In today’s DAW comparison, we have Cubase vs Nuendo. Both DAWs were created by Steinberg, but they have some differences. Which one should you learn? Which one should you buy? Keep reading to see which DAW – Cubase or Nuendo – you should get.
The TLDR of the Cubase vs Nuendo conversation is that if you’re only looking to make music, then Cubase is going to be good enough for you. However, if you want more advanced features and want to work with audio in games and movies professionally, then Nuendo is the DAW you should get.
Before looking at the differences between Cubase and Nuendo, let’s get a quick introduction to them.
Cubase: A Brief Overview
Cubase is a DAW that has been around for a few decades. It started as just something that worked with MIDI, but it quickly became a cross-platform software that users on both MAC and PC could use to make music.
Cubase is a popular alternative to other DAWS such as Logic, Pro Tools, and FL Studio. Cubase is the DAW that I first started with, so I have a lot of experience with it and I might be a bit biased when talking about it.
Popular Cubase Features
Pretty much all DAWs have similar features, but these are some of the most popular features that I think Cubase has.
VariAudio3 is similar to software like Melodyne – it lets you change the pitch and timing of audio notes. That means if you’re working with a musician or singer and they miss a note – pitch-wise or rhythmically – you can “fix it in post.” This is a great feature to have that many DAWs lack. In fact, this feature alone is why I chose to purchase Cubase when I started shopping for DAWs back in the day.
Cubase allows you to take multiple audio tracks and easily combine the best parts in order to make one “master take” with no errors. Let’s say your singer can sing all the parts correctly, but can never seem to get a perfect take. With the comping feature, you can just combine all the best parts together and have one great take. Combine that with VariAudio and you’ll be spending less time recording and have the options to fix things in post.
Great with MIDI and virtual instruments
Most DAWs can work with MIDI and virtual instruments, but because MIDI and virtual instruments are where Cubase got its start, that’s where its bread and butter is. It’s really easy to work with many MIDI instruments and virtual instruments at one time with Cubase making it a popular choice among composers such as Hans Zimmer.
Comes with some great virtual instruments
Cubase some great virtual instruments – you can read more about them in our full Cubase Review. Cubase doesn’t come with as many virtual instruments as Logic Pro does, but I think the stock instruments that come with Cubase are better instruments.
Lots of stock audio plugins
In addition to coming with great virtual instruments, Cubase also comes with some great stock plugins for audio. These include effects such as compressors, EQs, delays, reverb, and more.
I’ve tried out many DAWs, but this is something that I still haven’t seen in other DAWs besides Cubase, and that is the drum editor. The drum editor is just a MIDI editor like a piano roll, but it’s made specifically for writing drum parts. Writing complicated drums parts is great with the drum editor as you don’t have to worry about note lengths like you would have to do with a piano roll (because drum hits don’t have lengths.)
Before we compare Cubase to Nuendo, let’s look at what Nuendo actually is.
How much is Cubase? View the pricing on Amazon.
Nuendo: A brief overview
Nuendo is another DAW from Steinberg, but it’s often not talked about as much as other DAWs are. Why is that? We’ll go more into that in the features section, but Nuendo is really a high-quality professional tool that is not used as much in the hobbyist space. Sure, Cubase and other DAWs are also used in both professional and hobbyist settings, but Nuendo seems to only be used in professional settings.
Let’s take a look into Nuendo’s features to see exactly why that is.
First, I have to say, Nuendo has pretty much all the features that Cubase has. However, when new features are added to Cubase and Nuendo, Cubase gets them first.
Surround sound support
Nuendo has support for mixing surround features. You know when you watch a movie in the theatre or in a home with a nice sound system and you hear more advanced sound than just left and right (stereo)? You’ll need something like Nuendo to mix sound for things like that.
Automated Dialog Replacement (ADR) System
In films, sometimes the dialog is replaced in post-production – in the mix. Nuendo has features for ADR – an important feature needed when working with film or TV.
Other advanced features for post-production professionals
There are even more features that Nuendo has for post-production professionals. You can view all of the features here.
Comparing Cubase and Nuendo
Let’s look at the pros and cons of Cubase compared to Nuendo. You can view all the specifics differences between Cubase and Nuendo here.
Pros of Cubase compared to Nuendo
Cubase is cheaper than Nuendo is. If you don’t need all the extra features, then you can save money by getting Cubase.
Gets new features quicker
Cubase and Nuendo both get many of the same features, but Steinberg tends to add features to Cubase first and then adds them to Nuendo.
Cons of Cubase compared to Nuendo
Lacks many of the post-production features that Nuendo has
Nuendo has many more features that Cubase doesn’t have. If you are going to use your DAW for post-production in TV or films, Cubase might lack some of the features you’ll want.
Pros of Nuendo compared to Cubase
Has many post-production features
Features such as working with ADR and different cuts of a film are much easier to work with when using Nuendo. In fact, Cubase doesn’t have many of these features.
Cons of Nuendo compared to Cubase
Nuendo is more expensive than Cubase. Pricing of Cubase and Nuendo change, but Nuendo is usually hundreds of dollars cheaper than Cubase.
Small hobbyist community
Cubase is much more popular in the hobbyist community and that means there are more tutorials and other learning materials out there for you to learn the DAW and music production.
Cubase vs Nuendo: The final verdict
Both Cubase and Nuendo are great DAWs for audio professionals. Nuendo is basically a souped-up version of Cubase. It has advanced features that audio professionals working with TV, film, and video games will want. However, it is also more expensive than Cubase. For most musicians, Cubase is just fine for a DAW. You probably won’t feel like you’re missing out on anything by getting Cubase unless you are specifically working with post-production in TV, film, and video games.
Alternatives to Cubase and Nuendo
There are other DAW options you can choose from including Pro Tools, FL Studio, and Logic Pro. You can read our other DAW reviews below.
Josh is the founder and main author of Songwriter Nation. He has played music for over twenty years and even studied music at university earning a minor in music.