Cubase 7.5 vs Ableton live

One of my collaborators in particular has been pushing me to make the switch to Ableton…I write film/ad/video game type music.

As he states it, “not only can Ableton do what any other Composition based DAW can do, but has the added advantage of amazing workflow”…

I’ve been with cubase since sx3 and am thoroughly integrated… I dont even want to begin to imagine the 3-6 mth set back learning a whole new system. Fyi, i tried the trial the other week and it gave me a headache. It was like learning a new language!

But, being open minded im willing to consider anything, if it is indeed a better, faster, and more effective alternative. I’ve managed to set up a pretty good workflow/system with cubase, and frankly i cant find any reason to seriously consider anything else.

Has anyone ever owned ableton? Has anyone ever made to switch to or from ableton? Positive or negative, is it indeed a comparable or better alternative? This would be for midi/sample based compositions.

I ask primarily in terms of workability, ease of use, speed, stability. Thanks for any advice and input!! :smiley:

P.s… Also i really just dont like the look of it… kind of looks a bit cheap (no offense to anyone)

I have done a fair amount of real work in Live 8 and 9. People who love the Ableton “workflow” are usually talking about Session View, which I simply never found a use for. Every track I completed in live was done entirely in Live’s Arrangement view, which is more or less like Cubase’s piano roll. I understand Session View, and think it offers lots of opportunities for both DJs and composers- but it’s just not how I think when I’m making music. I write and track in a very linear fashion, so Session View’s no good to me.

I actually really like Live’s “everything in one window” philosophy. Even now that they added dual monitor support, you still see nearly everything you need on a single screen without having to shift around a bunch of windows. Live also has really nice audio and MIDI routing capabilities.

Even though I had fun working in Live, I always came back to Cubase, and the reason is pretty simple: Cubase does more. Much more powerful MIDI editing. SysEx support. VST3. VariAudio. More (and often better) bundled plugins. Plus the Cubase Mix Console- much as folks seem to complain about it- is much more useful and usable than anything Live currently offers for mixing.

Live is a fine DAW. I think it actually might be the best “beginner’s DAW” too because of all the built-in help and the simple layout. But Cubase just plain does more. (EDIT: Especially Cubase 7.5. The track visibility and track instruments updates were entirely worth it for me.)

Thanks for the input!

Yea i agree… the session view in ableton just had no use for me. Of course if i were a dj, it would’ve been a different story. I do however work with tons of samples, but i’ve found that cubases media bay works above and beyond what i expec. I tried working in their arranger, but basically gave up. If even for the simple detail of the track info being on the right side(couldn’t for the life of me get used to this!)

i’ve been writing in cubase for a couple years now using 3 monitors… it shocks me that they only recently added dual monitor support.

Cubase is clearly a more powerful and customizable software. Obviously im a bit biased, but i really wanted to know what all the fuss was about :slight_smile:

One gripe i have with cubase is the constant clicking, finding, and arranging of the audio/midi editor windows. Thats certainly a useful tool abelton has with their all in one arrangement. Im sure there are more.

i supposed its a matter of choice… but these days with volume/speed being a huge part of the “all in one” composer workflow etc. is clearly a game changer.

I had no idea about this!! Looks nice… and their arrangement tracks read left to right! :smiley:

wish i wouldve gotten in on the beta… i’ll definitely look into the trial when its out.

I was thinking about getting Ableton too, until I saw feature request forum on the official Ableton forum. Reading through it I kept saying to myself “what? it doesn’t have THAT?!”. Its just missing so many essential Cubase features there’s no way I could ever switch over. I will say the two main features I really want from Ableton Live in Cubase is their macros (stackable quick controls maybe?), and something similar to Live’s session view (at least an advanced Arranger Track).

I’m in a session of live at this very moment… it kind of makes me want to cry…

i think i’ll try writing a song using ableton so i can see first hand what the differences are. So far its got my brain completely in knots!

This talk of automation and arrangement benefits has me optimistic…

If it werent for particular collaborative requirements… i’d never even consider it.

hopefully i’ll be able to find some harmony between the two… or let it sit on my hard drive and keep writing away in cubase :slight_smile:

I bought Live 9 last year, after many years of Cubase and Pro Tools. I still use those 3 DAWs. PT is for postproduction mixing. For music writing, Cubase and Live have different workflow that drive my creativity in different ways. I think both have their place for my needs. Live has powerful tools to manipulate audio clips and samples. Cubase has chords track (ok, I’m kidding). Cubase has a lot more to do with in a more linear way.

What helps me to dig into Live, I looked some good tutorials (on Lynda and Groove3) to understand the basis.

Anyway, there’s no need to like both, it could be just another tool in your bin.

Thats good to know!

Have found a way to easily exchange your projects between cubase and ableton?

Besides rendering the audio to track stems…

Score/Notation features.

Not unless something has really changed in the recent past,
this statement is doubtful.


I only create new projects in Live. I decided to not bother with that !

Yea i figured that would have to be the case…

I’ve been playing around with it the past few hours… minus a few perks, it leaves much to be desired.

To be continued…bleh

Well now I know why most songs on the radio now sound the same. :smiley: :smiley: :smiley:

I just took a look to a new player in the game, Bitwig. Nothing to compete Cubase directly, but a big foot in Ableton’s field… It will be presented at NAMM and launch in March. Looks promising, at least for those considering bying Live but have not yet.

I’m a cubase user for more then a decade, from the time of vst32 version… That was my begining with steinberg… My first good songs were made on sx versions, true, not vst32… I feel like I need to freshen me up a little with some new ‘perspective’… My colleagues, people who I colaborate with use ableton on daily basis. In terms of arranging sample based music (which I mostly make) it seems to be much faster then cubase…

But when I look at the interface of ableton, it makes me kind of dizzy…

I really have the lust to try ‘the new world’ and to use the best of both of them at the end…

But it’s painful for me right now at the begining… Things I can make in cubase with ease can be a very boring (learning) process in ableton at the moment… But I still want some ‘fresh’ perspective, no doubt…

Any advices on some goood ableton tutorials?


What’s ‘Radio’?? Ha! :slight_smile: :slight_smile: :slight_smile: :slight_smile:


Ableton Live: no notation + no VST expression + limited MIDI editing capabilities = deal breaker for anyone who writes anything slightly more complex than dance music. The same goes for Bitwig. I don’t know anyone who uses Live or Bitwig for TV, game or film music. And I know many people in these fields.

I have used both Cubase and Ableton. One great thing to do is to slave the Ableton to Cubase. Then you get the best of both worlds - the great editing features of Cubase and the Ableton exf plugins. It is pretty easy to do as Cubase comes ReWire ready.

Can you make a tutorial video on how to do this?

I just bought Cubase and came from Live 9.
Why? Well:

  1. A friend at work uses Cubase and I am lonely, so I was hoping to collaborate.
  2. I really liked the idea of the score sheet, drum sheet, and chord pads. I don’t know how many times I’ve tried to figure out what key a cool riff was in and had to Google up notes when using Live. The chord pad seems really good for quick ideas and auditioning what an upcoming change might sound like.
  3. Having to work in the bottom 8th of Live to tweak everything always bothered me. Cubase has a ‘larger’ layout and uses both my monitors.

I’ve been using Cubase for a few days now and those features are sure enough exactly what I like. Worth another $500? Well…probably not but I’ve got money that was itching.

Things I miss in Live:

  1. Session View. I don’t know how people say they would never use it. Almost everything I did started off in session view. It is great for whiteboarding ideas quickly. Trying different clips against each other. It is also great for demoing or djing. Not that I ever played DJ. I don’t see any way to quickly whiteboard things in Cubase like that. I’d have to drag clips around in arrangement view and remember where I dragged them from, one at a time. yucky.
  2. I’ve only had a few days with Cubase, so this might be off, but I feel that Live had better built in effects and instruments. It also came with Max for free, so I could make my own. Not a huge deal, because I’ve got so many plugins, but I was kind of disappointed in the sound and use of cubase’s instruments and effects.

My 2 cents.

Agree - since one does not “write” a song in Live as much splice loops and fx with the odd keys accompaniment?

Ever tried recording OR reproducing a live band with Live?..

Just saying… I use Live 7/8/9 - it’s cool for specific stuff.
As for “workflow” - it’s the most overused term on DAW forums. … and has yet to be properly defined. :mrgreen:

Quite often a bit of research helps, and studying the manual.

The key difference between the 2 is their original intent.
Live was always meant as a performance based DAW - something to take on stage.
This is definitely not Cubase.
The instrument sound and FX from live reflect this. Take the reverbs as an example - Steinberg stuff, detailed and complex - Ableton - easy to assign controllers and tweak.

However for realistic sound, I would not use or recommend AL… for EDM maybe/definitely.

For instance, as example, let’s look at the way one programs a realistic drum pattern, including intro, fills , bridge etc between the 2 DAWs. A task which would include loading realistic sounding kits as well as assigning channels per kit part.
Then let’s consider the drum editor - AL aimed their mapping strategy at their own kits, ever tried to map, for example EZD or BFD with AL… talk about lack of “work-flow” :wink: