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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Optimized for VISTA x64: Rapture 1.2

Cakewalk’s award-winning Rapture is the ultimate wavetable synthesizer for igniting the sounds of today’s pop, dance, and electronic music scenes. Sounding like no other synth, Rapture offers brilliant sound design capabilities with patches that blend up to six different elements. Available for PC and Mac.

Out of the box you get a stunning collection of over 500 programs including Basses, Leads, Pads, Arpeggios, Textures, Electronic Percussion and Sequences. At the heart of Rapture’s six-part sound engine are powerful, multi-mode wavetable oscillators. These pristinely produced wavetables provide a virtually endless array of sonic possibilities, plus you can multiply each oscillator up to 9 times across the stereo field with controlled detuning, creating some of the fattest sounds ever heard.

New Features in Rapture 1.2:

-Envelope Generators can now be retriggerd from the Step Generator
-Internal Tempo with Tap – Rapture can now sync to its own internal t tempo
-You can now save and load presets in the Envelope Generator and Step Generator sections
-Envelope Generator now autoscrolls when entering nodes
-Knob Focus Indicator – the currently selected knob will now have edging around it
-Built-in DC Offset blocker to remove unwanted DC Offset distortion
-Up/Down selectors now have direct text entry by double-clicking on them
-New alternate ‘Zoom On View’ mode in the Envelope Generator
-Vista x64 improvements – the installer now allows you to choose to install either the 32 or 64-bit versions of Rapture on Windows Vista x64

All registered Rapture customers are eligible for the free update.

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EMusician.com: SONAR 8 is ‘Better at the Core’

EMusician.com gives SONAR 8 Producer high marks in their upcoming March review, stating that “version 8 is one of the most compelling SONAR upgrades in years.”

Critic Allan Metts gives props to SONAR 8′s programming and performance enhancements, including its compatibility with Microsoft VISTA and WASAPI (Windows audio-driver platform) support. Metts also commends the addition of four new plugins (TL64 Tube Leveler, Channel Tools, TS64 Transient Shaper, N.I.’s Guitar Rig 3) and three new virtual instruments (Beatscape, DImension Pro, True Pianos:Amber Module).

With more words to say than room, EMusician posted an exclusive online bonus article, in which Metts calls SONAR 8 “better at the core”.

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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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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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