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More free third party instruments should be added to Cakewalk| A Bandlab User's Perspective

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Posted (edited)

               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 image.thumb.png.951e3fe971d12ef2cee2ce8328c02101.png

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 image.thumb.png.b52ce54cd9f72a6937070b8da573379c.png

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   image.png.e8083a22df662e330b77acc2b3b25b68.png

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 - image.png.c766f1b42480050ed78b39542dff50c5.png

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 drumimage.thumb.png.493b50e0e7784ad5ba4d8b0f64f0adb0.png

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 -    image.png.433c9c4ef6e2c730df808b6ea8db6f57.png

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. 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Einstein Essibu
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I agree it would be nice to have more included content in Cakewalk but these things (most of which I have) are relatively easy to find - there are even threads on one of the sub forums here for free instruments and effects - perhaps they should be pinned by a mod to to the top of that sub forum so people can find them easily

On balance though I would rather the focus continued to be on making the operation of CbB stable, intuitive and feature rich rather than bundling other instruments. I'm not sure whether that would work commercially anyway

It will be interesting to hear what others think about this

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As pointed out, there are lots of good, free synths available in the wild.   An evergreened list at bandlab would be nice for those without good synths.  Perhaps a way for banal users to download, with suggestions from users.  Another thing would be including dimpro sampler, tho the samples are a large file.  But that on my makes sense as a plug for a new  bandlab synth like a new rapture doubleplus good. 
 

however, nothing suggests bandlab wants to upgrade rapture or invest in a new synth, which is an expensive proposition.  They have provided a top notch daw for free, they don’t seem to have a pay model or site, and yet users want more free stuff.  Sometimes you get more than you pay for like bandlab.  But it doesn’t mean you get everything for free.  A dimension style synth costs $100-200 or more.  A complete library of synth engines + $500, like NI (god, how much have I spent on NI over the years?).  I’d pay more for a pc alchemy, my fav synth.

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First, thanks to the person who started this thread because those are excellent, free instruments. I'd also add the TX16Wx sampler, which is also flexible and free. 

However, the OP also underscores that there are plenty of free instruments, so Cakewalk doesn't really need to develop more. I think the main point is the suggestion that Cakewalk partner with the companies offering free software to include them in Cakewalk. That's an intriguing idea; Acoustica bundles some effects you can find on the web for free with Mixcraft.  I don't know what's involved with creating that relationship with developers, though, and if included, then it would fall on Cakewalk to make sure the plug-ins worked with Cakewalk and didn't cause unforeseen problems. The need to do QC might be a stumbling block to making this happen.

I'd REALLY like to see Cakewalk re-introduce Rapture Pro. I assume they would need to charge for it, because of the effort required to fix some of the loose ends. But it was an instrument with features no other instrument has, and can make sounds that are unique. I've tried porting some of my custom Rapture Pro sounds to other instruments, and it's not easy.

Rapture Pro also has a ton of content available that's just lying dormant from companies like DSF, and of course, I did several expansion packs. They provide a wide cross-section of sounds for an innovative synth. Rapture Pro's six elements also make it ideally suited to MIDI guitar.

Bring back Rapture Pro! 

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I never really rated most of the bundled (or paid for) content available for Sonar Platinum as neither Rapture Pro née Dimension Pro really stacked up to the competition even back when they were released. The Studio Instruments, Artist Instruments and Platinum Instruments collections and Cakewalk Sound Centre were at best rudimentary or included severely limited versions of 3rd party software. That said, I've always loved Session Drummer 3, Z3TA+2 Synth, Adaptive Limiter*, LP EQ and LP MB (pity we can't use this in other DAWS) It still strikes me as staggering that new Bandlab users perhaps don't fully realise they are getting the full unrestricted core of an absolutely top drawer DAW  for free. I guess the lack of a sampler was always a Sonar weakness (but there are loads of perfectly serviceable freebies out there)

I've always felt that if anything could even be considered essential for making music (modern or otherwise) it might be the software and hardware with which you choose to create it rather than the specific VST instruments that might be bundled with any DAW. Would the included plug ins be a deal breaker if you were choosing a 'paid for' DAW?

In addition, I've never conflated 'beginners' with 'unable to afford plug ins' given that Bandlab is completely free and there are thousands of free plug ins out there that are used and recommended by those at the cutting edge of contemporary music. (whatever that is, me being a grumpy 58 year old who hasn't a clue about such things...)

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I get the point about the potential step down in available sounds when going from BandLab to Cakewalk. The starter sounds in the current edition of Cakewalk by BandLab may not offer much content, but the DAW is offered for free and is completely supported for free. And to the OP's point, there are plenty of great freebie plugins out there. Just the 50 sounds in IK Multimedia SampleTank 4  CS should go a long way for a new user!

My point here is regarding the "free" part of Cakewalk. The development and support staff is small and focused on the DAW. Professional developers and support engineers usually don't work for free.

If Cakewalk were to officially bundle 3rd party plugins, then they would be obligated to support their use, as that would be an implied endorsement and guarantee of functionality. Which would mean either taking time away from the DAW focus  to test, QA, and support additional plugins, or adding staff to support them. I suspect that is one of the main obstacles for them to release any former legacy Cakewalk add-ons.

The BandLab CEO, Meng, has stated that the Cakewalk DAW would always remain free.

However, I would vote for a pay model for add-ons to see the re-release of Rapture Pro, for example. :D

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If you rely on the sounds bundled with your DAW you are limiting yourself to just those sounds. Better to get in the habit of finding sounds you like, not just those you have because they came with the software. Unless they are really world-class sounds. Any sounds bundled with DAWS or notation programs are just beginning points.  something to play with until you get the stuff you really need.

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@Einstein Essibu,

I didn't know BandLab has +3 million users.  I totally agree with your thought that all BandLab users are potential Cakewalk users however there maybe some obstacles those users will need to overcome.

The first obstacle is many BandLab users are mobile based while Cakewalk is computer based.  Bandlab is accessible anywhere a smart phone can obtain an internet connection.  Cakewalk users are locked into using a computer.

The second obstacle is Cakewalk is exclusive for use on a 64 bit Windows computer.  Users with Chrome, Macintosh or Linux based computer operating systems are out of luck.  Users with 32 bit Windows operating system are out of luck.

Now for some good news.  One of the first enhancements was to the BandLab Assistant to support the exchange of "BandLab Interchange Files", or blx, files.  This enables a user to import or drag and drop a BandLab project into a Cakewalk project.  Import BandLab Project was also added to File > Import > BandLab Project.  Cakewalk's Export module supports a partial or full export of a Cakewalk project from Cakewalk to BandLab with some restrictions.  The export to BandLab feature is fully described here:  Export to BandLab .   That leads me to believe there are plans to find ways to encourage more interaction between the two platforms.

More good news.  Both the TTS-1 midi software sound module and the four virtual instrument Studio Instrument suite are available for download through the BandLab Assistant Cakewalk add-on selection screen.  Cakewalk automatically selects TTS-1 if no midi device is selected in Cakewalk midi output preferences.  That allows a user to easily and quickly hear acceptable sounds while composing using midi.  The Studio Instrument suite of strings, keys, electric bass and drums are good sounding virtual instrument learning tools.  I am thrilled to have both midi virtual instrument tools in my toolbox.

In addition to what's included with Cakewalk, as you've seen there is a huge amount of virtual instruments available for free or low cost.

Finally, the midi and audio loops created by BandLab staff is available in BandLab Assistant and can be imported into Cakewalk.

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So let me gets this straight: you're getting a free 'car', but complaining that you don't get free 'gas' too? Got it!

 

R

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Posted (edited)

Oh no that's not what I'm saying. I really like this DAW so much that I believe it to be a competitor with all the huge DAWS such as FL studio, Ableton and Logic. I know that making plugins is hard that is why I stated it in my initially then gave suggestions of free plugins. My reasoning was that a DAW which is free contacting a company which makes free DAWS makes sense, I just want Cakewalk to me more user friendly for beginners and not to underrate this DAW. Because when DAWS in discussion, in youtube where beginners go to,  videos view Cakewalk as a "free" DAW nothing else.  I know Cakewalk  used to paid for but now it is not brought into the discussion at all in the best DAW unless saying that if you are broke get Cakewalk  it will get you from point A to point B and if you are not broke which  get fl studio, ableton or logic.  Cakewalk also doesn't have as much tutorials and information as other DAWS but it has the potential to. I understand it's sounds like I am not being greatful but there is potential for cakewalk to be a way bigger community in the future because it now has Bandlab. That is all I'm saying. And I honestly did not know how hard it would have been for a company who is already giving the vst away to help Cakewalk who is giving a DAW away.  I'm just thinking big and just seeing a huge opportunity.

Edited by Einstein Essibu
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Don't worry Einstein - most of us knew you were making a reasonable suggestion and not knocking Cakewalk. I think abacab above expands well and with more knowledge on the issue I raised about the complexities of bundling other software. 

There are a lot more tutorial videos around now and I'd particularly point newbies to Mike's tutorials at Creative Sauce and I'm glad to see you're contributing to the tutorial base coming from a different angle. These forums are also a great place for people to learn about Cakewalk of cours. I spend more time on here than making music!

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Completely disagree with the OP

In 20+ yrs of using Cakewalk in one form or another I think the ONLY bundled VST / VSTi plugin(s) that was worth my while was Z3TA+ and the 2nd version ....the rest was just bloatware to me. Tried briefly and then discarded.

Personally when I want to find the best free plugins ( or paid ) for a particular task, l just Google it and see what options there are. I can't say I've ever used anything on your list because they don't really suit the way I work. Or I already have something similar that works for me.

Whilst I've a ton of paid for stuff I've acquired over the years I'm not knocking the free stuff as some of it is great. I love OTT and ADSR Sample Manager and Zebralette

But I don't particularly want or need anything off your list. Because it's your list. And I'm not you . And how I make music is not the same as how you make music. And why I write music and where it ends may be completely different to what you do with yours.

I say let the Devs concentrate on the DAW. Keep in the installer lean and mean. And let the users find their own free or paid for stuff that fits the the music they make and how they work. 

It's a big world out there.

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33 minutes ago, Mark Morgon-Shaw said:

I say let the Devs concentrate on the DAW. Keep in the installer lean and mean. And let the users find their own free or paid for stuff that fits the the music they make and how they work. 

It's a big world out there.

+1

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I get the idea of bundling free VSTis with a free DAW.  It's a good idea.  BandLab has some unreleased VSTs.  There have been hints some will be released in the future, I hope so.

As Cakewalk gains a larger audience perhaps developers will approach the Cakewalk  staff about bundling opportunities.  That is one of the nice things about attending trades hows; it provides opportunities for ideas to be shared and presented informally.  The BandLab Assistant already has the mechanism to offer additional applications through the add-on screen.

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3 hours ago, Einstein Essibu said:

huge DAWS such as FL studio, Ableton and Logic

You make good points, but a.) I lean way more toward finding the instruments I need rather than the instruments CbB might bundle, and b.)  Haha, SONAR/Cakewalk has been around much  longer than the three you mention, and is already more sophisticated and powerful than most competing DAWs, so it's "huge" enough for me.

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Even if a VST is offered free of charge on the market, it doesn't mean Bandlab can add it to CbB without a charge. This was often discussed in the past concerning the MP3 decoder, for example. People were wondering why you had to pay for the app inside SONAR, even though you could get it free  elsewhere on the market.

When Cakewalk was SONAR it included a very respectable set of third party instruments and effects.

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Oh okay thank you guys for your response to this thread. Can there be at least a thread dedicated to helping beginners know where to get good free vsts?

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In this thread alone there have been opposing views of a couple of VSTis. That indicates the subjective nature of what constitutes a great synth or fx plugin. 
 

That being the case, having access to a list of freely available plugins is about as good as it gets.  Google (or other search engine of your choice) is your friend. In just a few posts here, several suggestions have been made but I’d suggest there are thousands to pick from. 
 

A forum like this is one of many places where suggestions can be found that will help to provide a short list to direct your search. 
 

I’m glad Cakewalk isn’t connected to a bunch of plugins and the necessary development that would distract the small dev team from devoting exclusive attention on Cakewalk. 
 

I think there’s some issues about further developments with plugs like Rapture Pro etc, that go back to the original creator. Not sure but was it Rene Caballos, who was with Cakewalk at some time. I don’t remember the details. Just a vague recollection about picking up from the previous devs work??

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Rene, but with an accent.  He wrote and ended up selling zeta and then working for /with cakewalk on it and the original dimension for p5.  That was a big selling point for p5 And outlasted the daw.  Dimension became dimension pro, a stand alone rompler,  followed by rapture, with a smalll sample set geared for electronics. Rene left somewhere in there but before rapture pro was released.  All this is from memory, but the sequence is Correct.

there are plenty of free synths out there but no evergreened list I know of.  Any list will quickly be outdated and the best bet is ask it on a site like this and whichever other music sites you are registered at:  NI, gearslutz, kvr, magazines, etc.

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