I worked with Cubase 5.1 when it came out so many years ago, and stayed with Cubase
through SX3. However due to failed promises on Steinberg's part..like discontinued support
on their own hardware and software, I went to Samplitude 9 and then the much improved
Samplitude 10. For me the work flow (including object editing, and the mixer screen
offering much improved layout), and quality of plug ins in Samplitude was better for my
needs compared to Cubase SX3.
However I found myself needing to work on
several projects in Cubase with clients, and I found myself frustrated with working in
Cubase SX3. I was happy on some of the improvements I heard about 4, but I was not swayed
to go back. Now that Cubase 5 was out, and I still needed to work in Cubase now and then,
I decided to upgrade to version 5.
My impressions on Cubase 5 vrs Cubase SX3
are the following;
1. The effects in Cubase 4-5 have been nicely improved.
First they look clearer, less cluttered and neat. Second they really improved the quality
of the plug ins. I really like the Multi band compressor. Though it went down from 5 to 4
bands, it is easier to work with and it offers you very clean results. Having a solo
button on each band is a nice feature. Studio Chorus and Studio Compressor are other
worthy plug ins to mention as well. Even the basic chorus has been updated, and it sounds
better than the third party chorus I had been using. The studio chorus has more of a wider
sound, but similar. I can see use for both chorus effects in Cubase 5. The delay has been
much improved as well. I never cared for the delay on SX3, and they have finally come up
with a decent sounding delay plug in. The standard EQ is a nice clean open EQ, while the
Studio EQ has a slight smoother sound. Perhaps it is very similar to the EQ II that is on
the Yamaha digital mixers? The Reverence convolution reverb is also another great reverb
which was way overdo. I have yet to do a A/B against the Waves IR1.
5 is the first fully supported 64 bit relasse of Vista. I am sure it will support Windows
7 in the near future as well. I am on XP Pro, so it won't matter until I get a new
computer down the road.
3. Automation has been greatly improved. Previously if
you automated a track, it would effect everything, so if you went over the track again
with automation to fix or change something, everything would change. With the new
Automation Panel, you can control what you want automated or remove in automation.
4. Vst Expression allowing you to control articulation is another step of
additional control. Vari Audio of course is very nice in helping vocals stay in tune.
5. Group tracks can now be routed to a master group track.
chain capabilities are also available. This is useful if you want for instance a kick drum
to affect the compression on a bass guitar track for instance.
7. Track Quick
Controls allows you to improve your control on routing. The project page looks a little
less cluttered and the darker screen is easier on your eyes after hours on a session.
8. I am not a big fan of the sythn's in Cubase 5 for my rock/jazz music.
In comparing it against Samplitude;
1. Steinberg offers very in depth manual
which Magix doesn't. I found this very refreshing, and enjoyed the clear manuals from
Steinberg. Samplitude though has many great tutorials on their web site that explains in
detail how to do things.
2. Cubase 5 effects are on par with Samp's effects
thought a little different. I am sure there are some better in Cubase and others better in
Samp. Chorus and delays I prefer in in Cubase, and compressors I prefer in Samplitude.
3. All the effects in Cubase look like a software dark box with some knobs.
Samplitude's plug ins look like analog gear and are more pleasing to look at, and work
4. Mixer screen: Samplitude's looks like an analog mixer with left and
right faders for the master fader, which is attached to the main mixer on the far right
like a Mackie mixer. Cubase just throws an output fader...and multiple ones to the right
that you can't get rid of, so I have to hide them off the screen. I like that when
creating a group channel, in Samp the fader turns blue making it easier to find. I also
like that I can see inserts, aux's, EQ and in and out's on the screen at the same time in
Samp. I am surprised that Steinberg did not yet offer only 4 inserts to view (instead of
the 8) so you could also see your inputs and outputs at the same time.
Samplitude offers object editing which can be very powerful tool. You can obtain similar
results in Cubase, but the way to get there is not the same.
Overall, you can
obtain equal results with both in tracking and mixing, though Samplitude offers a lot of
the Wavelab features as well. Now Samplitude 11 is out with very good amp simulators, and
new skins, and a feature that Cubase SX 3 had...being able to color your track from the
I have not decided which will by my main DAW, though I have to
say, but I will make a decision in the near future. I can say that I prefer Samplitude
over Wavelab for mastering even though Wavelab is a very impressive product. With both
being a complex program the tutorials on Samp's web site showed me how to do everything I
need to do to master my projects.