When comparing Ableton Live vs Cubase 10.5, the Slant community recommends Cubase 10.5 for most people. In the question“What are the best DAWs? ” Cubase 10.5 is ranked 8th while Ableton Live is ranked 9th.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 Comes with 70GB included sounds, 15 software instruments, 55 audio effects and 17 midi effects.
Pro Dual monitor support
Starting with Live 9, users can see session and arrangement views at the same time with dual monitor support.
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 MIDI notes can be forced to a scale
With a simple plugin, Ableton allows the user to pick from a wide variety of scales when triggering notes.
Pro Can play a midi note from the middle
In Live V10, you can trigger MIDI notes without having to do so from the start.
Pro Widespread Online Support
The amount of well-versed tutorials and guides online can help you master Live in a few hours. Secret tips and tricks are also widespread. Forums are filled to the brim with support for any issue you can think of.
Pro VST3 support as of Ableton 10.1
VST3s now run smoothly in Ableton 10.1 and up. However, be careful when loading in CPU-heavy plugins.
Pro Able to to download own skin/theme
You can make your own skin/themes online and use it in "preferences" tab!
Pro Powerful range of audio editing tools
Pro Supports chord tracks
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 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 Great MIDI editing options
Pro Large selection of time stretching methods
The Cubase DAW offers 11 different kinds of time stretching methods.
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 Recent updates have added some great features
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 Powerful, time-saving Logical Editor
Logical Editor allows customizing MIDI data according, in order to set rules to save time.
Pro Pro edition is exellent for audio mixing also.
It provides all the industry requirements and features an optimized workflow for mixing
Pro Incredible and well integrated EQ
Pro The industry standard for MIDI sequencing and arranging
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 Sampler Track
Has an awesome and easy to use sampler.
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 More features than any other DAW
At 749 USD, Ableton Live Suite (the most fully-featured edition) is more expensive than other DAWs.
Ableton Live Standard can be bought for 449 USD.
Ableton Live Intro can be bought for 99 USD.
Rounding up, all three versions will set you back triple digits. That's before you get into additional sample and plugin packs, which also cost hundreds of dollars. Consider the price of the software before you enter the Live ecosystem.
Con No comping / playlist feature when tracking
Confusingly, Ableton's comping abilities (or lack thereof) cannot hold a candle to other industry standards like Pro Tools, Logic, Cubase, etc.
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 Can't save keyboard shortcuts globally
There are no global keyboard shortcut editing mechanisms in Live. You are only able save keyboard shortcuts per project. This makes production a long-winded endeavor.
To edit shortcuts on Live, use Ctrl + K, or CMD + K.
Con No SF2 support
Soundfonts need to be imported as samples, and they don't work as intended since the zoning is lost.
Con No 32 bit VST support on newer
The ability to load 32 bit VST was dropped for some godawful reason. At $700 - a hefty price tag - and most of the code already in the software, you'd think they would be able to keep that functionality, but no.
Con Not very stable
Live has been known for its hilariously bad stability on weaker systems. But this is only when it is under enormous strain. It will be under enormous strain, too.
Most people that work in this software love to fill their projects up with tons of cool ideas. Ableton should bear this in mind when continuing to update Live.
Con no LV2 support
Does not support the LV2 plugin standard
Con Non-Free Software
It's not free. Worse yet, there's no source code. This can be a privacy concern for some.
Con You can’t comp your tracks
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 Sometimes very slow reaction, if you switch from one track to another with APC- or Push-Controller
Con Max makes startup longer
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 Installs third-party software on your computer (e-licenser)
Con Confusing pages
The Cubase DAW displays pages that tend to confuse users.
Con Non-free software
Con Not what it used to be
The new updates kind of ruin the old classy feel.
Con Runs poorly
Con Poor sample editing
The sample editor isn't too great and there's no option to launch external sample editors.
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.