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Logic vs. Cubase vs. Pro Tools Le vs. Digital Performer vs Sonar



I'm not looking to produce grammy award winning cd's, but I do need something to work out arrangements and provide demo's of original songs to the rest of the guys in the band I have joined. Recording quality is important, as its hard to sell someone on your idea if it sounds like crap and I am going to be doing a fair amount of audio and midi editing. Also, I will be recording multiple tracks at the same time (plan on micing up a drum kit on occassion). Mac or PC does not matter.

Here is my take so far:

Pro Tools Le: Lots of users, midi has a bad rap as many claim it does not have the editing features found in other programs, audio editing and recording is supposed to be very good and intuitive, under OSX there have been some stability issues (as it is not a native application under OSX). Cheap since it comes with the Digidesign interfaces (which seem to be very good).

Logic: In my opinion this seems to be geared toward guys using a lot of soft synths and plug-ins, OSX support and functionability is good, no longer being offered for Windows, interface has a steep learning curve, popular with dance music/electronica crowd. The full version seems to be the way to go, but retails at a grand.

Cubase: This may be one of the last dual platform, do it all DAW programs out there, lots of VST plug-ins available, lots of dedicated users, a lot of bugs still evident (or so folks say). Good price, but a lot of conflicting information and opinions about this one.

Digital Performer: I have read so many differeing opinions on this software (even more than Pro Tools Le) that it is hard to tell what is what. I do like the fact that it seems to dynamically allocate tracks and plug-ins based on your hardware and ram, rather than on give you a fixed number. Midi support is supposed to be top notch, but I don't know about its OSX support.

Sonar: Tried it at a friends and didn't like it. Seems to be an incredible bargain for what you get and his CPU may have been the problem.

My temptation is to pick up a used piece of Digidesign hardware, such as a Digi002r or a Digi001, and if Pro Tools Le doesn't cut it, try Digital Performer of Logic Express (if I buy a Mac) or try Cubase or Sonar (if I go the PC route).

I've never owned a Mac, so I am tempted to go that route. While the G5's are impressive, one of the later G4's should do the job if equipped with a suitable amount of Ram. Plus, Logic and Digital Performer (what my gut instincts are going for) are only available for the Mac OS. Going with the used G4 also allows me the option of going with the Digi 001 or the Digi 002. I'm still researching the Motu audio interfaces.

Latest and greatest isn't really that important, as I will probably purchase everything but the software used.

I will only be using ten to twelve audio tracks at a time, with no more than a dozen or so real time plug-ins.

What opinions do you guys have of these software platforms.


Nuendo is running solid as a rock here. As the architecture is virtually identical to Cubase SX, I can only imagine i'd be just as happy with that product.

In the old days, Cubase's audio engine was merely kludged onto their flagship MIDI sequencer. Happily, they rebuilt the thing right, from the ground up, with Nuendo (and then SX). Any minor bugs that remain are so minor (and obscure) as to be virtually inconsequential, here).


Thanks Micheal, I either forgot about or somehow missed that thread.

I used the Digi 001 when it first came out to do some demo tracks for the band I was playing in at the time.

After a three year break from playing and keeping up with things, I find myself in territory that is vaguely familiar.

Thinking about things this afternoon (one mother of a boring meeting with those on high at work), I think I might try to return to the Digi 001, but on a PC setup. After reading the thread on the Allenstein machines over on the DUC, I could pick up a used Digi 001 and build a machine all for just over a grand. Plus, Cubase is always there should I need something more than Pro Tools Le.


Senior Member
Any good engineer can make any of these software packages sound good. Choose the best that fits your style. When I work on my own music I use Performer. It has a good interface, great midi capabilities and is rather intuitive. I also like the minimal scoring capabilities it has.

When I work on the projects of others it's ProTools. I can only speak wonders for its audio editing ease. It's portable to almost any studio and it just works.

Working in DP, Logic and Nuendo there has always been some little hitch or the computer gets crashy or whatever (just my experience). ProTools has been rock solid, run and run and run and run... (knock on wood).


BTW everyone thinks they're only gonna use 10-12 tracks....:D


If you are looking to get a mac then get Digital Performer and a MOTU interface, 2408 if you need digital connections, 1224 for great converters.


The best thing to do is to try them all, and see what works best for you.

Here's why I use Digital Performer:

1. It's a very deep program, with an intuitive and professional interface.

2. It locks to video incredibly well, and has the most advanced interface for scoring to picture.

3. It will do some pretty amazing things with audio using its built in features, its own, and third party plug ins, and integrates other applications extremely well within its operating interface, such as Reason, soft synths, etc, without any problems or hassles.

4. Its MIDI features are more advanced than the other platforms I've used, including Logic, Pro Tools, and Cubase.

5. Out of the four commercial/film scoring composer/producers I most often compete with and sometimes partner with, all use DP.

6. I started using Performer in 1987, and know it quite well.

All that said - it sounds to me like you don't need all of DP's complexity. If I were you, I'd get the simplest, least expensive software, and upgrade to something more complicated if the need arises.

For what you're talking about, demos, any of the software packages you've mentioned will work, so why not go the simplest and least expensive route?


Might be fun to see what you can do limiting yourself to only 8 tracks. I think I'd be forced to make better creative decisions, and that I'd actually wind up with better sounding records.

Sometimes I get carried away with doubling this or that, adding "just one more guitar part", etc. Great way to wind up with a mishmash of junk that you later can't understand what the hell you were thinking when you were creating the tune.

I am relearning the benefits of simplicity and clarity in my part-writing and mixing, after all these years of studio work.


I tried DP 2.7 at a friend of a friend's place Saturday night. A used G4, an old copy of DP 2.7, and an old 828 should do more than what I want. The bass player has a Digi 001, and if I can get decent results with it and DP, I might go that route instead. That way I would be able to open up sessions that he had done in Pro Tools Le as well.

I still need to log in some time on Logic, but the drum editor in DP is very, very nice.

Throw in some decent used monitors and a mic or two, and I should still come in well under my budget limitations.

Researching this old gear is actually fun.

Before I know it, I might be in the market for an old Atari ST (which apparently was quite a machine in its day):D


Originally posted by jokerjkny
what happened to my beloved samplitude? darn, emagic...

It's still here. I just got done working in it this morning and I'm still lovin' it!

Samp rocks!!:dude

V8 will be out in the USA soon and it looks VERY, VERY COOL :D

BC :)

Impulse 101

I just upgraded to Sonar 3.11 producer and they really improved it. I liked 2.2XL but the interface seemed amatureish and the sound quality was a bit lacking.

With 3.11 the first thing I noticed was that the sound quality of audio recorded into it was worlds better, more crisp and defined. The rest of the upgrades were just gravy, as was the Lexicon Reverb plugin that ships with it.

In a perfect world I'd be running Digital Perf. it's the best of the audio programs IMO. But I don't have a Mac and I can't afford one, so for now it's Sonar.



Gold Supporting Member
I am a protools TDM and Logic user. If you are primarily wishing to record audio, protools is the way to go. Well thought out and very stable although I would definitely recommend the 002r (a great bargain at $8-900 used with hardware, 4 mic pre's and midi i/o). The 001 is fine but ios pretty out of date. you will be restricted by operating system revisions and have a hard time finding compatible plugins and instruments at this point. Again on the CPU front I'd recommend picking up a used g4 dual 1.25 or 1.42 which should be pretty cheap by now. Mac is just releasing the intel g5's and protools and everyone else scrambling to write releases for them so even a power PC g5 will be a dead end soon. Better to go for and inexpensive CPU to get your feet wet and upgrade in 6 months to a year. In regards to the PC thoughts you might want to get feedback on what features are not present in the PC version of Protools LE, there may be a few. Also be vigilant that your PC is being built by someone with experience and sucess building PC's for music apps. My experience has been that this is pretty tricky and a headache requiring specific higher end chipsets and bios modification to get even reasonable stability. In comparison macs need very little tweaking for good sucess (turn off hard drive sleep, run audio/midi setup and thats it). Good luck!


Silver Supporting Member
FWIW, I'm using PT 7.1.1 on a Mac Pro and it's been rock stable since I upgraded. (From the PC version to the Intel Mac version)
jnavas said:
I'm not looking to produce grammy award winning cd's...
i just want to take a moment to point out how wonderful and intuitive ableton live is to use for creating and producing tracks. whether one uses 'real' instruments or softsynths, live will let U create quickly and directly w/o getting in the way. i'm along term logic user, but these days i use live a lot for tracking.
i would also laud garage band as being an excellent, intuitive free program that comes w/ new macs.


Seeing as the guy asked the question over two years ago, I think its reasonable to assume he's moved on... ;)


i know a whole slew of doods that work at MOTU, and they're slowly turning me into a DP/Mac dood as well!

i like DP cause its specifically written for use w/ their killer outboard gear, like the traveller and my fav lil' box, the ultralite. thus, by going like on like brands, you cut down yet another potential conflict for a safer recording environment. and it doesnt hurt that MOTU stuff kicks major butt for the home studio guy.

and if anything, i like the fact that on a Mac, everything is built to "ONE" standard. a dell, hp, gateway, homebuilt machine all have a myriad of different branded parts and devices that altogether create an even larger web of potential resource conflicts. thus, driver and software coding is more of a crapshoot than anything else.

and yet, inside a Mac, all the parts will always be THE SAME! thus, software and drivers written for a mac are simpler to predict when writing and coding for, which in turn limits the chances for crashing. sure, even a mac can crash, but IMHO, the probability is greatly minimized by having ONE platform that has all the same hardware parts.


MichaelK said:
Seeing as the guy asked the question over two years ago, I think its reasonable to assume he's moved on... ;)
oh... lol!

well, guess we can use this thread as an example for others. ;)


I used PT Digi002R with my G5.
PT runs better on Win Xp then OSX in my opinion, yes tried both.
I sold all my PT stuff and got DP 5.0 and the Motu Traveler.
In my opinion the Traveler has better preamps then Digi002R.
DP has had NO issues and runs great and working with midi us SO much easier.

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