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Thoughts on Cakewalk Sonar 7

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Thoughts on Cakewalk Sonar 7

Posted on Tue, Nov 6, 2007

I've been using the new version of Cakewalk Sonar (version 7) during the week of rock, and I'm starting to get a feel for how it's working. The basic verdict: it's a decent upgrade, but it probably should have been Cakewalk Sonar 6.3 beta. Some cool new additions, but nothing that's going to affect me much on a day-to-day basis.

The good:

  • The ability to use outboard gear as a plugin is very cool. I don't have anything now, but I'm very tempted to buy a nice outboard compressor.
  • Dim Solo. I love this with a fiery passion.
  • I haven't played with the sidechaining, but I think I'm going to really enjoy it. I like having it available.
  • If you don't have other third-party plugins, this is probably a decent upgrade. In particular, the mastering EQ/compression and Z3ta+ are nice.

And the bad:

  • Crashes as much as, or more, than Sonar6. It died a few dozen times through the week, mostly randomly during mixdown. Luckily, I'm used to this and save all the time, but it's still a total buzzkill. It also still goes into "stutter mode" randomly, until I reboot.
  • You still can't save projects with AudioSnap as CWB bundles (they arbitrarily took this away in Sonar6.2).
  • The new effects and instruments are fine, but I've already got better options for most of those.
  • The super-hyped new MIDI tools didn't really help me much. The magnifying glass was especially hard to use; try using it to do something common like lining up two notes to the same starting time. I do like the custom tool assignments, though.

So the bad stuff is mostly just unmet expectations, rather than new problems. It's still the best DAW out there, in my book. I'm hoping they spend some extra time in the coming months squashing out some of the small (but irritating) bugs that have been in their software through several release cycles.

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