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Cakewalk announces SONAR 8 Producer & SONAR 8 Studio


Cakewalk has announced SONAR 8 Producer and SONAR 8 Studio. Registered customers can pre-order upgrades to SONAR 8 now. SONAR 8 will begin shipping October 2nd 2008.

SONAR 8 Producer sets forth to refine the user experience, inspire creativity, and take productions to new heights with updates to the core application including workflow enhancements, new features, and performance optimizations throughout. SONAR 8 Producer also reinforces its production toolset with new instruments, effect processors, and creative content.

New features, optimizations, and workflow enhancements include:

  • Loop Explorer 2.0: view provides browse and preview of audio and MIDI groove clips and patterns; quickly drag and drop loops and patterns into the track view; MIDI groove clips and patterns can be previewed with the virtual instrument of your choice.
  • Dedicated Instrument Track: single track optimized for mono or stereo virtual synths which simplifies the process of working with virtual instruments. In the pursuit of offering users options in how they want to work, the multi-track method of using virtual instruments employed by previous versions of SONAR is still supported. In addition users can split and combine instrument tracks to/from discrete audio/MIDI tracks.
  • SONAR Performance Optimizations: with focus on functionality including improved performance at high track counts and low latencies, faster launch time, and the ability to change audio devices without restarting; streamlined communication with VST plug-ins and Improved ASIO performance with output latency compensation.
  • User Interface optimizations: smoother display when resizing windows and panes, optimized metering, more responsive zoom and scroll.

Editing Enhancements:

  • Clip Selection Groups: Furthering SONAR's multitrack recording and take management capability, SONAR now automatically groups clips together across tracks after each recording pass - perfect for comping any multitrack ensemble performance, especially drum takes.
  • Aim Assist Cursor: Visual guide to assist in lining up cursor for precision editing.
  • Split and Mute Tools: can now edit multiple clips simultaneously.
  • Free Edit Tool: for performing edits by clips or by time without the need of a modifier key.

Recording Enhancements:

  • Live Effects and Soft Synth Recording: play and record effect and soft synth output into audio tracks in realtime using SONAR's live bounce feature.
  • Anytime Recording: while the SONAR transport is running or looping users can now arm/unarm audio and MIDI tracks, punch in, punch out, and toggle between play and record.

Mixing Enhancements:

  • Exclusive Solo Mode with Solo Override: New solo mode forces soloing to one track/bus at a time and prevents tracks and buses from being muted when other tracks/buses are soloed.
  • Bus Inputs QuickGroup Command: automatically groups all source tracks feeding a selected bus.
  • Mono hardware outputs: for easy assignment of tracks and buses to individual hardware outputs in addition to stereo pairs.

Control Enhancements:

  • Transport Updates: True Rewind, Fast Forward and Pause Buttons; Audition Button; Improved Jog/Shuttle Heuristics; optimizations for control surfaces and scrub performance.
  • Control Surface Enhancements: Show/Hide Tracks from Surface can follow either the Track View or Console View, obeying visible/hidden tracks, Control Surfaces MIDI port assignments retained/stored in SONAR, Real-World VST Parameter Values are now displayed.
  • Track View and Console View Sync now automatically syncs visible/hidden tracks between the Track View and Console View channels.

Additional Enhancements:

  • Enhanced Sample Rate Conversion: now employs the same fast convolution engine as the LP-64 series 64-bit mastering plug-ins.
  • Vista Audio: WASAPI support, which is compatible with any Vista audio device, including WaveRT PCI and motherboard audio, USB, and FireWire devices.
  • QuickTime 7 Import/Export: support for the latest QuickTime 7 codecs, including H.264 and AAC audio.

Workflow Enhancements include:

  • Insert Send Assistant: provides a fast and easy way to create effect buses and insert sends to new or existing buses.
  • Updated ACT Presets: mappings for popular plug-ins and controllers.
  • Templates: over 400 new production ready Track Templates and Project Templates.
  • Drum Maps & Presets: Updated Drum Maps and Plug-in Presets enhancing our most popular plug-ins.
  • Patterns: New collection of drum pattern presets for the integrated Step Sequencer.

New Instruments

Beatscape loop performance instrument

BeatscapeBeatscape, the latest instrument by Cakewalk's premier synthesis architect Rene Ceballos takes loop manipulation and realtime triggering/performance to new heights. Beatscape provides 16-pads to load and trigger loops or samples for sequencing your productions and beats. Each pad features a full powered REX player, Rapture-style step generator, multiple effect processors, and sophisticated groove slicing and dicing tools powered by Cakewalk's own AudioSnap technology.

Drag and drop audio directly from SONAR onto the BeatScape pads and it's synchronized and ready to go. Use the built in browser to quickly load clips and loops from your collection of previously recorded material, or choose from the 4GB REX library of included beats, breaks and phrases in a multitude of genres ranging from house, drum n' bass, hip hop, techno, glitch, latin, reggaeton, and more from the pros at Heatseekers and XMiX.

Beatscape is billed as "the ultimate remixing instrument". Combine audio clips from multiple recording sessions and use the 16 pads to sequence them live or into a SONAR track. Easily load key clips or loops from two separate projects, blend them together, and trigger one shot samples - all on the fly from Beatscape's up-front interface.

Features include:

  • Load loops and trigger/mangle them on the fly.
  • Rearrange loop slices using the 'timber reorder' slice arranger in BeatScape's Loop Editor window to make new loops or variations of loops.
  • Built in Step Generator allows users to quickly and visually draw per-step changes in amplitude, panning, pitch, or LP filter with resonance on individual loops or samples.
  • Make your loops sound the way you want with 17 built in high quality effects.
  • With 3 effect inserts per pad, beatscape can handle 48 effects at once.
  • Slices from each loop are mapped to their corresponding MIDI channel for pattern programming.
  • Easy MIDI mapping lets you simultaneously trigger entire loops and individual slices.
  • 4 gigabytes of content arranged as construction kits, broken down into separate layers such as kicks, hats, percussion, snares, synths, and more.

Dimension Pro

SONAR now includes a full version of the synthesizer that combines real instruments with advanced synthesis for endless sound possibilities. The underpinnings of Dimension Pro's creative possibilities is the powerful Cakewalk's Expression Engine providing several types of synthesis including multi-sample rendering, wavetable synthesis, waveguide synthesis, and REX playback and manipulation.

Included Content for Dimension Pro:

  • Over 7 GB of content for Dimension Pro including Strings, Bass, Brass, Ethnic Instruments, Evolving Ambient Textures and more.
  • Garritan Pocket Orchestra for Dimension Pro provides a complete set of orchestral instrumentation.
  • Digital Sound Factory Classic Keys Expansion Pack for Dimension Pro: about 1GB of classic electric piano sounds, created by the sound designer for the original E-Mu Proteus 2000.
  • Hollywood Edge Sound Effects sample library with over 100 MBs of film score ready samples and sound FX.

TruePianos Amber VSTi Module

TruePianos Amber ModuleOne of four modules that currently ship with the full version of TruePianos VSTi, the TruePianos Amber Module will provide SONAR users with world-class, playable piano sounds through its combination sampling, modeling, and synthesis sound design. TruePianos sounds and feels great, just like a real acoustic piano, with all the important characteristics: sympathetic resonance, inter-string harmonics, repedalling and more.

  • Designed to blend transparently with the musician's hands through its unique capabilities of matching to the players own playing style (and characteristics of his/her MIDI keyboard) with the help of intuitive controls.
  • Optimized for real-time performance, with low CPU usage even at 96 khz host sampling rates and advanced polyphony levels.

New Effect Processors

TS 64 Transient Shaper

TS 64 Transient ShaperA powerful tool for sculpting the transient dynamics of any percussive based source material such as drums or guitars. The TS 64 Transient Shaper employs powerful envelope/transient-detection, linear-phase filtering, and gain-shaping to control the dynamics of individual transients of any sound with amplitude variation over time.

The TS 64 Transient Shaper utilizes the same superior linear-phase technology found in SONAR's LP-64 EQ and LP-64 Multiband where the frequency spectrum is split into bands and then summed back together while maintaining the integrity of all processed audio across all frequencies. This provides clear precise control of the timbre of each detected transient without introducing coloration, phase errors, cancellations, comb filtering, or muddy sound.

  • Multi-stage, linear-phase filter algorithm provides frequency dependent gain-adjustment.
  • Level-independent shaping of envelopes allowing for transient sustain to be shortened or extended.
  • Shape audio signal attack phase independently of the decay/sustain phase.
  • Powerful envelope/transient-detection.
  • Great for drum loops and percussion, taming unruly electric guitars, and for improving the attack or fullness of an acoustic guitar or piano.
  • Automatable parameters.
  • Smooth, zipperless output.
  • Full VST functionality for access from dedicated audio editors.

TL-64 Tube Leveler

TL-64 Tube LevelerA line driver/leveling processor that employs advanced analog vacuum-tube circuit modeling algorithms to add the unique qualities of tube color and warmth found in classic recordings to whatever source material it is applied.

TL-64 provides intuitive controls to determine the level and character of analog tube saturation, from subtle "warming" to hard-driving saturation. The TL-64 plug-in features a unique selectable Dynamic Response Filter control that when engaged employs a dynamic (versus static) tube model algorithm. The dynamic tube model behaves more like a real vacuum tube in that its characteristics change over time depending on the input signal. There is also a Bass Compensation control that compensates for any reduction in bass material as a result of low-shelf filtering. The Bass Compensation filter allows you to reduce clipping in the bass bands while still maintaining a flat output response.

  • Powered by Studiodevil (Gallo Engineering) known for their ultra-high-quality analog tube amplifier emulation.
  • Several instances of the TL-64 plug-ins can also be combined in effects chains, along with other processors, EQ, and compressors, to create a limitless palette of virtual analog effects.
  • Dynamic and static tube model algorithms.
  • High quality signal processing algorithms.
  • Switchable oversampling option defeats high-frequency aliasing/quantization noise.
  • Smooth, zipperless output.
  • Automatable parameters.
  • Library of presets.
  • Full VST functionality for access from dedicated audio editors.

Channel Tools

Channel ToolsProvides easy and powerful zero-latency channel processing for adjusting L/R channel placement, gain, pan/width, and phase; sample delay for precision timing adjustment of L/R channels in recordings; Automatic Mid-Side decoding of imported Mid-Side recorded material. Channel Tools can also provide a widening or narrowing effect to stereo recordings through adjustments to mid-side gain.

  • Intuitive control over individual placement of the left and right channels anywhere in the stereo field.
  • Automatically decode Mid-Side channel recordings.
  • Fine-tune the timing of recordings by delaying the left and/or right channel by a specific number of samples or milliseconds.
  • Full VST functionality for access from dedicated audio editors.

Native Instruments Guitar Rig 3 LE

Built on the latest guitar amp modeler from Native Instruments; 3 amps and cabinets, 11 effects, tuner, metronome, and over 50 presets.

SONAR 8 Studio

SONAR 8 Studio is built upon the same core feature set as SONAR 8 Producer. It contains all of the features of SONAR 8 Producer minus the following Producer exclusives:

  • Lexicon Pantheon Reverb (Studio includes Pantheon SE)
  • LP-64 EQ Linear Phase Mastering EQ
  • LP-64 Multiband Linear Phase Mastering Compressor
  • TS-64 Transient Shaper
  • TL-64 Tube Leveler
  • VC-64 Vintage Channel
  • Roland V-Vocal 1.5
  • Native Instruments Guitar Rig 3 LE
  • Sonitus Surround Compressor
  • Dimension Pro 1.2 (Studio includes Dimension LE)
  • DSF Classic Keys Expansion Pack & Hollywood Edge FX for Dimension Pro
  • TruePianos Amber VSTi
  • Beatscape Looping Instrument
  • Z3TA+ Waveshaping Synthesizer
  • Surround Mixing
  • POW-r dithering

Pricing & Availability


SONAR 8 Producer has a manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) of $619 ($499 street) U.S., SONAR 8 Studio (MSRP) is $369 U.S. ($299 street). Registered SONAR 7 Producer customers can pre-order their upgrade to SONAR 8 Producer directly through Cakewalk for $179; SONAR 7 Studio to SONAR 8 Studio for $99. Other upgrade paths are available, visit Cakewalk.com for details.

Outside the U.S.

SONAR 8 Producer and Studio software is available in English, German, French, Spanish and Italian; English, German and French boxed versions come with printed documentation; Spanish and Italian electronic quick start guides contained in all versions. SONAR 8 is available through Roland and Edirol distribution partners.

Europe's suggested street price for SONAR 8 Producer and SONAR 8 Studio are €499 and €299 RRP inc VAT respectively; UK pricing is £349 and £219 RRP inc VAT respectively; and will be available, October 2008. Upgrades are available from select music and sound retailers and directly from Cakewalk.



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