Some "Steinberg Activated" licences no longer accepted in Cubase Pro 11?

Recently I was redeeming a bunch of activation codes which were part of the Cubase 13 2024 sales promotion that was offered to me. So far so good, every plugin/library works fine in Cubase 13.

However, it seems that one single product out of this collection, namely the “Pop Guitar 2” loopset is not accepted by older Cubase versions. I tried to launch Cubase 11 Pro (which is installed on the same PC hardware in parallel) and a warning message appears at every startup, claiming that the license for “Pop Guitar 2” is no longer valid and needs to be re-newed. Really?

I triple-checked its validation via activation manager. Of course the license is valid and has been properly activated on my system. Only Cubase 11 Pro seems to refuse to load it right from the application start. Why?

I’m fully aware that the “USB eLicenser” method will be shut down in 2025, but if the new activation method causes such inconsistencies in conjunction with older Cubase versions, I’m wondering what will happen next year. Probably the whole Steinberg eco-system could break down completely because of such inconsistencies.

Sorry guys, but offering one single product activation method which only works for the latest Cubase 13 version, but no longer for older versions like Cubase 11, is not the right approach Steinberg should take! After all, there’s no way to activate it on the proven USB eLicenser instead which will surely work with Cubase Pro 11!

Can anybody from Steinberg please confirm that we have a real problem here? Thanks in advance.

It works in 13 right?

Cubase 11, and the eLicenser, are no longer supported, and haven’t been for over 2 years now.

Yes, of course it works in Cubase 13. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it has to be blocked for Cubase 11! And yes, it’s also true that eLicencer licencing is going to be dropped next year by Steinberg. But that’s not the point here.

The problem is that the product “Pop Guitars 2” uses the new “Steinberg Licensing” which is the only option for related activation. While every VST plugin or library you can obtain on the market - even from any 3rd party suppliers - will still flawlessly work in Cubase Pro 11, why doesn’t an actual one obtained from Steinberg? No way! Come on, that must be a bug and needs to be fixed!

Absolutely not. Steinberg has informed about this since 2022 and keeping a deprecated piece of software (the old eLicenser code) in a new product would just ask for trouble.

Yes, they do not depend on Steinberg licensing, they are independent. They rely on other licensing systems, like iLok.

Maybe I didn’t express myself clear enough. Therefore, let me re-phrase my question in a different way, because I guess we are still talking about two different topics here.

Does your statements above also imply that every Steinberg product that has initially been registered to the “USB eLicencer” and has been recently “offered” by Steinberg to be “upgraded to Steinberg Licensing” won’t work anymore with older Cubase versions like V11 after such a “license transaction”? What would be the benefit for any Cubase user to start rushing to move his licenses from the old activation system to the new one, especially if the old “USB eLicenser Activation” was obviously accepting Steinberg products running on all Cubase versions (up to now) while the new “Steinberg Activation” method is only accepting products running on the most recent Cubase version?

Or again in other words: Why is there a real degradation in functionality by just moving the same product over from the old licensing system to the new one? Shouldn’t the same Steinberg product keep on working, regardless of the used “activation system”, especially if both ars still in place in parallel on the system?

I still don’t get it. The product I’m talking about is already using the “new” activation method. Why is the product not supported by Cubase 11 anymore in such a case?

Please note that this only affects Loop Sets for Cubase and Nuendo. For the new licensing system to work with this content in Cubase/Nuendo 11, major changes would have to be made to the MediaBay (it can only “see” eLicenser based products, the new Steinberg Licensing system didn’t exist yet), which might lead to unforeseen issues, potentially requiring more than one extra patch.

The included VST instruments have been patched to support Steinberg Licensing. Retrologue 2, Padshop 2, Halion Sonic 7, and Groove Agent SE 5 now all use the new preset browser introduced with Halion 7. To use your purchased expansions in Cubase 11, please download the latest versions of your plug-ins from the Steinberg Download Assistant.

If you have to use your Loop Sets in Cubase 11, I believe that they can still be loaded by the latest versions of Groove Agent SE 5, Groove Agent 5, and Halion 7.

A license system is a piece of highly complex software, that needs to be maintained and requires significant resources (like the license servers, etc.).

The old USB hardware is going to be phased out and replaced by a pure software based system. That means you need to rework the code in all your products to use the new licensing software.

The old eLicenser does not know about the new system and it makes absolutely no sense to change that software code in a way that it can use it. That would add even more resources on a deprecated system. The new system doesn’t know about the eLicenser, because this is exactly the other way around.

So yes, all upgraded products will probably not work with eLicenser products. If you want to know more about that decision you should ask Steinberg. In my opinion it is a clear and valid strategy from Steinberg and I absolutely like the move away from the old dongle stuff.

What degradation? There is none. You get new releases of all products, including Cubase, so nothing stops you from working.

See above, they are NOT in place in parallel and that is correct imho.

1 Like

@Romantique_Tp :
Thanks for your clear explanation. At least I see now what is the actual technical problem here why Cubase 11 won’t “recognize” Steinberg products which have been activated by the new method. So I guess I have to live with that.

I’m afraid that you were just repeating those facts that were anyway clear to me already. If you read carefully, I was never talking about the need to “maintain an old activation system” forever. I was rather talking about the sad fact that the functionality of a particular product residing on the same PC system depends on which “activation system” has been used to make it work (or lately to break it). And yes, of course it’s a sudden “degradation” of functionality if something does not work anymore, just because the activation method is different.

@B.Minor I think you may need to download and install the latest version of HALion Sonic SE. The edition of HSSE that came with Cubase 11 will not work, but the newer version of HSSE will be able to play content licensed under the new system such as Pop Guitar 2.

One thing I forgot to mention. Of course both activation systems can currently be co-existing on the same system. If you have related old licenses which have still been released for the use with the old method, the ELC is still dealing with those licenses correctly. You can even move such old licenses around between different eLicenser USB sticks. I have recently done this and it works in parallel to those newer licenses which are using the new activation system.

@Romantique_Tp :
Please allow me another question:
There are a plenty of licenses still registered to my “USB licencers” for which still no “Steinberg Activation” transfer has been proposed by Steinberg. For example, this also includes all the internal FX for my Steinberg URC24 interface. I wouldn’t like to loose that functionality. Will Steinberg make sure that all these remaining licenses will be finally made “convertable” in order to be transferred to the new license system before the old one will be shut down completely next year? Thanks.

@MrSoundman :
Thanks. I will try again your approach. However, I’m afraid it might really be a general problem of the Cubase 11 code only which cannot deal with activations that have been performed by using the actual activation method. At least I’m already up to date with all my Steinberg projects and the error message only pops up when starting Cubase 11. As mentioned, evereything works fine in CB13.

I never said anything different. As long as a product supports the old license it will work and accept the eLicenser.

Again, I never said anything different. Of course you can do that, but only until the License Servers are shutdown next year. After that this process is not working anymore, because it requires the server. It is documented by Steinberg


The new activation system is independent of the old system. That is what I explained above.