Upgrade from Cubase 5 Studio and Yamaha MR816 FireWire?

Hi all, it’s been about ten years :slight_smile: I’ve been making music with my 19" PC, Steinberg Yamaha MR816 and Cubase 5 Studio combination for about 10 years now. However, the system starts to crash lately (blue screen of death) and since it’s all WinXP 32 bit and old hardware, I’m looking into upgrading. I have a few questions that I can’t really find the answer too, or, I find contradicting answers. I hope you guys can help me out:

  1. Would a new PC (with FireWire PCI-e card) running Windows 10, and a more recent version of CuBase (say 9, 10 or 11) be expected to work with my old MR816 audio interface? I know that FireWire is a bit of a dead end, and I read lotsa stories about drivers, issues etc. But I do however see still a Steinberg FireWire driver that stems from 2015 or so, stating Windows 10 compatibility. Or is the MR816 not really supported anymore by newer hardware and OS and Cubase? :frowning:
  2. I can’t really see whether there’s an upgrade path from my old Cubase 5 Studio to a newer version (say at least 9)?
  3. asumming or hoping there is indeed an upgrade path, the elicense sotware recognises Cubase 5 on my dongle, however MySteinberg doesn’t see it, and when I try to “Register at MySteinberg” from the eLicenser software, it says “This eLicenser number has already been registered by another user”, which is probably the company I bought my system (PC, audio interface, monitors, mics, and Cubase 5) from, and guess what, they don’t exist anymore. Is there a way to fix this?

I’m sorry for all these difficult questions, I hope someone can help me out. I’m loosing sleep over this.


People are still using FireWire successfully. I was using a Yamaha n12 until recently but decided to sell it and move on before it got to the point it was worthless. I’m sure you could get it working but how much time and trouble it will cause is a bit of an unknown. It may work straight away but it may not.

You can’t upgrade Cubase to anything but the newest version. Older versions are no longer sold. If you go to the steinberg shop and look for upgrades you will be able to select one that is suitable for your version. You can try this to see how much without actually buying. Cubase 5 is still in the list (it goes down to Cubase 4) so you can get it for £155. Take a look yourself in your own currency.

Things to note. 32 but plugins are not supported natively although you can get a wrapper to support them. I would suggest you get a pc built for music and not an off the shelf one. Many people have problems with PCs and doing this would save you a lot of trouble.

You will require steinberg support for the licence issue. You obviously have a licence but have lost or forgot your login. You could probably do with another usb licence as the newer ones perform better. That won’t fix your logging problem though.


  1. What I read everywhere is indeed it is possible, but a bit of a hit-n-miss experiment. It may work it may not. I hear What I gather is the following main points:
    a) apparently need the ‘legacy Windows FireWire’ driver
    b) apparently need the TI chipset
    c) apparently using the 800 port with an 800-to-400 cable increases the chance of success
    So I’m now doubting between buying the new PC with a PCIe FireWire card and giving it a try, or just go for USB (meaning buying a new interface, probably the new version of what I have, so from MR816x to UR816C. The first one option potentially will save a lot of money, but I don’t wanna meddle to much with a freshly installed and optimised Win10 DAW PC.
  2. I saw the option many thanks!
  3. Is there a moderator or Steinberg employee who can help me out here? Thanks!

Thanks so much for your answers :slight_smile:

I do see a lot of interesting information in this topic:

Seems like it may work indeed, but then again, with all people mentioning specifics about chipsets etc etc and still some people reporting it doesn’t work, dunno. I need to ponder whether I wanna give it a try. I just want to have a stable system, reliable, and future-proof.

With regards to my third question, how can I connect to the helpdesk? Does anyone know?

I do have my old i7 my son uses on the latest win 10 version and an m-audio FireWire 410 interface working perfectly without having to mess with windows. Could be just lucky. I’d totally forgot about this. The motherboard on it is a Gigabyte with built in TI chipset.

If you don’t want to change your audio interface then just try it. Fw interfaces are not expensive. I would just make sure you get a pc built for audio. If it doesn’t work then you haven’t really lost anything and you can get a new audio interface.

I doubt support will help on this matter as there are too many variables

Thanks! I’m definitely having a PC built and configured by an audio pc company, yessiree.

I’m only asking helpdesk to help me out and recognizing my current Cubase 5 Studio license issue (my 3rd question in the original post) :wink: Thanks!

:+1: hope it all goes well​:blush:

I’m using 4x MR816 (3 daisy chained and 1 via ADAT) with Win 10 and C11 Pro on an i9 machine, no huge problems. It’s generally recommended to use a TI firewire card, I understand, but other than that, it just worked - using the latest drivers and Tools for MR, very easy to set up.

The PC I use was built by Scan (uk) and they were really helpful in checking my chosen configuration would play nicely with the MR units.

If at some future point It were to become an issue to keep using firewire I could extend the life of the units by slaving them into a Digiface USB.

Great reply. I’ve used SCAN as well and they put together good PCs at a decent price. The digiface usb is also a great bit of kit with RME, renowned low latency

Thanks guys! I’ll do some more digging into Digiface as well

when I try to “Register at MySteinberg” from the eLicenser software, it says “This eLicenser number has already been registered by another user”, which is probably the company I bought my system

If you buy a new dongle (USB-eLicenser) you should be able to transfer your license to the new dongle, and then register this new unregistered dongle (and its now included license) at your own MySteinberg account:

Note 1: Steinberg is about to change the licensing system, skipping the dongle. It’s possible (not sure) that this change will come with the next major version expected in November. So maybe you need to do this before that happens.

Note 2: Yes, as you noted you can update from version 5. But a new major version is expected in November, so it’s better to update after the new release so you get the newest version. You can still buy the update now if you like, just wait with the activatiom of the license.

Thanks guys, lot of information. I am truly grateful for taking the time and providing such detailed answers. I’ll most likely buy a new UR816C and then receive a Cubase 11 AI license, hopefully with the new dongle as well?

AI is a soft licence so unless you order a new dongle you won’t get one.

Okay clear, thanks.

I see in the descriptive text of Cubase AI that it allows you to correct pitch etc (VariAudio right?), which is essential for me. However in the big Cubase 11 comparison matrix , the AI version doesn’t have a tick mark next to VariAudio3?

VariAudio is only in Artist and Pro (and previously it was only in Pro, but was added also to Artist with version 11).

It’s not in AI, that must be something else that text is about.

Thanks sir.

All, this thread can be closed. I’ve decided to ditch my trusty MR816X, spare myself potential Firewire issues, and get a new UR816C. With that, I’ll get Cubase 11 AI, which is cheaper to crossgrade to Cubase 11 Artist, then cross/upgrading from Cubase 5 Studio. Which will save me all this trouble with my eLicenser.

Thanks for thinking with me!