What happens when you mix technical chatter on the Cakewalk forum, Samuel Beckett, and The Matrix? I’d wager you get something like the surreal video above. Prompted by the posting of technical details for a new update to Cakewalk’s SONAR production software for Windows, and empowered by a strange, new tool that generates eerie virtual reality from typed text, we get banter like this:

The arpeggiator is now on every track, so you are supposed to use it. It is one of the new rules of recording.

Yes, I came from the days of one-finger piano playing. This is a total blessing to me.

I’m going to take that as a challenge and base my review of SONAR 8.5 on using an arpeggiator and step sequencer on every track. And I’ll have to pronounce all those hard g’s in the voice over, clearly.

And no, this is not some twisted viral campaign on the part of the folks of Cakewalk; I’ve been assured that this came from a user.

Okay, what was this post originally about? Oh, yeah – the actual technical details of the SONAR 8.5 release. Noel Borthwick talks about all the details of the new SONAR release on the Cakewalk forums. Apparently, some people care deeply about whether this is SONAR 9 or 8.5 or some conspiracy theory there, but what interests me is the technical details of the software itself.

SONAR 8.5 Fine Print

Noel goes down to a code level. Interesting tidbits: working with Intel, Cakewalk was able to do a demo of SONAR running an absurd number of tracks, instruments, effects, and live video without pegging the CPU, with a tiny 2 ms of latency. The Cakewalk engineering effort also has put together what may be the most highly-optimized VST support and richest 32-to-64-bit bridging on any platform, anywhere.

Whatever the opposite of “marketing speak” may be, I think that’s what Noel has achieved, getting into a sort of developer-to-developer level discussion. It is still readable, and worth digging through.

See also: Intel Developer Forum details and video on the Cakewalk blog

I could talk more about that, but let’s just leave it at step sequencers and arpeggiators on every track, okay?

  • Michael Coelho

    The video was extremely amusing. I can't wait for your coverage of the Roland mind meld interface.

  • spunkadellic

    I have never felt so uneasy in my life

  • EJ

    Interesting stuff – I left Sonar for Garageband/Logic a few years ago, but sometimes I'd like to give a new Sonar version a shot.

    I like the "8.5" approach. Cakewalk expanded the "big bulletpoint" features pretty rapidly over the years but performance hiccups and workflow rough areas often made the experience less than ideal.

    Speaking of Windows DAWs, I'd love to see reviewers install them on fresh-out-of Best Buy systems – everything from desktops to netbooks – to see how many of them work with acceptable performance and which ones work best. Buying a music PC on a budget (which is important, because Macs are great if you don't mind shopping in the $1200+ range) has been too much of a crapshoot in my experience. I appreciate Cakewalk's insights, but what we really need to see is more proof of better compatibility and performance on real world systems.

  • Michael Coelho

    I too shifted from Sonar to Abelton Live for the same reason, too many hickups and the desire to have the Live interface. I always had audio glitches with Sonar even when running on high performance computers such as the Dell XPS.

  • http://bit.ly/UNEn6 – Mastering – the movie

  • kever

    EJ, funny you should ask. I had all kinds of glitches with Sonar 7 on a previous Best Buy machine.

    Now, I have Sonar producer 8.5 running on a newer Asus machine from Best Buy. It is an Intel quad core Q8300 with 8 GB ram running Vista. I added a firewire card to hook up a Cakewalk SPS-66 audio interface, otherwise it is stock. It runs perfectly. Cakewalk really did fix things in 8/8.5. I have seen no hickups, no glitches, nothing. The CPU gauge barely moves off of zero.

  • That's hilariously funny.

    "I like to pronounce words that describe things I never use." LOL

  • Pingback: Create Digital Music » Cakewalk’s SONAR 8.5.2 Update Packs a Lot in a Point()

  • Pingback: Music News from RoostMusic » Blog Archive » Cakewalk’s SONAR 8.5.2 Update Packs a Lot in a Point()