Pro Tools vs. Sonar
As you may know already if you know much about the music industry, Pro Tools is the INDUSTRY STANDARD for audio recording. Sonar's capabilities just do not compare to the hundreds of life-like sounding instruments that Pro Tools LE (Light Edition) comes bundled with. With the AIR package in Pro Tools, you can add effects to your guitar recording, such as multi-delay, reverb, virtual amps, and so much more.
Through advanced technology and a lot of research, Digidesign (maker of Pro Tools) has done it again! The software is easy to use and comes with so many great plug-ins.
One of the things that is comes with is called Xpand. If you have a midi piano, you will love this! When plugging your piano into the computer. you can use your piano to play a violin, or a $3000 drum set. Whenever you press a key on the piano, it will change to the instrument that you choose. (This is called synthesising.)
Also, the mixer gives you full control and is packed with features (not to mention, very colorful). I would suggest getting another computer monitor (if your computer can support two) to help you see everything because the mixer takes up a lot of screen space!
-A good CPU
-At least 1 gb of RAM
-A lot of hard drive space (around 80 gigs for more than occasional users)
-Good speakers (that come with the pro tools mini bundle)
The Pro Tools Mini Studio Bundle is around $299 at Guitar Center. It comes with:
One MBox 2 Mini (2 mic/guitar inputs)
Pro Tools LE
MAudio Speakers (They work great!)
Wires to plug the MBox into the MAudio Speakers
What Sonar Comes With:
Obviously, Pro Tools is a better bet! I have used both and can honestly say that Pro Tools is more professional, fun, sleek, and addictive to use.
The offer at Guitar Center will end soon, so I would hurry!
(P.S. Guitar Center has offers almost every week, so if this one has ended by the time you have read this, I would wait a little. But unless you have a connection to Pro Tools or you get a used copy (which I would not recommend due to the large amount of items that come with it (so, something will probably come broken), $299 is the best offer you can get for Pro Tools Mini Studio Bundle.)
P.P.S. Looking for a more high end option? Try the MBox 2 or the MBox Pro. These include more ports to plug in instruments. And if you get them in a bundle, they will come with better Pro Tools software (eg. Pro Tools HD). But For most recording purposes, Pro Tools LE is good enough.)