I first want to say thank you Bandlab for making Cakewalk free and the hard work you guys have done for the past 2 years to make it more stable and faster. Looking at how good things are going I can see the potential of Cakewalk competing with the big DAWs like FL studio, Ableton, and logic pro. My main issue with Cakewalk is the lack of essential instrument plugins needed to make modern music . I understand that Cakewalk used to be about $500 which meant that beginners were not who they were appealing to, but to the pros who did not really need built-in instrument plugins because they can afford to buy or have amassed a lot of plugins throughout the years or pros who mostly used Cakewalk for recording, mixing and mastering. However, the Cakewalk Sonar then doesn't have the advantage the present Cakewalk has, which is a loyal fanbase of people who haven't even used Cakewalk before : "Bandlab Users." Let's use logic pro for an example: Logic pro's success can be seen in their business model which is, "Attract beginners with Garageband and hope that they would eventually upgrade to Logic Pro." Cakewalk now has more than 3 million people using Bandlab and some of them have upgraded to Cakewalk. In fact I was one of them. I used Bandlab for a year then came to Cakewalk.
During my first year using cakewalk, I and other Bandlab users had issues with Cakewalk which was that Bandlab had more ready mordern sounds than Cakewalk, which did not make sense. It took me two months to get some free instruments that I can use and it took me 6 months to find a drum sampler and a normal sampler which is an important plugin used to produce almost every mainstream music we've heard now. You would expect that the flagship daw of Bandlab to have more sounds than it's beginner daw. I know these are two different companies that have joined but it doesn't make sense to get this frustrated and consider downgrading back to Bandlab when you not want to level up your skills as a music producer. There more than 3 million users using Bandlab and I can guarantee that a lot of them would upgrade to Cakewalk. This is an advantage no other daw except for logic pro has and can put Cakewalk on the map as the daw to use in the years to come. I understand creating plugins is tedious and might take time to make but I believe that like how Cakewalk was partnering with different big brands, Cakewalk should try to create a relationship companies that are providing already made free plugins to bring these plugins to Cakewalk to make it the default plugins. Some of these companies are even ready to help if anybody who wants to add their software to anything. Here are the free professional plugins from companies I believe Cakewalk should try in creating a relationship to put these plugins in Cakewalk by default.
Drum Sampler - Sitala by the Company Decomposer
Sitala is the vst which made me stay in Cakewalk. It took me 6 months to find this software but it has make drum pattern making so easy to make and program the pads easily. It is fast it is light on cpu. It essentially has pro-level sample features and it is free. Even many people using logic and ableton use this sampler. Another important reason is the pads start at C3 which is the same key the step sequencer in Cakewalk also starts by default. They are also ready to collaborate with anydody who wants to distribute their software and are willing to create content for the platform which wants to partner.
Synth Bundle Vst - Syntronik free by IKmultimedia -
This is one of the best synthesizers I've heard. This took me 2 years to find. This plugin is similar to arturia's analog log lab. These guys are so underrated. They have their own proprietery emulation software to emulates 17 famous hardware synthesizers: Minimod, Prophet V, J-8 (Based on Roland Jupiter-8, Jupiter-6, Jupiter-4), OXa (Based on Oberheim OB-X, OB-Xa) etc, Basically every synth arturia has emulated they've also done it. The reason Cakewalk should consider them is because they have a free version and a paid version of their software. I think they will be interested in having new customers using their free software to hopefully buy the paid when they want more sounds. So I see this as a win-win.
Sample Sounds Plugin - SampleTank 4 Custom Shop by IKmultimedia -
It is a free expandable sound and groove workstation. Includes over 4 GB of samples and 50 sounds. They sound really good and it has an upgradable version. I believe IKmultimedia should be contacted to partner with Cakewalk.
Sampler - Grace by One Small Clue -
This is another important sampler Cakewalk needs to add. It is different from Sitala because it allows to change the key of the sample in the piano roll . It is the fastest free sampler I could find and has many helpful features such a built in file manage, lfos and many more I've never used. This is essential for sampling and it should be in Cakewalk by default.
Acoustic Sounds - Ample Guitar, Bass and Cloud drum -
These are free plugins a lot of producers have in their plugins . They sound amazing and life-like. This is another company with paid guitars they would like more people to buy. So think Cakewalk should contact them.
Keyboard - Keyzone Classic By Bitsonic -
Another widely used plugin in Cakewalk. A Sample Based keyboard emulating the Yamaha Grand Piano, Steinway Grand Piano and other presets. I have a lot of paid pianos but this is still one of my favorites.
I spent a lot of time writing this because I remember wasting 6 months trying to set-up Cakewalk whereas it took me 3 days to start making music on Bandlab. The new generation is the future of Cakewalk and I can see the potential of Cakewalk. It just needs instruments for beginners.