Wide-ranging discussion about Cubase development

Steinberg seems to be blind when it comes to design. Wondering if they have some UI Designers employed at all. There are so many poor design choices.
Steinberg, wake up. You have one of the most powerful DAW out there but at the same time the most inconsistent UI. The thing that bothers me most - with each version it gets worse.

[Edit: I have reduced this post’s length and clarified the purpose a couple remarks…]

A composer has to code music software, not a developer who doesn’t or barely composes at all. If you hire someone who’s lives in the dessert to design and build a snow plow for you, they’ll give you insane looks when you ask for a salt spreader on the back. How could food condiments POSSIBLY be relevant to keeping roads clear? If the developers actually used Cubase to do the same jobs we are doing, regularly, then the scroll bars wouldn’t have become an issue (or stayed one for this long). These companies aren’t full of idiots. But how much does everyone building the boat actually know how to operate a boat? In truth, I can’t speak to the inner workings of Steinberg. But I know a lot of ways to make software messy and one way to keep it clean. So I suspect they are out of touch with the jobs most users are trying to do. I don’t think these changes will happen any time soon, as they haven’t over the past years already. Curves are brilliant. I commend them. But again, they missed curves in the piano roll. If they actually USED the piano roll, would that have happened? Not in a million years.

I am often frustrated in Cubase. Is it because they are ignoring us? I doubt it. No UI guy? Maybe, maybe not. But I suspect it’s more to do with their usage and ours being out of sync. They can all be geniuses. But I hope Steinberg has the right geniuses building the right equipment… and using it. Using it isn’t testing use case scenarios. Using it it the day-to-day work-horsing it, where you truly WANT everything to help you accomplish great music, not just function so the code looks neat. That’s one possibility anyway. I only bring it up as I’ve seen it often in software. IF IT DOES speak to the types of challenges Steinberg faces, then hopefully this may help shed light on the necessity of having developers who compose. That’s one possibility anyway. One way or another, as a user I don’t enjoy working in Cubase. I use it out of necessity, but that’s it. Take that for what it’s worth, if anything.


Winter Rat,

Steinberg does listen. But…

20 books on bike riding may all cover why balance matters. But if the only chapters you found interesting were on the science of rubber and friction, then you’re bike design may “technically” function as a bike, but not how a bike rider actually needs it to work every other way. Sensory input, learning to balance… these things inform us.

The problem is that the developers need to be interested in the same thing the users are. For a decade, Expression Maps were the only useful thing Cubase had done for me. They focused on the mixer in every update (to compete with PT maybe?) and MIDI users felt ignored and abandoned, and voiced it loudly in the forum… multiple times… for years. Were they ignoring us all that time? I don’t suspect they were, at least entirely. Yes, I’m speculating here. But it’s not uncommon for developers to listen, just not to the things that matter most to users.

For this reason, I asked Steinberg last year to steal an idea from Presonus and make the feature requests forum work as a vote up/down feature request list. Sure, they listen. But if they aren’t composing, the LEAST they could do is let us clearly tell them which things matter most to us.

The fact is, some of the lead devs at SB do compose. But do they compose like you? Maybe they write using Poisson’s Law of Large Numbers, or using random fart generators. How would optimizing Cubase for tasks needed for those activities help you?

As far as forum polls go, only a tiny fraction of DAW users participate in forums, so what kind of sample would that get them? SB can send a survey though, to every steinberg.net account holder, which they’ve done. The presonus poll you talked about is more a marketing technique.

I think your conclusions are drawn based on little more than personal opinions, and lack a basis in facts.


Personal opinions are formed and based on experience, which are factual. I offered my experiences projected onto Steinberg because my user experience tastes the same here as it has with companies I’ve worked for, consulted for, and bought from. My presenting my own very real insight is meant to help if it could. I apologize that I clearly overstepped. There’s a fine line between speculation about possibilities and accusation. I could only try not to cross it. Apparently I failed, as you were defensive and felt inclined to implying my incompetence. No need to placate, I’ll just deal with it.

I said the developers may even be composing. I also said Steinberg wasn’t stupid and probably wasn’t ignoring users, but that what things stand out differ… and that it relates to application and usage, so possibly the way developers use it differ from users (or just this user). I want them to “use the software”. Maybe that just means I want someone there who uses it the way I do. Maybe that just means I feel frustrated with using Cubase. But I do have a hard time with the fact that I seem to care too much to try to help, even if I only know how in my flawed way, then being dismissed instead of genuinely trying to be heard. If I didn’t feel like Steinberg was listening before, I’m not sure this thread is helping.

I’ll take the blame. I shouldn’t have related personal experiences to describe potential problems. I also shouldn’t have rambled on or given parables or metaphors. Someday I’ll just learn that no one really wants to hear what I have to say anyway. This is why I compose and I’m not a linguist. But I digress… again.

Best wishes,

Don’t sweat it, the issue isn’t actually whether you constructed a thesis with Ph.D.-level consistency, is it … the meaning behind your post was quite clear.

If high levels of user inconvenience are any guide, I agree it does often seem as if Cubase is constructed by people who don’t compose on it like the target market audience does (“Poisson’s Law of Large Numbers” notwithstanding, LOL). For an infinite number of examples see basically any post by that guy with the avatar of himself in what seems like snorkel gear, with a fair amount of his posts titled: “Annual Request: …”.

Some examples off the top of my head, not just limiting to UI:

  • scroll bar skinniness
  • mixer constantly forgetting how it was zoomed when you went to another window, needing to be resized when you return.
  • automatic project opening, whether you want it or not, when you close another project
  • Inability to place mouse it what seems like 90% of the screen without inadvertently and unknowingly changing parameter values when using the scroll wheel

Maybe these have been identified by the programmers as problems that should be fixed but can’t easily be for technical coding reasons … but in the absence of useful Steinberg posts explaining that, it’s maybe too easy to believe they have not been!

Number one annoyance… “automatic project opening, whether you want it or not, when you close another project”

For general tracking and mixing though, I love Cubase :slight_smile: