Steinberg Cubase Elements 7 review
Cubase Elements is designed for people who want professional music-production software but don’t want to pay hundreds of pounds for it. It’s a stripped down version of Cubase 7, with restrictions on the numbers of tracks and mixer channels, fewer bundled effects and instruments and various omitted ancillary features.
The guts of Cubase is all here, however: the 32-bit floating-point audio engine with sample rates up to 192kHz, surgical audio and MIDI editing, automation of virtually every parameter and professional-grade mixing facilities. Based on our tests, it appears to have the same rock-solid reliability, too. This latest version incorporates Steinberg’s ASIO-Guard technology for safeguarding against audio drop-outs.
One thing that’s been conspicuously absent from previous versions is any concerted effort to help newcomers find their way. There’s a lot of specialist knowledge involved in music production, and Cubase Elements makes little attempt to simplify proceedings. The PDF manual runs to 156,000 words, which gives an indication of the depth of this software.
There are some concessions to new users in version 7. It now prompts users to select an audio driver after installation, rather than expecting him to track down the obscurely located control panel.
Another big improvement is the Steinberg Hub landing page, which includes links to a series of video tutorials that cover basic functions and new features. The pace of these videos can be painfully slow, but they do a decent job of explaining what features do and when and why you might use them.
The bulk of Elements’ new features closely follow the changes made to the full-price Cubase 7. They include the MixConsole, which draws all mix-related features into a single-screen interface. It also incorporates the Channel Strip, which hardwires five effects – noise gate, compressor, envelope shaper, saturation and limiter – into each channel.
Similar effects were already available as inserts, but the Channel Strip provides more options, such as a choice of standard, tube or vintage compressor types. Incorporating these effects into the mixer encourages them to be used routinely, and doing so can make a big difference to the quality of recordings.
|Software subcategory||Audio production software|
Operating system support
|Operating system Windows Vista supported?||no|
|Operating system Windows XP supported?||no|
|Operating system Linux supported?||no|
|Operating system Mac OS X supported?||yes|
|Other operating system support||Windows 8|