Pros / The large loop library and VST Amp Rack are strong music creation tools.
Cons / There are a limited number of audio tracks you can add to a single project.
Verdict / This is highly powerful and affordable software that goes far beyond the capabilities of average entry-level programs.
The beat making software in our lineup are all entry-level programs and affordable options to introduce you to the production world, but Cubase Elements 7 outshines the competition. Cubase Elements 7 is more than just entry-level beat making software, it is a comprehensive Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) that has a complete package of recording capabilities, virtual instruments and a large loop library to help you make your own beats. Elements boasts stout music creation tools within an intuitive interface, which is more than enough to earn it our Top Ten Reviews Gold Award.
- Number of Loops
- Number of Plugins
- Number of Virtual Instruments
When you first open Cubase Elements 7, you will be prompted to choose a recording template within the Steinberg Hub. You can choose between different templates for recording, scoring, production and mastering. Certain templates will automatically add audio tracks to your project to get you ready to record right out of the gate.
The interface has a clean layout with a floating transport at the bottom of the screen that you can move wherever you want. The arrangement window is the workspace where you add all of your loops and recordings to edit and arrange into a complete song.
You can add audio to the arrangement window by recording external instruments, using the virtual instruments or adding loops from the large loop library. All of the loops and sound libraries within this beat software are found under the media tab. There are 3,690 usable MIDI and audio loops within Cubase Elements 7. Cubase contains over 6,115 usable audio extensions if you include all track presets and other file extensions. This is a large library of sounds to have at your disposal, especially for entry-level software.
Double-clicking a loop will automatically send the loop to the arrangement window. Once a loop is in the arrangement window, you can open the MIDI editor to change the MIDI data. Within the MIDI editor you can add hit points (sounds) and remove them as well as change the velocity (volume) of each sound. The editor is easy to use and helps you create the exact MIDI track that you want.
This software comes with three total virtual instruments. While that might not seem like many compared to other software, the virtual instruments are versatile. The HALion Sonic SE is a synthesizer that can emulate many different instruments. Through the presets, this virtual instrument can emulate anything from guitar to drum sounds.
For guitar players, one of the most exciting virtual instruments is the VST Amp Rack. This virtual instrument creates guitar tones from some of the most revered guitar amps around. You can plug your guitar right into your sound card and have a full arsenal of guitar amps at your disposal, everything from high-gain Diamond amps to super-clean Blackface amplifiers. You can also create an entire virtual pedal board to run your guitar signal through. The VST Amp Rack gives you a great-sounding full guitar rig at your fingertips.
You can have up to 48 audio tracks and 64 MIDI tracks per project in Cubase. While other software offers unlimited audio tracks per session, you'll rarely find yourself in a situation where you need more than 48 tracks in a production session. Cubase has come a long way from its early versions of this music maker software which was far more restrictive. You could only record eight audio tracks simultaneously per session and had limited plugins to work with. Today, this entry-level beat software is far closer to a full DAW than a restrictive entry-level product.
You can write full automation on anything you record within the arrangement window. This means you can write volume adjustments, fades, panning and other effects in audio tracks. Once automation is written, the audio will automatically pan, fade and do everything you've written without any further manual manipulation.
The mixing console is easy to navigate and adjustable. All of the insert and equalizer data are collapsible so you see only what you want to use. Within the mixer you can add up to eight insert and send effects per channel. Many other programs only allow four per channel. Between the 44 available plugins and multiple insert and send effects, you have all the tools to create unique sounds and textures within your compositions.
This beat making software comes equipped with a four-band equalizer. Using the equalizer you can adjust the low, low-mid, high-mid and high frequencies within the audio. There are also high-pass and low-pass filters available to further enhance your audio sound.
Help & Support
To have access to the full support options that Cubase offers, you need to create a Steinberg account. After you register, you have full access to the knowledgebase, user forums and contact forums. Cubase Elements 7 is fully functional on both Windows and Mac platforms.
Cubase Elements 7 is one of the best beat making programs in all the software we reviewed. It has an intuitive user interface, large loop library, versatile virtual effects and solid recording capabilities. This powerful and affordable software is great for both novice and expert users.