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The Future of Cakewalk / Sonar
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Music Software Goto page 1, 2  Next [all]
Author The Future of Cakewalk / Sonar
Zodanga
Does anyone know what to expect from, apparently, Cakewalk shutting down?

In 2013, Cakewalk was sold to Gibson, but it pretty much went along fine.

This week, Sweetwater announced a price drop on Sonar Home, but yesterday a friend tried to purchase it, and Sweetwater's server responded that Cakewalk had just gone belly-up. Wikipedia now says, "On November 17, 2017, Gibson shut down day-to-day operation of Cakewalk...Cakewalk's servers will continue to be operational for users of the Cakewalk software, while software updates will be stopped."

The Cakewalk website is still up, but the forums and store seem to be shut down.

I'm trying to understand what this transitional period will be, and what happens to our investment in software after that. Will it still work? Will we ever be able to install it on upgraded hardware in the future? I'm assuming that, because of the way Internet authorization works, Cakewalk users are just SOL. No one ever closes up shop, but before turning the lights out, gives their users the 'key.'

Thanks for any information anyone might have on this.
sduck
Gibson is truly evil about this kind of thing. They're really best at buying things and then shutting them down. Their worst example of this is Oberheim.

I've always been amazed at how long cakewalk lasted actually. I overlapped with Greg Hendershott at Oberlin - we were both in the Timara program, although I don't think we actually knew each other. While Cakewalk was pretty amazing when it first came out, it was quickly superseded by more capable DAWs and never really occupied any special niches that would have helped it survive.

BTW I bought version 1, with the bundled mpu-401, for my tandy 286 back in 1988 or 89. And always had an up to date version installed on my computers until I switched to macs in 2005 or so.
mateo
Getting bought by Gibson has been the kiss of death for more than one company. Not sure how well Cakewalk was doing before the sale, perhaps it's demise was inevitable? Seems strange they wouldn't sell it if it was making money, but who knows what happened behind the scenes.
ignatius
gibson loves to buy and kill DAWs.
calaveras
I missed that. I was on the Sonar Beta team through a few releases. Then they got bought by Roland. At which point the bug hunt team was liquidated. Kind of stupid. It was basically a couple engineers at Twelve Tone and a bunch of folks beating on alpha and beta builds to find bugs, and our only compensation was a free copy!
Still it was fun to see the pre-release versions. Often which had different features than final production versions.

I suppose Roland sold them to Gibson?
That blows, Gibson is evil.


As far as Sonar as a DAW. I always enjoyed it. There are numerous ways to brutalize your audio and midi. I liked how the old version (Sonar 6?) could easily do a tempo map of a drum machine and then pull the grid into alignment with that. Logic makes this way harder than it needs to be.

Sonar also has that really nifty thing where you can apply effects per track or per clip. And the in track editing of clips and midi events was great.
Logic and a few other lag behind that still.
Why did I bail on Sonar?
I got fed up with Windows. And I didn't like the direction that a Roland buyout might take them.
dubonaire
I was amazed how long Cakewalk lasted too.

Gibson is on rocky ground financially at the moment.
Morphology
Just saw this on Sonic State. Very sad news - I've been a Cakewalk user since version 2 in about 1992-3

It always seemed to be the case that Cakewalk were ahead of most of the other platforms when it came to releasing features - Hard Disk recording way before most others, VST Support, ASIO support, soft synths, editors & patch managers, the CAL Language for event processing, rock-solid SMPTE sync, time-stretching, tempo maps, Acidized loop support.

I frequently sniggered when I read in the press that Logic [or insert DAW of choice] now does XY or Z thinking "but we've been doing this with Cakewalk/Sonar for 2 years or more...."

I originally gravitated towards it because you could use it in a notation-based view though the notation & score printing never reached publishing quality.

However, I made a decision some time ago to never invest time in any product that wasn't cross-platform, and I think Cakewalk Sonar is the last big Windows-only app that I use on a regular basis.

So, if Sonar is indeed dead, then there also dies my last remaining reason to stick with Windows.

And that may be a good thing.

Morph
lisa
Morphology wrote:
VST Support

Really? Since VST was invented by Steinberg I would have guessed that Cubase had it first. hmmm.....
Morphology
lisa wrote:
Morphology wrote:
VST Support

Really? Since VST was invented by Steinberg I would have guessed that Cubase had it first. hmmm.....


Sorry, I didn't mean to imply they invented VST. I don't think they invented anything I mentioned, did they? They were just very good and very quick at incorporating and integrating ideas and technologies.

Perhaps one of their problems was precisely that: They were integrators rather than innovators so, at the end of the day, they didn't have a war chest of patents / licensible tech?

Anyway, if Sonar is dead, then I'm in the market for an alternative DAW, and that is likely to be something like Bitwig, which is cross-platform so it doesn't tie me to Windows.

Morph
sduck
Morphology wrote:

Anyway, if Sonar is dead, then I'm in the market for an alternative DAW, and that is likely to be something like Bitwig, which is cross-platform so it doesn't tie me to Windows.


Just about everything is cross platform these days - you almost have to be to survive. It's a relatively small market. I guess Logic and maybe one or two others I've forgotten about aren't, but they have big companies keeping them afloat.

Thinking about his made me think of Tracktion - maybe something like it's history will repeat itself with cakewalk. I bought Tracktion when I bought my first mac, as I'd used it on my pc's before, and found it to be a really easy to use daw, although somewhat limited. And did quite a bit with it, but then it disappeared - Mackie, who had bought it, put it out to pasture. Some 5-6 years later it reappeared, after being reacquired by it's original developer.
Gribs
It is gone and won’t be back. I don’t care much about Rapture, but Z3TA+2 is a fine software synth. What a shame.
darwingrosse
Morphology wrote:
I don't think they invented anything I mentioned, did they? They were just very good and very quick at incorporating and integrating ideas and technologies.

Perhaps one of their problems was precisely that: They were integrators rather than innovators so, at the end of the day, they didn't have a war chest of patents / licensible tech?


Well, as a user from the way-back machine, they did invent CAL, which was a LISP-based language embedded in their DAW that taught me how cool things could be when you could hack MIDI instead of just play it. Cakewalk also taught me that it wasn't the OS, it was the app - even when Cakewalk was no longer the app for me.

Alas, I'd think that this episode was Gibson having a hard time until I turned on the stupid Thanksgiving TV for my nieces and saw, in the Macy's parade, the dumb-ola Gibson float. Featuring Jimmy Fallon and the Roots. How much did that cost 'em? I suspect more than a few maintenance engineers...

Idiots.
Zodanga
In Sonic TALK 514, the fellows expressed the wish that Microsoft acquire the Sonar assets and bundle them with future versions of Windows; Windows 10 has been releasing "creators' updates" demonstrating a desire to reach a more creative demographic.

That would be great, but there's no indication that's in the works. (Also, Microsoft has a way of orphaning their own good products (Home Server, Media Center, etc.).

Reading online reactions to the loss of Cakewalk/Sonar I see some folks shrugging it off as a product that 'didn't keep up,' but I don't know upon what those opinions are based. Sonar X3 Producer is an extremely full-featured package, and the Skylight interface is wonderful. I've been looking around wondering what I might buy if I have to switch to something else, and for my needs & preferences, I keep coming back to Sonar X3 being my software of choice.

Some, even Gaz Williams in the in the above-mentioned Sonic TALK podcast, think the Skylight interface was too "Windows-y," but... why would that be a problem for a Windows-only software application? Those of us that prefer the way Windows operates want that. Further, while some other DAWs may be 'cross-platform,' I keep reading about "issues" on one or the other of those platforms, as if the software really only works without problems on the OS for which it was originally designed. Are those stories apocryphal?
mritenburg
Zodanga wrote:
Reading online reactions to the loss of Cakewalk/Sonar I see some folks shrugging it off as a product that 'didn't keep up,' but I don't know upon what those opinions are based


Sonar is actually a leader in terms of features and functionality. However the 3D look UI is a little dated when compared to more modern and minimal UIs of some newer DAW's.

The real problem with Sonar is bloat and stability. It's quite stable with relatively simple projects, but once you start employing advanced professional production techniques on large track count projects, that stability starts to break down.

A 16-24 track project with a couple plugins - no problem

A 60-100 track project with multiple mix busses, side chaining, compressor plugins, etc. are a problem - even on an 8 core system with 32gb ram and SSD's.
Luap
Gibson are selling Cakewalk to Bandlab.

https://cakewalk.bandlab.com
Zodanga
I hope they ditch the subscription-based model.
Quota Earl
The rights to Cakewalk/Sonar were purchased by the same outfit that makes Bandlab. Bandlab is an online daw aimed at letting people from different corners of the earth collaborate. I downloaded it to check it out and the power button on my Samsung s3 stopped working. Uninstalled Bandlab, power button functions again. Anyway, that is all I know. My impression was they will be incorporating at least parts of it into Bandlab, or maybe an online Sonar?
jensenluxvid
I had not heard about this. Crazy. I used Sonar version 1 for years, spent countless hours with it. Great program.
mritenburg
Quota Earl wrote:
The rights to Cakewalk/Sonar were purchased by the same outfit that makes Bandlab. Bandlab is an online daw aimed at letting people from different corners of the earth collaborate. I downloaded it to check it out and the power button on my Samsung s3 stopped working. Uninstalled Bandlab, power button functions again. Anyway, that is all I know. My impression was they will be incorporating at least parts of it into Bandlab, or maybe an online Sonar?


Sonar Platinum (the flagship version) is now completely free from Bandlab. It's been renamed Cakewalk Bandlab, but it's the full version.
thevegasnerve
yeah, I grabbed the new Cakewalk but dont plan on using it right away. I like the concept of the collaboration and the fact thats its already a great DAW. If anyone gets a chance to work with it, would be interested to hear if there are issues with Bandlab now operating them.
mritenburg
thevegasnerve wrote:
yeah, I grabbed the new Cakewalk but dont plan on using it right away. I like the concept of the collaboration and the fact thats its already a great DAW. If anyone gets a chance to work with it, would be interested to hear if there are issues with Bandlab now operating them.


I think there are some leftover bugs from the final Gibson builds that were not resolved by Gibson, but Bandlab is actively working to stabalize the software and fix the bugs.

I used Sonar Platinum up until Gibson killed it (I have since switched to Studio One) but Cakewalk by Bandlab should be fine for simple 16-24 track projects. Cakewalk gets flakey when you start using lots of effects plugins (especially compressors and linear phase EQ's), side-chaining, and aux busses.
chvad
I used Cakewalk 3.1 to Cakewalk Pro Audio up through Sonar Platinum... so around 20 years i guess. Like mritenburg said... there are some legacy bugs for sure. Stuff since before Gibson and they've certainly carried those over. I imagine at this point... for a new development team... it's a hell of a lot of code to sort through but they seem proactive with it already. Regarding tracks and track counts though... I've done plenty of large sessions (30-40 pieces) with anywhere from 80 to 100+ tracks and it's always performed well. I'm not a virtual instrument guy so this is for audio tracks and plug ins only but Sonar has always performed well for me in that department. Due to some of those bugs I mentioned though... I weened off of Sonar a little while back and went over to Reaper which Ive been super happy with. I keep sonar in as Ive a volume of stuff on that platform though so it get opened occasionally. It was worth it's price before... so it's a total no brainer for free.
Zodanga
Have folks actually downloaded this? The press release says it's free for everyone, with a link that sends you to a page that says 'free for Bandlab users,' and the 'Get Early Access' link sends you to an "Oops" page. So is this for real...?
chvad
yep... downloaded the bandlab version. download and install the bandlab desktop assistant... from there you can install Cakewalk. its under apps in the app.

https://www.bandlab.com/download

it's near the bottom.
Zodanga
Ah, thank you!

It looks like the problem was that their website doesn't like Internet Explorer. This works fine in Chrome.
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