When comparing Pro Tools 11 vs Sonar, the Slant community recommends Sonar for most people. In the question“What are the best DAWs?” Sonar is ranked 11th while Pro Tools 11 is ranked 13th.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Very fast precision editing
The Pro Tools DAW is know for making clip manipulation a fun and productive experience.
Pro Mature editing and mixing facilities
As the Pro Tools DAW was originally developed to be an audio-only system with recording, editing and mixing in mind, these core features have been the most developed over time. It can be argued that the Pro Tools DAW has the best editing and mixing capabilities of any DAW, and for these reasons is considered by many to be an industry standard. As such it is an excellent DAW for multi-track mixing and recording.
Pro 64 Bit
This long awaited feature has finally been added.
Pro Extremely clean DAW interface
The Pro Tools DAW is known for being simple and easy to use. The UI is straightforward and isn't weighed down with useless features.
Pro Comes with 8GB of included sounds and 55 included effects
Pro Clean, Uncluttered Interface
The UI is very clean and uncluttered so there's not too much going on onscreen to have to try to focus on, do wish they would implement a theme system though, so you could change the colors of the UI, I prefer a dark theme as they are easier on the eyes
Pro Free version available
The new version of Pro Tools is called Pro Tools First. It is free with some limited features. Pro Tools First allows four track inputs and three projects.
Pro Much faster than Pro Tools 10
The improvement from the Pro Tools 10 DAW to the Pro Tools 11 DAW is highly noticeable.
Pro Great bundled instruments
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 Includes Melodyne Essential via ARA
Pro Integrated drum replacement
Pro Highly customizable UI
The Sonar DAW comes with a new and improved UI with extra focus on being customizable.
Pro Vocal Alignment tool
Pro New version just came out no more x series its Platinum Professional and Artist now
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 Includes Addictive Drums 2
Pro Touch screen support
If your computer has a touch screen, use gestures to optimize your workflow.
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 Track Folders
Group tracks in to folders to expand/collapse Solo Mute or Archive
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 Integrated SoundCloud and YouTube uploads
When you're done with a project, upload it straight to SoundCloud or YouTube from the Sonar DAW.
Pro Session Templates
New projects can have the entire session defined from a template. Tracks, IO, folders routing, Etc
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 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 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.
Con Too damn expensive
Con No RTAS or VST plugin support
The Pro Tools 11 DAW dropped RTAS support in favor of their own AAX (Avid Audio eXtension) format. Without AAX availability, a VST wrapper is required.
Con No built in pitch correction
While some other DAWs are equipped with pitch correction, the Pro Tools DAW is missing this feature. In order to use pitch correction, it must be added as a plugin.
Con No batch export
You can not pick separate tracks to export in one pass that gives you separated files.
Con MIDI and composition tools are a bit dated
Con Audio Drivers and ASIO
You cannot change the audio outs in ASIO on the fly, like in some other software, without having to save and restart the entire program, plus it's very finicky about audio drivers
Con Prone to crashes
While it might be the "Industry Standard" for recording award winning albums, Avid has focused more on anti piracy and security while sacrificing stability, it seems to me they just change their plugin standard and slap a new version number on it and rush it to market.
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.