Getting Connected

Another addition to the Cubase 7 package is the inclusion of VST Connect SE. This consists of two plugins for sending and receiving data to a remote performer. The performer in turn only needs to run the standalone (and free) VST Connect Performer SE application. Once connected, it’s possible to set up remote recording sessions and record directly into Cubase – complete with fully synchronised audio and video comms.

VST Connect SE Performer Application

The new VST Connect SE Performer application

However, there are downsides. The audio recording bit rate is limited to 384 kbit/s (so no full CD-quality WAV support) and setup is a little fiddly. It’s a shame that it’s not more fully integrated into Cubase, though it is perhaps a teaser for where things are going. Ultimately, though, this could be very useful to the legions of bedroom studio producers around the globe. It’s not hard to see it quickly becoming much more popular than the likes of Indaba Music and eJamming.

Voxengo CurveEQ

Voxengo CurveEQ

Any Other Business

There are many other small tweaks and changes in Cubase 7. One interesting and slightly unusual addition is Voxengo’s CurveEQ. This is a well-regarded $90 third-party plugin with a ‘spectral matching’ feature, something not offered by any of the factory plugs. It’s a nice option which you won’t find as standard in any other DAW.

Despite the improvements I feel there are still a few omissions in Cubase, which I hoped would be addressed in this update. Top of the list is some form of event-based ‘bounce in place’ feature, but I would also add automatic drum replacement and a more flexible VSTi sampler to this list.

Among the Cubase 7 options, Steinberg offer fairly priced upgrades for owners of Cubase going all the way back to version 4.0. For those using Cubase 6.0 or earlier, and who missed out on the 6.5 intermediate update, it’s worth quickly recapping some of the many other welcome features of that update, including the excellent sounding Retrologue and PadShop synths – the former virtual analogue and the latter granular – which are both very usable.


Also in 6.5, a new comping tool made the multitrack recording/editing features introduced in 6.0 easier to use, and there was a rationalisation of Hitpoint, Groove and Warp features.

7 Up

All things considered, this is a strong update to one of the world’s most popular DAWs. However, as always, this comes with a few caveats. I wouldn’t want to jump ship to Cubase 7 entirely until some of the rough edges and bugs have been ironed out. Despite what some of the web chatter might have you believe, this is something that – rightly or wrongly – applies to pretty much every first iteration of a major software update, regardless of DAW or platform.

It is worth bearing in mind, however, that your Cubase 7 license does allow you to access all previous versions – I’ll certainly be sticking with Cubase 6.6 for major projects for the time being.

The competition faced by Cubase has expanded in recent years to include options such as Presonus Studio One (designed by ex-Steinberg staffers) and the newly revitalised Reason (now with ‘proper’ audio tracks) among others – though it has to be said that there are more similarities than differences across the DAW landscape.

Apple’s Logic (the long-standing Cubase nemesis) still has the edge in terms of the number of included effects, instruments and loop content, though in my view Cubase is a more rounded DAW when it comes to writing, recording and editing tracks in general. Whether that remains the case following the imminent release of the hotly anticipated Logic Pro X, only time will tell.


The Verdict

Price: £488 (£121 upgrade from Cubase 6.5, £161 from Cubase 6, £202 from Cubase 4 or 5)

Purchase: Steinberg Cubase 7

Ease of Use

The Final Word

A strong update to one of the world's most popular DAWs.

Author Greg Scarth
12th December, 2012

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