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Sonar X1 User Thinking whether to go with X2 or StudioOne

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  • Sonar X1 User Thinking whether to go with X2 or StudioOne

    Hi all,

    I kinda left DAWing ( ) for the last 6-12 months and I'm getting back at it.

    I used cubase a few years back, than switched to Sonar X1, and than had a break.

    I like some things about Sonar X1-the new interface and pro-channel are cool features,
    but it was also clumsy, not always user friendly and ofen buggy.
    I remember trying out StudioOne v1 and I liked it but thought it was a lil' premature and lacked some important features,
    Never the less I liked the fact that it's a modern product and not a 20-years long update & upgrade,
    I think you can really tell by how if functions and how "friendly" the software is.

    Now I'm thinking whether to go Sonar X2, StudioOne 2.5, or maybe something else.

    I mostly record jazz, funk and rock using live guitars and a midi controller for piano, strings, sometimes bass etc.
    I also have an electronic drum set I use with Superior Drummer 2.0.

    I would love some thoughts on the touchy DAW X Vs. DAW Y subject, thanks.

    (new) PC:<br>CPU: i5 3470<br>PSU: Dunno Yet<br>M-Board: Gigabyte H77<br>RAM: 2X4GB DDR 3 1600<br>Graphics: Intel Graphics HD 2500<br>Hard Drives: Western Digital: 1TB Black(WD1002FAEX), 500GB Green(WD5000AACS), 160GB(WD1600ADFD)<br>OS: Windows 7 Ultimate 64 Bit<br><br>Audio Hardware:<br>External Audio Interface: PreSonus FireBox<br>Amplifier: InterM PA-2000a<br>Mics: Shure SM57 &amp; KSM27

  • #2

    X2 is an upgrade to X1. If you were having issues they should be resolved with the newer version. Cakewalk is good about correcting known issues. Big thing is to be sure your computer meets or exceeds the programs minimum requirements. When manufacturers upgrade programs, they expect you to run it on the latest gear. Its not usually the fault of the program that gives you glitches, its what you're running it on.

    I'm still using Sonar 8.5. When I had it installed it on a box that barely met requirements, its was slow and tended to have dropouts, especially when I loaded too many plugins. When I upgraded my computer the difference in performance made all the difference in the world. All the glitches, hang-ups disappeared, the latency went down and I could run plugins without issue.

    I thought about upgrading to X1 but I'm in no rush. 8.5 does everything I need it to for now. X1 does have the improved GUI though. There are also certain items that have been graphically improved that I'd really like having.

    I haven't used Studio one yet. Many who have it like it, but you really need to find someone who has used both extensively who can give you a good comparison of the differences and quirks if there are any. In general all DAW programs do the same thing. Tools may be a bit different, and they may come with different plugin packages, but its not like you're going to get better sound out of one over the other. Its first the musicians tracking the sound, then the man sitting in front of the DAW unit that does that just as its been since the beginning of recording.

    One thing I do like about Sonar even others is its analog like structure. The programs menus, buttons, controls colors can all be modified to make it comfortable to your own use. When you first install the program it puts up all the buttons and gizmos the program has to offer. You can remove many of these items from plain view and make it compatible with the way you want it to look and feel.

    In my case, I don't do allot of midi work do I hid all the midi functions I don't use every session. I didn't like the dark colors of the GUI especially when I was recording with the band and ran the program from a distance using a wireless mouse and keyboard. I changed the colors of the mixer view so it was easy to see and made key buttons larger and easy to see and placed them where I could click on them easily.

    Some of these aren't important to some who record solo, but when You only have a few seconds between songs recording while you play with a band, and want to save a session and open another clean template, simplicity can make a world of difference. Cubase for example makes you wait till the track has been rendered before you can save the tracks which can take some time to complete when you record 16 tracks and its a long song. Sonar in comparison doesn't need that wait time. You can save the work instantly and move on.

    File management is another key issue. With Sonar you can just delete the picture icon, empty the trash on the desktop, then run the file cleanup button and it will automatically find all the wave files associated with the project so they get removed. When I ran Cubase, I'd have to build a separate folder for every project then drill down on the hard drive to find the projects and manually remove the files. If you didn't build separate folders everything got lumped together and it was nearly impossible to find all the proper files plus any edits associated for removal.

    Good thing is we have a choice. That's what competition is all about. If one DAW program isn't your thing, then try another till you find one that works well for your workflow. As you can guess I'm partial to Sonar because I been using Cakewalk since I first started recording digital back when Cakewalk 7 first came out. I didn't purchase every upgrade the company came out with though. I only did that when I knew the benefits were there. I think after Cakewalk 8 I went to Sonar 4 then Sonar 8.5. Many of the features from the earlier program were still there so I only had to learn the new items and not have to learn the program from scratch.

    There were other programs I couldn't get the feel for. They were just to alien for me coming from a long analog history recoding to be productive. It seems some companies created a GUI to mimics how analog components worked (cakewalk being one of them). Others wrote GUI's with very little thought how things worked in the analog world. My guess is the software engineers may have been great at writing code but had little or no professional analog experience. Early versions of Logic for example made zero sense at all to me. It took me a week just to learn how to get one multitrack recorded with all the quirky ways they had things setup.

    At least with Cakewalk, they had things laid out so they made sense. Things were placed as though they would be on an analog studio. Then if you could run Microsoft Office and windows the rest made sense. Steinberg is a little more difficult to master. They do things very similar to Sonar and some of them are very good, but some still have some quirky ways of doing things. I suspect its because the company is German and some things don't convert to US common sense as well as others do. Its all there but some of the ways things are laid out in menus require some digging and head scratching. The program is well engineered just a bit clunked in some areas.

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