Ableton vs Cubase


The Story
I have been working with these two and some other software for sometime now and i thought i’d write a review. My humble opinion. Let me tell you before hand that i’ve had no special training in music production apart from the big thriving interest i have to learn these things through blogs, youtube videos and manuals. I have been working with these things for about 8 months now. I’m telling this to you before hand so that you would know how seriously you should take me and my review. 😉

So here it is…
As for me I love both these software. But to be honest i like cubase more. Now read carefully. I said i like it more. I didn’t say which one is better. Because both these are amazing in their own way. I would like to compare the two with ONLY stock plugins.

ABLETON first, cos i used it first

Ableton Live Logo

Ableton Live Logo

To be honest i loved ableton. It has the most amazing workflow ever. You make these little clips of ideas and mash em all together. It was really simple to get my ideas from my head into the DAW within seconds. Everything you need is within reach. Anything you want to do is pretty straight forward and simple. Besides that its said to be great for live performances, which i have not experienced but i can imagine how good it can be. What I had trouble with was the quality of the music i made was always a little lower than what my friends produced with cubase and protools. I was really sure that this was something wrong from my part and i did all i could and changed all settings needed for high quality, but still couldn’t get the satisfaction. What ableton lacked for me was some good pop and rock instruments that i found pretty easily with cubase. Especially when it comes to bass, i still haven’t found one good bass preset for a rock song. But on the other hand it can produce some amazing techno tracks because of the power you get with its operator, tension, electric etc. You can create amazing new instruments, unique ones. This is probably one of the most powerful attribute of ableton according to me. It should also be said that ableton is cheaper than cubase but then there is a reason why cubase is costly.

So a few pointers to round up…
1. Great workflow.
2. Live performance.
3. Ability to create amazing and unique instruments.
4. Simple and straightforward.
5. Cheaper.

1. Lack of good pop and rock instruments.


Cubase Logo

Cubase Logo

I started to try cubase after a friend of mine suggested it. I was at first hesitant because i have always found cubase’s very complex as an 18 year old who tried making songs long back (although now i say something totally different, i love it and its simple). But then after i tried it recently, i simply loved it. I fell in love again. It had everything i needed. I am a pianist, and i had two amazing pianos right there (plus many others too). The quality was awesome. Although i missed the workflow of ableton. Although i missed the session view. The sheer quality of cubase, the number of instruments you get, the plugins all made me forget and move on. I can boldly say that cubase is for me. Pitch tuning capabilities right out of the box.? Wow!. So many plugins and presets.. WOW!… Trust me presets are amazing. You can learn so much from them comparing the title and the settings you can derive so much information.

Although cubase missed the session flow, the features like the marker track and arranger track make up for it.

So lets round up…
1. Great instruments. (When i specify instruments i talk about the presets themself and not the vst instrument such as Halion one on the whole)
2. Great plugin presets.
3. Complete package of everything you will need to produce an independent track from start to end.

1. Different learning curve. Takes just a little more effort to get started
2. Different workflow but that does not affect people who haven’t tried ableton yet and you will eventually get used to it if you continue using cubase.

Final Word..
So for me.. Cubase wins, because for the kind of music that i come up with, it simply works. Although i will not go of Ableton. It can be amazing for live performances and for producing techno tracks. But if you are never gonna perform live with a laptop why use a software that you wouldn’t fully utilize anyway?.

Thanks for reading


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