Steinberg Cubase Elements 6 review
More limited than the software it replaces, but still an excellent starting place for ambitious musicians on a budget
Review Date: 7 Jun 2011
Reviewed By: Ben Pitt
Price when reviewed: £67 (£80 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
Ease of Use
For those in the business of designing low-cost creative software, taking a professional application and stripping out some advanced features is often a recipe for success. However, striking the right balance between features and price can be difficult.
For Steinberg, this challenge seems to be taking its toll. As the full-price version of Cubase 6 goes from strength to strength, version 6 marks yet another rebranding of the entry-level version, now going by the name, Cubase Elements.
It's a little cheaper than Cubase Essentials 5, which it ostensibly replaces. However, there's no discounted upgrade for existing users – hardly surprising when you consider that, in some respects, moving from Essentials 5 to Elements 6 constitutes a downgrade. Many of the maximum track counts have decreased: audio tracks from 64 to 48, MIDI tracks from unlimited to 64, group channels from 256 to 16 and physical inputs from 32 to 24. We were able to open projects created in Essentials 5 but any elements that exceeded these thresholds could not be modified.
Cubase Essential users will need to upgrade to the mid-price Cubase Artist 6 in order to avoid these limitations. At least this upgrade is reasonably priced at £85. To add further confusion, buying Cubase Elements plus an upgrade to Cubase Artist costs £85 less than buying Cubase Artist outright. Those who want the flagship Cubase 6 can save £130 through an elaborate string of upgrade deals.
While Cubase Elements is a non-starter for existing users, there's plenty here to tempt people who are looking to move beyond consumer-orientated recording software.
The interface is fundamentally identical to the full version of Cubase, with smart graphics and responsive navigation controls that zoom from a project overview to sample-level editing in a fraction of a second. The core recording, editing and mixing tools are well specified and refined, with sophisticated MIDI quantising, variable time signatures and tempos, plus lots of smart design flourishes that help users keep on top of complex projects.
Whilst I agree with everything Ben says in his excellent review. He seems to have not mentioned the fact that all versions of Cubase 6 can only be run on Windows 7 (although I've seen an entry in a Cubase forum that claims that they have successfully run it on XP). I am an essential 5 user and as Ben says elements 6 would be a downgrade for me. The upgrade path for me would be Artist 6 which is reasonably priced but with only a few advantages over essential 5 combined with the added cost of a windows upgrade from XP I won't be making any changes for the forseeable future.
By Ray_W on 28 Jun 2011
- Samsung tempts the selfie market with A5 and A3 smartphones
- Internet tax: what it is and why it failed
- Android co-founder Andy Rubin leaves Google
- Windows 10 trackpad shortcuts: Microsoft takes a leaf out of Apple's book
- Promo: Using IBM BlueMix to create successful business apps
- Why the Microsoft Band could be a game changer
- What's on this week's PC Pro podcast?
- Microsoft Office 16 set to launch late next year
- HP's vision for the future of PCs: the 3D Sprout
- How Google X plans to detect cancer and heart disease using nano-magnets
- Google Glass: mugger bait, pub problem and other lessons learned from two dangerous weeks
- Twitter, please don't fiddle with my feed
- How Satya Nadella can get some pay-raise karma
- Windows 10: a step back to go forward
- Michael Dell: Cloud infrastructure is the roads, bridges and highways of the 21st century
- How to check your identity hasn’t been sold to the hackers
- Tim Cook: this is how much TV has changed since the 70s
- Westminster wins the .London battle
- 20 years of PC Pro: from deep pan pizza to virtualisation
- Five reasons why the Apple Watch leaves me cold
- Five smartwatch features we’ll see by 2015
- How to wipe an Android phone or tablet
- iPad Air 2 vs Nexus 9: Apple and Google's latest high-end tablets compared
- Five things that are actually new in the iPad Air 2
- Bendgate, Antennagate, and why Apple doesn’t care about bad news
- iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 release date, specs and UK price rumours
- Office Online vs Google Docs: which free online office suite is best?
- iPhone 6 Plus vs iPhone 6 design comparison
- How to speed up an Android smartphone
- Nexus 6 release date, specs, UK price and leaked images
- How to sell more ebooks on Amazon
- 10 ways to make your business more secure
- Top five VoIP mistakes
- How to add in-app purchasing to an iPhone, Android or Windows app
- Remote-control ransomware: TeamViewer and software hardball
- Why laptops with serial ports matter to the Internet of Things
- Make your mobile battery last longer
- Small steps into handling Big Data
- Nexus 5: does it really run stock Android?
- How to get broadband to a garden office