What happens if I lose my dongle, now GA3 is unavailable?

The USB dongle has long ago driven me away from using Cubase, since I mostly work on laptop on the move, and it’s too troublesome to carry around.

However I do still use and love GA3 (usually exporting its output as audio and working with that in mixes, since remembering and then plugging in the dongle is a tedious inconvenience compared to just firing up Ableton Live or Logic).

Now that GA3 has been cancelled, what does this mean for people who lose their dongles? I understand that Steinberg bully people into buying a second copy in these circumstances, but if it’s not for sale, what happens?

If there’s no clear answer to this, it’s a real reminder to avoid using Steinberg software, because there are older songs I have that are dependent on having a live copy of GA3 open in them. The prospect of losing all the careful setup in those pieces, and irreplaceably so, just because I lost a ridiculous bit of plastic, is dismal.

Sorry to sound grouchy, but I really do think USB dongles are ludicrous, ever since music production moved away from giant static studio desktops. I’ve a pile of money to spend for anyone who makes something like GA3 (Jamstix for Mac please!) that I can actually use conveniently and spontaneously while sitting on a train.

So if the key is lost due to theft or irresponsibility on your part, Steinberg is now seen as a “bully” for not automatically offering you a free replacement?

So if Steinberg software is to be avoided because of the key, then I suppose we should also swear off using Pro Tools, Reason, and any other plug-in that uses an ilok key, right?

Rather than complain about dongles, perhaps you should just consider using something that simply doesn’t use a hardware key. If you insist on using GA3, then just have fun and make some great music with it, and make an effort to be responsible and don’t lose the key.

On these forums, Steinberg has announced that there will be a Groove Agent 4 in the future. So I would recommend you make sure you’ve registered your current copy of Groove Agent 3 so that you have an upgrade option in the future. At least this way, there is a record of your registration on file. If your key does get lost and your license needs replacing, then maybe Steinberg can help you out.

That’s a pretty childish reply. I just asked what happens if I lose my key, since it seems I can’t buy a replacement for a VST that’s in a lot of my work.

I do think the dongle is pretty dumb, as I said. It’s why I’ve stopped using Cubase, and I try to remember to render Groove Agent material to audio so I can work without having to rummage and get my keys out to stick them in the USB port of my laptop whenever I want to play. That’s not a very controversial view, not everyone who makes music is an angry bore sat in a static studio with a ton of expensive protools equipment.

I just had a look at Reason, I was surprised to hear they were using a dongle now, Ableton is great, I’ve happily paid to upgrade to Suite 9, it doesn’t require a dongle and I can work on the move.

Anyway, while a dongle is a drag, and I certainly wouldn’t buy anything that has one (GA3 was a reluctant purchase, I’ve loved Groove Agent for a decade and can’t get by without it) the Reason system seems eminently sensible to me:


Propellerhead Ignition Key

Propellerhead products have used various types of copy protection over the years. In Record, the copy protection is based on a USB device called the Propellerhead Ignition Key.

Wait – a USB device? You mean… a dongle? Are you insane?

Yes, no and no. Don’t worry, we have done things a bit differently from what you are used to. And we’re pretty confident that you’ll like it. Here’s how it works:

Copy Protection Done Right

The Propellerhead Ignition Key is to Record what your car keys are to your summer road trip on Ruta Del Che. Just stick it in and go. With one important difference – should you lose the key, your vacation won’t be ruined.

Record can be launched in three modes: Demo Mode, Authorized mode and through Internet Verification.

Demo Mode
If you have neither the Ignition Key nor is able to use Internet Authorization, you can launch the program and select “Run in Demo Mode”. In Demo Mode, you can work without time restrictions - and even save your creations to disk. That’s right. You can SAVE in Demo Mode. The only thing you can’t do without authorizing Record using the Key or over the Internet, is to open your saved files.

Ignition Key Verification
The simplest way to run Record in Authorized mode is to have your Propellerhead Ignition Key connected to your computer.

Internet Verification
If you don’t have your Ignition Key at hand, you are given the option to use Internet Verification instead. This means that the program communicates with the Propellerhead server. Just enter your Propellerhead user name and password when launching Record, and the program is authorized over the Internet. Should your connection go down while working, the program will not even flinch. Record will automatically go over into Demo mode, letting you continue recording, editing, mixing – and, of course, saving your work.

To sum it up: should the dog suddenly eat both your Ignition Key and your internet router, you can still record - and save - the sound of him chewing!

If you have multiple computers in multiple locations, install Record on as many machines as you like, and just bring the Propellerhead Ignition Key to the one you’re using at the moment.
Should you lose your Ignition Key, you will be able to order a replacement from the Propellerhead Online Store at a nominal fee. While waiting for your replacement you will of course be able to continue working by using Internet authorization.