Cakewalk Develops New Windows 7 Resource Page

windows7logo1Microsoft’s latest effort in the OS department, Windows 7 dropped yesterday after much anticipation. Windows 7 promises to be a much more robust OS than its predecessor, Windows Vista, making it an ideal choice for audio production. With Cakewalk winning Microsoft’s prestigious Partner of the Year award, you can rest assured that SONAR 8.5 and many other Cakewalk products are fully supported and compatible with Windows 7.

To keep you up to date with the latest information regarding your Cakewalk products and the new OS, we’ve created a Windows 7 landing page on our website.

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How Windows 7 Will Effect Your Music Production?

borthwick2Cakewalk Chief Technical Officer Noel Borthwick, a noted expert on Windows platforms, covers crucial topics around the introduction of Windows 7, such as compatibility with Cakewalk products, issues in upgrading from Windows XP and related points of interest for PC users.

For an in-depth look at Windows 7 and how it might affect your use of Cakewalk products, check out Noel’s Q & A below. Also, see Peter Kirn’s article at Create Digital Music for more  insightful tips on Windows 7.

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Windows 7 Improvements Cited on CNET’s Digital Noise Blog

windows7logo1Like many of you, Cakewalk is patiently awaiting the big launch of Windows 7 on October 22. We’ve been hard at work testing our products for the new platform and sharing our information with you – see Noel Borthwick’s article.

A few days ago, CNET blogger Matt Rosoff, posted his thoughts on how Windows 7 will make the art of audio production on PC easier – citing Noel in his brief review.  Take a moment to read through Matt’s article. There will be more Windows 7 mentions to come.

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SONAR 8.5: The Fine Print

borthwick2Cakewalk’s CTO Noel Borthwick has been hard at work creating this microscopic view of SONAR 8.5 for those of you who have expressed an interest in learning more about the internals of the new features. Throughout this post, Noel will uncover the new version from an engineering perspective. However, before we get started on the fine print, let’s  first clarify some facts and myths about SONAR 8.5.

What’s in a name?

What’s in a name? That which we call SONAR 9 by any other name would sound as sweet.” I guess Juliet was misinformed, based on the wild speculation and reaction to our announcement of SONAR 8.5. To ease the anxiety for the next release I will let you in on a secret – the next product release will be called: SONAR 1C21B83D-EDCE-41b7-BBEF-31F912E88B1D. We think that a 128 bit version number will dispel all ambiguity the next time around.

FACT:
• The .5 release name for a major product reflects a change in our internal nomenclature for naming products, a business decision that was made after careful deliberation.
• Going forward this more accurately reflects our strategy of shipping products with high value for customers, while simultaneously planning for certain types of features whose depth may require a longer timeframe to develop and integrate.
• The 8.5 name is also indicative of the fact that 8.5 is available as an downloadable upgrade. i.e. unlike earlier versions it can upgrade an existing SONAR 8 install.
• Don’t be confused by the .5 in the name. 8.5 IS the next version of SONAR – It installs as a brand new version and lives alongside your existing SONAR 8 version just like any prior full release of SONAR.
• You can also simultaneously use 8.5 or an earlier 8.0 version just like any earlier full release of SONAR.
• If you purchased SONAR 8.5 as a downloadable upgrade, you must have SONAR 8 installed prior to installing SONAR 8.5. To reduce download size, the package doesn’t include all the content that you already have in your SONAR 8 install.
• You can also purchase a full set of 8.5 DVD’s even if you bought the download from our web store.
• If you bought the retail version of 8.5 from a store you already have the full 8.5 DVD set with all the content.
• There is no difference between an 8.0 install upgraded to 8.5 and a full retail 8.5 box install
• The depth of the new features and enhancements in 8.5 actually exceed what went into SONAR 8 coming from SONAR 7.

FICTION:
• The main SONAR 9 release was postponed and SONAR 8.5 is a patch or hotfix. Wrong – our maintenance releases are for compatibility and improvements only with the occasional bonus feature thrown in. We never add full blown features.
• A new version of SONAR is around the corner and 8.5 is an interim release. Wrong – We’re good, but not THAT good to be able to deliver a full new product just after shipping this one. Thanks for the compliment though!

So let’s cut to the chase shall we? There are several classes of new features in SONAR 8.5. I will try and focus on the pieces that are not covered in our marketing copy since by now you are already familiar with most of that.
You can read more about SONAR 8.5′s big features here if you are still catching up.

Disclaimer: The information below may be subject to errors and is not intended to be an exhaustive list of 8.5 features. It may be edited from time to time. You have been warned – nauseatingly geeky details follow. Stop reading now if this is objectionable to you :)

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SONAR 8.5 May Convince You To Try A 64-bit OS & Windows 7

cdm_logo_LRCreate Digital Music’s Peter Kirn was one of the first to cover the launch of SONAR 8.5 as it happened yesterday. In his initial review, Peter took a look at some of the most compelling functionalities being offered in the new version.

Among his favorite features are the argpeggiator and step-sequencer included on every track, the audio manipulation tool (AudioSnap 2.0), the strips for percussion and vocals (PX-84 and VX-64, respectively), and SONAR’s compatibility with x64 and Windows 7!  Here are some of our favorite quotes. Click the link below to read Peter’s full review.

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Getting Technical: Optimizing SONAR 8 for Vista

With the help of Cakewalk’s Engineering Department, Create Digital Music’s Peter Kirn delves inside the mechanics of SONAR 8. Visit Create Digital Music to learn how SONAR 8 will hold its own in Windows Vista.

Cakewalk’s Noel Borthwick explains, “SONAR 8 introduces several, crucial enhancements for communications with audio devices in Windows Vista, including support for WASAPI (a new audio standard in Windows Vista and future OS), MMCSS task profile support, and WaveRT streaming.”

To view the complete list of enhancements made to the latest version of SONAR, take a look at the posting below.

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SONAR 8: The Fine Print

Cakewalk’s CTO Noel Borthwick sheds some light on the features “under the hood” in SONAR 8.

*Note that this list is not a substitute for the official feature list & other features already documented in the SONAR 8 manual. Rather it is a list culled from Cakewalk’s Engineering Department*

Enjoy!

Performance optimizations:

Although every version of SONAR we shipped in the past had some degree of optimization work, SONAR 8 is the first version of SONAR to which we applied the same engineering process to performance optimizations as we do with other more user visible features. i.e. we established goals, built a specification for the optimizations, split up the work into milestones and tracked the progress of these tasks just as we do for other features. To make testing more deterministic, we devised various internal profiling tools in order to track and measure changes in performance across a variety of hardware platforms on XP as well as Vista.

Systems tested included brand new cutting edge platforms from Intel and AMD as well as earlier generation machines.

We split up this work into the following classes of performance enhancements for SONAR 8:

1. CPU and kernel level optimizations – use less of your CPU to do the same amount of work

2. User Interface optimizations – faster drawing, scrolling, zooming

3. Driver level optimizations – more efficient access to drivers, minimizing driver state transitions

4. Vista OS specific optimizations – Better use of MMCSS thread priorities, support for custom MMCSS task profiles, new WASAPI support

5. Audio engine optimizations – optimize “hotspots” in our bussing, streaming and mixing code

As a result of all these changes, SONAR 8 has the following benefits:

- greatly minimized kernel usage. This helps provide more “kernel bandwidth” to drivers who need it the most. More kernel bandwidth translates into less potential for audio glitches.

- Lower CPU usage – translates to better performance at low latency

- More efficient use of audio drivers – esp with ASIO drivers

- Better performance on Windows Vista esp X64. Many of the complaints of Vista performance as compared to XP have been solved with SONAR 8. X64 low latency performance should now be on par with X86.

- Faster application launch

- Less flicker in GUI. Track view splitters no longer flicker when resizing.

- More responsive zoom and scroll with large projects. Zooming with wave files now uses 1/2 the RAM with 24-bit or less stereo or mono files used.

- Better meter performance.

- Improved thread scheduling by insuring threads are properly distributed on processors.

This link shows the overall benefits of SONAR 8 as compared to SONAR 7: http://www.cakewalk.com/Products/SONAR/English/benchmark.asp

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