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thatoneXman

this program is NOT User Friendly.

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I'm a New User, and I have been screwing around with cakewalk for the past 4 hours, and so far, I hate it, mostly because the Interface is Incomprehensible. is this the case for Other Users? it is for me. sorry.

Edited by thatoneXman
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I'm a long-time  user and still have to refer back to tips from other users to do some things.

But to get started there's many, many videos out there. The official Cakewalk/Sonar  ones are best.

...and it's also what you are used to. I cannot understand GarageBand after many attempts.

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I know what you mean, there are a ton of tabs, options and expandable/collapsable panes. At first it looks extremely complex! If you collapse the Inspector on the left and the Synth Rack/Browser on the right, then delete un-needed modules from the control bar at the top, you can actually have it looking like quite a basic DAW, with just your tracks and busses, and maybe a not so daunting starting point. It is very customizable. 

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Essentially what you have here is the equivalent of walking into a fully kitted out recording studio. If you've never been in a studio before, how could you possibly expect to know how the patch bay worked, or how to set up the correct gain structures or any of those kind of things without learning how it works? And even if you are fairly well versed with a particular recording studio, walking into a different studio with different gear and set up puts you almost back at square one. Cakewalk is a professional program that gives professional results if you learn how it works first, which is why it can seem not user friendly - any complex thing like this must have the basics learned  first.

With that being said, I've helped a few people get started on this who have tried out other software packages in the past and after the initial getting to know how it all worked period, they all found things extremely easy compared to a lot of other apps. 

Like Millzy mentioned above, you can hide quite a lot of the more advanced stuff to concentrate on the things that matters to a novice user. By default, Cakewalk guides you to using the Basic workspace, which is far less busy and shows far less of the stuff that a seasoned user may need. If you're not set up to use the Basic workspace, you can learn about them HERE.

But for obvious mandatory things like recording, opening and saving files, choosing instruments, etc, this is something that every DAW does more or less the same but also in their own way.  You'll find a lot of fantastic tutorials, especially for new users, in the Tutorials section: https://discuss.cakewalk.com/index.php?/forum/35-tutorials/ 

THIS THREAD especially is a great place to start.

I'd wager that after a couple of hours going through this stuff and trying things out yourself, a lot of the "what am I even looking at?" factor will just fall into place, and you'll be able to cruise along at your own pace for most things you'd want to do.

Edited by Lord Tim
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I usually "comfort" frustrated new users with...:

You have there a program with more capabilities than the  Beatles and Rolling Stones had in the 60's and 70's in worlds leading superstudios.
Isn't it obvious that it has quite a learning curve and requires a good amount of work to get aquainted ?

If you want to start from the basics, reading the 1800 page manual alone is a  demanding job. And the number of pages tells that  it's not something you can learn overnight. I do know most users don't have the patience, though.

Four hours of strugling is nothing, if you haven't used DAWs before. After four weeks you're somewhere, but you keep learning new things for years and years.

As mentioned above, the basic tasks are done in a very similar way in different DAWs.

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One thing a new user should do is learn the language of the program. What terms mean what. Having an idea of the terms used will help one understand a particular DAW. For example Bounce learn about it. 

With Cakewalk you have the first fully non destructive DAW going back to its forefather Sonar. Others DAWs have adopted its non destructive environment. Keep this in mind when using it. In other words you don't need to worry too much about doing something that would destroy your song with Cakewalk.   

 

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3 hours ago, Kalle Rantaaho said:

As mentioned above, the basic tasks are done in a very similar way in different DAWs.

3 hours ago, Kalle Rantaaho said:

four hours of strugling is nothing, if you haven't used DAWs before. After four weeks you're somewhere, but you keep learning new things for years and years.

As mentioned above, the basic tasks are done in a very similar way in different DAWs.

+1000

Edited by lapasoa

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8 hours ago, thatoneXman said:

I'm a New User, and I have been screwing around with cakewalk for the past 4 hours

"screwing around" and learning a two vastly different things.

As others have suggested, try "learning" now. 🙂 

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A great place to start (along with several other tutorial series) is the Creative Sauce Cakewalk Tutorials which you should find following on from here

 

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9 hours ago, thatoneXman said:

I'm a New User, and I have been screwing around with cakewalk for the past 4 hours, and so far, I hate it, mostly because the Interface is Incomprehensible. is this the case for Other Users? it is for me. sorry.

I have been using Cakewalk since the MS-DOS Version.  Based on accumulated experience (learning + repeated usage) for me some things are extremely "intuitive"--meaning, I don't have to think: the ear-brain-hands work on "autopilot." 

New features and old features which I did not take the time to teach myself over the years are "less intuitive"--meaning they each have a "learning curve." Sometimes, internalizing these is more challenging for me than others (steep/sharp learning curve, overcoming years of doing it by tried-and-true ("intuitive" / "automatic" steps), mental block esp. with a feature I have never seen before, etc.).

Seasoned users have given you some excellent insights above (and I expect more might follow); there are many video tutorials on line (in fact, there are ones in many different styles of presentation); etc.  If you want to bail on Cakewalk, I cannot imagine anyone will fault you for it.  However, as others have noted, Cakewalk is full-featured / robust / complex. In addition, there is quite a bit of customizability. Perhaps before moving on, you might want consider the comments of others.   

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I second the youtube creative sauce videos, they are a great place for a newbee like myself to get started. He has a great way of explaining things without it sounding so complicated.

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This is a complex piece of software, honed to near-perfection by decades of dedicated work. It is as user-friendly as any such similar software. It will not yield its secrets to a few hours of screwing around. But if you want - really want - to learn to use it, you can. It will take countless hours of learning and applying what you have learned. If you expect software to read your mind and just do what you want it to do, well the technology isn't there yet. When that day comes, true creativity will have already died. People won't know how to write music, only to hit a few keystrokes, click the mouse once or twice, and sit back while computer code produces what people will call music. Actually, it's already happening. for now, though, there is still time. But you have to want it. If you do, you will learn the software, no matter how hard it is. If you don't, you will walk away, grumbling that it is not user-friendly. The choice is yours.

Edited by mdiemer

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I've been using Cakewalk since the Windows 3.0 era so my opinion may well be biased. I've found the UI to be very intuitive for the most part and I've tried some of the other DAWS such as ProTools and found they were too much of a learning curve.

When you look at a mixing console, you have a fairly "standard" layout of controls; faders, busses, meters etc. I started using a real analog mixing console in 1975 in the electronic music studio at the University of Pittsburgh. Yes, it was before the digital age and primitive as it was it gave me a good understanding of what I needed to do to accomplish the task at hand. When I started using Cakewalk it was almost the same as sitting at the old analog console so it was relatively easy. I'm still learning things and get frustrated from time to time but with all the information available on the internet someone out there has a solution to whatever problem you encounter. Bottom line is hang in there and you'll be amazed at how great a product it is!

 

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11 hours ago, thatoneXman said:

I'm a New User, and I have been screwing around with cakewalk for the past 4 hours, and so far, I hate it, mostly because the Interface is Incomprehensible. is this the case for Other Users? it is for me. sorry.

I have been  learning Cakewalk for over 20 years. And I keep learning new stuff about it.

I would give it at least 30 days, and try some of the suggested tutorials to get started.

It might also be helpful if you indicated what your background is, like have you used any other DAWs, or is this your first? You might get more relevant responses to your request that way, such as setting it up with a bare bones interface that hides the complex stuff. It is very customizable in that way. And what do you want to accomplish with it? Record your voice or real instrument via mic or line in, record a virtual instrument in the box, write a song, make beats, etc?

This is a professional recording studio in a box, so it has quite a steep learning curve for a first timer. The getting started videos should be sufficient to get up and running with.

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I would like to add my own thoughts as a long time user since Cakewalk Apprentice; although there was a major gap between Pro Audio 9 and Sonar and then CbB. 

In Pro Audio 9 I became so conversant with it it became second nature when I was recording and mixing/producing. It was such a simple programme to use with no complicated issues. Straight forward audio and midi recording using soundfonts and/or General Midi sounds (and on an Intel 486 processor PC with 8MB Ram and a 365MB hard drive. And a 14" monitor). 

It allowed me to produce (in a non-professional way) some amazing songs in top quality that when people listen to today cant believe I recorded them almost 25 years ago. When I 'rejoined' Cakewalk about 10 years ago using Music Creator I found it not too intimidating and soon got back into the swing of things. But as has been mentioned above times have moved on. And we now have super programming at our fingertips. But am not sure the majority of us want this.

A more stable, easy to use, friendly interface cut down version would suit me to the ground.  All I want to do is record maybe 4 or 5 instruments including drums, and some vocals and add effects and mix/master them onto a very listenable piece of audio.  The processing power and options available in CbB is light years ahead of what most users need never mind want. 

And the way the music industry has gone and is going has resulted in the majority of music being listened to as downloads or streamed. The quality of the sound is much reduced and dictated by the type of headphones, earphones or earbuds that are being used combined with the device that is receiving the information  and converting it into something tangible i.e. music. And I just wonder are we all too far ahead of the game. Who really does need music recorded at the maximum amount of khz as possible with the maximum amount of 'bits' when its mainly going to be listened to while on the bus or walking down the street or while dozing in a a sun lounger on a piece of telephony equipment? 

I am a Cakewalk fan through and through but I dont need what it offers and would love to see a 'lite' version for us home recording artists that still allows us to produce something of commercial quality (without the bells and whistles) and who may one day produce that elusive No. 1 hit that has been recorded by a world famous artist simply because it was 'out there' and they liked it  🙂

Edited by brandon

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13 hours ago, thatoneXman said:

I'm a New User, and I have been screwing around with cakewalk for the past 4 hours, and so far, I hate it, mostly because the Interface is Incomprehensible. is this the case for Other Users? it is for me. sorry.

Its not clear from your post if you have prior experience using a DAW. If not you can expect a learning curve. 
The way to start is to take a task oriented approach like what do you need to do and learn progressively. To minimize distractions I suggest setting the default Workspace to "Basic" which will hide a lot of the details that you may not be interested in yet. See attached screenshots for where to change this. Choosing Basic will give you a feature set somewhat compatible to what you might see in GarageBand or a simpler DAW.  It doesn't get much simpler than what you see with Basic in any DAW. I've also included a screenshot of an even simpler workspace that can easily be set up.

Anecdotally, I've been developing Cakewalk over 20 years and there are still things even I don't know deeply as a user. 
That said I'm interested in knowing what specifically you find incomprehensible or what you are attempting to do.

basic.PNG

basic1.PNG

simple.PNG

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18 hours ago, thatoneXman said:

I'm a New User, and I have been screwing around with cakewalk for the past 4 hours, and so far, I hate it, mostly because the Interface is Incomprehensible. is this the case for Other Users? it is for me. sorry.

This a professional grade DAW. Yes, it takes time to learn it. If you do so, you probably will find it extremely easy to use.

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You won't be a great guitar player by screwing around with one for four hours :)

It's been mentioned previously, but I can't emphasize enough that Cakewalk is a complete recording studio whose capabilities dwarf what used to require at least $100/hour, a professional engineer, daily maintenance, and a tape op. 

I can say with certainty that if you spend a month trying to learn Cakewalk, you'll be much further along than if you'd spent that month trying to learn how Record Plant worked many decades ago.

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7 hours ago, Noel Borthwick said:

Its not clear from your post if you have prior experience using a DAW.

I mostly use DAWs for making music. so far, I have LMMS, OpenMPT, Soundbridge, and Cakewalk. Yes, I have experience with DAWs.

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Those are all freeware DAWs. If they were not probably full of invasive spyware etc I might download one just for fun, But I avoid freeware unless recommended by someone I trust.   I would imagine they are not very full featured anyhow.  Cakewalk is complicated because of its long history in development and not to mention,  it used to cost $500.  Just because it is free now does not put it in the same category as any Freeware DAW's. Not even close. It took me 10 years to "get it". 

Edited by John Vere
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