DAW to DAW software comparisons

Discussion in 'DAW Pro Audio' started by BobRogers, Nov 11, 2010.

  1. BobRogers

    BobRogers Moderator

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    With PT9, ProTools is now available as a software-only DAW. So now software to software comparisons of the major DAWs can be made without all of those hardware demons lurking in the back of our minds. I'd like to encourage those of you with extensive experience on multiple DAWs to chime in with comparisons of (1) workflow (2) features and (3) technical specs. Please give as many specifics as possible and mention the versions of the DAWs you worked on. It may be a bit premature to start this thread since no one can have "extensive" experience with PT 9 yet, but our fearless leader suggested we start this and see how it goes.
  2. hueseph

    hueseph Moderator

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    The technical spec of ProTools 9 still pale in comparison to some other DAWs. IE: Sonar, Cubase, Acid. Sonar is just loaded with features that I will never use. Most DAWs come with some sort of Beat detection and pitch correction out of the box. ProTools has Melodyne but if you upgrade your system you lose a license. Not that Melodyne is not a cool piece of software but you certainly want to buy it if you want to use it for any amount of time. ADC. Well that's not an issue anymore. I am a big fan of the AIR plugins. They sound great.

    I can't say that I like a lot of what I found in Sonar. Some nice things though are the IR based reverb. Very nice to have. The eq's are useless to me. I don't like the way they work and they are just not all that functional. I haven't made much use of the Channel Strip plugin. It seems ok if a bit convoluted. I find myself making use of third party plugins more often than not. The tube saturation emulator is....not. It's a mild distortion plugin. Doesn't sound anything like tube warmth to me.

    Samplitude. I really love this program. It's very simple to use. Very intuitive. And, it really does sound great. The object based editing makes life so much easier. I know this is available in other DAWs but Sam just has it simplified to such a great degree. There are some necessary menus but nothing that will cause frustration. The thing that drew me to Sam in the first place is that it has a similar workflow to ProTools IMHO. It "thinks" like a mixer. And the eq is nice. The plugins are equally nice. Musical. Effective but not obtrusive.

    Still, the functionality and workflow of ProTools is something to be experienced. It's a fast workflow. Maybe that's because there is so much educational material out there. The smartest thing that ProTools does with their software is include an instructional DVD. This could hardly be thought of as an expensive venture. The video is reasonable quality but hardly ground breaking. It might have cost them a few thousand dollars to put together. Everyone new to ProTools will have that DVD to watch. They never have to feel that they couldn't get up and running right away because the video holds your hand through the most basic steps.

    I will probably never stick to one DAW. I like each DAW for different reasons. Lately I've been using Sonar a lot but, simply to gain familiarity. I prefer to use Samplitude or ProTools. Partially because of the Plugins and Partially because these two are most familiar to me. I still find myself moving to ACID for certain things. Beat Mapping is one of them and of course "Acidizing". I also like to work on my final montage in ACID. It's a simple way to work.

    If I had to pick just one. Certainly Samplitude or ProTools. Either one of these I could live with permanently.
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2010
  3. Big K

    Big K

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    Out of interest: why is ADC no problem anymore, or with what DAW..?

    I see very often that Cubase is put in a row with a number of other great DAWs. I think, it is right to do so.
    But to get a full picture you should try to get a Nuendo demo for some thorough investigation. I can say, it is not 3 times the price of Cubase for nothing...
    I, personally, could not work with Cubase, anymore, because of all the missing features compared to Nuendo, its bigger brother.
    This is... provided you work in wide area of audio productions. If you don't do ADR and Audio to picture then Nuendo might be a too large tool, but still,
    the automation features, MediaBay and many other little helpers are making work a breeze and fun. I am not selling SB products, but I think, when talking about DAWs one should know this one, too.
    http://www.steinberg.net/en/products/nuendo/whats_new.html
  4. HaHallur

    HaHallur

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    Does any DAW have such an extensive tool-set as Nuendo does ?
  5. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Moderator

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    I haven't used Nuendo, but Audition 3.0 has many tools available include phase analysis, spectral display/editing, etc. I am not equating the two, just saying the meager offerings from PT are not so hard to out do.
  6. Big K

    Big K

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    Hello Jack
    I am just saying, if someone appreciates Cubase as acceptable DAW ( which it is ) with an adequate number of features, it would be good to have a look at Nuendo, as well or instead.
    Because Nuendo 5 has a larger feature set that is clearly outranking Cubase and some of the very professional DAWs on the market.
    If the goal is to compare PohTools, Samplitude, Audition, Sonar, Reaper and Studio One, etc., let them step into the ring with the best contenders, out there, to which I also count Nuendo 5.
    Indeed, what PT 9 has to offer lets room for more..lol... And when they start to extend the features, the construction of the software becomes a Hydra with maaany heads... very complex..

    Hello HaHallur
    I have not worked with PT since version 6 and also it is some time ago that I seriously worked with any other DAW. But from what I know and from what I hear and read of their new releases, Nuendo is certainly amongst the top competitors.
    For me, and that is absolutely biased..lol.., it is fast as hell and can do anything I ever needed and more. It runs very stabil and works very well with 3rd party plugs, PoCo, UAD, Melodyne, ...
    And that is what I need in a DAW..a workhorse that can be trusted and that gets the job done fast and clean... If you care to download the manual at http://www.steinberg.net/en/support/downloads/downloads_nuendo_5.html
    you can see for yourself... the list is enourmes, yet, the software is well controlable and not cluttered...
  7. soapfloats

    soapfloats

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    Though my length of experience is far lass extensive than Big K's, I have to echo his thoughts.
    I've had the chance to work a little on all of the competitors but PT while using my partners' machines, and Cubase/Nuendo are right up there.

    Especially the 3rd party plugs. Everything works w/ Nuendo.
    I also like the GUI and layout.
    And while I don't do much MIDI, it is one of the best.

    That said, I'll repeat a comment I made in another thread regarding PT9:
    "A DAW is a DAW". With enough time, any can be tweaked to provide almost any GUI/worklfow you want.
    All the big dogs present a mighty fine product - and IMHO the differences between aren't nearly what they were even a couple of years ago.

    Whether or not PT fits in this category I can't comment on.
    Until they became hardware friendly, I never gave it a second thought.
  8. Big K

    Big K

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    Well said, soapfloats..
    I guess, gnarl..., PT is a good and professional DAW, as well. But in an overal comparison, budget is a fair chunk of a desider, too.
    Given the features of N and PT are ( different, but ) even and the sound through same D/As is equal. We should leave handling and customization aside.. this is very much
    up to the personal workflow, yet, I cannot withstand, with some advantage to Nuendo ( but you know where this is comming from.. ;-).

    PT has called itself market leader and industry standart for so long and so loud that it is widely beleaved and often sold. That is plus for brand name and reputation.
    PT (has been) hardware dependant and apple hooked, thus expensive with no advatange on the track count or performance.
    PT has or had no working Delay compensation, can't do Stereo tracks, is mediocre on midi, plugs cost much more, has no faster than RT export..... to name a few...

    Nuendo is not as known to the industry, which can be a minus when it comes to attracting customers, as long as your own reputation and excellent work is notdoing the trick, yet.
    Nuendo is native on PC and Mac..PCs are cheap and powerful, many free plugs and cheaper native FXs are available, huge track count, excellent surround capabillities and automation...
    Nuendo has a 32-float engine, runs on Win7 64-bit, too, it has a superior ADC, excellent midi features and ASIO for a long time. VST3.. faster then RT export.. many more..

    Here I post some movies done with Nuendo. Those seem to sound just as good to me....
    *** and the City, Coraline, X-Men Wolverine, The Queen, Hangover und 2012, and a few dozens of my somewhat less famous works..lol... ;-)

    In total, I give it a draw, because I am in a good mood, today... But, I'd take Nuendo, anytime, and safe myself a large bag of cash and avoid hardware dependency ( e.g. spareparts?)..
    PT native will take No. 10 or 11 to become a even-eyed contender in the comprehensive view... We will watch the progress...

    Other DAWs are equally solid and reachly featured and I would love to hear about them in detail from their power users...
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2010
  9. hueseph

    hueseph Moderator

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    ProTools 9 cannot compare to Nuendo. It really can't. PT9 is equivalent to Cubase Studio 5. That is the honest truth. As much as they have marketed it as a full fledged DAW, which it is to an extent, it still doesn't measure up to more full featured DAWs. Sonar leaves it in the dust as far as Features and so do Cubase 5, Logic and Sequoia.

    I'm neither for or against the new ProTools movement. Whatever that may end up being. Does PT9 change the game? Sure it does. Does it level the playing field? Hardly.

    Nuendo and Sequoia run into and above $1700. (Sequoia actually sells for $2700). The equvialent from Avid is PT9 HD which will run you $10000 for the interface and I/O to run it including the software. I can think of better things to spend the extra $7000 on than their hardware. But for some people it makes sense. I'm sure they have something up their sleeve that they're not telling us. They'll continue to rope people in on "deals" until R & D is finished. Then they will completely render the old HD systems obsolete.

    Okay. Now I'm bashing.
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2010
  10. JPBerklee

    JPBerklee

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    I will get PT 9 next semester with my bundle from school (Berklee) so I'll be able to actually say if I have an opinion on it. But as of now I use Digital Performer and Logic which I really like. I use DP for film scoring and it seems pretty powerful but I am pretty new to this stuff. I'd love to give Nuendo, Sonar, and others a shot at some point just to see how they compare to what little I know now. Maybe DP is something to check out for anyone who doesn't know about it. It's supposed to be pretty standard among film composers because of the great integration of chunks(songs or 'cues' within projects) and other things. Just putting that out there haha. Let me know what you guys think if you have any input on these.

    -Cameron (noob lol)
  11. Big K

    Big K

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    If interested: a Nuendo demo can be obtained at Musicshops which are official Steinberg dealers.
    Out of interest: what is DP's speciality regarding the integration of songs, chunks, cues..., etc.?
  12. dortola

    dortola

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    Do you know if PT9 is compatible with the Waves Mercury Bundle?
    Thanks!
  13. dortola

    dortola

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    Hi! Are you using Samplitude 11 Pro? If so, can you post some comments?
    Thanks!
  14. hueseph

    hueseph Moderator

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    I'm using Samplitude 11 Producer which is on par with Cubase Essentials 5. Same audio engine as Sam 11 Professional just some downgraded features. Only 4 Auxiliaries and 4 inserts per channel. Limited audio track count. Downgraded plugin suite. That being said the plugins are very nice and the channel features are no more limiting than some of the old school consoles I've used in the past.

    The thing that strikes me about Samplitude is that I have yet to see it crash. I've had plugins cause some minor issues but in general the DAW is solid as a rock. I'm sure BigTree could give you more on that. He's using Sequoia 11. I can't say the same about Sonar Producer 8.5 or ProTools. Both of which have found ways to crash on me mid session.
  15. dortola

    dortola

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    Well, you get to my next question before I post it. I hate those blue screens (I know you do know what I mean, right?). I'm looking for a DAW software with semipro capabilities (enough aux and ins for classic music recording) but ROCK SOLID, no more blue screens please!.
    As I undertsand from your post, in terms of audio quality you don't need to go to the 11 Pro version. So, do you think that the trial version of Samplitude 11 will allow me to test it's audio quality, plugs compatibility and overall functionallity?
    Sequioia is out of my budget by now....
    Thanks!
    Daniel.
  16. JPBerklee

    JPBerklee

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    I don't know how other programs handle this, but chunks is great for film composers because you can have different musical cues with different instrument setups, time signatures, keys, starting and ending points, etc. You can set the chunk start time so whenever the SMPTE time code hits a certain point it'll switch to that chunk. Inside of each chunk it begins with measure 1 so you could be 20 minutes into a score and your chunk will still start on measure 1, even though the time code suggests that technically it's not. This just makes it a little easier because if you want to go to the beginning of the cue and not the beginning of the film/commercial you can just use the transport controls for the "back to 0" function and it'll take you to the start of the cue.

    I also like the quality of the plug-ins, but I'm not as experienced as you guys so they may not be top notch but they sound pretty darn good IMHO. It's mainly a film composing platform but I use it for just producing songs sometimes. It's got a really nice convolution reverb called ProVerb as well. Hope this helps! And thanks for the info about the demo of Nuendo.

    -Cameron
  17. PITA

    PITA

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    If your looking for a solid DAW thats priced right. Look into Personus Studio one. I have been using it for a year and I have never seen it crash once.
  18. Tizone

    Tizone

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    I worked with a number of daws and Cubase and Nuendo is my choice. Protools in my opinion is over rated. As far as being user friendly with tons of features many other daws are succeeding it. I found that PT's midi feature are a little stiff to me. I sequenced the same records in 3 daws and i got a better feel from cubase and Logic while PT sounds a little stiff.
  19. LirvA

    LirvA

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    Does anyone have any experience with Cockos Reaper?
    REAPER | Audio Production Without Limits


    I've got it installed on my comp but I need more equipment before I can start recording. I heard it was very very good from a guy who seemed real knowledgeable at a local music store. Apparently it's on par with all the other major software DAWs but is much more reasonable as far as cost and licensing goes and isn't very well known at all in the US.
  20. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Moderator

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    Reaper is well known to this site and often recommended. It is fast and easily customized. It is also updated very regularly. It does not come as complete as say Nuendo or Audition3 or Sequoia but still a very nice program. I use it to track sessions often.
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