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Reviewed By prodigal_sounds [read all by] on October 24th, 2020
Version reviewed: 2020.09 on Windows

I've been using Cakewalk since 1994 so it would be hard for me to be unbiased. I can't really comment on how great the workflow is compared to other DAWs, because I recognize that most of the comfort is "mental muscle memory". But when the future of SONAR was thrown into uncertainty in November 2017, I tried both Studio One and Reaper, and I found neither of them sufficiently better or easier to work with to warrant switching to.

In April 2018, SONAR was re-launched as Cakewalk By Bandlab, a free - yes free - download. It contains essentially everything that was included in the product that would have cost ~$400 the previous year. It's really hard to argue with that value proposition.

What I like about SONAR/Cakewalk is the development cycle - regular updates, limited in scope, focused on features. The devs have walked a fine line of either delivering massive features ahead of the curve (e.g. 64-bit and multi-core processor support), or holding back and delivering well-considered and thoroughly designed features after they've appeared in other DAWs (for example, Arrangements, or the soon-to-be-released Articulation Lane feature).

It's a free product. It's not a simple product. There's a learning curve, but the complexity and depth is there and will reward the effort required to become proficient.

Oh, and did I mention the user forum? One of the best supported and friendly communities in the business.

Reviewed By prodigal_sounds [read all by] on October 19th, 2020
Version reviewed: 1.2 on Windows

I've been following the development of this plug-in since the early alphas. It has developed into a very useful amp sim with unique character. Single-coil clean tones on the edge of break-up are definitely its key specialty but that's a bonus to a very solid and general purpose guitar amplifier simulator. Unashamedly modeling tube signal response, the developer made a special effort to model sag at high gain configurations. Those that know about such things have given it praise for being able to get into Live Rust territory.