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Ableton 10 vs Cubase pro 10

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Hello fellow knob-twiddlers,

 

I want to get the community's opinion and/or advice/counter-arguments for somebody who's looking to switch to Cubase. I've been a loyal user of Ableton for 8-9 years, starting with Ableton 8. I've happily bought the suite and the original push when it came out, and always considered it the premium software until just under couple of years ago. Sadly, I was massively disappointed with version 10, especially since I've had to pay for the upgrade as well. 

 

First it was the increasingly evident terrible and riddled with old code multicore support. Sessions are handled terribly by a pretty damn hi-end laptop. Then, when I started using more Reaper for work in audio-post, I've noticed the glaring lack of vst3. They've recently announced it in 10.1 and released it with the beta, but after 3 updates and attempts of fixing the bugs, it's nothing short of disastrous (crap scaling, saved states don't recall 100% of the time, crashes). HiDPI mode is simply dogsh*t that introduces embarrassing lag, I've been in touch with tech support for 4 months to try and fix it to no avail. The newly integrated Max 8 in form of M4L has also delivered a fair share of problems, starting with interface lag that I've had to fix using a custom executable for Max (which is only possible with a commandline.txt file), not to mention that the old M4L factory devices are left as duplicates and bog down the entire session if you dare load up the old ones. 

 

Then there are the usual suspects that were there always, that I've only started to notice as I got deeper and deeper into production and wanted more control over what I do - no true mono, nothing above stereo (m4l workarounds are not stable or practical enough), lack of advanced routing, no reassignable key commands, invisible plugins on tracks in the session (mix) view, no comping, no offline processing etc. etc. etc.

 

Don't get me wrong, i love the session view and certain elements of integration with Max which make it the perfect live performance tool if you're into some crazy performance environment/installation stuff, but I can't help but feel that I can't be the only one that noticed that Ableton is increasingly gearing the software towards lightning fast production of trap beats or "edm bangers". The whole "get creative and put down ideas fast" has become such a buzzword marketing ploy.

 

So I've been looking at Cubase pro. I've gotten the trial and liked it quite a lot, the depth to the interface and the level of customization really got me excited. So I'm seeking opinions, suggestions, advice, warnings and alike for and against switching to Cubase from people who have done it in the same sequence or use both Cubase and Ableton. 

 

Apologies for the long post, I'm really pissed about spending a good amount of money on this software only to find myself being left out of the target audience.

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It kind of comes down to how you like to work. I've never liked Ableton for composing, so I'm biased to say go for Cubase.

 

Although the music in my signature down below is from an Ableton performance, it's not as hyper edited as anything I do in Logic. I feel that Ableton's workflow is focused more around loops and Logic/Cubase gives you more freedom to compose outside of loops.

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true idm can only be made on fl studio

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It kind of comes down to how you like to work. I've never liked Ableton for composing, so I'm biased to say go for Cubase.

 

Although the music in my signature down below is from an Ableton performance, it's not as hyper edited as anything I do in Logic. I feel that Ableton's workflow is focused more around loops and Logic/Cubase gives you more freedom to compose outside of loops.

 

ha, recognized the resonance plugin

 

In regards to composing, that's something that i'm concerned with specifically. As much as Live is marketed with slogans like "MAKE COMPLETE SONGS ON THE GO" and "GET CREATIVE WITH YOUR ARRANGEMENTS", I feel like it's not very accomodating to real intricate editing. Then again, I may be blaming the tool instead of blaming the master lol

 

 

true idm can only be made on fl studio

 

 

Nothing with the word "fruity" in its name has ever been good

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Flutey Loop:

 

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It kind of comes down to how you like to work. I've never liked Ableton for composing, so I'm biased to say go for Cubase.

 

Although the music in my signature down below is from an Ableton performance, it's not as hyper edited as anything I do in Logic. I feel that Ableton's workflow is focused more around loops and Logic/Cubase gives you more freedom to compose outside of loops.

 

ha, recognized the resonance plugin

 

In regards to composing, that's something that i'm concerned with specifically. As much as Live is marketed with slogans like "MAKE COMPLETE SONGS ON THE GO" and "GET CREATIVE WITH YOUR ARRANGEMENTS", I feel like it's not very accomodating to real intricate editing. Then again, I may be blaming the tool instead of blaming the master lol

 

 

true idm can only be made on fl studio

 

 

Nothing with the word "fruity" in its name has ever been good

 

fruity curry sauce from the chippy. checkmate.

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Posted (edited)

Cubase ist better für midi

 

Edit: und für audio

Edited by xox

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It kind of comes down to how you like to work.

Absolutely, I don't think there's any better or worse with any DAW - Just use whichever tools suit your workflow and creative needs the best!

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Ordinarily I would agree with you, mcbpete.

 

However, I have recently become aware of a fantastic daw called dubTURBO…

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dubTurbo was indeed floating across my mind as I was typing that... :lol:

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Posted (edited)

Not true that they are all the same! For editing cubase is much better... Cubase is better in rounding and for editing both midi and audio. Advantage of ableton is in playing loops and max4live

Edited by xox

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What the hecking blazes is rounding (apart from the mathematical floor(x)/ceil(x) kind)

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Posted (edited)

Lol sorry misspell... i meant signal routing

 

I dont understand how i got from routing to rounding lol

Edited by xox

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Yeah as said it kinda depends what part of the whole music making process you want to change/improve.  I still compose it Ableton but as soon as it's roughly into the form I want then I'm straight into Pro Tools because I think Ableton is terrible for quick intricate editing.  But I could never go full PT either because it also blows for composition.  I've finally got to the point where I have worked out which DAW caters to each part of the process to suit my needs best and jump around accordingly.  Exporting can be a pain but for me it no longer made sense to stay within suffering within one.  Well, I mean there is a financial consideration but luckily I can ignore that.

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Lol sorry misspell... i meant signal routing

Gotcha, definitely miss the 'completely choose your own signal routing' since switching from Buzz to Ableton.

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Posted (edited)

Thank you for your opinions, both constructive and otherwise.

 

I've asked and read around some more and decided to give Reaper another go since I'm already familiar with it from using it for audio-post/audio-to-picture sound design, but held off because i felt the midi editor is flimsy. That being said, I've spent the last few days fine-tuning and customising it and seems to be quite alright now.

 

The biggest red flags for me regarding going with cubase were stability (cpu usage and crashing seems to be a recurring issue) and price/paid updates. 

 

 

Yeah as said it kinda depends what part of the whole music making process you want to change/improve.  I still compose it Ableton but as soon as it's roughly into the form I want then I'm straight into Pro Tools because I think Ableton is terrible for quick intricate editing.  But I could never go full PT either because it also blows for composition.  I've finally got to the point where I have worked out which DAW caters to each part of the process to suit my needs best and jump around accordingly.  Exporting can be a pain but for me it no longer made sense to stay within suffering within one.  Well, I mean there is a financial consideration but luckily I can ignore that.

 

I think I'd prefer something similar but with reaper instead of pro tools. I also believe I can get ableton's session view to effectively integrate into reaper with some creative rewire routing and/or scripting, seems very doable. 

 

 

Ordinarily I would agree with you, mcbpete.

 

However, I have recently become aware of a fantastic daw called dubTURBO…

 

Dr. Drum easily blows dubturbo out of the water:

 

http://www.drdrum.com/drdrumvideo.mp4

Edited by xeturaks

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If you have used Ableton for nearly a decade with no problem, I recommend continuing to use it. No point re-learning a bunch of stuff that you can do identically in Ableton.

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honestly it sounds like something is wrong with your computer. i bought live 10 last year and never had a problem with it, and my laptop isn't even that great. awesome program, no doubt much better than cubase for composition and workflow.

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If you have used Ableton for nearly a decade with no problem, I recommend continuing to use it. No point re-learning a bunch of stuff that you can do identically in Ableton.

 

I would have agreed if I could do binaural recordings, have comping, offline processing, slicing to transients (ableton does that in Simpler but not with an audio sample on its own), proper 3rd party sidechaining without crazy workarounds, functional 4k scaling, assign my own key shortcuts, batch rendering, a functional video engine etc. etc. etc. . I still intend to use ableton but only for live performance and certain bits from m4l. I've already reassigned most key commands in reaper to resemble my workflow in ableton, so when I'm finished with my backlog of projects in ableton, migrating in terms of workflow should be smoother.

 

 

honestly it sounds like something is wrong with your computer. i bought live 10 last year and never had a problem with it, and my laptop isn't even that great. awesome program, no doubt much better than cubase for composition and workflow.

 

There's definitely an element of just the hardware configuration. I' ve managed to figure out that some interface lag is because i have 2 gfx cards in my laptop and the screen specifically is hardwired to the intel graphics chip intstead of the nvidia. Other than that though, when dealing with massive projects, ableton is absolutely piss poor with visual response and is not inviting to be quick and fast with your hands. This seems to be an issue with how live spreads tracks across processing cores. As far as i've understood, ableton devs took this decision to insure uninterrupted playback, i.e. even if the visual interface freezes or when adding plugins, the track still plays and you can affect it with a midi controller. A great feature, but not for my specific needs anymore. 

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There's definitely an element of just the hardware configuration. I' ve managed to figure out that some interface lag is because i have 2 gfx cards in my laptop and the screen specifically is hardwired to the intel graphics chip intstead of the nvidia. Other than that though, when dealing with massive projects, ableton is absolutely piss poor with visual response and is not inviting to be quick and fast with your hands. This seems to be an issue with how live spreads tracks across processing cores. As far as i've understood, ableton devs took this decision to insure uninterrupted playback, i.e. even if the visual interface freezes or when adding plugins, the track still plays and you can affect it with a midi controller. A great feature, but not for my specific needs anymore. 

 

Sounds like you're wanting instantaneous visual feedback when interacting with the DAW, something which you won't find on any mainstream operating system, because that would require a real-time kernel.

 

You should be able to assign Ableton to use the Nvidia graphics card in the windows settings which may help with the sluggishness you're experiencing.

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Posted (edited)

 

 

There's definitely an element of just the hardware configuration. I' ve managed to figure out that some interface lag is because i have 2 gfx cards in my laptop and the screen specifically is hardwired to the intel graphics chip intstead of the nvidia. Other than that though, when dealing with massive projects, ableton is absolutely piss poor with visual response and is not inviting to be quick and fast with your hands. This seems to be an issue with how live spreads tracks across processing cores. As far as i've understood, ableton devs took this decision to insure uninterrupted playback, i.e. even if the visual interface freezes or when adding plugins, the track still plays and you can affect it with a midi controller. A great feature, but not for my specific needs anymore.

Sounds like you're wanting instantaneous visual feedback when interacting with the DAW, something which you won't find on any mainstream operating system, because that would require a real-time kernel.

 

You should be able to assign Ableton to use the Nvidia graphics card in the windows settings which may help with the sluggishness you're experiencing.

Ive done that already, the issue seems to be rooted in the fact that the screen itself is basically soldered to be "projected" from the Intel chip, non-reassignable. Thing is that I'm 99.9% certain it's an a10 issue. If I'm not mistaken, they've rewritten the interface to be generated with vector gfx to offer better resolution and scaling, and I thibk it's not working well with all the other ancient code still there.

 

Regarding instantaneous feedback, (and not to sound like a shill) reaper's cpu usage and therefore visual feedback is insanely good compared to ableton. I'm genuinely baffled by its price to functionality ratio.

I can live with a slightly laggy interface, but dealing with regular stutters and paying 200 quid for updates after paying 500 is a bit of a shit deal to me.

 

PS - I've downloaded a9 to use for live stuff, seems to be much better. Too bad it doesn't have groups in groups and a host of other things

 

PSS - I admit I might be biased against ableton now out of frustration, but I'm trying to be as balanced as possible.

Edited by xeturaks

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If you have used Ableton for nearly a decade with no problem, I recommend continuing to use it. No point re-learning a bunch of stuff that you can do identically in Ableton.

 

I would have agreed if I could do binaural recordings, have comping, offline processing, slicing to transients (ableton does that in Simpler but not with an audio sample on its own), proper 3rd party sidechaining without crazy workarounds, functional 4k scaling, assign my own key shortcuts, batch rendering, a functional video engine etc. etc. etc. . I still intend to use ableton but only for live performance and certain bits from m4l. I've already reassigned most key commands in reaper to resemble my workflow in ableton, so when I'm finished with my backlog of projects in ableton, migrating in terms of workflow should be smoother.

 

 

Yeah I can back this up.  There are some basic functionalities in Ableton that are so shit and/or non existent at times.  Have they even got a decent audio scrub yet? Drives me up the wall, not to mention their key shortcuts are so ill thought out.

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xeturaks, on 30 Apr 2019 - 07:53 AM, said:

PSS - I admit I might be biased against ableton now out of frustration

Haha, yeah it does kinda sound like that !

 

Regarding some of the above:

- binaural recordings - As in exporting to ambisonic files or just creating binaural sounding stereo? The former is a bit trickier (would need a standalone system like MNTN - https://mntn.rocks/ ) but the former can be done quite easily with various HRTF plugins (e.g. a max for live device binaural.jit http://www.maxforlive.com/library/device/3981/binaural-jit or a VST like AMBEO Orbit https://en-uk.sennheiser.com/ambeo-blueprints-downloads )

 

-have comping – I’ve done VERY little comping, but my workflow is to either have each take in scene view and use follow actions to jump to a new scene for each take and then comp it on the arrange view, or (and more commonly) use the method in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L1Joyf2fO8g

 

- offline processing – I use freeze and flatten for all that, but I’m guessing you might be meaning something else?

 

- proper 3rd party sidechaining without crazy workarounds – I don’t know if you know but the new v10.1 will finally have VST3 support, so sidechaining will definitely require less track routing shenanigans for non-native devices

 

- functional 4k scaling & a functional video engine – Both these sound kinda driver/video card related as everything seems smooth as silk here on my (now aged) lappy, though I’m only rocking a 2k res screen. I’m assuming the UI of Ableton 10 uses a higher version of OpenGL that your card is just not happy with !

 

-assign my own key shortcuts – Aye, definitely agreed it’s a shame it isn’t configurable though I personally don’t require too many keyboard shortcuts so didn’t really take me long to learn the ones I need

 

-batch rendering – Again I use freeze and flatted If I want selected items rendered, and render as ‘All Individual Tracks’ (with ‘Include return and master effects’ turned on) if I want batch stemp exporting. You may however be meaning something different !

 

I personally use a combo of Ableton for the mix, and then Reaper for the mixdown/mastering. Though that’s mainly as my laptop is getting on a bit and the mastering plugins make my machine cry (I find it less bulky to trim bits too using an external program – Plus Reaper is lovely)

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xeturaks, on 30 Apr 2019 - 07:53 AM, said:

PSS - I admit I might be biased against ableton now out of frustration

Haha, yeah it does kinda sound like that !

 

Regarding some of the above:

- binaural recordings - As in exporting to ambisonic files or just creating binaural sounding stereo? The former is a bit trickier (would need a standalone system like MNTN - https://mntn.rocks/ ) but the former can be done quite easily with various HRTF plugins (e.g. a max for live device binaural.jit http://www.maxforlive.com/library/device/3981/binaural-jit or a VST like AMBEO Orbit https://en-uk.sennheiser.com/ambeo-blueprints-downloads )

 

-have comping – I’ve done VERY little comping, but my workflow is to either have each take in scene view and use follow actions to jump to a new scene for each take and then comp it on the arrange view, or (and more commonly) use the method in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L1Joyf2fO8g

 

- offline processing – I use freeze and flatten for all that, but I’m guessing you might be meaning something else?

 

- proper 3rd party sidechaining without crazy workarounds – I don’t know if you know but the new v10.1 will finally have VST3 support, so sidechaining will definitely require less track routing shenanigans for non-native devices

 

- functional 4k scaling & a functional video engine – Both these sound kinda driver/video card related as everything seems smooth as silk here on my (now aged) lappy, though I’m only rocking a 2k res screen. I’m assuming the UI of Ableton 10 uses a higher version of OpenGL that your card is just not happy with !

 

-assign my own key shortcuts – Aye, definitely agreed it’s a shame it isn’t configurable though I personally don’t require too many keyboard shortcuts so didn’t really take me long to learn the ones I need

 

-batch rendering – Again I use freeze and flatted If I want selected items rendered, and render as ‘All Individual Tracks’ (with ‘Include return and master effects’ turned on) if I want batch stemp exporting. You may however be meaning something different !

 

I personally use a combo of Ableton for the mix, and then Reaper for the mixdown/mastering. Though that’s mainly as my laptop is getting on a bit and the mastering plugins make my machine cry (I find it less bulky to trim bits too using an external program – Plus Reaper is lovely)

Thanks for all the suggestions! However I'm just not happy with the way pretty simple functions are achievable in ableton.

 

Ambisonics yeah, since ableton only goes up to stereo, it's definitely a pain to get it to work there. I've tried Envelop for M4L but stability leaves wishing for more.

 

Comping - thanks for the video, didn't know about that method. However, I meant item takes exactly, like how in reaper you can have multiple versions of the same item embedded in one and swap between them at will. Something similar is achievable in logic if I'm not mistaken.

 

Offline processing - yeah I'd get away with freeze/flatten but I meant more of a pro tools workflow where you pull up an audiosuite plugin to process just a single item without having to fiddle with the track. Same is achievable in cubase and in reaper via item fx custom action chain.

 

Sidechaining - I'm aware of vst3 in 10.1 and already using the public beta actually but they're having real problems getting vst3 to work properly. A bit unfair to complain about betas, but the recent beta update is their 3rd attempt to fix recalling saved states/patches in vst3 plugins. Also vst3 scale a lot worse on a 4k screen compared to regular vst for some reason.

 

4k/video engine - I admit the 4k hidpi scaling bit is specific to my hardware setup, it introduces lag when in hidpi mode because my laptop screen is soldered to only get data from the Intel chip rather my 1050ti, despite setting all apps to use 1050ti.

Video engine - ableton uses some terribly outdated QuickTime video engine that only accepts mov files with very specific codecs and even then it lags. If you don't use the right codec - crashes or lags terribly. I've had the same problem on 9 as well, both on macos and win. Cubase and reaper is miles ahead in that department.

 

Batch rendering - I meant more for specific item/item group renders, very useful for mass sfx rendering. In reaper I set up multiple regions and then can set up to batch render all the regions one by one, where every separate export will have whatever is in that specific region. I find it super useful when making swells, synth phrases or even sfx for work.

 

Overall its not really abletons fault that I my needs have changed and/or evolved over time. That being said, some basic functions are completely absent or the solutions incredibly non-elegant.

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