Can anyone advise where I can get a demo version of Cubase 4? I'm about to purchase either it or Sonar 6, and want to do a comparison before I buy. I've looked on the Steinberg website but couldn't find any link to a demo version there
It will be very difficult to get unbiased opinions. I would suggest that you go through the features that you use and then people can give you their opinion on how well they are implemented in the program. Of course the biggest plus of Cubase is that it is cross-platform.
Steinberg does not provide one, but I believe Sonar has a demo/trial version.
Why don't you go the other way around? Try Sonar, and if it works, fine, if not, then go to Cubase...
There is no way to get unbiased opinion about things, but I'm a Cubase user, and I'm really used to it. However I've heard many great things about sonar, and I'm sure that it's one of those cases that it's not the software that matters, but the user.
I'm 100% sure that you have a friend with Cubase, or somehow you can get your hands to play with Cubase for a few hours (in another studio maybe), to get the feeling... Then decide.
And if not mistaken (again), both have crossgrade prices, so if you chose and find you need to swith, at least, it will be cheaper...
I'm a bit of a newbie, so please bear with me, my terminology may be off
First off, I think MIDI is more important to me than direct audio editing, but I'd like to have the ability to work with loops, samples, etc, depending on the work I eventually get to (mostly I prefer orchestral style composition, but I want to do other stuff to, particularly in an experimental vein). In that sense, recording audio is probably important, in reasonably high definition (i.e., better than CD - 96/24 or 192/48?), particularly for voice, and acoustic instruments like flute and guitar.
I suppose the single most important MIDI thing to me is sys-ex message editing and sending. Without that the ability to do some really detailed and also experimental stuff would be impossible (or nearly impossible?).
Beyond that, I think the ability to set up and work with the individual music instruments would be important - the ability to easily see and change from one patch to another, preferably with the ability to save patch combinations as 'schemas' or such like. I'm not at all bothered with notation, if I want that I'll use Sibelius or such like.
Both programs have features to do all of that and more (although, I have no idea what GS3 is? Giga 3, maybe?)
By the way, 96/24-bit audio is heavenly and has all the headroom you'll ever need. Sampling at 192 is simply a waste of disk space. (Can canines hear tones above 50KHz? At 50+ years old, I can barely make out 15KHz.)
The advice you received about running the Sonar demo is good advice. Try it, if you don't like it, get Cubase.
The one thing I like about Sonar over Cubase is this: no dongle--I hate the things. Just my opinion, of course.
I am in the same boat trying to move to a new sequencer. I am finally walking away from my trusted Logic v5 and unwilling to change to a mac.
As to asking what sequencer to buy I would add to the question as to Sonar/Cubase/PT, how do they compare in interacting with the different sample libraries available today. Which one seems to work the easiest with the most libraries?
If you're leaving Logic 5 behind, and moving TO a Mac, why not get Logic 8, which just came out? Or maybe Logic pro 7?
Sonar is PC only, last time I checked (but not sure really, as I don't follow Sonar development THAT closely).
All sequencers really will work fine with most libraries. That said EW new PLAY player has problems with RTAS, so... no Pro tools there (yet). Other than that I'm under the impression that, especially Sonar vs Cubase is not especially valid and that they are rather close. Pro tools is still not 100% perfect for midi, as far as I know (but again I follow very little on PT as well, so it's what I hear).
But in all honesty, go for Logic. It just seems... logical (excuse the pun)