Cubase 5 Review

I have had Cubase since August of 2009 (they keep records) and Cubase 5 since the following year.  Essentially it has taken until recent times for me to get my head around the product and I am a long way from mastering it. That’s a long wait for a silver lining. If your thinking of buying Cubase 6, the current version maybe you might want to read about my experience first.

 

Now I may not be the brightest spark but I’ve self taught myself many things over the years without too many issues. Learning and dealing with Cubase on the other hand has been an absolute nightmare.

 

Cubase is the brain child of Charlie Steinberg but his company Steinberg was bought out by Yamaha in about 2005. Don’t quote me on that. Here lies a possible reason for my bitter experience with Cubase. Picture this; An Australian music enthusiast buys a German made product who’s parent company is in Japan. There has to be a few communication issues there.

 

The first hurdle for me any ways was a communication issue. These people spoke a different language. A language of initialisms; D.A.W., ASIO, VST, PFL, GUI the list goes on. For technicians this might seem perfectly normal but for poor old baghead I had to learn a whole new lexicon. The manual is extensive all 672 pages of it plus a 200 page start up manual. On top of that there are a series of appendix manuals on various subjects. I hate that thing. I have poured over it, I have highlight markered it, I have cried on its pages.

 

There are forums to help the frustrated customer who might be thinking of demanding a refund. Steinberg have an in house website which includes a forum and what they call a knowledge base. They are full of desperate users with the same problems that I personally have experienced.  If the technicians can’t resolve the issue and there are too many people with the same issue the forum is archived. I could be wrong but my impression is that there is a head in the sand kind of approach down there at Steinberg. Go and read the archived forums and make up your own mind.

 

My other issue is with the overly complicated licensing system. If I’m going to spend big bucks on what for me is essentially a hobby I don’t want to be screwed around. Yamaha/Steinberg have every right to protect their intellectual rights but that eLiscense system sucks. Both in the application and the very fact that the dongle takes up a precious usb port. I would suggest that the customer is the good guy and it’s the bad guys that need to be fucked around.

 

Part of the problems apart from communication is compatibility. From what I’ve read Cubase is more compatible with a Mac than what I have a PC. Personal computers these days are all pimped a little different and that creates unforseen issues. You just have to work through each problem as it arises. The best support that I have gotten has been through Youtube videos not through Yamaha /Steinberg. There are some amazing people out there who are willing to give of themselves from a totally altruistic perspective.

 

Now do I think that Cubase is the way of the future? Absolutely. The issues that I have had with Cubase may well be resolved in the new version I don’t know. There is no doubt that the product can do some amazing things and although I don’t have any experience  with Pro Logic I will stick with Cubase because I have invested so much time and money in it.

 

From a personal point of view I would like to see better after-market customer support. I would also love a cross-referencing system in the manual. That’s one thing that Microsoft do well. If your trying to learn one concept and it references other concepts that you have no idea about you could type it in to the search box.

 

My journey with Cubase 5 has been a rocky one. Now that I’m starting to understand its little ways I am getting great enjoyment from it. Its always been about the music and any diversion from the main game is not good. As for my beloved old Yamaha 4 track, well the time might have come to embrace the future and the future most certainly is digital.

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6 Responses to “Cubase 5 Review”

  1. I totally agree, it frustrated me for a long time, but now I like it more than the other software I have tried out. Great post!

  2. I used Cubase 5 before I switched to Adobe Audition. I never regretted that step. Cubase is ugly, slow (in terms of lag) and hard to get to do what you want.

    What I use Audition for: mixing, recording, effect-ing, restoring, sampling.
    I have not yet tried to plug in an Asio device (like a midi keyboard) and record simultanously onto a track in multitrack environment with Audition. I know you can do that in Cubase, cause I tried it there.
    Nowadays I have Reason and FL Studio to do that job, after recording the track separately I import it to Audition for further mixing.

    Now I don’t know what you are using Cubase for, but I would -strongly- suggest you get rid of it asap.

    Audacity is not really a multitrack daw, more like a audio recorder, so if you are going to record tracks with it, you can’t put them together to a multitrack record (you would still need a DAW program for that).

    Cheers

    • I’ll have to check that out, I’ve got it there but I haven’t loaded it yet because I didn’t want to fill my computer with crud. I was kind of waiting for someone to give it the thumbs up. Plus I love free stuff. As for Cubase I just found out that I can transfer my Guitar Pro tracks over to Cubase via midi. I’ve written my songs with Guitar Pro so that will give me a nice reference track in the background to record with and it will all be synched to the grid. I’m pretty excited about that.

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