Studio One Pro Tools 12 and Cubase Pro 9

Just did a test recording of my voice, since I recently got Pro Tools 12 due to increasing recording of various projects. I own all three of these DAWs (PT12, SO3 and Cubase 9 Pro). I checked using a very simple recording with a basic mono vocal track with a C1 compressor from Waves at the beginning of the DAW recording chain using an AT condenser Micronphone. Cubase was the lowest quality (high noise when C1 enabled, poorest reproduction). Studio one was close behind Pro Tools 12, but Pro Tools 12 was clearly superior. I am most familiar with Cubase Pro as I have used it for the past 10 years. I am least familiar with Pro Tools. Which is surprising that Pro Tools delivered the best product with minimal knowledge of it. Same hardware and software configuration. Same plugin used. I am not sure why Cubase 9 is the poorest for recording, in my case, but it would seem logical that the DAW with which I was least familiar would have the worst result. Good recording is defined simply as low noise, with clear reproduction. As you increase the volume of the recording playback, Cubase is the noisiest and thinnest. The volume for the others especially Pro Tools, was able to be turned up significantly with minimal noise and excellent reproduction. I have been anti Pro Tools for a long time. My son, who records professionally, finally convinced me to try PT12. I feel as if I have stepped into the light. The clock is ticking with Cubase, as the audio recording is grossly deficient in my opinion. I am hanging on to Cubase for other great features such as mastering. Can Cubase look at improving the quality of recording. Is there something I am doing wrong specifically with Cubase, that improves naturally with SO and PT12 with no adjustments? Cubase is superior with VST Instruments and automation, as well as, warping, pitch correction, variaudio etc. It is just the initial capture of the live audio that is terrible.

You have to be far more rigorous in your testing than what you describe above.

Did you record three different times, one for each DAW? If so the test can’t yield the same result since you’re doing three separate passes.

Why are you using a compressor? If you want to check the quality don’t add parameters to the signal chain, either in recording or playback.

Did you use the same interface/front-end for all three DAWs? If you didn’t, you again can’t conclude that the DAW is the difference, since it could be the interface. If you did, how did you make sure the levels were set exactly equally between the three?

You made sure you recorded to the same bit-depth in all three?

What do you mean by “turn up” the volume? How did you do that and how did you measure it?

Can you post the examples?

Same bit depth. Same levels. Exactly the same compressor settings. Same hardware, mic, interface, computer etc. The test was brief but shocking. Yes, maybe more rigor. I’ll try to post some samples for relevance.

The three passes offering three results is a good point, by the way. “Turn up” the Volume simply means decreasing the playback attenuation on the UR28M (which is an excellent device), and all master/track volumes at unity.

BTW. I own everything Steinberg except Nuendo. All VSTs full versions and audio interface. I use a Motif XF8 soon to be a Montage 8 (hopefully!). First use of Cubase was in 2005. Was a Sonar (cakewalk) fan, but the DX environment was substandard. I hated Reaper. I know some swear by it, but it was not logical to me, at all. I used Logic for local commercial spots, only due to those I collaborated with. I liked Logic. Do you have much experience with PT12 and SO3 Pro? It’s an honest question, not a challenge. I very much want to like Cubase, but as of today, I simply do not like the audio recording aspect. VST recording is perfectly fine. Haven’t compared recording of live instruments.

Ok, so get another device that can play back audio the same way every time and route it’s analog output into the UR28M. This way you eliminate your own singing, which can be done at different levels every time you sing without you realizing it. Singing three times = three different signals of measurement and that doesn’t really cut it.

I do by far most of my work on PT 9 and PT 12, with PT HD TDM/HDX and their respective 192 i/o (or Omni). Never used Studio One. The rest of the work is done on Nuendo.

The voice you recorded was live though, right? I would count the voice as an instrument, so a guitar for example should be absolutely no difference.

I think you should proceed by eliminating all parameters meaning the compressor as a plugin. It serves no purpose if you want to evaluate recording quality. Also double-check that your interface actually is set exactly the same when recording into the three DAWs. If I understand correctly the UR28M has built-in processing, and it can be controlled from the DAW when in Cubase, but differently if using other DAWs. So you’ll need to make sure there’s nothing going on there either.

Analog playback device. Why didn’t I think of that?! Great idea. That is a consistent signal, indeed. Actually, you are correct. The UR28M has built-in processing. It was active. So the other DAWs are not using the UR processing, then. What I am hearing is that there is a possibility to get an excellent vocal recording with Cubase Pro, similar to what pleases me in PT12 so I don’t have to record in PT 12, import to Cubase, mix with VST instruments and that awesome Maximizer in Cubase. Disable the processing in the UR28 seems the best thing to do. If all can be done in Cubase, I am a happy man. I have an audiobox 22VSL hanging around here somewhere. Maybe I’ll test through it. Haven’t done much laptop recording lately. Thanks for the feedback.

OMG! I found the answer! I turned off the built-in processing on the UR28M and went to the Stereo In fader, clicked the E went to the Pre Gain and LC and HC. Set the pregain at 1 oclock, the LC needed to not be greyed out so I double clicked and typed 20 (for 20 Hz) but the HC would grey of I set it to 20000, so I set it to 19999 and it turned green. Both LC and HC green with no low cut or high cut and the pre gain set. Pristine!! Basic analog in from an Ipad running spotify. No noise and sound quality is amazing! Thanks for your patience Mattias. Although I am going to continue learning Pro Tools, the gyrations I mentioned above are no longer needed for my Cubase projects. I did record my voice, and the same amazing quality was represented in Cubase. Whew. Now I don’t have to lean on a gate and compressor so much.

Glad you got it to work! And thanks for sharing!