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Newbie_Ableton or Cubase?

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Newbie_Ableton or Cubase?

Postby Guest » Fri May 15, 2020 5:24 pm

Need some feedback.

I'm brand new to creating music with a DAW. I am very experienced playing music on guitar and keyboard. My main interest in using the software is to create back tracks for solo guitar arrangements. I will also like to just mess around, maybe write a symphony. Or a soundtrack to a photo slideshow. I want to keep my options open regarding where I go. I started out with Mixcraft, which I had from a few years ago but never used. It didn't feel like the program I wanted for what I was doing so I began researching and found other DAWs.

The two DAWs I am interested in are Ableton Live (a lite version came with my midi keyboard) and Cubase. Of the two, Cubase seems to be more what I want. I'm not interested in live performances and from what I read, Cubase might be a better choice to recording, and besides I think it has more sampled 'real' instruments rather than electronically created sounds that have a world of their own.

I want(ed) to download Cubase Artist but had a frustrating time locating an e-Licenser in the USA. Cubase seems to be far more popular in the Euro. I spent hours on the phone and online but did locate one. One drawback of Cubase is that it totally takes over the sound on my computer and I like the option of watching videos and then trying it out. In order to do so, I have to close Cubase first before viewing a video.

I'm actually making more progress learning how to use Ableton. And I just saw a special for the next level of Ableton, 30% off for the next few weeks. The price is very attractive.

Cubase seems to be a really finicky program. But when Jef Gibbons (YouTube) is demonstrating it, it looks so easy. I really like the type of music he arranges over EDM and all electronic sounds and I suspect if I want Ableton, I'd have to seek out traditional instrument VSTs as the majority of the sounds in my version of AL_L are mostly not traditional instruments. And on the neg side of Cubase, they do not permit 32-bit VSTs.

I apologize for the length of this post...however I want to share all of my concerns so your suggestions will fit me well.

I do not plan on making money, just want to have fun and create.
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Re: Newbie_Ableton or Cubase?

Postby blinddrew » Fri May 15, 2020 8:53 pm

There are a couple of definite things you can state about DAWs these days, and after that everything is up to you.
First definite thing, is that most modern DAWs (in their full versions) will do pretty much everything that the other DAWs do.
The second definite thing is that all of the full DAWs are fundamentally powerful and complex tools, so they will all have a fairly steep learning curve.

There are a few other general pointers i can lob out there:
Logic is Apple only, so as you're posting on the Windows forum I'm guessing that one's out.
Cubase is sometimes held to be particularly strong on the MIDI side of things.
Pro Tools is sometimes referred to as 'industry standard' but it's really not, people use all manner of things.
Reaper is popular with a lot of folks here (me included), possibly because you can get the full version for about £60, but some folks find it quite difficult to learn. Also you don't get any included instruments.
Cakewalk is free and nowadays is a fully capable DAW.

Really the biggest difference is how easy you find them to work with, so generally try and hunt out a demo or free/lite version to play around with and see what suits your need.

Other people may be along in a minute and may disagree with everything I've written.
They're probably right too. ;)
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Re: Newbie_Ableton or Cubase?

Postby The Elf » Fri May 15, 2020 9:06 pm

I'm a looooooong time (happy) user of Cubase and a fairly new entrant to Ableton Live.

I'd say Cubase is good if you are used to a linear method of working. Live is good if you are more a of a pattern-based composer. So if you come from the days of tape and mixers Cubase will likely fit your expectations. If you come from the world of grooveboxes, MCPs and loops, then Live might be more suited.

But that's a gross generalisation!

I come from the days of tape. I find Cubase a doddle and Live a bit of a fight, but I don't think you can read too much into that when you read the top of my post again.
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Re: Newbie_Ableton or Cubase?

Postby Guest » Sat May 16, 2020 12:42 am

Thanks, both of you. I really feel that Cubase is where I belong but I've had so much trouble with it already and I haven't really used it. First download failed. My bad - I had my AV software running. I spent hours the other day tracking down an e-Licenser, something I had never encountered before. I found one and if I decide on Cubase, it's a matter of paying and downloading.

I have also been tinkering with Ableton and even though I am way down low on the learning curve, it makes sense to me (not that Cubase doesn't.) One of the lesser important reasons I was initially pointing to Cubase was that a decent version is cheaper than the next level Ableton. But just now Ableton is on sale for 30% off.

I won't be buying collections of plug-ins so the on board plugins are important. I definitely want traditional symphony instruments and I know CB is used for film and tv scores and is used for a more traditional sound. The version of AL_Lite is largely sounds probably generated on a moog or some such device. As I said, I don't want to be constrained by specific genres.

I have classical training and am familiar with scoring music. I like some music that definitely sounds like it was created in a DAW (Dead Can Dance, for one.) If I so go with CB (Artist) I won't uninstall the lite version of AL_Lite.

It's so difficult to pick just one!

I heard a review online suggesting that CB was better for recording but AL_L also seems very capable of that. I know one strong point with AB_L is performing live which is something I have no interest in doing.

Thanks for any comments. I'm leaning to Cubase. Perhaps some AB_L can find some faults with CB?
Thanks for the feedback.
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Re: Newbie_Ableton or Cubase?

Postby dbfs » Sat May 16, 2020 6:27 am

I would think Cubase for recording.

Ableton has weird monitoring that results in recorded items being out if sync if you are not careful. It is an ongoing issue that annoys a lot of people.

https://forum.ableton.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=191857
https://help.ableton.com/hc/en-us/artic ... n-Live-FAQ

Worth being aware of either way.
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Re: Newbie_Ableton or Cubase?

Postby Mike Shand » Sat May 16, 2020 7:57 am

One drawback of Cubase is that it totally takes over the sound on my computer and I like the option of watching videos and then trying it out. In order to do so, I have to close Cubase first before viewing a video.

There’s an option in Cubase to release the audio driver when cubase is not using it.

See “release audio driver when application is in the background” In

https://steinberg.help/cubase_artist/v1 ... tem_r.html
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Re: Newbie_Ableton or Cubase?

Postby ef37a » Sat May 16, 2020 8:16 am

Not wishing to confuse but, can I put in a word for Magix Samplitude Pro X?

You can download a 30 day demo of the whole thing together with several gigs of samples.
Totally free and unhampered download and you just have to register (quite painless) after seven days to get the rest of the month's usage.

There is a review of Sam (pro X 3 iirc?) in SOS where it was said "No DAW does it ALL but Samplitude comes closer than most"

As to "taking over the PC"? Yes, I got Cubase Essentials 6 for a very musical son and it does sort of want ALL the computer ALL the time! Note however that if you are running ASIO drivers that will mean all audio goes through the interface. Not usually a problem and you DO need ASIO drivers!

Reaper is also very good but we was brung up on Samplitude, started with SE8.

BTW there is an "American" Samplitude, Pro X 2 Silver that is totally free. Limited to 8 tracks but gets you a'larnin'.

https://www.magix.com/gb/free-download/ ... ude-pro-x/

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Re: Newbie_Ableton or Cubase?

Postby Agharta » Sat May 16, 2020 8:39 am

The range of content bundled will vary depending depending on which tier you go for with most of the platforms.
Depending on your budget and instrument preference it may be better to buy the midrange version and put the money saved towards Komplete or similar.
There are some steep sales on right now but not for Komplete.
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Re: Newbie_Ableton or Cubase?

Postby Guest » Sat May 16, 2020 11:14 am

DBFS - AH! That must be what the person I heard talking about Cubase is better for recording. Thanks.

Mike Shand - Great. That has been a major problem for me because I am watching videos and then trying it out in the program. I was thinking of running a second computer for the online videos but this would solve that problem.

ef37a - There are so many DAWS! I started out with Mixcraft and while it works just fine, did not like it. That lead me to Cubase. Then I got the 'free' version of Abelton Live Lite and the looping function looks like a great way to sketch out chunks.

I'm going to stick with a major DAW because of the extensive support, though I like the rebel feeling of indie. But thanks.

Agharta - I would be licensing the midrange. If I go with Cubase, Artist 10.5. I may sell rights to my first born and get a decent symphony collection, if I can find a modestly priced collection. Anyone interested in a pristine condition of #1 first edition Walking Dead comic? I have the first 5 or so issues. That should give me enough capital for some nice sounds!

Thanks so much for this feedback. You've provided some valuable information that has a definite impact on my decision!
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Re: Newbie_Ableton or Cubase?

Postby Guest » Sat May 16, 2020 3:46 pm

I'm pretty sure I'll go with Cubase - unless someone has a game-changing reason why not. If I didn't, I'd be thinking about it anyway. Thanks for your help here. You really made a difference in my decision.
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Re: Newbie_Ableton or Cubase?

Postby The Elf » Sat May 16, 2020 4:02 pm

Good luck with it. Take a deep breath, start simple and you'll be fine.
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Re: Newbie_Ableton or Cubase?

Postby Guest » Sat May 16, 2020 4:44 pm

The Elf wrote:Good luck with it. Take a deep breath, start simple and you'll be fine.
Yeah, I'm already blue in the face and I don't even have the full version yet! Thanks
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Re: Newbie_Ableton or Cubase?

Postby innerchord » Sat May 16, 2020 9:04 pm

I'll add that it depends a lot on what music you plan to make.
You wrote:
I will also like to just mess around, maybe write a symphony.
:!: :!: :!:
I would suggest that Cubase Pro is a good choice if you want to get into some fairly advanced scoring.
Don't forget Studio One, and the sister program Notion. I moved from Cubase to these a few years ago. They just work better for me.

If you like a virtual mixing desk try Mixbus by Harrison.

Now is such a great time for DAWs, I'm sure you'll find what you need.
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Re: Newbie_Ableton or Cubase?

Postby ef37a » Sat May 16, 2020 10:18 pm

A SYMPHONY! Yea gods!

My son is in France with no internet and tells me he is trying to write* a fugue (after Bach)

"It's bloody hard dad" he tells me.

*can dyslexia come on you with age? I just wrote 'right' instead of 'write'! That is not a typo is it?

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Re: Newbie_Ableton or Cubase?

Postby Guest » Sun May 17, 2020 1:46 pm

I don't think I'll be doing a symphony. I'd say I had just finished a bowl when I thought of that - but I don't smoke. What really excites me is world music...Dead Can Dance...though not electronically produced - Loreena McKennett...Loreen's "Euphoria"...I love those unusual instruments. Radiohead for mood...sorry - a bit off topic!
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