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Is Cakewalk the best free DAW on the market

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With all the new DAW's on the market can we still classify Cakewalk as the best whether it is free or not?

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What is "best" ?

For me, yeah - absolutely it's the best. But I've been well locked in with the Cakewalk ecosystem for years, it does what I want and it's super solid for me. There's obviously things I'd love to see added and various bugs/shortcomings that I'd love to see addressed, like we all want to see, but for me it's the best.

On the other hand, ask on, say, the Tracktion forums and I bet you get a very different answer.

The best DAW is the one that lets you get the job done the fastest and easiest, no matter which one it is. That's really it.

Edited by Lord Tim
Autocorrect doesn't know how to spell Tracktion, obviously
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I have been using Cakewalk for years myself...when we had the problems I jumped ship to another platform which will remain nameless. 

I used Komplete 12 with Cakewalk but there seems to be a bug in Cakewalk where you select a channel then open another channel and the two separate tracks I will hear on both tracks. This is the first bug I have ever experienced in Cakewalk. In the other DAW I use I have not experienced any problems whatsoever, I do like the fact that the metronome was eventually fixed. 

 

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Just a few years ago when Cakewalk by Bandlab  was still Sonar the reviews were raving, see Sonar reviews, for example. At that time the cost for the DAW were comparable to the other top paid DAWs like Cubase and Pro Tools. CbB is leaning on decades of professional development. There was a delay in development when Gibson ended Sonar, before CbB was well established, but ever since the development has been going really well, ironing out old bugs and introducing new highly desired features. 

Any DAW has its own advantages as well as bugs, so having a particular bug in CbB does not mean that switching to another DAW will relieve you from all bugs, just look at other forums and you'll see many bug or other problems all over the place. It is just very hard to make a program that is compatible with a virtually unlimited number of hardware and software configurations and on top of that comforts everyone's personal workflow and options wishes. 

I would say today it is one of the best DAWs compared to all other DAWS (both paid and free).  This year CbB was again ranked in the top ten best DAWS with as main downside just that it is Windows only... In the mean time many other new features and bug fixes have been introduced, so the future just looks good!

When you notice the feedback from the bakers, who in general listen and respond quite well on this forum (as well as the often excellent feedback from users when you have a problem, which has helped me out many times) it just seems like CbB is thriving.

Regarding professionality and options you can't go wrong with CbB. You get at top priced DAW for free (why that is possible is covered elsewhere on this forum) 

However, like Lord Tim said the best DAW is the one that works best for you.
 

Edited by Teegarden
Typo
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1 hour ago, dappa1 said:

I used Komplete 12 with Cakewalk but there seems to be a bug in Cakewalk where you select a channel then open another channel and the two separate tracks I will hear on both tracks. This is the first bug I have ever experienced in Cakewalk. In the other DAW I use I have not experienced any problems whatsoever, I do like the fact that the metronome was eventually fixed. 

Looking at how fast the Bakers have gotten to squashing a lot of the legacy bugs lately, it's definitely worth opening up a ticket and reporting this and seeing if you can get to the  bottom of it.  You only need to have a quick scan over the forums to see Noel, Jon and Mark hopping into threads or even starting remote sessions with people to sort out a problem. If you ask me, the strongest thing that we have here that most other DAWs don't have, let alone free ones, is the active dev team.

Honestly though, taking personal preference and workflow out of it (which I still think is the most important thing for choosing your DAW), feature for feature plus the hands-on dev presence here, I don't reckon anything else touches CbB these days.

But definitely report your issue! :)

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2 hours ago, dappa1 said:

With all the new DAW's on the market can we still classify Cakewalk as the best whether it is free or not?

For me, chocolate ice-cream is the best. If you ask my my wife, she would disagree. She thinks pistachio ice-cream is the best. My daughter on the other hand thinks cookies and cream is the best ice-cream.

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I think it's the best, free OR paid. In this here pandemic I decided to expand my horizons, bought a Mac Mini to learn Logic; it does some things great, and the included sound library is on point, but I still prefer Cakewalk overall. Protools is awful, Ableton Live does some things uniquely but has perhaps the worst UI of all.


R

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8 hours ago, CJ Jacobson said:

For me, chocolate ice-cream is the best. If you ask my my wife, she would disagree. She thinks pistachio ice-cream is the best. My daughter on the other hand thinks cookies and cream is the best ice-cream.

chocolate = CbB

pistachio = Reaper

cookies and cream = Cubase

vanilla = ProTools

gellato = Studio One

rocky road = Digital Performer

smoothie = Mixbus 32C

chocolate mint chip = Reason

strawberry =  Acid Pro

neapolitan = Logic X 

licorice = Garage Band

 

Edited by Bapu
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2 hours ago, Bapu said:

chocolate = CbB

pistachio = Reaper

cookies and cream = Cubase

vanilla = ProTools

gellato = Studio One

rocky road = Digital Performer

smoothie = Mixbus 32C

chocolate mint chip = Reason

strawberry =  Acid Pro

neapolitan = Logic X 

licorice = Garage Band

 

I would say CbB is Ben and Jerry's chunky monkey. 😉

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11 hours ago, dappa1 said:

With all the new DAW's on the market can we still classify Cakewalk as the best whether it is free or not?

A new DAW is going to be limited and lack maturity.

Cakewalk is still the only DAW I care about.  The others I'm sure are fine for someone else.

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19 hours ago, dappa1 said:

I have been using Cakewalk for years myself...when we had the problems I jumped ship to another platform which will remain nameless. 

I used Komplete 12 with Cakewalk but there seems to be a bug in Cakewalk where you select a channel then open another channel and the two separate tracks I will hear on both tracks. This is the first bug I have ever experienced in Cakewalk. In the other DAW I use I have not experienced any problems whatsoever, I do like the fact that the metronome was eventually fixed. 

 

Dappa 1 try this.

Open your Komplete Kontrol instrument. (double click).

In the instrument view, up above the instrument (whatever you loaded) there will be a little pull down menu that says VST.

Click the arrow

Disable "enable midi output."

 

See if that fixes it. Only NI instruments, or third party instruments associated with NI has that on by default. Used to cause me great pain. 

Everytime you open a new instance of KK, you have to disable that. Thank God Cakewalk remembers that you did it if you save.

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It was one of the best when it was Sonar when it was paid for.   With it being free now under the name Cakewalk it has to be the best free DAW around. I don't anything comes close. Heck, it is a top DAW whether free or not. 

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If you're on Windows 10,  CbB should be part of your arsenal for making music.   Great tool to have especially now that Bandlab has made it free. 

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Wait, CbB is free?

No one told me.😟

 

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DAWs are like cars. All cars have engines, wheels, a body, brakes, and doors,  and can accelerate or decelerate. But you can choose from sports cars, vans, 2-door sedans, 4-door sedans, hatchbacks, SUVs, luxury cars, etc.  You choose a car based on what you need to do with it, and (hopefully) you choose a DAW the same way.

I also feel that just as some people have more than one car, it often makes sense to have more than one DAW to handle different needs.

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On 10/11/2020 at 7:15 AM, Teegarden said:

However, like Lord Tim said the best DAW is the one that works best for you

Yep. As @Lord Tim and @Teegarden say, best is what works best for you.  It may not always be Cakewalk but so far Cakewalk is the daw I have on my computer and the one I'm learning how to use so it's best for me. 

More and more videos are published that demonstrate the many different features available in Cakewalk by BandLab and a wide variety of ways those features can be used.  The quality and quantity of video tutorials is increasing at a fast pace.  I appreciate all the videos, they've been a big help to me.

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I have been with Cakewalk for many years Thinking I needed another DAW after the ownership change, a new DAW was purchased. After the learning process began, frustration would set in when trying to be creative. Having many years with the prior DAW, I would do things automatically, and the creativity would flow. Cakewalk will be my DAW of choice till the creative well dries up.

Thanks to all the Bakers  

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