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Cubase vs. Pro Tools DAW Software
Old 19th August 2016
  #1
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Cubase vs. Pro Tools

First-time poster here, so sorry if this is a really basic newbie question...

I've been recording on my home PC for about 10 years using a really outdated version of Sony ACID Pro. Now I'm looking to upgrade everything in my home studio and step into 2016. I've been researching different DAWs online, and I seem to have it narrowed down between Cubase and Pro Tools.

Seems like people tend to have really strong opinions about these two products. From what I gather, the consensus seems to be that Pro Tools is better for recording live instruments and in-depth tweaking/editing, while Cubase is better for composers and songwriters who use a lot of virtual instruments.

I mostly play indie/experimental rock where I record live guitars, bass, keyboards and vocals, along with programmed or looped drums/beats and occasional bells and whistles from sample libraries. I find myself leaning more toward Cubase even though its strengths don't seem to align with my style of recording as well as Pro Tools does. (I also really liked what I saw from Reason, but it seems like it is not compatible with a lot of outside software and plug-ins, unfortunately.)

Any thoughts or recommendations on which DAW might be the best fit for me? I imagine that anything I get will be a major upgrade from a 10-year-old version of ACID Pro running on Windows XP, but obviously I want to find the optimal choice. Thanks.
Old 19th August 2016
  #2
Lives for gear
I would never, ever recommend Pro Tools to you. Bad idea. Run away. It's living off it's past reputation. It's slow, buggy, and not good for MIDI or VI. The comments about recording live hold true if you're recording a full band in a time-critical, high pressure recording studio, and have spent the money for the HDX version with hardware, etc. The vanilla version is weaker than many other products in that regard.

Cubase is a reasonable choice. Reaper is another choice. Samplitude. Studio One. There are others.


Quote:
Originally Posted by jeremyandstuff View Post
First-time poster here, so sorry if this is a really basic newbie question...

I've been recording on my home PC for about 10 years using a really outdated version of Sony ACID Pro. Now I'm looking to upgrade everything in my home studio and step into 2016. I've been researching different DAWs online, and I seem to have it narrowed down between Cubase and Pro Tools.

Seems like people tend to have really strong opinions about these two products. From what I gather, the consensus seems to be that Pro Tools is better for recording live instruments and in-depth tweaking/editing, while Cubase is better for composers and songwriters who use a lot of virtual instruments.

I mostly play indie/experimental rock where I record live guitars, bass, keyboards and vocals, along with programmed or looped drums/beats and occasional bells and whistles from sample libraries. I find myself leaning more toward Cubase even though its strengths don't seem to align with my style of recording as well as Pro Tools does. (I also really liked what I saw from Reason, but it seems like it is not compatible with a lot of outside software and plug-ins, unfortunately.)

Any thoughts or recommendations on which DAW might be the best fit for me? I imagine that anything I get will be a major upgrade from a 10-year-old version of ACID Pro running on Windows XP, but obviously I want to find the optimal choice. Thanks.
Old 19th August 2016
  #3
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thismercifulfate's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by drichard View Post
...It's slow, buggy....if you're recording a full band in a time-critical, high pressure recording studio...
Old 19th August 2016
  #4
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I would also recommend Cubase, especially if you come from acid.

I find loop-recording and editing much much better in Cubase than pro tools.

If you generally like the acid way, have a look at ableton live as well. There is a Demoversion available.
Old 19th August 2016
  #5
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I'm not sure where the opinions that pro tools is better for tweaking?

I'd go for Cubase, you get far more and it can do so much, great midi and audio editing compare to other DAWs, it has so much more to offer a home studio user than pro tools imo. Plus resource managemnt in pro tools is one of the worst and in cubase, one of the best, on windows anyway.
Old 19th August 2016
  #6
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On the surface, my comment seems to contradict itself. It doesn't. PT has been the standard in major studios for a long time, and engineers who have used PT for many years can operate it quickly and efficiently. Not because it's a fast and efficient piece of software, but because they know it so well. And the HDX hardware allows integrated low latency monitoring, which is crucial in a major studio environment.

But for the home user using vanilla it's not fast or efficient. Startup is excrutiating. VIs are awkward. As an editor, the vanilla version doesn't even offer auto-crossfade, and is crude and slower than other DAWs. It's horribly buggy. And on and on. If you are going to be learning a new DAW, get a better one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thismercifulfate View Post
Old 19th August 2016
  #7
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Acid! Awesome! I used acid back when it was owned by sonic foundry. Anyway, I run pro tools and logic in my commercial facility. I'm guessing you have a lot of loop libraries as well.

I would highly recommend a Mac & Logic. Logic has everything you need without any 3rd party instruments, amp sims, and I'm pretty dang sure you can import your libraries to use along side the apple loops that are quite nice as well.
Old 19th August 2016
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeremyandstuff View Post
From what I gather, the consensus seems to be that Pro Tools is better for recording live instruments and in-depth tweaking/editing, while Cubase is better for composers and songwriters who use a lot of virtual instruments.
I loved Acid. Such a fun app. To answer your question maybe like 15+ years ago this would be the case? To date they are both on par in that dept. Sure you'll find things that each do better here and there. The big thing with PT is many remaining studios use it for status and compatibility, not to mention many engineers know it like the back of their hand. As far as compatibility with others? All you have to do is bounce your tracks to audio and you can import them into any DAW app out there. Out of the two, for you my pick is Cubase.
Old 19th August 2016
  #9
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lemix's Avatar
Hey jeremyandstuff

You going to hear great advice and some biased recommendations . I wish you good luck and don't forget to grab demos and dig in.

Only thing I'd like to suggest is to base your decision considering a few, IMO very important factors ;

* Mac or PC..read about interfacing and storage, drivers, stability
* are you going to collaborate ? consider file/session exchange
* are you ever going to mix beyond stereo ( 5.1 ...)

I am a semi retired pro, been doing audio for 30 + years. It is more important to me to work with a solid rig, then have every bells and whistles and the latest up to the minute OS running. I suggest spent time asking, demoing , reading manuals before buying that license ( or time restricted plan )

again..best of luck

BTW..I have a W7 PC, a Mac mini PT , Wavelab and Nuendo. 90% of my work is in Nuendo
Old 19th August 2016
  #10
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UnderTow's Avatar
I own PT HD and Cubase Pro. I use PT HD for all my TV/Film post production work. For Music? Cubase all the way!

Alistair
Old 20th August 2016
  #11
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Highly recommended: Reaper.

Reaper is $60 and can do all the things Cubase and Pro Tools can do. And a lot more. Dont think about any alternative, there is none.

And you can check out Reapers full version without any limitations for 60 days. After that you will have a nag screen for 5 seconds at every start.

I dont see anywhere a real alternative. Dont be fooled by the lack of marketing for Reaper. If you buy Pro Tools or Cubase you pay for the marketing and the hype. With Reaper you pay for a DAW. And that is what you want.
Old 20th August 2016
  #12
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I was in a similar boat a few months ago, moving from a dedicated hard disc recorder into computer based recording. I tried protools, found it to be pretty easy and intuitive to use. Checked out Cubase as that was recommended by some respected engineers who pushed me to try it. I found it difficult to get going and not very intuitive at all but I was determined to give it a chance. I studied up and joined the Steinberg forum, asked questions, got answers, tried different features, experimented and now there is no going back for me. I record a full live band as well as solo projects with multiple instruments and find it is perfect for either tracking, over dubbing or just composing. The built in plugs are great and it has some features not found in other daws, I mean it is really deep and I have barely scratched the surface. Give it a chance to see if it is right for you.
Old 20th August 2016
  #13
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I'm a Cubase user, just recently moved to Cubase 8.5 from Cubase 5 a few weeks ago. It is a massive upgrade and for the better in my opinion adding the much needed VCA groups and better workflow.I find Cubase is great for composing and great for recording a band if you have enough inputs to get all the drums the first pass. I've heard great things about Reaper and it is very attractively priced.
I haven't used Protools but I once printed all the tracks from a Cubase project to be remixed by a reputable engineer using Protools. In my dismay, they told me Protools couldn't handle that many tracks. I asked if they were using a 'lite' version but they stated the full version was only good up to 96 tracks was it? I don't believe there is a limit in Cubase. Reason looks like fun for electronic music composition.

You also have studio one, Live, Logic, bitwig, Sonar, Performer and more. I had read once sonar didn't have good video support, not sure how old that was. I do audio for video quite a bit so I like Cubase for that. Note I don't think Cubase is super intuitive however. I vote Cubase. BTW, Geist is really fun to use with Cubase for drums.
Old 20th August 2016
  #14
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Unless you plan on working for other people and transferring session back and forth from a rented professional studio there is no reason to get Pro-Tools.

It isn't as buggy as people make it out to be, and it is a pretty easy software to use, but it does have a stigma.

I am not going to offer alternatives that you have already ruled out, sounds like you did your research and you know what you want to choose between. For what you do though it would not really matter what you choose. As long as you don't blame your choice of software when you get stuck and figure out the method required for implementation you will have many many many years of use of which ever one you choose.

I personally would steer you towards Cubase, I think it is a better fit for what you do and Steinberg/Yamaha are pretty stable.
Old 20th August 2016
  #15
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Cubase/Nuendo works well and it works every time.
I've been using Nuendo for 12 years and I don't know what a crash/ bug is, or midi issue or "hey, I can't do that with this DAWS).
The included plugins are good too.
Old 20th August 2016
  #16
Gear Nut
 

I just knew when opening this thread there would be someone recommending Reaper. Anyway, based on your description of creation and recording, Cubase without a doubt. It is leaps and bounds ahead in terms of Drum programming. I don't know how these Reaper users keep claiming it "can do all the things Cubase and Pro Tools can do. And a lot more." and never get called out on it. Just take a look at the midi programming in Cubase compared to Reaper or any other DAW for that matter. Yes I am a Cubase user. Anyway this guy has a video on exactly what you are asking...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=auXDVUGc8VY But like I said, Drum Programming is one area not mentioned in this video that I strongly recommend Cubase over Pro Tools for.
Old 20th August 2016
  #17
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Pro Tools- x64bit double precision audio engine
Cubase-x32bit audio engine

Your choice.
Old 20th August 2016
  #18
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UnderTow's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by goshalev View Post
Pro Tools- x64bit double precision audio engine
Cubase-x32bit audio engine
Human audible dynamic range about 21 bit.

Average dynamic range of rock/pop/EDM less than 10 bit

Alistair
Old 20th August 2016
  #19
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Robert Randolph's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by goshalev View Post
Pro Tools- x64bit double precision audio engine
Cubase-x32bit audio engine

Your choice.
Of all the concerns anyone has when working on digital audio... what's happening below -192dbFS is probably near the very, very bottom of the list.
Old 20th August 2016
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goshalev View Post
Pro Tools- x64bit double precision audio engine
Cubase-x32bit audio engine

Your choice.
Among many differences between DAWs, this is the last thing, which typical "Soundcloud warrior" should care about.
Have you actually tried some test at DAW, which can switch between mixing engine bithdepths (like Reaper)? Eg. compare complete real-world project bounces with 32 and 64bit FP setting.

To expand a bit about that.. one can certainly prepare specific test (eg. sum of something really small with really huge), where is possible to demonstrate theoretical advantage of double precision engine for channel summing using some error analysis and measurement tools.
However practical perceivable impact to the sound is whole different thing.

I'm referring just to mixing engines, as double precision arithmetic is already being used for critical sections or modules inside effects, where it really matters (like feedback at IIR EQs), regardless of DAW. So plugins and effects processes that at double prec. and I/O to the mix engine is done at single prec.

Finally, recently released (eg. couple of years) versions of DAWs, where summing engines were written from the scratch typically use double prec. arithmetic, because with good optimization, it cost almost nothing in terms of resource consumption compared to single prec. in the context of current CPUs. And besides of theoretical advantages and some future proof thinking, it can streamline native IO with effects, which are also using double prec. internally.
However this doesn't mean, single prec. engines sucks or there's any urge to other vendors for immediate implementation of double prec. engines IMO.

Michal
Old 20th August 2016
  #21
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Dzilizi's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by extralife View Post
I just knew when opening this thread there would be someone recommending Reaper. Anyway, based on your description of creation and recording, Cubase without a doubt. It is leaps and bounds ahead in terms of Drum programming. I don't know how these Reaper users keep claiming it "can do all the things Cubase and Pro Tools can do. And a lot more." and never get called out on it. Just take a look at the midi programming in Cubase compared to Reaper or any other DAW for that matter. Yes I am a Cubase user. Anyway this guy has a video on exactly what you are asking...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=auXDVUGc8VY But like I said, Drum Programming is one area not mentioned in this video that I strongly recommend Cubase over Pro Tools for.
This video was interesting in that in just the first few minutes it showed something that Pro Tools does so much better. I can see all the buttons. I've been learning Cubase and I just can't see all the buttons along the top. They are black on dark grey, very close together, and extremely tiny. There are also a lot of them. It is very frustrating to work with it because of this.

Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of good things about Cubase. And if you have a 24 inch screen or bigger, the buttons are easier to see. Otherwise having a magnifying glass handy is almost necessary.
Old 20th August 2016
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dzilizi View Post
This video was interesting in that in just the first few minutes it showed something that Pro Tools does so much better. I can see all the buttons. I've been learning Cubase and I just can't see all the buttons along the top. They are black on dark grey, very close together, and extremely tiny. There are also a lot of them. It is very frustrating to work with it because of this.

Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of good things about Cubase. And if you have a 24 inch screen or bigger, the buttons are easier to see. Otherwise having a magnifying glass handy is almost necessary.
Can you just show the only buttons you need? I think the fact that you can customize the work surface is one of the best features.
Old 20th August 2016
  #23
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Dzilizi's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by michael cleary View Post
Can you just show the only buttons you need? I think the fact that you can customize the work surface is one of the best features.
I actually find the color - or lack of it - in the menu bar more of a problem. I've tried changing the appearance, but the menu bars at the top are still dark grey. It is very hard to see.

And maybe it's just that I have bad eyes. I have this issue with a lot of programs and websites. They look really good from an artistic perspective, but from a general use perspective, they are so unreadable that they are almost useless.

I did buy a larger monitor, which helps. I guess I will try to play with it more.
Old 20th August 2016
  #24
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+1

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Randolph View Post
Of all the concerns anyone has when working on digital audio... what's happening below -192dbFS is probably near the very, very bottom of the list.
Old 20th August 2016
  #25
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kelldammit's Avatar
I'd likewise lean toward cubase over PT. 8.5 is pretty remarkable. It's also very deep, so allow yourself some learning curve time. On the upside, in the era of the internet, there are scads of tutorials out there on YT that can be a huge help.

That said, demo both if you can...it's the only way you'll really know which presses your buttons, so to speak.
If neither seems to really work for you (it happens), there are other options, as others have pointed out. Were it to shake out that way, I'd suggest perhaps checking out studio one, as it also sounds like it could be a good fit for you.

Good luck, and let us know how you get on!
Old 20th August 2016
  #26
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That's actually kind of funny. PT was fixed point until PT11, and users had to overcome that very significant limitation for many, many years. Digital overs in fixed point are critical errors of course.

So maybe it's just me, but it strikes me as comical that proponents of a product that previously had such a weak audio engine now has users bragging about it, especially since 64-bit is such a meaningless feature.

Quote:
Originally Posted by goshalev View Post
Pro Tools- x64bit double precision audio engine
Cubase-x32bit audio engine

Your choice.
Old 20th August 2016
  #27
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chrischoir's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeremyandstuff View Post
First-time poster here, so sorry if this is a really basic newbie question...

I've been recording on my home PC for about 10 years using a really outdated version of Sony ACID Pro. Now I'm looking to upgrade everything in my home studio and step into 2016. I've been researching different DAWs online, and I seem to have it narrowed down between Cubase and Pro Tools.

Seems like people tend to have really strong opinions about these two products. From what I gather, the consensus seems to be that Pro Tools is better for recording live instruments and in-depth tweaking/editing, while Cubase is better for composers and songwriters who use a lot of virtual instruments.

I mostly play indie/experimental rock where I record live guitars, bass, keyboards and vocals, along with programmed or looped drums/beats and occasional bells and whistles from sample libraries. I find myself leaning more toward Cubase even though its strengths don't seem to align with my style of recording as well as Pro Tools does. (I also really liked what I saw from Reason, but it seems like it is not compatible with a lot of outside software and plug-ins, unfortunately.)

Any thoughts or recommendations on which DAW might be the best fit for me? I imagine that anything I get will be a major upgrade from a 10-year-old version of ACID Pro running on Windows XP, but obviously I want to find the optimal choice. Thanks.
Cubase is easily 2x faster. in other words you will get 2x the track counts and plugin instances. Feature wise they are about the same. Cubase has better midi , Protools has some more advanced audio mixing features, Work flow is preference.
Overall they are comparable as far as getting the job down on small or medium sized projects. On large projects 100+ track, at 96/32, Native Protools simple cannot handle it with low latencies. It's a good tool for 75 tracks or so. For me personally it's unusable. This is why I switched to Cubase. I need 150 tracks minimum with near zero latency.
Old 20th August 2016
  #28
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It's been well established, after many long discussions on this forum that Cubase sounds way better than Pro Tools...
Old 20th August 2016
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by numero6 View Post
It's been well established, after many long discussions on this forum that Cubase sounds way better than Pro Tools...
Holy bat****! I was almost answering to that one!
Old 20th August 2016
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by extralife View Post
I just knew when opening this thread there would be someone recommending Reaper. Anyway, based on your description of creation and recording, Cubase without a doubt. It is leaps and bounds ahead in terms of Drum programming. I don't know how these Reaper users keep claiming it "can do all the things Cubase and Pro Tools can do. And a lot more." and never get called out on it. Just take a look at the midi programming in Cubase compared to Reaper or any other DAW for that matter. Yes I am a Cubase user. Anyway this guy has a video on exactly what you are asking...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=auXDVUGc8VY But like I said, Drum Programming is one area not mentioned in this video that I strongly recommend Cubase over Pro Tools for.
No Reaper can not do everything they can do...
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