Upgrade Cubase to Dorico


I own Cubase Pro 9.5 and am not satisfied with its much too limited score editor.
I am interested in Dorico for its powerful score editor and would like to know if this software has the same characteristics as Cubase namely:

  • Audio playback and recording,
  • plugins,
  • Hallion synths, Groove Agent, LoopMash, Mystic, Padshop, Prologue, Retrologue, Spector.
  • Integration of external synths. Native instruments (complete control) …
  • Possibility of using external a master keyboard.
  • bridges to recover from Cubase to Dorico and vice versa.

If this is not the case, please can you tell me the main differences between the 2 softwares.

Moreover, if these 2 programs are identical except for a powerful partition editor in the case of Dorico, is there an upgrade from Cubase to Dorico?

Thank you for answering me as accurately as possible, this explained the reason for my phone call.

Thank you very much.

Best regards.


Welcome to the Dorico forum, Marc. Dorico is not a DAW so it does not have many of the features that you would take for granted in Cubase. There is no audio playback and recording, for starters. You can use all of your Cubase plug-ins in Dorico, though Dorico does not currently report the current tempo to plug-ins, which means that any plug-ins that rely on knowing the current tempo won’t work correctly. There is also at present no way to directly take projects from Dorico to Cubase and vice versa, because the two applications are for very different sets of use cases; however, you can import and export MusicXML and MIDI between them.

Makes me wonder Daniel if both development teams live on an island.
Physically they do, but with all means of communication there’s no excuse the integration we see the compitition display, can not be implemented between Dorico and Cubase. Also given the fact that Dorico was build from the ground up, these steps should have been taken into consideration.
A simple “send to Dorico” or “send to Cubase” should have been possible and present by now.

The only problem is that just saying “it should simple” doesn’t make it so.

… and everybody does have its own set of features, which “should have been implemented” already. I do appreciate the way Dorico evolves.

Relatively speaking “simple”.
I have stated before that Dorico looks promising and evolves, but what I sense is that the focus seems one-sided.
Looking at the many posts asking for help I get the impression that the software is not intuitve enough.
There is also a tendency to ignore “critical” posts on this forum, but we are not discussing a belief here.
Steinberg needs to realise that they are dealing with professionals who rely on their software.
One can not brush away requests or demands for important features which should have been present in the first place while at the same time charge hundreds of dollars and in the meantime let users function as beta-testers.
That is the main reason why I hesitate to buy the software. Dorico just isn’t there yet!

The good news, Franklinspired, is that nobody is going to force you to buy the software before you feel it’s ready for you. Thousands of happy users have already determined that Dorico is ready for them. However, I would think that it is more than evident that we don’t sleep on this, given the furious pace of development and the rapid release of new features.

Well said! +1!

A nice way to avoid the discussion.
Then why are the thousands of happy users flooding this forum daily?
Why are many Cubase 10 users not happy with the latest upgrade?
How come that since the development of Dorico there has been no progression whatsoever in the Cubase score editor?
They are both Steinberg products, aren’t they?

Wow, another dedicated believer?

They are flooding the forum to ask for help in how to use the software. I read every post on this forum, so I write with authority when I say that in general the tenor of the discussion on the site is happy and that the vast majority of users are happy with the software. The vast majority of the posts on the forum are in the form of “how do I…?” questions rather than complaints.

I can’t speak with authority on that point as I am not closely involved in the development of Cubase, but I can say that Cubase 10 has been one of the most successful updates we’ve ever released. Cubase has a much larger user community than Dorico at this point – which is hardly surprising – and I believe that in general the tenor of the discussion on the Cubase forum tends to be more combative than it is here on the Dorico forum. So even if you see a larger proportion of posts that are critical of the release, that doesn’t mean that even a sizeable minority of users are unhappy with the update. I think there’s a clear case of confirmation bias going on here: you’re unhappy with Cubase and Dorico, so you’re looking for evidence that others feel the same way. No doubt some do, but there’s no evidence to suggest that a large number of users share your views.

In any case, neither we in the Dorico team or my colleagues in the Cubase team are complacent: it is of vital importance that we satisfy our customers, and we all work tirelessly to do so. But we cannot meet every user’s demands with every release. Development takes time, and careful prioritisation of the needs of different groups of users is one of the key tasks that we devote ourselves to.

So perhaps this is the real crux of your complaint: you want the Score Editor in Cubase to get more attention. If so, you need to express this on the Cubase forum, not here on the Dorico forum. We in the Dorico team do not have any direct influence over the development priorities of the various teams working on Cubase. The Score Editor is developed according to its overall priority as determined by my colleagues who are involved in planning each new Cubase and Nuendo release. The fact that Dorico exists does not directly influence that overall priority.

I think it’s also not true to say that there has been no progression whatsoever in the Score Editor. There have been a number of improvements to MusicXML import and export, and to the input method for inputting notes directly into the Score Editor. I also know that there is a long list of improvements that the team want to make to the Score Editor in future, which they will tackle as determined by its priority within the overall prioritisation for development for future versions.

As I say, if your real quarrel is with the pace of development in the Score Editor in Cubase, please take that up in the Cubase forum rather than here. If you have some specific requests for the Score Editor in Cubase, you are welcome to send them to me (at d dot spreadbury at steinberg dot de) and I will be sure to pass them on to the product planners and developers responsible for that area of the software.

Frank likes to drop in every couple weeks to remind us, the actual users, that things are simply not acceptable. :unamused:

Is there a word, starting with a “T” and ending with “ll”, for people like that? :confused:

Actually, my friend, my involvement with Dorico was a process.

Having started with Finale many years ago, I was sold on Sibelius when I saw how easy it was to prepare parts for individual players. Eventually I found out that it was less cumbersome to prepare work sheets for students in Sibelius.

When I read Daniel’s blog, and he made mention of Educators, I became curious. I followed the blog until Dorico’s (pre)release and bought into it immediately, SOLELY on the basis of being able to prepare work sheets. By this time Finale had long seen its finale.

I continued to use Sibelius for arranging, composing and transcriptions, because chord symbols and drum notation weren’t immediately available in Dorico. NOW that they are, the transition will be accelerated.

I say all that to say this; depending on what your requirements are, find and use the appropriate tool. We the hopeful end-users can only request features. The developers will need to review all of our requests, examine them on the basis of coding complexity, and then prioritise.

In conclusion, I’d suggest, that you keep your cool and not let your passion for notation turn into venom.


Dorico and Cubase have a very different purpose, so it’s barely a surprise that one is better in one area than the other. Cubase is for recording and producing audio (with a simple score editor as addition) while Dorico’s objective is music engraving for printed sheet music (or screen, as of late), with a simple playback mode for VST instruments. It’s usually not feasible to create an all-in-one software because that becomes bloated and users just don’t usually have the need for such a universal software because they are working in their own niche themselves. Also, the more complex a software becomes, the less user friendly it becomes. You can’t have both. And from a developer’s point of view, if you’re trying to please everyone, eventually you’re not pleasing anyone.

Also if a “send to Dorico” or “send to Cubase” was that simple, I’m sure the developers would have done that already.

And I’d be curious to see the competition that displays the integration you are referring to.

Well, Avid made a big announcement about where they were going with this (including “bringing Sibelius into the Pro Tools Family”, whatever that meant) back in 2014.

But if anything has actually CHANGED since that announcement (except for the “monetization” part, which turned out to mean subscription pricing) I think I missed it.

Hello everyone and thank you for your answers. (Special thanks to Franklinspired)

In fact, I always find it sad that those who work in a company fight tooth and nail against all initiatives and seem not to listen to the constructive comments of users.

  • Of course it would have been interesting to create a bridge allowing the 2 softwares to work together, or even to add to Cubase a paying function giving access to a powerful partition editor like Dorico.
    To deny it has only a partisan and community interest that will always escape me and that does not make things happen. Moreover, accepting this fact does not make Cubase and Dorico bad softwares…

I will download the trial versions of Dorico and see what it is …

Let’s work in the same direction, developers and users finally belong to the same team …

I will post this comment on the website of Cubase (if I have time) since it seems, the impermeability is so strong.

Thank you for your answers.

Sorry for my scolar English… I am French /:

Best regards.

Marc, with respect, this forum is the exact opposite of what you’re perceiving.

Though I don’t quite agree with Stephan that Cubase and Dorico have totally different aims, they do excel at different things. They have been developed by two teams in different countries, though there is obviously overlap between the two teams, and the two programs share playback components.

I can’t begin to imagine what goes on at either the Dorico or Cubase offices, but permit me to speculate: there’s all sorts of things that Dorico couldn’t do (polymeter?) if it were constrained by the existing architecture that Cubase has. Cubase has 30 years of history, and even if the code has been rewritten multiple times, there’s presumably still technical debt in terms of the way that long-standing users expect a particular feature to work. Dorico’s huge advantage over other notation software is that it has (almost) no technical debt whatsoever - the developers started from zero code and wrote it the way they thought best, albeit with over 100 years’ combined experience in notation software.

As to this forum and the many thousands of threads on it: the Finale forum has thousands of threads, and so does the Sibelius forum. You’ll frequently find users, on both, grumbling that their requests aren’t taken into consideration. Occasionally you’ll see replies from either customer service operatives or, more rarely, from the actual developers. You’ll find similar threads on this forum, but 99% of the time, here, the actual development team DO get involved (even on weekends and holidays), and if a request is reasonable then they’ll engage with it and perhaps implement it.

This forum doesn’t represent an unhappy user base, complaining about unintuitive software. It’s a thriving community, sometimes struggling to break old habits from other software, helping each other out.

I call sock puppet.