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Cubase Elements 8 Review

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PROS / The program includes thousands of sounds.

CONS / Elements 8 doesn't have comp recording capabilities.

 VERDICT / This program's music creation capabilities far surpass most entry-level programs.

Cubase Elements 8 is comprehensive, affordable music creation software. It is the introductory digital audio workstation offered by Steinberg, but the feature set and recording capabilities are well beyond most entry-level DAWs. This studio software is undoubtedly one of the best audio production tools available, so we gave it our Top Ten Reviews Bronze Award.

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  1. The number of plugins within the program.
    More is Better.
  2. 3 Cubase Elements
    44 Plugins
  3. 25 Plugins
  4. 20 Plugins
  5. Category Average
    57.67 Plugins

Production

You can find all of the sounds and loops Cubase contains under the Media tab. The loop browser takes you to a large library of loops and single sounds. Between audio files, MIDI files and MIDI loops, there are 4,377 sounds at your disposal. This is better than most DAWs.

Adding loops to your compositions is as easy as double-clicking the loop or sound that you want. This will automatically send the loop to your arrangement window. You can also edit your MIDI using the Key Editor. This will take you to the MIDI editor, where you can arrange and compose your MIDI audio data. The editor is easy to use compared to other audio production software and helps you make and insert precise hit points and MIDI sounds.

This music studio recording software comes with 44 plugins and three virtual effects. Among the plugins is the virtual guitar suite. Guitar aficionados will appreciate the emulator's amplifier options. You can pick from many different styles of guitar amps, including Mesa Boogie, Fender and Marshall. The amplifier emulator ensures that you can plug your guitar straight into your interface and find the tone you are looking for.

Using an external MIDI controller, you can take advantage of the three virtual instruments: the Prologue synthesizer, the HALion Sonic SE synthesizer and the Groove Agent SE drum machine. With these, you can make thousands of sounds and use them in your audio production. If you ever want to add to the included plugins, Elements 8 is compatible with VST 2.4 and VST 3 plugins. Unfortunately, there aren’t any plugins specific to MIDI tracking.

Recording

Cubase has come a long way since Cubase LE, which had restrictive recording guidelines. Previous editions of the software only allowed you to record eight tracks at once and limited you to two effects inserts per track. Elements 8 allows up to 48 audio tracks and up to 64 MIDI tracks per recording session.

One downfall of this software is the lack of lanes and track comping. The Artist and Professional versions of Cubase offer comp recording, where you can record a section over and over on a loop and compile recordings to piece together the perfect take. This feature is not included in Elements. This makes piecing together great vocal and guitar tracks more of a hassle compared to programs with comp recording.

Mixing

Elements 8 contains a four-band equalizer to help you edit your recordings. Within the equalizer are high-pass and low-pass filters to clean up your audio recording, as well as presets to quickly mix your tracks.

The program provides a mixing console that is well organized and easy to navigate. Above the faders are tabs for inserts, sends, EQs and other effects that are collapsible so you can display only the tabs that are in use. You can further organize your mixer by naming and color-coding each channel strip.

You can apply multiple insert effects and send effects to each channel in your mixer. Effects add texture to your recordings, and this audio production software has plenty of them.

Help & Support

You can run Elements on both Windows and Mac operating systems. Steinberg provides user forums that you can visit to find answers to your questions about the software. You can also contact Steinberg via email, but there is no telephone number provided for support.

Summary

Cubase Elements 8 is among the best music production software you will find in the recording industry. It offers plenty of plugins and room to expand thanks to its compatibility with other plugin formats. For entry-level recording software, it also has good recording and mixing capabilities. This is desirable software for musicians of all levels.

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