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Cubase 10.5 Pro vs. Reaper
Old 25th July 2020
  #1
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Cubase 10.5 Pro vs. Reaper

(a bit of whisky rambling here)

Cubase Pro 10.5 is on sale for 340 or so (with tax and elicenser).

I've been demoing it and kind of thinking about it because apparently people like it a lot for orchestral production. And I do kind of like it. But I'm skeptical it's better than Reaper.

As much as I like Reaper, it's just got this kind of feeling of being janky and ****, and I really do genuinely like it. It's so cool to customize and I feel so fluent in it, sometimes. Sometimes. I don't have that in Cubase which feels and looks very bad with the shortcuts for making tracks, midi regions, and so on.

But Cubase is also more... full on. And yet it also seems more... unstable. Reaper works. I boot it up, and 90% of the time it's just solid. It works with my interface, it doesn't really crash, it's fairly reliable. Despite the jankiness.

And Cubase on the other hand is this kind of cumbersome thing, no offense to the devs. But the audio setup - for some inexplicable reason - is presenting issues that I haven't had a single time with a single other piece of audio software I've used, where it interrupts my audio from other programs. I mean, I want to like it but I'm just like "WTF" because Dorico did the exact same thing. Steinberg software.

That said... it seems like a great all in one option for doing more serious production work, I guess. The thing about Reaper is that no matter how good it is, it just never feels particularly enjoyable to use. It's like driving a cheap Toyota or something. It just feels lame. IDK.

I'm probably just going to stick with Reaper but the weird thing is I just feel like I can never really go "all in" with Reaper. It always just feels kind of jank and like a stop gap or something, no matter how "nerdy cool" it is with all the customization. It's still just... Reaper. The MIDI editor is ****ing mediocre. It has features but isn't it always like a separate window? It's a pop up. And it's just... .... eh.

Still Cubase isn't quite as good as Logic. And that's the crux of the issue, I can't get Logic because I've invested in Windows. Period. And I'm not doing some weird Mac trick on my Windows.

If Cubase didn't have the audio interface issue, I'd probably go in for it with the Vari Audio thing, and better MIDI editing, and general sense of being more inspiring to use instead of Reaper which as maybe stupid as I am saying this, just feels amateur and just ... idk...lame? I get that you can use stock plugs to mix like Pensado or whatever people say, but if you cringe every time you open a DAW or get in your car or put on a shirt, ... idk. Is there something to be said for buying something that feels inspiring and just like, cool to use? I don't know.
Old 25th July 2020
  #2
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🎧 10 years
You need more whiskey to make the right decision imho
Old 25th July 2020
  #3
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mxbf's Avatar
 
yeah.

I concluded last night I was probably not going to get it. I mean everything I said about it above is basically negative.

I booted it up and thinking about it a bit more, I'm very close to buying it. It's a very complex piece of software, and I think it has a vast amount of built in features and tools that make it superior to Reaper. It appears that it can do most of what Reaper can do and considerably more. Better audio editing with Warps and Vari-Audio (which is phenomenal to have built in), probably the best MIDI editing capabilities of any DAW. Though Reaper definitely has some very cool features if you want to be nerdy about it (which I don't, I mostly just need to plug in notes and have fast, fluid, enjoyable, creative editing. Editing notes in Reaper sucks IMO. Logic is still the best there, but maybe Cubase can bring back that magic for me on Windows...)

I forget how much time I put into getting good at using Reaper. I think I underestimated how hard it was going to be to learn Cubase. I find myself spending like 5 minutes just trying to figure out basic things, such as getting that stupid panel on the right side to go away.
Old 25th July 2020
  #4
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After playing with it for a while I've decided I am getting it. I was just objectively wrong.

The more I really looked into it and start playing with the available features, the more I realized this is a phenomenal piece of software. An understatement.

It's an absolute no brainer for me, as a guy who works with MIDI. Some of the available features are astounding ...

If you spend time digging into what you're getting at the sale price, you realize it's truly a no-brainer, you'd have to be crazy to pass up on it. At least given the things I want right now. Vari-Audio, the enjoyment factor, the wealth of features, the MIDI editing, and more if you're willing to really look into the inclusions make it a no brainer.

I love Reaper for what it is, but if you demo Cubase PRO specifically and try it, you'll see what I mean. Until you try get the Key Commands set up and start really messing with some of the tools they include with Pro, you might just think it's meh. But when you realize you're getting top notch packages included on top of a top notch DAW, you realize that Reaper isn't as much of a "deal" as you might think. You pay 60 dollars for Reaper and it comes with garbage plugins (imo). It looks pretty **** most of the time. It's great for mixing - don't get me wrong.

I think Reaper is a touch overhyped.
Old 25th July 2020 | Show parent
  #5
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soundrage's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by mxbf View Post
I love Reaper for what it is, but if you demo Cubase PRO specifically and try it, you'll see what I mean. Until you try get the Key Commands set up and start really messing with some of the tools they include with Pro, you might just think it's meh. But when you realize you're getting top notch packages included on top of a top notch DAW, you realize that Reaper isn't as much of a "deal" as you might think. You pay 60 dollars for Reaper and it comes with garbage plugins (imo). It looks pretty **** most of the time. It's great for mixing - don't get me wrong.

I think Reaper is a touch overhyped.
Here's my take on it...

I came to Cubase from Sonar via Yamaha n12 mixer. My work has always been very simple, no automation etc, etc. I found getting in to Cubase quite difficult compared to Sonar. There is just something about how my brain works that leads to a disconnect I have with how Cubase works. I have always struggled with just getting in to it and quickly getting ideas down. I seem to always encounter some kind of an issue that slows me down.

My n12 made it easier (with Cubase integration) but I've relocated and its in storage. So now I'm using a Steinberg UR44 and working in Cubase and its just weird to me...it's not how I think at all. I've been using Audition for getting ideas down and it's much easier for me to work in. But I don't want to continue to pay Adobe a lot of money for very little development work. So I tried out Reaper a few days ago and wow, I like it! I had no problem getting in and doing some work right away. Checked out a couple of Kenny Gioia videos and am up and running in no time. I figured out how to add a marker by typing M on the keyboard, amazing! I am very RMB intensive and all over Reaper I hit the RMB and instantly find what I'm looking for. No stopping and reading the manual or watching videos..it's all there!

A few months ago I took advantage of a Steinberg sale and upgraded Artist 8.5 to Pro 10.5. I use MIDI for my wife's keyboard, and have been experimenting with Halion myself. So I will continue to use Cubase for MIDI. There are a lot of features in Cubase I've yet to even try out, you mentioned some of them. I have not tried MIDI in Reaper, but I will get around to it.

Right now I'm trying to replace Audition with an easy to use program that won't take years to learn and Reaper may be it. My main focus is songwriting and I've got Reaper setup where the GUI is not cluttered at all. This is important to me in that I find it much less distracting than Cubase. And all the different themes out there....that is awesome!

Cubase is a powerful tool, and it can probably do anything you need. It's just not an easy program to learn for some. I'm sure others will say the same thing about Reaper, but for me I'm finding it easy to learn.

And the price? Is Reaper not the best value in the DAW world? $60 for this program is incredible and I can go from my desktop to laptop without a dongle. What is there to not like?

Adding a note about plugins. Cubase does have some good stock plugins. I have not tried Reaper plugins as I have most of what I need with Waves.

Last edited by soundrage; 25th July 2020 at 06:50 PM.. Reason: forgot something
Old 25th July 2020
  #6
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I was also using reaper and I'm now on Cubase 10.5 pro.

Reaper is for sure lighter on the cpu especially with 3rd party plugins (fe Acustica).

But reaper was for me not really stable.

Cubase is for me rock solid. It look much better. In midi reaper is no contest and in many other parts it is superior. Fe control room.
Old 25th July 2020
  #7
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My personal experience after using Reaper for about 5-6 years and Cubase for 1-2 on a wide variety of general music productions as well as working to video/picture.

Reaper can make Cubase look like a FOOL in many ways for my work (track workflow & templates, routing, regions) but Cubase just FEELS nicer to make music in.
"Jank" or "fiddly" is how I would describe Reaper in comparison to Cubase in a few ways for laying down VST instruments. For recording... oh boy Reaper is a thing of beauty. Except the takes system, that really is not.

Tiny things just make Reaper a bit awkward if you're running a fast flowing studio session like certain keybindings not passing through focus windows (enabling the click with the FX or midi windows open)

I really like both, Cubase has all the fluff unfortunately like the dongle and CPU usage. Mixing speed is inferior to Reaper - maybe one day Cubase won't care whether something is stereo or mono too and folders can also be group tracks.. one can dream. Oh, and it'd be great if Cubase be a single program and not require the eLicenser program, Steinberg Download Manager, VST transit thing, GrooveAgent, and all the other little installations to go along with it.

If Reaper upped its MIDI game (and ugly ass interface), I feel like it would finally be over.

Did someone say Reapers stock plugins are garbage? Are you high? I find them more ergonomic than Cubase's stock plugins by a mile
Old 25th July 2020
  #8
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2 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Reaper is a great DAW. It is the most efficient DAW out there. It's easy to customise into your perfect, individual workflow. For getting the most out of the resources of your computer and for running the heavy CPU plugins, it cannot be beat IMHO.

Cubase is great too, but personally i never really got on with it. The guys i know who still use it, were the guys who grew up using it (I've been doing this for over 20 years professionally). Most of them are involved in writing and producing electronic music professionally since the 90s. It's great for midi and electronic composition, but comes with caveats. I always found Cubase comprehensive, but too spread out for want of a better description.............too much going from one place to another, too many windows and areas to go to/from, and too many things are complex when they could be simplified. I know there are others who feel very differently.

Reaper just works, it's small, unobtrusive, and the coding is top notch for a DAW and the efficiency of it is second to none. It will go a lot further with your resources than all the others, and you can mould it to your satisfaction.

Hope this helps.
Old 25th July 2020
  #9
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I ended up buying it. The little features really add up for me.

-Editing MIDI is much more enjoyable. It does everything I want it to do. No complaints at all.
-Step editing with keyboard in the score window is fun and cool.
-The Synth VSTs that came with it are excellent: Retrologue and Padshop both sound very good.
-The Drum VST that comes with it is very good.
-Vari-Audio gives me the ability to do Melodyne/Waves-Tune editing directly in the editor. As much as I like Melodyne etc... I never use them as much as I want because it's cumbersome doing the whole process. With Vari-Audio, it's right there and immediate.
-The Key Commands are all there and seem to be working.
-It looks good and feels good, which makes it more inspiring to work with for composing/producing imo
-The ARRANGE feature is sort of mindblowing. I don't know if Reaper has that but once you realize you can easily rearrange everything without any effort at all... that's an excellent feature.

I imagine there is more in there.

What I'll say for Reaper is this: it's very powerful for mixing. When you set up your major template using all the features, groups, bussing, folders, it's basically the most powerful mixing thing I could think of. That said I just never liked the MIDI editing and composing in there, it always felt like I was using some kind of freeware and not in a good way. Cubase feels like using Logic on Windows, possibly better, which is something I really needed. I'm happy I got it.
Old 26th July 2020 | Show parent
  #10
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bambony's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by drezz View Post
Reaper is a great DAW. It is the most efficient DAW out there. It's easy to customise into your perfect, individual workflow. For getting the most out of the resources of your computer and for running the heavy CPU plugins, it cannot be beat IMHO.

Cubase is great too, but personally i never really got on with it. The guys i know who still use it, were the guys who grew up using it (I've been doing this for over 20 years professionally). Most of them are involved in writing and producing electronic music professionally since the 90s. It's great for midi and electronic composition, but comes with caveats. I always found Cubase comprehensive, but too spread out for want of a better description.............too much going from one place to another, too many windows and areas to go to/from, and too many things are complex when they could be simplified. I know there are others who feel very differently.

Reaper just works, it's small, unobtrusive, and the coding is top notch for a DAW and the efficiency of it is second to none. It will go a lot further with your resources than all the others, and you can mould it to your satisfaction.

Hope this helps.
I agree with you Drezz but I also can see how heavy MIDI users might prefer Logic and Cubase. They are more gratifying when composing. However Reaper is a fully pro option and I suspect the OP will find in time that he misses some of Reaper's greatest hits. I came to Reaper from Logic and now when I have to do something in Logic I find it slow and "clunky".

BTW what doers "Janky" mean?

Tony
Old 26th July 2020 | Show parent
  #11
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2 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by bambony View Post
I agree with you Drezz but I also can see how heavy MIDI users might prefer Logic and Cubase. They are more gratifying when composing. However Reaper is a fully pro option and I suspect the OP will find in time that he misses some of Reaper's greatest hits. I came to Reaper from Logic and now when I have to do something in Logic I find it slow and "clunky".

BTW what doers "Janky" mean?

Tony
Hey Tony, How ya doin' man?

Cubase is the ex-techno posse's hatchet of choice! lol.........

Horses for courses...........

Anything but ProTools !!!! :(

RE: Janky............

janky
(adjective) inferior quality; held in low social regard; old and delapidated; refers almost exclusively to inanimate material objects, not to people.
Old 26th July 2020 | Show parent
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mxbf View Post
I ended up buying it. The little features really add up for me.

-Vari-Audio gives me the ability to do Melodyne/Waves-Tune editing directly in the editor. As much as I like Melodyne etc... I never use them as much as I want because it's cumbersome doing the whole process. With Vari-Audio, it's right there and immediate.
Melodyne sounds for sure much better then Vari-Audio, but the ARA integration is much better then in Reaper. So u can use Melodyne nearly the same way like Vari-Audio.
Old 26th July 2020
  #13
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
Comparing Reaper with Cubase is like comparing a sleek race car with an old patched together tractor.

I’m using Pro Tools for compatibility reasons. But Reaper is admittedly the best DAW.9
Old 26th July 2020 | Show parent
  #14
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1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by torpor View Post
Comparing Reaper with Cubase is like comparing a sleek race car with an old patched together tractor.

I’m using Pro Tools for compatibility reasons. But Reaper is admittedly the best DAW.9
Reaper does have a slight ASIO performance advantage maximising cpu efficiency over some other DAW's, but I certainly wouldn't agree to your analogy. Plenty of music production and film composers use Cubase with literally hundreds of tracks for critical work and it works absolutely fine. I've used several DAW's and nothings managed to convince me to switch from Cubase yet.

The truth is ALL DAW's today are immensely powerful and capable, so it's really chosing the one whos interface is the most comfortable to you personally.

But bottom line you can't go wrong with any of them these days.

Whatever DAW it is, if it feels right, it feels right, go with it
Old 27th July 2020
  #15
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🎧 5 years
Of course Cubase is good enough to get to where you need to go. But it is a very stony way. The whole application is badly coded, very slow, you need to tweak it laboriously before it is really utilizable by creating your own macros and keyboard shortcuts. When you try to start it, almost always the odd eLicenser dongle isn't found. Then it constantly forgets channel assignments... and so on
Cubase benefits from its brand awareness and from testimonial Hans Zimmer.
Old 27th July 2020
  #16
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Lol - reaper is definitely janky as hell.

Reaper is like a kit car. Its MIDI is there, just poorly set up. After customization it is very powerful. For me reaper sucks ass because it does not handle 4k laptop screens. Its 4k ui is trash to the point ppl are able to charge for replacement themes. It is a powerful mixer but damn do I wish it was a bit less janky.

Until Reaper 4k works for humans I am done—I do not have the time.
Old 27th July 2020 | Show parent
  #17
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1 Review written
🎧 10 years
from what I can tell, to get the most out of both applications you probably have to start doing what most people don’t generally want to do. which is customise them. Reaper probably needs more out of the gate adaption than an out of the gate cubase. cubase becomes powerful when you start using its midi logical editor and assigning custom sets to external controllers, from what I understand. whereas in Reaper you can obtain similar powerful controls, but keep those all assigned and visualised within its own toolbar system.

ultimately you should be able to make them both powerful applications, but for that it will take work in either case. I decided that I had important requirements for efficiency and also have a major desire for a choosing a DAW that would probably still be useful if hell ever froze over. so I personally decided on Reaper. in any case, it’s not as if Reaper requires much to just have on your system anyhow. so it’s always a no brainer to just keep around, even if you decide to use some other primary DAW. at this point I have modified Reaper so much that it would be mostly a pointless exercise to change to another.
Old 27th July 2020 | Show parent
  #18
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1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by torpor View Post
When you try to start it, almost always the odd eLicenser dongle isn't found. Then it constantly forgets channel assignments... and so on
Cubase benefits from its brand awareness and from testimonial Hans Zimmer.
In over 20 years I've never experienced an issue with the dongle,nor ran into channel assignments problems, and Zimmer is but one of many tv/film composers that use Cubase.
Old 27th July 2020
  #19
HSi
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🎧 5 years
Reaper is janky as janky is. It's not ideal with tracking as you need to turn anticipative effects off. If you have the patience to tweak it all I'm sure it a really nice DAW. The sync was terrible for me as well.

Cubase Pro looks like a nightmare, tries to show too much info at once. However, it's entirely solid once you set up your external routing. It just feels right. Amazing audio editing, where reaper seems to have no sample editing built in... I tried Elements last night and it's much less cluttered, almost like old Cubase, very clean, but no use for people who use huge track counts or mainly VST's. Cubase also probably has the nicest midi editing out there.

It also has VST Link which may be useful for huge track counts, not sure how well it works. I also always miss not having multiple mixer set ups.
Old 27th July 2020 | Show parent
  #20
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1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Zimmer’s crew all use cubase customised with a control system. you won’t get that just by using cubase.
Old 28th July 2020 | Show parent
  #21
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1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Muser View Post
Zimmer’s crew all use cubase customised with a control system. you won’t get that just by using cubase.
There's nothing customised about the Cubase software itself, its still the same Cubase everyone else uses, and most likely regardless of what DAW they used they would still have a customised control system to work with that DAW, so whats your point?
Old 28th July 2020
  #22
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
Me as many composers and sound designers I know who sometimes have to work with Cubase or Nuendo use usb hubs for the project and samples drives to keep one USB port free for the eLicenser because it is so pettish.

Maybe Cubase and the eLicenser are working better on PCs. On Macs it is impossible to predict if Cubase is going to start or not. If a client is sitting next to you, Cubase crashes, you try to reopen it and get the 'no license found on eLicenser' dialogue 20 times it can be an issue.

When I have to work with Steinberg products I feel how poorly coded they are every second.

Sluggish interface (zoom-in/zoom-out, mixer, waveform editor), half-baked operating logic (automation, mono to stereo stereo to mono), poorly subsequently built-in functions (video export creates huuuuuge files for no reason) and inflexible routing mean countless sources of error.

That might be acceptable if you make music for yourself. Or if you are Hans Zimmer with infinite time, personal assistants and a highly endowed testimonial contract. Or If you haven't looked over the edge for a longer time.
Old 28th July 2020 | Show parent
  #23
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norbury brook's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by torpor View Post
Me as many composers and sound designers I know who sometimes have to work with Cubase or Nuendo use usb hubs for the project and samples drives to keep one USB port free for the eLicenser because it is so pettish.

Maybe Cubase and the eLicenser are working better on PCs. On Macs it is impossible to predict if Cubase is going to start or not. If a client is sitting next to you, Cubase crashes, you try to reopen it and get the 'no license found on eLicenser' dialogue 20 times it can be an issue.

When I have to work with Steinberg products I feel how poorly coded they are every second.

Sluggish interface (zoom-in/zoom-out, mixer, waveform editor), half-baked operating logic (automation, mono to stereo stereo to mono), poorly subsequently built-in functions (video export creates huuuuuge files for no reason) and inflexible routing mean countless sources of error.

That might be acceptable if you make music for yourself. Or if you are Hans Zimmer with infinite time, personal assistants and a highly endowed testimonial contract. Or If you haven't looked over the edge for a longer time.
I run cubase on windows 10 and have none of these issues. I run a commercial studio and have had major label exec's sat next to me, scored movies, produced/mixed large projects @24/96 never had any issues.

Stability is #1 for me and Cubase has been incredibly stable for me over the last 10 years on windows 7,8,8.1 and 10.

as a dual booter with OSX I've always found OSX sluggish compared to windows, it's one of the reason I prefer windows with Cubase.

I've been a reaper supporter and user since version 1.x but Cubase still works best overall for me and my workflow.


M
Old 28th July 2020
  #24
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alibling's Avatar
 
im OSX. No Problem with the Stick at all. For me Cubase run much more solid then PT or Reaper.
Old 28th July 2020
  #25
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🎧 5 years
I'm on Cubase 10.5 Pro on a Windows pro built workstation.

I use the whole suite Cubase/Dorico/Wavelab.

It is THE fastest, smoothest, most stable software system I've ever had the pleasure of using.

I can literally touch type music with Cubase, print out a score for my band and master in Wavelab.

What's not to love.
Old 28th July 2020 | Show parent
  #26
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1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arksun View Post
There's nothing customised about the Cubase software itself, its still the same Cubase everyone else uses, and most likely regardless of what DAW they used they would still have a customised control system to work with that DAW, so whats your point?
my point is, they customise their working environment in cubase. they probably also use another computer
or other software to drive those customisations in order to get cubase to perform to the pro standards they require.
so unless you do too, it doesn't make much difference if Zimmer’s crew use cubase. so what's your point ?
Old 28th July 2020 | Show parent
  #27
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by torpor View Post
Me as many composers and sound designers I know who sometimes have to work with Cubase or Nuendo use usb hubs for the project and samples drives to keep one USB port free for the eLicenser because it is so pettish.

Maybe Cubase and the eLicenser are working better on PCs. On Macs it is impossible to predict if Cubase is going to start or not. If a client is sitting next to you, Cubase crashes, you try to reopen it and get the 'no license found on eLicenser' dialogue 20 times it can be an issue.

)
I use macs. I never had any problem with the eLicenser.
Old 28th July 2020 | Show parent
  #28
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1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Muser View Post
my point is, they customise their working environment in cubase. they probably also use another computer
or other software to drive those customisations in order to get cubase to perform to the pro standards they require.
so unless you do too, it doesn't make much difference if Zimmer’s crew use cubase. so what's your point ?
Again, you're trying to suggest Cubase needs customisation to compete to a pro level with other DAW's, yet you have zero basis with this theory. As I stated, in all likelyhood Zimmer would have his own customised setup with ANY DAW, and its not like he can't afford to use a different DAW Also its not exclusively Zimmer and his Remote crew that work with film music and use Cubase, plenty other composers/producers in the tv & film industry do too.

The point that I was making was specifically addressing someone torpors post which I quoted that was trying to suggest Cubase was somehow far inferior. This is of course complete and utter nonsense.
Old 28th July 2020
  #29
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shortyedwards's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
What is so "janky" about Reaper's midi? Honest question. Is this one of those legends that builds up over time or are there serious deficiencies in the midi side of Reaper. Thanks.
Old 28th July 2020 | Show parent
  #30
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Muser's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arksun View Post
Again, you're trying to suggest Cubase needs customisation to compete to a pro level with other DAW's, yet you have zero basis with this theory. As I stated, in all likelyhood Zimmer would have his own customised setup with ANY DAW, and its not like he can't afford to use a different DAW Also its not exclusively Zimmer and his Remote crew that work with film music and use Cubase, plenty other composers/producers in the tv & film industry do too.

The point that I was making was specifically addressing someone torpors post which I quoted that was trying to suggest Cubase was somehow far inferior. This is of course complete and utter nonsense.
I didn't suggest he wouldn't have a customised setup with any DAW. quite the opposite. which is why saying Zimmer uses cubase, is like saying a ferrari team use tires. they have a massive infra structure. we are probably implying similar things as it goes. I'm not saying cubase is a weak or inferior application by any means. I'm saying its power resides in its Logical Midi editor system. whereas Reapers power lies in its Actions, custom Actions and cycle Actions, linked to toolbar buttons. they have different strengths as you try to solve different problems in differing ways. Reapers strengths usually comes down to its remarkable resource efficiency at the end of the day.
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