Welcome back! You’ll find a growing number of ex-Sonar users here. I don’t miss Sonar for one second. I was really hoping Cakewalk would finally listen to the pro users, but they answered with half-a$$ features spun as revolutionary interface improvements. When they slowly started adding features we had been requesting for ages, it was still too little, too late, and poorly done IMO. I hope the best for them (there are plenty of good folks working for Cakewalk), but they are targeting a different type of customer than me now, and seem to have lost any real technical edge that they were at least trying to cultivate for a few years.
Steinberg, on the other hand, builds the tools I need for music production and composition. They are not perfect, of course, and sometimes Steinberg leaps before they look (for example, I feel Cubase 7 launched a little too early – too many bugs at launch), but the product is deeper and more powerful than Sonar in too many ways to list. Going back to Sonar would be insane for me.
However, I do think Steinberg has a ways to go. They should not rest on their laurels. They have to continue to push forward and deepen the feature set, and push new innovative boundaries. Seemingly little features like VST Expression 2 show they are thinking one generation ahead of everyone else. That gives me hope.
The new MixConsole, while rough around the edges, is a great step in the right direction as well. Ironically, while Cakewalk thinks it is enhancing workflow with their UI updates and tacked on touch-interface, Steinberg actually IS enhancing workflow, although perhaps not as polished at first launch as it should have been. Steinberg is definitely trying harder to listen to customers, but they need to remember to put quality control and stability first. They are on a good path though, and if they continue to listen to customers, and deliver a solid product, while also pushing innovation, Steinberg will have a winning strategy.
Good luck! Hope you enjoy the transition to Steinberg! We’re here to help!