Inbound: Z3TA+ Waveshaping Synth, The Next Generation

Cakewalk’s Z3TA+ has long been a favorite virtual analog / waveshaping soft synth, so much so that it consistently hits top 10 lists of software classics, even as it’s been (in past, at least) a Windows-only offering. Years, later, though, it’s most definitely due for an update. Cakewalk has released a video of what’s in store this week, with a redesigned UI, new effects, deeper editing options (which, incidentally, had been my disappointment with the first generation), and improved sound quality. Highlights: New sound content, many from original Z3TA+ sound designers New waveshaping functionality New filter types (check out the …

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Cakewalk SONAR X1 Rethinks Windows DAW’s User Interface

Cakewalk’s SONAR has always been a compelling choice of DAW on Windows. Under the hood, its 64-bit processing, 64-bit mix engine, balanced complement of editing features, and quite-nice array of instruments and processors has held enough appeal. But then there’s the interface, which hasn’t held up to the tools underneath. Being pretty isn’t only cosmetic; a visually-refined interface is just easier to look at and use. And aside from aesthetics, moving between editing views or just managing what’s visible on-screen in SONAR can be a chore. It’s a problem not unique to Cakewalk’s DAW: the leading music workstations now simply …

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The Most Out of Windows 7: Choosing and Optimizing Windows for Music

From our call for CDM reader studios, Eric Beam’s studio. In his setup: Windows 7 64-bit, Cakewalk’s SONAR 8.5 DAW (with native 64-bit support), and the excellent modular patching environment Plogue Bidule. Click through to Flickr for a closer look. Photo (CC-BY) Eric Beam. This week, while we poll readers to find out what platforms they really use and care about for music, we’re launching a new series to help you get the most out of whichever OS you choose. We’ve been covering the complexities of Windows for a while, from the bumpy Vista transition to the smoother advent of …

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New, Improved M-Audio Axioms, Q&A, and Controller Keyboard Choices

Avid is updating their M-Audio Axiom line of USB controller keyboards. New in this version is DirectLink, which provides automatic mappings for software like Ableton Live, Logic, Cubase, and of course Avid’s own Pro Tools, similar to what’s in the Axiom’s big-brother Axiom Pro. The controller itself has also been improved, with lower-profile faders on the 49/61 model, smooth rotary encoders (not knobs!), an angled-up top panel so you can see what you’re doing more easily, and other tweaks. Perhaps the most significant feature is improved keyboard, with an updated semi-weighted action and adjusted playing angle. The updated Axiom enters …

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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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Obsessive Windows 7 Under-the-Hood Guide for Music; Can You Finally Dump XP?

Windows 7 running on a laptop, as photographed by / (CC) Luke Roberts. Windows 7 makes far subtler changes than Vista did, which gives it an opportunity to refine features by the ship date. And it’s been tested unusually widely, by testers like Luke. Windows matters. It’s what roughly half of CDM readers use, and – for all the attention Apple gets – it’s a big part of the computer music world. Windows today also faces many of the same under-the-hood challenges that other operating systems do, so even if you’re a die-hard Linux or Mac user, you may want …

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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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Cakewalk’s $35 Music Creation Software for Windows Gets Major Polishing

Cakewalk today did something quite unorthodox for the company: it launched a product on Facebook. The results are what clearly aim to be a GarageBand killer for Windows users. Music Creator had always, quietly, been a big hit for Cakewalk: it’s cheap, entry-level software for the PC, which has the potential to reach a big audience of computer users. But the software itself was nothing to brag about, with a dated-looking interface. Music Creator 5 looks stunningly different. The arrangement window has the familiar, GarageBand and ACID-style loop arrangement window. But there are additions you might expect in a bigger …

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