Unsure on the move to Cubase

I have been an Ableton Live user for 4 years, but I can’t help feel that I’m not loved there as an orchestral composer. I have heard that Cubase is a more orchestral-friendly DAW, but haven’t noticed a difference when testing yet.

I believe I should move to Cubase, but a significant problem of mine is that I’d have nearly 90 projects (of varying sizes) to export over, which will take weeks (I assume). Has anyone been in my position, and if so, is a quicker way to move lots of tracks to Cunard without exporting each one individually?

I also heard that Cubase is better at handling larger orchestras, but I receive crackling occasionally from just a single track - my RAM is 32GB why does this happen?

Ultimately, would I be better sticking to what I know, or sacrifice efficiency (for a while) and a lot of time moving the projects in order to access greater compatibility with orchestral scoring?

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Cubase is renown for handling big orchestral projects using lot of sound libraries.

I am not aware of Live supporting AAF export, in this regard I’m afraid there is no smooth way at the moment to easily export from Live to Cubase. The question is: is it really worth it? You should be able to still open them with your current Live license if you need to get back to them for several years to come.

Is this crackling with Cubase or with Live? What is your configuration exactly and what is your audio latency? Which plug-ins do you typically load?


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Thank you for this, Armand. I have attached a picture of my config, and the plug-ins I use are typically Kontakt and EW Opus, as well as Raum for reverb.

Thanks, the latency seems reasonable at first, but we would need to know more information to find out a potential bottleneck: CPU, OS, SSD and audio interface. In this regard I see you are using ASIO4All that also means you’re using the embedded sound card?

I would recommend your samples must all be located on a decent SSD and that you invest in a proper audio interface with a proper ASIO driver.

I use a SanDisk SSD for part of my setup, and the rest is on a Toshiba HDD but will look to move that to a new SSD soon.

I also don’t have an audio interface (i think?) because I thought that was just for connecting external instruments?

Embedded audio interfaces are not meant for professional workflow and you’re using a quite low latency for such consumer hardware. The rest of your configuration seems fine so I would invest on a proper interface with a proper ASIO driver, it’s the likeliest cause behind your drop-outs I’d say :slight_smile:

Wow I had no idea! Thank you for this!

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It’s usually better to use a proper ASIO interface if you can; however, it’s quite possible to get a useable/stable setup working with the included Generic ASIO driver, or with something like ASIO4ALL and onboard audio chipsets. It’s pretty common to use it with laptops at times when you can’t be bothered with carrying a bunch of extra ‘stuff’.

For me the main issue with using those onboard audio interfaces is that they can be rather NOISY. Even on expensive motherboards I can often hear constant humm/buzz/noise, and it just grows worse the more overall ‘power/watts’ the system calls for. When a CPU and GPU starts using more cores and calling for more voltage, audio circuits on the motherboard can indeed get pretty noisy.

Actual renderings and mix-downs should be clean (sound fine, minus the circuit ‘noise’ on other systems), but yuck they can sound bad in your own monitoring.

Your ASIO buffers seem to be quite small. I typically run at least twice that latency with a proper (albeit older) ASIO interface unless I am doing precision edits with remote controllers…and even then I’m pretty careful about what track(s) get(s) ‘armed’ at a given moment.

512kb can be a good starting place. If you get dropouts/glitches, gradually increase the buffer size in 16k or 32k increments. Really fast systems might be able to go lower than 512k, but it’s not uncommon for less powerful systems to need to increase the ASIO buffers quite a bit as more virtual instruments are piled on.

Larger buffers mean there is more latency (computer has more time to build a stream and send it). If you mostly build music with built in editors, it’s not all that noticeable. In contrast, if you like to play into the DAW with MIDI controllers you might begin to notice a delay from your key presses to hearing anything. A delay of up to 40ms is tolerable for most of us, but beyond that it can get pretty difficult to play in real time.

Cubase does offer latency correction for tracks that are ‘armed’ for recording/monitoring through ASIO Guard, and that helps.

So…experiment with the ASIO4ALL buffer sizes. You should be able to find a good balance that does not glitch or drop out. As for actual analog ‘noise’ that many onboard devices are prone to deliver (you might be lucky and have a quiet one)…you’ll need a nice ASIO audio device to fix that.

I think you’d do this in the ASIO4ALL control panel for your Cubase instance. Set it to advanced mode. You get a lot of settings in advanced mode that you can experiment with until you find the best balance for your system.

Also in advanced mode, you’ll find that you get more options as to what inputs/outputs the device might provide. Advanced mode also makes it possible to ‘aggregate’ multiple devices (not recommended for outputs, and only in a temporary pinch for inputs).

Just moved to Cubase this year after a decade in live and an official LIveschool Graduate. For midi composing and orchestral work cubase has been a revelation. It has become my main without a doubt. What it lacks for me is, Modulation (Especially audio),Sketch style work flow + generally I prefer the way live edits audio and handles modulation of audio more…but that being said Bitwig is superior to both and we can’t have everything in one DAW as it seems no one is capable of that yet. SO…I digress …I’ve reached for Ableton a couple of times since and many need me to use it as that’s what the industry requires. But cubase has been a creative revelation.
Also the built in sounds are at Reason level. Unlike Ableton there’s a possibility I could use every sample I’ve heard so far.

But trust me. Cubase is a revelation for composition. You’ll be asking yourself why did I not switch years ago…

Just remember to take a good week watching videos, reading the forum, really setting yourself up to go in and have a smooth workflow :slight_smile:

All of this is positively overwhelming!! I’m feeling a bit more hopeful about the move now, I have appreciated every word from you guys, thank you!

One last thing I wanted to check: as I’m currently on the trial version of pro, when I get the real thing I only intend to get artist (for now). Will I be able to still open my projects even if I made them in the pro trial?

Also if your onboard audio is from Realtek you should double check to see if they have an ASIO driver for it - as they sometimes do nowadays.

But there is no substitute for a proper audio interface, especially if you are going for high Track counts. Do a search here, there are several threads on recommendations for budget friendly interfaces.

Yes, although any Pro only features used wouldn’t be available. Also, Cubase is great at both backwards & forwards compatibility between versions.

Would highly consider getting Pro through Splice rent to own if you can’t outright. The extra features of pro are nothing to be sniffed at, eventually you’ll be just from the FOMO lol

Very True. Here’s a comparison chart.