Cubase; a safe refuge from Sonar madness?

Could Cubase be the safe refuge that some of the present Sonar users are looking for? In my case the answer was YES! Cubase meets the requirements of what might be called the “traditional Audio+MIDI recording studio” exceptionally well. Sonar does a good job too but still has a few areas like MIDI editing where it is, in my opinion, a bit weaker than Cubase.

But that’s not the biggest issue. Over the past year Sonar has been going though what one might call “Victor Frankenstein’s approach to marketing” with their Membership model plus Monthly Updates. This meant that you had to pay forward for unknown items and whatever version you had was out of date in a month. Now they seem to be offering lifetime memberships and announcing huge changes in the next few months. What next!

With this in mind it might be a good time for Steinberg to offer the Sonar users (i.e. the ones that don’t thrive on software chaos) some assistance or crossgrade, so they can move to a more sane/stable environment and a great DAW; namely Cubase 8.5. Even without the assistance/incentive I am glad I moved over to Cubase. I can finally get back to focussing on the music, not the software!


Hey Ricardo - welcome!

I was a Sonar user for about 6 years [Sonar Studio 6 through to X2a] but switched to Cubase 3 years ago and never looked back. I’ve done more recording with Cubase than I ever did with Sonar

I think I recall seeing some sort of a cross grade price coming from other DAWs to Cubase, but I don’t remember since I didn’t go that route.

I don’t think they had it 3 years ago. But I got a great deal nonetheless.


Same here.

I struggled for years with Sonar! Then I switched to Cubase and everything changed. I realize it’s a matter of personal preference, but for me Cubase is so much more intuitive than Sonar. And this translates into increased productivity and enjoyment. I too will never look back…

I used Sonar from 2000 - and gave up when X2a was released. On my system it just wasn’t stable so I moved to Cubase. There are certain things Sonar does exceptionally well - they pretty much pioneered how modern DAWs should look with their skylight interface, they had a great smart tool, plugin management and other great features however Cubase is so much more advanced in so many other critical areas. Audio quantising is Sonar is laughable, the score editor and lack of sample editor is a major issue for many. Each to their own I guess but I love Cubase despite its flaws and weird window system!!

So true! Having Free Warp in Cubase has been so valuable in tightening the timing of my recordings.

Just a quick observation about the Sonar Skylight interface and in particular the Ribbon. This feature was, I assume, inspired by Microsoft Office. However, unlike MS Office, there is only one ribbon, not multiple ones depending on what tasks you are carrying out. This means the number of features available is limited and it takes up valuable real estate. When I switched to Cubase I was surprised that I didn’t miss Sonar’s Ribbon and was happy to have the extra space for my tracks. The Cubase GUI does feel a bit dated at first but after 3 months I find it very pleasant and efficient to use.


I agree. I think the UI is the main issue in Cubase actually - feature wise its absolutely amazing. I sometimes use Studio One 3 and am amazed at how quick it is to use and simple. You need to click less - everything is where you need it. I’m hoping Cubase 9 will involve a serious revamp of the UI.

I started with Cakewalk in the 90’s & started using Cubase after the X series roll-out.
It forced me to learn another daw & for my needs Cubase was the best choice.
I now use Cubase as my man daw.

I now use Cubase as my only DAW.

At first, I was a bit hesistant to learn another DAW, but after Sonar and trying Presonus Studio One, it really didn’t take much to adapt to Cubase at all.

Other than a few things to learn here and there, it was actually quite an easy adjustment, and I was cruisin’ along quite nicely in a very short time.

I don’t even mind the Window layout issues that some complain about. Sure it can be a bit of a hassle, but not a deal breaker.

Just moved to Cubase this weekend. I’ve only just started but I created Expression Maps for Hollywood Orchestra yesterday. I really had fun doing that and what a help it will be!

I have nothing against Sonar or their marketing strategy, but I really wanted the power of Cubase’s midi editor, expression maps and score editor. I wish I had moved a long time ago.


I moved from SONAR to Cubase about two years ago - primarily because of Cubase’s superior MIDI and tempo editing capabilities. But SONAR has a few things it does much better. I especially miss the fact that when you freeze a MIDI track in SONAR, the audio wave form replaces it in the track view. You can zoom in and examine this at whatever resolution you want, which is highly useful IMO. And of course, we are still awaiting smart cursor capabilities, especially in the MIDI editor, in Cubase. The Cubase designer team would do well to take a close look at SONAR for some ideas on how some things can be improved.

I agree David that seeing the audio wave form of a frozen track is useful. And I do think Sonar has done many things well and the dev team has had good ideas. Not sure I agree about the smart tool though. I think the idea has merit but I find I’d prefer something like hotkey modifiers instead of having to click on the right part of the note. It’s hard if the notes are small in the PRV.


I jumped from Sonar 8.5 about 5 years ago. Although I wouldn’t go back, a lot of this is due to a few specific features I need in Cubase. Overall I think I still prefer a lot of what’s in Sonar. I have X3 for archive projects, and it seems much snappier than Cubase, and a lot is more logical to me - Sonar seems to just follow what I do better. But Cubase has narrow track widths that work very well and Eucon control of midi CCs, so my chances of going back are around zero. The same reasons stop me migrating anywhere else too.

Yes, I could easily live with that solution as well. What I’d like to avoid is right-click/select-tool/do-something/right-click/select-default-tool for actions I engage in over and over and over. Hot keys would reduce these actions to one click and probably an additional drag.

Yes, I could easily live with that solution as well. What I’d like to avoid is right-click/select-tool/do-something/right-click/select-default-tool for actions I engage in over and over and over. Hot keys would reduce these actions to one click and probably an additional drag.

Agreed. Cubase lets me change tools in the key editor with the number keys. The default order of the number key assignments is a little wacky, but it is much easier IMHO.