When choosing a music creation software, there are seemingly infinite options available. Some are more geared towards seasoned audio engineers (like ProTools), some are more popular amongst DJs (FL Studio), some popular amongst composers of traditional music (Logic) , and some are targeted towards a wide range of users and experience levels (Ableton Live).
It’s truly an exciting time for music. Never before has it been easier to access creation and distribution tools.
This does, however, saturate a market where a lot of developers are making similar but unique things. With so many different options available, it can be hard to know where to start.
Whether you are an experienced producer or just starting out, having a little information to go on can help inform you to make the best decision for your specific needs. This article explains two popular pieces of software and compares the benefits and drawbacks of both: Cubase vs. Reaper.
Cubase Vs Reaper
The acronym DAW stands for Digital Audio Workstation, and this refers to any piece of software used to record, arrange, produce or write music.
These software engines are powerful processing tools that allow producers to create fully arranged works of art by using audio recordings of instrumentalists, vocalist as well as digital production tools such as synthesizers, drum machines and audio effects.
Different DAW’s have different aesthetics and workflows that draw different kinds of creators to use them. One workflow may work great for one person, but work terribly for another.
It’s ultimately up to the artist to decide what works best for them and what will yield the best sounding results. Keep in mind that with any DAW, you can always add your favorite external plug-ins later on.
Cubase is an extremely powerful DAW that has been around since the early 90’s. Also a proprietor of the program Nuendo, these programs are great for film and tv composers.
It’s expansive library allows for a large collection of samples, synthesizers, keyboards and sounds to be called on intuitively and quickly. The workflow of Cubase is extremely smooth and bright, making things easy to find and easy to see.
The benefit of Cubase is that it’s been around for a long time, meaning it has an extensive library of updated plugins plus a community of users to draw inspiration from and troubleshoot issues with.
It also has different tiers of subscriptions for creators working on a smaller scale and for producers who are higher level professionals.
Reaper has been around since 2005 and while not as old as some of its competitors, it has a lot to offer in the way of versatility, functionality and accessibility.
While not as highly documented, it has still been around for quite some time, long enough to have a virtual community of users to draw on experience from.
Reaper runs on the cheaper side for it’s licenses. Commercial licenses run around $200 while commercial licenses are less than $100.
This makes it possibly one of the most affordable DAW’s available. In addition to being cheaper, it also takes up very little space on your computer, making it ideal for artists on the go looking for a mobile software.
Reaper is highly customizable in its aesthetic and workflow, which is an attractive quality for producers who like a more ‘open source’ feeling program.
So, Which Is Better?
Cubase and Reaper are both solid choices when choosing a DAW. Both have strong communities, reputations, development and functionality.
Cubase, while affordable and easily usable to professionals and amateurs alike, tends to be used by higher level professionals due to its reputation in the film industry.
Reaper on the other hand is far more attractive for producers just getting started. It’s low price point and out of the box usability make it a strong choice for someone getting their feet wet.
At the end of the day, which DAW you use really comes down to preference. The style of music you make and which producers use which programs don’t matter as much as your experience using the software.
Most companies offer a 30 day trial of their program free of charge. Take advantage of these if you’re serious about getting started in music production! Take notes about what you like, what you don’t like, and remember that you can always change your mind and try out a new program later on. It takes time to find the right workflow for you so be patient and have fun with the process!