Optimizing for Vista: Inside the Mechanics of SONAR 8 with Cakewalk Engineering

Vista, launched in an ice house in Toronto. That’s where I want my project studio this winter, for sure. Photo (CC Sam Javanrouh. On a purely technical level, how does Windows Vista work with a leading pro audio application? A lot of that depends on just how much the developer does to tune their software, and to hook into some of the new audio technologies in the OS. I wanted to know more about how Cakewalk’s SONAR 8 DAW was specifically optimized for Windows Vista. SONAR 7 was already out in front with support for Vista’s audio plumbing, but SONAR …

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SONAR 8 Preview: Instrument Tracks, Beatscape Instrument, Transient Shaper, Enhanced Performance, Other Goodies

Cakewalk has revealed what’s new in the latest version of their flagship Windows DAW, SONAR 8 Producer. SONAR remains a popular choice for people on Windows wanting a do-everything, traditional DAW. At the same time, it faces heated-up competition from rivals like Ableton Live and Reaper. SONAR users have been posting wish lists around the Web, so I think it’s safe to say people were hoping for some improvements. The changes look on-target to me, more so, perhaps, than in any recent SONAR upgrade. There are some much-needed workflow changes, enhanced under-the-hood performance, and new instruments and effects. Getting plug-in …

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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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10 Free Non-Musical Windows Software Every Musician Should Use

  Process Explorer is the essential portal to seeing what’s going on with CPU and memory activity on Windows. It was good enough that Microsoft bought the tool. Any computer – Mac, Windows, and Linux – can experience degraded audio experience pretty fast if a background task starts stealing CPU or a driver is misbehaving. In contrast, a fully-tweaked Windows machine, equipped with a set of tools to diagnose potential problems, can be rock-solid for audio performance. That’s an especially big deal for those of us using computers for live music. I think a lot of people’s Windows experience is …

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Circle Synth is Here: New Instrument Built Around Flow

We’ve been lucky enough to break the story of Circle, a new soft synth with a creative user interface, and to take you behind the scenes of its creators thinking process in creating the software. But maybe you don’t buy into the idea of a synth that focuses on flow and working method, or its wave morphing, modulation and effects, and quick MIDI learn features. Well, now you can give Circle a try for yourself, because it’s publicly available: Future Audio Workshop Circle It’s obviously something a lot of people are eagerly anticipating, because, having missed the announcement only by …

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Digidesign Talks Latest Windows, Mac Releases, Compatibility, Drivers

Having already heard from M-Audio, we now have a response from Digidesign regarding concerns about driver support and Pro Tools software compatibility for the latest Windows and Mac operating systems. Bob Langlie, VP of Customer Support and Service, and via Digi’s forums, Digidesign’s product marketing and general operations representatives all weigh in with some clarification and answers. There’s even a response to me complaining about the lack of explicit Vista Home Premium support. (The short answer on that is, if you’ve got Home Premium, give it a shot and see what happens; a lack of explicit support doesn’t mean that …

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M-Audio Responds: Update on Driver Situation, New Drivers

M-Audio has actually gotten in touch in response to frustrations about incompatibilities with OS updates — updates which, admittedly, have recently been frequent and sometimes troublesome on both the Windows and Mac sides. Niels Larsen, General Manger at M-Audio, responds in comments with some specifics on where drivers are, some new drivers that were released literally today, and some comments on the OS situation in general.  (I’ve copied it here just in case you missed it in comments.) I’ve also heard from Digidesign/M-Audio public relations; I hope to have additional updates soon. This is well worth reading whether or not …

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PreSonus Goes to Open Beta for Drivers

Speaking of drivers, PreSonus announced today that they’re allowing users to register for open beta drivers. They’re hardly the first to do this — M-Audio has done the same historically, even if I’m not thrilled with their pace at the moment. But this raises an interesting question: could opening a beta help improve driver quality and get updates in users’ hands faster? Do audio users really want to "beta-test" drivers in the first place? (I guess that depends on how mature the "beta" release is.) We’ll have to see how PreSonus fares. How is PreSonus doing with released drivers? Reasonably …

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Digidesign and M-Audio Drivers Fail to Keep Pace with Vista, Leopard, and XP SP3

There aren’t many positive ways to spin this: if you’re a user of Digidesign and M-Audio products and looking to use current operating systems, very often you’re out of luck. In some cases, this isn’t so surprising — given issues with Leopard, I actually suggest running Mac OS X Tiger if you can until some issues are resolved. And while I have one machine here running Vista happily, suffice to say Windows XP remains the choice for many, as drivers from a variety of vendors mature. Still, I think it’s bad to see drivers missing altogether this late in the …

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