Version of Cubase that does not use the dongle

As I mentioned in the “Additional licence at full cost - disappointing steinberg” thread I left my dongle at home and ended up having to drive back home to get it, losing an hour, looking like a schmuck, and being really frustrated.

Amazingly it’s the first time it happened in all these years.

Does anyone know which versions of Cubase, if any, operate without a dongle? I would perhaps be able to open my project in this lesser version, do my work at the remote session, then return home and reopen the file in Cubase 5.

Really, I would switch to Logic, except for the fact that Logic permits only very rudimentary handling of video clips. In my workflow I use several clips and cut and paste them a lot, so the lesser Cubase version would have to have the same video functionality as Cubase 5.

Thanks for any ideas you think could help me out,


AFAIK none… even the very first release (back in the '8Os) on the Atari console requires one.


Thanks Bernard,

Upon further research it looks like Cubase LE 5 uses a non dongle protection, but I can’t find anything that says one may open Cubase 5 files in Cubase LE 5.

When I go to this URL it apparently is possible to have Cubase LE 5 donglessly authorized. See the following url:

So, can Cubase 5 and Cubase LE open each other’s files? Probably not, right? But I am hoping against hope…



Cubase LE 5 uses the same eLicenser Control Center (eLCC) copy protection mechanism a but requires a “software” dongle located on your hard disk instead on the “physical” dongle or do I miss something ?

Have no idea about interoperability between Cubase 5 and Cubase LE 5 project files.
Not sure that you’ll find any benefit with LE 5 in your case.

The best is to have (pay) another full Cubase 5 license at home or find a way to avoid to forget to take the physical dongle with you next time.


Well, when I say dongle I am referring to an actual physical dongle. Software auth would be lovely.

I think I might have figured it out anyway- I think Cubase can open Cubase LE files, but LE cannot open Cubase files.

Also, I am wondering if anyone has experience with other DAWs that also can handle multiple video clips with the same flexibilty as Cubase.

De tout façon, j’ai remis mon dongle sur mon porte-clés. Voila.

I wonder if the eLCC could be configured to generate an eight hour once only code to enable Cubase use without having to carry the losable dongle.

there is always the illegal versions but i`m sure you knew that already. :smiling_imp:

Try to get a copy of AI with some cheap hardware since AFAIK it has better video than LE.

It should not be to hard to have and LE activation for a registered dongle. The dongle is painful for a laptop. I Use LE on my macbook pro and the dongle is on the stationary. Logic seems so much better but it strange that apple dont use the build in dongle i mac for their applications. Is only used for the OS.

Thanks to all for your helpful replies.

None will work however. I want to be able to work on the same file at home and on the road. Even with Ai that won’t happen, you cannot open files freely going back and forth between Cubase and Cuabse Ai.

I am looking at Digital Performer. It appears to be the only package that runs on mac, doesn’t use a dongle and can open multiple video files at the same time.

A plus is that DP will export video with the new audio created in the app, it also has very nice window management.


So even AI won’t open a Cubase file just to do basic editing, importing of audio MIDI programming etc?

I know there are only two slots on the VST Rack but are you saying that cpr’s between AI/Full/Studio aren’t interoperable?

If so then that is very sad because you can’t have AI without a piece of hardware AFAIK.

I believe that is correct, but it’s difficult to know for sure, since there is no mention of it in the Cubase AI docs, or anywhere else.

Maybe I’m ready to make a change. Before I do, I need to have my control surface working in DP, and there are a couple other items I need from it too.

I know his is an extremely tiresome conversation, but requiring a dongle when so many other packages don’t (except for plugins) has worn me down, while looking at Digital Performer has encouraged me to learn a new DAW. It has a lot going for it, though it is missing some of the finer geeky items Cubase has, like the project logical editor.

I have not seen a Mac crack for Cubase, but really I’m not interested in supporting the whole warez scene.

Cubase just hasn’t been the same since they dropped the Interactive Phrase Synthesizer with the demise of Cubase VST 5. :confused:

Hi Steve

Personally I like the dongle as it means I can use the latest version up to the limit of features I have paid.

I doubt the dongle will ever be dispensed with because it is so effective in countering piracy.

Basically (and this is my view) the yamaha/steinberg partnership has been successful as how on their own could steinberg afford to purchase the proven technology?

While competitors such as I-lok can be compromised by outsiders, the e-licenser has always been at the behest of Steinberg, and the flow on from that is beyond imagination, as the first step has been taken…

… a regulated forum system where staff can actually help people openly and in a wholly transparent manner as well as keeping out unwanted visitors.

All the best

you’re on crack, right? yeah its been sooooo effective. even 5.5 is available “dongle free” after a 5 second Google search. all its done is really annoyed the users that have lost or damaged our dongles.

oh and its restricted Cubase from ever being used by any pro’s on the road or in major concert setups for fear of losing the dongle. they just dont risk it now.

Are you trying to tell me that I didn’t need to purchase version 5 of Nuendo or 5.5 of Cubase as there was some “free” version floating around somewhere?

Don’t think so mate.


youre obviously uninformed facesaver. but we should probably keep this topic OT i would say its already dangerously close to being banned by the mods and the topic of this post alone probably is raising eyebrows and injecting the fear of God into the mods that free software is being discsussed here.

lets all go back to putting our heads in the sand.

i brought Cubase only so i could get the updates a little faster and … erroneously , thinking that i would get software bug support and my voice heard. nil.

So because Google says something exists means that it does right?

So called free versions of cubase are never as good as paid simply because they are either feature limited, or on the other hand are always obsolete.

Sure some people still swear by SX but old versions are so cheap now who’d need to use anything other than legitimate software. It’s not even a question of morals it’s basic commonsense.

Some of old Cubase SE versions bundled with 5 lite virtual instruments ( was it called Cubase Case or smthng) didn’t have any kind of dongles. Or challence / response authorisation. Guess will not help in this case thou’


So I have been investigating other options, and as it turns out for mac the only app that can do the stuff I need would be Digital Performer. Long story short, I don’t know if it would be worth the trouble. It’s a lovely program, does not use the dongle, but Cubase does one thing that I use a lot currently, and that is allowing one to cut and paste video.

So When a change is made to the choreography in this project, or I receive an updated video I can drop it in, slide it in sync and voila. Even DP cannot do that so simply.

I think the next year will be one of ever improving DAWs, I wonder if I would do better to just keep my dongle on my key ring, and learn more Cubase stuff and keep on keeping on with this er, mostly trusted friend.

On another note entirely, i would like to ask certain participants to be more polite in the way they speak to each other. Sarcasm and tough talk come across poorly in forums. It would be really nice for things to just be pleasant.

I am a totally sarcastic guy too, but doesn’t come across so well in print, and I do think some folks might just shy away from participating due to the testosterony balony.



I have Cubase SE (still) no dongle, just a serial number, but no video support. And it cannot open anything newer than itself.