Cakewalk’s SONAR 8.5.2 Update Packs a Lot in a Point

This would normally be a generic picture of an overview of the Track View or something, but… come on. Let’s just look at a step sequencer. (Yes, it looks similar to FL Studio’s step sequencer. But you get a decidedly SONAR-like workflow, which feels nothing like Fruity Loops. Whether that’s good news depends on how you feel about FL and SONAR.) The tricky thing about introducing a new feature is that you almost immediately hear from users about other features that would go well with that feature. (There’s a children’s story that goes this way.) The folks at Cakewalk have …

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Details of SONAR 8.5, and the Dystopian Future in Which You Use It

What happens when you mix technical chatter on the Cakewalk forum, Samuel Beckett, and The Matrix? I’d wager you get something like the surreal video above. Prompted by the posting of technical details for a new update to Cakewalk’s SONAR production software for Windows, and empowered by a strange, new tool that generates eerie virtual reality from typed text, we get banter like this: The arpeggiator is now on every track, so you are supposed to use it. It is one of the new rules of recording. Yes, I came from the days of one-finger piano playing. This is a …

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DAW Day – SONAR 8.5 Production Tastiness, and the Smooth 64-bit Transition

SONAR’s AudioSnap now has cleaner markers, and an understandable interface – and does quite a few things Logic 9’s new Flex Time does not. SONAR 8.5, I’m sure at some point, was to be SONAR 9. There’s an enormous amount of functionality in this release. But I think the surprise is some of the stuff that won’t necessarily appeal to the widest audio production audience. Here’s a DAW that’s adding unusual new features for arranging tracks, putting an integrated arpeggiator on every track, beefing up its step sequencer (really), and dumping a bunch of class LinnDrum samples into the package. …

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Snow Leopard Watch: Changes, Compatibility, Caution, Native Instruments, Plogue

Rawr! A real snow leopard at age eight weeks at the Eichberg Zoo. Now, should you let the (operating system) snow leopard mature a little before you try to play with it? Photo (CC) Tamby Tamboko. Updated: See http://createdigitalmusic.com/snowleopard for a running report. Apple’s “Snow Leopard” 10.6 ships Friday, which means it’s time to start compiling information about the new OS flavor. Just don’t upgrade too fast, as always. Want to push an operating system to the breaking point? Ask a musician. Between the demands of real-time performance and the complex ecosystem of mix-and-match hardware, software, and plug-ins, odds are …

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Kontakt, Battery: Enhanced, More Compatible, 64-bit Memory

Even on Mac, the new Kontakt can use the memory you’ve got installed. On Windows 64-bit, Kontakt (and Battery, too) can use memory beyond … well, what you’d even imagine installing. Native Instruments has updated its sampling engine, releasing beta versions 3.0.5 for its Battery drum sampler and 3.5.0 final for the flagship Kontakt sampler. Both are free upgrades. (For anyone who thought that somehow Maschine was replacing Battery, it isn’t: the former is a drum machine, whereas the latter is more like a high-end drum sampler.) There are a number of significant enhancements, but perhaps the most interesting is …

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Rain Diablo Audio Quad Laptop: Powerful Enough to Be Kind of Ridiculous

Rain Recording make audio-ready notebooks – that is, they’re pre-tested to function well with audio software, with Windows tweaks, driver selection, and configuration all chosen and tested for music and visual production, and no crapware installed. They’re one of a handful of music-friendly vendors that does that (see also: PCAudioLabs, etc.). Given that the PC music making experience can range from awesome to awful depending on which hardware and (particularly) drivers you’re on, that’s no small matter. Rain has always styled themselves a premium brand. But the latest Diablo really does go to extremes spec-wise. It’ll cost you – base …

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A New Cubase: V5 Emphasizes Add-ons, Performance, and Steinberg Goes iPhone

Cubase 5 includes under-the-hood improvements to performance, but many of the new features – like the unusual LoopMash loop masher upper instrument – come in the form of instrumental add-ons. LoopMash is interesting, but it’s more a bundled instrument than a truly integrated feature. The big traditional DAW announcement at this NAMM show was Steinberg’s Cubase 5. Cubase as a music software brand is now older than some people who read this blog, but never mind: Cubase 5 certainly doesn’t want for new stuff. And Cubase still claims to be the world’s most popular computer DAW. Computer Music Magazine has …

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Life After Giga: Kontakt 3 Free 64-bit Upgrade Soon on Mac, Windows

  The current holy grail of sampling seems to be getting at more memory by providing 64-bit memory addressing, as I said this morning. With Tascam’s Giga out of the picture, it’s up to competing sampler products to deliver. Cakewalk’s Dimension Pro is already 64-bit support, as is their host, SONAR. Native Instruments points out that their flagship sampler Kontakt is on track to be 64-bit soon. Kontakt 3 does support disk streaming now, but it can’t yet do 64-bit memory addressing. With 32-bit memory addressing, you’re limited to around a couple of gigs of available RAM. That should change …

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PreSonus Does Vista Drivers, 32-bit and 64-bit

Some of my favorite audio interfaces are now available for Windows Vista. The INSPIRE 1394, FireBox, FP10 and FirePod are now all available for 32-bit and 64-bit Windows Vista. A bit late? Yes, but at this point, I care more about quality than punctuality. Anybody with the PreSonus boxes and Vista, we’d love to know how they’re working. PreSonus Vista Downloads Note that when you’re talking about FireWire, you’re talking ASIO and the new driver model under Vista. “WaveRT”, technology that allows greater audio performance of some hardware under Vista, is a feature that’s not supported by any FireWire or …

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Cakewalk Z3TA+ 1.5 Soft Synth Update, with Arpeggiator Import, More

We usually skip over minor version upgrades, but Z3TA+ from Cakewalk is a very special synth, and 1.5 is a very nice (free) update. New in the version bump: x64 and Vista support, a low-CPU arpeggiator (assuming it’s handling voicing/oscillator resource allocation more efficiently?), different CPU-optimized quality modes (also added to rival NI Massive recently), and more. But it also features two additions I wish more synths had. First, there’s MIDI file import for the arpeggiator. It’s a no-brainer feature, and yet most arpeggiators don’t do it. Why? I have no idea. (Any fave synths that do, please add them …

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