stepsequencerIn keeping with tradition, says Create Digital Music’s Peter Kirn, SONAR looks like the average Windows software with lots of buttons, knobs and menus. However, with its latest version, SONAR employs a vast array of features that allow the user (whether expert or beginner) to customize the way they create music on the computer – making it easier for them to record and produce music on their own terms.

Calling SONAR, the DAW of More, Kirn takes a microscopic look at these new features, instruments, support and usability enhancements added to the program with the SONAR 8.5.2 update.

As summarized in the review, SONAR gives the end user a variety of options. By removing the extraneous toolbars and learning keyboard shortcuts, the user can quickly move about their project without getting lost in complexity. The user can also choose whether they compose their music with conventional views (such as the staff view or piano roll view) or whether they use the more avant-garde drag n’ drop clip-based views such as the Step Sequencer or Matrix view. SONAR also gives the user an arsenal of virtual instruments and effects processors like the PX-64 percussion strip and VX-64 vocal strip so that they can tweak their recordings as they see fit.

“Working with SONAR’s mix engine and bundled tools is an aural pleasure. There’s some really great-sounding stuff in here,” says Kirn.

However, it’s not just the things on the surface that have been optimized for a greater user experience, he notes. SONAR was the first DAW out of the gate to support Windows 7 and 64-bit systems. With added stability for these environments, SONAR users can produce their music without worrying about their computer’s CPU drive and overall performance. SONAR also ensures the use of third party plug-ins and external hardware with tools like Bitbridge, which allows migration of 32-bit plug-ins into a 64-bit system.

“As for justifying its cost,” exclaims Kirn, “SONAR can pay you back with reliability, predictability, and an arsenal of effects tools that would be tough to match anywhere else. It provides this set of tools without sacrificing standard support, compatibility with a wide variety of audio and controller hardware, and strong support for the open SFZ sampling format. It is tied to Windows, but it provides an exceptional level of support for the operating system, not only doing things first, but doing them best.”

Click here to read Peter Kirn’s SONAR 8.5.2 review

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