Shootout: 5 Pro Audio Software Products Rated

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Digital Music Doctor announces the release a new analysis which compares five of the most popular Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) software products from DigiDesign, Steinberg, Cakewalk, Sony, and Ableton. The analysis evaluates 130 different factors on a scale of 0-5 (5 being best) which are combined to arrive at an overall rating. This analysis is an update of a previous study and includes Ableton Live 6 for the first time.

Digital Music Doctor announces the release a new analysis which compares five of the most popular Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) software products from DigiDesign, Steinberg, Cakewalk, Sony, and Ableton. The analysis evaluates 130 different factors on a scale of 0-5 (5 being best) which are combined to arrive at an overall rating. This analysis is an update of a previous study and includes Ableton Live 6 for the first time.

PRODUCT     (FUNCTIONAL RATING)
1 - Cubase 4 (4.6)
2 - Sonar 6 (4.4)
3 - Acid Pro 6 (3.5)
4 - Pro Tools 7 (3.2)
5 - Live 6 (2.9)

The analysis measures these products based on two ratings, an overall functional rating and a value ratio. In the functional rating Cubase 4 remains the leader by a small margin over Sonar 6 Producer Edition. Ableton Live 6, the new entry in the analysis, has the lowest rating. Although Live has a several popular features such as the Session View and the Instrument and Effects Rack, it has less functionality than the other DAW's in MIDI and Video, and lacks Surround Mixing.

PRODUCT     (VALUE RATIO)
1 - Pro Tools 7 (1.29)
2 - Acid Pro 6 (0.92)
3 - Sonar 6 (0.88)
4 - Live 6 (0.62)
5 - Cubase 4 (0.58)

The second metric of the analysis is the value ratio which is the ratio of the overall functional rating divided by the representative dealer price. Based on this measure Pro Tools 7 (LE/M-Powered) provides the most value for the money, whereas Cubase 4 ranks lowest.

This study examines 130 individual functions which are summarized into four main categories. Each main category has several subcategories which provide overall ratings for such functions as mixing, MIDI editors, recording, and track management. The analysis also includes an explanation for each rating as well as a description of what a particular function is and why it is important.

This study is based on the materials used in the video training courses produced by Digital Music Doctor for Digidesign Pro Tools, Cakewalk Sonar, Steinberg Cubase, Sony Acid, and Ableton Live. The complete analysis is available at the Digital Music Doctor web site, http://www.digitalmusicdoctor.com/shootout/shootout_summary.htm

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CLARK MURRAY
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