I have been using CUBASE for music production for about 20 years now.
A dongle is like a key to start an application; to start CUBASE, you had to insert a dongle, which is like a USB memory stick, into your PC.
Nowadays, most PCs are notebooks. Compact and thin PCs have few USB ports. But I don’t like to have one port occupied by a dongle, and I don’t like to attach a USB hub.
And this dongle can cause all kinds of trouble.
Lose it, misplace it somewhere, fail to recognize it, break it, etc.
Who is this key for? It is for the manufacturer to prevent unauthorized copying. I, as a legitimate user, do not agree that I have to bear these burdens because of pirated users.
Isn’t CUBASE the only DAW that uses a dongle?
Now even ProTools can run without a dongle (iLOK cloud).
I was thinking about switching from CUBASE to something else last spring, when I bought an M1 MacBookAir and decided to use that as a serious music production machine, but I really didn’t want the dongle to take up one of the few USB ports on CUBASE.
So I was considering StudioOne or Ableton LIVE as alternatives. However, it was hard to stop using the tools I use on a daily basis, and the MBA did not work well as a music production machine.
Around last summer, Steinberg, the makers of CUBASE, announced that they were discontinuing the dongle.
I was waiting for the release of dongle-free 12.
I have used CUBASE 12 on my MBA and it works fine. What I look for in a tool is stability and ease of use.
I have no hesitation in recommending CUBASE 12 to others.
The biggest benefit of being dongle-free is that I can install it on three computers with one license.
I want to allow at least three machines per license: main machine, sub-machine, and mobile. Because of the dongle, I had two CUBASE licenses for the sub-machine. (By the way, one of the licenses is upgraded to NUENDO, a higher level CUBASE application.)
The plug-in format “VST” is advocated by CUBASE’s manufacturer Steinberg, so its behavior is also the most reliable.
I am so happy that I wrote an article about it.