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I thought I'd flag this up for those that may be interested.

 

You can now get a fully functional version of SONAR for free - it is known as Cakewalk by BandLab but it is SONAR Platinum, including some plugins and instruments (drums, strings, bass, piano, general midi).

 

To get it, you need to register for BandLab (but you don't need to use it). Download Desktop Assistant from here - https://www.bandlab.com/download (Windows or Mac) and then open the Desktop Assistant. Click on APPS and you will see the download there (64 bit only). Once downloaded, you can close Desktop Assistant and forget it.

 

When you start Cakewalk, you may be asked to create a couple of folders.

 

If nothing else, it may be worth it for the VSTs/VSTis that you could then use in Reaper (or whatever DAW you use). Personally, I far prefer the workflow in Reaper - but it may well be of interest to some of you (and free is always good!).

 

 

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Cakewalk was my first DAW, ages ago, when it was still known as Cakewalk and not Sonar. (I love that word, "cakewalk", lol.) I never got very far with it as I quickly learned my computer was not suitable for recording, nor did I have a good soundcard. Fast-forward about 5 years, and I had my first mac and pro tools. 

 

Thanks for the heads up on the free DAW. I'm sure some will find that quite useful. 

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Like Moso, I first tried things with Cakewalk, and because I didn't know anything, didn't realize I needed a good audio interface to get past the latency issue.

 

For those wanting a free DAW that does a little more than Audacity, this sounds like a good idea.  From what I understand, though, you can't add external VSTs to it - makes me wonder if you could use it's VSTs in other DAWS.  The suspicion is that the business model for this is to offer 'add-ons' in the future (more VSTs, etc) for $, but the basic version will remain free.

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It's being offered by BandLab - and my guess is that they will want to integrate it with their site somehow, as things progress.

 

You can use the instruments I listed above in other DAWs - and at least one plug (that I haven't used, but I think it's some kind of limiter, which doesn't excite me). The instruments are OK.

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So if you play all your own instruments this DAW should work well? 

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It would work fine. 

 

However, I think Reaper is simpler and more powerful, personally (and more efficient, so needs a less powerful PC) 

 

I found the layout cluttered and confusing in SONAR - but a lot comes down to personal preferences.

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4 hours ago, Alistair S said:

It would work fine. 

 

However, I think Reaper is simpler and more powerful, personally (and more efficient, so needs a less powerful PC) 

 

I found the layout cluttered and confusing in SONAR - but a lot comes down to personal preferences.

I’ve heard nothing but good things about Reaper for years now. 

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JOe - you can download Reaper for free ($60 to register it), and can also download the user manual (400+ pages) and do some reading to see if it's something you want to work with more.  You don't even need an audio interface to start - use your computer's built-in soundcard.  Add a track to a new project (you can import an MP3 or WAV file), and then play with the plug-ins (EQ, etc), see if the workflow suits you.

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I've used Sonar since it was Cakewalk and all MIDI in the early 90's. And I had the lifetime subscription to Sonar Platinum. I have tried other DAWs but preferred the work flow of Sonar along with a truly exceptional group of people on the Cakewalk forum. Any problem you had - not just Sonar directly, but other related hardware, software - someone would come up with an answer usually within minutes. Originally the company was Gregg Hederschott's Twelve Tone Systems - later renamed cakewalk after the name of the program. A while back, TTS was bought by Roland and there was more integration with Roland Hardware. A few years ago, it was bought by Gibson (and made part of Tascam Research). This looked to be fantastic. Craig Anderton was hired by Gibson as the "Chief Magic Officer." Craig is probably the best known writer on music technology in the world and writes the Sonar Coluimn in Sound-on-Sound [as well books and articles in most music mags]. This looked to be a period of incredible development. Revisions came monthly - all kinds of neat stuff, like ARA integration of Melodyne. There were rumors of Gibson having all kinds of financial problems. Nevertheless, I think it came as a major shock last October when Gibson announced they were stopping development of Sonar. There were torrid discussions on the forum of "what are you going to do?" Clearly, you can keep using the software forever if you like, and that was/is most people's plan for various lengths of time into the future. At the same time other DAW Software companies came through on the Forum with very generous cross-grade offers. I work in a MIDI-heavy environment and after researching as much as I could, ended up getting Cubase 9.5 Pro and Studio One V3. They like all these major DAWs have some things that are accentuated more. My plan is to get to an expert level with both these programs. I also have a lighter version Ableton Live which has a very different work Flow and want to get good with this. That said, I am so comfortable and comfortable with Sonar, I have never come to a situation where I can't get it to do what I want and plays well with pretty much all my myriad plug-ins. But I had resigned myself to the fact that I would have to eventually migrate away. So, it was a complete surprise when Meng from Band-Lab came on the Forum with the announcement that BandLab had purchased the intellectual property of Cakewalk. he has been extremely forthcoming. Various member of the Cakewalk software development team also came on board. So I am cautiously optimistic about Sonar's Future - Now Sonar by BandLab, but ultimately going to be called something else. According to folks on the Cakewalk Forum this version is working great - it is the same as my Sonar Platinum. Not all the VSTis and Fx are there because some were owned by other companies. Various version of Sonar over the years have different of non-Cakewalk-developed Fx/Instruments that still work in the latest version if you get them from the older versions. I keep saying with each new song that I will do it in Cubase or SO3, but it is so fast for me to work in Sonar that the can is kicked down the road each time. I suppose if things work out great BandLab these DAW purchases may have been wasted money but that will be OK. I have a lot of Yamaha stuff and the integration with Cubase is better and more refined than any other DAW. SO3 also has some Audio manipulation properties that are really nice. So, we'll see. But time is the most limited commodity I have to invest so if I have wasted some money but saved time, so be it. Also, I have so much time invested in learning and becoming proficient with Sonar over the years, I hate to waste that. All these DAWs have different slants on things and feel more or less comfortable to any given person. After almost three decades in the Cakewalk/Sonar environment [both computationally and the community] it is a comfortable home to me and I will be glad if I have the option of "living at home" as long as I like.

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I wonder if it is different on mac?  Here is what I see from Bandlab assistant:

5ad20a6cc2dec_ScreenShot2018-04-14at10_03_33AM.png.a788707c3ad648108a018a9619158a41.png

 

If I click on "Mix Editor" I get what looks like some sort of browser based DAW... 

 

5ad20b2822329_ScreenShot2018-04-14at10_07_05AM.thumb.png.7b68a4dd0d24ad95b00528fc4b5aa182.png

 

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On 4/14/2018 at 07:44, HoboSage said:

If you've been recording music since well before DAWs and are making the jump to DAW recording for the first time and you'd appreciate a good-yet-inexpensive DAW that looks and feels like the mixing console and gear you "grew up" with, check out Reason Essentials 10 - $69.00.

Yes! Now, I've never used Reason to record - I stumbled across NI when I was on Reason version... 3? and never looked back - but I hear great things about it, and I know Reason has become better and better over the years. And the best thing about it is that if you get (or upgrade to) the full version, which is currently on sale for $300, you get TONS of tools to create with. Reason started off as hardware emulators in a sense, and they still try to build their software to look and function like hardware. It's really cool, especially flipping the rack around to muck with how the wires are plugged into the "hardware". 

 

So yeah, you get recording and mixing capabilities, and a can-keep-you-busy-for-a-lifetime set of really, really cool tools. 

 

https://shop.propellerheads.se/product/reason-10/

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@HoboSage I agree! That is how it should look. Unfortunately (aesthetics only), I'm way too entangled in Logic to ever consider switching to an other DAW, so sadly, my virtual mixing console will not ever (?) be as beautiful. The people at Propellerhead have always made beautiful and cool looking stuff, one could almost suspect they're from a really innovative and awesome country?!?!?! ;)

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LPX is a beautiful DAW. If you're a Mac user, it's a no-brainer, imo. 

Reason rocks because of all its super awesome-sauce awesomely awesome creative sound tools. (Read that sentence again, picturing a full choir open-mouthed belting.) That was their MO in the beginning - creating kick ass sound tools that looked like hardware. They had a little mixer in there, too, and somewhere along the way (R5? 6?) They added recording capabilities. 

I kinda consider Reason and NI to be head to head. (Kinda like, "Are you a Reason guy or an NI guy?" type of divide.) Reason definitely wins in affordability and having a DAW built in. NI, again imo, wins in depth and professionalism. LPX has some great sound tools, as well, and LOTS of them, but they're not as cool as Reason or NI. That's really because Reason and NI focus on creating sound tools first, while LPX focuses on being a DAW first. 

 

19 minutes ago, The S said:

one could almost suspect they're from a really innovative and awesome country?!?!?! ;)

Hahaha, yeah, some of the best sound tools and sound creation departments come from that part of the world, no doubt. 

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On 4/14/2018 at 15:07, Triffid said:

I wonder if it is different on mac?  Here is what I see from Bandlab assistant:

5ad20a6cc2dec_ScreenShot2018-04-14at10_03_33AM.png.a788707c3ad648108a018a9619158a41.png

 

If I click on "Mix Editor" I get what looks like some sort of browser based DAW... 

 

5ad20b2822329_ScreenShot2018-04-14at10_07_05AM.thumb.png.7b68a4dd0d24ad95b00528fc4b5aa182.png

 

Odd. I don't use a Mac, but there was an "Apps" tab in there for me ... (and that's where the download was)

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1 hour ago, HoboSage said:

P.S.  Full Disclosure: I have the latest full-blown version of Reason, and I've been a "Propellerhead" for a number of years.  I've tried other DAWS, including Reaper, but what makes me a dedicated Reason user are the various  GUI's (graphical user interfaces) in the program.  For example, for me, this is how a virtual mixing console should look and operate! :) 

 

 

reason-screenshot-04.jpg

At first sight, that scared me! And then I started looking.

 

I love the way it makes all the sends obvious and easy to adjust. I think I have a version somewhere (I had it in the "great for midi" camp) and may have to take a fresh look! Or maybe that was Audition! Hmm. So many tools.

 

Anyway, that view is powerful for mixing!

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