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Is Cakewalk the best free DAW on the market

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You're absolutely right Lord Tim. Oftentimes when I compare Cakewalk to other DAWS it might sound like I like those other DAWS better, but the DAWS I compare Cakewalk to are DAWS that I left FOR Cakewalk. And I left for a reason. There are TONS of things I wish Ableton, for instance, did as well as Cakewalk.

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I think it is, if you use Windows.

But there are a lot of functional and workflow shortfalls for different types of production that make paying for a DAW attractive to a lot of people.

So, it's hard to push Cakewalk even with its price tag, as people are quick to hit those "roadblocks" and start looking at the competition [again].

I also think that the price of DAWs has come down a lot over the years, and the frequency of discount promotions for a lot of vendors really make     "Free" look a lot less attractive (as most DAWs bundle content which justifies the price tag to a fairly large degree - SONAR used to do the same).

3 hours ago, Craig Reeves said:

You're absolutely right Lord Tim. Oftentimes when I compare Cakewalk to other DAWS it might sound like I like those other DAWS better, but the DAWS I compare Cakewalk to are DAWS that I left FOR Cakewalk. And I left for a reason. There are TONS of things I wish Ableton, for instance, did as well as Cakewalk.

 

Tons of things like... what?

One thing I see [when I read the old Cakewalk forums] is lots of fans saying it does "tons of things" better, but almost none of them actually saying what it does better.  Someone who searches "best DAW for Windows" kind of wants to see a bit more usable information - something a bit more objective.

It's also useful to know what type of music you produce.  If you're Live Tracking Bands or Recording Guitars and Vocals, then Live is simply not the optimal platform for that - and neither is FL Studio, or Bitwig.  Those DAWs have a specific bias for the production of certain genres of music. 

This is like saying you chose Cubase Pro over Live because it does "tons of things  better."

... Except, you're a Film Composer.

 

EDM, Trap, or Hip Hop producer aren't going to care that much about a lot of the things that a Film Composer cares about.  They have their own feature and workflow requirements, suitable to their type of production (i.e. Hip Hop producers won't care too much about Expression Maps, but people composing Classical music may not care that much about the Sampler Track).

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14 hours ago, Starship Krupa said:

I was going to ask you what you thought of Studio One, I tried the free version when I was DAW shopping back in 2013 and something about the UI put me off, can't quite remember what. Same with Cubase. I went with Mixcraft because of the friendly price, the contentment expressed on their user forum, and the no BS UI.

I have a usability benchmark with DAW's, kind of like a first date, where you learn whether you're compatible at all. I open the main UI, plug in a mic and then see how long it takes (in time and frustration) to record a "test, test, one two three" clip (or region or whatever), then select a section of the clip and delete it. With Mixcraft, it took only a little bit longer than it took me to type the steps. With Reaper, I think it was 45 minutes, including poring over the (at the time) inadequate and poorly organized documentation. That thing where Reaper requires (required? Maybe they fixed it) you to create a clip before you record was my speedbump, and I don't like speedbumps when I'm trying to get ideas down. Reaper's great in other ways, I'm sure.

The list you linked to seems as if it's influenced by certain....enthusiastic user communities that whipped up interest amongst the user base. I mean, LMMS beating out Pro Tools, Cubase, Digital Performer, Ableton Live? No way, the thing isn't even set up to deal with full audio tracks. I think these polls really amount to "which DAW's user community can get the word out that there's a DAW poll that they should vote in?" As many have noted, the "best DAW" is the one with the mix of features and UI design that best suits one's way of working. The "best DAW" for someone seeking a career in pro studios is still Pro Tools. Whatever floats one's boat, and we are lucky to have so many amazing ones to choose from, even if we restrict the choice to free licensing.

MixCraft is a DAW for hobbyists and prosumers, so those people are going to be content with it - the way the vast majority of GarageBand users are content with that DAW.  Generally, it doesn't take much to please them.  When you raise the price, however, people become a lot more critical and discerning.  This is why the phrase "You can't complain about free" was coined.  Free things usually garner few complaints, because the user didn't have to invest anything to acquire and use it.  This is also true re: cheaper things vs more expensive things.

I mean, we see this retort being used on this very forum when people complain about things. People act as if they should be sending gifts to the bakers for providing them with something for free.  "Why are you complaining?"  Professionals who want a say in product development are going to, generally, bias towards paid products with reliable support channels.  That way, product development and evolution is beholden to the users - not simply the whims of the developers (because  "no users upgrading" is NOT a good thing for that business model).

As far as support goes... well,  I think "Linux on the desktop" taught us a lot about that 😉

If you pay $80 for a DAW, then a bad UI is more acceptable than if you pay $560 for a DAW.  People who use cheap DAWs are also likely to make excuses for the developers more than people who use more expensive DAWs.  This is why the Cubase user base is generally a lot more critical of Steinberg than the Cakewalk or MixCraft userbase... or the ACID Pro user base, to give another example.  People using Cakewalk are going to be okay with the feature disparities vs. other DAWs, because Cakewalk costs nothing.  If they were asked to pay $550-599 for it, they'd quickly start asking "why so much, it's missing <100 features> that <5 other DAWs> have."  Perspective is everything 😛 

DAWs like Cubase are heavy weight DAWs used by heavy weights of the industry.  Those people tend to be a lot more exacting WRT their requirements, and they tend to be a lot more vocal about their complaints.  Their patience is shorter, because the DAW costs $560 and has paid yearly upgrades.  Additionally, their livelihoods often depend ono that piece of software.  They want return on investment.

There is no such thing as return on investment for a free product.  There is no risk in trying it, or using it (except maybe it disappearing with no way to continue using it - since online validation is apparently A.O.K., even for "Free" software).

MixCraft's Audio Engine was complete garbage up until at least v8, but their user base was more than okay with it.  They'd say it was totally fine, up until MixCraft improved it.  Then, suddenly, they could all hear the difference and how much better it had become.

Polls for <best anything> are nothing more than a view of which DAW's online community cares enough to waste their time going around reddit, gearslutz, and other forums rounding up votes for their preferred DAW.  Everyone knows LMMS is garbage compared to Pro Tools.  The results expose just how worthless those polls (always) are.  It basically polls which DAW's communities are most activist on the internet.

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4 hours ago, Maestro said:

One thing I see [when I read the old Cakewalk forums] is lots of fans saying it does "tons of things" better, but almost none of them actually saying what it does better.  Someone who searches "best DAW for Windows" kind of wants to see a bit more usable information.

It's also useful to know what type of music you produce.  If you're Live Tracking Bands or Recording Guitars and Vocals, then Live is simply not the optimal platform for that - and neither is FL Studio, or Bitwig.  Those DAWs have a specific bias for the production of certain genres of music. 

Good idea to have a (living, regularly updated) comparison table somewhere with the features that each DAW has. I really would appreciate to have a clear overview to see what each DAW can or cannot do and which one is better for what purpose.

4 hours ago, Maestro said:

If you pay $80 for a DAW, then a bad UI is more acceptable than if you pay $560 for a DAW.  People who use cheap DAWs are also likely to make excuses for the developers more than people who use more expensive DAWs.  This is why the Cubase user base is generally a lot more critical of Steinberg than the Cakewalk or MixCraft userbase... or the ACID Pro user base, to give another example.  People using Cakewalk are going to be okay with the feature disparities vs. other DAWs, because Cakewalk costs nothing.  If they were asked to pay $550-599 for it, they'd quickly start asking "why so much, it's missing <100 features> that <5 other DAWs> have."  Perspective is everything 😛 

DAWs like Cubase are heavy weight DAWs used by heavy weights of the industry.  Those people tend to be a lot more exacting WRT their requirements, and they tend to be a lot more vocal about their complaints.  Their patience is shorter, because the DAW costs $560 and has paid yearly upgrades.  Additionally, their livelihoods often depend ono that piece of software.  They want return on investment.

There is no such thing as return on investment for a free product.  There is no risk in trying it, or using it (except maybe it disappearing with no way to continue using it - since online validation is apparently A.O.K., even for "Free" software).

 I completely disagree:

  1. I've never seen nor heard of a complex piece of consumer software (like DAWs, operating systems, video editing etc.) that was completely bug free and did not suffer from flaws that scared some users away
     
  2. Also if you pay less for a DAW you still expect it to work as expected
     
  3. In the past I paid the highest price for Cubase that they ever have put it on the market for to find out that after one traumatic year it never worked well on my pc, so I left for Sonar (and now CbB), which up till today has continuously been improved and become more stable, much to my satisfaction in a way that I've never experienced with Cubase. It seems that CbB is getting more stable and getting more features at a faster pace than in the days that it was priced comparable to the other top DAWs...
     
  4. Suggestion: have a look at the Cubase forum to see what what kind of problems they have with this  i.m.o. currently (compared to CbB) overpriced DAW. Some topics form the first page from different users: "Cubase still crash and randomly appear message errors", "Automation Frustration", "Cubase 10.5.20 crashes randomly on Mac", "Cubase crashes every day!", "HANGS, FREEZES, DISAPPEARS, ETC,..."

    Not saying that Cubase is bad, for many people it does work well and just like with CbB many problems can be solved by pointing users to the right settings, or the problem is related to the operating system or another piece of software/hardware. However, it is not because it is expensive that it is more stable or better in any other sense. And I expect the same stability and functions from CbB as from Cubase. If CbB stops working well I change to another DAW, expensive or free. The thing that matters most for me is usability! 
     
  5. ROI on a free product is a standard business model. Free products are often used as marketing tools. Look at websites with adds where you can download something a free tool.  The adds pay for the tool. YouTube, where people earn money just by having viewers clicking their content and/or referring to another product, and so on. In the case of CbB it is a way to attract users to Bandlab (as far as I understood)
Edited by Teegarden
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5 hours ago, Maestro said:

MixCraft is a DAW for hobbyists and prosumers, so those people are going to be content with it - the way the vast majority of GarageBand users are content with that DAW.  Generally, it doesn't take much to please them.  When you raise the price, however, people become a lot more critical and discerning.  This is why the phrase "You can't complain about free" was coined.  Free things usually garner few complaints, because the user didn't have to invest anything to acquire and use it.  This is also true re: cheaper things vs more expensive things.

I mean, we see this retort being used on this very forum when people complain about things. People act as if they should be sending gifts to the bakers for providing them with something for free.  "Why are you complaining?"  Professionals who want a say in product development are going to, generally, bias towards paid products with reliable support channels.  That way, product development and evolution is beholden to the users - not simply the whims of the developers (because  "no users upgrading" is NOT a good thing for that business model).

As far as support goes... well,  I think "Linux on the desktop" taught us a lot about that 😉

If you pay $80 for a DAW, then a bad UI is more acceptable than if you pay $560 for a DAW.  People who use cheap DAWs are also likely to make excuses for the developers more than people who use more expensive DAWs.  This is why the Cubase user base is generally a lot more critical of Steinberg than the Cakewalk or MixCraft userbase... or the ACID Pro user base, to give another example.  People using Cakewalk are going to be okay with the feature disparities vs. other DAWs, because Cakewalk costs nothing.  If they were asked to pay $550-599 for it, they'd quickly start asking "why so much, it's missing <100 features> that <5 other DAWs> have."  Perspective is everything 😛 

DAWs like Cubase are heavy weight DAWs used by heavy weights of the industry.  Those people tend to be a lot more exacting WRT their requirements, and they tend to be a lot more vocal about their complaints.  Their patience is shorter, because the DAW costs $560 and has paid yearly upgrades.  Additionally, their livelihoods often depend ono that piece of software.  They want return on investment.

There is no such thing as return on investment for a free product.  There is no risk in trying it, or using it (except maybe it disappearing with no way to continue using it - since online validation is apparently A.O.K., even for "Free" software).

MixCraft's Audio Engine was complete garbage up until at least v8, but their user base was more than okay with it.  They'd say it was totally fine, up until MixCraft improved it.  Then, suddenly, they could all hear the difference and how much better it had become.

Polls for <best anything> are nothing more than a view of which DAW's online community cares enough to waste their time going around reddit, gearslutz, and other forums rounding up votes for their preferred DAW.  Everyone knows LMMS is garbage compared to Pro Tools.  The results expose just how worthless those polls (always) are.  It basically polls which DAW's communities are most activist on the internet.

A few things...

First off, since in an earlier post you asked about Ableton I will offer a few areas but I'm not really one to bash other DAWs too much, plus I think Ableton is a great DAW.
But Ableton is vastly overpriced, simple and plain. There is no justification as to why the top version should be $800. Ableton's piano roll isn't as robust or as smooth, step recording is rudimentary compared to Cakewalk, no ARA 2 support, MIDI controls like velocity and expression can't be automated, no comping, limited support for .rex files, no mix recall are a few areas. Are there areas in which Ableton is better? Of course there is, so to each his own...

And keep in mind, Cakewalk used to be $400 and many of the people still using Cakewalk today were people who were using it then. So compared to the other free DAWs out there, there are way more professionals using Cakewalk than Garage Band. If there were other DAWs that were truly better or if Cakewalk just simply couldn't deliver what I needed anymore, I would switch to something else, but there really isn't much Cakewalk isn't able to do. 

Every DAW has bugs their community hates, including Cakewalk. Logic Pro X has bugs, Ableton, Cubase, FL Studio, Reason, they all have bugs. 

Cakewalk is unstable and crashes too much....just like pretty much every other major DAW in existence.

Edited by Craig Reeves

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11 hours ago, Craig Reeves said:

Every DAW has bugs their community hates, including Cakewalk. Logic Pro X has bugs, Ableton, Cubase, FL Studio, Reason, they all have bugs. 

Cakewalk is unstable and crashes too much....just like pretty much every other major DAW in existence.

Yes they do. But.......

Your last statement is a bit OTT, i think. You have to take into account the variables of each user’s setup/system. So what may crash for one, won’t crash for another.  Otherwise each brand’s forums would be inundated with complaints.....

Is CbB « unstable » for you ? Does CbB crash « too much » for you ?  

i have a home built affair and it is solid - CbB hasn’t crashed since i can’t remember when. Oh, and you haven’t taken into account user error which we are all prone to at some point.

Your make other reasonable points that are ok, but, and please don’t take this personally, i just don’t agree with your last phrase, its a little hysterical,  s’all. 

at the end of the day it is all about making music............. isn’t it ?

J

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I mean, on every forum you'll see that written - I'm guessing that's what Craig is getting at.

CbB is really very stable for me but you better believe that I've crashed the hell out of it/SONAR over the years, depending on the project, plugins, hardware connected - the environment makes a HUGE difference to stability. One rogue 32bit VSTi can turn an otherwise stable system into a disaster area on any DAW. Looking at the forum here, and keeping in mind that people usually only tend to mostly post when they have a question or problem, it's a pretty good ratio of happy users as oppposed to "what is this garbage I've installed?!" ones, compared to a lot of other places out there.

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15 hours ago, Teegarden said:

Good idea to have a (living, regularly updated) comparison table somewhere with the features that each DAW has. I really would appreciate to have a clear overview to see what each DAW can or cannot do and which one is better for what purpose.

 I completely disagree:

  1. I've never seen nor heard of a complex piece of consumer software (like DAWs, operating systems, video editing etc.) that was completely bug free and did not suffer from flaws that scared some users away
     
  2. Also if you pay less for a DAW you still expect it to work as expected
     
  3. In the past I paid the highest price for Cubase that they ever have put it on the market for to find out that after one traumatic year it never worked well on my pc, so I left for Sonar (and now CbB), which up till today has continuously been improved and become more stable, much to my satisfaction in a way that I've never experienced with Cubase. It seems that CbB is getting more stable and getting more features at a faster pace than in the days that it was priced comparable to the other top DAWs...
     
  4. Suggestion: have a look at the Cubase forum to see what what kind of problems they have with this  i.m.o. currently (compared to CbB) overpriced DAW. Some topics form the first page from different users: "Cubase still crash and randomly appear message errors", "Automation Frustration", "Cubase 10.5.20 crashes randomly on Mac", "Cubase crashes every day!", "HANGS, FREEZES, DISAPPEARS, ETC,..."

    Not saying that Cubase is bad, for many people it does work well and just like with CbB many problems can be solved by pointing users to the right settings, or the problem is related to the operating system or another piece of software/hardware. However, it is not because it is expensive that it is more stable or better in any other sense. And I expect the same stability and functions from CbB as from Cubase. If CbB stops working well I change to another DAW, expensive or free. The thing that matters most for me is usability! 
     
  5. ROI on a free product is a standard business model. Free products are often used as marketing tools. Look at websites with adds where you can download something a free tool.  The adds pay for the tool. YouTube, where people earn money just by having viewers clicking their content and/or referring to another product, and so on. In the case of CbB it is a way to attract users to Bandlab (as far as I understood)

1.  Who on this forum insinuated that this was the case?  No one, so I don't see the point of this, and I don't see how this can even factor into any "disagreement."  The point is that bugs in Free software are a lot more "acceptable" than bugs in a piece of software that cost you $560 -750.  I don't think anyone can disagree with that, because we see this play out all the time.

2.  Yes, but if it malfunctions, you lose less money.  So bugs bother you less.  I didn't say bugs are always ignorable just because it's free - particularly when you are using a free product, but are more than capable of paying for a potentially better paid product.  I simply stated that people are less likely to view issues as showstoppers when they pay little to nothing to obtain it, because they have little to no skin in the game - and very little to lose if the software doesn't work properly.   SONAR oldies are bringing their commercial mentality to a free product.  That is not how the hobbyists and prosumers are thinking when they try Cakewalk by BandLab.  You are acting like you paid for it, simply because you paid for a previous version 😉

3.    Issues with software are not worth discussing as this can be due to hardware, drivers, and other components installed on the system. 

4.  Cubase 10.5 has no issues on my machine.  I don't get any crashes, but you pointing out the complaints on that forum - many of them exaggerations - is proving the exact point I posited in my earlier thread!  Compare to the Cakewalk forums (both old and new).  Paid users on the Cubase Forums are much more apt to complain, largely due to the disparity of [monetary] investment in Cubase as a production platform. 

5.  There is no ROI on Free because there is no  investment needed.  We're referring to monetary investment.  Money talks...  This is why people like free <anything>.

There is already a fairly extensive comparison between DAWs available on the internet, by Admiral BumbleBee.  Unfortunately, Cakewalk was not reviewed favorably there, so very few people here will prefer to link to it 😉 

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12 hours ago, Craig Reeves said:

A few things...

1.  First off, since in an earlier post you asked about Ableton I will offer a few areas but I'm not really one to bash other DAWs too much, plus I think Ableton is a great DAW.
2.  But Ableton is vastly overpriced, simple and plain. There is no justification as to why the top version should be $800. Ableton's piano roll isn't as robust or as smooth, step recording is rudimentary compared to Cakewalk, no ARA 2 support, MIDI controls like velocity and expression can't be automated, no comping, limited support for .rex files, no mix recall are a few areas. Are there areas in which Ableton is better? Of course there is, so to each his own...

3.  And keep in mind, Cakewalk used to be $400 and many of the people still using Cakewalk today were people who were using it then. So compared to the other free DAWs out there, there are way more professionals using Cakewalk than Garage Band. If there were other DAWs that were truly better or if Cakewalk just simply couldn't deliver what I needed anymore, I would switch to something else, but there really isn't much Cakewalk isn't able to do. 

4.  Every DAW has bugs their community hates, including Cakewalk. Logic Pro X has bugs, Ableton, Cubase, FL Studio, Reason, they all have bugs. 

5.  Cakewalk is unstable and crashes too much....just like pretty much every other major DAW in existence.

  1. I didn't ask about Ableton, I asked what you were referring to when you stated Cakewalk does "tons of things" better than Ableton.  It's nice to write these things, but some people want something a bit more objective.   You still haven't provided any examples.  I'm sure you could rattle off a few out of those "tons of things," no?  Or did you just exaggerate that because it sounds nice and rings well in the specific environment in which you're posting these comments?
  2. No, it isn't.  It's priced just right because it's the best tool at what it is designed to do, just like Pro Tools.  If competitors were as good at Ableton at producing the type of music it's dominates, and live performance, then their prices would get naturally pushed down due to competition.  As it stands, they are so dominant that they almost never even have a discount promotion.  They don't need to, either.  The fact that you are unwilling to pay $750 for Live Suite does not make Live Suite overpriced de facto. That is your opinion, so it's not exactly "plain and simple" - or anything even close to that.
  3. Cakewalk used to be $400 and failed as a commercial product.  GarageBand is not a professional product.  Logic Pro X is, and I'm pretty sure there are a LOT more professional users on that DAW than SONAR or Cakewalk by BandLab.  I think you're overrating how much "Free" matters in the music production market, where a $400 DAW investment is really a drop in the bucket.  Most money is invested elsewhere.  DAWs are not the huge consideration you think they are when it comes to pricing.  That matters mostly in the Hobbyist communities, but many of those people eventually move up to industry standard solutions,  anyways (when they can afford them).
  4. I think this is widely understood as fact.  Why am I being told this?
  5. You're going to find out what I mean when people start replying to this point (having no issue with anything else you wrote, of course).

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1 hour ago, Jeremy Oakes said:

Yes they do. But.......

Your last statement is a bit OTT, i think. You have to take into account the variables of each user’s setup/system. So what may crash for one, won’t crash for another.  Otherwise each brand’s forums would be inundated with complaints.....

Is CbB « unstable » for you ? Does CbB crash « too much » for you ?  

i have a home built affair and it is solid - CbB hasn’t crashed since i can’t remember when. Oh, and you haven’t taken into account user error which we are all prone to at some point.

Your make other reasonable points that are ok, but, and please don’t take this personally, i just don’t agree with your last phrase, its a little hysterical,  s’all. 

at the end of the day it is all about making music............. isn’t it ?

J

Everything crashes on his systems.  I think the issue is between the keyboard and the chair.

Most people picking up these free programs and cheap software applications are hobbyists.  They are not building dedicated DAWs that are used ONLY for music production. 

They have a PC that is used for Gaming, watching netflix, making music, editing video, chatting on zoom, etc.  All manner of drivers and peripherals are connected to it.  The power and performance settings may or may not be optimal for music production.  They might be running with Windows Game Mode turned on.  etc.

Then they get on forums and say "Everything crashes all the time on my system.  They're all buggy."

I never posited that CbB was a buggy PoS, anyways, so I'm not even sure where that came from.  I simply stated that when people pay $0 for a piece of software, they are less likely to view many issues are problematic or showstoppers than when they spend $550-750 on a piece of software.

I didn't think anyone could argue that, but alas...  There is always an exception.

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2 hours ago, Maestro said:

Free things usually garner few complaints, because the user didn't have to invest anything to acquire and use it.  This is also true re: cheaper things vs more expensive things.

1.  Who on this forum insinuated that this was the case?  No one, so I don't see the point of this, and I don't see how this can even factor into any "disagreement."  The point is that bugs in Free software are a lot more "acceptable" than bugs in a piece of software that cost you $560 -750.  I don't think anyone can disagree with that, because we see this play out all the time.

2.  Yes, but if it malfunctions, you lose less money.  So bugs bother you less.  I didn't say bugs are always ignorable just because it's free - particularly when you are using a free product, but are more than capable of paying for a potentially better paid product.  I simply stated that people are less likely to view issues as showstoppers when they pay little to nothing to obtain it, because they have little to no skin in the game - and very little to lose if the software doesn't work properly.   SONAR oldies are bringing their commercial mentality to a free product.  That is not how the hobbyists and prosumers are thinking when they try Cakewalk by BandLab.  You are acting like you paid for it, simply because you paid for a previous version 😉

3.    Issues with software are not worth discussing as this can be due to hardware, drivers, and other components installed on the system. 

4.  Cubase 10.5 has no issues on my machine.  I don't get any crashes, but you pointing out the complaints on that forum - many of them exaggerations - is proving the exact point I posited in my earlier thread!  Compare to the Cakewalk forums (both old and new).  Paid users on the Cubase Forums are much more apt to complain, largely due to the disparity of [monetary] investment in Cubase as a production platform. 

5.  There is no ROI on Free because there is no  investment needed.  We're referring to monetary investment.  Money talks...  This is why people like free <anything>.

There is already a fairly extensive comparison between DAWs available on the internet, by Admiral BumbleBee.  Unfortunately, Cakewalk was not reviewed favorably there, so very few people here will prefer to link to it 😉 

In general I agree with you, however, in the case of CbB it is more nuanced. Many users have paid a lot for Sonar, which was rated among the very best of professional DAWs in several reviews (and of course less good in some other reviews, like is the case for other DAWs. "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder"😉), because it was a DAW answering to their high requirements. Since becoming CbB the DAW has quickly gained more options, has gotten a better workflow and has become more stable. Many of the old Sonar users that fit the profile of your description of current customers of high priced DAWs like Cubase (which are supposed to have higher requirements because they paid a lot for it), keep using CbB. I don't think that their requirements have become less just because the once expensive DAW has become free. Fact that they keep using it says a lot about the professional level  of CbB. 

Since everyone can report bugs, complain on the forum or ask questions about anything I don't see why there would be less complaints because CbB is free. With any bug or problem it just makes sense to report it or ask how to get around it on the forum (asking is also free and the high quality of the CbB forum regularly attracts users of other DAWs for specific questions because it is well regarded compared to forums of expensive DAWs). So why would there be less complaints because it is free...

  1. You gave me the impression ("Free things usually garner few complaints", etc.) that in expensive DAWs more bugs are ironed out. My bad if misinterpreted your comments. The bugs in free are more acceptable in general, but not if you paid a lot for the DAW like Sonar users that continue to use CbB. And don't forget that there are several professional musicians and studios here on the forum. They can't afford to keep using a DAW that hampers their production...
    There are several users on the forum that use CbB next to other expensive DAWs. They prefer some things in one DAW and other things in another. I guess if you have Pro Tools, Cubase and are using CbB regularly or (as I understood form several most of the time) next to it it must be of comparable quality
      
  2. See here above. Most Sonar oldies would leave if CbB if it were not up to the task. And people spend many hours to produce a piece of music that they are emotionally attached to. Nothing is more discouraging and frustrating than to see it fall apart because of time consuming bugs along the way or a crash just before finishing the master. Because of that I think that especially with something like a DAW most users will not stick to it if it does not operate well, even when being free
     
  3. You mis the point: I merely pointed out that since CbB is free, the DAW is even much better and better maintained and upgraded than it was at the time of being an expensive DAW, that paying a lot for a DAW can still lead to failure and that (at least in my case) this free DAW is much better than the paid ones in the past. And yes, I'm very critical regarding workflow, options, bugs etc. just like I was when I paid top dollar. If the DAW doesn't fits my needs, I'll leave it for another (paid or free, I don't care as long as it can do what I need it to do)
     
  4. Or maybe they complain more, because they have more problems. Anyway, it is impossible to compare that. I think that the tone on the Sonar and CbB forum is was and is much more positive than usually found on other forums. People treat each other with respect and are very helpful. That might also explain the difference (and language) in forum topics🧐
     
  5. You miss the point that Bandlab invests a lot continuously. Talking about ROI I assume a corporate point of view, not consumer.

I assume you refer to this review Admiral Bumblebee Cakewalk review which is two years old...He doesn't include CbB in his current DAW comparison charts. Many of the issues have been improved since. Anyway, a good list of topics for the bakers to check what still could be improved from that list!

Thanks, by the way, for that website! I like the in depth articles😃 

Edited by Teegarden
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3 hours ago, Teegarden said:

I assume you refer to this review Admiral Bumblebee Cakewalk review which is two years old...He doesn't include CbB in his current DAW comparison charts. Many of the issues have been improved since. Anyway, a good list of topics for the bakers to check what still could be improved from that list!

i think that besides some OS bias, the review is quite good, and he's not wrong - the previous owners of cakewalk desires to market things, and simultaneously restrain the development team, has resulted in playing catchup for modern producers. His comparisons to other products should help jumpstart the team's ideas for next generation capability, i imagine that @Noel Borthwick has already read this review and talked to the CbB product owners about a roadmap 🙂 

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7 hours ago, Maestro said:
  1. I didn't ask about Ableton, I asked what you were referring to when you stated Cakewalk does "tons of things" better than Ableton.  It's nice to write these things, but some people want something a bit more objective.   You still haven't provided any examples.  I'm sure you could rattle off a few out of those "tons of things," no?  Or did you just exaggerate that because it sounds nice and rings well in the specific environment in which you're posting these comments?
  2. No, it isn't.  It's priced just right because it's the best tool at what it is designed to do, just like Pro Tools.  If competitors were as good at Ableton at producing the type of music it's dominates, and live performance, then their prices would get naturally pushed down due to competition.  As it stands, they are so dominant that they almost never even have a discount promotion.  They don't need to, either.  The fact that you are unwilling to pay $750 for Live Suite does not make Live Suite overpriced de facto. That is your opinion, so it's not exactly "plain and simple" - or anything even close to that.
  3. Cakewalk used to be $400 and failed as a commercial product.  GarageBand is not a professional product.  Logic Pro X is, and I'm pretty sure there are a LOT more professional users on that DAW than SONAR or Cakewalk by BandLab.  I think you're overrating how much "Free" matters in the music production market, where a $400 DAW investment is really a drop in the bucket.  Most money is invested elsewhere.  DAWs are not the huge consideration you think they are when it comes to pricing.  That matters mostly in the Hobbyist communities, but many of those people eventually move up to industry standard solutions,  anyways (when they can afford them).
  4. I think this is widely understood as fact.  Why am I being told this?
  5. You're going to find out what I mean when people start replying to this point (having no issue with anything else you wrote, of course).

1. You asked me what I felt Cakewalk did better than Ableton and I answered your question by stating the various things Ableton doesn't have going for it. It would logically follow that since I'm comparing it to Cakewalk, that Cakewalk does indeed feature these things Ableton is missing and these features are important to me. And if you look at some of my other posts putting Cakewalk on blast for every single thing, you'll find that I'm not the type to say things just to be liked here.

2. And yes, it IS my opinion. This is a thread about OPINIONS. It is my opinion that Ableton is overpriced. If they're still able to be sustainable with such a price point, that's great, but in my OPINION, I am not willing to part with $800 for it.

3. I don't know what SONAR's sales numbers were compared to other DAWs on Windows, but I'm willing to bet it was one of the best-selling DAWs on the platform, probably second only to FL Studio. Gibson shut Cakewalk down mainly because Gibson went bankrupt in 2018. Emagic went out of business in 2002 as well despite Logic being one of the best-selling DAWs at the time. And yes, there have probably always been more professionals using Mac programs than Windows programs. There are more professionals using ProTools than anything else. Most professionals do not have time to try every DAW and see which one is the best. Most professionals only have experience in the DAW they started in as they are too busy to learn anything else. 

And the idea that pricing is only important to "hobbyists" is laughable. MOST professional musicians are broke.  You'll be surprised how often I have been in studio sessions with professionals who are still using cracked software because they can't afford to pay for what they're using. Many professionals work day jobs to try to make ends meet. So yeah, pricing is very, very important. 

And determining which DAWs are "professional" is mostly determined by who the DAWs are marketed towards and the opinions of its users, not so much their capabilities or features.

Edited by Craig Reeves
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On 10/16/2020 at 1:41 PM, Craig Reeves said:

but I'm willing to bet it was one of the best-selling DAWs on the platform, probably second only to FL Studio.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

There is no way Gibson would have shut them down if this was the case.

Probably second only to FL Studio, meaning it was selling more than:

  • Pro Tools
  • Ableton Live
  • Cubase
  • Studio One
  • REAPER

???

I don't think so, and I'm not even sure how one could make that assumption given the product was summarily killed off, and none of the bigger developers/software vendors were jumping at the opportunity to snatch it up.  At least it wasn't acquired by MAGIX or Corel, though.  That's definitely a silver lining!

That's ignoring the fact that no developer of music production software performing that well on Windows (90% of the desktop market, mind you, and probably over half of the music production market) would just kill the product off.  It it were selling that well, it would still be SONAR Platinum, and being sold for $$$ by Gibson.

On 10/16/2020 at 1:41 PM, Craig Reeves said:

There are more professionals using ProTools than anything else.

No.  There are more "Professional Recording and Mix Engineers, and Recording Studios" using Pro Tools than anything else.  Pro Tools also dominates the Film Post industry, as well (i.e. Hollywood).

However, it is largely absent among Composers and Producers of many other genres of music - the same way Ableton Live is largely absent in Recording Studios and the Film Post industry.

At the upper end of the market (Professional Use, not Hobbyist/Enthusiasts), these DAWs settle into different niches where they don't really compete against most other DAWs in the market.  The DAWs that Pro Tools is competing against - in the market segment where Avid extracts the most profit for it - cost thousands of dollars.   DAWs like Cubase Pro and Samplitude Pro X are literally unusable for high end Film Post work, for example.  The software has limitations that prevent it from being used for this type of work, so that the companies selling them can upsell those users to Nuendo ($1,800+) and Sequoia ($2,900+).  Pyramix and SaDIE are also not cheap, at all.

People producing on Ableton are largely not going to consider Pro Tools an option unless Avid does some ridiculous overhaul or massive feature updates to the software - and they aren't inclined to do that as long as they are as strong as they are in the niche in which they have settled.  Avid is not going there.  The DAWs that are moving in that direction are those like DP, Logic Pro X, and Studio One.  SONAR was sort of moving in that direction, as well - I'd probably say it still is.

That's how these things work in the market.

IMO, SONAR was never really competing against Pro Tools.  They were competing against the likes of Cubase and its ilk (DP is a latecomer to the Windows platform).  I think Studio One was more disruptive to SONAR than a lot of other DAWs, though, since it marketed to the same core market that SONAR had settled on (Smaller/Home Studios and Singer/Songwriter types).

Edited by Maestro

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I thought it was common knowledge that Cakewalk was loosing money, and had been loosing money from back in Roland years?

There are plenty of threads about it on the old forums, one even has a link to a document on Rolands own official web site showing that Cakewalk was loosing money year in year out. I also recall Craig Anderton making a comment in one or more of the threads on the old forums saying something like that under Gibson Cakewalk was loosing money year after year, and you couldn't expect them to continue.

http://forum.cakewalk.com/Blame-HIM-for-Cakewalks-Demise-m3729414.aspx#3729569

http://forum.cakewalk.com/Hard-Honesty-Mixed-Feelings-on-the-Fate-of-SONAR-m3736571-p5.aspx#3738533

Edited by Fret Flintstone

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I was a satisfied and happy Cakewalk user for 20 years...until I wasn't.  I started having some workflow frustrations and decided to try Studio One (which I bought when CW folded--but did not install until recently).  I like S1 better.  Does it sound better?  No.  Does it work better?  No.  Do I prefer it?  Yes, for lots of reasons--mainly workflow issues.

Crashing and stability has never been a big problem for me, with either program.  

As to the issue of cost, I pay $16 a month for Presonus Sphere that gives me S1 Pro and unlimited access to all content that Presonus offers, or ever will.  I don't want to sound like money doesn't matter, but to me, $16 a month (50 cents a day) is pretty close to free.  If I could not afford $16, I'd still happily use CW.

I have no bad things to say about CW.  It is still loaded up and ready to go if I need it or want it.  

Edited by Gary McCoy

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Sphere is a good deal, but only if you're actually going to use PreSonus' Sound and Loop Libraries.  Otherwise, you're better off just doing the Splice Rent-to-Own  or buying it on discount during one of those many promotions they have.

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On 10/19/2020 at 7:25 PM, Maestro said:

There is no way Gibson would have shut them down if this was the case.

Probably second only to FL Studio, meaning it was selling more than:

  • Pro Tools
  • Ableton Live
  • Cubase
  • Studio One
  • REAPER

???

I don't think so, and I'm not even sure how one could make that assumption given the product was summarily killed off, and none of the bigger developers/software vendors were jumping at the opportunity to snatch it up.  At least it wasn't acquired by MAGIX or Corel, though.  That's definitely a silver lining!

That's ignoring the fact that no developer of music production software performing that well on Windows (90% of the desktop market, mind you, and probably over half of the music production market) would just kill the product off.  It it were selling that well, it would still be SONAR Platinum, and being sold for $$$ by Gibson.

No.  There are more "Professional Recording and Mix Engineers, and Recording Studios" using Pro Tools than anything else.  Pro Tools also dominates the Film Post industry, as well (i.e. Hollywood).

However, it is largely absent among Composers and Producers of many other genres of music - the same way Ableton Live is largely absent in Recording Studios and the Film Post industry.

At the upper end of the market (Professional Use, not Hobbyist/Enthusiasts), these DAWs settle into different niches where they don't really compete against most other DAWs in the market.  The DAWs that Pro Tools is competing against - in the market segment where Avid extracts the most profit for it - cost thousands of dollars.   DAWs like Cubase Pro and Samplitude Pro X are literally unusable for high end Film Post work, for example.  The software has limitations that prevent it from being used for this type of work, so that the companies selling them can upsell those users to Nuendo ($1,800+) and Sequoia ($2,900+).  Pyramix and SaDIE are also not cheap, at all.

People producing on Ableton are largely not going to consider Pro Tools an option unless Avid does some ridiculous overhaul or massive feature updates to the software - and they aren't inclined to do that as long as they are as strong as they are in the niche in which they have settled.  Avid is not going there.  The DAWs that are moving in that direction are those like DP, Logic Pro X, and Studio One.  SONAR was sort of moving in that direction, as well - I'd probably say it still is.

That's how these things work in the market.

IMO, SONAR was never really competing against Pro Tools.  They were competing against the likes of Cubase and its ilk (DP is a latecomer to the Windows platform).  I think Studio One was more disruptive to SONAR than a lot of other DAWs, though, since it marketed to the same core market that SONAR had settled on (Smaller/Home Studios and Singer/Songwriter types).

Emagic went out of business despite the fact that Logic was selling very well and was highly rated by reviewers. Finally, Gibson killed off Cakewalk after they filed for bankruptcy so it isn't like they said "you know what, Cakewalk isn't selling so well" and they just killed it off. You can't compare this to a highly profitable company like Apple who isn't even looking to profit off Logic because if they were, they would have implemented a subscription program a long time ago.

I've been using Cakewalk for a while, but trust me I am not an apologist for Cakewalk. There are very serious holes in Cakewalk's game and there are utterly embarrassing problems with it, mainly in the fact that there are basic, everyday things even GarageBand can do that Cakewalk either can't do at all (like a real clip gain adjustment feature) or is implemented poorly. This, however, was never the reason Cakewalk didn't have the market share other DAWs had as this has been an issue with Cakewalk for years even when they were far more dominant in the music world than they are now. Most of the people in the professional music world have never even used Cakewalk, and most of the people who did up until Cakewalk went out of business weren't moving to other DAWs and Cakewalk consistently was praised by critics as one of the best DAWs on Windows.

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I've been on Cakewalk since Pro Audio 6, and when these forums were on Usenet! While I find Cakewalk frustrating at times, am currently editing a video in Adobe Premiere and that makes Cakewalk look like the best software ever written. I can't believe how simple features we take for granted in a DAW are completely lacking in Premiere Pro. 

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