The Main Problem with Cubase

Hi everyone,

A little wordy but please read on. This is important to Steinbergs survival in the competitive DAW market place.

I started my computer music production work ( (15 years ago ) using an OEM version of Cubase LE. It wasn’t too bad to load up and start working with. In time an upgrade was offered to LE4. Lots of problems resulted. Lost plugins, glitchy. Had to battle with Steinberg to get things fixed. Finally they reluctantly provided some fix updates. Things sort of worked for a while but still very glitchy. MIDI would work, then not work, etc, etc. After wasting so much time, I had had enough. I moved over to another manufacturers DAW. Everything worked with the other DAW.

So it wasn’t me or my computer system, it was Cubase that was introducing all these issues.

I miss some features that were provided in Cubase and I think the sound quality was good in my Cubase tracks. However, it’s so difficult to get it to function properly and reliably. The other DAW works so much more smoothly and was easy to load and register. Very few glitches if any.

I gave up on Cubase for a number of years. Recently I bought a new hardware interface that was bundled with Cubase AI 8 free download. I was really hoping that Steinberg had fixed a lot of the problems I had previously experienced. 24 hrs later I have lost most of whatever hair I had left, trying to make the Cubase software work.

The Main Problem with Cubase is just trying to get it setup, activated and configured properly. But isn’t this one of the most important steps?

I work in a technical field but find Steinbergs process of install and setup to be rather daunting, confusing, frustrating and simply not worth the time wasted. How easy do you think it will be for someone who is new to the techie world. They simply will not survive this. It’s for this very reason that so many have turned to purchasing other manufacturers DAWs. Really too bad because Cubase has an expansive feature set, IF YOU CAN FIGURE OUT HOW TO MAKE IT WORK.

If I can’t make the free software work properly, why would I be tempted to BUY software from Steinberg? If the free or introductory software just worked from the get-go I would seriously consider purchasing the full scale DAW.

I truly believe that Steinberg needs to seriously rethink how they introduce potential customers to their product. They were one of the 1st to design computer-based DAWs. They had almost 100% market share at the start but have lost most of that due to the difficulty with the whole process of making it work. I honestly don’t know how they survive. They seem to have changed very little for the better in 15 years. I’m sticking with my other DAW until Steinberg gets it together. Sorry to have to state the facts and not intended to hurt or offend. Just the truth. I hope Steinberg will think seriously about it.

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Your post is not wordy-to the contrary, it echo’s my very thoughts.
I received a gift of an M-Audio M-Track Plus complete with Cubase LE8, Waves, and Ableton. I have played music for many years, and even recorded using the old Tascam series of both tape and cassette (yes…ok…I’m old).
I have faithfully stayed away from recording since the advent of DAW’s-Steinberg was an earlier “attempt” as was GutarTracks, Sonic and others lost to time. My only memory was of long frustrating hours fighting with inconsistent file compatibilities, drivers for the sound card that never worked and upgrades that would leave the system in a “less than” stable operating platform-both the OS and the recording platform itself.

With the advent of 64 bit operating systems and “stable” platforms and driver signing, I thought compatibility was an issue that went the route of 8-track cassettes. I work in the cyber security field and as far as patching an OS and testing modules, we tend to find what the “issue” is far times than most.
My installation of Cubase LE8 went, for the most part without issue, but the numerous “joining” XYZ website for a license, only to follow up 1 hour later with a “license key” was exasperating! I guess the “Single-Sign On” known as Federated Services between companies is unheard of in the Steinberg IT department/development group.

The Steinberg IT development group.
Gentleman-Device Setup as well as choosing the VST Connections could be elaborated on. Going on 3 days and I still can not, for the life of me record a note, much less figure out “which” is a “input” or “output”. And where pray tell is the “Device Set-up Wizard” your YouTube channel alludes to?

Like you I work in a technical field, and much of my work is documentation regarding Microsoft’s Active Directory and Red Hat Linux.
Steinberg may have had 100% market share, but that is and has been lost. Your statement “Really too bad because Cubase has an expansive feature set, IF YOU CAN FIGURE OUT HOW TO MAKE IT WORK”.
Therein lies the issue-making it work out of the box.
When Active Directory made its debut, MS had to tell people to have the install CD on hand and to run the command “DCPROMO” to install and configure it.
Steinberg seems to have taken the “NASA” approach in the sixties-“a bucket of bolts built by the lowest bidder”.
I think the videos and other recordings I hear made from Cubase, is a rather very large anomaly like a black hole-you know it exists, yet you can’t see it or explain it.

The three of us who have the M-Audio with Cubase LE8 are geographically dispersed-the thinking was to generate files (music) and collaborate with no regard to distance. Operating systems, secure drop boxes,VPN’s and File transfers over the internet have taken care of the distance. The glitch is the software being used (or trying to be used). To answer your question “would I be tempted to BUY software from Steinberg”? The answer would be a resounding “No”.

All three of us are what you would call “network admins/programmers”-to view the YouTube videos and read the device setup and VST connections and still not be able to make this application work is truly frustrating. One also wants to setup a music lab in his daughter’s school with a DAW-it does not take a rocket scientist to know Steinberg will not be his choice-despite the “expansive array of sounds” and “lush capabilities” it provides.

I am hoping that I can get this application to work, as I hope you can. Steinberg needs to “Document” the process without a “dog and pony” generic group of screen shots. As to me sticking with another DAW-that is an entirely another problem set as I have had no DAW experience in many, many years. I would not know where to begin.
Thank you for your post Sir!
I am somewhat relieved that I am not the only one who is experiencing the frustration with this “application”
Hope your hairline survives.


Hi MJ,

I very much appreciate your detailed reply. To build your confidence in the DAW world out there, please give Reason a try. Propellerheads software. You can download a free fully functional trial. This software works with very few glitches, if any. Easy to get to know. I wish Steinberg would look at their way of of doing things and learn a lesson. There are some detailed features in Cubase that I wish were in Reason but they are not biggies.

I am fully confident that Reason would get you recording and enjoying music again. I can almost guarantee it.

Take a look.

same experience here. i can’t get cubase ai sound work. i have spent too much time reading blogs, google searching, watching videos, reading the so called manual and countless on line articles. i have wasted too much time on cubase when i have a lot of other projects i need to complete. this software came with the purchase of a yamaha motif xs. i guess this is what you get with “included” software. live and learn.

Same experience here. I’ve worked with all types of software for over 30 years, and this is the worst I’ve ever seen, when it comes to user friendly. I’ve been trying for two months, to record anything with my S90XS. First, the outrageous inability to use anything but Window Aero themes. When I finally get AI 8 to launch, I see the tab to get started by watching the videos. Well that won’t work! AI 8 disables my computer from connecting to the Internet! To watch the videos, I have to close out AI 8 and then REBOOT, I guess Cubase stays resident in memory after shutting down. It doesn’t do a lot of good to watch the video and try to replicate the actions, when you can’t run both at the same time. Makes me want to go back to 32 track tape.

My 2cents,


This software is a computer virus disguised as a software suite. I have never, in 20 years of working in IT, seen a registration process so convoluted, or software as poorly constructed as this. Furthermore, although plug n play has been around since 1995, Steinberg apparently hasn’t gotten the word…the software refuses to see my device.

Fortunately for me, it looks as though this software is not device-specific, so I intend to uninstall the whole damn thing and get a decent package.


My needs are simple. I am an acoustic musician, and ALL I WANT is a piece of software that will take the field recordings off my device (ZOOM H1 Handy Recorder) and put them as files on my computer, while also allowing me to edit and organize them, and maybe clean up noise and interference.

What software package can you recomend for me? I am new to field recording, and will be leaving next week for an 9 day outdoor festival that I hope to get a lot of material from. I have a lot of stuff to get ready, and do not have the time to dick around with a piece of recalcitrant and buggy software. I just need something that installs easily and works.

Can anyone recommend a good package?

Thanks in advance for any help you can give me.


agree with everyone a very convoluted process downloading and installing the software!

Try Cakewalk by BandLab. It’s free.

You should learn to copy files from the zoom to computer. Perhaps a zoom util or just dragndrop… You can manage the files in Cakewalk.

When I taught at UCLA, I would have my students bring in both hardware and software. My theory was that in 5 - 10 minutes if you couldn’t get a sound out of something, it should be thrown away. Obviously if you want to become expert at any gear you’ll have to put in the time, read the manual, etc. But the basics should not be hard. Perhaps its the way my brain works, but Cubase and Nuendo fall into the “very user friendly category” for me. I figured it out instantly. Same for Logic (although I needed help setting up my multi channel midi synth modules). Same again for Vision and even ProTools. However, Sonar, Studio One, and Samplitude all fall under my “I can’t make this work” category. Sonar is odd because I started on Cakewalk, the predecessor to Sonar. No disrespect meant at all to you, because your experience seems to be opposite mine with Cubase/Nuendo. My only suggestion is to start with ONE instrument (the included HALion is awesome and easy). Then ONE track of midi and ONE track of audio. Skip all the rest. There are excellent templates to do this and you dont’t have to do anything except select your audio interface and assign the audio outs in STUDIO setup. But that’s it. Scream into your mic, strum your guitar, etc. If you get that far, the rest will be a cakewalk. Pun intended. Contact me if I can be of any assistance. But please don’t give up. The end result and user experience will be joyful and rewarding I promise.