Any Past Sonar Users Here?

Hey group

I’ve used Sonar for decades for music creation and mixing, and have used WL for many years but only for mastering my own projects.

If you’re a Sonar user, you know it is going away (please, no trolling). I work on professional projects and am looking into an alternative to Sonar for my track creation and mixing. I’m thinking it might be a good transition to Cubase because I’m familiar with WL, but in addition to using the demo, I wonder if there are any Sonar users that moved to Cubase and what you can tell me about your learning curve.

I’m not looking for which is better, easier, etc. I just want to know if it took you a long time to get used to a new workflow.



Sonar refugee here. I bought Cubase, and am slogging through it. I was new to home recording in Sonar as well, so I’m not the best judge of a move to Cubase. I chose Cubase because 90% of what I do is Midi.

Sonar Platinum user here since Pro Audio 9. Have bookmarked this forum and am now visiting it regularly. In my case Ive been looking for some time for something with stronger MIDI tools, eg Chord and Arranger tracks, and when Cubase 9.5 came out I decided to buy Elements for a laptop I was repurposing to use for composing and idea dev when I’m away from my main studio. Then Gibson made their announcement and I figured I’d take the full plunge at the xgrade price and get Pro for the main studio PC. I was pleasantly surprised that pretty much all my VSTs were recognized (64bit only), tho I suspect there will be a few surprises as I go to use them.

Can’t say that I have a lot of firm workflow going so far. I’ve watched a lot of videos, read parts of the manual, bought a 3rd party book,… And made myself a list of use cases specific to products I use a lot like EZ Keys, EZ Drummer, Melodyne, Ample guitars, MIDI Guitar, NORA, others. I tend to write down main processes step-by-step rather than just cast about, especially for things I don’t do every day. Otherwise I can’t reproduce how I did something in the early stages. While doing that I’m trying to replicate the Cubase equivalent of the Sonar track and project templates I had in splat. EZ Drummer’s multichannel routing of kit pieces across the various drum sets, is an example. But I’ll only need to do that once. The one area I have yet to dive deeply into is mixing, where Cubase is less clear to me. And many of the Splat Pro channel stuff and FX aren’t available so I’ll have to find Cubase substitutes.

I think I’m going to like Cubase more and more as I get traction with it. There are a lot of little key commands and other techniques to wrestle with but I’m trying to be patient with those. My sense is that many things I looked to 3rd party tools for, eg Melodyne, CAL, or Franks MIDI Plugins, I’ll be able to do right in Cubase and I expect that to simplify my workflow over time.

There’s a whole sticky for Sonar refugees at the top of the list where you posted this.

Also there are a bunch of threads addressing specific questions from Sonar folks.

FYI, I came to Cubase when Logic dropped PC support. One of the best moves I’ve ever made.

Oh cool. I was on my mobile so I missed that. Thanks!

It was very hard to jump from Sonar to Cubase. But I did it. In 2005 I tried Cubase SX3 and feel very bad and told - I will never work with Cubase. Now 2 years I work with Cubase since version 8.0 and last week I tried SX3 again. What a superb DAWwwww!! :slight_smile: All is changing. Now, when I start Sonar Platinum, I feel bad - it is not for me more.

I switched from Sonar and I’ve been happy. Overall I find the Cubase UI to be better to work with and once I figure something out, I can generally do it as fast in Cubase,if not faster. Also it is pretty flexible, layout wise, and I could make it look like how I liked in Sonar (tracks on top, floating mixer on the bottom). I found the learning curve to be pretty low. I started off trying to do the various kinds of things I wanted in Sonar, and when I didn’t know how and couldn’t immediately see a way I’d search the manual,and then search online. There’s a number of things that are fairly different, but once you know how they work it is just doing it a different way. For example if you want a surround project, you don’t insert a surround bus, instead you go and choose a surround output configuration for the project.

I think I spent about 4-6 hours playing with it before I felt I knew how to do all the basic things I wanted. I’m sure I’ll discover more specifics I want later, but the basics didn’t take long.

Now full disclosure, I’m not a musician by trade, I’m an Information Assurance professional so my needs may be simpler than yours and I have lots of experience figuring out software. However bottom line is that while the specifics of doing things may be different, the general systems are the same: It has a sequencer, it has automation lanes, it has inserts/sends, it has a mixer, it has multiple kinds of MIDI editors. The general workflow is ultimately the same.

Hi Stephen,

I moved over to Cubase a few years ago as I had no joy with Sonar X2 - it was very unstable on my system.

I’ve been really happy with Cubase although I still miss elements of Sonar such as the smart tool.

In saying that though, Cubase is in my humble opinion the deepest most comprehensive and innovative DAW in the market place. It’s an incredible piece of software engineering. It isn’t just a DAW, but a composition and creative tool (chord tracks are amazing).

The transition is very easy, You can remap your keyboard shortcuts to be just like Sonar if you want. Its a doddle to use - although I still find the UI to be a little less efficient than Studio One (you need more clicks to get stuff done).

Hope the transition goes well.


The Smart Tool is probably coming very soon. Cubase is in the process of being completely modernized, so you can expect many huge changes in the next 4 years. It’s already the most fully featured DAW around, and it’s only going to get better.

Note that Wavelab 9.5 has Cubase integration. You can send the selected audio clip from Cubase to Wavelab for extremely deep audio editing, then send the edited clip back to Cubase with a single click.

Thanks all for the replies. I especially like that Cubase is still being improved.