interface to the PC…

midi keyboards are useful but also not essential…get one anyway though because they’re great when you’re actually trying to learn how to compose as opposed to just producing…

if you have any change left try and pick up the best monitoring headphones you can for the money…two reasons…one, your son won’t have a sub-woofer so he will be missing out on a very important part of the sound spectrum, headphones will at least give him a basic idea of how much bass is there (or not there!!) and two, as parents sometimes you might want him to stop playing that same damn beat over and over and over and over…

i think those are the essentials…


hoosierdad…drag racing eh?

Unfortunately, the Cubase forum is accessible via the Internet. :wink: But Dallon426 who had trolled this thread will not be posting here for a while.

I’ve moved the posts and responses to the mod area.