Live from SIGGRAPH 09: Intel Interviews Carl Jacobson & Noel Borthwick on Processor Optimizations for Music Production

At this year’s SIGGRAPH Conference in New Orleans, Carl Jacobson met with the host of Intel’s Visualize This! TV Show, Arti Gupta, to discuss Cakewalk’s advancements in it’s software performance. Some of Arti’s questions were so technical that we thought it only fair to ask Cakewalk’s CTO Noel Borthwick to add his thoughts. Watch the video and check out Noel’s comments below:

AG: Cakewalk is a member of the Intel Software Partner Program.  What challenges were you trying to solve?

NB: The bandwidth available to the typical modern DAW user using a modern CPU such as the Core I7 is astounding compared to what was available just a couple of years ago. Users expect our software to use every ounce of available CPU cycles and horsepower it can to process their audio and mix. Cakewalk has been on the bleeding edge of technology for the last 15 years, taking advantage of cutting edge capabilities of the operating system as well as available hardware resources. With multiprocessing and 64-bit computing rapidly becoming mainstream, it has become even more critical for our software to make efficient use of hardware resources.

For example, for efficient multiprocessing we try and optimize all the code paths that are used in asynchronously mixing audio. The goal is to present a multi core machine with even and distributed workloads allowing the cores to work as hard as possible. To do this, we streamline the relevant code and minimize all high latency instructions.

Some typical areas that we try and improve our performance in are:

• Multi-processor load scaling: How well does a controlled test project load across multiple CPU cores?

• 64 bit performance: How well does the 64 bit version of the application perform with multiple workloads?

• CPU use: How efficiently does SONAR play back a CPU intensive project?

• High bandwidth tests: How well does the application perform while streaming audio at high sample rates (192K, 384K, etc) and bit depths (64 bit audio, etc)?

• Low latency performance: How well does the application perform streaming audio with very small audio buffer sizes (such as 1 msec buffers)?

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Computer Music Magazine Reveals 11 Un-Missable SONAR Power Tips

Get more out of your favorite DAW with this list of the 11 Un-Missable SONAR 8 Power Tips by Computer Music Magazine. These tips explain the benefits that the latest enhancements made to SONAR’s audio engine and user interface provide to it’s users; with faster performance and more intuitive control. Featuring tips on Cakewalk’s new loop performance instrument, Beatscape, as well as SONAR’s new tools for arming and disarming tracks during recording and playback, this list will surely enhance the way you make music in SONAR.

Read Computer Music Magazine’s 11 Unmissable SONAR 8 power tips as seen on MusicRadar.com.

Artist Spotlight: Paul Russell & Calamity Studios

The Adventures of a “Displaced Englishman”, 1950s Bollywood samples and the Singapore-based studio with SONAR at its core.

By Oz Owen

Make no mistake – the unusually monikered Calamity Studio is far from living up to its name. Quite the opposite, in fact. Singapore-based Calamity bills itself as the A/V production arm of composer and producer Paul Russell’s Pi2 Creative Services, a successful ‘boutique’ marketing agency.

Paul’s passion for music and production translates into a full studio diary, keeping him busy on a wide range of projects – whether creating original music and soundtracks with the help of an impressive roster of songwriters and musicians from as far afield as the UK, Australia and the USA, or – as his latest project ably demonstrates – weaving vintage Bollywood samples into contemporary compositions.

At Calamity, Paul specialises in creating original compositions in a variety of genres – from ambient through dance to straight-ahead rock/pop. What’s more, he’s making a fine living doing exactly what he loves.

Paul first got hooked when he picked up a bass guitar back in 1976 – the time when musical anarchy was running riot across the UK thanks to the Punk explosion, but it was some years before Paul set about creating his first recording studio, trading in his trusty four-track Portastudio in favour of a more upmarket eight-track setup in what was fast turning into a life-changing quest.

Fast-forward to 1999 and we find Paul living in Singapore, running his own creative agency and building his first digital recording studio replete with Cakewalk Pro Audio 9 to capture every nuance of his compositional ideas. Within a year, SONAR arrived on the scene, and life would never be the same again… Calamity Studio was becoming unstoppable!

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