When comparing Cubase vs Sonar, the Slant community recommends Cubase for most people. In the question“What are the best DAWs?” Cubase is ranked 7th while Sonar is ranked 11th.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Supports chord tracks
Pro Great MIDI editing options
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 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 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 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 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 More features than any other DAW
Pro Highly customizable UI
The Sonar DAW comes with a new and improved UI with extra focus on being customizable.
Pro Powerful mixing including ProChannel
A Pro Channel ensures that you have all the necessary plugins in a really good mixing rack with console emulation for all busses and channels. This feels and sounds like a real mixing console.
Pro Built in vocal comping and pitch correction
The Sonar DAW has some of the best pitch correction available, and it comes with the DAW.
Pro Great bundled instruments
Pro Home Studio, Platinum, Professional, and Artist subscription tiers
Lots of new features to separate them from the pack and put them in the lead again like when they were the very first DAW to go 64 bits. New model for purchasing the DAW means a purchaser can pay a monthly fee to use the DAW instead of having to buy it all upfront, so now you can try it for a month or 4 and if it does not work for you, dump it without having spent the full price to buy the whole thing.
Pro Vocal Alignment tool
Pro Session Templates
New projects can have the entire session defined from a template. Tracks, IO, folders routing, Etc
Pro Add effects plugins to individual audio or MIDI clips
In addition to an effects rack and ProChannel effects that you can insert into each track, SONAR also allows you to insert effects plugins on individual audio or MIDI clips.
Using the non-destructive editing, you can easily cut one of those clips into smaller pieces if you'd like to apply an effect non-destructively to an individual note or musical phrase.
Pro Track folders
Group tracks into folders to expand/collapse Solo Mute or Archive.
For under 200 USD, you get the full version of the DAW with all the bells and whistles, and free stuff that comes in the bundle you would not get from another DAW.
For less than 200 USD more, you get free updates for a lifetime. Any future updates with the SONAR Platinum DAW is free when you have this pass.
They have sold the SONAR Platinum DAW with the LIFETIME Pass key as a bundle from June 01, 2016-Aug 01, 2016. It's already over but who knows when it will comeback? The team from cakewalk are just generously full of surprises.
Pro Highly flexible audio routing
In SONAR Platinum you can create an unlimited number of audio tracks, patch points, aux tracks and busses. Each track can send its output or an unlimited number of aux sends to any patch point or bus. A patch point can route to any number of aux tracks. Each aux track or bus can send its output or an unlimited number of sends to any other patch point or bus. (* A patch point is a destination where audio can be sent from any output or aux send, while an aux track is a track that receives its input from a patch point. This allows the track to be used similarly to a bus, with the additional flexibility of allowing multiple aux tracks to get their input from the same source point, and the organizational convenience of having the track alongside other tracks, instead of in the separate bus area.)
Pro Includes Melodyne Essential via ARA
Pro Integrated drum replacement
Pro Includes Addictive Drums 2
Pro Intuitive interface
The interface is very intuitive once you learn the program. It's like working in the studio with physical components.
Pro Touch screen support
If your computer has a touch screen, use gestures to optimize your workflow.
Pro Integrated SoundCloud and YouTube uploads
When you're done with a project, upload it straight to SoundCloud or YouTube from the Sonar DAW.
Pro Very frequent updates
The last few years they have given updates with new features and fixes nearly every month. Great support, constant innovation.
Pro Inbuilt bridge
Includes inbuilt bridge allowing a 64-bit software to use a 32-bit plugin and vice versa without having to painstakingly use an external bridge to bridge the plugins. This will save one from bridging every new plugin that isn't compatible.
Pro In collaboration with BandLab Technologies
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 Runs poorly
Con Confusing pages
The Cubase DAW displays pages that tend to confuse users.
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 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.
Con Windows only
This DAW isn't available on any operating system except for Windows. However, many Mac users operate the Sonar DAW in a dual boot environment.
A version for Mac is in the works. You can learn more about it here.
Con Gibson owned (they're almost Bankrupt, $500,000.00 in Debt)
Many feel with the "Lifetime" subscription, really hurt Cakewalk as there is no more monthly/yearly income. Most likely the IP will be sold as Gibson is in a bad financial situation (they owe about half a Billion $ due early next year) They are one of the all time "Great" guitar builders.
Con Steep Learning Curve
This DAW has a bit of a learning curve, if you're new to DAW software, this may not be recommended for a beginner.