It’s been pretty quiet at winter NAMM as far as the major DAWs; Mackie released Tracktion 3 but the larger players either just released major updates (Cubase SX 4, DP 5, SONAR 6, Live 6, and the Pro Tools 7.x updates) or have yet to upgrade (ahem, Logic 8, anyone?).

That didn’t stop Cakewalk from releasing a pretty significant upgrade for free, which will also be the first major music app we’ve seen to officially support Vista. (Lots of apps will work under Vista, but SONAR actually supports all the new audio goodies.)

Cakewalk Releases Free SONAR 6.2 Update
Cakewalk NAMM 07 Blog

Do you really need to be able to see through plug-ins? Not sure; I’d rather use smart window sets. But will you want SONAR 6.2’s new Vista support? Absolutely you will. And now you have a reason to upgrade to Vista that’s a lot more compelling than just playing Halo and Flight Simulator X.

SONAR 6 has been a really major release, and Cakewalk keeps adding new stuff to it. My personal favorites:

Vista support: SONAR is the first DAW that fully supports both the 32-bit and 64-bit Vista, but this is more than just basic compatibility. By supporting the new WaveRT driver and MMCSS (Multimedia Class Scheduler Service), SONAR should run more smoothly with more hardware at lower latencies. The full explanation of why is complex, so that will have to wait for another article. I hope (and fully expect) we will see other developers follow suit over the coming months as users migrate to Vista. As with x64 XP, the 64-bit edition gets extra CPU performance and greater RAM access (128 GB on Vista x64).

MIDI input quantize: Input is quantized as it’s recorded, and you can set up per-track quantize settings. Updated: input quantize is non-destructive. Cakewalk reports that quantize undo is separate from record undo, so you can undo the quantization without losing the recorded data. That’s just how I like it.

Field recorder support: Cue markers from .WAV recorders like the Edirol R-4 now show up on the time ruler — podcasters, interviewers, etc., rejoice.

Smoother audio quantize: Previously, quantizing audio without time stretching could leave gaps — bad. (I noticed Craig Anderton mentioned this in his tutorial this month for EQ Magazine.) Now, AudioSnap fills and cross-fades the gaps — good.

More Active Controller Technology Improvements: ACT, the feature that lets your control surface automatically map to SONAR, has been expanded to learn all plug-in windows, share and back-up mappings, match and jump (a bit like the take-over modes in Ableton’s mappings, though without the scale option), and support more controllers, among many other improvements. ACT is really setting a benchmark here for SONAR, and this seems to fix some of the major issues with the “point-oh” release.

There’s also a new Bit Meter plug-in that monitors word length, dynamic range, signal peaks, etc. And while I can’t see using it, there’s an “X-ray mode” that makes plug-ins translucent. (That will let you see behind plug-ins, but I’ve always found this adds to screen clutter… maybe it’ll be useful on laptops with small screens.)

Keeping with Cakewalk’s ongoing Roland partnership, there’s also expanded ACT support for Roland’s new Edirol PCR series keyboard/control surface line, which would be terrific, except from what I can tell Edirol hit them really hard with the ugly stick, and yet again painted giant velocity curve diagrams over one side. (Sorry, Edirol — we love you, we do. Someone had to say it. Why can’t the keyboards look as hot as the V4 mixers?) Fortunately, ACT isn’t limited to this line. (More on the PCR in the NAMM wrap-up next week.)

Overall, a big release for SONAR users. Most SONAR users I know use other Windows software, as well, so I will say I think this will be just the first of a number of Windows apps to take advantage of the new Vista features. Stay tuned here.

  • DP 6???

  • Doh! Fixed. Seems I was starting to *mentally* upgrade DAWs. 😉

  • I HATE sonar. worst music software EVER! so frustrating. it takes like 4 clicks just to copy and paste a piece of midi. if my memory serves it came with some cool vsts…

  • tycho


    you obviously didn't try very hard…Sonar is a wonderful app, the most powerful I've used. as for the copy/paste problem… you ever heard of ctrl-drag? look into it.

  • j-chot

    Pretty harsh comment. You sound like a jealous competitor, minus tact. I've used it, and I've been quite impressed with the clarity and quality available from a 64 bit internal mix engine and a very stable program, just to name a very few kool features.

  • CTRL-drag on step to copy MIDI – don't talk unless you know what you're talking about

  • Gabriel

    Could somebody help me. I bought Sonar 6 Producer but I do not know how tu use the program so I could hear the sound of the music I want to work thrue my Realtek audo speakers The program have detected my speakers, but I hear nothing why Please help

  • emmanuel

    sonar 6 has been difficult getting used to. i was using cakewalk home studio 2002, but when i got vista.. uh oh!.. home studio 2002 didn't work anymore!

    so.. it took me like two weeks just to get the program to RUN because they never sent me a serial number, then another month just to get the audio output set up.. now when i try to playback audio, it's super quiet.. what in the world is going on?! it makes me just want to chuck my computer and buy real instruments.

  • emmanuel

    Gabriel. i have realtek as well. go to the sonar support page and follow their step by step instructions for setting up realtek audio hardware.

  • Nauzer

    I have Cakewalk pro Audio 8, but it does not work with Vista. Can you please tell me where I can download the Vista Patch. Thanks, Nauzer

  • gibbs williams

    I have Sonar 6XL. Although the Midi Demo works I cannot get my recordings to play audio. What am I missing?

  • Ron

    Why is it like learning rocket science????

    Dell and Microsoft say Vista gives me improved everything if I buy a new (Inspiron 530/Vista) PC.

    So I buy one.


    The realtek "super Vista audio" chipset that Dell use isn't compatible with Sonar.

    WHY NOT??????

    The chips comfortably play sound from all of my other apps (very well too).

    Should I swear at Microsoft, Dell, Realtek or 12 Tone Systems?

    WHY OH WHY don't these people issue simple, TRU statements BEFORE I buy things????

  • Carl

    You should look for Asio for all, It should make the Realtek sound card accessible in Sonar

  • Ron

    Thankyou Carl.

    A rather circuitous way to make it work, but at least I can now get a sound out of it!

    Another layer of complexity, yes, but you've given me something that at least makes music…


  • Ron

    when I say "work" I mean I can play MIDI files through the Microsoft GS MIDI synth provided on a Dell/Vista/Realtek system.

    BUT I can't get through even the first Sonar tutorial (add a Cakewalk softsynth) because it just won't work.

    Assuming that my best solution is to buy a separate sound card or unit (PCI or USB), where is a list of KNOWN TO WORK WITH VISTA products?

    (I'm not gonna get bitten twice!)

    Is Plug and Play a myth????

    What an ungodly mess this fiasco is….


  • Ron

    sorry, KNOWN TO WORK WITH VISTA and SONAR 6.2 product list…..

  • Ron

    Have any of yopu guys tried talking to Realtek?

    Quite unbelievable insolence, in my opinion.

    What are Dell doing dealing with them?

  • Ron

    One can only imagine what outrage there'd be if Ford autos only ran on different gasoline to General Motors' autos……

    The discipline of "standards" leaves a LOT to be desired.

    What happened to Ralph Nader and his merry band then?

  • Ron

    I found this…..

    somewhat old, but that highlights the fact that compatibility issues are regarded as rather unimportant to all suppliers, once they have launched their products (and disconnected their support phone lines….)

  • Glenn

    I have sonar 6.2 and when i click on the mixer volume slider, or the pan ect, it just goes to the top, (full slider) can't move the slider down at all it just stays, but nothing playing. its not automation, as i just start a new project. I have a dell vostro 1700 laptopwith vista, i have the sonar power studio and using the hardware hooked up firewire. even if i disconect it or what ever still the same. i have uninstalled everything and reinstalled still the same, whats wrong !!!


  • Glenn, you really should contact Cakewalk Tech support. I am sure there is just a setting that needs to be adjusted

  • Ron, I didn't realize that you posted all those replies up here. I'm sorry,I don't check blogs all that often. First I think you should contact Cakewalk tech support for help with this. I believe there are settings that need to be adjusted to get the RealTek to work. FYI the RealTek is not an audio interface designed for any serious work with music, and you might want to consider something else. We have a partial list of audio interfaces with Vista support here:

  • andy

    will sonar 6.0 or 6.2 work with windows 7

  • will sonar 6.0 or 6.2 work with windows 7?

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