There's nothing quite like a 3-way. I reviewed Steinberg
Cubase SX 3.01, Apple Logic Pro 7.01, and MOTU Digital Performer 4.52
for Macworld.com; read the complete review and conclusions.

Of course, a really fair comparison of all-purpose DAW software would
be more like Cubase vs. Logic vs. DP vs. Cakewalk SONAR vs. Ableton
Live vs. Mackie Tracktion vs. Digidesign Pro Tools LE vs. Steinberg
Nuendo vs. Pro Tools TDM vs. . . . but any reviewer's head
would immediately explode if they had to do that. Even with just three
products, the complexity and nuance of each has to wrangle with limited
word counts. These are all deep products.

That said, there are some conclusions here in terms of how these
compare. I won't spoil the ending — go check it out. And since
Macworld.com doesn't have comments, you can conveniently flame me here.

  • Guest

    Based on your experience, where do Sonar fit in the mix? I don't need an indepth review, just an overall impression. I've tried using Cubase and Logic in the past and the learning curve was brutal. Sonar looks to be easier while maybe not being as feature rich as the others but I don't really know. I just want to make music and I know Garageband is good for initial takes but I need a full featured app for what I ultimately want to do (instrumental CD).

    Thanks!

  • derek

    Love the articles, however, I would say they are a little to "loop" focused. Cubase is easily as capable as the other two, and my thought is since VST instruments and effects are essentially an industry standard, that should at least give it an equal number of mice to DP or Logic. I've used all three, and settled on cubase, for the VST options. My only major complaint on the articles was really the loop based focus (ACID etc). Cubase has an incredibly fast method for recording (although I don't think it quite matches DPs). A sonar comparison would have been nice. I think Sonar has the best interface out of all of the packages I have played with.

  • admin

    Thanks for the feedback!

    There's an easy reason SONAR was omitted here: the publication is Macworld, and Cakewalk's software is Windows-only! (In answer to both comments, though, yes, SONAR is great. I don't really need yet another DAW, so I haven't spent much time with it, but it's very strong. Watch for info on Cakewalk's other product, Project5 v2, very soon.)

    As for the loop focus, I felt obligated to respond to the newer features in each in a limited amount of space, and this generation has been all about loops. Note that this doesn't just apply to working with loop libraries — Beat Detective in DP, for instance, is very adept at breaking up vocal recordings by transients, shifting recorded drum patterns, and the like.

    You're right, VST is a significant format, though with so much competition between formats 'standard' is a stretch. VST vs. AU poses a simple problem (can't recall if this got cut due to wordcount): I can use a VST wrapper to add VST support to an AU program, but not the other way `round. I wish that we had one standard on the Mac, or that MOTU and Apple would just add VST support (MOTU could buy longtime MAS developer AudioEase's MAS-specific plugin, for instance!) But that's not the case at the moment. (Not the case on the PC, either, which is why Cakewalk wound up buying a VST-DX wrapper!)

    Cubase is very strong, and as I say, a win-win choice between three mature offerings means personal preference is likely to override other considerations.

    Peter

  • derek

    I think I was a tad erroneous on the VST standard thing, I was PC vst apps (which there appears to be around 2^20 floating around). It also seems almost everyone supports it. I also believe that Rewire was codeveloped by Steinberg and Propellerhead (I could be wrong, but it says something to that effect on steinbergs site).

    Interesting about the DP beat detective stuff. I will most certainly need to check that out. What I find really interesting is the amount of available space in the DAW market (both PC and Mac). There are mounds of competition, and there seems to be enough to go around. Keep up the fantastic work, your stories have defintely made me a daily (sometimes hourly) reader.

    -derek

  • http://- Guest

    Is there any tools like TCE or Audiowarp in Logic???

  • http://www.dialashop.com/ dialashop

    I have tried all three and I find each one has its great points. Editing wise I like the arranger of Logic and Cubase. I also like the drum editor in Cubase. Digital Performer has drum names, but do not find its editor easy to use. Logic has the weakest editor, it only has a basic quantize and you cannot quantize by percentage. Cubase has the best quantize options. Audio-wise Logic has the best effects and second best is Cubase. Digital Performer has great realtime midi fx. So if I had to get one which one would I personally choose, I think I'd go with Logic because I like the effects and its arranger. Its major weakness is its Matrix Editor.

  • gellihead

    i have reason and its alright but not amazing. i am getting ableton for sure and even i want to know which i should go for, cubase or logic.

    i have a mac and i have tried logic and its not bad but cubase looks like an easier deal. i am no legend or master but the track editing looks more simple and looks better on a whole.

    i am not a hardware guy but i can see myself swinging that way.

    what do you recommend?