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Old February 4th, 2006, 09:21 AM   #1
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Recording Software Choice

I have a small project studio that I do audio recording in - no video. It's (past) time to upgrade my software from Sonar 2, and I'm looking for advice on PC-based audio software.

My main use for the software is just recording music, but obviously I want something that is going to integrate well with video production as well. On the music side I will typically be dealing with 12-20 audio tracks and maybe a couple of midi tracks. I'd like to use a software synth as well, mostly for drum samples.

I'm looking in the under $1000 market, and my current choices are:

Sonar 5
Cubase
ProTools

Does anyone have any good info on how they weigh against each other for regular audio production? For video integration? Is there anything else I should look at?

Thanks in advance.
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Old February 4th, 2006, 09:44 AM   #2
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It's not out yet, but Acid Pro 6 is designed as a fully functioning DAW. Most likely it will have excellent integration with Vegas.

Big additions for me are multi-tracking, better MIDI and drum grid/patch integration. Of course, 5.1 surround sound mixing and VST/ReWire support are still there.
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Old February 4th, 2006, 10:33 AM   #3
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whether you're a fan of pro-tools or not, it is still the industry standard for DAWs across a broad spectrum of applications, including video. we still get requests for pro-tools project files, so it's something we have to keep around in our studio. personally, since i don't have to hand off master work files for my personal projects and i grew up messing around with cubase, i've been using steinberg's nuendo to master my audio files for video. it's basically the same look and feel of cubase, but adds a high level of video support. things i'd look for in a multitrack sequencer for video are vst support (including vst instruments), rewire (gotta love reason), mastering capability for 5.1 surround sound, and support for quicktime, avi, and other leading video formats. most upper-end sequencers will give you the same features... like cameras, it always seems to come down to personal workflows and taste.
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Old February 4th, 2006, 05:39 PM   #4
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Barry, Craig Anderton did a nice review/forum thread on Sonar 5, with the SONAR rep chiming in. Look for his "Sonar 5 vs. everything else" write up in the conclusion.
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Old February 4th, 2006, 06:13 PM   #5
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I'm pretty new to the whole DAW scene... how does Acid compare to Live 5 or are they apples and oranges? Acid is primarily looping software and Live is sequencer software... is that right?
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Old February 4th, 2006, 07:37 PM   #6
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Their focus is different but the two programs overlap a lot.

Acid's design is focused on loop based music creation. Though it is usable as a single track recorder, or basic MIDI sequencer. Acid 6 will add more full-featured DAW features.

Live is designed for live performance. You can mix, match, create, and re-mix different types of music files in real-time and it won't hiccup. Useful for DJ's and live bands. It's also great as an on the fly composition program. Project 5 is a direct competitor.
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Old February 5th, 2006, 04:08 AM   #7
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Nuendo, by steinberg. I have a recorduing background, and have been using it or years. it integrates well with video.
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Old February 5th, 2006, 05:19 AM   #8
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Apart from Acid which has now had a heap of stuff added you can also consider Vegas, still an excellent multitracker and hey it even edits video. It's pretty common these days for most studios to need some video handling capability.
In the end I guess the all get the job done although Slotools seems to take longer than the others so it for most comes down to the GUI. There's been a few Vegas devotees who decided to try greener pastures due to the lack of rewire support (which is now in Acid) and after exhaustive evaluations came back to Vegas although I suspect they'll now switch to Acid.
Despite Vegas not having the clout of Protools there's an awefull lot of stuff even on the big screen that's been mixed in Vegas.
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Old February 5th, 2006, 08:08 AM   #9
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Seconding Bruce's comment - I hear that Nuendo is superceding ProTools with a lot users. Jay Rose commented recently he made the switch this summer for a theatrical feature he was working on and now is getting rid of a lot of his protools gear he likes Nuendo so much better.
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Old February 6th, 2006, 11:48 AM   #10
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I like Sonar. I don't use it for video, though -- I am not as experienced as many of the folks on this board, but I find for my video stuff, the Vegas audio tools and SoundForge are all I need. But for recording/mixing music, I'm a fan of Sonar.

[edit to add:]

Wow, I can tell I'm in over my head on this question. I just Googled Nuendo and it looks outstanding for A/V production. It's obviously more than I need, but it looks pretty nifty. I was looking at this strictly from the point of view of recording music tracks.
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Old February 6th, 2006, 11:53 AM   #11
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By the way, there are a lot of new features in Adobe Audition 2 that might make it a contender for you.
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Old February 6th, 2006, 01:15 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Wisniewski
Their focus is different but the two programs overlap a lot.

Acid's design is focused on loop based music creation. Though it is usable as a single track recorder, or basic MIDI sequencer. Acid 6 will add more full-featured DAW features.

Live is designed for live performance. You can mix, match, create, and re-mix different types of music files in real-time and it won't hiccup. Useful for DJ's and live bands. It's also great as an on the fly composition program. Project 5 is a direct competitor.
Thanks... I've already ordered Acid 5 (mostly so I can compose to video footage from Vegas). Live sounds like it has some bells and whistles that I don't need.

One thing I'm wondering is whether I get a free upgrade to Acid 6 since I just bought Acid 5 a couple weeks ago. Most companies have a policy to cover stuff like this.
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Old February 6th, 2006, 02:06 PM   #13
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Thanks for the input all... Very helpful.

I went and looked at a ProTools setup a friend has today. Very nice, but the video integration costs extra. I'm leaning towards Sonar 5, but they don't have a trial version available - only for Sonar 4. Urg.

I was told it integrates video out of the box, but the specs on the site only talk about having thumbnails on the timeline, not live video. Does anyone know how it handles video?
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Old February 6th, 2006, 02:31 PM   #14
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry Gribble

I was told it integrates video out of the box, but the specs on the site only talk about having thumbnails on the timeline, not live video. Does anyone know how it handles video?
Sonar 5 has a video preview window, just like your NLE. I've been using Sonar, and Cakewalk Pro since the days of the beginning of the company. Sonar is an excellent compositional and mixing tool. coupled with a few Mackie MCU's and expanders....it's terrific.
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Old February 6th, 2006, 02:49 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Douglas Spotted Eagle
Sonar 5 has a video preview window, just like your NLE. I've been using Sonar, and Cakewalk Pro since the days of the beginning of the company. Sonar is an excellent compositional and mixing tool. coupled with a few Mackie MCU's and expanders....it's terrific.
Great, that seals it for me... Thanks again all. I'll let you know how I like it.
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