Project 5 hasn't always gotten the credit it deserves as a
pattern-based synth workstation, despite some celebrity endorsements
from Grammy nominees Joey P. and Rambro Ramsey to South Park's D.A. Young. Version 2.0 could change all that, with an interface overhaul and lots of new features, including:

  • Streamlined user interface: Some were confused by version 1.0's integrated features; the redesign makes things cleaner and easier to understand.
  • High performance engine: Geared for "live performance" (making this one of the programs not called Ableton that is)
  • Multitrack audio: I'm still waiting for clubs to install surround. Any takers? No?
  • Multipad pattern triggering: Real-time, per-track, per-pattern triggering of samples. (That name Ableton suddenly occurs to me again . . .)
  • Loop reconstruction: Powerful slice features a la SONAR
  • Arpeggiator: Per-track arpeggiator, another of the groove features that makes this package appealing
  • Sampling synth: First fruits of Cakewalk's acquisition of
    rgc:audio, this is supposed to be "light on CPU" but big on sound — I
    hope they're serious about 'sampling', as in a sampler that actually
  • PSYN II subtractive synthesizer: More effects beef up the great analog synth from v 1.0.

It's hard to describe Project 5 — somewhere between FL Studio, Reason,
and Live. Personally, I plan to keep live for Loops and multitracking
and go to town with Project 5 for elaborate synth patches. New
features, some clearly inspired by the Ableton phenomenon, mean this is
one of the few programs out there that really caters to improvisatory
production and live performance. We'll be watching it later this spring.

Thanks to Cakewalk for providing CDM with a pre-release screenshot.

Availability: Shipping April 2005
Compatibility: Windows (ReWire, VST, DX support)
Price: US$429 MSRP