Steinberg launches Cubase 13: new features revealed

Steinberg has released Cubase 13, which delivers significant user interface redesigns along with new features and workflow enhancements for composing, producing and mixing.

Available immediately, Cubase 13 is optimised to be more streamlined than ever. From the most advanced version, Cubase Pro, through to Cubase Elements for those taking their first steps in music production, the comprehensive feature set in Cubase 13 provides all the tools needed to create music for every genre, from complex compositions for film and TV to studio-grade pop productions.

What’s new?

The MixConsole has been given an overhaul with a slick, streamlined user interface design to aid better focus on mixing. The Project window features a new channel tab which gives direct access to the most important mixing parameters of each channel, without leaving the song’s arrangement. The new design lets users intuitively adjust their mix in the production process, in a compact, per channel view.

The VocalChain plugin combines all processing steps of the vocal mixing workflow in one ultra-flexible plugin, helping to make vocal recordings sound professional – quickly and easily.

Available as a highlight in the VocalChain plug-in as well as a separate plugin, the new VoxComp in Cubase Pro and Cubase Artist is a compressor specifically designed for vocals, gently taming recordings without compromising clarity, transients or expression.

The MIDI editors in Cubase have been enhanced with several new features which streamline the composition workflows in many ways. The Range Selection tool is now available in the MIDI editors. Cubase Pro users can view and edit multiple parts directly from within the MIDI editors. Also, the Step and MIDI input functions have been enhanced and MIDI CC recording can now be simplified for further editing.

The Chord Pads have also been completely redesigned and enhanced with new functionalities. The integrated Chord Assistant and the circle of fifths make it easy to find creative chord progressions, with presets that provide excellent starting points.

With 140 articulations for 34 instruments in a compact 5 GB library, Iconica Sketch is a straightforward scoring utility which allows everyone from beginners to professional composers to create full orchestral scores of the highest quality.

Cubase 13 sees the return of the Steinberg Vocoder. Users can create classic robotic vocals or add analogue flavour to instruments with up to 24 filter bands, sidechain input and in-depth control.

There are two new equalisers, the EQ-P1A and the EQ-M5, for adding an extra touch of class to any production, while Black Valve is a classic tube compressor adding warmth, character and sonic detail.

Most of the new features are based on feedback from our customers.

Also new are Spectral Warp modes in the Sampler Track for extreme manipulation and envelope creation, five exclusive new sample packs by Grammy-winning producer Beat Butcha, creative mastermind Sharooz and sample boutiques 91Vocals and Touch Loops, new track versions for the Video Track to make working with new video edits more convenient and much more flexible configuration of where playback starts.

A new Tap Tempo feature on the Transport Bar is also new to Cubase 13, as is one-click change of mono to stereo and vice versa channel type, new options for more flexibility and control when importing tracks, events and time ranges, various new key commands, readiness for widespread adoption of MIDI 2.0 and a Windows-compliant multi-window handling and an improved Windows video engine, including GPU hardware decoding for H264 and better overall performance.

“Cubase 13 is the result of many conversations and interactions we had with our user base in the last years,” says Matthias Quellmann, senior product marketing manager for Cubase. “Our primary goal was to help our users to stay in the flow when they are creative and we are very happy about the balance of workflow improvements and new creative features in Cubase 13."

Cubase Pro 13, Cubase Artist 13 and Cubase Elements 13 are available from resellers and through the Steinberg Online Shop.

Prices may vary according to region, however below are the suggested prices:

  • Cubase Pro 13: 579 euros or 579.99 US dollars.
  • Cubase Artist 13: 329 euros or 329.99 US dollars.
  • Cubase Elements 13: 99.99 euros or 99.99 US dollars.

A range of downloadable updates and upgrades, crossgrades, and education versions are exclusively available through the Steinberg Online Shop.

Customers who have activated Cubase Pro 12, Cubase Artist 12 and Cubase Elements 12 or earlier versions from August 23, 2023, are eligible for a free, downloadable grace period update to the latest version, respectively.

Iconica Sketch is also available as a standalone instrument for 119 euros or 119.99 US dollars.

the biggest difference will be felt with the new channel tab in the project window.

Interview with senior product marketing manager Matthias Quellmann

Congratulations on the new release of Cubase 13. What would you say has been the main focus of this major update?

Thank you. Our focus is always on the user. We invest a lot of time in interacting with our users to find out how we can support them and make their music production experience more enjoyable and productive. In Cubase 13 there are many improvements that make working in Cubase faster and more streamlined, and features that support our users to be more creative. It’s all about the right balance.

What are the most-requested features from Cubase users that you have been able to incorporate into Cubase 13?

Most of the new features are based on feedback from our customers, ranging from billboard #1 producers and Hollywood composers to our beta testers and forum community. That’s not just a marketing phrase - we really work intensively with our community to get the best out of each new version and you wouldn’t believe how long the list of feature requests currently is - and it grows every day! 

But of course, there are some workflow features that have been requested many times in past years but never made the cut until now. The Range Tool for the editors for example, the channel width configuration for each track, or the support for vertical zoom with the mouse wheel. These small things that make your life easier are usually very much appreciated.

Cubase is loved by a wide range of producers and musicians working everywhere from bedrooms to Hollywood studios. What do you think the most useful new features will be for newer users and also for experienced professionals?

For new users the revamped Chord Pads will be a lot of fun and a great starting point for writing songs. With the new presets and patterns, it’s so easy to just get lost playing with chords and come up with progressions and melodies. We are very happy with how our ideas for making the Chord Pads more accessible turned out.

Also the VocalChain will be a great help for new users. Vocal production can be challenging and getting the right combination of processing often requires a lot of experience and also the right gear. Many of our users struggle with this. Having all the processing steps carefully sorted in one plugin is an amazing help for getting the vocals right, but also for learning how to process vocals in the right way.

For our pro users there are so many workflow improvements that will make their lives easier and dramatically increase the speed with which they use Cubase. Composers will benefit a lot from the new ways of editing multiple parts in the Key Editor without leaving the Key Editor. 

A lot of our pro users state that they “live in the Key Editor.” The new visibility tab gives those customers more reasons to “stay home”. Also, the Range Tool, the new modes for the Step and MIDI input and the simplified CC recording are all features that will improve the workflows of the pros every single day.

Pro producers will benefit from the many workflow tweaks that come with Cubase 13, like the new playback start modes, all the new key commands and so many others. But the biggest difference will be felt with the new channel tab in the project window. 

This is the biggest change to the user interface we have had in years. It allows direct access to the most frequently used mixing parameters directly in the project window. In particular, those producers who mix while producing will benefit greatly from this additional tab.

How easy will users find the transition from Cubase 12 to Cubase 13?

They needn’t worry, the transition will be smooth. We are aware that we have a large and loyal user base who don’t want to learn Cubase again and again with every new version. When we redesign parts of Cubase, we always think about offering new ways to achieve something without disrupting old workflows. It’s up to our users whether they want to adapt to our new methods or stick to their familiar ways of using Cubase.

When customers talk to you about Cubase, what are some of the things they like best about it?

Hans Zimmer once mentioned that Cubase is an inviting application. That’s something we hear a lot in different ways and it fits well with what we call the spirit of Cubase. Cubase is very creative and musical and offers a lot of opportunities to get your ideas out. 

We don’t force our users into specific ways of working, and it’s very customizable. On the other hand, Cubase is just stunningly powerful in terms of features and performance. Our power users can go really deep into it and push it to its limit with projects of 3,000 to 5,000 tracks for film scores.

Which features of Cubase — old or new — are the most important for your own personal music-making?

My own personal music-making? I have always been a Cubase guy and started with Cubase on the Atari many years ago. So for me it’s not about features any more. It’s rather the feeling of being at home when I use Cubase. I mentioned the Cubase spirit earlier — I can very much relate to that. 

Music production or being creative in general can sometimes be challenging, sometimes energising, sometimes satisfying, and sometimes all at the same time. That’s why it’s important to feel comfortable and supported in what you are doing. Cubase offers this for me.

Cubase has a long and rich history, being one of the first DAWs ever created. Why do you think it’s endured so long, and what might its future hold?

At the end it always comes down to our most important asset: the people at Steinberg. There are so many smart, passionate and creative people working at Steinberg who really care about what we are doing, who care about the needs of our users and how we can improve Cubase to make music creation more enjoyable and productive. 

It’s really exciting to see how Cubase has evolved over the years and how each new version improves. We have so many ideas for the future and they all follow the same theme: focus on the customer.