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Topic: Help choosing a sequencer

  1. #1
    Senior Member musicmad's Avatar
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    Sep 2007
    Canary Islands

    Help choosing a sequencer

    I'm trying to choose a sequencer i understand that sonar and cubase are two of the most popular ones, among many others, but still need advice and opinions. i'm a solo artist, will be using one midi device /sequencer/vst-plugins, also what is the main diffrence between sonar an cubase..


  2. #2

    Re: Help choosing a sequencer

    Quote Originally Posted by musicmad
    I'm trying to choose a sequencer i understand that sonar and cubase are two of the most popular ones, among many others, but still need advice and opinions. i'm a solo artist, will be using one midi device /sequencer/vst-plugins, also what is the main diffrence between sonar an cubase..

    Ohhhh .. this may arouse a few passions.

    I think the general answer to this one is that both Sonar and Cubase, in the main, have the same tools and will do the same job. I think one of the main differences is that Cubase uses a dongle protection system (USB key with authorisation that must be plugged into a USB slot when using) whereas Sonar uses a serial number and registration system.

    It is mainly for this reason that I chose Sonar; I will have nothing to do with any software that uses dongles. Just my opinion and my choice.

    Another stock-in-trade answer would be to try the demo versions of each to see which works best for you .. assuming there are demo versions of each; I haven't checked for a while. Will go over and check this out.

    I would also suggest spending some time in the Cubase and Sonar forums. This often throws up some interesting things. The opinion I have formed is that Cakewalk (Sonar) have a better customer relationship than Steinberg. This in itself may not detract from the quality of the product and Cubase is good but all things being equal it might be an influence one way or another.

    Regarding Sonar and Cubase head to head. Well, as I mentioned at the top, really I feel the trial versions are the way to go to see which switches on your light.

    As for me, well, I am thoroughly happy with my Sonar and would recommend it without hesitation.
    Patience is a virtue, sensitivity is a gift

  3. #3

    Re: Help choosing a sequencer

    I use Cubase, but only because I don't feel like investing the time and resources into switching. I believe, from the general impression of music world, that Sonar is the way to go today.

    It's true what Michael says about poor Steinberg customer support, the dongle thingy and what I like the least - I get the feel when the bugs overwhelm them, they start working on another version rather than fix them. Buying another version every two years is way over my budget (I'm on SL3 now and probably for considerable time to come .. I get the results I want from it .. and hitting ctrl-S every 30 seconds is now a subconscious reflex. )

    Cheers Matt

  4. #4

    Re: Help choosing a sequencer


    Being the software junky that I am, I own Sonar (version 5, Producer), and Steinbergs Cubase SX (version 3). They both have their strengths and weaknesses. Both get the job done.

    I also own Logic Studio (with their latest, Logic 8). I tell you. This also deserves strong consideration. Logic Studio comes bundled with a number of audio-related programs with Logic 8 being its sequencer. But it also comes with a program called MainStage. I think that it's a new program (new to me, anyway) and basically sets up your computer (with all of its sound libraries) to be one huge tone generator to be used for live performances. I've only tinkered around with MainStage, but I can see how easily it can be set up for live gigs. Of course, if you do think about purchasing Logic Studio, that means that you'll need to invest $$ in an Apple computer. But it might very well be worth the investment, considerating the lower price of Logic Studio and all of its bundled programs and plug-ins.

    Bottom line, though, is that any of these sequencing programs will get the job done. It all comes down to personal preference to GUI, work-flow, etc. All will do a fine job in routing, recording and editing midi information which are all important parts of sequencing. Have fun and try them out!

    And. . . good luck with your search and your decision.

    Music and humor are healthy for the soul.

  5. #5

    Re: Help choosing a sequencer

    Both programs are very good. I use Cubase, but a couple of things in Sonars favour:

    1/ Sonar's 'top of the line' sequencer is cheaper than Cubase 4
    2/ I hear that it has an easier learning curve ( purely anecdotal)
    3/ Its already 64 bit - which means on a 64 bit system you'll be able to load a lot more instruments and effects simultaneously. Cubase is going there sometime in the nearish future.

    A couple of points that influenced me to Cubase:
    1/ Ability to upgrade to Nuendo (Steinberg sequencer with advanced multi-media and video features, music-wise same engine as Cubase)
    2/ Steinberg is owned by Yamaha, and I hear rumours they may develop their own outboard controller for Cubase
    3/ Works very well with VST's: eg has unique features for using Stylus RMX.

    I hope this doesnt add confusion. In a nutshell - see what suits your budget, just buy one and get to know it so you can start making music. They really are both very good and you wont regret purchasing either way.

  6. #6

    Re: Help choosing a sequencer

    I have no experience of Sonar, but do own both Cubase SX3 and the latest Logic (pro, studio 8 or whatever its called), and I have to say that cobase is MUCH better when it comes to midi editing and 3rd party plug-in support. Logic is good, and people are justified i feel in saying how great it is, but to my mind cubase is better as you can edit multiple cc datas much quicker, which if your going to be using VSTs a lot is crucial....plus there are more free VST pluggins out there than AUs....

    Also on cubase SXs plus points is that you can apply effects to whole regions of audio INCLUDING any vst effect you might have from the main sequencer, whereas this is not possible at all in logic. In logic you have to have the audio on a separate track and apply the effect to the track etc, and although that might be better in the long run, it is a lot more time consuming and so less "lets-paly-around-with-this" friendly.

    Logic 8 is a massive excellent package tho, if you can afford it and the mac thats neccesary...it stripped me of cash so now i cant afford instruments!


  7. #7

    Re: Help choosing a sequencer

    Oh what a dangerous topic...

    I use SONAR (v6 Producer Edition) and, having used Cakewalk products since forever, really love it. I have no CUBASE experience. A friend who runs PROTOOLS just swears by that program.

    In my opinion, however, SONAR really lacks in notation power. I use FINALE (v2008) for my notation work.

    I suppose it should be a case of identifying your needs (notation? audio? MIDI only? Some combination?) then fitting the program to the need and then the machine to the program.

    Sorry if this didn't help too much but I advocate SONAR.

    Best of luck!
    In theory there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice there is.

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  8. #8

    Re: Help choosing a sequencer

    Are you on Mac or PC or have you not decided yet?

    We've seen Cubase, Sonar, and Logic mentioned here.

    Sonar is PC only, and Logic is Mac only so that alone will limit your options.

  9. #9

    Re: Help choosing a sequencer

    You said you're an artist. If you're looking for something that really inspires, I'd recommend you check out Ableton Live. People think it's only for DJ-stuff, but that's absolutely not true.

    I'm a composer and a keyboard player and I used to gig with Ableton Live too with a party combo playing Robbie Williams, Foo Fighters and stuff like that..

    Now when I'm more into composing, working with Live just makes me want to record stuff all the time. It has this unique feature called "Session view" which is kinda a sketch pad for building and sketching songs. You'll see when you try it! You can also download a fully functional demo (except saving) from www.ableton.com

    If you're on a mac, then Logic is really good for it's price, you'll get loads of audio stuff when you buy it, but I personally don't like Logic's interface. It's probably good if you're a studio nerd and record things as a job, but please check out Ableton Live. It has lots, but it still doesn't get confusing. People often underestimate it as a sequencer. I wouldn't change anymore after finding it (I've had Cubase and Logic and I dislike them both now).

  10. #10

    Re: Help choosing a sequencer

    I gotta ring in with a vote for Digital Performer.

    If you are on a Mac, There are two Mac-only DAWs out there. Logic and DP.

    I have been slowly looking for my most comfy fitting DAW for my workflow too. My problem is, after starting out on Cubase SX (which ate my computer's CPU and RAM for breakfast each time I wanted to play more than two instruments at a time), I switched to Tracktion. Tracktion is powerful - but very very very easy to set up. (and it is VST-based as far as plugin architecture, which is great since there are a LOT more VST plugins than AUs out there, and VSTs seem to run a lot more efficiently on Macs than AU's do, which is ironic). I got spoiled. There are a lot of things needing improvements on Tracktion, and the developers are doing a lot in each new release, but... in the end, I needed something more powerful.

    I have been messing with DP, Logic Studio and the latest version of Tracktion (3) and I have to say, I love them all.

    I wish I had the LOOK and feel of Logic, the ease of setup of Tracktion (Any of you Tracktioneers will understand that statement), and the power of DP for editing.

    EACH has strengths and weaknesses. I still haven't committed to one TOTALLY yet. (Though, I am really liking how Logic works right at the moment). I would have to say if I only could have ONE DAW, I'd choose DP. Yup - DP plus Altiverb = happy music making. (I really gotta get Altiverb.)

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