When comparing Ableton Live vs Cubase 10, the Slant community recommends Cubase 10 for most people. In the question“What are the best DAWs?” Cubase 10 is ranked 7th while Ableton Live is ranked 8th.
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Pro Great creative DAW workflow
Ableton's session view gives a much quicker, more flexible way of experimenting with ideas than a typical linear interface. In session view, each instrument part is a separate entity that can be mixed and matched with other parts without having to rearrange anything. Any and every effect is consolidated into one clean looking interface.
It allows users to experiment with effects and other manipulations very quickly. Because of this, Ableton is known as one of the most creative DAWs out there.
Pro Advanced automation
You can add curves to automation. Additionally, Ableton lets users duplicate certain automations quickly.
Pro Optimized for playing live music
While all DAWs are capable of playing music live, Ableton Live is the most DJ friendly DAW out there as it allows mixing and mashing various MIDI or audio clips together in real-time while still making sure that they're in sync.
Pro Max for Live lets users build custom tools
With Max for Live, users can create custom synthesizers, audio effects, sequencers, samplers, and more. Max for Live is a feature that is available starting with Live 9 Suite.
Pro Many software specific controllers
Many MIDI controllers have been developed for the exclusive purpose of being used with Ableton. Some popular Live controllers include Push, APC40, and Launchpad.
Pro Dual monitor support
Starting with Live 9, users can see session and arrangement views at the same time with dual monitor support.
Pro Great for sampling
The Ableton DAW offers a great sampling experience, which can be approached in many different ways. Audio can be directly chopped, quantized, warped, and even chopped into MIDI clips. Ableton's built in sampler also allows clean pitching along with useful loop functions.
Pro Exemplary time stretching facilities
Not only can the time stretching can be done in real-time, there are about a dozen of TC/E algorithms to choose from.
Pro Endless creativity
After some training this daw can be used for doing anything. There are basically no limits.
Pro Multiple "workflows" or ways of achieving an outcome
Not everyone realizes this, but anything can be done in multiple ways in Live. Multiple ways of playing samples, multiple ways of slicing samples, multiple ways of sequencing MIDI, etc.
Pro Advanced content browser
The browser lets users choose from live Sets, tracks, clips, devices, presets, samples, etc. There is also an auto-play function for audio clips that enables users to browse samples quickly. The search function is also handy, but only for clips that are labeled appropriately.
Pro Outstanding EQ
Ableton's new EQ includes an integrated spectrum analyzer so users can see exactly which frequencies need to be adjusted. Additionally, this EQ cuts by 48 db. Up until Ableton Live 9, the EQ only cut by 12 db.
Pro Minimum skeuomorphism
Skeuomorphism is described as retaining antiquated aesthetic features on an updated version of a device. For DAWs, this happens when an interface is littered with analog nobs, wires, and other things that are reminiscent of older technology. While this can be considered a stylistic choice for some DAWs, it tends to block progress towards better practices in music production.
Pro Comes with 54GB included sounds and 40 effects
Pro Supports "scales" plugin
If you want to write in a specific scale, choose it from the scale plugin and your music will automatically be configured to be that key.
Pro Can play a midi note from the middle
Since Live 10, you can play a midi note without having to play it from the start.
Pro Supports chord tracks
Pro Great MIDI editing options
Pro All takes can be shown in a single track
When in stacked mode, all of your takes can be shown in a single track side by side. You can then select what parts of which take you need. If you are recording MIDI, the Cubase DAW allows creating a pattern that can overlap and be re-used as many times as needed.
Pro Powerful range of audio editing tools
Pro Great summing engine
The summing engine is responsible for processing tracks and combining them into the correct output. In comparison to other DAWs, Cubase's summing engine is excellent.
Pro Allows changing a pattern in one place to effect each instance of it
Using Parts, the Cubase DAW allows creating patterns that can be re-used as many times as needed, and can be edited in a single place.
Pro Large selection of time stretching methods
The Cubase DAW offers 11 different kinds of time stretching methods.
Pro Powerful, time-saving Logical Editor
Logical Editor allows customizing MIDI data according, in order to set rules to save time.
Pro Recent updates have added some great features
Pro Quantize can automatically tighten MIDI inputs
Automatically tightens your MIDI inputs to be on time. Quantize has two modes. Hard Quantize will adjust based on strict settings (precisely on beat by default) and Iterative Quantize will adjust in increments. Excellent for keeping the human element in recordings.
Pro Batch export
You can pick separate tracks to export in one pass. You can even have them open up a new project or drop in the same project automatically. Huge time saver and DSP Saver.
Pro Superior sample editing
Lot's of options to edit samples on the fly with direct offline processing you can apply effects without sacrificing performance. You can even use Wavelab as an external wave editor.
Pro Sampler Track
Has an awesome and easy to use sampler.
Pro Incredible and well integrated EQ
Pro More features than any other DAW
At around $749, the Ableton Live Suite DAW is more expensive than other DAWs. Ableton Live Standard can be bought for $449, and Ableton Live Intro can be bought for $99.
Con No VST3 Support
Con Not very stable
Plug-ins can crash the whole process.
Con Limited routing
Tracks can go into groups and sub-groups (as of Live 10), and sends are available, but that's the extent of routing.
Con Plugins on frozen tracks are loaded and unloaded as the session opens slowing down opening and creating DSP limitations.
For example: If you freeze more than the allowed number of plugins on a UAD DSP device, when you open your session, Ableton will open and close all the frozen plugins on every channel even though they are not active in the session. The UAD control panel application displays the DSP usage of the hardware. During loading the levels (bars) will fluctuate by extreme amounts and typically will produce errors once the Ableton session is loaded.
After the session is loaded, UAD plugins that should be running are disabled because there wasn't enough DSP available during load.
The user then has to open and look at each UAD plug in to see if they are disabled and turn them off and on again to enable them. This illustrates there is enough room for the DSP load for unfrozen plugins, but that the loading process was at fault.
Con Interface looks terrible
It really looks shoddy. The fonts are much too small to be comfortable and there is no return to beginning button included in the navigation controls. (But font size can be increased)
Con Can't edit more than one MIDI clip at once
Con Can't save keyboard shortcuts globally
Shortcut keys have to be set per project, for every project (Cmd-K on Mac) and shortcuts can't be exported to other projects unless you set it up in one and save that as a template, but if you ever add another key, you have to add that individually to all hundreds of your other projects.
Con Worst punch-in ever
You can't start recording other than where you start playing. This absurdity causes everyone to use the work around of making extra tracks just to punch in a part. Huge waste of time and design flaw. Do Ableton designers use their own product?
Con The Pencil (Grrr!)
If you click on the wrong part of a track just to set the play back point, it adds an automation point and switches to the pencil tool. This is really annoying even after more than a year of use.
Con No comping / playlist feature when tracking
Con Sometimes very slow reaction, if you switch from one track to another with APC- or Push-Controller
Con Annoying dongle
Not unlike Pro Tools, you have to have a dongle containing your license plugged into your computer or you can't use the software.
Con Quite expensive
This costs significantly more compared to other DAWs.
Con Lack of built-in noise reduction
There's no built-in noise reduction FFT profiler like you might see in some other DAWs. There's noise gate but it's not the same. If you're on Windows, then you can get around this by downloading ReaFir.
Con No sampler
To many producers, sampler is one of the most important tools in a DAW. Cubase does not come with a sampler tool.
Con Confusing pages
The Cubase DAW displays pages that tend to confuse users.
Con Runs poorly
Con Not what it used to be
The new updates kind of ruin the old classy feel.
Con Not the DAW for tech savvy users
Con Poor sample editing
The sample editor isn't too great and there's no option to launch external sample editors.