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Old March 15th, 2009, 04:15 PM   #1
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Which audio software is being used besides the professional Protools and Nuendo?

I'm searching for a less professional audio software for sonorisation of my movies as the well-known and industrial leading Protools and Nuendo (as being to high priced for me). Which software has about the same features for audio on video but in a less professional environment? Is there one beside the 2 mentioned before that is being used by semi-pros who have a tight budget, like me? Beside the normal tasks one can expect from a DAW, I certainly want to mix 5.1 surround (in the package, not an optional VST), work with MIDI and vst instruments, record voices/instruments and record old records and clean them up (dehiss/decrack etc).

Second: It seems most DAW are capable of importing video and editing the audio in 5.1 but what are the mean differences between:
* Sonys Acid Pro and Soundforge
* Adobes Audition and Soundbooth
* Steinbergs Cubase
* Cakewalks Sonar

My PC is windows XP based and I'm using a Focusrite Saffire LE audio interface.

What would be a good choice? I'm looking for something around 600$
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Old March 15th, 2009, 04:48 PM   #2
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Cubase is the exact same as Nuendo except it has less post-production features for crossfading.

Sonar is comparable to Cubase.

A lot of people use both of them.

Also Reaper is a good alternative.

I use Cubase daily. It's good stuff and you can work with someone using Nuendo with a breeze. Plus it works with almost any interface. I love its layout too and since Yamaha bought them out, if you have Yammy gear it is getting better and better integration-wise.
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Old March 15th, 2009, 05:16 PM   #3
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I use both ProTools and Nuendo every day and I have Cubase and have used it quite a bit. As Chris says, the differences between Nuendo and Cubase are few, mainly in certain post-production features. Nuendo has much better mix automation, better work to picture functionality and better surround tools. That isn't to say there's anything wrong with Cubase, you can still do a fully pro job and it is a tremendous value in my opinion. I don't know Sonar but it looks very well appointed, definitely worth a demo if you can find one. I'd steer clear of ProTools LE, in your price range you would not be happy; LE runs more expensive than Nuendo for a similar feature set. John
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Old March 15th, 2009, 05:22 PM   #4
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When working with MIDI, I prefer Sonar. I find the Cubase user interface to be a bit inside-out. ACID only added MIDI recently, so its VST instrument support and MIDI features (such as tempo editing) isn't that strong. ACID is excellent for working with loops, though.

When mixing, I use Vegas, rather than Sonar. I find Vegas to be much faster to work with and more controllable. Vegas also allows you to edit the video, which is great when you have separate files for the various video scenes. Sonar only lets you import a single video, and it's clunky when you want to start with the music and delay the video intro. (Sometimes you need a "hit" on the first frame of a video scene. Often the music needs a few milliseconds for the attack, if not a few notes or a cymbal roll that leads to the hit.)

For mastering, I use Sound Forge. It comes with the Isotope Mastering plugins. It also includes an excellent noise reduction plugin.

I find that separating composition (MIDI & VSTs), mixing and mastering is helpful. Ideally, you completely finish one before moving to the next. Sometimes, you need to go back a step or two, but it's either to clean up one or two tracks, or it's a complete do-over. The bottom line is that you don't have to switch back and forth often at all. If you are switching back and forth often, there's a bigger problem than the tools.

If I were to buy a single program, it would be Sonar. It can do midi, mix and master. I'd probably get Sound Forge second for the noise reduction and mastering tools. By that time, you might be really comfortable mixing in Sonar, and might not need Vegas. For me, however, it would feel like mixing with handcuffs on. Vegas simply falls to hand. It's not that Sonar is that bad. It's that Vegas is that good.
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Old March 15th, 2009, 05:31 PM   #5
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I use Sequoia - but the cheaper Samplitude starts at only £50.
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Old March 15th, 2009, 08:34 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Jon Fairhurst View Post
When working with MIDI, I prefer Sonar. I find the Cubase user interface to be a bit inside-out. ACID only added MIDI recently, so its VST instrument support and MIDI features (such as tempo editing) isn't that strong. ACID is excellent for working with loops, though.

When mixing, I use Vegas, rather than Sonar. I find Vegas to be much faster to work with and more controllable. Vegas also allows you to edit the video, which is great when you have separate files for the various video scenes. Sonar only lets you import a single video, and it's clunky when you want to start with the music and delay the video intro. (Sometimes you need a "hit" on the first frame of a video scene. Often the music needs a few milliseconds for the attack, if not a few notes or a cymbal roll that leads to the hit.)

For mastering, I use Sound Forge. It comes with the Isotope Mastering plugins. It also includes an excellent noise reduction plugin.

I find that separating composition (MIDI & VSTs), mixing and mastering is helpful. Ideally, you completely finish one before moving to the next. Sometimes, you need to go back a step or two, but it's either to clean up one or two tracks, or it's a complete do-over. The bottom line is that you don't have to switch back and forth often at all. If you are switching back and forth often, there's a bigger problem than the tools.

If I were to buy a single program, it would be Sonar. It can do midi, mix and master. I'd probably get Sound Forge second for the noise reduction and mastering tools. By that time, you might be really comfortable mixing in Sonar, and might not need Vegas. For me, however, it would feel like mixing with handcuffs on. Vegas simply falls to hand. It's not that Sonar is that bad. It's that Vegas is that good.
I have to disagree here. I do all midi in Cubase. I love cubase for that. But sonar isn't bad.

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I use Sequoia - but the cheaper Samplitude starts at only £50.
Samplitude is awesome for audio, though its midi is quite lacking. However, check out the Samp for Rent stuff... as you pay the rental, you are actually paying towards buying the program. Plus, this program keeps getting better and better and they update it all the time. It will be the best soon :)
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Old March 16th, 2009, 05:28 AM   #7
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I use ProTools and Digital Performer.
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Old March 16th, 2009, 07:34 AM   #8
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I used to use ams neve AudioFile when I worked in film and tv but now use pro tools for all my final cut pro dubbing needs.
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Old March 16th, 2009, 04:48 PM   #9
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In reply of Jon, I know Vegas has some nice audio tools together with it's videi editing. But I think it's kind of stupid having Production premium CS3 and Edius 5 for the video side and then buying Vegas just for using it for it's audio tools inside.
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Old March 16th, 2009, 05:34 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Philip Pierloz View Post
In reply of Jon, I know Vegas has some nice audio tools together with it's videi editing. But I think it's kind of stupid having Production premium CS3 and Edius 5 for the video side and then buying Vegas just for using it for it's audio tools inside.
Keep in mind that Vegas initially came in two flavors: Vegas Video and Vegas Audio. Before long, they merged. I have friends who don't do video at all, but use Vegas as their multi-tracker. ACID actually has a similar GUI, so it might be the better choice for audio-only use, depending on the price.
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Old March 16th, 2009, 05:41 PM   #11
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I have to disagree here. I do all midi in Cubase. I love cubase for that. But sonar isn't bad.
This is really a personal preference thing. I've downloaded Cubase demos over the years and struggled to get it to bend to my will. By the end of the demo period, I was never sold.

I think Sonar/Cubase is akin to songwriters who start with the music vs. songwriters who start with the words. Both methods can make great songs, but you're likely to be more comfortable with one than the other.

Then again, there's Sibelius vs. Finale for notation. Talk about two programs that approach a problem from completely different angles!
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Old March 16th, 2009, 06:01 PM   #12
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I'm with Jon, I've used PTs, Nuendo and others but keep going back to Vegas, except when I need the tools and features Sonar has. My biggest gripe: Vegas cannot import OMF and Vegas' AAF import just will not work. Vegas can't export BWF either. Sound Forge is my audio editor of choice. Vegas and SF integrate nicely when you need surgical tools.
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Old March 19th, 2009, 02:37 AM   #13
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If cost is a major factor, Reaper is the hands down winner. I used Cakewalk software from Pro Audio 9 to Sonar 6 and then switched to Reaper and never had to look back.

If you are married to Premiere why not try Audition 3?

Another software not on the list so far is Ableton Live. I bought a license for version 4 a long time ago for working with loops, but now it seems a full powerhouse for composition and has decent midi capabilities.

If you are heavily into midi then you could try Cakewalk's Project 5. Its development has stopped and should be classified as deadware, but there are many who swear by its capabilities and will continue to use it anyway. I think Cakewalk is pretty much giving the software away at this point.

Anyway, if you had to buy just one software today, Reaper would be the safest bet. It doesn't do 5.1 AFAIK, but most NLE's do.
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Old March 19th, 2009, 08:34 AM   #14
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If cost is a major factor, Reaper is the hands down winner. I used Cakewalk software from Pro Audio 9 to Sonar 6 and then switched to Reaper and never had to look back.

If you are married to Premiere why not try Audition 3?

Another software not on the list so far is Ableton Live. I bought a license for version 4 a long time ago for working with loops, but now it seems a full powerhouse for composition and has decent midi capabilities.

If you are heavily into midi then you could try Cakewalk's Project 5. Its development has stopped and should be classified as deadware, but there are many who swear by its capabilities and will continue to use it anyway. I think Cakewalk is pretty much giving the software away at this point.

Anyway, if you had to buy just one software today, Reaper would be the safest bet. It doesn't do 5.1 AFAIK, but most NLE's do.
Does Reaper have OMF yet?
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Old March 19th, 2009, 11:00 AM   #15
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Does Reaper have OMF yet?
Not that I know of. I don't think its really intended to be a post-production type software like Nuendo, its more of a pure compositional tool for musicians.
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