This isn’t me being cheap. I sincerely wonder whether it wouldn’t be a good strategic move by Steinberg to offer LE as a free download for everyone?
I find myself not recommending Cubase to absolute beginners, because they have ”First” and ”Prime” options to download for free from competitors. Not that I’ve tried these products, but I know they’re free DAWs.
For bundling with hardware, there’s the AI version. Again, I haven’t tried it. Not sure what the differences are, but I understand it’s a notch up from LE.
I got started with a bundled LE version, and today I’m a paying customer (”only” Elements, but my point is valid). I bet it’s brand loyalty the competition is after by offering free downloads, and I would much rather recommend a free download of Cubase than anything else.