Cubase vs Pro Tools: Let’s Help You Choose the Best DAW

If you’re a music producer or an aspiring artist, chances are you’ve heard of Cubase and Pro Tools. 

These two digital audio workstations (DAWs) have long been at the forefront of the music production industry.

They are both packed full of powerful tools for recording, editing, mixing, and mastering audio. If we look at them from a “Cubase vs Pro Tools” perspective, the lines are blurred in terms of features and usability. 

In this article, we will compare Cubase and Pro Tools to help you decide which one suits your needs and preferences.

Let’s Talk About Cubase

Let’s start with Cubase, a DAW developed by Steinberg that has gained immense popularity among musicians worldwide. 

From beginners to seasoned professionals, Cubase caters to the needs of all music producers. 

What sets Cubase apart is its comprehensive set of features and functionalities, designed to enhance creativity and efficiency. 

With Cubase 12, I found myself easily navigating through the user-friendly interface, allowing me to focus more on my music and less on technicalities.

User Interface and User-Friendliness

The user interface of Cubase is a true delight. Its intuitive design and logical layout made it a breeze for me to find my way around the software. 

Whether I wanted to record, edit, or mix my tracks, everything was just a few clicks away. 

Cubase truly understands the needs of musicians and provides a smooth and seamless workflow.

Compatibility and System Requirements

Another great advantage of Cubase is its compatibility with both Windows and Mac operating systems. As a Mac user, I found it reassuring to know that Cubase 12 works flawlessly on my preferred platform. 

Cubase requires moderate system requirements, making it accessible to a wide range of users without compromising performance.

Features and Functionalities of Cubase

Cubase is packed with an impressive array of features and functionalities. 

From its powerful audio recording capabilities to its extensive library of virtual instruments and effects, Cubase 12 provides endless possibilities for musical experimentation. 

Whether I wanted to create intricate MIDI arrangements or produce professional-quality tracks, Cubase had the tools I needed at my fingertips.

Benefits for Beginner Music Producers

If you’re just starting your music production journey, Cubase Pro is an excellent choice. It offers a user-friendly interface that is easy to learn. 

This allows beginners to quickly grasp the basics of music production. Cubase also provides helpful tutorials and a supportive community. 

I had no problem feeling encouraged and motivated on my creative path.

Benefits for Professional Music Producers

For professional music producers, Cubase 12 Pro is a powerhouse. Its advanced features and precise control over every aspect of the production process make it a top choice for professionals in the industry. 

With Cubase, I felt like I had the tools of a world-class studio right at my fingertips. 

From professional-grade mixing and mastering plugins to seamless integration with external hardware, Cubase proved to be an invaluable asset in my music production arsenal.

Introduction to Pro Tools

Now let’s turn our attention to Pro Tools, a widely acclaimed DAW developed by Avid

When it comes to professional audio production, Pro Tools has established itself as the industry standard. 

As someone who values quality and precision in my recordings, Pro Tools 12 has been my go-to choice for music recording and mixing projects.

Pro Tools’ reputation and widespread use in the industry speak volumes about its capabilities.

Industry Standard for Audio Production – Is Pro Tools Better than Cubase

Pro Tools has rightfully earned its reputation as the industry standard for professional audio production.

It has been trusted by renowned studios and engineers worldwide for its exceptional audio quality and unparalleled editing capabilities. 

Whether you’re working on a music album, film soundtrack, or podcast, Pro Tools 12 provides the tools and features necessary to achieve professional-grade results.

Features and Functionalities of Pro Tools

Pro Tools boasts a robust set of features and functionalities that cater to the demands of professional studios and engineers. 

From its extensive plugin library to advanced automation and editing tools, Pro Tools offers unparalleled flexibility and control over every aspect of the production process. 

The software’s powerful mixing console, complete with industry-standard plugins and signal processing options, allows for precise and detailed audio shaping.

User Interface and Learning Curve

While the user interface of Pro Tools may appear overwhelming at first, with its multiple windows and complex layout, don’t let it discourage you. 

With some practice and patience, I was able to navigate through the software comfortably. 

Pro Tools 12 rewards those who invest time in learning its intricacies. 

Also, it provides a level of control and precision that is unparalleled in the industry.

Compatibility and System Requirements

Similar to Cubase Pro 12, Pro Tools 12 is compatible with both Windows and Mac operating systems. 

However, it’s worth noting that Pro Tools requires a slightly higher system specification compared to Cubase. 

This is due to its resource-intensive nature, especially when dealing with large-scale projects and high track counts. 

Ensuring that your system meets the recommended requirements will ensure smooth and efficient performance.

Head To Head Comparison: Cubase vs Pro Tools

When it comes to comparing Cubase Pro and Pro Tools 12, several factors come into play.

Let’s dive deeper into the key aspects and functionalities of these DAWs to understand their strengths and differences.

Cubase vs Pro Tools: Let’s Help You Choose the Best DAW

Workflow and User Experience

Both Cubase 12 and Pro Tools offer smooth and efficient workflows, but they do have their distinct approaches. 

Cubase emphasizes versatility and flexibility, providing users with a range of creative options and customization possibilities. 

Pro Tools, on the other hand, focuses on stability and reliability, making it an ideal choice for professional studios and engineers who require precision and consistency in their workflow.

Audio Recording and Editing Capabilities

Both DAWs excel in audio recording and editing capabilities. 

Cubase Pro 12 offers a variety of recording options. These include multi-track recording, loop recording, and punch-in recording. 

Its audio editing tools provide precise control over waveform editing, time-stretching, and pitch-shifting. 

Pro Tools, on the other hand, is renowned for its industry-leading audio editing capabilities. It offers advanced features such as Elastic Audio, Beat Detective, and Clip Gain. 

If you prioritize audio editing precision, Pro Tools might be the better choice for you.

MIDI Functionality – Cubase vs Pro Tools

For musicians who heavily rely on MIDI instruments and sequencing, both Cubase and Pro Tools offer comprehensive MIDI functionality. 

Cubase Pro 12 provides a user-friendly MIDI editor and a wide range of virtual instruments. You also get advanced MIDI features like the Chord Track and VariAudio. 

Pro Tools, although historically more focused on audio recording, has significantly improved its MIDI capabilities in recent versions. 

Mixing and Mastering Capabilities

Both Cubase and Pro Tools offer powerful tools for mixing and mastering audio

Cubase provides a robust mixer with a comprehensive set of plugins and effects. This will allow you to achieve professional-level mixes. 

The Cubase mixer also offers advanced features like VCA faders, control room integration, and surround sound capabilities. 

Pro Tools, being the industry standard, offers an extensive range of mixing and mastering tools. 

For ProTools, its renowned Channel Strip, comprehensive automation features, and powerful audio editing engine were great. 

We found that, if you prioritize a refined mixing and mastering experience, Pro Tools might be the better choice.

Plugins and Virtual Instruments

Both Cubase 12 and Pro Tools 12 support a wide range of plugins and virtual instruments, allowing you to expand your creative possibilities. 

Cubase offers a vast library of virtual instruments and effects, including HALion, Retrologue, and Groove Agent. 

It also supports third-party plugins, giving you access to a vast ecosystem of sound design tools. Pro Tools is known for its compatibility with industry-standard plugins. 

It offers seamless integration with a wide array of high-quality plugins from renowned developers. 

If you heavily rely on specific plugins or have existing investments in plugins, Pro Tools may be more suitable for your needs.

I seemed to like the VST stock plugins that came with Cubase a lot better. Since they’re included with the DAW, they integrated well and loaded up quickly. 

VST instruments and effects that come with Cubase Pro 12 also added a lot more quality to the overall sound of my tracks. The presets and sounds are high quality and third-party plugins were not needed much.

Pros and Cons of Cubase

Cubase has several advantages that make it a popular choice among music producers. Its user-friendly interface, versatile workflow, and extensive MIDI functionality provide a creative and flexible environment. 

User-friendly interfaceLacks some advanced audio editing features found in other DAWs
Versatile workflowSystem requirements can be demanding for older or less powerful computers
Extensive MIDI functionalityLimited built-in virtual instrument and sample library
Powerful audio recording capabilitiesSteeper learning curve compared to some other DAWs
Comprehensive mixing and mastering toolsExpensive compared to some other DAW options
Vast selection of effects and pluginsUpdates and software compatibility can occasionally be problematic
Excellent support for film scoringSome users find the user interface design to be dated or less visually appealing
Robust automation and control featuresCollaboration and project-sharing features could be improved
Solid stability and reliabilityNot all third-party plugins may be fully compatible or supported

Cubase 12 Pro also offers a wide range of virtual instruments and effects. This will allow you to explore more sonic capabilities. 

With that said though, some producers may find that Cubase lacks certain advanced features found in other DAWs, and its system requirements might be a bit demanding for some setups.

Pros and Cons of Pro Tools

Pro Tools 12 has established itself as the industry standard for professional audio production and for good reason. 

It has powerful audio editing capabilities, stability, and compatibility with a wide range of plugins. This makes it a top choice for recording studios and professionals. 

Industry-standard DAWHigher cost compared to some other DAW options
Advanced audio editing capabilitiesSteeper learning curve for beginners and less experienced users
Extensive plugin and virtual instrument supportHardware requirements can be demanding, especially for larger projects
Robust mixing and mastering toolsLimited MIDI capabilities compared to some other DAWs
Powerful automation and control featuresRequires additional cost for some advanced features and functionality
Excellent session management and collaboration featuresLess flexible with non-Avid hardware or software integration
Solid stability and reliabilityWorkflow can feel rigid and less intuitive for some users
Vast array of professional-grade plugins and effectsSome users find the user interface design to be outdated or less user-friendly
Extensive support and resourcesLimited compatibility with certain audio formats and codecs
Strong integration with Avid hardwareMobile or remote collaboration options may not be as robust as other DAWs

Pro Tools 12 also offers advanced features like Elastic Audio and Beat Detective. We found that these features greatly enhance the editing workflow. 

One big disadvantage is that Pro Tools can be quite expensive compared to some other DAWs. When starting to use it, I found the user interface overwhelming when transitioning from other DAWs.

This might overwhelm beginners or producers who are used to other DAWs’ interfaces and workflow. 

Which One is Better for Music Production?

Choosing between Cubase and Pro Tools ultimately depends on your specific needs and preferences. 

We found that Cubase has a lot more versatility, an intuitive workflow, and extensive MIDI functionality. Cubase 12 might be the right choice for you if you’re looking for these qualities in a DAW. 

Pro Tools has valuable industry-standard features, advanced audio editing capabilities, and seamless plugin compatibility. When we tested out Pro Tools 12, we decided it might be the better fit. 

In all honesty, both these DAWs will not be suitable for beginners in music production. It’s important to consider your budget, workflow preferences, and long-term goals. 

If you’re just starting out, it’s advised to try out easier DAWs such as Logic, Ableton Live, or FL Studio. These have better interfaces and workflows for beginners who are just starting out. 

On the other hand, if you’ve been in the music game for a while, advanced DAWs such as Cubase Pro and Pro Tools might be for you. 

Cubase Pro 12 and Pro Tools have advanced features and MIDI capabilities that are used in many professional studios. We also found out that collaborations go much smoother with professional DAWs. 

The Final Verdict – Cubase vs Pro Tools

We found that, in the battle of Cubase vs. Pro Tools, both DAWs offer powerful tools for music production. 

Cubase excels in its versatility, user-friendly interface, and MIDI functionality. Pro Tools is renowned for its advanced audio editing capabilities, stability, and industry-standard status. 

Cubase is known for its user-friendly interface and helpful tutorials, making it an excellent choice for beginners. Whereas Pro Tools can take some time to learn and comes with a hefty price tag. 

You need to understand your specific needs and priorities when it comes to Cubase vs Pro Tools. These include budget, workflow preferences, and long-term goals.

Both these DAWs offer free trials so potential owners can try them out before making a decision. We encourage you to try them out to get a feel of which DAW is best for you. 


Is Cubase Compatible With Mac And Windows Operating Systems?

Yes, Cubase is compatible with both Mac and Windows.

Can I Use Pro Tools Without Any Prior Experience In Music Production?

While it may take some time to learn the ins and outs of Pro Tools, it is possible to use it as a beginner with dedication and practice.

Can I Use Cubase Or Pro Tools On My Windows Computer?

Yes, both Cubase and Pro Tools are compatible with Windows operating systems.

Which Daw Is Better For Beginners?

Cubase is known for its user-friendly interface and helpful tutorials, making it an excellent choice for beginners.

Can I Transfer Projects Between Cubase And Pro Tools?

Yes, it is possible to transfer projects between the two DAWs, but it may require some additional steps and adjustments.

Do Cubase And Pro Tools Come With Virtual Instruments And Effects?

Yes, both Cubase and Pro Tools provide a wide range of virtual instruments and effects to enhance your productions.

Are There Any Limitations To The Trial Versions Of Cubase And Pro Tools?

Yes, the trial versions for both Pro Tools and Cubase usually have limitations.