Create and Produce Your Music with Cubase Recording Software

The Cubase recording software program is one of the oldest and most popular DAW programs you can use to create and produce your music. I sometimes find it hard to believe that the first version of Cubase was released by Steinberg in 1989 for the Atari ST!

Cubase recording software is one of the oldest and most popular DAWs around

The software is available on both Windows and Apple Mac, with the latest version being Cubase 8.5. Like most DAW programs, it features the following core functions:

  • recording
  • editing
  • sequencing
  • mixing
  • MIDI
  • VST support
  • automation
  • music notation
  • score editing

You create, edit, and produce your tracks inside Cubase ‘projects‘ – everything is then saved together under one project name.


Version Confusion


Over the years there have been many different versions released by Steinberg, and I find that it’s quite confusing to work out how they all relate to each other. Labels like Cubase VST, Cubase Studio, SX, SE, SL, LE, Cubasis, Essential – these are just some of the names that were previously used.

Thankfully, this naming convention is now firmly in the past and Steinberg have simplified it nicely. The versions we find today are aimed towards different levels of experience and expectation.

Cubase 9

  • Full version containing all available features
  • Aimed at professional studios and engineers
  • Unlimited audio, MIDI, and instrument tracks
  • Maximum of 256 physical inputs
  • Includes 18 MIDI effects plugins and 66 audio effects plugins
  • Includes 8 VST instruments
  • 64-bit support for both Windows and Mac


Artist 8.5

  • Mid-level version, doesn’t contain as many features as the full version
  • Aimed at project studios, solo artists and bands
  • Allows 64 audio tracks, 128 MIDI tracks, 32 instrument tracks
  • Maximum of 32 physical inputs
  • Includes 18 MIDI effects plugins and 46 audio effects plugins
  • Includes 8 VST instruments
  • 64-bit support for both Windows and Mac

Elements 8

  • Introductory version of the program with fewer features than Artist
  • Aimed at home studio owners, solo artists and bands
  • Allows 48 audio tracks, 64 MIDI tracks
  • Maximum of 24 physical inputs
  • Includes 44 audio effects plugins (but no MIDI effects plugins)
  • Includes 3 VST instruments
  • 64-bit support for both Windows and Mac




As well as creating the Cubase recording software system, Steinberg also came up with the VST interface. VST stands for Virtual Studio Technology, and is one of the most common types of software synthesizer, sampler and effects plugin that you can use in a DAW program. You can find commercial and free VST plugins all over the internet.

DAWs that use VSTs are known as VST hosts (Pro Tools and Cubase recording software are two common examples).

VST plugins are actually only built for Windows systems, but you’re able to use them on Apple Macs by using small software programs known as ‘wrappers‘ – you can run a VST plugin ‘inside’ one of these wrappers if you want to use them on your Mac.

The plugins come in three flavors:

  • VST Effects: the most widespread type of VST, these process audio. You can combine different VST effects in any way you want, so as a producer this allows you to be really creative with your plugin chains, which can help your sounds stand out from the rest of the crowd.
  • VST Instruments: these can produce their own audio, so the most common type of VSTi is the software synthesizer. These synths range from new and unique models to emulations of famous synth models, such as Arturia’s Minimoog V which models itself on the original Minimoog synth. Another example is the Jupiter-8V, again released by Arturia, modeling itself on the original Jupiter-8 hardware model from Roland.
  • VST MIDI Effects: these control other VST plugins by sending MIDI data to them, enabling you to automate various settings and also to produce elements such as arpeggios – features that are really useful for a producer.


Final Thoughts


Cubase is definitely one of the top DAW programs out there, largely thanks to Steinberg’s experience and knowledge that has been built up over the years as one of the original DAW developers.

For years it was seen as being especially valuable in the areas of MIDI and electronic music, but Cubase recording software (the link takes you to the official site) can now be trusted to achieve great results in audio recording as well. It’s a great all-round package.



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