An offer you can’t refuse. Jamstik+ & Sonar Artist BUNDLE with FREE Sounds!

Hey everyone!  Cakewalk & Jamstik+ have teamed up again, this time to bring you the Jamstik+ & Sonar Artist Bundle! In addition, our good friend Craig Anderton released custom presets for Rapture Session as a bonus download included in the bundle. Jamstik+ sound-pack for Rapture Session includes 11 instrument types & all of the presets curated from Rapture Pro multi-sample synth that can be easily mapped to your MIDI controller.  In total we have 30 presets that celebrate the 30th anniversary of Cakewalk Sonar.  Watch the video above to watch me showcase some of the included sounds!

Rapture Session’s Interface

First, let’s talk about the user interface for our included soundpack.  Sonar’s integration of Rapture is very straightforward and user-friendly.  For many guitarists, synth apps can be intimidating.  I tend to steer toward apps that have a simplistic design so I can play more, and tweak settings less.

How Does It Sound?

This sound-pack is a Swiss-army knife of sound, including a nice section dedicated to bass guitars.  Most patches have a nice warm tone and some of them even a retro-like quality.  Although these programs have unique attributes that can be modified with the Instrument Editor, they come pre-canned with solid defaults.  If you’re looking to get a bright and crispy synth, I recommend adding an exciter to help out with the super-duper high end.

About The Demo Song

The main chord progression goes from C# minor to A major using the Nashville Guitar with a few tweaked settings in the Instrument Editor.  It’s always exciting to try out new guitar tones with the jamstik.  Traditionally it’s usually hit or miss for MIDI samples of guitars.  These particular offerings fit well with the kind of track I was making.  The Nashville Guitar is essentially based off the “LesPaul” sound included with an octaver on top of it.  This brightens up the melody and helps it stand out.  In this example, I increased the TremSync Dial to get a nice tremolo effect.

I’m a huge chip-tune fan (I actually compose quite a lot of 8-bit music myself)  so naturally, I gravitated towards the PolySynth lead.  This is used on the melodies & solos that are going on in the video.  

Lastly, during the section where I am playing a Kick and Snare there is an arpeggiated pattern being played in the background.  This patch is a fun one called PatternKittens.   This arpeggiated synth lends itself nicely to contribute ambient tones to the tune.  It reminds me of something The Who or a rock band would have incorporated into their music!

List of the 30 bonus sounds:

  • 3 Guitars
  • 2 PolySynths
  • 2 Pads
  • Brass Synth
  • Clav Synth
  • DrumsAcous
  • Electric Piano
  • Harpsi-Synth
  • Organ
  • Pattern Kittens
  • Pattern Soft Steps
  • Piano
  • Sax
  • Sitar
  • Strings
  • Synth Tines

Included Basses:

  • Acoustic Bass
  • 4 Electric Basses
  • 5 Synth Basses

Use Unique Jamstik+ Features

For the soloing on this track, I used a mixture of traditional picking and a feature called “Tap Mode”.  This functionality has been used with other controllers so may not be a foreign concept to you.  Essentially, the jamstik+ when in tap mode, will reward a full velocity note upon fretting the guitar neck without the need for picking.  It’s a fun way to do legato passages and tracks really clean on the piano roll.  For an article explaining more about jamstik+ features click here!

Bluetooth MIDI on Windows 10

The newest versions of Sonar and Windows 10 take advantage of Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy to connect the jamstik+ wirelessly as a MIDI input device.  Make sure to check specs on your PC to ensure compatibility.  If not, we recommend this BLE dongle by Asus.  

For more info check out a previous guest blog-post I did talking about Bluetooth MIDI.  For the full article read more here.

Special offer:  Jamstik+ & SONAR Bundle!

Sonar Artist is a fantastic package that comes with all of the essentials & more.  To celebrate our collaboration, we are offering a bundle for the jamstik & Sonar Artist together for a special price!  Both of these products are great independently, but together they make a powerful team.  Don’t forget.. this plug-in I am demoing comes FREE with the activation codes included in the bundle!

Thanks to hard-working engineers we have Bluetooth MIDI possible in Sonar. This opens new doors for producers and other music creators to have a wireless experience with a cool controller on their PC.  We hope to see what you create!

Remember to tag #jamstik #sonar #cakewalk on your posts!! 

Learn more about the jamstik+ / Sonar Artist Bundle at www.jamstik.com

Cakewalk Adaptive Limiter–Behind the Scenes

Cakewalk’s Adaptive Limiter

The Adaptive Limiter, introduced in the SONAR 2017.05 Update, has been very well received by customers. Jon Downing, Cakewalk Software Engineer, reveals some of the DSP design decisions and efforts to create this fantastic new plug-in. Continue reading Cakewalk Adaptive Limiter–Behind the Scenes

6 Tips and Tricks with the Jamstik+ & SONAR

With the recent announcement of SONAR & Windows compatibility, the opportunity for connecting Bluetooth MIDI Controllers is now available with ease using Bluetooth 4.0. The jamstik is a five-fret guitar controller, designed small enough to fit in your backpack or carry-on. Here are five tips about the jamstik’s hardware and how it works within Sonar: Continue reading 6 Tips and Tricks with the Jamstik+ & SONAR

Wireless Audio and MIDI in SONAR

With the proliferation of Bluetooth enabled devices, IoT (internet of things), wireless technology is one of the hottest trends today with wide-reaching applications to audio, automotive, medical and other industries. Gibson R&D is actively involved with wireless technology both in the hardware and software space and a member of the Bluetooth SIG, responsible for the development and evolution of the Bluetooth specification. As a Gibson Brand, Cakewalk is committed to embracing the advantages of wireless technology. This year, we’re excited to integrate wireless MIDI technology into all versions of SONAR – our flagship recording, editing, and mixing software.

In the 2017.03 release of SONAR we worked closely with Microsoft to add support for Bluetooth LE MIDI devices via the new UWP MIDI API. In November of 2016, we added support for Microsoft’s new low-latency WASAPI shared mode API’s, which including support for Bluetooth audio devices via WASAPI. With these enhancements, SONAR now has built-in support for wireless audio and MIDI via Bluetooth.

In this blog post we’ll delve into some of the technical details behind some of the these features. Continue reading Wireless Audio and MIDI in SONAR

Windows 10 Creators Update: Your DAW is not a Game

This week Microsoft debuts its “Creators Update,” the second major update to Windows 10. You can read more about what’s in this update on the Microsoft blog.

While most of the features in this update don’t directly relate to DAW’s or music production, we were particularly intrigued with “Game Mode.” Microsoft indicates that Game Mode dedicates more GPU cycles and a set number of CPU threads to the game and prevents background processes from interfering with it. It sounds good on paper so we wondered how it might benefit a DAW like SONAR…

To check it out, Jon Sasor, Quality Assurance Engineer at Cakewalk, took on the task of doing some benchmarks to test performance in Game Mode with the latest version of SONAR. Jon performed the test on a brand new Dell PC (Intel® Core™ i7-6920HQ @ 2.90 GHz with 16GB RAM) and he compared audio playback performance with Game Mode on and off.

Continue reading Windows 10 Creators Update: Your DAW is not a Game

Bluetooth MIDI Is Here And Why It’s Important For You

A new way to enter MIDI

Greetings! My name is Mike Green, Music Product Specialist at Zivix, we make the jamstik+ portable SmartGuitar & PUC+ wireless MIDI link. I’m primarily a guitar player, and in my 15+ years of musical composition, MIDI has enabled me to write and record quickly. In full disclosure; I’m a lousy keyboardist. The jamstik+ and Bluetooth MIDI’s availability for Windows 10 has revolutionized what used to be a point-and-click endeavor. Now I can use virtual instruments in Cakewalk’s SONAR software controlled by the jamstik+ digital guitar so I can enter in data wirelessly via Bluetooth MIDI – using the guitar skills that come most naturally to me.

Tracking MIDI with the jamstik+ in SONAR Platinum

Jamstik+ & SONAR Platinum is a killer combo for the studio.

A hit with pro and amateur musicians, the jamstik feels like a traditional guitar neck and works with your favorite MIDI apps and DAWs.  Music notation, composition or accompaniment is easy with the Jamstik+ and Sonar Platinum Edition.

The jamstik+ is a great MIDI controller, and my favorite bundled virtual instruments in SONAR are:

  • Strum Session 2: This was an added bonus I did not expect, a built-in guitar modeller! Overall, I’m very impressed with the simple UI. There’s a plethora of modifiers to make your own presets with, and even a chord-finder as an added benefit. Make sure to take a listen to the short track I made featuring the “acoustic” preset (video is at the top of the blog post).
Using Strum Session’s Chord Finder with the jamstik+
  • Cakewalk Sound Center: This Soft-Synth includes a nice variety of tones.  There is a limit to what parameters you can tweak for each sound, but most of these sounds are good right off the bat.  

Make Sure Your PC is Bluetooth 4.0 Compatible.

With recent updates in the Windows 10 OS, SONAR’s DAW takes advantage of using Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy (BLE) to connect Bluetooth enabled MIDI devices. Now, almost all operating systems have this capability, so the performance is only going to get better from here, and more controllers will start “Roli” ‘ing in (haha). Check the specs on your PC (look for Bluetooth in Device Manager) to see if your PC is Bluetooth 4.0 compatible. If not, you can always try various BLE Dongles like this one by Asus.

Connecting is easy

  1. Pair to Windows 10
  2. Open SONAR
  3. Enable your MIDI Device In/Out Check-boxes in Preferences
  4. Select your Soft-Synth
  5. Play!

Use the PUC+ To Connect Other MIDI Controllers via Bluetooth

I should also mention if you’re looking to connect an existing MIDI keyboard, check out the PUC+ Wireless MIDI interface. It’s an easy way to cut the cables from your rig (for your electronic drum-kits, keytar, or even syncing/switching effects on our DAW). After seeing more and more innovative controllers at Winter NAMM 2017, one thing is clear — BLE MIDI isn’t going away anytime soon.

Keep An Eye Out For More Bluetooth Instruments

With the rise of mobile music apps, we are seeing the need for cool controllers that fit the lifestyle of musicians. In Jordan Rudess’s tech talk at NAMM, he put a strong emphasis on tablets being expressive instruments—with one drawback: no tactile feedback on the glass.  This is where controllers like the Jamstik+ come into play. A portable, configurable controller in a guitaristic form-factor. Stay tuned for more from Zivix this year!

Learn more at jamstik.com

Zivix is currently running a promo deal with Cakewalk users for 10% off your order on jamstik.com – Make sure to enter discount code: SONAR10 at checkout!

A New Era For Cakewalk (an open letter from CTO Noel Borthwick)

Why we introduced Lifetime Updates

With the introduction of Lifetime Updates for SONAR Platinum, there have been many theories as to why Cakewalk would take such a bold move. For us it’s simple—it’s better for customers, it’s better for us, and we believe this way of doing business is the future, so we’re embracing it today.

Some history: In the past (pre 2015), we followed a more traditional annual upgrade cycle where we released a single version of SONAR each year. This model was flawed on many levels, both for developers and end users. As developers, we’re under extreme pressure to finish a product by a certain date to meet a revenue goal – often regardless of whether it’s ready or not.

SONAR-Platinum-Lifetime-Updates

Adding a lot of features to a product in a short cycle can create problems even skilled QA teams and beta testers won’t find. Furthermore, end users have to try and learn a huge amount of information at once—which is much less efficient than learning features at one’s own pace over time.

Rolling Updates: So we did away with annual versions of SONAR and decided to work on one version —continuously. We can make smaller incremental changes at a faster pace without disrupting the end user’s stability and workflow, as well as react more quickly to user requests. No more waiting until the next version to get problems resolved as is the case with many other products. We call this model “Rolling Updates” and as a developer and CTO of Cakewalk, I love it!

Rolling Updates also provides benefits beyond making new features available as soon as they’re ready. If something needs fixing or improving, we can just fix it and ship it without your having to wait a whole year. For example the Mix Recall, Patch Points, and Upsampling features all benefited from this interaction with end users. And doing features incrementally, in shorter time periods, promotes better stability and performance.

Although it’s never easy to do something disruptive in an industry that’s resistant to change (remember the outcry when Netflix decided to focus on streaming instead of DVDs?), the response has been decisive and positive. We didn’t want to end up like the record companies who refused to acknowledge the emergence of MP3s and digital media as a distribution model, and became almost irrelevant in the process.

Doing Rolling Updates for the past year-and-a-half has convinced us this approach is far superior to the huge yearly update—so much so, that for a limited time, we’ve made the bold decision to offer Lifetime Updates for SONAR Platinum, giving you all future SONAR updates for free.

Lifetime Updates shake up the mix even more, and offer a better way of doing business that benefits everyone. One great side effect is you get to help us improve SONAR during this process with your feedback and suggestions, creating a partnership with a common goal: You want to use the finest software in the world, and we want to create it.  That’s why we are doubling down by offering the opportunity to join us on this journey.

With SONAR Analytics now at our disposal, and a responsive feedback portal on its way, we’ll be monitoring your comments, feedback, and requests closely so we can respond quickly and ensure that your experience with SONAR is…awesome. At Cakewalk, we believe that there’s no better way to succeed than by having happy customers. It really is that simple.

SONAR OS X Alpha for Mac

OS X Compatibility Coming

What’s more, SONAR will soon be available to a brand new audience of music creators with our SONAR OS X Alpha, coming this Fall.

With Windows and Mac split almost evenly among musicians, it made no sense to ignore half the market—or ignore the numerous requests over the years from music creators who’ve wanted to experience SONAR’s superior workflow, audio quality, and tools on the Mac.

For PC users who wonder if we will keep up the same pace of Windows development, the answer is an emphatic “yes”—we will never give up our lineage as a Windows-based DAW.

Since our announcement, I’ve received many e-mail’s from industry peers showing genuine excitement about SONAR on the Mac. In fact, having more people using SONAR will benefit Cakewalk long-term and improve the product as a whole. However we are still in the early stages of the Mac development project, so please be patient 🙂

All of this may seem too good to be true, and some people wonder if there’s a catch. But we’ve put a lot of thought into how we can make changes that benefit everyone. Cakewalk has experienced a major rejuvenation, and we want nothing more than to continue what has brought us to this point. We love the new Rolling Updates model, and even many users who resisted the idea at first have become converts after experiencing the many benefits.

Welcome to a better way to produce and experience music software, and thank you for joining us on this journey of innovation and excitement. We couldn’t have gotten to where we are without you.

Thank you for reading.

Sincerely,

Noel Borthwick
CTO, Cakewalk

[Noel Borthwick started at Cakewalk 18 years ago and has actively contributed to SONAR development since its inception. He is also a jazz guitar player and a SONAR user.]

SONAR Facility, The Sound Foundation in Dallas gets global recognition with Ford Motors

Something inspiring is happening in the Dallas music scene, and Cakewalk is excited to be a part of it with SONAR Platinum. When Norman Matthew gets off the road from touring with his band Murder FM, or finishes up a major video or full length record, it’s not time to chill out.  In fact for him, that’s the time when he buckles down and digs into his “little side-thing” which is a major music operation called The Sound Foundation (TSF) in Dallas, TX.  Dallas has always been known to be a great music town, but Norman’s TSF has a great angle to its existence that resonates to the very core of his soul.  In fact just recently, TSF caught the eye of the Ford Motor Company who took notice of Norman and his operation and were so impressed, they featured the establishment on their “Good Works” series.

If you’re reading this article, I’m sure you are aware that the Major Label system has pretty much all but collapsed.  Look anywhere on the internet and you will find all the articles you can handle about how evil all the labels were, how they had this coming to them and how the lavish lifestyles of the greedy executives fostered this meltdown.  But what you may not know is that “back in the day,” a good piece of that excess cash folks paid down on an $18 CD that cost $1.76 to make went right back into a pool of starving artists (not directly of course).  It was called “Artist Development” and it helped pay and pave the way for many iconic artists who started out with the ole “Label Demo Deal.”

Continue reading SONAR Facility, The Sound Foundation in Dallas gets global recognition with Ford Motors

HOW The Duke Western USES SONAR TO CREATE MUSIC FOR DUCK DYNASTY (AND MORE)

Here at Cakewalk we are fortunate to have an external team of rocket scientists who help test out SONAR beta releases.  This team is dedicated, passionate and most of all appreciated by all of us internally here at the Cake shop.  Recently I received a general email from one of my esteemed colleagues mentioning that one of our trustworthy beta soldiers was jumping off the beta-battlefield in lieu of another SONAR related activity.  Huh?  This peaked my curiosity and I felt obliged to dig a bit deeper on the subject.  What could “another SONAR related activity” involve?  SONAR Olympics? SONAR CPU Racing? SONAR Academy?

Featured Music Placements on Discovery Channel, History Channel, CBS, Bravo Network

Continue reading HOW The Duke Western USES SONAR TO CREATE MUSIC FOR DUCK DYNASTY (AND MORE)

SONAR Platinum vs. SONAR X3 Producer: Importing Audio

SONAR Platinum vs. SONAR X3 Producer Speed Importing Audio

A few weeks back, we released this video demonstrating the drastic speed improvement when inserting 100 blank audio tracks into the current edition of SONAR.

If you saw that video, you’ll recall that SONAR Platinum, in less than one second, accomplished what SONAR X3 took about 13 seconds to complete — a 2,600% improvement!

As we continue to make improvements to SONAR Platinum (and Artist & Professional as well) through Rolling Updates, we thought it might be fun to race SONAR Platinum against SONAR X3 Producer in their ability to import actual audio files.

The video below, complete with drag race audio, a rock n’ roll soundtrack, and a couple of millisecond-accurate stopwatches, places SONAR Platinum and SONAR X3 Producer side-by-side to see who is the real speed demon.

I’ll spoil it a little and tell you that SONAR Platinum is the winner here, but the illustrated difference in speed may truly shock you!

Note: If you liked the soundtrack, be sure to check out the Rock Guitar Anthems loop pack!