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Software Review: SONAR 8 Producer From Cakewalk

SONAR 8 is the latest version of the Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) software from Cakewalk, Inc. It is a professional tool for authoring sound and music on personal computers. It is designed for musicians, composers, arrangers, audio and production engineers, multimedia and game developers, as well as recording engineers.

SONAR supports Wave, MP3, ACIDized waves, WMA, AIFF and other popular formats, providing all the tools you need to do professional-quality work rapidly and efficiently. Along with being an integrated MIDI and digital audio authoring software package, it is also an expandable platform that can become the central hub of your recording studio.

What do you need to run SONAR 8?
• Windows XP (32-bit), Vista (32- and 64-bit), MAC OS X with Boot Camp
• Intel Pentium 4 2.8 GHz or higher; AMD Athlon XP 2800+ or higher
• 512 MB RAM (1 GB recommended)
• 1024 x 768 with 16-bit color (1280 x 960, 24-bit color or higher recommended)
• 200 MB for core program (30 GB for full program and content)
• MIDI Interface
• Audio Interface
• Media Drives include DVD-ROM, DVD+/-R, or DVD+/- RW Drive (Dual Layer-capable drive required for installation of SONAR 8 Producer content)

SONAR 8SONAR is the flagship product of the Cakewalk line of integrated MIDI and digital audio sequencers for the Windows platform. It has a very complete feature set that allows you to compose and explore musical composition. You can edit music using musical notation and guitar tablature. You can graphically draw tempo and volume changes as well as add lyrics to display on screen or to include with printed scores.

You can also remix music by importing, modifying, editing and creating loops. SONAR gives you the ability to change tempo and keys for an entire project, and the Loop Explorer will let you preview a loop in a project's tempo and key before dragging it on to a track. You can also do game sound development for electronic games. By creating and reusing musical themes, you can associate your selections with game characters, locations, objects, and actions.

Of course there is sound production and engineering that will allow you to produce music CDs or master tapes. SONAR has multichannel recording capabilities so that you can capture studio or live performances track-by-track. SONAR is just as important for film and video scoring, publishing music on the internet, as well as web authoring of music.

There are two versions of this software, SONAR Studio and SONAR Producer. The version I am reviewing is SONAR Producer. Since everything in the Studio edition is in the producer version I will breakout the new features into two separate sections.

So what is new with SONAR 8 Studio?

• Loop Explorer 2.0 provides browse and preview of audio and MIDI groove clips and patterns. You can quickly drag and drop loops and patterns into the track view and MIDI groove clips and patterns can be previewed with the virtual instrument of your choice.

• Dedicated instrument track gives you a single track optimized for mono or stereo virtual synths which simplifies the process of working with virtual instruments. In the pursuit of offering users options in how they want to work, the multi-track method of using virtual instruments employed by previous versions of SONAR is still supported. In addition users can split and combine instrument tracks to/from discrete audio/MIDI tracks.

• Clip selection groups furthering SONAR's multitrack recording and take management capability. SONAR now automatically groups clips together across tracks after each recording pass — perfect for comping any multitrack ensemble performance — especially drum takes.

SONAR 8• Anytime recording while the SONAR transport is running or looping, users can now arm/unarm audio and MIDI tracks, punch in, punch out, and toggle between play and record.

• Solo mode with solo override New solo mode forces soloing to one track/bus at a time and prevents tracks and buses from being muted when other tracks/buses are soloed.

• Transport updates now includes True Rewind, Fast Forward and Pause Buttons, Audition Button, Improved Jog/Shuttle Heuristics, and optimizations for control surfaces and scrub performance.

• Control surface enhancements Show/Hide Tracks from Surface can follow either the Track View or Console View, obeying visible/hidden tracks, Control Surfaces MIDI port assignments retained/stored in SONAR, Real-World VST Parameter Values are now displayed.

About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.
  • http://sonartricks.com Sonar Tricks

    Cakewalk Sonar is my favourite DAW up to date!

  • o

    Sonar does not support acidized wavs, in most systems in can cause crashing when trying to save a project. this is from cakewalk tech support.