So which DAW should I switch to?

So which DAW should I switch to?


Yeah that’s true, I could probably get years out of it as long as I avoid updates. I’m not sure what I would do in the event of a hard drive failure or needing to reinstall for any reason since this was a download and I don’t have a disc.

Right now I’m kind of excited to try something new though, plus if I don’t start transitioning to a new DAW I’ll probably just get all sad every time I open up Sonar, knowing in the back of my mind that I’ll have to switch eventually.

Reaper seems to be the most recommended by far and I’m not surprised, everyone seems to like Reaper. It’s kind of the industry standard of home recording at this point lol. I think I’ll be giving Reaper a try. The other DAWs mentioned look interesting as well.


If you’re gonna buy one (besides REAPER, that is) now’s the time due to all the Black Friday sales! :slight_smile:


Yeah you’re right, just not a lot of time to demo anything unfortunately.


Hi Greg. Not meaning to start a war here. Just offering a different perspective. On the first comment, it seems you’re implying a commercial setting? No? As soon as you mention (dumb) clients, it would seem you’re suggesting a business environment.

First, some use PT because they’re simply more comfortable with the workflow. Market appeal is only faulty incentive for having Pro Tools ~IF~ the market does not require features that only Avid has. (PT does sport operation and editing, file management, workflow, and control surface integration only available within the Avid family). These are perfectly legitimate reasons producers and directors will choose to work with an Avid based studio. In short, I respectfully disagree with both of the comments, namely the assumption of client ignorance.

Edit: As I said above, Reaper is great for music, but has yet to implement many features necessary for all the other areas of audio.


What other areas of audio–like audio for movies and stuff? Just curious, really.


I’m talking semi-commercial - like most small-time recorders and hobbyists. Someone that mostly records themselves and/or a handful of small-time clients and local nobodies. Like the vast majority of recorders out there. Client ignorance is a very real and important factor in this world. Anyone that doesn’t have it together enough to record themselves has at least heard of Pro Tools. That product name recognition alone is an important factor for many people shopping recording “studios”. If you’re a Pro Tools “studio” and advertise your use of Pro Tools, that’s often enough to swing a fence-sitting potential client your way. I’m talking about Joe Blow home studio here. Some guy in his basement studio looking to make a few bucks off recording local acts can get some benefit from having Pro Tools even though it doesn’t do anything special.

I still think Reaper is better.


Sure! Consider some other areas of audio…

Live sound
Audio-post (commercials, audiobooks, tutorials, corporate training videos, telephone prompts, sound implementation in industrial machinery such as slot machines, medical equipment, voice automated electronic devices)

…again, not bashing Reaper. I think it was designed to primarily be a music DAW. Nothing wrong with that. But a good example of a basic function Reaper doesn’t have is setting an ADR streamer (the 3 beeps and the line that passes along the animation screen before the actor reads their line).

Or for example it doesn’t have any middleware integration, which allows you to see events in the hierarchy of a video game that trigger sound effects.

For mixing, it doesn’t have an 3d object panner (which means you have to implement a third party one), and its surround bus maxes out at 5.1 (I think). This makes stem printing and editing impossible in a 9.1 or larger Dolby Atmos environment. Reaper is incompatible with most large scale control surfaces as it doesn’t support Eucon (which is the language protocol most media studios use to link their DAWs to their mixers).

Another problem for media studios, is that its tricky to implement many popular synchronization devices that keep all instances of Reaper running on different computers inside the dub room linked to the movie projector. Pro Tools has these options hard-coded into the ‘peripherals’ and ‘playback engine’ menus.

And server integration is huge. The Avid NEXIS is a media server, specifically optimized for PT and Media Composer, and allows a building full of visual and audio personal to park the project in a single location and edit it without migrating it to each local DAW. You theoretically could do this with Reaper by attempting to modify the operating system and hardware drivers inside of a Linux machine, but it seems like most efforts would be counterproductive against the millions of dollars that has already gone into the RnD for the NEXIS. Its just easier to buy a stack of them already built and ready to go, for $300K and hook them up and use them. The catch is you have to be using Pro Tools to do it.

So coming back to what @Greg_L was saying, its not really “Hey, look, we use Pro Tools”…its more about “we use avid”.


LOL! Yes those may be very important considerations for the .000001% of people that mix for Pixar in a control room the size of a movie theater.

For the rest of us in the real world, none of that matters. Pro Tools is good for name value alone. That’s about it.


Gotcha. In that case I agree.

Again, I can’t argue with that. The higher budget companies are much better at choosing an appropriate production facility, but at the end of the day they’re no less immune from mistakes as anyone else is.

Sure. I can’t see any reason to split hairs over DAWs in that case. :smiley:


There isn’t any reason, and really they’re all pretty much the same when it comes to basic tracking and mix features. The most important factor IMO is just going with one that you’re comfortable with because they really are literally all the same thing.

I support Reaper because they support their users. Is Reaper really any better than the others? Probably not. As I said, they’re all the same. For most people that do basic tracking, VSTis, and a lot of plug-in mixing, all DAWs are the same thing. Reaper is just more user-friendly and involved with their product.


Cool, thanks for taking the time to write that up! Looks like Pro Tools is great in those cases.


I switched to Reaper for mixing only about 3 and a half years ago, after 7 years on Sonar. I was having a lot of issues with Sonar at the time - bugs and crashes, slow loading times etc. etc.

Like @Cristina , I found Kenny Gioya’s tutorials were fantastic for getting to know the program, as it is very, very deep and infinitely customisable. There are about 20 different ways to do each thing… That can be really intimidating but if you work through it, you can get up to speed pretty quickly. Jon Tidy at the Reaper Blog has lots of killer tutorials as well.

For mixing audio, the Reaper workflow is unbeatable, IMO. I’ve had some experience with many other DAWs - Pro Tools, Studio One, Cubase, Mixbus, Ableton, Reason etc. Reaper’s “track agnostic” approach is just so easy to use, especially after having to wade through Sonar’s bussing system.

For example, watching people set up busses and sends in Pro Tools on video mixing tutorials is like watching paint dry! Reaper does it so much faster and easier. (Not picking on PT per se - it is just that most of the professionals who make tutorials use it - I have felt similar frustration when seeing the way other DAWs implement these functions)

Another thing that is unbeatable is Reaper’s miniscule CPU footprint. Sonar used to start wheezing and bugging out at a relatively meager plugin/track count. In Reaper, I can run massive sessions before it even hints at being overloaded… & that’s a 1:1 comparison on the same computer. What’s more, you get updates just about weekly, they take virtually no time to download, and the updates install in about 30 seconds! (Not exaggerating)

That said, up until very recently, I kept recording and producing on Sonar, as I was so familiar with it’s workflow in that respect, and I was fast at it. I finally bit the bullet, and my two latest projects have been done completely in Reaper, which has been a learning curve, but I’m getting there… I love the concept of doing everything within a single DAW from now on.

On balance, not everyone has the patience to wade through Reaper’s deep waters, and if you are mainly just mixing your own projects, much of Reaper’s depth of routing functionality may be somewhat superfluous to your needs. But definitely check it out via the unhindered demo. Many of the plugins you got through Sonar will continue to work in Reaper.

Regarding other DAWs you should check out: Definitely Mixcraft & Studio One. I have a soft spot for Mixcraft, because it was the very first DAW I used, and it has matured greatly since then. Studio One is very easy to use too. Both these DAWs also come with a generous supply of VIs and plugins.

… Anyhow… Hope that helps in some way… This thing with Gibson and Sonar truly sucks.


I’m messing around with Reaper right now, I downloaded the mix contest song to test it out. I don’t know how to do anything lol. A lot of plugins from Sonar are working but some aren’t. I need to find a way to organize what works and what doesn’t.

Is there a way to make it show my plugins on each track? Or do i have to click “fx” so the window pops up every time?


@Jclampitt Are you just looking at the view with the wave forms of the tracks? There are a lot of different views available, one of which is a mixer view. You can find and enable it under the View menu on the top bar.

There’s a lot to learn! I understand just wanting to jump in right away though. :slight_smile: This series is awesome, but takes some time to get through:


Now try doing the same with Studio One! It came down to Studio One and Sonar when I was deciding a couple of years ago. For me, I just liked Studio One better, and Iike @tacman7, I’ve never looked back…


Yeah, so far I’m just looking at the tracks, I haven’t messed with the mixer view yet, which I suspect is something like the console view in Sonar. Before I would just toss that view on my second monitor and have all my busses there.

Anyways, I’m gonna stop asking questions, it’s Thanksgiving and everyone has better things to do than teach me Reaper when I can just watch the videos lol. Its a lot different but I’ll figure it out. Thanks for the video and Happy Thanksgiving!


Years ago Pro Tools was created to control proprietary hardware.

It was the only game in town, computers could barely get out of their own way then and there were few options for a digital studio. It did what it said it could do and was worth the price of admission if you could afford it.

So Pro Tools had a massive hold on pro audio when computers started being able to compete.

Porting the software to run native on home computers didn’t do much for me when I tried it some years ago.

It couldn’t compete with the available software then, not sure about now.


Thanks for this full feedback, you wrote it better than I could :+1:
Routing in Reaper is very powerful and very easy, something very useful when things become a bit advanced.


I use Cubase. I upgrade regularly because it’s cost effective over time. I started with cubase 4 and now have version 9. I don’t think I’ve ever used more that 5% of the softwares potential. And it has really grown over time - I see they are offering 9.5 but I’ll wait for when Steinberg puts it on sale. No rush.
What I’m doing today though is upgrading my computer to handle todays spects and requirements - My system is 10 yrs old so it’s time to do it. I was quite happy using windows 7 but some drum plugins I recently downloaded were compatible only with windows 10 - bummer, so I loaded windows 10 - now theres some problems, so I going for a fresh install of win. 10 and will install an SSD drive and an I-7 processor meaning I’ll need a new motherboard and memory to improve performance. I have been using three monitors for awhile but I’ll go to four now and see how that works out, I’m looking forward to it. One has to keep up with the times. And this is my hobby. The daw is great but performance comes from the computer - I don’t think you can have one without the other - just whaterever software you get used to using.


Years ago I bought a firewire audio interface, still using it.

If I change computers I can just buy a firewire card and I’m good to go.

Now the best interfaces use Thunderbolt. I thought maybe I’ll buy one of those interfaces but I found out you can’t just buy a Thunderbolt card and slap it in a computer.
You have buy a motherboard that supports blah blah blah.

So if you’re shopping for a motherboard I would look into those requirements in case you want to go the Thunderbolt route later…