Opinion on alternative DAW from Steinberg users

Currently I’m running Cubase 6.5 and it does the job, so I will be running it for some time in the future.
But I’m also investigating a second non Steinberg DAW (reason unimportant for the question).

I know some of you also (have to) use other DAW’s and I would be interested to hear from Cubase users what their favorite DAW is next to Cubase (or as a substitute). Of course I would also like to know why.
I’m not looking for a debate about the better or completer DAW, I just want to know what alternative DAW could suit a Cubase/Steinberg user best, in terms of functionality and learning curve.

Important things for me are:

Good MIDI implementation
Descent Key editor
Descent audio implementation
Flexible audio routing possibilities (groups)
Virtually unlimited amount of inserts per track
VST support
Multi timbral VSTi support
Drag and drop from host to VST and vice versa
Channel batch export
Multi monitor support

At his point I’ve tried Ableton Live and Studio One 2.5 & Reaper
Ableton Live is a great program but the workflow doesn’t really fit my style of working and I can’t seem to get my head around it.
Studio One surprised me. After setting the key commands to Cubase, the basics felt pretty comfortable. The mixer is okay, although the icons and faders could be a little bigger to make it comfortable to work with. When Presonus keeps this direction, SO3 could be a great alternative.
I drowned a bit in Reaper. The overall view looks good, but when you start opening menu’s it feels a little messy and clunky. Also the key editor didn’t felt smooth while editing. But to be fair, I haven’t used it much yet. So maybe I have to dive in a little deeper.

I haven’t tried, Digital Performer, Pro Tools and Sonar (after version 3), but I’m curious what Cubase user think of those.
Anyone care to share their constructive Cubase minded opinion about one of these programs (or alternatives). Is there one I really should give a try (or maybe leave alone)?

As a PC user Logic isn’t an option.


I use Reaper at times and it’s a great DAW software. It’s a little idiosyncratic but if you put the time in and customize it to your way of working it’s very flexible and powerful.

It’s strengths are sometimes its weaknesses in that EVERYTHING can be customized and changed.


Thanks for the comment Norbury Brook. I didn’t tweaked Reaper yet, maybe I should start there to familiarize with its features.

Topic can be closed/removed because it isn’t relevant for me anymore!