If you haven’t heard of Steinberg before now, our only question is where have you been for the last few decades?
A German-founded company, Steinberg has been at the forefront of the music industry since its creation, pioneering the shape and form that digital music has become today. With their sole mission to put Creativity First, the company prides itself on what it’s achieved, the software and hardware masterpieces they have created, and the direction it’s taking itself and its users.
Throughout their experienced history, they have dabbled in all kinds of audio ventures, from developing award-winning, industry-changing platforms and virtual studios, to innovating the physical world with their controllers and audio equipment.
Today, we’re going to dive deep into the world of Steinberg, stopping off along the way to see where they come from, what they’re doing and why as a modern-day musician this is a company you should be thinking about.
The History of Steinberg
Steinberg was founded in Hamburg, Germany back in 1984, which is the same time as electronic music as we know it today was starting to really form its roots. From the start, Steinberg focused their development and innovation efforts of the production side of the audio.
Their first product was a MIDI sequencer that went by the name of Pro 16. This model was compatible with newly released Commodore 64, a small, 8-bit home computer that was popular at the time.
However, it wasn’t until two years later that the company found real success with their Pro 24 model that was released for the wildly popular Atari ST computers, an obvious choice since the computer came with built-in MIDI ports as standard.
Fast forward to 1989, and the product was reinvented into the first edition of an audio production product that’s still a household name to this day; Cubase. Cubase was released for both Windows and Mac computers.
The company’s success continued on for decades, changing names several times through this period and became an international company, opening offices in other areas of Europe and, most notably, North America. In 2003, the company was bought by another company known as Pinnacle Systems, who then sold Steinberg a year later to Yamaha, one of the biggest audio specialists in the world.
In the present day, Steinberg remains one of the biggest audio manufacturers in the world. The company currently serves millions of customers through their software and hardware solutions and has expanded into many other areas of the music industry.
These areas include helping artists and producers with license management and offers copyright-protection services. In some cases, they have even helped with audio restoration projects and created sound for video games, television programs, and blockbuster movies.
Breaking Down Steinberg’s Core Beliefs
Steinberg believes in two things which have become their mission, vision, and reason for existing in the world. Their first is to enable people to express their creativity easily. Not all artists will have the ability to learn and use their software all day, every day. They have bills to pay and jobs to attend.
However, Steinberg believes that things like this shouldn’t get in the way of your creating your audio masterpieces. With this in mind, Steinberg’s second aspiration is to ensure that they become the first choice for anybody who fits the category of wanting to be ‘creative with music’.
Of course, for you on a personal level, this means you’ll get to take advantage of high-quality, high-performance products to help and assist you with any audio-related task you have during your production workflow, as well as fantastic customer experience and all the support you could ever need.
As a producer yourself, this makes it easy to see why Steinberg is a name you should be thinking about when you’re setting out of your next musical venture.
An Extensive Guide to Steinberg’s Products
Now we’re a little more informed on what Steinberg is all about, below we’re going to dive into what the company has to offer in the present day. Whether you’re an aspiring musician, or you’ve been in the industry for decades, you can be sure they have a tool you’ve been looking for, or can help you take your music to the next level.
To start with, we’ll lead with Steinberg’s most iconic product, Cubase 9.5. This is their most recent and world-renowned DAW that can help you manage and produce all areas of your music, regardless of your genre or aspirations.
The software is already used by millions of artists around the world, ranging from high-end international producers to musicians starting out in their bedrooms. The software has all the features and functions you need to take you from step one to the final finished product.
Once you’ve installed the software, you’ll have access to a range of powerful MIDI editors, including key editors, a dedicated drum editor and even a score editor, all created with a simple yet powerful user experience in mind. Of course, the software is also compatible with any VSTs or samples you downloaded from other sources.
You can dive in and start working on the surface, or you can use other working environments, such as the Sampler Track and Editor, and composition tools to get detailed with the sounds you’re creating.
All your samples can be manipulated any way you see fit, using essential controls such as pitch correction and Creative Manipulation. This is all backed by the integrated Smart Multi-Track Editing windows, Warp Quantizing, and even multiple track version control.
Using your devices (or other Steinberg products we’ve listed below) you can also manage all your recording processes, directly recording your samples into the software. Once you’re happy with the body of your track, you can open up all the built-in mixing software that contains a ton of features and tools to help you master your track to perfection.
With complete Cloud implementation, you can store and edit your projects on the go, opening and editing them with the relevant iOS applications, or even add producers to your account so you can collaborate on projects, no matter where they are in the world.
All in all, this one of the most powerful DAW software out there, and it’s easy to see why it has been and still is, one of the most popular applications in the world.
While the UR22 has currently been disconnected, this highly popular device is still worth a mention, simply due to the fact that it was so powerful and highlights exactly what Steinberg stands for and is capable of producing.
The UR12 (listed below) was the upgrade for this device, but this device was the pioneer when it came to preamps during its peak. This particular model was affordable and suitable for all budgets, just as the UR12 remains.
This device was used for recording all kinds of sounds using microphones or audio inputs, meaning you could record your guitar sounds directly, or by setting up a microphone next to your guitar amp. However, the possibilities here were limitless as you could record any instrument (perhaps even a banjo!), vocals or sounds that you wanted.
The UR22 contained all the features that the UR12 currently holds, except the integrated gain control, a built-in headphone port and full iOS compatibility. This just goes to show how ahead of its time the UR22 was from its release back in 2013, making it easy to see why it was as popular as it was.
Recording your music is one of the most important parts of your audio process. If you’re using low-grade equipment, you’re going end up with low-grade results. This is where the UR12 comes in to fill the niche.
The UR12 is a highly compact, ultra-portable preamp for your microphones and prides itself as a feature-rich device for all your recording needs. Inside this preamp, you’ll discover the ability to record all your audio is a crisp, clarity-full sampling rate of 192kHz with a leading resolution of 24-bits.
This means any audio you record, whether it’s the vocals from your microphone, or even recording microphoned instruments from devices like overhead drum mics, it will remain pristine and to the highest quality. This is ideal for studio recording, or even if you’re recording a live performance.
On the device, you’ll have the capability of plugging in two USB audio interfaces and one D-PRE mic input, as well as all your other essential inputs and outputs, such as headphone ports, multi-selectable power supply options (DC or USB), complete with an integrated gain control.
As you would expect, this leading model is fully compatible with an extensive range of audio suites, which makes it ideal for when you want to edit, master and produce your final track. This level of compatibility extends to ASIO, WDM Standard, and Core Audio applications.
There’s even a built-in Loopback function, giving you the opportunity to stream your audio live to the internet while you’re performing, as well as merging it with other incoming tracks from your computer or DAW software.
However, what really stands out about this device is the fact it comes with Cubase AI and Cubasis LE, two of the leading Steinberg applications. Cubase AI is the current DAW offered by Steinberg, while Cubasis LE is their iOS counterpart.
This brings us on nicely to the fact that this device has complete iOS compatibility and connectivity, meaning you can plug it into your iPhone or iPad to carry out your audio management processes while you’re on the move.
With a rugged design and highly durable design that was designed by Yamaha’s leading developers and manufacturers, you can feel safe taking this device with you wherever you go, perfect for home use, studio application or while you’re out on tour.
Virtual Instruments and Effect Plug-Ins
Steinberg has become somewhat of a household name when it comes virtual instruments and the effects they supply to their musicians and there are simply so many prestigious examples, we decided to give this area of their experience an entire section on its own.
One of the most popular and high-performance virtual instruments that Steinberg develops is the Retrologue 2. This is an analog heavyweight contender that’s ideal when it comes to producing fat and powerful bass tones that retain a vintage, warm feeling.
This, of course, provides a seemingly infinite number of opportunities when it comes to producing your own samples. This particular instrument is raw, designed with a simple-to-use interface that doesn’t require much of a learning curve to get your head around it.
Some of the other leading virtual instruments currently available from Steinberg include;
A simple yet fully-featured granular sound instrument that can be used to help you produce atmospheric sounds, ideal for lengthy pads, far-out effects and cinematic scores.
• HALion Sonic SE 3
A compact version of the legendary HALion Sonic synthesizers, this edition contains over 150+ ARP sounds and eight integrated effects for all kinds of synth-related fun
• Groove Agent SE 4
This is Steinberg’s answer to a drum pad synthesizer which is overflowing with effects and playback functions, as well as essential features including pad-styled players and integrated sample editing.
As you can imagine, Steinberg also offers a full range of high-quality sound samples, instrument packs and effects that you can load directly into Cubase or your preferred DAW software, giving you a solid foundation in which to create your next production.
Finally, we want to speak to you about Steinberg’s powerful MIDI controller which allows you to take your production skills and capabilities to the next level. This feature-packed controller contains advanced integration software which makes it the ideal companion if you’re using Cubase.
What really sets this controller apart from other similar products is the amount of attention to detail there is when it comes to the accuracy of what you’re doing. Every dial, knob, and setting has been made so you can create the tiniest variations in your sound, helping you to produce the exact tones you’re looking for.
This includes the HD, 100mm touch-sensitive motorized fader, all the dedicated keys, including solo, mute, record and automation features and the built-in jog wheel for easy control over your waveforms and samples.
This particular model is compatible with both Mac and Windows computers and doesn’t require any installation or drivers thanks to the plugin and play technology, all managed via a simple USB connection.
The level of control you get with this device is out of this world. With a dedicated user-assigned section to add your favorite features and tools and 12 rotary EQ encoders and bypass/mode buttons, this is a highly versatile controller you’ll fall in love with.