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Subject:Acid vs Cubase SX
Posted by: djriko
Date:4/27/2005 11:16:58 AM

hello hello. this may look like my first post but i've been around for a long time under the name gazercmh, and when the board changed a few weeks back i somehow lost access to that.

anyway, for the last few years i've been using Acid (and Sound Forge) to make mashups and dj mixes, mostly using samples, instrumentals and acapellas as source material, with some occasional drum programming, usually done in fruity loops.

now i'd like to begin making more original tunes, and have purchased a midi keyboard and some soft synths, including the B4 and Absynth.

a lot of people have told me that i should use Cubase for this instead of Acid, so I picked up a copy of the last version of Cubase (2.x, not 3.0) and have been trying to get started with that.

problem is, Cubase presents a whole new learning curve for me. i read the owner's manual and also bought a large book about Cubase, and am slowly making progress. on top of this, i have latency problems with the midi keyboard that i haven't been able to fix. i could record midi files using instruments built into my sound card (an SB Live!), as those don't have latency problems, and then set Cubase to point those midi files to Absynth or B4, but it's not the same as playing and hearing the actual notes you're ultimately going to use.

i bought the Acid 5.0 upgrade, however, and am able to use the usb keyboard and Absynth or B4 with no latency problems whatsoever.

so my question (sorry it took so long) is: what are the advantages of Cubase vs. Acid? to me, Acid seems like a good way to go because i'm very familiar with it and don't have latency problems with my sound card. but if it would be worth it in the long run to get with Cubase, even if that means upgrading my sound card, i'll keep plowing ahead with it.

I saw in the guitar VSTi thread that JohnnyRoy said some VSTis generate midi that Acid cannot record and that Cubase or Sonar are needed to use those instruments to their fullest. what does this mean? Acid's midi use is limited compared to Cubase's? what other VSTis aren't fully compatible with Acid?

sorry this post is so long. any advice/input would be appreciated.


Subject:RE: Acid vs Cubase SX
Reply by: JohnnyRoy
Date:4/27/2005 11:38:47 AM

ACID is really not a MIDI sequencer like Cubase and SONAR but I use ACID for all of my MIDI recording. Primarily because I like the ACID interface and ease at which I can throw a song together. I had Cubasis VST for a while but it didn’t work the way I did. I kept clicking on the timeline to change the cursor playback position or right-clicking looking for a context menu, and it kept resetting the in and out points! (ARGH!) I just couldn’t take it anymore so I uninstalled it.

I do have SONAR and I like it much better than Cubase, but I rarely use it. I just find ACID simpler to use. The only VSTi’s that don’t work with ACID are ones that generate MIDI data. There aren’t very many of those. Usually these are guitar and drum machines. I use Loops for all my drum and guitar parts so I don’t miss it.

The advantage of using Cubase or SONAR is that they both have a more complete MIDI implementation. I believe they will load and save patch data to external devices and record program change information, and have MIDI effects, etc. I don’t use any of that because I use VSTi’s. They also have a more robust MIDI editor to generate patterns and stuff but as I said, use loops for all my backing tracks and I rarely edit my MIDI performances so I get by fine with what ACID has.

Try doing all of your MIDI recording in ACID and see if you’re more productive. I’ll bet you will be because you already are familiar with how ACID works. Why change?


Subject:RE: Acid vs Cubase SX
Reply by: H2000
Date:4/27/2005 1:48:41 PM

Well, that all depends what you would like to spend your time doing. Are you the type to want to do intensive MIDI programming, or do you want to be able to quickly get ideas down, edit them and mix them?

Cubase is a real headache for me. I have no patience for messing around with settings, menus, and all kinds of convoluted stuff when I really just want to make music. I use Acid all the time for original music. In fact, that's all I've ever used it for!

I would recommend sticking with Acid, and see how far you can go with it. If you find you need more features later on, you can always look elsewhere.

Subject:RE: Acid vs Cubase SX
Reply by: jumbuk
Date:4/27/2005 9:02:29 PM

I use both.

I find Cubase (SL3) pretty easy and intuitive to use, but I have been using it for several years now.

I like Acid for doing loop-based stuff - you can't beat the way you can try different loops in the explorer while the rest of your tune is running.

Some things Acid can't do or is poor at:

- Multi-track recording (eg recording a band or myself playing guitar and singing at the same time).

- Beat-matching to a varying tempo.

- MIDI recording and editing. Acid can do this in loops, but it's not so good with continuous controllers and major editing needs. Have a look at the "Inspector" in Cubase to see some of this.

- Acid has no remote control facilities (so you can't use hardware control surfaces).

- Acid doesn't have a proper mixer. Sure, the horizontal layout is "like" a mixer, but it doesn't have immediate control over all the parameters.

- Cubase has "Hit-point editing" of audio, ability to import recycle files etc.

Plenty more. If you grew up with multi-track tape recorders (as I did), the Cubase environment is more flexible and closer to how I work. This is especially the case if you record conventional songs by playing "real" instruments.

If you don't need any of this, Acid may suit you fine on its own. Otherwise, stick with learning Cubase as well - it will become pretty straightforward once you get going. I have set up a "default" project with tracks and patchlists for all of my external MIDI gear, so I can get started pretty much as soon as it loads. I am using a Yamaha 01X for my external mixer/control surface/ audio and MIDI interface. I just hit the Play and Record buttons on the Yamaha like I was using a tape deck.

Message last edited on4/28/2005 4:42:57 PM byjumbuk.
Subject:RE: Acid vs Cubase SX
Reply by: Zacchino
Date:4/28/2005 5:26:03 AM


I found out that Cubase was a good partner to Acid Pro 5.0. As you run it in Rewire Slave, or import Acidized files in Cubase.

I don't think Acid & Cubase are really comparable as Acid isn't a multitracker (yet ?).

Sure that many functions overlap, but you'll just use the tools you need where you're more confortable with. That's a win-win situation ^^

Subject:RE: Acid vs Cubase SX
Reply by: djriko
Date:4/29/2005 6:43:42 AM

thanks for all the replies on this. gives me more to think about. perhaps i'll try doing some stuff just in acid, and then if i need additional midi editing capabilities, try doing that in cubase.

a couple questions:

-- if i record a midi file in acid, can i then edit it in cubase? what do i lose in the translation, if anything?

-- jumbuk, you said acid isn't good at beat-matching a varying tempo. does that mean cubase is good for this? if so, how does that work? i do a lot of projects that feature live drummers/varying tempos, and have to do a lot of slicing/editing to get things to match up in acid. i usually get good results, but it can be a bit time-consuming. if there's an easier way in cubase, i'd love to hear about it.

thanks again,

Subject:RE: Acid vs Cubase SX
Reply by: Zacchino
Date:4/29/2005 7:23:25 AM

>if i record a midi file in acid, can i then edit it in cubase?
>what do i lose in the translation, if anything?

You have nothing to loose from Acid to Cubase, even from Cubase to Acid as far as I've tryied. Midi files are a standard, that's meant to be interpreted the same way in every software.

The only thing you loose, is the midi file's VST Instrument associations, which means you'll just have to root the midi file to the correct instrument, with its specific patch you want it to play.

And for the Tempo change in Acid, just hit Shift+T where the tempo/key/time-signature has changed, enter the new tempo in the popup box, clic Ok, and you're done.

To detect your drum's tempo, I recommend this little utility that is pretty smart and precise, plus, free : Likai's Tempo Tapper

For the Cubase trick, I'll let Jumbuk post his answer.

Message last edited on4/29/2005 7:41:30 AM byZacchino.
Subject:RE: Acid vs Cubase SX
Reply by: djriko
Date:4/29/2005 7:41:54 AM

thanks, fadengo.

so it sounds like if i use acid to record midi files and cubase to edit, i get the best of both -- the ease (and lack of latency problems) of using acid plus the more powerful editing of cubase.

Subject:RE: Acid vs Cubase SX
Reply by: Studio_de_Lara
Date:4/29/2005 8:24:03 AM

Using ACID as a Rewire Slave is the way to go. You get the benefit of have a solid multitracker, midi-sequencer and the loop tools of ACID.
It is important to set up your sound card /midi interface for latency compensation (go to and do a search for this). Once you take the time to set up your hardware and make your Cubase template, you are ready to rock.
Everything centers around SX 2.2 for composition with ACID, Reason, Live 4.1 (gotta have Operator!) as supplements. I record mixdowns to Vegas 6 for mastering.
I would also recommend as much ram as possible. I went from 1.5 gig to 2.5 gig (PC2700-333mhz) and it made a huge difference in stabiltiy and response.

Subject:RE: Acid vs Cubase SX
Reply by: djriko
Date:4/29/2005 11:15:38 AM

thanks, Rich.

have to admit i don't know much about rewire slaves (or a lot of other stuff in this realm). what do you mean by this and how do i set it up?

Subject:RE: Acid vs Cubase SX
Reply by: jumbuk
Date:4/29/2005 8:43:48 PM

For tempo matching in Cubase, there is a SOS article at that gives the details.

The Cubase Timewarp tool is a bit more sophisticated than just changing the tempo every few bars. It actually allows you to create a "map" of the beats in a audio performance that might have been played in real time, without a click track. It's a bit like the new groove tool in Acid.

Subject:RE: Acid vs Cubase SX
Reply by: Studio_de_Lara
Date:4/29/2005 10:26:24 PM

Applications that can run as a Rewire slave allow their mixer / channel/ instrument outputs to route to the master application (in this case Cubase). These channels will show up in the Cubase mixer.
When you are using an application in slave mode, the application is sample accurate locked to the master application. The slave follows all tempo and digital settings of the master. You cannot record audio into a slave app, but you can record midi.
So, if you set up ACID in Cubase as a rewire device (by enabling as many rewire channels as you want, I believe up to 64) you can then assign ACID channel / track outputs to those rewire tracks.
The help file is a good reference. There are many resources on the internet on how to set up rewire applications in specific hosts (check out the Propellerhead site, there are tutorials for setting up Reason as a slave in Cubase, Live, Logic etc. The same technique would apply to ACID (except for rack instruments, which ACID doesn't have).

Message last edited on4/29/2005 10:27:17 PM byStudio_de_Lara.
Subject:RE: Acid vs Cubase SX
Reply by: djriko
Date:5/4/2005 10:18:41 AM

thanks, Rich and jumbuk. i appreciate the info!


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