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Steinberg Buying Guide

Steinberg DAW Software, Virtual Instruments, Audio Interfaces, and Control Surfaces

Steinberg is best known for their Cubase DAW software, as well as WaveLab mastering software and virtual instruments like Groove Agent. And with Steinberg's USB audio interfaces and DAW control surfaces, they've got the hardware side of your studio covered, too. Follow this guide to compare Steinberg gear in every price range, and find the gear you need to record your music.
Steinberg Cubase DAW Software
Cubase Pro is Steinberg's DAW software for Mac or PC, and the "Pro" in the name is accurate -- this is a serious creative tool for musicians and songwriters. You get unlimited audio, MIDI, and instrument tracks, 256 physical inputs and outputs, 64 slots for VST instruments, a complete suite of over 90 high-end audio and MIDI VST effect processing plug-ins, and 8 virtual instrument plug-ins with over 3000 samples.

Steinberg's stripped-down Cubase Artist 9.5 version gives you most of the features of the Pro version, with up to 64 audio tracks, 128 MIDI tracks, and 32 instrument tracks, and 70 VST effects plug-ins -- a great value at a musician-friendly price.

And the beginner-friendly Cubase Elements 9.5 gives you a more basic toolset including 3 virtual instruments. This is a fantastic choice for your first DAW, at an unbeatable price.

What's new in Cubase 9.5? Steinberg added a new 64-bit mixing engine, more flexible click track functionality, and ultra-precise automation curves to Pro, Artist, and Elements. All three Cubase versions also add new FX chain presets to help you get inspired (or wrap up a mixing project fast!), plus support for the Softube Console 1 hardware controller, a new video engine, and redesigned user interfaces for the Vintage Compressor, Tube Compressor and Magneto III VST processors. Cubase Pro 9.5 also adds Direct Offline Processing, so you can quickly render any kind of effects process without the CPU load. And Version 9.5 of Cubase Pro and Cubase Artist add the new FLUX wavetable synthesizer library for the HALion Sonic SE 3 instrument, including 70 waves you can use to build your own sounds and 100 cutting-edge presets for electronic music production.

In Cubase Pro 9, Steinberg added workflow updates like The Lower Zone, giving you access to editors and the MixConsole directly within the Project window. The Sampler Track lets you quickly turn any piece of audio into a playable instrument you can manipulate with filters -- add your own sounds, or use the built-in Caleidoscope sample library to get started. And the new Frequency EQ plug-in gives you surgically precise control over 8 bands with a spectrum display -- useful from tracking to mastering.
 
 

In Cubase Pro 8.5, Steinberg added updates like VST Transit for cloud-based collaboration, the updated Retrologue 2 virtual-analog synth, audio mixing and automation updates, upgraded Key Editor and Drum Editor for MIDI tracks, a new Profile Manager and more.

That's on top of the features that Steinberg added in version 8 to let you customize the window layout and organize your plug-ins for instant access. Steinberg's ASIO-Guard 2 technology prioritizes tracks where low latency is mission-critical -- so you can run larger, more complex projects. Version 8 of Cubase also added VCA faders, which let you group channels and mix them together -- even if they're routed to different outputs, and without causing issues with post-fade effects. And if you're more of a songwriter than an engineer, check out the MIDI-controlled Chord Pads or the included Allen Morgan Pop-Rock Toolbox plug-in to help turn your ideas into finished songs.

Steinberg Cubase Artist 8.5 gives you the vast majority of the features of Cubase Pro 8.5, with limits on track counts and fewer included plug-ins, for a great price.
 
 
Steinberg Virtual Instruments: Groove Agent
Lay the foundation for your music with Groove Agent 4 -- a "virtual drummer" with an enormous sound library and 3,800 editable grooves. Stack up to four instances of the Acoustic Agent, Percussion Agent, and Beat Agent, then sculpt your drum sound with 29 effects and a dedicated mixer. Groove Agent 4 is a VST plug-in that integrates tightly with Cubase. You can also use it in other DAW software, or open it as a standalone app.

Groove Agent requires the Steinberg Key USB-eLicenser. This USB key is already included with Cubase and Nuendo.
 
Steinberg Key USB-eLicenser License Control Device
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Steinberg Audio Interfaces and Control Surfaces
While your DAW software is the brain of your studio, your audio interface is the heart. Steinberg's USB audio interfaces give you the inputs and outputs you need to record microphones and instruments into Cubase or another DAW.

Steinberg's smaller USB interfaces all give you 192 kHz/24-bit resolution -- including the UR12, one of the most affordable USB interfaces around. This entry-level interface has one XLR mic preamp and one line/instrument 1/4" input -- great for the solo singer/guitarist.

Need more inputs and outputs? Step up to the UR22mkII for two XLR-1/4" combi inputs, or the UR242 for 2 mic preamps plus 2 line ins, These interfaces also add 5-pin MIDI I/O.
Steinberg UR12 USB Audio Interface
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If you're recording artists other than yourself in your home studio, check out Steinberg's larger interfaces. You'll get more analog and digital I/O -- including more analog outputs for feeding alternate monitors or your artists' headphones -- and on-board DSP controlled by Steinberg's dspMixFX software so you can monitor with reverb, delay, and more effects while recording with zero latency. The UR44 gives you 4 mic preamps plus 2 line ins. The UR28M is a slick desktop interface, while the UR824 is a one-rack-space unit with 24 channels of I/O.

Then there's Steinberg's CC121 Advanced Integration Controller, a plug-and-play Cubase DAW control surface. Write automation with a motorized fader, get hands-on control over EQ with 12 encoder knobs, and navigate your sessions fast with transport buttons. The CC121 won't replace your mouse -- but when you mouse over a control on your screen, it's automatically placed under the precise control of the AI Knob, so you can work faster.
Steinberg UR28M USB Audio Interface
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Steinberg UR824 USB Audio Interface
or 12 payments of $66.67
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Need it now but short of cash? All we need is the first payment up front and the rest in easy monthly payments!

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When you checkout, just click the Play as you Pay checkbox to indicate which installment plan you wish to use.

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We don't collect sales tax. Bonus!
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