Steinberg Ecosystem

I am a graphic designer and music producer with nearly 20 years of experience, and based on my experience in both fields, there are several issues about Steinberg that deeply frustrate me. However, I love this company to the extent that I want to make a contribution to its progress if possible.

Here are some points that I believe need attention, as otherwise Steinberg may lose more users:

  1. Lack of visual (GUI) ecosystem coherence within Steinberg’s products and graphical technical issues.
  2. Plugin design.
  3. Lack of a modular space.
  4. The absence of a professional sequencer and advanced tools for electronic music.
  5. Constraints on some tools and parameters.
  6. Updates that could have been easily provided in previous versions.

I will provide textual and visual examples in the following.

I’ll start with the modular space.

Many companies strive to eliminate limitations from their software, both in the form of DAWs and VST Plugins. For example, Bitwig has excelled in this regard and has attracted many professional users after years of working with Cubase.

For example :

In Bitwig, everything can be interconnected. Products from Kilohearts are also active in this area.

However, it is incredibly unbelievable that Steinberg still uses sends for sidechain, and many users face difficulties for the ninth track. Moreover, only 16 plugins can be inserted, and there is no capability to group plugins, bypass them, and so on.

These issues have never existed in Ableton Live and Bitwig.

It sounds like you might be happier using Bitwig or Ableton.

Those DAW’s seem to cater to electronic music production and after watching the first video, almost none of that was of interest to me. That said, I’m a traditional composer that likes to work in a linear fashion. I play the parts. I record the parts. I mix the parts. The DAW is a tape machine to me and I’m not trying to side chain everything, or modulate and automate anything other than volume, pan or the occasional plugin parameter. So, much of Bitwig’s deep modular functionality isn’t for me.

Nuendo (and Pro Tools to an extent) do what I need them to do, and I won’t be leaving them anytime soon, but I recognize that others may have different needs.




I appreciate your attention.

I haven’t had the chance to publish a comprehensive list of the deficiencies I have in mind here yet.

I agree with you that Cubase or Nuendo are perfectly suitable for your work. However, I also concur with myself because companies don’t precisely design their products for individuals like you or individuals like me. They aim for the largest number of users. If it were otherwise, they wouldn’t provide a portion of the tools for both of us. They would either design for people like you or people like me. However, as we can see, it’s not the case.

From my own perspective as a modular system enthusiast, I’d say that, at best, with the help of tools introduced to the market by companies like VCV Rack or Toy Box Audio, Steinberg products have ultimately transformed into a semi-modular platform, which is insufficient. Very insufficient. Personally, I expected a significant revolution in version 13, but…

On the other hand, if we take a look at renowned artists like Hans Zimmer or Nils Frahm, we can see that having a modular system within the Steinberg family would be a significant advantage for them.

In my opinion, its existence is very, very essential, especially in today’s world. Artists who are constantly adding complexity to their works and innovating are on the rise. Tools should be available. If someone like you doesn’t want to use it, and someone like me does, it’s like a toolbox. What’s wrong with having various screwdrivers, for example?

Another issue in today’s world is the presence of choice. Everything is moving towards optional. It won’t be long before everything in the world becomes optional. Even companies like Steinway & Sons have accepted the addition of technology to their products.

In my view, it’s less expected for a brand with a historical legacy like Steinway to integrate technology than for software, which is inherently based on daily technology and innovation. But still, we see that they have accepted that to avoid becoming obsolete, they must make significant changes.

From my humble perspective, having a modular platform in Steinberg products for the next half-decade is sufficient.

Because the biggest winning card for this company will be.

:pray:t2: :rose:

Bitwig sounds great for an individual like you, who composes electronic music.

I doubt it would work recording an entire live orchestra. Or a live rock band. Or both. Or freeform Jazz with no click…

To me, programs like Bitwig limit my creative thinking into “blocks” and numbers, and looping. Which are ok for some styles of music, but not in others.

Coming from Tape, then Pro Tools, then Logic Pro, and now Nuendo, and having played around with most other DAWs, trakkers, sequencers etc, I am quite happy with Nuendo.

Not a single DAW will ever have “all” the features everyone wants. That would be, as you state, “bloatware” for everyone, not just for you. Imagine other engineers and composers having to deal with features that to them, are a waste of time?

Maybe rather than try to push your style of work onto Nuendo, maybe just stick to Bitwig?

My 2 cents…

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OP, you aren’t going to get far with those suggestions here…too conservative a crowd, and generally the wrong demographic.

Meanwhile, other DAWs will continue adding composition and recording features while these people hold Cubase hostage because “I don’t personally find use for that.”

Even Avid has had to come to terms with how bad an idea that has been.

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It’s interesting that friends here are satisfied when their needs are met, but when people like me and others feel dissatisfied, they should look for another software.

It’s not logical to abandon the entire Steinberg suite for just a few tools.

It’s my right as a user to express my needs.

Consider Steinberg like a home. Now, someone like you who needs a bed has found it and is resting. And when I, who am hungry and looking for a refrigerator, am told there’s no refrigerator here. Change the home.

It’s not without reason that Steinberg has, in some cases, become stuck in a classic mode.

I didn’t quite understand your point correctly.

Are you saying that the people here don’t want anything to change?

One of the major issues with Steinberg is getting lost in graphic design (GUI).

Why do we use an ecosystem?

There are various reasons, but the primary one is to complete tools, or in other words, to compensate for the shortcomings of each tool with another tool.

One of these tools is appearance. You use an ecosystem to minimize confusion with a similar appearance, but unfortunately, Steinberg falls short in this regard. There is almost no consistency in the graphic design of this company’s products. This is in contrast to a company like Adobe, which fully adheres to it.

Steinberg needs to think about this issue.

It’s absolutely illogical to invest energy and financial resources separately for each product, only to have the exact opposite result.

The chaos and lack of visual consistency in Steinberg have reached an unbelievably high level. This company is one of the giants in this industry. Even emerging companies have managed to adhere to this issue.

I’ll provide an example from Adobe that shows a general similarity in the appearance of its products.

I suggest taking a look at Adobe products.

I have been examining all the major companies for years.

None of them are as disorganized as this. While the design of each of them takes time and money. Why? Why should you invest time and money and make things worse?

In version 13, the Control Room section has not undergone any changes in its appearance, while Mix Console, Channel, and Inspector have been redesigned, closely resembling Studio One.

It’s like buying a BMW M8, a product of this year, with a brand new front but an appearance from 5 years ago at the back. Who accepts something like this?

Most parts of Steinberg’s products are designed in 2D, especially in Spectralayers, but still, the Control Room buttons in Cubase or Nuendo are the same as they were in version 9.

As a graphic designer, I can say that completely redesigning the Control Panel could take less than a week in the worst-case scenario.

After all these years, they didn’t find the opportunity to do something about it?

I hope they don’t change its appearance and then release version 14 because these issues don’t require a new version.


The Backbonme in the design is a disaster. It’s as if a beginner in design is responsible for it.

This is far from expectations, really.

I want Steinberg to pay attention to my words.

It’s not necessary for 2000 people to vote here to be considered.

Instead of spending so much on various instruments that can’t compete with most similar products, it’s better to:

Put all the instruments (like Halion) in a modular format…
Have a uniform appearance…
And one important issue open to discussion is stopping the production of plugins…

Moreover, VST Plugins inherently always have modular relationships among their parameters, and in fact, setting a separate framework for them is more troublesome than having everything within a single framework or platform.

LOL. Well sorry you personally feel as though Yamaha Corporation does not care about you. Or whatever.

It sounds like you came here to complain and nothing more.

Maybe build your own DAW system that does everything you want. No one will stop you. And then, you’ll have exactly what you want.

I disagree with this assessment.

I’m a multi-DAW user because I’ve learned that no one DAW fulfills all of my needs. I use Pro Tools for Post, Studio One and Nuendo for music production, Reaper for sound design and Ableton Live for loop based composition and House Of Worship performances. I’ve used several of them on a single project to get it out the door. It’s easy to bounce and move audio between them.

DAW’s are simply tools and I haven’t found a single one of them that does ‘everything’. I also feel that people that chase the ‘one-DAW-to-rule-them-all’ ideal only set themselves up for disappointment and frustration.

If you open the toolbox that lives in your garage or shed, you’ll likely see several different types of screwdrivers and hammers. They all have their place and function.



Wow, interesting… asking for modularity and at the same time asking to stop it?
Plugins are the cornerstone of modularity.
Or why is Bitwig to define its own plugin format together with U-HE?

The VST environment revolutionized the entire audio world because it’s modularity.
Even Bitwig is supporting VST plugins.

So true. Well said!

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Do you want to have a discussion about this or is it more of a Public Service Announcement or do you expect Steinberg to read all your text and then follow your advice?

Interesting points from the OP, appreciate the thoughts. I happen to use and love Bitwig BTW along with several other DAWs, including of course Cubase, Nuendo, Reaper, Studio One, and others, etc., but I feel very differently about these issues, mainly because I understand the origins and history of all these various apps, and how the various business models generally work, including at Steinberg. Maybe I’m getting old and I’ve had enough personal exchanges with various DAW developers and plugin developers over the years.

First, the OP needs to look at the history of the various apps and who their developers are, over their whole development lifecycles, where those developers got their start, when they became the experts they are today, and in the case of Steinberg products, how, why, and when they became part of the Steinberg family, and then the OP would see vastly different approaches and business models over decades of work and millions of lines of code from different paths that wind up in these different products, and it will all make sense.

Not to get into a lot of details (since I think that could be a hundred pages long!), but you cannot divorce the history of the app from where it is today. Additionally, the OP seems to lack an understanding of the complexity of the development process and general momentum of institutional knowledge and market forces and budgets over time. Not to mention that the DAW market is a tiny, niche market. There’s NOT a lot of money to throw around.

In other words, to over-simplify this whole thing, you can’t take a big “battleship” like Cubase or Nuendo, with all their intricate legacy code and millions of lines of interdependent code written by many developers over many years, and expect it to have all the raw materials, the plumbing and wiring to easily convert it into a speedboat, or a yacht, or a sailboat. Hope that analogy makes sense. Not to mention that it has a specific market of customers, and you can’t shake up the ship too much each iteration. With that kind of institutional and market gravity, companies tend to go slowly and methodically, and yes, they have become conservative.

The OP’s main points are well taken, but consider that each of the main Steinberg apps were developed by different teams, at different times, sometimes acquired or distributed from different companies or independent developers in the past. Steinberg is more like an evolving FLEET of merchant vessels coming together from different places and times… it is NOT a single, unified nationalized fleet of ships designed from the beginning from ONE top-down visionary commander.

Another way of putting it is that Steinberg acts a little more like a publisher than a single-minded single-vision focused team. That’s not precisely accurate, but it should help give more context.

Take Wavelab, for example, which has been largely developed by one legendary developer (and all around nice guy), Philippe Goutier. Is it any wonder that the icons, features, UI, approach, etc., are all different than Cubase/Nuendo? This might confuse the OP since it is so “out of place” in some ways in the Steinberg catalog. But if you understand its story, and actually Philippe Goutier’s story and his relationship with Steinberg, you’ll understand why it is what it is. (And Wavelab is great! Cheers to PG!)

This is the case with many of Steinberg’s apps. Most recently, you have the stories of Dorico and SpectraLayers. Look at their interesting back stories to understand how and when they became part of the Steinberg “family” or “fleet,” but more importantly, look at the specific experts and amazing developers who make those products – their work and incredible experience PREDATED being part of Steinberg. This means their entire development process, lifecycle, application frameworks are all DIFFERENT than the team that builds Cubase, for example.

Now you can argue that Steinberg’s business model of being a sort of quasi- “branded publisher” approach causes confusion and a sense of lack of cohesiveness. And you can argue that Steinberg needs to unify a lot of things. And you can argue that Steinberg needs to get their various apps synced up in a development sense too (i.e. look at the score features in Cubase vs Dorico, etc.).

That’s all well and good. But in order to accomplish a true unification of such DIFFERENT codebases and teams, you’d literally have to rewrite ALL the apps to share one common application framework, and that would cost way too much money and take many years to do. Remember, the DAW market is very small, there’s not a lot of extra money rolling around.

So Steinberg has adopted, in my view, a very slow “evolutionary” approach where general principles are slowly being brought into alignment among their unique “ships” of discreet teams. The biggest project coming up from what I can tell, is going to be the eventual addition of Dorico features directly into Cubase/Nuendo, since the main developer of the current score editor in Cubase is retiring soon. The Dorico team will no doubt take over his codebase and likely slowly replace it with Dorico features. That’s my personal take on it, I don’t have inside knowledge on this, but the chess pieces are all there in plain sight. But no matter how Steinberg does it, it will be OPEN HEART SURGERY, not some easy replacement of the score editor. So no wonder it will take a LONG time to “unify” those aspects.

Anyway, I don’t disagree with the lack of ecosystem coherence in many ways, but I understand exactly why the situation is what it is. And I’m totally fine with it. I get it. It’s kind of amazing what Steinberg has accomplished actually, even though I sure have my own personal feature requests I’ve been asking for forever (ripple editing please!).

The OP completely misses the reality of the unique background and institutional history of Steinberg. And it’s silly to contrast all this to Bitwig, which is ONE app, that started with a unified vision and has former people from Ableton who brought all their experience with them, or Presonus, which is ONE app, that also started with a unified vision and has former people from Steinberg, with all of their prior experience.

Is it any wonder that Bitwig and Studio One can evolve so quickly and become so mature in such a short time period, and retain coherence within their specific domains? Of course it’s clear. One product, one vision, one domain, one focused team. In time as they grow, they may start to face similar challenges to Steinberg. But Steinberg is in a different place, with a different story, a multi-domain entity, for better or worse.

Once you wrap your head around all this, and especially the histories of each product, you get the picture of why things are the way they are.

Maybe some day, Steinberg will build a unified application framework upon which ALL the apps will be built, and then you MIGHT get some real cohesiveness between all the apps. But until then, it’s best to think of Steinberg as a quasi-publisher of apps with discreet teams that joined Steinberg at different times in its history, and each team already had their own development process and application frameworks, and now Steinberg is trying to bring them into alignment over time, while making sure that each application continues to be profitable within each prior market segment.

Like it or not, that’s the way it is. Cheers!


Greetings to you,

I greatly enjoyed the text you wrote.
I, as someone with experience in graphic design and web coding to some extent, am familiar with endless lines of code. What you’re saying is correct. However, I must say that a publisher should control the quality of their products, which, in my opinion, Steinberg sometimes mistakenly overlooks in some cases.

Individuals like Philippe Goutier, as you mentioned, who can serve as idea generators and ultimately technical experts, not graphic designers. I have no concern for coding and integration, I’m solely referring to graphic design. Has the design created for the company incurred costs or not? It certainly has. Now the question is, why is everything so chaotic? Why is each part different from the others? Really, why? Who can explain why the Control Room, as I mentioned, has remained the same since version 9, but the Mix Console has changed? The answers from the friends above are so wrong that when I read them, I regretted bringing up these topics at all. But it doesn’t matter.

For example, for several years, during the mixing process, I spend over an hour preparing a project in terms of naming, color-coding, sound arrangement, and routing. This time may not be much, but it depletes my initial energy. Why shouldn’t we use the “Sort” function? “Sort by Name,” “Sort by Color,” or “Sort by Orchestration.”

For example, through AI, the imported sound can be recognized, and with the operator’s confirmation, the name of each sound can be placed on the track:

Recognize the sound of Shaker, for example.
Ask if you want the track to be renamed according to the sound? Yes or No.
Yes, for example.
The track changes its name from “Audio 16” to “Shaker,” and so on.

Adding the “Sort” option.

Now that all the tracks have been renamed, we can quickly sort them. First, we perform “Sort by Name,” and according to a template we’ve saved, instruments are placed in the desired order from top to bottom. For example, I always place drums first, and in the drums section:

1.1 Crash
1.2 Splash
1.3 Ride, and so on.





And then percussion and so on.

I can control this list in the “Sort Settings” window and specify the colors there.

So, in the end, we sort based on color, and the tracks are arranged in the desired color order.

I couldn’t find something like this in softwares.

Or another topic could be Auto Correction. When someone, for instance, accidentally writes “Vcal” instead of “Vocal” for a track, a red circle in the corner of the name can illuminate, and by pressing it, it can be corrected.

These issues can be very time-consuming during work.