Soundcard for CUBASE 12 PRo


Looking for some advice on soundcards./audio interfaces…

I run CUBASE 12 PRO which I use with my Keyboard/Workstation Yamaha MOTIF XS8.

The MOTIF XS8 has an inbuilt Steinberg Yamaha FW audio interface which serves as my main soundcard connection. I am shortly going to simplify my set-up, dispose of the MOTIF XS8 and switch to a MIDI keyboard/controller (Maybe a Novation Launchkey MK3 or similar) as my future day to day keyboard. This leaves me with a gap of a soundcard/audio interface.

I was looking for some guidance on what I should buy to plug the gap? Can anybody recommend and audio interface which would work well with CUBASE 12 PRO and a simple MIDI controller keyboard. I have empty slots available on my PC for the possibility of a PC integrated card.

You may have already gauged that I am not super technical. It comes with age! :slight_smile: I am just trying to simplify my ongoing enjoyment based around Cubase.

Thanks so much for considering. Hope someone out there can help.

Many thanks

Steinberg sells a variety of audio interfaces designed by Yamaha. You’ll probably find something that suits your needs:

There is a thread over at GS that is very useful. They have an overarching pdf file which encompasses almost all major manufacturers. The thing you really need to focus on is driver support, latency and I guess inputs and outputs. I use Scarlett gen3. If you do any sort of live recording of acoustic instruments or voice, getting one with a better pre-amp does make a difference. I am quite happy with the Scarlett. My projects are mostly 48/24 . Up to 50 tracks at most. I also have interfaces in my Machine MK3 and IKM iRigs keyboard. All work fine with Cubase Pro for what I do.

Good luck.

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Regarding MIDI-Keyboards, it really depends on what you want, what your budget is, how many keys you want, if you need pads, encoders or sliders or any controllers at all, and what your standards regarding keyboard quality are (don’t expect to get the same feeling from a 150,- midi controller as from your motif). I am not a pianist/keyboard player, but I found some of the keybeds on the cheaper controllers rather unpleasant (but this is of course highly subjective).
The M-Audio Oxygen range might be worth a look, they have a comparatively good keybed in their price range.
Any reason why you don’t want to keep the Motif, if only just for MIDI input?

Gerry, it depends on your budget and your needs. If you have more than one set of speakers you will need two pairs of audio outputs. How many line inputs and microphones do you need? These questions will be your guides in choosing your interface.

For my part, my needs were limited to a very simple interface that I have had for several years now and which I do not regret the choice at all. This is Steinberg’s UR22 USB interface. I’ve had this interface since Windows 7, I’m now on Windows 11, it suits my needs and the price was competitive at the time. Still today Yamaha supports the device and the drivers are updated occasionally. And I hope it will be supported for a few more years even if this model has been discontinued for several years.

Looking for a quality interface at a competitive price and whose support will be assured for several years.

How many inputs and outputs do you require?

Whatever you do, Stay away from antelope audio…


From the little info you provided, chances are you may not need anything more than a new midi controller/keyboard!
Any recent keyboard will support MIDI over USB, so all you need is a USB cable (supplied with your new keyboard). You plug it in your PC/laptop USB port and voilà… Cubase will see it as a MIDI port and you can start your favorite plugins and play.
No need anymore for the good ol’ 5-pin MIDI ports.

Remaining question is where do you want to plug your headphones and/or speakers/monitors? Is the sound coming from your existing PC/laptop satisfactory?
For my “mobile” setup, I only carry a keyboard (AKAI MPK249) and I use the sound straight from the laptop.

If so, you’re done. No need for anything else.

Otherwise, please tell us what else you need to plug in (a microphone maybe?), and a budget range, and I’m sure people here will happily suggest options. Don’t forget to check your local ads or Reverb. I buy 90% of my stuff 2nd hand.

As for your new keyboard, tell us your budget and some feature preferences (88-note? weighted? Etc.), and we’ll gladly share suggestions.

People (me included!) like to shop for new gear with other people’s money… :wink:

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The Steinberg UR22C is a good choice as is a Scarlett 2i2 interface. I have both and can’t really quantify if one is better sound wise than the other. They both do the same job although the focusrite software and drivers are much easier to install and get up and running than the Steinberg.

Check the RME line. Rock-solid ASIO drivers and painstaking sound quality. They have plenty of audio cards with built-in MIDI interfaces that should fit what your studio really needs and also provide some “headroom” to grow a bit more in the future.

I have an RME FireFace 802 and I’m a happy man since I bought it :wink:.


RME are also on the more expensive side of things. Don’t get me wrong, I never want to part from my UCX, it was expensive but worth it (seeing that I easily get 10 to 15 years of usage from it), but for a self-acclaimed “not super technical person who wants to simplify” like the OP, an RME might be overkill, and e.g. TotalMix possibly a bit of a challenge…

IMHO for general use, pretty much all available “prosumer” interfaces from hundred bucks upwards or so will do the job, if you find the one that fits your needs regarding in- and outputs. The fine differences are in the software: the performance and stability of the ASIO driver (if on Windows) and the mixer/control panel (features and ease of use).
And if you don’t intent to record anything, as already suggested maybe the onboard sound chip will do.


TotalAgree, it’s definitely a challenge :sweat_smile:. I moved to RME from Creamware SCOPE and cried about the modular virtual wiring system my Creamware cards had. But once you get the point, TotalMix is ​​also very flexible, maybe a bit less intuitive.

That’s it. This is one of the points where RME really shines, I think. They have done a great job creating really steady and “pain free” drivers. Latency is practically non-existent. And if you monitor through TotalMix… I’d say it’s zero latency, or very close.

@Gerry says he has a MOTIF XS8. If he want to use it as external instrument within Cubase in the future, as I use my Korg T2, he would probably like to have something that let him work this way without headaches, and I think that built-in cards plus ASIO for ALL is not the finest thing to achieve this :thinking:.

Of course the built in sound chip could be used in certain conditions and for certain tasks, sometimes I used mine with ASIO for ALL. But like you, I never want to part with my 802 either :sunglasses:.

Kind regards.

Are you sure you want a PCI card? Most people go with an external USB unit these days. Anything Focusrite is good quality - my personal pref. As to the keyboard, a lot of them feel like toys, they can get a basic job done but cannot be really played by a pianist - at least not with out audible YUKKKS!
There are weighted and non weighted keys. If your not a pianist and just want to put in a few synth pads, tehn non weighted might do the job but you kiss your piano aspirations goodbye.
A lot of people (pros too) go for Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol weighted keyboards. I have Arturia Keylab 88MkII which is also a quality keyboard using the same keybed. This KB has a ton of free high quality VSTs with it. Komplete Kotrol is orientated towards Native Instruments plugins and probably has some freebies - it can be used with anything of course.
Basically stay away from cheap and nasty. If you are UK, I would visit a decent retailer Like Music Store ROmford (ex digital village) where you can see them all on display. Immediately you can see the differences in build quality and the advice should be A1

Thanks so much for the feedback. Really appreciate it.

Thanks everyone for the invaluable feedback. Really appreciated and very helpful. Cheers.

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