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Sonar 4 is on the way, end of September ...


Seems like 3 was just released. I'm glad I didn't upgrade, though Sonar 4 Producer is going to be a bit pricey. Maybe it's time to jump ship. It seems that Cakewalk is releasing pricey "dribble ware" at this point. Maybe they should just charge a monthly subscription and get it over with.


Here's the story:


Cakewalk® Announces SONAR 4 Producer Edition, the Definitive Audio Production Environment on the Windows Platform


New features include workflow innovations at every level: Track Folders with editable composite clip; Freeze; multi-take comp tracking and editing; Navigator view; bus-able Audio Metronome; extended key binding support; multi-format surround mixing with Lexicon® Pantheon Surround Reverb, Sonitus Surround Compressor, SurroundBridge stereo-to-multichannel plug-in converter; video thumbnail track; extensive AV delivery options; POW-r dithering; MPEX time scaling; TTS-1 DXi GM2 synth with authentic Roland® sounds; more


Boston, MA (September 1, 2004)Cakewalk, developer of the best-selling music and sound software for Windows, today announces SONAR 4 Producer Edition. SONAR Producer Edition has a well-earned reputation for delivering powerful production tools in a fast, streamlined user interface. With new version 4, Cakewalk has added powerful recording, editing, comping and navigation tools that optimize workflow for today's professional. In addition, version 4 combines innovative surround and AV capabilities along with precise engineering tools, making SONAR 4 Producer Edition the definitive audio production environment on the Windows platform.


New features, workflow innovations, and enhancements include:


Track Folders with the ability edit the Track Folder Composite Clip

Enhanced comping and editing features including track layer display options, clip muting/isolating, audition selection, customizable nudge, multi-clip slip edits, roll-outs, and fades

Freeze tracks, effects, and synths with the ability to edit and arrange frozen data

Loop construction enhancements including slice-based, envelope control of gain, pitch, pan

Navigator view

Extended Key Binding enhancements including keystroke-emulating templates for Cubase SX, Nuendo, Logic, Digital Performer, Samplitude, and other DAWs

Multi-format surround mixing and editing with over 30 supported configurations (5.1, 7.1, LCRS, etc)

Lexicon® Pantheon Surround Reverb

Sonitus Surround Compressor

SurroundBridgeeasily use stereo effects in a surround environment

Video Thumbnail track with support for QuickTime, Windows Media Video, AVI, MPEG

Extensive export options with useful and configurable presets

POW-r Dithering

MPEX Time Scaling

TTS-1 DXi multitimbral GM2 synthesizer with authentic Roland sounds

Configurable RMS and Peak Meter ballistics



Track Foldersefficiently manage your large scale projects and loop recorded takes with SONAR 4's convenient Track foldersallows for the organization of multiple tracks into one single folder; simultaneously mute, solo, record, archive and perform other functions on tracks in a folder; all tracks within a folder are displayed as a Composite Clip which you can cut-copy-paste, move, slip edit, and split; import multi-channel audio into a track folders. SONAR 4's Track Folders are ideal for managing multi-mic or grouped recordings (drums, choir, piano, orchestra, acoustic guitar).


Comping Trackscomplete your multi-take, composite tracking of both audio and MIDI faster than ever with Track Layers and SONAR's new comp editing enhancements. Recorded and edited takes are displayed in multiple layers of a single track; audition only the selected content in a project while comping parts; quickly mute or isolate unwanted/wanted takes or sections of takes using Clip Muting or Partial Clip Muting (time-based within a clip); blend elements together using auto-crop tool with crossfade option; non-destructive Auto Punch Record Mode.


Loop ConstructionVersion 4 extends SONAR's powerful loop editing and composition capabilities with slice-based envelope control of gain, pitch, pan; slice preview & auto-loop simplifies marker placement/adjustments.


Freezeoptimize your system resources with a new level of flexibility using SONAR 4's superior freeze implementation for tracks, effects, and synths. Render tracks to conserve CPU in one easy step; automatically unloads plug-ins, releasing memory back to the system; SONAR 4 efficiently freezes only when data is present, conserving disk space; Quick Unfreeze/Freeze retains frozen data when unfreezing, for quick toggling/auditioning of tracks. A distinct feature of SONAR 4's Freeze implementation is the ability to move and edit frozen data ? you can even convert frozen data into groove clips.


Simultaneous Clip EditingPerform the following edits on multiple clips simultaneously: nudge, roll out groove clips, slip edit, and add/edit fades.


Nudgeuse this new clip editing enhancement both vertically and horizontally within Track and Piano Roll views; extremely flexible nudge resolutions (musical time, seconds, milliseconds, frames, samples, ticks, follow snap settings); a total of nine nudge commands can be assigned to any key or MIDI event.


Additional SONAR 4 Workflow Enhancements


Navigator Viewprovides a bird's eye view of an entire project. Swiftly navigate through projects and view exact details with quick adjustments of track height, duration, and viewable area.


Key Bindingsextends SONAR's keystroke actions with access to single key functions; transport keys now active in all views including plug-in windows; includes built-in keystroke emulating templates for other DAWs including Cubase SX, Nuendo, and Logic providing convenience on cross-platform projects or for easy migrating to the SONAR platform. Import/Export your custom SONAR key binding presets for sharing/backup/transfer to other workstations.


Audio Metronomeroute SONAR 4's Audio Metronome through any bus for flexibility in multi-player recording sessions (any selected bus, in turn, can be send to any available main out); allows for the adjustment of separate metronome levels in each headphone mix; easy automation of mute/volume; users can also add custom sounds.


Surround and AV Capabilities


Engineered to meet the needs of mixing professionals, SONAR 4 Producer Edition provides a complete surround mixing and editing environment with support for over 30 configurations, including 5.1, 7.1, LCRS.


The intuitive Surround Panner is the nexus of version 4's surround mixing paradigm offering control that extends far beyond a simple x/y axis. The Surround Panner utilizes focus, width, angle, and front/rear balance controls to provide a more responsive and expressive control interface. Speaker muting and soloing, LFE send, and extensive control surface/Joystick support further accentuate the flexibility of the SONAR 4 surround implementation. Any surround bus can be routed to another surround bus to achieve dynamic mixing configurations. In addition, SONAR 4 offers transparent down-mixing and bass management.


SurroundBridgethis innovation takes the SONAR 4 surround feature-set a step further, allowing for the use of any stereo plug-in within multi-channel environments. SurroundBridge seamlessly creates multiple instances of any effect, providing complete linked/unlinked control across all channels from a single UI.


Video Thumbnail Trackperfectly align audio with on-screen action; quickly locate video scenes across an entire project; thumbnails resize dynamically to project zoom; auto-snap to frame.


Lexicon® Pantheon Surround Reverbaccess the world-class, pristine sound of Lexicon reverb for the first time ever in multi-channel environments up to 7.1; simple and powerful interface, indispensable tool; numerous factory presets and full editing capabilities for creating custom presets.


Sonitus Surround Compressora nine-channel version of the critically acclaimed Sonitus Compressor, specifically designed for surround applications; flexible and totally automatable.


Surround and AV Deliverycomplementing SONAR 4's extensive surround mixing and editing capabilities are a powerful array of delivery options that include: Windows Media Audio 9 (WMA), WMA9 Pro 5.1, and WMA9 lossless encoding and decoding; QuickTime, Windows Media Video (with 5.1 surround audio), AVI (with stereo or 5.1 surround sound); open support for external command-line encoders (surround, LAME, Ogg Vorbis, Monkey's Audio, etc.). SONAR 4 also provides a convenient export video option with control over quality settings and codecs; powerful presets for frequently-used export settings; export buses and tracks into a composite mixdown, or as individual files.


Precise Engineering Technologies


POW-r Ditheringprovides the highest quality ultra-transparent digital-audio bit reduction; reduces 20, 24, and 32 bit audio to CD standard 16-bit format, while retaining perceived dynamic efficiency with very low noise; scalable for use with all sample rates.


Prosoniq MPEX time scalinga superior time scaling algorithm that employs psychoacoustic properties which simulate attributes of human audio perception. This 'intelligent' algorithm yields a more fluid feel and flexibility in the sound representation that makes for better Time Scaling. Great for matching audio to video or for loop/sample authoring.


TTS-1 DXi multitimbral GM2 synthesizera high quality, multitimbral, multi-out GM2 (General MIDI System Level 2 compatible) DXi synthesizer that is equipped with a genuine Roland synth engine; 256 instrument sounds and 9 drum sets are included; dedicated control panel for easy customization of sounds.


Professional ContentSONAR 4 Producer Edition also includes an extensive assortment of content from leading sample and loop developer SmartLoops. Included are hundreds of megabytes of MIDI Groove and ACID-Groove Clips, Live Studio Drums CWB files, Session Drummer files and Pro Drum Works loops.


SONAR 4 Studio Edition


SONAR 4 Studio Edition is a special version of SONAR 4 designed for project studios and aspiring professionals. Studio Edition is built upon the same core engine and feature set of SONAR 4 Producer Edition. NOTE: SONAR 4 Studio Edition does not have the following features found in SONAR 4 Producer Edition: surround mixing and editing, Lexicon Pantheon Surround Reverb, Sonitus Surround Compressor, Sonitus:fx Suite, enhanced mixing console with assignable fx controls and per-channel EQ, Video Thumbnail track, POW-r Dithering, MPEX Time Scaling.


Pricing and Availability


SONAR 4 Producer Edition has a manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) of $959 U.S.; SONAR 4 Studio Edition is $479 U.S. (MSRP). SONAR 4 will ship September 28, 2004. Registered SONAR 3 Producer customers can upgrade to SONAR 4 Producer Edition directly through Cakewalk for $179; SONAR 3 Studio to SONAR 4 Studio Edition for $99. For more information, visit Cakewalk on the web at www.cakewalk.com; or call 617-423-9004.

I really don't know what to put here.
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I didn't read the whole feature list, but I'm pretty sure I'm going to go for the upgrade this time around. I sat out v.3. Money was tight and I've been putting off building a new desktop machine so my P3-500 was not up to v.3, although my new Centrino laptop should be fine with it (and presumaly v.4).


The "Pro" versions of Cakewalk and Sonar have always been a fair bit more. I almost didn't go 'pro' with v.2 -- but I'm really glad I did, since the Timeworks 64 bit EQ and Compressor that came in the pro pack with a soft drum machine were well worth the extra 100 clams. Previous pro packages have been more mixed in my experience, but they were also a little bit cheaper, if I recall.


But, anyhow, if you jump ship, where ya gonna go?


All the serious sequencer/multitrackers have super high list prices now. Cubase SX lists for $800...

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Hmm, after reading that list, it seems like a pretty significant update to me - hardly what I'd call "dribbleware".


And FWIW, I appreciate that Cakewalk, as a company, has always tried to keep the updates and improvements coming on a regular basis, and their upgrade policy has always been fair and not unreasonably expensive. Rather than seeing the frequent updates as a negative thing, I view it as a positive thing. :)


- YMMV of course.

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Originally posted by Philip O'Keefe:

I appreciate that Cakewalk, as a company, has always tried to keep the updates and improvements coming on a regular basis, and their upgrade policy has always been fair and not unreasonably expensive. Rather than seeing the frequent updates as a negative thing, I view it as a positive thing. :)


- YMMV of course.

I couldn't agree more. And as far as dribbleware goes, I'm sure happy I've been using Sonar 3 for the past year and not Sonar 2.2. And they'll get my $179 again this time because I think these new features really put Sonar over the top. I'm looking forward to it.


That said, I don't think a subscription is an unfair comparison. But, to be honest, I really like Cakewalk as a company and I feel good that my $179 annual "subscription" is going to support their fine work.

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Dribbleware? Are you nuts or do you work for steinberg?


I am so psyched about this update, it has every feature in it that I was envious of other sequencers for, and it look's like Cakewalk has improved upon some of those features as well (surround, freeze, comping, etc.)

"this is rock n roll"
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You know, until 4's features were announced and I got to see them all, I thought SONAR was already keeping up pretty well. Then I immediately realized how in-depth 4 is VS previous versions. They've truly made a professional application with this version - it's got everything that you'd expect from a $959 program - definitely in another class from 3. Since I use Nuendo and Pro Tools also, I've begun to gradually realize all the previous SONAR versions' shortcommings. All those elements that were lacking or absent are there now, and then some. SONAR has always been ahead of the curve as far as workflow goes, IMO, so I'd overlooked a few weaknesses for that reason. I'm very much on the bandwagon for this one and I don't think my expectations are too high by expecting this to be a single DAW solution for me.
No matter how good something is, there will always be someone blasting away on a forum somewhere about how much they hate it.
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The same GUI and Mixer are from Sonar 3 (boo/hiss),but the slip editing accross multiple tracks is a hot new feature,as is the 1 button freeze that still frees up memory(Yay).The surround addition doesn't hold my interest personally,but it's an important addition nonetheless.I'm not clear on other new features yet.
"A Robot Playing Trumpet Blows"
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Looks like great dribbleware. I'll probably do with this upgrade as a did to the 2.2 to 3 upgrade, ride without it till about six months after the release and let it get the bugs worked out. I just did the Sudio to Producer upgrade last month so I'm happy for now.


I find the seemingly annual upgrade costs with Cakewalk well worth the big steps in functionallity the have seemed to add in their development to SONAR.

William F. Turner




Sometimes the truth is rude...

tough shit... get used to it.

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SOnar4 looks god to me - I did a quick check of the detail features on their web site. It has what I was looking for:


1. 32bit native file support

2. Track locking

3. 9-channel surround dynamics processor (just to say I have one...hehe)

4. Tons of other stuff I may or may not need :D


I was skeptical at first but I'm pretty sure I'm in on the upgrade...$179 for 'The Producinator' version !

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$179 is the standard upgrade price for a new version - so you're getting a really good deal since SONAR 4 Producer is $959 VS SONAR 3 Producer's $719 - Cakewalk's not upping the price for the upgrade.
No matter how good something is, there will always be someone blasting away on a forum somewhere about how much they hate it.
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I will go for the upgrade, even without niggling about the features. I know that every upgrade so far has been worthwhile, so why not this one. If the engine is more efficient as claimed, that alone could justify the purchase. Will it be "gapless" this time? I dunno. There is also value (to me) in simply staying current. I hates it when you guys talk about stuff I can't do yet.


Like so many others, I'm not interested in surround or video at all.

Rubber Lizard Studio
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  • 2 weeks later...

I've been using a beta version of 4. As soon as it was installed, that was the end of using 3 for me.


In addition to the "big" features people have mentioned, the loop construction window has some MAJOR improvements. You can audition each slice (a la ReCycle), which makes it much easier to set the acidization markers. The window also follows the Now time. And -- shades of Live 3 -- you can adjust pan, level, and pitch for each slice.


My version didn't have the Prosoniq time stretch algorithms in it, but I've always thought their time factory did a great job on stretching digital audio.


The nudge thing is cool too.


I also agree that this isn't dribbleware, there's a lot going on in this release.

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