Steinberg Cubase Pro
Wow... where to start. Cubase Pro has been a love/hate thing for me. I started with Cubase VST back in about 2000, and if you've read any of the other pages on this website, you know Cubase was basic back then... and that I put music on the shelf for about 15 years after my initial stab at a home digital recording studio.
When I got back into music in 2015, I decided to stick with Cubase because I knew it. Well... I THOUGHT I knew it. A lot changed over the course of 15 years! It now goes by just "Cubase", and I bought the Pro version.
First of all, the learning curve for Cubase Pro is HUGE. It took me years to learn most of the package... I mean I was able to make music with it almost right away, but I didn't really KNOW it until about 4 years later. Making such a huge time-investment in learning a software package is a bit of a blessing - and a bit of a curse. I know Cubase Pro really well now - great - but because of that I am very hesitant to switch to something else... "Why", you might ask, "would you wanna do THAT"?
Before going into that, I'll say that when Cubase Pro is working well, it's a joy to work with. It's just that Steinberg's update process causes me (and many others) problems that impact our productivity.
Steinberg puts out an update of Cubase every year. They put out Cubase Pro X one year... followed by Cubase Pro X.5 the next. Every 2 years, they increment the major revision number. So, I bought Cubase 8.0 in 2015, and have subsequently paid to update it to 8.5, 9.0, 9.5, 10.0 and most recently 10.5. The problem is... well, there's more than one... but the MAIN problem is that whenever they put out a new update, they feel compelled to add more features. "What's wrong with that?" you might ask. There are numerous issues that have existed for years that they've never bothered to address! So, while it's great that they are developing new features, what the user-community REALLY WANTS is for them to focus on putting out a release that consolidates where it is today - that is, address all of the known issues... put out a ROCK-STINKING-SOLID version of the application! Many of us have begged for exactly that over the years, and it never happens. So, by definition, every release introduces new issues!
For example: in their most recent release of Cubase 10.5.12, they state the release "...fixes a performance issue caused by ASIO overloads". BUT! The release actually CAUSES real-time performance overloads to occur when any load at all is put on the processor (or on the ASIO interface? Not sure. At least this is the effect on my system). So, yet again, I have to log onto the user-forum to see if I'm the only one suffering from the problem, and inevitably, there are dozens of users experiencing exactly what I'm experiencing. I have finally realized that I can no longer update Cubase until MONTHS after an update has been released and becomes stable so that I don't go through this painful cycle anymore - no matter how enticing they make the new release sound.
Two of the last four or five Cubase releases completely hosed me and cost me MONTHS of time. The worst was a release made early in 2019 (10.0.15 I believe). It broke functionality in the application, and even when I re-installed the previous (functional) revision of software - the problem persisted... even though it didn't exist prior to that update! I have given serious thought to switching DAWs. But when you've spent 5+ years learning every nook and cranny of a software package as large as Cubase Pro, it's REALLY HARD TO DO.
When you deal with Steinberg Support (at least their US Division), it's been my experience that they get annoyed with their user-base really easily. The problem with Cubase Pro 10.0.15 was that it broke my ability to export audio!!!! This is the only way you have of converting your multi-track audio to a stereo wave file (or MP3). I'm not gonna lie. After dealing with the standard screening activities which are based on the assumption that the user did something stupid ("re-install everything, then do this, then do that, THEN we'll talk to you...") I started getting irrate... They quit responding to me. I've spent a lot of money on Steinberg software (I own like 6 of their software products as well as their UR44 audio hardware interface), and found this immensely frustrating... I got so tired of getting no response to emails that around mid 2019 I wrote a (snail-mail) letter to the company's president in Germany explaining my dilemma. I didn't think anything would come of it... then BOOM! Next thing I know, Steinberg Support emails me regarding my issue. They still never resolved my issue, however, and again eventually quit responding to me... Oh well. Now, it's happening all over again.
So, the search for an alternative DAW as capable as Cubase Pro (when it works) continues, one that doesn't suffer from the same update issues.
Funny as it sounds, I'd almost recommend this software despite its warts and the lack of support, but because of the issues I have described, it doesn't make my recommendations page. If Steinberg ever conquers the "update issue(s)" buggaboo, this DAW will be world-class. Until then... you might wanna spend time reading the user-forum prior to buying it!