Review: Cakewalk Software SONAR

Lemme tell ya, when I first got an itch for audio production, it was still analog. 1″ tape and mixing boards bigger than a Smart Car…and without automation or presets. Other things took me away from maintaining the skill set, so I was out in the cold when digital audio workstations (DAWs) made the scene.

I dodged home recording for the longest time. But about a year and a half ago, I jumped on an opportunity and dove on in. There are a few options out there, but I opted for Cakewalk SONAR X2 Producer. The X3 version has come out since. No big special reason as to why I chose Cakewalk over any of the other options. When I looked around at the options, it just seemed to appeal to me.

The interface is really simple and easy to work with, which is great for a relative dilettante to the DAW world… like me! lol! You can set up your workspace in whatever suits your preference, from a bit old school (which is handy for me) to pretty outrageous.

Working with the tracks is just as simple. If you can navigate around your average computer, you can handle working with your tracks within SONAR. Click. Drag. Cut. Cleaning up your tracks is a breeze. An down and dirty example is this comparison I did of a few Bare Knuckle Pickups models, the Rebel Yell and the Holy Diver, where it was as easy as clicking and highlighting and dragging the selections…and bam!….a seamless clip that goes back and forth between 2 pickups with a dirty amp tone. and that clip was a pretty early attempt, well before I started experimenting with the power of the different effects and plugins accessible within SONAR.

And there are many built-in effects to define your sound further. I’m pretty basic, so a wee bit of EQ. I also like the Boost feature. Setting up fades is dirt simple. But let’s say you want a lot more power? No problem. There are many add-ons (or plugins)available. I really like the BBE Sound, Inc. Sonic Sweet plugin, for example.

DAWs are much easier than I expected and I’m glad to be using one. I still have a long way to go with my mixing skills, but if I can muddle through it, I know you definitely can as well.

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Darth Phineas is a long time music industry insider who provides his readers with unbiased reviews on musical instrument and guitar gear. You can read more of his reviews and check out industry news on his Facebook community Darth Phineas