Steinberg Cubase 5 vs. Cakewalk SONAR 8 Producer Edition

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by Ervin222, Feb 3, 2009.

  1. Ervin222

    Ervin222 Guest

    I'm looking to buy some recording software along with a computer interface. My comp is fast, no problems there. I'm thinking about a MOTU 2408 Core MkIII PCIe interface. That leaves me with about a $600 budget for the software. I'm thinking Cubase 5 or SONAR 8. I will mostly record band audio (drums, bass, guitar, vocs) but will also do my singers side project hip hop stuff. I'm looking for good audio editing/effects/mixing. Does anyone have any suggestions?
  2. pr0gr4m

    pr0gr4m Well-Known Member

    Feb 9, 2005
    South Florida
    Home Page:
    Both programs will record audio just fine.

    I suggest you download a demo of each and play around with them just so you have an idea of what they do and how they do it. Record one audio track. Edit it. Do the same in the other program and pick the one you like.

    People who use and like Cubase will probably recommend it. People who use and like Sonar will probably recommend it. Others will recommend everything from ProTools to MS Sound Recorder.

    Do you already have microphones, stands, cables? What about speakers? Makes no sense to spend $600 on software if you are going to mix on a set of logitech computer speakers. All the DAW programs have plug-ins for effects and things like that, but they are usually not all that desirable. So you'll probably want to buget for a couple good plug-ins.

    Here's what I would recommed that you do. Buy either really doesn't matter. Maybe the cheaper of the 2 so that you have some cash for the other things. Use it for a couple years. It won't get outdated that quickly. If after that period of time you find you don't like the program, get another.

    Or maybe start out on the far cheaper end with something like Reaper. Many people like it and it's like $60 or something like that. It's a great way to get your feet wet without breaking the bank.
  3. Ervin222

    Ervin222 Guest

    Thanks for the advice.

    I've been one tracking on Acid 5.0 for 3 years now, i've got mic's and a allen heath mixer for pre amps. I've got a set of KRK Rokit Powered 8 Generation 2 speakers in the mail as i type. I will download the demo's and check them out, i didn't even think about that before.
  4. fmw

    fmw Guest

    My motivation for choosing Sonar is the lack of dongles. I hate dongles and won't use software that depends on them. So I have no experience with Cubase but I'm sure it works just fine.
  5. Rocket

    Rocket Guest

    fred is right, demos are free, and you can use them for 30 days... I have a few programs to use myself. Right now I am working on a cd for my wife. I use Sonar 8, it seems to do the job well. and If you are going to buy a program, try Ebay first, you will save much money..

  6. SeniorFedup

    SeniorFedup Guest

    greetings from bolivia!
    Try the demos out . one thing you will find is how the graphic user interfaces for sonar 8 and cube 5 are quite different! being a cubase user i decided to try the sonar demo out of curiousity and was like whoa im dizzy... so that goes to show that personally i prefered cubase being that i was raised on cubase for daw editing and recording. it appears simpler than that of sonar 8. im not saying sonar8 is bad, just that it was ..... different.
  7. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    Oct 31, 2005
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    AFAIK there is no DEMO for Cubase 5. There are video demonstrations but no trial software. You really should try them both before you buy though. I'm a fan of Cubase, so I'm biased.

    I've tried Sonar and find it usable. I wouldn't buy it personally but I AM BIASED. I could list the reasons why I don't like it but someone else will just counter with a defense.
  8. Both have their pros and cons. I recently upgraded to Cubase 5 from SX3 and also use Ableton Live 7 Suite. I also have experience of using Sonar, Logic and Protools.

    Sonar is based upon the wdm/dx protocol although it has support for ASIO
    Cubase is based upon the ASIO protocol although it can support WDM and DX (although not DX plugins since Cubase 4). ASIO is usually considered the best PC low latency driver, although Sonar can get very useable low latency results with WDM.

    Sonar's plugin collection is it's killer feature - great convolution reverb, the full versions of Dimension Pro (wavetable synth for those Korg M1/Wavestation/PPG Wave type sounds) and Z3TA+ (analog subtractive synth) both of which were sold seperately for around 200 bucks until recently, so that's 400 dollars worth of very cool synth sounds for nothing. Also has good mastering multiband/limiter/compressor tools etc. Sonar is also fully 64 bit end to end and works well with Vista and will probably be the first certified to run in WIndows 7 as Cakewalk have a special relationship with Microsoft (hence first Vista certified DAW too).

    Cubase 5 - it's new killer features are the Variaudio pitch correction and pitch correct tools, and the new convolution reverb Reverence, which finally brings a top quality reverb to the table. Cubase 5 now supports 64 bit systems, although it's audio engine remains 32 bit float - it is debatable whether a 64 bit audio engine beings a tangible difference, as you should be able to get excellent results in 32 bit float but some people seem to think 64 bit has an advantage. New tools such as Groove AGent One, Beat Designer and Loop Mash give more creative flexibility to building up beats and for those into electronic music who have previously shunned Cubase. I personally much prefer the layout and GUI of Cubase. It also is better suited for scoring work, given the improved notation and scoring and also the VST expression feature which helps to add realism, especially to symphonic sounds.

    Basically both products provide a heck of a lot of power. Hueseph is correct that Steinberg have no demo of Cubase, which is a shame. I still recommend it however. Although for most bread and butter audio and MIDI work, Reaper is definately a good recommendation.
  9. SeniorFedup

    SeniorFedup Guest

    i havent tried sonars synths but i cant imagine that the surpass cubase synths by far or at all....
  10. Er - even though I would recommend Cubase5, I am still not enough of a fanboy to say that Cubase's synths come close to Sonar - Prologue is close to Pentagle maybe. Otherwise, z3ta+ and dimension pro blow away the offerings in Cubase - I mean, these are synths with respectable sales on the open market and have only recently (zeta at sonar7pe, dimension pro at sonar8pe) being included in their FULL versions in Sonar and only in the Producer Edition (cutdown versions existed previously). Another nice plugin is the True Pianos 'Amber', a very nice sounding piano, better than what is included in the Halion One samples in Cubase. If you have no good 3rd party synths, Sonar certainly provides you with a great starting point. Cubase's synths are OK, much improved since SX3 actually, but none of them are were selling on the open market for 200 dollars, unlike Sonar's zeta (very well respected in electronic music circles as a analog va) and dimension. The reason I recommend Cubase is because I find it easier to use, better to look at and like some of it's other features, such as advanced scoring and the pitch correction tools. But if I were basing the decision on plugins and bundled synths, Sonar would get the nod.

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