Inbound: Z3TA+ Waveshaping Synth, The Next Generation

Cakewalk’s Z3TA+ has long been a favorite virtual analog / waveshaping soft synth, so much so that it consistently hits top 10 lists of software classics, even as it’s been (in past, at least) a Windows-only offering. Years, later, though, it’s most definitely due for an update. Cakewalk has released a video of what’s in store this week, with a redesigned UI, new effects, deeper editing options (which, incidentally, had been my disappointment with the first generation), and improved sound quality. Highlights: New sound content, many from original Z3TA+ sound designers New waveshaping functionality New filter types (check out the …

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Visual Music: Send Audio, MIDI to Live Visuals with GrandVJ 1.5, VST

On Create Digital Motion today, I write about the 1.5 release of ArKaos GrandVJ, the latest version of the popular Mac and Windows VJ tool. The big innovation: insert a VST plug-in into software like Ableton Live, and you can pipe MIDI and audio to your live visuals for easy synchronization and collaboration. You can even, as the video demonstrates, run an Ethernet cable between two machines. (This works on both Mac and Windows, despite the appearance of only Apple laptops in the video.) GrandVJ is doubly interesting for readers on the music site, as it’s long featured a music-centric …

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Cakewalk SONAR X1 Rethinks Windows DAW’s User Interface

Cakewalk’s SONAR has always been a compelling choice of DAW on Windows. Under the hood, its 64-bit processing, 64-bit mix engine, balanced complement of editing features, and quite-nice array of instruments and processors has held enough appeal. But then there’s the interface, which hasn’t held up to the tools underneath. Being pretty isn’t only cosmetic; a visually-refined interface is just easier to look at and use. And aside from aesthetics, moving between editing views or just managing what’s visible on-screen in SONAR can be a chore. It’s a problem not unique to Cakewalk’s DAW: the leading music workstations now simply …

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The Most Out of Windows 7: Choosing and Optimizing Windows for Music

From our call for CDM reader studios, Eric Beam’s studio. In his setup: Windows 7 64-bit, Cakewalk’s SONAR 8.5 DAW (with native 64-bit support), and the excellent modular patching environment Plogue Bidule. Click through to Flickr for a closer look. Photo (CC-BY) Eric Beam. This week, while we poll readers to find out what platforms they really use and care about for music, we’re launching a new series to help you get the most out of whichever OS you choose. We’ve been covering the complexities of Windows for a while, from the bumpy Vista transition to the smoother advent of …

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Richie Hawtin Teases Modular iOS Ableton Touch Control at SONAR

Well, I can’t quite see it, but this picture is really flattering. Come to think of it, I sometimes look a little better with a short depth of field, a sharp focus, maybe some haze over the lens. Yeah. That’s better. I don’t even need to shave. Touch performance control on devices like the iPhone and iPad has become increasingly popular, but the question remains: can developers push these interfaces further? Richie Hawtin has initiated a new touch control project and promises more “advanced” control of Ableton Live for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad users. Details remain murky – developers …

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Cakewalk’s SONAR 8.5.2 Update Packs a Lot in a Point

This would normally be a generic picture of an overview of the Track View or something, but… come on. Let’s just look at a step sequencer. (Yes, it looks similar to FL Studio’s step sequencer. But you get a decidedly SONAR-like workflow, which feels nothing like Fruity Loops. Whether that’s good news depends on how you feel about FL and SONAR.) The tricky thing about introducing a new feature is that you almost immediately hear from users about other features that would go well with that feature. (There’s a children’s story that goes this way.) The folks at Cakewalk have …

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Black Friday: Free Synths+Effects from Cakewalk, Plus Steep Discounts

Take my synth, please! Grab this instrument, the sample playback plug-in SFZ+, free for Windows. “Black Friday” has become a traditional date for talking discounts, but one price you can’t beat is free. Cakewalk is giving away some of their older effects and synth plug-ins. These aren’t just hand-me-downs – Cakewalk forum members lamented that a couple of these didn’t receive greater development attention. They’re eminently usable on Windows systems now. Available free: SFZ+: The real highlight here, rgc:audio’s excellent SoundFont sampler player, with built-in effects, various performance options, and an all-in-one interface Square I: A very lovely analog subtractive …

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Details of SONAR 8.5, and the Dystopian Future in Which You Use It

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 …

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Obsessive Windows 7 Under-the-Hood Guide for Music; Can You Finally Dump XP?

Windows 7 running on a laptop, as photographed by / (CC) Luke Roberts. Windows 7 makes far subtler changes than Vista did, which gives it an opportunity to refine features by the ship date. And it’s been tested unusually widely, by testers like Luke. Windows matters. It’s what roughly half of CDM readers use, and – for all the attention Apple gets – it’s a big part of the computer music world. Windows today also faces many of the same under-the-hood challenges that other operating systems do, so even if you’re a die-hard Linux or Mac user, you may want …

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