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Cakewalk SONAR Home Studio, Cubase SE, or stick with Ableton Live Lite?

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by Peter McFerrin, Apr 19, 2006.


  1. My new M-Audio O2 came not with Reason (as advertised on the box) but with the "Lite" version of Ableton Live 4. I've messed around a little with it and it seems all right, but the feature set is really limited (can record only one simultaneous channel of audio, very limited VST support and pretty much nonexistent synth patches included, etc.) My only prior recording/editing experience is with Cool Edit Pro, which is easy to use but also very limited.

    The professional version of Cubase seems to be the most popular DAW software except for Pro Tools, and I'm wondering if the home studio version might be an entry point for that. The other option at the $100 price point is the Home Studio edition of Cakewalk, which has a distinct following. I'm pretty ignorant when it comes to either, so I appreciate anyone's input.

    FWIW, I'm using an M-Audio Firewire Solo with a Studio Projects B1 mic. I bought it used so it didn't come with any DAW software.
     
  2. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    toms_river.nj.us
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    I love Cakewalk and Sonar... but I started on their "Guitar Tracks" so upgrading within that line made sense.
     
  3. DougP

    DougP

    Sep 4, 2001
    I am also an avid supporter of Cakewalks software. very easy to use. i just wish there was a version for Mac.

    Ableton Live does some amazing things though, but the free version is very limited as you have encountered.

    Personally, i must be an idiot, i have never been able to understand Cubase's operation.
     
  4. DemoKing

    DemoKing

    Apr 19, 2006
    I've been using Sonar since its inception, and am on version 5.2 right now. Its rock solid, has great features and does the trick. I record about 40 bands a year with it. No complaints.
     
  5. Sonar Rocks my world!:bassist:
     
  6. Pruitt

    Pruitt

    Jun 30, 2005
    Danbury, CT
    I'm using Sonar Producer 5.2 at the moment. It's an excellent package! It does all I need and way more. Heh heh... :cool:
     
  7. tkozal

    tkozal

    Feb 16, 2006
    New York City
    Sonar Studio here, love it, keep meaning to upgrade....
     
  8. winston

    winston Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    Berkeley, CA
    I'm currently experimenting with a bunch of "lite/demo" sequencer packages. I think the answer to your question depends on your intended uses--audio only; drum machine and a few synth plugins; or full-blown techno loop production. You might want to visit the "hosts" forum over at KVR http://www.kvraudio.com/forum/ and download demos before spending money on a program.

    I use Mackie Tracktion 2 for pretty much all audio recording, but when it comes to MIDI/sequencing/looping it leaves a bit to be desired. I'm experimenting with a sequencer host called Energy XT that can work as a VST plugin to make up for Tracktion's deficiencies. At $150 I feel like Tracktion is a great deal (and quick to learn) if you don't need extensive loop-mangling capabilities.

    I'm trying the Sonar demo. It seems pretty full-featured but I haven't scratched the surface too deeply.

    For loop-based work, Sony Acid Pro 6 is a good bit of fun. There's a 30 day free demo, the program costs $250.

    Fruity Loops feels a little bit toy-like but it's actually a very powerful tool for looping and sequencing. It's cool because there are several different packages available--you basically just pay for the features you need.

    I'd like to try Cubase but AFAIK there isn't a full-featured demo available and the forums I've visited are filled with complaints about how it isn't as good as it used to be.

    I have a couple versions of Live (that came with two M-Audio soundcards I got) and it seems like it's the most intuitive interface for what I want to do (writing/arranging songs, working on loops and beats). Upgrade form the Lite version to the full one costs about $250.

    I'm probably gonna go for Live (and keep using Tracktion 2) out of all these because I like the way it works and while I'm using a PC now, I'm thinking of getting a Mac laptop in the future and want a program that works on both platforms.
     
  9. Sonar 4.0 here - great software! You can't go wrong with Cakewalk.
     
  10. I think I'm seeing some consensus here. :D
     
  11. Go Sonar all the way!!

    I personally dislike Cubase... :)
     
  12. JimmyM

    JimmyM

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Did Sonar ever correct the problem of too much noise when you record MIDI tracks to audio?
     
  13. I'm a Sonar user and am very happy with the results from it. I note that the "Home Studio" version of Cakewalk's programs actually has a fairly reasonable feature list - there's not a lot missing over the "full" version. It would be worth checking whether the package includes the VST wrapper .

    HOWEVER, if you buy Computer Music magazine then the cover mounted DVD that comes with it always has a fully featured audio sequencer included, along with many useful VST instruments (drum machine, sampler, synths, effects). It usually also has a ton of samples. OK - so it'll never be as slick as Sonar, but it only costs as much as the magazine.
     
  14. I have cubase and it works fine.

    It has a lot of cool effects that you can add, but everything else is a standard recording software.

    Good user interface. I can adjust things until I get a sound I like.
     
  15. hardy.

    hardy.

    Apr 24, 2006
    cubase is where its at for recording and keep ableton for the live stuff/extra bits and pieces that need time warping etc.
     

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