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Cubase or Samplitude?

Reading thru the "which DAW" thread and otherwise, I get the feeling there are a bunch of folks looking at the same question that's on my mind: whether to switch from Cubase to Samplitude.

I use Cubase 5.1, because I'm terrified of changing my OS and actually not totally convinced that the rest of my rig would be happy in XP.

The main thing Cubase has going for it is that I know it. There's nothing I want to do in a DAW that I can't do in Cubase -- I've learned all the work-arounds, weird tricks, and nonsense that's required to make Cubase work for audio.

I have a long, long list of complaints. Highlights: plug-in latency for sends and groups tarnishes my otherwise wonderful UAD-1; the general way Cubase handles routing, especially send effects, is counter-intuitive, being actually the opposite of the way I would do it; the automation really only works consistently for faders and mutes, and requires all kinds of patience to edit; the wave editor is amazingly easy to mess up, with no easy way to do most of things I actually want to do; the way separate takes are handled is really odd, and I still find myself scratching my head, looking through tracks to find where the offending take has made it's way to the top; there's no batch export, so to transfer tracks to another program you have to export each audio track one by one -- 20 tracks X 4 minutes, you get the idea; etc. . .

I've been playing around with the Samp demo, and it looks like most of my complaints are addressed there. For sure: plug-in latency is fixed; the routing is sensible, and editable(!); the way takes are handled was clearly set up by someone who had recorded audio in their life; and batch exporting is provided. I haven't figured out automation or wave editing, but then I'm stuborn about reading manuals . . .

Am I missing something? Can anybody think of any reason I shouldn't abandon Cubase and get on to Samplitude? Thanks.


Member for
51 years 5 months

prswamp Wed, 03/12/2003 - 07:10

I agree with your assessment of Cubase. I used it for a while and switched to it's baby brother Nuendo. While similar, Nuendo seems a little more intuitive to me.

At the NAMM show I spoke to the Steinberg people and it looks like the new version of Nuendo is going to take the best parts of Cubase and the best parts of Nuendo to give a superior product.

My 2 cents...

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18 years 5 months

Pez Wed, 03/12/2003 - 18:10

The new Samplitude is looking pretty nice. Delay Compensation sounds like a dream come true. One good reason not to switch is that there hasn't been a shakedown of the program yet since it's so new. I've heard that bug fixes are coming along quickly for the program however. As far as Nuendo 2.0 it's just vaporware. I try not to compare a program that's not on the market yet to one that is. Once a program is released it often takes 6 months or more to work out the bugs. A program that's running solid on your machine is worth a lot. I'm still curious what is going to happen with Steinberg since Pinnacle bought em out. In any case I love to see the competion as the end users always benefit with added features and lower prices.

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51 years 5 months

Bobby Yarrow Thu, 03/13/2003 - 10:37

Yea, after posting yesterday I was pretty well convinced that Samp was in my future. So spent another hour fiddling with the demo, and discovered that, well, you can't automate effects in any direct way. (Set aside the fact that in Cubase effects automation seldom actually works. At least it's SUPPOSED to work, and that's something.) I'm sure there's a work-around -- the program seems to want you to split up your audio into as many bits as you want effects adjustments, and then dial in each one -- but the point is, there is a great virtue to sticking with the problems and limitations you already know about.

And, as you say, a program that's running solid on your machine is worth a lot.

So, we'll see . . .

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18 years 11 months

Kurt Foster Thu, 03/13/2003 - 12:35

I too am using Cubase 5.1 and I am not having any problems with the automation. I don't wave form edit (I think it's cheating) but I have found automation recalls to be accurate and on the spot. I wonder if you are running out of system headroom causing your problems? I run a gig of ram and my system runs at 20% CPU load. I don’t have the UAD because I have some nice Neve, UREI and Manley front end stuff. I find that by using it going in I can add the stock Cubase VST compressors and Real Verbs with great results. ... Kurt
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18 years 5 months

Pez Thu, 03/13/2003 - 13:19

Bobby, are you using Cubase or Cubase SX? Tell us more about the Samplitude demo. I like the fact that you can burn redbook CDs straight from the program. Are the built in plugs any good?

Member for
51 years 5 months

Bobby Yarrow Thu, 03/13/2003 - 19:40

Right, so small correction, turns out that in the newest version of Samp, effects parameters can be automated. My point is still the same, that the problems you know are better than the problems you don't know.

And Fats I'd like to think that it's just something I'm doing wrong in automating cubase, but really it's just the "write" button, of course, and (for me, for reasons definitely not related to lack of processor power) effects automation in cubase is always touch and go. Of course, I'm not real big on it really -- I usually have reverb on its own fader, and automating that fader usually pretty much does it for me.

Hmm. Full delay compensation . . . still tempting. . .

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51 years 5 months

jeremymiller Tue, 03/25/2003 - 15:06

hello. first post :)

I've been using samplitude for about a year now. Since then, whenever I need to use other programs, I find myself wishing I was using Samplitude. It's a very well written program. It did take me a while to get used to some of it's peculiarities but once I did, I found them to make much more sense than other programs, like Nuendo (imho).

Admittedly, it's automation capabilities are not as powerful as other programs, and it's MIDI sequencing is not as powerful as some, but the developers have hinted more than once that these are issues on their agenda. They are always very good at addressing bug fixes and are always interested in improving the program.

Despite the few features that it lacks, the features it does offer are very very powerful and ahead of the competition. The object based editing thing is REALLY cool, as well as the cd burning and cd backup features. I can now pretty much do a project from start to completion without having to use other programs, like a seperate burning or mastering program. This has simplified my production process and reduces confusion later if i need to revisit an older project. As a straight audio program, I personally feel that samplitude is the best, and i'm pretty confident it will become even better in the MIDI/Automation department in the near future.

That being said, my experience with WinXP has been that it is a great system, but is best when it is a fresh, "clean" install, and not an update. PC's that have been updated to XP from 98 or ME, in my experience, don't seem quite as solid as a straight XP system. Also, you may want to continue using the Samp demo for a while to get used to it. Even after using it for a year, I still find myself occasionally finding new features, and better ways to do certain things. You may want to make sure that the stuff you rely on cubase to do can also be done in samplitude, although there's no reason you can't have both.

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51 years 5 months

Bobby Yarrow Wed, 03/26/2003 - 06:26

Hi Jeremy. I bit the bullet and moved over to Samplitude. So far, so good. In the end, I was too frustrated with Cubase -- everything was possible, but for straight audio a lot of things were unnecessarily complicated. Samp is a very natural switch. You could browse over to the Samp forum to see my several little newbie questions there, but the big stuff all fell into place easy enough.

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19 years 4 months

knightfly Wed, 03/26/2003 - 12:39

Bobby, I think the more you use Samp the harder it will be to pry it from your cold, dead fingers - I started out with Cakewalk before it could do audio, then added Samp and ran them in tandem, synced internally with Hubi's loopback. when Cake added audio, it was so klunky I stopped wasting time with it and continued to sync Samp and Cake, using Cake just for MIDI stuff.

I downloaded a demo of Cubase a couple years ago, and even reading the manual I couldn't figure out how to get the damn thing to work. Samp has always been MUCH more intuitive than that, and as far as I'm concerned, the more technology can get the f*** out of your way and let you make music, the better I like it.

Also, mixes thru Samp's summing seem to sound a lot more open and natural, closer to a good analog board than Cake, at least to my ears... Steve