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Sonar v.s. Pro tools
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soundarcitect
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31st January 2005
Old 31st January 2005
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Sonar v.s. Pro tools

I`m thinking of changing fra Sonar to Protools. Is there anyone who have experience with both platforms, and can tell me the main differences. I`m going from project studio to pro....?
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31st January 2005
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I love composing (my hobby) and doing small projects on Sonar. My day gig is at the studio, and I can't imagine doing it without protools. More on this later. . . I've got to go to work!
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1st February 2005
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Hmm ..

For me, SONAR 4's audio engine is still tooo far down there compared with protools, but, after SONAR 4, i guess I don't want to move to other DAW, the track "map" is just the only one that I really need for everything.

Studio ver. is just the DAW, producer ver. comes with extra stuff and surround stuff ... I used producer and definetely the extras are something ! (i haven't used the surround stuff).

If u're going for quality, protools for sure (even if u want to use digidesign hardware with SONAR, still .. protools !), but the way SONAR works .. is just sooo perfect for me. Maybe it's just me ..

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1st February 2005
Old 1st February 2005
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Having and using both, there really isn't all the much difference software wise, more like working style--sound quality is more relying on your converters (though the summing math may have a tiny influence, not much I doubt).

BUT, If you mean you are going with an HD Accell system, that is another matter. Having that kind of power can be good, otherwise it is all name hype and working style.

That said, a lot of people will tell you that UAD1 cards can compete well with farm cards like accel (I dunno if this is true).

Also, Compatability issues arent as big a deal as once, but if you plan to be swapping to lots of other studios, etc., or doing lots of post kinda work, then PTHD can be a big deal too.

BUT, A lot of pro places are going native anyway, largely to Nuendo in the US, Logic a little more in Euro.

One thing, the 64 bit demo of SOnar is the first 64 bit prototype I have seen from anyone, and it looks, at least in theory, pretty amazing.

Though it is kinda silly they say it will enable systems to use 1 terabyte of memory utilizing the 64 bit beta of windows. Now, 1 terebyte would be like 500 stick of 2G RAM. I am having trouble envisioning how big that box would be :-)

Anyway, in future years I would expect native 64 bit systems to start erasing the advantage of farm systems. I dunno if that will equate to erasing the name advantage and industry control that digi has.

Overall I like SOnar for MIDI sequencing things, and PT layout for audio. But I am thinking going to Nuendo, since I like the idea of hardware ADC, and it is pretty cheap to just have all 3 programs anyway. Dont really have any interest in Logic. Samp/Sequ is OK, I tried it, lotta pros (esp mastering peeps) going with it--I tried the demo but hated the way it is laid out and such.
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1st February 2005
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I use both all the time and know them backwards.
Both rock Period.
Summing in sonar is awesome, since version 3 anyway (sonar 2 SUCKED!!!)
MIdi is way better on sonar, freeze, toms of plugs and if you put it on a dual opteron, cpu power isn't really an issue.
If you're writing music and using the computer creatively sonar is the better software.
However!!!! Protools ROCKs in a tracking environment. It's easier to setup, do punch ins and audio editing is still better (but only just since snr 4). Plus you're instantly compatible with almost every other studio round town.

Bands don't give a shit what program you use anymore. As long as they dig your work, they will come.

Ultimately I guess it depends on your budget, target market and your business plan. (You have thought about this, haven't you?)

Both will do the job. You'll get a WHOLE lot more sonar for your cash than tools, but if you want to be able to talk with the outside world, then tools it is.
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1st February 2005
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A lot of good answers and Ideeas. Thanx to all.
The alternative i`m looking at is the PT HD3. Out of the replies i can read that the biggest differenses lies in the converters and hardware consept. My next question is how you experience the different working enviroment, and how the midi part in Sonar is different from PT.
Are there only miner differenses in the way of working midi?


Soundarcitect.
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1st February 2005
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Quote:
Originally posted by soundarcitect
A lot of good answers and Ideeas. Thanx to all.
The alternative i`m looking at is the PT HD3. Out of the replies i can read that the biggest differenses lies in the converters and hardware consept. My next question is how you experience the different working enviroment, and how the midi part in Sonar is different from PT.
Are there only miner differenses in the way of working midi?


Soundarcitect.
I think you're comparing apples to oranges, an HD3 Accell system is quite a different animal.

In my HD2 Accell system, I've got 512 slots, or dsp's, dedicated entirely to plugins and processing. On a typical day, with many plugs open and Virus Indigo synths, I'm not even using 30 percent of the system's dsp, and I've still got RTAS native available. It's solid and it's stable, though like most any software, it's prone to bugs from certain revisions.

And I love the TDM platform, these are plugs that are of high quality and work as advertised.

It all runs smoothly and the audio editing is complete and full of every convenience you could possibly think, really, one needs to spend a LOT of time learning the PT shortcuts and features, they're truly mind-boggling and beautifully thought out.

Midi is a step behind, but gaining, with some nice features added in 6.7. What's missing? Score notation, and an arpeggiator - that's about it.

I started in DOS on Sequencer Plus Gold, moved to windows and Cakewalk 6 through 9, then it was Digital Performer 2.5 through 3 (after which the version 4 OSX fiasco put me off on motu), I'd finally had enough of the "pretenders" and went to the grand daddy of DAWS, PT (an 001 system)in November of 01 and finally the tdm setup in Oct of 03 and haven't looked back.

It's very pricey, but remember, with HD3 you get a ton of great plugs (including the tdm access virus) plus solid hardware, a responsive company with very fast fixes and a fantastic website. If you can afford it, it's a no-brainer, really.

Ed
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1st February 2005
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thanx Sharp11

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30th September 2009
Old 30th September 2009
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SONAR vs Pro Tools
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Hi guys,
I am SONAR/Pro Tools user for a couple of years now.
I am a SONAR/Cakewalk user since 1998. I have recorded my first album on SONAR 7. I am using Pro Tools 8 LE also, simply because the studio where I work uses PT, and most of the mix sessions I get from other clients as well are PT LE/HD sessions.

I have purchased 003R recently, and it works awesome with SONAR.

The main drawback for me with PT 8LE is the track count, even when I purchased Music Production Toolkit 2, which brings up the track count to 64.
Second drawback with PT in my own experience is working with EastWest PLAY sample libraries; they simply do not work in PT. I have to work in SONAR, then print the tracks and import them back to PT, which is major pain in the neck (I use EastWest Symphonic Orchestra and Symphonic Choir samples).
One other thing: Freeze tracks option is not available in PT, unless you print the tracks and make the original inactive to release some DSP power. I work with a couple of instances of PLAY engine per session in SONAR, so freezing tracks is the only option, unless I would have 8 core machine or a couple of computers.

PT HD is simply too expensive for me. If I get some extra cash in the future, I would probably purchase a Mac and Logic, since Logic is the best bang for the buck with the bundled software/plugins and audio quality.
SONAR has more advanced MIDI editing as well in general in my own opinion.

I am using 32bit SONAR, and I have tried 64bit version in Vista64. The main disadvantage of 64bit version is that not a lot of plugins are 64bit compatible yet (only about 5% of the plugins I use are compatible). Maybe this will change in the future though. I could use all of 6gigs of RAM I have in my machine, but I did not have a lot of plugins to work with, so I could not experience the full potential of 64bit version. EastWest PLAY works awesome in 64 bit version, which is the only plus from my side.

I am hoping that all this will change with the new Windows 7; PT8=64bit, and also I hope that most plugin companies will rewrite their software to 64bit as well, so I could fully utilize the 64bit version of SONAR.
My strategy is simple: If record my own music, I track and mix in SONAR 32bit (Windows XP). I work in PT when I have to, at work, or when I track less then 64 tracks per session. I will not argue which DAW is better, but for me, probably the one that makes my work easier, depending on the situation and circumstances.

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#10
30th September 2009
Old 30th September 2009
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Thanks for sharing your thoughts -- but this is kinda an old thread, and a LOT has changed in the DAW marketplace since the OP's questions.
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30th September 2009
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yes, I did notice it's the old post. I don't think it hurts if I enclose newly updated statement/point of view though.
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1st October 2009
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I have very serious doubts that (in the hands of a pro), you'll ever be able to detect which software is being used. ProTools is branding- kinda like Toyota vs GM. Like someone said, the converters probably will make any discernable difference.
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I agree with the general spirit of all the replies to the original question which is that if you can't make a high quality recording with either program - the program isn't the problem.

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#14
9th December 2009
Old 9th December 2009
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Pro tools has become obsolete

Since Sonar 8 and now 8.5, pro tools, logic, cubase, ableton live, and everyother program has become obsolete. Let's first compare the pro tools HD3 system with the cakewalk v-700 studio system with a pcaudio labs is7 computer. Each setup is extremely powerful but with the v-studio setup you get twice the pluggins and virtual instrumets in a superior 64-bit sound quality for about a tenth of the price of the protools hd3 system. And your tracks aren't limited, in fact how ever powerful your computer is your studio will be. With a 1500 dollar pc audio labs computer with the new is7 quad core processor you can run 150 tracks simaltaneosly. And you can get a computer even more powerful than that. All of these advancments in sonar the past couple of years were only made possible because the billion dollar giant Roland bought cakewalk and has also teamed up with multiple companys to make sonar the best. The tide has changed, unless pro tools upgrades to 64-bit it will remain obsolete. Don't waste your money or time on all the hype with pro-tools and get the quality you deserve!With all the processor advancments and memory power increaing in today's computer market there is no need for 10,000 dollar pci cards. In my
opinion they are a complete waste of money. The best of luck with your studios! Check out these links- http://www.v-studio.info/index.php and pcaudiolabs.com
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9th December 2009
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I'm sure protools isn't obsolete. When I assisted in Toronto I asked about different DAW's and the engineer stated "Toronto is a pro tools town."

I used protools at that studio and use sonar at home and at my personal faciltiy. I've been a cakewalk fan since cakewalk 7 I think.... I grew up with it so I'm biased. It's hard to compare the workflow of Tools and Sonar when I've been using Cakewalk/Sonar for almost 15 years. However much I don't like protools, it's going to be a while before another DAW becomes as ubiquitious.

The V-studio stuff looks interesting, but what everyone really wants and no one has delivered on is a control 24 type native controller without preamps but with great conversion. Most of us have mixing desks, side-cars or outboard preamps that just need to get ITB. If roland can come up with something that can improve my workflow, look great and provide some great convertors than I'm game... if not I'm stuck with my mouse and Sonar 8.

I do think it's smart for Roland and Sonar to become a one-stop hardware/software shop like Pro Tools is... I just hope they up the hardware to something that has the substantial feel and workflow of an HD system and a control 24. Do that and they'll have a lot more converts.
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9th December 2009
Old 9th December 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bart Waldon View Post
Since Sonar 8 and now 8.5, pro tools, logic, cubase, ableton live, and everyother program has become obsolete. Let's first compare the pro tools HD3 system with the cakewalk v-700 studio system with a pcaudio labs is7 computer. Each setup is extremely powerful but with the v-studio setup you get twice the pluggins and virtual instrumets in a superior 64-bit sound quality for about a tenth of the price of the protools hd3 system. And your tracks aren't limited, in fact how ever powerful your computer is your studio will be. With a 1500 dollar pc audio labs computer with the new is7 quad core processor you can run 150 tracks simaltaneosly. And you can get a computer even more powerful than that. All of these advancments in sonar the past couple of years were only made possible because the billion dollar giant Roland bought cakewalk and has also teamed up with multiple companys to make sonar the best. The tide has changed, unless pro tools upgrades to 64-bit it will remain obsolete. Don't waste your money or time on all the hype with pro-tools and get the quality you deserve!With all the processor advancments and memory power increaing in today's computer market there is no need for 10,000 dollar pci cards. In my
opinion they are a complete waste of money. The best of luck with your studios! Check out these links- http://www.v-studio.info/index.php and pcaudiolabs.com
Wow. There's some pretty lofty claims in there. I have some questions though...

When you say twice the plug-ins, what are the actual plug-in counts you're talking about and with which plug-ins? I've found plug-in count to be a very nebulous thing with different types of processors and different manufacturers taken into account.

What exactly is 64bit sound quality? Are we talking 64bit audio files? What advantage does that have over 24bit audio files. Or is it a 64bit mix bus as opposed to PT's 48bit mix bus? What advantage would that give me sound wise?

150 tracks running natively is impressive. However, my HD3 system will do 192 tracks on my 5 year old G5. And that's without latency. Not sure I'd ever need that many tracks though it's nice to know they're available.

I'm also curious as to which 'professional' control surfaces are available for Sonor? I just can't see how you would manage that insane number of tracks with a mouse.

An what about professional synchronization? The only market that actually NEEDS those kind of track counts is the post market and I can't imagine working on a system that can't be reliably sync'd to other systems, picture, or a dubber.

I'm sorry but that all seems like a bunch of marketing hype to me.
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10th December 2009
Old 10th December 2009
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Well...

Spending over 100 grand seems like the marketing hype to me :P mabe if you own a million dollar studio buisness, but for home based engineers like myself that is way to much money to spend. And let me exlpain the difference between recording in 32 bit and 64 bit. If using a 32 bit running system you can only utilize 4g of ram simaltaneosly. With a 64 bit you can utilize all your ram, and the more memory you can utilize the higher the quality of the sound, and power of the studio. I understand what your saying, so I can at least say the v studio setup will out perform any le system and most the HD systems. Oh and you mention not being able to have enough mixing boards for sonar? Well sonar is native which makes it highly compatible with just about every board on the market. This is a studio that is the first to run in 64 bit, producing HD quality while staying under 10 grand. The cheapest HD setup is 20 grand , and if you want the icon d control setup..well thats 120 grand. Only if I was rich haha
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10th December 2009
Old 10th December 2009
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Everyone knows that real men use SONAR, we are just too polite to really brag about it. Hope I didn't just say that out loud just now...
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10th December 2009
Old 10th December 2009
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I'm sorry :(
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10th December 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bart Waldon View Post
The cheapest HD setup is 20 grand , and if you want the icon d control setup..well thats 120 grand.
You can do Pro Tools HD Accel for less than 4k. with HD Accel core card and interface. (PCIe HD1 Accel ebay $3,000 + 96 i/o ebay $900)

I keep seeing you on Slutz talking smack. Bart Waldon, you ARE the guy on the right:

YouTube - What's With Protools HD anyway?

and Macs are an overpriced ripoff too I bet, right?
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#21
11th December 2009
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^^^ half right, they are overpriced.

I like both Sonar and Pro Tools. Pro Tools 8 really brought the program into the same league as Sonar. Sonar 8.5, though, rocks pretty hard also.
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11th December 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bart Waldon View Post
Spending over 100 grand seems like the marketing hype to me :P mabe if you own a million dollar studio buisness, but for home based engineers like myself that is way to much money to spend. And let me exlpain the difference between recording in 32 bit and 64 bit. If using a 32 bit running system you can only utilize 4g of ram simaltaneosly. With a 64 bit you can utilize all your ram, and the more memory you can utilize the higher the quality of the sound, and power of the studio. I understand what your saying, so I can at least say the v studio setup will out perform any le system and most the HD systems. Oh and you mention not being able to have enough mixing boards for sonar? Well sonar is native which makes it highly compatible with just about every board on the market. This is a studio that is the first to run in 64 bit, producing HD quality while staying under 10 grand. The cheapest HD setup is 20 grand , and if you want the icon d control setup..well thats 120 grand. Only if I was rich haha
Cool man. So I understand 64bit operating systems. But I still don't see how you can equate that to "64-bit sound quality" as you stated previously. The amount of RAM addressed by an application has absolutely NO bearing on the sound quality. It might help you run more plugs; certainly more VI's that load samples into RAM. May even help you achieve higher track counts. But "64-bit sound quality"? C'mon now.

Regarding the consoles, sure you can mult outputs to any mixer. That's COMPLETELY different than having integrated control over the software. You're a smart guy, you can figure that one out.

I'm not saying Sonor isn't a cool app. And you're right, for a home based set-up I'm sure if offers a lot of bang for the buck. But when you start comparing it to an HD system, well that's just silly. In the professional world, having guaranteed track counts, no latency, integrated consoles, sample accurate automation, and rock solid synchronization aren't cool marketing spins. They're everyday requirements.

And just to set the record straight, you can get into an HD system for less than $10k. And an ICON system for less the $25k. True story.
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11th December 2009
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The 64 bit thing (with SONAR anyway) isn't to do with the operating system, but that you can have SONAR use 64 bit floating point as the summing engine format. If you have all 64 bit floating point enabled plugs (and the small set that I own are), then you have a full start to end 64 bit floating point environment. The amount of resolution in such a system is pretty massive, to the extent that many of the things that people worry about in the digital world become such small problems that are basically ignorable (such as roundoff) because they will happen so stupidly far below any possible audible level that it will never in any way end up in the final product even after thousands upon thousands of intermediate calculations. I think that the low end of a 64 bit system (assuing the usual 6 dB per bit) would be something around -300'ish dB. And that's just at the final summing step. When it comes to rendering small signals like reverb tails, it can go far lower than that because it's a floating point format.
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11th December 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean Roddey View Post
The 64 bit thing (with SONAR anyway) isn't to do with the operating system, but that you can have SONAR use 64 bit floating point as the summing engine format. If you have all 64 bit floating point enabled plugs (and the small set that I own are), then you have a full start to end 64 bit floating point environment. The amount of resolution in such a system is pretty massive, to the extent that many of the things that people worry about in the digital world become such small problems that are basically ignorable (such as roundoff) because they will happen so stupidly far below any possible audible level that it will never in any way end up in the final product even after thousands upon thousands of intermediate calculations. I think that the low end of a 64 bit system (assuing the usual 6 dB per bit) would be something around -300'ish dB. And that's just at the final summing step. When it comes to rendering small signals like reverb tails, it can go far lower than that because it's a floating point format.
Ah Ok. So we're talking about a 64bit float mix bus. That makes sense. Depending on how dynamic your material is, a 32bit float can leave rounding errors when it scales. This is the primary reason PTHD uses a 48bit fixed mix bus with a 56bit accumulator. The result again, is nearly 290db of dynamic range with no scaling and no rounding. Thanks for clarifying Dean. I can see how this would be an improvement over your standard host based DAW and I'm sure it sounds great.
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11th December 2009
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But the thing about a floating point setup is not just the low it can go, but how much resolution it has for intermediate calculations that might be changing the signal only the most minute amount. 64 bit floating point can get done to a level that for all intents and purposes is as good as analog.

A fix point system doesn't have that kind of enormous resolution because it can't float the decimal point. So if you had a number like this:

0.1234567891234

As you make that number smaller, you start losing low bits, so:

0.0123456789123
0.0012345678912
0.0001234567891

A floating point system doesn't have that problem because the decimal point floats, So it can maintain that fifty something bits of resolution even down to very small numbers, incredibly small, like to the -308'ish power.
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11th December 2009
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That's good stuff. So what's worse; losing resolution when your signal gets down below -60db or rounding errors from a system that floats? Either way, I kinda doubt there's a human on the planet that could hear the difference. Especially once the signal has had every last bit of dynamic range squeezed out it and then decimated by a compression algorithm so it will fit on my MP3 player.
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11th December 2009
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They both have pros and cons...
Pro tools has some super awesome control surfaces... sonar gives you more freedom... i.e. your home rig doesn't have to use a limited edition version of Sonar....
Pro tools has some amazing audio editing capabilities...
Sonar kills when it comes to anything MIDI...
Pro Tools HD uses less CPU resources...
Sonar 8.5 producer is definitely bundled with better plugins
This thread could have been Logic vs Pro Tools, Logic Vs Sonar.. Cubase Vs Sonar.... In the end, use what makes you happy... you can try any of them out and see which one you like best
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11th December 2009
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#29
11th December 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean Roddey View Post
The 64 bit thing (with SONAR anyway) isn't to do with the operating system, but that you can have SONAR use 64 bit floating point as the summing engine format. .
But Sonar *is* a 64 bit program in it's entirety yes?
(Assuming you install that one of course).
It installs under the 64 bit tree in Windows 7 x64

Unlike say PreSonus Studio One which is 32 bit but offers 64 bit engine?

I'm confused.
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11th December 2009
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there are 32bit and 64bit versions of sonar... as far as OS is concerned...

the new 8.5 version claims to be compatible with the 32bit plugins even when running in a 64bit OS... that's the only daw i know that does that. that alone puts it completely over it's competitors. also it's a brilliantly written piece of software. that's awesome because it allows to use massive amounts of RAM and all the capabilities of the new processors while maintaining compatibility with the older plugins.

as far as summing and bit resolution you can make 64bit files when mixing but it's absolute overkill... i normally mix to 32bit and a high sampling rate (96 or 88.2) and then master from that. I think 64bit summing does make a difference, especially in reverb tails and such.

as much as i like pt hd, just the fact that the strongest competition sonar has is from a program costing many times sonar's price, should be taken into account. in my daw which is based on a 4gb intel quad (with win xp it only recognizes 3gb), the processing power and track counts are huge. no need for any dsp farms or such. in an even faster cpu with even more RAM it should be awesome. definitely one of the best daws out there, regardless of price.
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