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2020.11 Update 1 [Updated 25-Nov-2020]

Morten Saether

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[Updated 25-Nov-2020] Version 2020.11 Update 1 (build now available!

We're pleased to announce the 2020.11 Update 1 release! This release introduces Articulation Maps, which are a universal way to deal with expressions/articulations in VST instruments or hardware MIDI instruments. Other enhancements include in-app activation/refresh, ARA/Melodyne algorithm picker when converting audio to MIDI or performing tempo extraction, Clips pane drawing and scrolling optimizations, project template enhancements, and much more, including over 50 bug fixes,  all in keeping with our goal of making Cakewalk as reliable and enjoyable as possible.

The Bakers

For new feature details, see New Features.

Should you need to revert to the 2020.09 release, you can download the Cakewalk 2020.09 Rollback installer.

Update Nov 25 2020:

2020.11 Update 1 (build

Note: If you are using a non-English version of 2020.11 Update 1 (build and experience blank articulation map menu commands, please download and run the Cakewalk 2020.09 Rollback installer, then reinstall 2020.11 Update 1 (Help > Check for Updates).  



Extract Keyswitch Articulations

You can now extract key-switches that already exist in a MIDI track and convert them to articulations.

To extract keyswitches:

  1. Make sure the target articulation map has already been added to the project.
  2. Open the Piano Roll view for the track that contains the keyswitches.
  3. Right-click the left side of the Articulations pane, point to Extract Keyswitch Articulations, then select the target articulation map.

Cakewalk will attempt to match events within the MIDI track to any articulations in the selected articulation map. The following rules apply:

  • It will only extract generated MIDI events, not transforms.
  • It will only extract key-switches based on Notes, Control Change, or Program Change events.
  • When matching an articulation that generates multiple events, it will only match events if they are in the same MIDI clip.



Replace an existing articulation map with a newer version

Cakewalk now allows you to replace an existing articulation map with a newer/updated version of the same map.

When a newer version of an articulation map is imported into a project, it is added as a new map instead of replacing the original map. To replace the old map with the new version, right-click the old map in the Articulation Map Editor’s Articulation Maps in Project section, then point to Replace with and select the new map. The Replace with submenu lists all other articulation maps currently within the project.



Bug fixes


  • App can hang on startup at the splash screen when checking for updates with unstable internet connection.
  • Crash or failure to load a new sample in Drum Replacer.
  • Crash when committing an arrangement containing sections from multiple Arranger tracks.
  • Crash could occur when closing the app.
  • Sporadic crash when Display Muted Takes in Parent Track is enabled.
  • Fixed user reported crash on export audio.
  • Fixed rare user reported crash after recording audio.
  • Fixed rare user reported crash on export when VS100 requests a synth parameter.
  • Fixed rare user reported crash when opening Arranger or Articulation Map dialogs.
  • "Catastrophic failure" error could occur if a project contained an invalid arrangement section when attempting to export audio.


  • Track Names shown in plug-ins are truncated or show invalid characters after 2020.11 update. This was reported in Console One plug-ins, Izotope Neutron and Waves CLA Mix Hub.
  • Waves CLA Mix Hub displays “Channel name contains illegal characters …” message on opening or saving projects in 2020.11 release.
  • Tempo based effects and instruments were not being properly initialized when residing within the ProChannel or FX Chains. For example, Sonitus: FX Delay fails to get Host Tempo when in FX Chains.

Articulation Maps:

  • Articulations selected unexpectedly with lasso select when Select Track Articulations with Clips is disabled.
  • Articulation maps fail to import if the map contains special characters such as “ as part of the map/group/articulation name.
  • Insert Time not working correctly with articulations.
  • Articulation map dialogs do not hide folders if their subfolders do not contain files that match the search filter.
  • Apply articulations by group applies more than one group of articulations.
  • Articulation Map Library does not refresh automatically after exporting a map to the library folder.
  • Articulation resize fails if the Snap to Grid setting causes the section end to be snapped beyond the start of the next articulation section.
  • Browse For Folder dialog box can open on incorrect display when importing articulations from a directory.
  • Clicking on an empty space in the Clips pane selects articulations.
  • Deleting an articulation from one track swaps to showing the articulations on another track.


  • Unable to resize an Arranger section in an inactive track to the left if there are sections to the left in the active Arranger track.
  • Creating an Arranger section with a start time < 0 deletes other sections.
  • Enable MIDI Output check box was missing from Insert Synth Options dialog when opened from the Synth Rack.
  • Renaming a Patch Point fails to update the send name in the track strip of the Track view.
  • Drag move of composite clip in track folders not working.
  • Mouse cursor can change unexpectedly when hovering outside of a modal dialog.
  • When clicking a note name in the Piano Roll Drum Grid to select all notes of that pitch, pressing the DELETE key does not delete the selected notes.


  • Export as Standard MIDI file did not respect the current track selection.
  • Only allow refreshing activation state if an app update download isn't already underway.
  • Don't show duplicate toasts when checking for updates.
  • In-app updater: Download manager should prefer the update installer if installed version >= last public release and less than latest public release.



2020.11 Highlights


Articulation Maps


Articulation maps are a universal way to deal with expressions/articulations in VST instruments or hardware MIDI instruments that may be controlled by various methods including:

  • Note “key switches”
  • The velocity of a note
  • Control change events
  • Grouping of patches across different MIDI channels (e.g. legato strings patch on ch 1, pizzicato patch on ch 2, etc.)

If you work with sample libraries and virtual instruments, articulation maps are sure to improve your MIDI and articulation/keyswitch workflow.

Recreating a convincing performance with sample libraries and virtual instruments can be a difficult task. The process is made somewhat easier if the sampled instrument includes a range of performance articulations, which is commonly controlled via “keyswitches”. These are used to trigger different sample layers that contain the various performance options. Cakewalk's support for articulation maps make it easy to work with articulations and keyswitches.

Articulation maps provide a much simpler way of switching articulations, without having to manually edit MIDI events in the track. All articulations appear neatly at the top of the PRV instead of spread across the Notes pane, which helps you to better visualize and edit the articulations and keyswitches.

When recording, you can focus on the actual performance — getting the right notes, rather than building expression into the performance — then use articulations to add expression after the basic performance has been recorded. Adding articulations as part of the editing process is often easier than trying to play keyswitches in live via your keyboard.

Articulations do either, or both, of the following:

  • Trigger new MIDI events (create ‘MIDI Events’ in the Articulation Map Editor)
  • Alter existing MIDI events (create ‘MIDI Transforms’ in the Articulation Map Editor)

Articulations that are added to MIDI and Instrument tracks are automatically applied during playback.

Cakewalk includes a few general-purpose articulation maps that let you experiment with the feature. You can create your own articulation maps, or download maps for orchestra libraries and virtual instruments.

Cakewalk can import Cubase expression maps, so you can get started quickly by downloading maps for popular instrument libraries such as Vienna Symphonic Library, Garritan, Kontakt, etc.


In-app activation

You can now activate Cakewalk directly from within the app, without requiring BandLab Assistant. Cakewalk must be activate once every 6 months.

When starting Cakewalk for the first time, if the app has not yet been activated via BandLab assistant, you will be presented with a BandLab sign-in dialog box. After signing in, Cakewalk will automatically activate itself. You must use your BandLab user name in the sign-in prompt, not your email address. Please note that sign-in is completely optional and only used to activate Cakewalk independently from BandLab Assistant. Sign-in currently does not support Single sign-on. If you do not have your BandLab username and password, please use BandLab Assistant to perform activation.


Activation will occur automatically when launching the app if it is in the “grace period”, the period that begins when you see the timeout toast notification asking you to sign in to BandLab to activate soon.

Under normal circumstances, activation will require no manual user intervention going forward, beyond the initial sign-in. 

Note that an Internet connection is required  for performing activation as described above but not required for general Cakewalk usage. Offline activation is also an option, which requires use of BandLab Assistant to submit an offline activation request

You can force an activation refresh with the Help > Refresh Activation command.


ARA/Melodyne algorithm picker (pre-release)

When converting audio to MIDI by dragging an audio clip to a MIDI track, or performing tempo extraction by dragging an audio clip to the time ruler, you can now select the desired algorithm.

Note: The algorithm picker is a pre-release feature and will only be visible if you are running Melodyne 5 and higher.



VST instruments can use custom instrument definitions

Some VST instruments do not expose their patch list, either because they are emulating a hardware device and solely rely on MIDI bank select/program changes, or in the case of library hosts such as Kontakt, they have no fixed list of instruments - in other words its up to the user to choose their instrument mapping.

You can now use any instrument definition with a VSTi from a new drop-down menu in the Patch Browser dialog box (click Patch Browser in the Inspector).

If < default for instrument > is selected, then the patches are retrieved from the VSTi as normal, otherwise the patch list is taken from the selected instrument definition.



Piano Roll view enhancements

  • Piano Roll view Note drawing now automatically switches direction as necessary during the gesture (left to right or right to left).
  • Open Piano Roll view when double-clicking white space on a MIDI or Instrument track.


VST enhancements

  • Updated to VST3 SDK 3.7.0
  • Support MIDI CCs via VST3 MIDI output (must also be supported by the plug-in itself; allows generative MIDI out VST3 plug-ins such as the Reason Rack plug-in to send MIDI CCs to Cakewalk)
  • Support channel aftertouch sent from VST3 plugins


Misc. enhancements

Application memory footprint has been reduced (dynamic VST Plug-in Buffer sizes)

In prior versions of Cakewalk, cached plug-in buffers would be allocated at a size of 32K samples irrespective of the audio buffer size. This gets quite expensive when you have a project with hundreds of plug-ins especially with plug-ins having multiple inputs and outputs.

Plug-in buffer sizes are now dynamically adjusted to be based on the audio buffer size rather than an arbitrary max limit. This makes a big difference in projects running at low latency buffers.


Support for mono only ASIO input devices

Cakewalk now supports ASIO devices with a single mono input, such as the iRig Pro.


Relative resizing of selected tracks

You can resize all selected tracks to the same size, or by a relative amount, by using the following modifiers:

  • SHIFT+drag resizes all selected tracks to the same size
  • CTRL+drag resizes all selected tracks by the same amount relative to their current size


ARA updates

Cakewalk supports the latest ARA SDK from Celemony.


Adjust split point on a single Take lane

If you have several clips in a track with a common split point, the Move Split Point tool always moves all the split points together.

To move only the split point on a single lane, hold down the ALT key when using the Move Split Point tool.


CTRL-click Duplicate Track button to specify settings

To specify settings when duplicating a track, hold down the CTRL key and click the Duplicate Track button image.png.


Allow track FX bin to be bypassed via control surfaces rather than just individual FX

In addition to individual effects, entire track FX Racks can now be bypassed via control surfaces.

Passing an FX index of -1 (65535) will bypass the entire track FX Rack.

The Mackie Control surface has been updated to use M1+Select button to toggle track FX Rack bypass.


Update installer has option to launch Cakewalk

When installing an update from within Cakewalk, you can now choose to automatically relaunch Cakewalk after the installation completes.


New Project File dialog improvements

The New Project File dialog box (File > New) now lets you specify folder paths, tempo, meter, bit depth, and sample rate settings for the -- No Tracks or Buses -- option (previously named -- Blank Project --).


File Stats improvements

When starting a new project from a project template, the File Stats window in the Notes Browser now start the Editing Time and Revision counters at 0.

To reset the file stats, right-click in the File Stats window and select Reset File Stats.


Early Access Notifications

Cakewalk now presents a toast notification when an Early Access build is available. Early Access builds are completely optional, providing access to the next version of Cakewalk before its official release. 




Clips pane drawing and scrolling optimizations

  • Major optimizations to clips view drawing to eliminate redundant drawing of clips.
  • Projects with tracks containing many Take lanes with muted clips now draw and scroll more than 20x faster.
  • Scrolling with Display Muted Takes In Parent Track enabled now has almost similar performance to having that option disabled.
  • Waveform drawing is now optimized for faster drawing.

Note: The Display Muted Takes In Parent Track option now defaults to OFF for new installations.


Bus pane optimizations

  • Drawing and mouse handling in the Bus pane has been optimized to prevent audio glitches and late buffers


Bug fixes


  • Crash on insert of Track Template
  • Crash on Delete Hole of project
  • Crash closing project after loading track template containing VST3 synth
  • Crash when loading project with Melodyne via Play List
  • Crash when deleting Vienna Synchron
  • User reported crash when looping audio clip
  • User Reported Crash with the Play List
  • Random crashes with dead pointers when step recording
  • Crash when displaying dropout toast message
  • Intermittent crashes in Arranger Track
  • nullptr crash in Staff view
  • Adding ProChannel Track Compressor on surround bus crashes


  • CTRL-click Duplicate Track button should bring up Duplicate Track(s) dialog
  • Hidden Clips can be edited in Track view
  • Mute Tool operates on hidden clips in Track
  • Select Tool selecting invisible muted clips when Display Muted Clips In Parent Track is unchecked
  • Scrolling view left while dragging note causes PRV to fail to Snap By
  • Center on Now Time with Keyboard Zoom only works if Mouse Zoom is set to Now Time
  • Sluggish Scrolling in project
  • Enable/Disable Read Automation shortcut not working
  • Replace Synth can fail to rename track
  • Unexpected changes to track input when using MIDI transformation synths
  • Hiding icons in Synth Rack causes alignment error
  • Enabling MIDI Out on some synths causes all synths to appear in MIDI Input picker
  • Track view would steal focus back after clicking on an Arranger section
  • Disallow Step Record during playback
  • Add performance warning when disabling Only for Inputs in Project option in Preferences > Project - Record


  • Section Rename can unexpectedly run into Browser
  • F2 Rename on Section Headers does not always work
  • Section Rename could occasionally hang the application
  • Section menus would occasionally not dismiss resulting in multiple menus being displayed
  • Setting now time in arranger during playback doesn't respect the Set Time During Playback click behavior
  • Clicking away from Rename of section causes Windows "ping"
  • Arranger not automatically fixing overlapping sections in some circumstances
  • ALT+mouse wheel zoom unavailable in Arranger track
  • Arranger picker fails to open after clicking away from menu
  • Arranger menu commands could sometimes fail to execute
  • Arranger section move should include data during playback 
  • Arranger section move is now blocked during record
  • Arranger labels now support Unicode characters


  • Moving mouse over Bus pane causes audio glitches and late buffers
  • ARA projects redundantly saving document controller state for deleted items in undo history
  • Projects created using Cyrillic characters in the audio file names, fail to load on a system using a different language pack
  • Cannot enter the "ö" character using a non-English keyboard layout in Lyrics view
  • Ripple Paste not always working after cut
  • Clip fails to split during existing fade if Auto Crossfades is enabled
  • Slow Cakewalk startup time when using MackieControl.dll
  • Export Audio doesn't work when exporting from a surround bus
  • Improve handling for "Blank Project" in File > New
  • Step Record can glitch with instruments that have long tails when Auto Advance is enabled
  • Allow Arm Changes During Playback/Record causes wave file creation when adding certain VST3 plug-ins
  • Temporary files for Allow Arm Changes During Playback/Record can be created in wrong folder
  • Allow Arm Changes During Playback/Record causes Instrument track audio to fail to record
  • Setting multiple tracks to the same input can cause record to fail if Allow Arm Changes during Playback/Record is enabled
  • When Automation lanes are visible in the Bus pane, the drop target for reordering gets interfered with causing misplacement
  • BandLab Login can appear on incorrect monitor


Latest release notes are here.
See prior release notes.
Check out all new features released to date.


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