The activation of Spectral Layers 9 was tedious and long

I think there has to be a “better way” to install and authorize Steinberg Products. Why is it that Steinberg’s installation and activation is probably the worst of any audio production products that I own? I watched the videos and I read the documentation and it was still confusing and I am pretty “computer literate”. Maybe to someone at Steinberg it all “makes sense” but I think for the average user it is way to complicated. This is true for Spectral Layers and Wavelab. FWIW!

I don’t know if you saw my thread, but my SpectraLayers Pro 9 is defaulting to Spectralayers Basic 1.

Is your SpectraLayers Pro 9 actually working?

To the OP:
I’ve gotten used to the dongle. Does the absence of a dongle make activation harder?

I’m thinking I’m going to skip SL9 and take another look when SL10 is released.

I honestly have not tried it since I installed and activated it. I will try it later today and report back.

It defaults to SL One when you don’t have a license. Did the same to me the first time after installation and anytime activation manager decides to stop working (which is about 50% of the time).

You have to finish activation.

Yes, the whole Activation Manager system is terrible.

If you open SpectraLayers Pro/Elements 9 and SpectraLayers One opens instead.

  1. Install SpectraLayers Pro 9 from Steinberg Download Manager

  2. Open your email and find the confirmation/receipt Steinberg/Sweetwater/Guitar Center/etc. sent when you bought your license for SpectraLayers Pro 9

  3. Find the code near the bottom shown in all capital letters and copy it.

  4. Go to your licenses in your Steinberg account: >
    Click the silhouette symbol near the top right corner >
    Login on the login page that pops up >

  5. Click “Products”, if you’re not automatically sent there after login.

  6. Click “+ Redeem Download Access Code” and Paste your code in the space provided in the window that follows

  7. Back to “Products”, but this time select "Show Steinberg Licensing-Based Products.
    You should see SpectraLayers Pro 9 (or whichever version you purchased) along with any other recent Steinberg software you’ve purchased.

  8. Open Steinberg Activation Manager app. You should now see your license for SL9

  9. Open SpectraLayers Pro 9, you’re all done.

Feel free to skip steps 7 and/or 8, if you’d like. They’re simply to confirm that it worked in case troubleshooting is needed.

This is like the ‘Zero-Gravity Toilet’ in ‘2001’.

There are a lot of redundant steps in your list.

  1. Buy the product.
  2. Open Steinberg Download Assistant
  3. Press “Redeem Download Access Code”
  4. Copy and paste the code from the web store or your e-mailed receipt.
  5. Download and install SpectraLayers Pro 9
  6. Open Steinberg Activation Manager, click ‘Activate’ next to SpectraLayers Pro 9 if it is not already activated.

Steinberg Download Assistant handles the addition of the product to your account and the download step for you. For some products, it is also able to handle the installation step.

Step 6 is arguably a bug in Steinberg Activation Manager. Normally SAM auto-activates a product the first time you open it if a licence is available and you have Internet access. However, if you have a licence for Cubase Artist 12, Cubase Pro 12 or Nuendo 12 activated, this activates the SpectraLayers One feature set and SAM will not auto-activate a licence for a higher edition of SpectraLayers even if one is available on your account.

There is a way to go to improve the situation, but we seem to be heading toward Steinberg Download Assistant being a one-stop utility for everything except product purchases.


Indeed, step 6 should be unnecessary, and I have asked development why this is the case for SpectraLayers. Everything else should be pretty much straightforward. Redeem the code, install the product and activate the license to run it.

Seems to behave differently if you are trying the demo version. I signed up for the demo version for ver9 and got the link in my email. There was no activation code, and I did not expect there to be.

I installed it from the “my product downloads” of the Download assistant. I launched it and it launched Spectral Layers 9 One.

I uninstalled Spectal Layers 9 and followed the process again.

It still launches Spectral Layers 9 One - not the pro version that I want to demo.

Any thoughts?

For the record, this happens when launching Spectral Layers 9 from the standalone app or from within Cubase Pro 12.

Can you see a SpectraLayers Pro license in the Steinberg Activation Manager ? If so, activate it.

Ah, yes! Of course.

Thank you. That worked!


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