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Subject:Considering Acid Pro 7... Feedback requested...
Posted by: laer
Date:2/5/2009 8:56:35 AM

Hi everyone....

I was a Logic Platinum user for many years (PC), until they went Mac only... Then, I had to (reluctantly) jump to another program... and CubaseSX was suggested. So, I've been using CubaseSX2 up to now.

However, I'm annoyed at how wobbly the ownership/support seems to be, the questionable longevity/support of each version, as well as being very frustrated by how each new update so far (including the brand new Cubase5) seems to not have a SINGLE feature that is of relevance to me!

At this point, upgrading would mean buying a full program, as they no longer honour my current version... meaning full price... which is even harder to swallow when I see absolutely no new features of interest to me in even the latest version.

So, here I am, once again looking for an alternative.... hoping that my latest choice doesn't vanish or betray me.

Finding 'which is best' is tough... as there's not much on that subject. My needs are relatively simple. I primarily do midi recordings, although audio support is desired too. Projects are relatively simple... all internal VSTs (Kontakt3). Usually just several tracks of midi... maybe an effect or two (in the out buss). Still, it's obviously smart to nonetheless have a program that can grow with me. I consider myself just under 'pro'. Not quite pro, as I haven't really tapped into proper mixing/bussing techniques (...I just do an audio mix export of the midi project straight out).

So, I've been looking at the variety of options now...

Logic is out... Mac only. Shame. I loved that one... Especially their clever velocity display/editing... where a bar in the note bar itself would show the velocity, and right clicking edited it.... as opposed to the way most others do it, with velocity bars at the bottom (clumped together, so you can't see individual velocities in chords)

Acid Pro... I have an initial good feeling about it. I purchased the Sony Vegas package a year ago (Vegas + DVD Architect) and was extremely pleased with the workflow and performance. Brilliant little features, like being able to drag the sides of the scroll bar in order to zoom in/out. Just by the fact that the same team that did Vegas is creating Acid Pro gives me a good feeling, even before seeing it...

Pro Tools... Seems like they certainly won't disappear too soon! Obviously used in the industry, and (one would assume) very solid in their support and features. However, they SEEM to be more audio based than midi (though I hear that has changed)... and for some odd reason, the demo I tried performed HORRIFICALLY on my system (..screen updates taking several seconds!). Not sure what the deal was there... but the bottom line is, at this point, it seems it's obviously a 'pro' and solid app, but perhaps not quite right for me... Jury's still out on that one...

Sonar and Reason... Not sure...

FL Studio... New to me... Sounded promising. Not sure if it's one of those apps just for people who do loops/beats, as opposed to the way I do things. Still looking into that.

Etc, etc....

Okay, so as a previous Logic Platinum (PC) and CubaseSX2 user... I'd love to hear some comments/opinions on Acid Pro and other sequencers similar to Cubase/Logic (midi/audio).

1) Is Acid Pro 7 'the same' in terms of abilities/features to CubaseSX2?

2) How does Acid Pro 7 display midi velocity? Like Logic, or like other apps (separate velocity bars at bottom, notes in a chord all clumped on same horizontal space)

3) How does Acid Pro 7 deal with editing velocities? Cubase's method is a bit tedious, as you have to select the note bar, switch to a different tool, then edit the separate velocity bar display... as opposed to Logic where you can immediately edit a velocity by right button dragging the same note bar)

4) Anything that I should be warned about regarding Acid Pro's abilities/features that may be a shock coming from CubaseSX2?

5) Would you describe Acid Pro as stable/reliable? .... or still experiencing growing pains (compared to CubaseSX2)? Are issues being addressed, or are users frustrated with one/several issues that aren't being resolved?

6) Will all my Kontakt based VST's work in Acid Pro 7?

7) Can I move my CubaseSX2 and (old) Logic Platinum songs into Acid Pro 7? I was frustrated that CubaseSX2 didn't allow old Logic projects to be imported. Converting to a midi file gave very sloppy/mixed results.

Any constructive advice/opinions would be greatly appreciated. Obviously this is a very important decision to me...

Thanks in advance!

Subject:RE: Considering Acid Pro 7... Feedback requested...
Reply by: jumbuk
Date:2/5/2009 4:39:30 PM

Too much there for me to read it all, but here's my take:

- I love Acid for constructing songs out of loops. I occasionally use MIDI, but the MIDI implementation, while adequate, is clunky for anything much beyond short loops.

- I use Cubase (SL3) for most MIDI work. I made this call years ago, after comparing the competition. I have several outboard modules and keyboards, and I record quite a bit direct to MIDI, so I need good editing capabilities. Things like the range of quantisation options, logical editing, arranging etc are all important to me.

Although I never liked Logic much, I would regard Logic as up there with Cubase as a MIDI editor. I can't believe that you would be happy with Acid for MIDI if that's your main need. Loops, yes.

Steinberg's ownership is pretty stable now, with Yamaha committed to new products that integrate Cubase. If I was to be tough on Sony, I could point you to the slow development since Sonic Foundry was bought by Sony. Several other Forum members have been quite vocal about it. I am ambivalent - but you need to know that Acid's future is no more guaranteed than Cubase's from this perspective.

If it was me (hell, it IS me!), I would stick with the version of Cubase you have unless there is something vital missing from it.

PS I like the look of Cubase 5, and might consider the Lite version even if I have to pay full price.

Subject:RE: Considering Acid Pro 7... Feedback requested...
Reply by: PeterWright
Date:2/5/2009 6:10:25 PM

I too was a Logic user, graduating from Notator on the Atari. I had the same problem when they went Mac only, and was delighted when Sony added midi to Acid (I've been using Vegas for 6 years).
At first I thought I'd miss the Notation aspect, but now that I am used to piano roll, it's a much easier way of manipulating and seeing note lengths. Each note has a velocity stem which can be dragged up or down, and these velocity stems can be toggled on/off using the "F" key.

I hardly ever use loops - I use midi to create anything from short jingles, song backings for stage performance and soundtracks for video programs. It's become a pretty stable application, and I would recommend it. Vsts work fine.

Download the demo and have a play - you'll soon find out if it suits you.

Message last edited on2/5/2009 6:11:40 PM byPeterWright.
Subject:RE: Considering Acid Pro 7... Feedback requested...
Reply by: laer
Date:2/5/2009 6:50:56 PM

Hi, guys. Thanks for the responses. Those were actually quite helpful.

Based on these forums, it seems there is a stability issue with Acid that several people seem to be getting frustrated about.

Previous to Logic, I was using a lovely little program called Dr T midi sequencer on an AtariST throughout my university years.

Ya, I liked Logic a lot (and as I probably mentioned, I really wish other programs would adopt Logic's velocity display, which had a line inside each note bar which indicated that note's velocity. It was great in two respects... One, you could see each note's velocity right away and unobstructed by other notes in the same time space (unlike in programs using the popular separate vertical velocity bar display below the piano roll display). Secondly, you could immediately adjust the velocity (with a continuously playing preview note) simply by right button dragging the note (rather than having to switch tools, etc).

Oddly enough, I tried returning to Logic years later, and was surprised how lost I was. I never did get a grip on the whole Environment page thing...

I was also now looking at Reason, which has a really nice interface (especially compared to the Acid/Vegas pale colour palette they seem hooked on!)... but was told it doesn't record audio. Shame...

ProTools was another option... one that I knew would be around for a while, and I would assume is pretty no nonsense as far it's power and customer support, based on it's common use in the industry. But, I was told it's not quite there as far as midi yet. It's something I still may look into, and maybe get as a secondary thing... just to be in sync with others.

I also looked at a few others, but nothing completely screamed 'winner' to me.

However, I did finally find what seemed to be an official Cubase page finally... and was pleased to see that they WILL actually honour my ownership of CubaseSX2 to a degree, taking $100 off my purchase of the full version of Cubase5.

Can't say I'm blown away by the 'new features'... even going from CubaseSX2. But, in truth, this 'upgrade' is really just for me to keep in sync with what's current, as opposed to upgrading for new features (...which would have been nice, but they are just not there for me).

So, for now, it looks like Cubase5 may be it. But I'll continue researching all the options...

Subject:RE: Considering Acid Pro 7... Feedback requested...
Reply by: jumbuk
Date:2/5/2009 7:20:33 PM

Just out of interest, what new features are you looking for in Cubase that Steinberg is not providing? Seems to me there is not much else they can add!

Subject:RE: Considering Acid Pro 7... Feedback requested...
Reply by: laer
Date:2/6/2009 7:50:47 AM

Hi, Jumbuk. I'm certainly not saying my current version (SX2) is lacking... just that I don't find there much new (that is relevant or useful to me) in neither the SX3 version, nor the new Cubase5 version.... so it's a bit of a money throwaway for me. Like I mentioned, the upgrade for me is unfortunately only to 'keep current' and in sync with everyone (including the company).

They've already dropped support for my version, and a large handful of others.... one of the disadvantages of sticking with a version you like, rather than keeping up with the pack. That was particularly annoying, since wrote a long email to them, carefully outlining the problem (so I wouldn't get the usual 'could you give us your system details' message)... only to get a short email saying they don't support me anymore, and pointed to the user forums. Despite me having an older version, the question ('What, in general, can cause CPU spikes in Cubase?') could have easily been answered, as the answer to that would be the same, be it for my version or the latest version.

New features I'd like to see?

-Velocity display/editing like in Logic (as an option). Horizontal velocity bars within the note bars, rather than on a separate pane, where notes in a chord are clumped together, on top of each other. Editing, in the sense that you can at least drag on the vertical velocity bars with the pointer tool, rather than having to switch back and forth between the pencil tool (to drag) and the pointer tool (to select).

-Failing that, perhaps at least a larger range of colours for the velocity colours of the note bars. Right now, you can only have a gradient between two colours to represent the entire 1-127 velocity range... which makes it hard to distinguish the velocity. If you could instead define ranges using a number of colours (ex. blue 0-25, red 25-50, etc) to represent velocity values, it would be a lot easier to 'read'.

-It would be nice to be able to set colours for specific parts of the interface, rather than being able to just subtly adjust within the 'dusty, pale' palette you are stuck with. Not sure why some sequencers are so hooked on dusty blue colour schemes!

-The option to have the event bar of a newly recorded track be trimmed to the nearest completed bar. This was a nice feature in previous sequencers, where you would hit record, start playing (say) a 4 measure piano section, then turn to the keyboard and hit stop. Rather than having an event that was 4 measures + whatever time it took you to stop it, the old apps would trim it down to the last completed beat or measure (if you requested it in Options)... in this case, it would automatically trim it down to 4 measures... rather than you having to manually trim down each recording (...or have to set the in/out points for each thing you record beforehand).

-Minor little tweeks... like being able to access the 'edit VST' icon/button with the VST track collapsed. I like to have the VST tracks collapsed (the ones on the bottom, not the midi ones above them)... but I have to expand it every time I want to access the VST.

Stuff like that... The same thing happened to me with Photoshop. I was happily running version 5.5(!) up until recently, for years... because none of the new features, all the way up to CS3, had any worth to me. But, I was forced to upgrade to CS3 only because clients were always upgrading, and compatibility issues arose.

Message last edited on2/7/2009 9:19:07 PM bylaer.
Subject:RE: Considering Acid Pro 7... Feedback requested...
Reply by: kitekrazee
Date:2/8/2009 5:54:47 AM

I'd suggest anything your are interested in is try the demos of each product.

Trust yourself.

Forums usually have those who worship the product and those who think it sucks..

Subject:RE: Considering Acid Pro 7... Feedback requested...
Reply by: jackn2mpu
Date:2/8/2009 6:06:20 AM

I you're looking to do serious daw work, get a serious daw program. As much as it'll draw flames here, Acid isn't that kind of program. Yeah, it'll do recording, but there are better ones out there. Personally, since you're talking about ponying up for a whole new program go for Sonar 8 Producer. I'll admit as a long-time Sonar user it has it's quirks. but for recording it's one of the best out there on a pc (barring ProTools). There is an update for Sonar 8 coming out this month that's supposed to fix the last few remaining 'problems' it had. It'll do both dxi and vst stuff equally well; Steinberg if you didn't know has dropped dxi support in it's product.

Sonar will do most everything Acid can do loop-wise, so that's not an issue. It has a relatively easy way to customize the colors used in the gui, and there is an active group of people who have developed other color schemes for Sonar - go to the Cakewalk Sonar 8 forums and look around.

Reason is not an option for serious daw work You can't record external audio and you can't add external dxi's and vst's. It's pretty good for what it does do; there are some outstanding sound libraries (Refills in Reason-speak) like Abbey Road Keyboards that (surprise, surprise) have a rather good sampling of the keyboards used in Apple Record's Abbey Road Studios. Just use Rewire to bring it into your daw of choice and you can have some killer sounds from jolly old England. Mellotron...mmmmmmmm

All the above being said, when my daw computer dies I'm going to a Mac for music (already there for Photoshop) and Digital Performer. I know I can go Bootcamp and use Windoze programs, but for a whole host of reasons, some of which are due to Bill Gate's job hiring stance and not germane here, I desperately want and need to drop anything Microsoft.


Message last edited on2/8/2009 6:10:34 AM byjackn2mpu.
Subject:RE: Considering Acid Pro 7... Feedback requested...
Reply by: SHTUNOT
Date:2/8/2009 9:57:00 AM

Hey laer,

While many apps have had a boat load of features crammed into each release acid has had enough [imho] added to it to justify it being called a "DAW".

There are more "nice to have" features missing in acid than "need to have".

Again this is my opinion.

The recording options are more than enough to get the job done. The midi is good. Though if I did need more I would just rewire reason 4 to acid and have at it that way.

My workflow right now is :

-record all audio in acid.

-record midi in acid to use with any of my vsti and rewire devices [reason].

-ALL my drums are BFD 2.1. [with a honorable mention of jamstix 2 too...I use it not for it's drum sounds but as a "brain" to play cool beats sent to bfd2 to be triggered]

-mix using my mackie mcu.

Don't forget that the dx and dxi formats are dead and so are irrelevant to any discussion. Not even sure why the izotope pack that came bundled with acid was dx. [remember that you cannot mix a dx fx with a vst uad plugin=bad]

Unless there is a must have feature that you cannot live without I think the acid>>rewired>>>reason>>combo is your best bet.

I'm having alot of fun with it.


Subject:RE: Considering Acid Pro 7... Feedback requested...
Reply by: jumbuk
Date:2/8/2009 3:43:48 PM

Thanks for that detailed response.

I forgot to mention Sonar. I have never taken to it, but the fact that it uses the standard Windows environment (like Acid) is a plus - it took me years to get used to the proprietary Cubase environment (the toolbox etc).

One thing that becomes a bit clearer to me on reading the various responses to the OP is that there are different ways of using MIDI. I guess I am a bit old-school: I record real-time keyboard performance to MIDI parts that are driving external keyboards and modules. My main need is to tidy-up the timing, correct mistakes and arrange chunks of performance into song sections. Whereas I think some of the other posters might be using mainly soft synths, with a USB keyboard controller, or dropping in MIDI notes directly from the DAW MIDI editor. IMO, Acid is not great for the first way of working, but may be Ok for the second. The reason I say this is that I seem to spend a lot of time in Acid just resizing track windows and scrolling around to find the bit I want to edit. Most other DAWs have been doing MIDI for so long that the workflow is pretty smooth for those of us who grew up using MIDI like a digital tape recorder.

Anyway, you have some opinions to work with now!

Subject:RE: Considering Acid Pro 7... Feedback requested...
Reply by: pwppch
Date:2/8/2009 8:24:08 PM

IMO, Acid is not great for the first way of working, but may be Ok for the second. The reason I say this is that I seem to spend a lot of time in Acid just resizing track windows and scrolling around to find the bit I want to edit.

Is this because of the in-line MIDI editing rather than a global/project centric stand along Piano-Roll or Notation editor approach?


Subject:RE: Considering Acid Pro 7... Feedback requested...
Reply by: jumbuk
Date:2/9/2009 3:30:02 AM

Yes, Peter, that's pretty much the way I see it, compared to something like Cubase. The Acid MIDI editor is not bad, it just gets in the way of editing a bit. I do like the in-line editing - maybe what I need to do is get better with the keyboard shortcuts so I can navigate around a bit faster.

Subject:RE: Considering Acid Pro 7... Feedback requested...
Reply by: bnjenter
Date:2/9/2009 9:58:52 AM

To put my 2¢ in, adding notation to Acid would make my day - every day!


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