Steinberg Cubase AI 4
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Steinberg Cubase AI 4

Cubase AI 4, Sequencer Generale from Steinberg in the Cubase AI series.

content in English
Audiofanzine FR 14/03/2009

Steinberg Cubase AI 4 : Recensione di Audiofanzine FR (content in English)

4

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(Originally written by coyote14/translated from Audiofanzine FR)
Very easy installation. You must use the latest Syncrosoft software version because even if this Cubase version doesn't require a hardware dongle it does have some sort of license control.

No compatibility problems: I use it with Vista 32 bits and previously with Win XP SP3.

High-quality PDF instead of a printed user's manual. The user's manual is not very long but the software is somewhat limited so it doesn't require a novel. I'd say the user's manual is comprehensive.

SUITABILITY/PERFORMANCE

This Cubase AI4 is provided for free with most recent Yamaha gear: Motif XS, N-Series mixers, compact digital recorders.

It's an ultra-light Cubase 4 version with the same audio engine and VST3 compatibility as the full version. So it's a light version regarding the features but not the quality.

Are the limitations a problem? It depends on the application! I guess they are not a problem for 70% of users who only use the main features of the product. For the rest (demanding home studio owners, semi-professional and professional project studios), some limitations are not acceptable. For example:

- Only two VST instruments can be used simultaneously. It forces you to use multitimbral VST instruments.

- No freeze function. You'll probably say there's no need for a freeze function when you use only two VSTi... unless you also use effects!

- Only 16 inputs/outputs. It's enough if you only own a Motif XS with a mLan card or a N12 mixer. But if you have a more comprehensive system you'll have to create backups of the VST configuration and connection to recall them successively.

- No OMF export. So it's difficult to use Cubase AI4 to produce demos at home and take them into the studio with another software like ProTools... I haven't tested the upward compatibility with Cubase 4 but I know that loading Cubase SX3 files doesn't work.

- No instrument panels. I can't control an FS1R or a Virus via the interface.

- The input transformer also disappeared, no audio library nor mediabay...

- The mixer has been downsized too but not more than on the other Cubase light versions.

- 64 audio tracks (which is enough).

- No UV22HR anymore.

- No CD track import function.

- No MP3 export function (it was very convenient). You get all other audio export functions but they are quite limited. A commercial patch can be downloaded if you need this function. I haven't tested it.

Some useful features are still available:

- Editors (list editor, sample editor, etc.).

- Studio Manager function to control Yamaha hardware.

- EQ and VST effects are the same as in the full Cubase 4 version regarding number and features.

- No limitations regarding control surfaces. I control it from my Motif XS or my 01X depending on where I am.

Reasonable CPU power requirement.

You have the possibility to upgrade to higher Cubase versions.

My review can be explained by the way I use Cubase, but once again: most users won't feel limited by this light Cubase version.

OVERALL OPINION

High-quality software but too limited.

It works very good, the CPU power requirement is ok and it can be enough for small home studios if you can live with the limitations.

It will allow you to save money if you upgrade to a higher Cubase version.

It's an excellent software considering it's provided for free.