Musikmesse 2010: V-Studio 700 & V-Studio 100 Win at MIPA

At this year’s Musikmesse International Press Awards (MIPA), Cakewalk received 4 nominations for the development of the A-PRO Series Keyboards, V-Studio 700, V-Studio 100 and SONAR 8.5 Producer. Just being nominated is quite the honor, but we were humbled last night when we won in two categories, Best Recording Hardware for the V-Studio 100 and Best Digital Audio Workstation Controller for the V-Studio 700.

    MIPA_Awards

The V-Studio 700 has now won the MIPA two consecutive years in a row, and in two different categories. Last year, the V-Studio 700 won for Best Recording Hardware, so this year’s Controller win really speaks to the VS-700’s versatility, not to mention the high regard for which it is held by the press.

Cakewalk’s Michael Hoover and Roland’s Takao Watase accepted the awards. For those of us in the business of creating products for musicians, the MIPA is the equivalent of winning a Grammy. Aside from having great customers creating great music with your products, the MIPA is the highest honor in our industry. For the 10th annual MIPA, the editorial staff of 111 music magazines from around the globe came together to choose the absolute best products in each category.
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Cakewalk’s Carl Jacobson Interviewed On ‘Into Tomorrow’ Radio Show

Carl on Into Tomorrow Radio ShowAt the 2009 Intel Developer Forum, Dave Graveline of “Into Tomorrow” – the consumer electronics & technology radio show – interviewed Cakewalk’s Vice President of Marketing Carl Jacobson on the new Core i7 mobile processor and its benefits when using SONAR for music production.

Visit Into Tomorrow’s website to listen to the clip (labeled Hour 1, you’ll find it half way down the page on the right hand side). Starting at 00:35:30, you’ll hear how award-winning producer Shawn Clement mixes 140 live tracks in real time using the new processor and Cakewalk’s SONAR 8.5 Producer. You’ll also learn more about Cakewalk and Intel’s new songwriting contest being held throughout the fall at Ourstage.com.

Cakewalk Takes the Stage at Intel Developer Forum

Renee-James-KeynoteHello everyone, last week was an exciting week for us with Cakewalk being featured and spotlighted by Intel in a number of ways.

By now, it shouldn’t be any secret that SONAR is the technology leading digital audio workstation. We’ve been first to support all of Microsoft’s operating systems for the last 12 years, and we’ve been first to support so many of Intel’s technological developments: hyperthreading, multiprocessor machines, multicore processing, 64-bit x64 processing and others. And our support for these technologies have not just been pioneering, both Intel and Microsoft recognize SONAR as one of the best examples of a software product supporting them. Last June, Cakewalk was the only audio company named a finalist in Microsoft’s Global ISV Partner Awards and last week, Intel honored Cakewalk by making us the only audio company featured in the launch of their new Mobile Core i7 Processor and the keynote presentations at their IDF Conference.

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Berklee Professor Steve MacLean Talks SONAR in the Classroom

Berklee-Online-LogoHello to all SONAR users!

In efforts to empower artists and music producers it is hard for me to imagine the huge numbers of students I’ve had the opportunity to work with over a 20 year span.  This happens in every format from private one-on-one or small group classes to many years in Berklee classrooms along with the Berklee online school (teaching production techniques in SONAR).  A range of numbers somewhere between 12,000 and 20,000 students is a not so calculated guess!  The truth is that I’m grateful for every one of them as each helped teach me to be a better coach and teacher along with all of the wonderful and amazing musical rewards when students apply what they have learned.  It gives me great satisfaction to know that these people will continue making progress and developing the music careers they wanted. 

One area of confusion that constantly comes up is this: 

I often notice that the technology almost forces people to work in ways that are very unnatural for what they are trying to do.  A great example of this is when the type of musical “style” the student is pursuing vigorously is ultimately made to sound lifeless and sterile.  You might ask, how can the musical style play such a huge role in the successful outcome of various production projects?

Continue reading Berklee Professor Steve MacLean Talks SONAR in the Classroom

Cakewalk Named Microsoft’s Partner of the Year Award Finalist

We are pleased to announce that Cakewalk has been named a finalist for the Global Independent Software Vendor (ISV) Partner of the Year Award as part of Microsoft’s WPC (Worldwide Partner Conference) Awards for 2009!

Such recognition is given to Microsoft’s most valued partners who lead the technology industry in their approach to deliver customer solutions with Microsoft in mind. We send a big thank you to Microsoft Corporation for this recognition!

View Microsoft’s WPC Awards press release here

V-Studio 700 Featured On ‘Into Tomorrow’ Radio Show

Cakewalk Product Specialist Seth Perlstein chats with Into Tomorrow’s Dave Graveline at the 2009 Game Developer’s Conference in San Francisco, California. Into Tomorrow is a syndicated radio program featuring the latest developments in consumer electronics and technology. Over 100 AM & FM radio stations across the US, on Sirius / XM satellite radio and around the world broadcast the 3-hour show on a weekly basis. The pair discuss Cakewalk’s role in outfitting video game developers with the best tools to create music for their projects.

Being eyed by the video game industry’s top composers is Cakewalk by Roland’s flagship product in the V-Studio line of integrated software / hardware solutions, the SONAR V-Studio 700.

Winner of the 2009 MIPA Award for Best Recording Hardware and Keyboard Magazine’s prestigious Key Buy Award, the SONAR V-Studio 700 matches SONAR 8 Producer with the VS-700C multi-function control surface and the VS700R V-Studio 100 I/O audio interface which includes Roland’s Fantom VS Hardware Synthesizer.

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NAB 2009: SONAR & V-Mixing System Wow Crowds

For more than 80 years, The NAB Show, produced annually by the National Association of Broadcasters, has served as the premiere event for broadcast technology professionals. But there’s more to the show than just tv and radio broadcasting, it’s the ultimate educational experience! Technology professionals and solutions providers from every corner of the world, come to the show each year to explore every stage of the audio / visual content lifecycle, from creation to consumption.

Cakewalk is one of this year’s exhibitors showing off their state-of-the-art creations at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada from April 20 through April 23. Follow along with Robin Kelly live from the show, here on The Cakewalk Blog.

Here’s his first post:

At the Roland Systems Group booth, Zac Kenney and I were presenting the SONAR V-Studio 700 as the mixing and editing solution to the V-Mixing system. At the heart of the system, is the M-400 Digital Mixing Console from RSS by Roland. Add to that the personal monitoring system, allowing each live performer to have up to 40 individual monitor mixes and the digital snake whick allows up to 40 channels of audio over a single CAT-5 cable, and you have an extremely impressive live mixing setup.

So how does Cakewalk’s SONAR integrate into this system? You can split the signal coming down the CAT-5 cable and connect it to the network card on your PC. Using the REAC driver, you then have 40 discreet inputs going into SONAR to record each channel individually to their own track.

After the live show the VS-700 becomes the platform for mixing and editing the 40-track live performance. From live venues and houses of workship to broadcast customers, the feedback was extremely good. They were all impressed with the flexibility and depth the SONAR V-Studio System provides. Add to that the ability to harness and control all the power of SONAR via a hardware inferface, and you have a ‘perfect solution’. The Fantom VS is an added bonus as this provides the added ability to add extra synth tracks after recording. The ARX slot was also wowing the customers when the ARX-01 Drum card was added.

In Las Vegas, people seem just about willing to bet on anything, but one thing no one I spoke to today was willing to gamble on was their audio. All through the day, customers were coming up to me explaining bow they prefer to mix in SONAR because it ‘just sounds better’ than other programs. Of course, it is always nice to hear such positive compliments about our flagship DAW but in a way it is extra special to hear this coming from folks who have very high (if not limitless) budgets, allowing them to choose any audio platform they wish. Even with that they are still using SONAR because of it’s quality.

It makes sense if you think about it. SONAR has a 64-bit double precision audio engine, multiple gain stages, and 64-bit/convolution plugins to sweeten the mix.

So YES. In Vegas, people will gamble on just about anything, anything but their audio quality!

That’s it for now. Day 2 starts tomorrow!

Robin Kelly
Cakewalk’s Director of Worldwide MI Sales

Artist Spotlight: Justin Lassen

Sometimes A Road Sings In the Mind of the Darkly Inclined
Composer, producer, remixer & musician Justin Lassen

By Randy Alberts

“For me it all started with Cakewalk, a keyboard, and a lot of free time,” laughs the globetrotting Justin Lassen, a one-of-a-kind visionary 27-year-old film, game and music soundtrack composer based in Southern California.

A designer, multi-instrumentalist and self-described “heavy Sonar guy,” to boot, Lassen is also one of the most creative composers, remixers and producers in the film, game and music industries today. He’s a talented film soundtrack remixer who recently reworked the score of Clive Barker’s Midnight Meat Train, a dark film take on the producer’s 1984 short story of a photographer tracking a serial killer, into a full length companion album to the movie. Lassen has also produced music remixes for Nine Inch Nails, Madonna, Garbage, Linkin Park, Lenny Kravitz and Blue Man Group and he’s consulted on numerous game and technology projects for companies like Interplay, Novus Delta, Intel and, of course, Cakewalk.

Interviewed by Playboy, Mix, EQ, GearWire, PC Gamer and other arts and trade mags and sites, Lassen’s a darling of the computer-generated graphics art world, as well. A rare musical subject for numerous CGI trade magazines such as Post, It’s Art, The Escapist and CG Society Magazine, he literally can translate the inspiring, hauntingly beautiful visual art he sees into his own musical performances, arrangements and remixes. It’s a phenomenon of the senses called ‘synaesthesia’ he’s personally well acquainted with: Seeing sound, hearing scents, touching words, smelling colors. If the set and setting are just right, what Justin views through his irises can literally become real-time music from his fingertips.

“I’m a visual artist, designer and programmer,” he adds, “who just finds music much more fulfilling.”

Smells Like A Symphony, Tastes Like Sonar 7

Lassen, who happened to be Cakewalk’s Featured Artist of The Week for August 25, 2008, released his own CD, And Now We See But Through A Glass Darkly, in 2003 to acclaim from leading international CG artists, film, game and music professionals. This disc of his own uniquely composed and produced dark chamber symphonic suites has already reached 5.5 million copies in circulation. His debut CG release in 2006 of Synaesthesia then melded Justin’s two worlds of “beautiful dark symphonic” music and CG artwork again to critical peer praise, and earlier this year while in Europe he wrapped up the final release: Synaesthesia Encore, a new collection of pieces that musically addresses Justin’s own personal experiences with the phenomenon.

“Synaesthesia is something that has taken quite a hold of me over pretty much my entire musical career and life,” explains Lassen. “I have had some of my best compositional and performance moments in these types of situations, where I can actually feel an image playing the song right before my ears, completely and naturally. When I see visual work like this that really inspires me in this way, my fingers begin to play music very magically.“

Remarkable. Much to his liking, Justin’s successful role in creating the remixed soundtrack CD for Barker’s wide-released Midnight Meat Train is now attracting interest from other film, music and game audio producers, as well. An always-on, busy musician, remixer and symphonic arranger who travels for his music extensively and just returned from an exhaustive trip across the EU and back to his home studio in California, nothing would please the affable Lassen more than to score more symphonies and movie soundtracks for a living.

“I use Sonar 7’s notation features to clean up my arrangement ideas for orchestra, choir or other performers I might bring into a given session,” says Lassen about his go-to laptop DAW.

“I recall this one time in Paris when I was asked by Intel to do the soundtrack for a new high-tech game for a new platform. There was a pretty tight schedule of just three weeks, and I didn’t have a lot of gear to experiment with. So, I just used FL Studio on a laptop to jot down some ideas that later I would evolve and finish up back in L.A. and Phoenix. I then took those sketches and beats and brought them into Sonar and added many of the orchestral and electronic elements, as well as tracking all the guitars and vocals and doing the final mixing and mastering. I then cleaned it all up and converted the files over to OGG format, for the Unreal Engine 3 the game uses, all quite easily and well before my deadline.”

Continue reading Artist Spotlight: Justin Lassen

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

Continue reading SONAR 8: The Fine Print

Artist Spotlight: Carmen Rizzo

The Virtual Ornaments of An Innovator

Producer, mixer, remixer, writer & artist Carmen Rizzo

By Randy Alberts

Carmen Rizzo

Typically there’s room for doubt when someone claims that a new product has changed their life. Yeah, right. But when that someone is one of today’s best, busiest producer-musician-remixers around who helped forge an entirely new Grammy category, and their product rave is about a musical instrument—their favorite synthesizer—who’s to doubt it?

“Oh yes, Rapture has absolutely changed my life in how I make records,” says Carmen Rizzo, who four years ago led the way in creating NARAS’ new Grammy Award category for Best Electronic Album. “My life is all about making records and, really, I just can’t work without Rapture anymore. Every time I use it to come up with a sound I think, ‘Wow, I would’ve never come up with that sound without Rapture!’ Rapture opens up your mind to new things you just would’ve never thought of without it.”

Carrying the torch for electronic music with the help of BT, Crystal Method’s Ken Jordan and others was but one gem in Rizzo’s prodigious creative vein of music, concert, radio, t.v. and film sound achievements. Himself a two-time Grammy nominee, the short version of Carmen’s credits list reads like a who’s who of diverse talents and idioms: Coldplay, Alanis Morissette, Cirque du Soleil, Seal, Ryuichi Sakamoto, k.d. Lang, Pete Townshend and acclaimed British director Michael Apted (Coal Miner’s Daughter, Gorillas In The Mist). Rizzo scored his first film soundtrack, The Power of the Game, for Apted’s documentary about the German soccer team’s 2006 World Cup win; released two critically-adored solo albums of his own (The Lost Art of the Idle Moment and the new Ornament of An Impostor); co-founded, produces and frequently tours with the world beat/electronic fusion band Niyaz and, currently, is among many pursuits DJ-ing a radio set heard by 14 million listeners each month on the highly influential KEXP.org/Seattle.

“I’d like to think that people come to me for something different, for something unique,” says Carmen. “The Cakewalk synths definitely make that easier for me to accomplish.”

Within Sight of the Hollywood Sign

A husband and father who donates 10% of his new album’s sales to a different charity each month, Rizzo owns and produces, writes, mixes and remixes in his Studio 775. There’s a close-up view of the intersecting street signs of Hollywood & Vine right outside his workspace window.

Carmen Rizzo on the Streets

“Be it audio plug-ins for EQ, compression and effects or virtual instruments, every producer and musician has their favorite go-to tools they use on everything they do,” he says. “Rapture is one of those tools for me. It’s there no matter where I’m creating music. On the road with my portable laptop rig or at the audio workstation here at Studio 775, honestly, Rapture is in pretty much everything I do.”

Continue reading Artist Spotlight: Carmen Rizzo