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  #1  
Old 02-12-2004, 12:43 PM
wonder6oy wonder6oy is offline
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Default Pro Tools vs Cubase SX 2.0 - my experience...

I hope you fellas don’t take any of this too personally – I am certainly not trying to start any flame war or anything. I just spent two non-productive weeks battling it out between these two systems and thought it might be helpful to share the experience for those who are as of yet undecided between the platforms.

I own a Digi001. Got it way back when PT was just getting released for the XP operating system. Being a long time user of a TDM system in another job setting, the purchase made sense at the time. However, I was sorely disappointed in PTLE’s performance and was unable to make any real use of it. So I bought a Hammerfall Multiface and went with Cubase SX. It ran solid and has served it’s purpose functionally.

Now (about two years later), fed up with the “un-intuitive” user interface of Cubase, I decided it was time to reexamine the current status of PTLE and see if enough improvements had been made for me to switch back. Not to mention that nearly all of the folks I end up working with are using TDM and it would be nice not to have to deal with converting between formats.

Well, the first thing I noticed about the 6.1.1 upgrade was that the track count is still limited to 32, which is not enough for me. However, thanks to a fantastic suggestion by DUC member “Shan”, Ableton Live (full) adds unlimited tracks and 16 additional track busses to the mix, along with a slew of other amazing features I’ve never seen before (thanks a ton, Shan! – I will be buying this one next week for certain!). So that solves that.

It’s the incredible list of obvious, progress-halting bugs in PTLE that trouble me the most. Windows that forget where they were, horrible screen redraw (NOTHING else looks that bad on my system), sluggish response to commands, constant disk hashing, error window after error window after error window, and that is without Ableton even loaded in the background!

I guess I could understand it a little bit if I could be persuaded that PTLE was genuinely pushing technology THAT hard and required some serious horsepower to run; while my XP2600 is no slouch, there are certainly faster things out there. So I opted to try out the Davec test on both platforms to see which would fare better. PTLE was able to reach 32/1 before going completely unstable. Judging from what others have posted on this site, I don’t think that’s very good for my system. Cubase SX 2.0 got me 32/18. Of course, I had to choose “roughly equivalent” plug-ins for the test, so there’s no telling what those numbers actually mean.

One BIG difference between the two tests, however, was the “usability factor” shown by both. Even at it’s full capacity, CSX kept on rolling without a hitch, allowing you to zoom around windows while recording and maintaining an appearance of obliviousness to the 92% crunch on the CPU. With PTLE, however, even when dropping a few tracks out of the picture, every action would result in a very slow slideshow effect, frequently resulting in assorted “CPU…” or “Buffer…” error messages that would all require to be clicked away. Even when working with only two tracks for some very basic stereo file editing, the error messages would eventually start popping up after 15-20 minutes, and then frequently thereafter.

This is not usable. But I’m sure it could be me.

I have invested a tremendous amount of time combing through these forums trying to find the “secrets” of getting PTLE running smoothly. My system has been stripped down to have maximum resources available. That which is not in use is switched off. My chipset is an nForce2 – and I’ll bet that is part of the problem. Even though it is the fastest chipset out there and handles ALL of my other applications flawlessly. In all fairness, I WISH I could see how PTLE would perform on the "Digi-approved" system mentioned in the "systems below $1000" thread, but I am not about to spend any more time or money on yet another system that I am not 100% certain will function to it's full potential. Judging from my own experience and the experience of others on this forum, unfortunately, Digidesign still seems to be a long way from making this happen.

Then I discovered something that made me very happy. Steinberg appears to have finally become aware that their traditional clumsy user interface is NOT preferred by the industry as a whole, and has implemented a lot of new redundant (but useful) methods of manipulating audio and midi data. In a nutshell, it is now possible to use CSX2.0 in a VERY similar method one would use PT. I didn’t see it before, hidden within preferences and key command settings, but now that I do, the choice has become clear.

I sincerely hope that Digi eventually comes to realize the importance of maintaining solid support for the lower end of it’s user base and bringing in some top notch programmers for the XP operating system. They have a profound corner in the marketplace with their high-end gear, but this section leaves MUCH to be desired when compared with the competition, and the competition is quickly gaining more ground than ever.

Digi, I love your PT interface, but c’mon guys – this is ridiculous.
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Old 02-12-2004, 01:33 PM
anakinskye anakinskye is offline
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Default Re: Pro Tools vs Cubase SX 2.0 - my experience...

I'll second that!
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Old 02-12-2004, 02:13 PM
soundsurfr soundsurfr is offline
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Default Re: Pro Tools vs Cubase SX 2.0 - my experience...

Quote:
It’s the incredible list of obvious, progress-halting bugs in PTLE that trouble me the most. Windows that forget where they were, horrible screen redraw (NOTHING else looks that bad on my system), sluggish response to commands, constant disk hashing, error window after error window after error window, and that is without Ableton even loaded in the background!

None of this happens to me. Must be that chipset.
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Old 02-12-2004, 02:41 PM
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Cliffy_Boy Cliffy_Boy is offline
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Default Re: Pro Tools vs Cubase SX 2.0 - my experience...

very true in many cases. You just left out all of the SX problems - like the magical disappearing screen, audio cards suddenly working in mono unless they are reset in the software and crashes from all places out of the blue. And that dongle that works on the odd computer.

In other words, software is clearly a victim of hardware and PC hardware has a mind of its own.
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Old 02-12-2004, 02:47 PM
wonder6oy wonder6oy is offline
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Default Re: Pro Tools vs Cubase SX 2.0 - my experience...

Are you referring to SX2.0? Thus far, I have had none of these problems. 1.0 had some issues, but nothing like what I am seeing in LE.
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Old 02-12-2004, 03:15 PM
who who is offline
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Default Re: Pro Tools vs Cubase SX 2.0 - my experience...

Although I find LE to be very stable, I think it requires way more CPU use than it should. The other sequencers seem to be much more efficient. Makes me wonder if Digi intentionally cripples the performance of LE to make their TDM options more attractive....hmmm.
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Old 02-12-2004, 03:58 PM
A2D D2A A2D D2A is offline
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Default Re: Pro Tools vs Cubase SX 2.0 - my experience...

Quote:
Although I find LE to be very stable, I think it requires way more CPU use than it should. The other sequencers seem to be much more efficient. Makes me wonder if Digi intentionally cripples the performance of LE to make their TDM options more attractive....hmmm.
The answer is in the question.
The software is designed to run on hardware with process cards (TDM) and then down sized to the native environment.
Basically it's designed to run with horsepower being distributed in a specific way, but it not the same way that the computer distributes it so the processor takes a heavy hit.
In order for it to run like SX, Logic, DP etc it would have to be a rewrite of the actual software not just a variant.
This would defeat the purpose of it being functional from LE to TDM and trying to keep the systems similar.
This is why Nuendo and SX share the same engine.
You would probably see LE hardware with a secondary processor before a re-write to make the native version processor friendly.
Even though manufactures claim unlimited tracks it not a realistic aspect since other factors come into play on a native system.
Look at how many TDM systems are still being run on the AGP G4 400 - 733 machines because the PT system is carry so much of the burden.
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Old 02-12-2004, 04:41 PM
wonder6oy wonder6oy is offline
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Default Re: Pro Tools vs Cubase SX 2.0 - my experience...

Much of that just doesn't make sense to me.
It is of my understanding that LE uses a software engine just like the rest of the DAWs out there, hence the differences in sound quality between a TDM system and an LE system, and that the hardware is nothing more than a proprietary interface for the audio i/o (am I wrong about this?).

Compatability would be insured by the application's ability to correctly interpret the parameters in a given session file and apply them accurately within the session itself (enabling cross-compatibility between Windows and Mac OS's).

Nuendo and SX share the same engine because it took years to develop and sounds fantastic - why reinvent the wheel?

Quote:
You would probably see LE hardware with a secondary processor before a re-write to make the native version processor friendly.

What processor are you referring to?
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Old 02-13-2004, 06:02 AM
da BaSsTaRd! da BaSsTaRd! is offline
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Default Re: Pro Tools vs Cubase SX 2.0 - my experience...

Quote:
In order for it to run like SX, Logic, DP etc it would have to be a rewrite of the actual software not just a variant.
This would defeat the purpose of it being functional from LE to TDM and trying to keep the systems similar.
that's the most rediculous thing i've ever heard. no offense, but why shouldn't we expect a rewrite (if that's what's required)??? protools is not some kind of sacred cow. its a product made by a company that needs to stay competetive if it wants to stay in business...
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Old 02-13-2004, 06:56 AM
A2D D2A A2D D2A is offline
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Default Re: Pro Tools vs Cubase SX 2.0 - my experience...

The TDM software and the LE software are basically the same with a few variations, not talking about feature set but program itself.
This is why you can run LE on TDM hardware if you choose to do so.
If they were to re-write then it would also make a TDM system run differently and affect the TDM sales.
Understand as well as LE systems are selling that money is nothing compared to the TDM revenue, they are capturing that part of the market because it isn't costing that much to do so since they are using down scale TDM R&D to make the LE systems.
Digidesign's focus has been and will continue to be on the pro market, even though the LE systems can do a lot it is not the same as working on a TDM system.
Digi could develope a variant of Pro Tools that is Native proficient but if they did it would work better if they renamed it and removed the hardware requirement and made it just like all the rest.
The biggest problem Digi faces is they can't continue to let there products be compared to DAW's that are not serving the same group of individuals; an example look at the price of the Eureka has it's market and so does the API-7600 but should they and do they compete with each other?
Digi should either a)increase the price and capabilities of the LE systems, b)lower the price point on TDM or c)create a TDM system to fit between the two.
Use whatever gets the job done but understand what it really is.
In LE's case it was an appetizer that they discovered could turn a profit.
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