Happy with move to Cubase 8.5 from Sonar

I moved to Cubase 8.5 around 2 months ago after 8 years using Sonar and I wondered if my experience may be helpful to others so here it is. Please note that I use a DAW to record guitars, bass, horns, digeridoo, and hand percussion as waves. I record MIDI keyboards and drums (from a Roland kit) in real time and edit afterward as needed.

Let me start out by saying that both programs are very good DAWs and I am well aware that great music can, and does, come from both of them. However, I am much happier with Cubase and here is why:

  1. The Cubase Interface looks and feels “cleaner” and more professional to me. Examples are the VST Connections Manager, the Track Inspector and the MixConsole. The whole thing fits together well. Sonar feels more like a central program with a bunch of stuff bolted on and Sonar seems to hop on the latest fads; an example is the Microsoft-type Ribbon which is nice in MS Word but in Sonar it is kind of clunky and wastes space, in my opinion.

  2. Midi editing: Cubase seems to offer what I need and the operation is a huge improvement over Sonar’s. Sonar seems to have struggled to address this shortfall and has rejigged their editor too often for my liking.

  3. The Cubase Learning Curve has been called steep by some, however, in my case I was able to learn more about Cubase in a month than I had learned in a year using Sonar and I am finding Cubase very easy to use. This may be due to my approach, experience or mindset but I think it more to do with four factors: 1) Cubase tutorials* are extremely well structured for the new user, 2) Cubase makes more sense to me, 3) it is hard to know what the best way to use Sonar, it seems like there are so many ways to do the same task and 4) Sonar’s monthly update approach tends to create even more confusion.
    (* there are some other great Cubase learning videos including those at Mixdown.com)

  4. Sample or Wave Editing is much more seemless in Cubase. I always felt that Sonar was too wedded to the idea that Track Automation is the only way to go and destructive Wave editing was to be avoided. Sometimes I like to quickly get rid of the crap in my waves and never have to deal with it again.

  5. Last, but not least, the Sonar Monthly Update approach (called the “Membership Program”) is dreadful. While it would often provide features I liked, it also introduced some bugs along the way and a number of features were pushed out half finished. If you tried to hold off on the updates for a few months your product became out of date so it was difficult to find answers in their Forum for your specific version. To me, the monthly update wasted too much of my time and made Sonar feel like it was more for the music hobbyist than for music production.

I pretty much had the same experience (years ago).