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Davydh

@ChernobylStudios, what features would bring you back to Cakewalk?

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Scott used Cakewalk for what? 17+ years, but after the bitter memory that shall not be mentioned *cough*, switched over and is now using Reaper.

My question for you Scott...

What features would Cakewalk have to implement to win you back as your DAW of choice?

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Hi there,

Yes, I used Cakewalk exclusively since Cakewalk Pro Audio 9.03. Many years! Before I write this, I want to say that the large majority of new people getting into audio are most likely going to be just fine and well served with Cakewalk by Bandlab. It's just that when people progress, become better, etc., certain things start to become clear.

The real truth of the matter is not about what Cakewalk lacks or doesn't lack in features because Cakewalk has and does most things most people would need and more. (Albeit sometimes in an outdated way.)

The main 'Cakewalk killer' is the inability to do any kind of consistent drum or audio editing. Anytime you start to get a decent number of audio clips in the session, the session tanks. This is an issue I raised in 2016 on the old forums and you can read that thread here. There are other audio editing related issues:

  • AudioSnap doesn't detect at the zero-crossing point;
    • Always detects late, which introduces clicks and pops. It means you have to manually move all the detection markers anyway, completely defeating the purpose.
  • When doing a "Beat Detective" method, splitting clips will take literally ages and the file size of the session increases by an order of magnitude. The session bogs down to a screeching halt and you can't even save properly.
  • No quick quantize keyboard shortcut. Have to always open the AudioSnap menu.
  • Tab to Transient doesn't work very well with grouped clips.
  • Stretching only works with one clip at a time.
    • Impossible to stretch tracks for cymbal bleed, as you have to do it one at a time which causes phase issues and artifacts.
  • Group clips don't split together;
    • Even after grouping a track, you can't just select one track to have them all selected. Still have to select them all. What was the point of making a group, then?

Now there are other improvements that'd make Cakewalk better, here are some just off the top of my head:

  • Better keyboard remapping abilities;
  • Colored markers;
  • Better plugin stability;
    • Kazrog Plugins consistently crash Cakewalk, for example. These are plugins that I use all the time with clients.
  • Being able to move multiple tracks at once without having to put them into a track folder;
  • Being able to resize strips in Console view independently;
    • For example, the mix strips are narrow, but the bus strips are wide;
  • Being able to reset all the meters globally;

So it's not about features, but stability and bug fixes for Cakewalk that'd bring me back to Cakewalk. Anybody who blindly wants to defend Cakewalk without having tried Reaper or other DAWs are fooling themselves.

Anyway, hope that gave you some insight. 👍

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I know since Bandlab took over they've been hammering away at bugs, but I thought if such a loyal Cakewalk user left, there must be weighty reasons, and surely since Meng has publicly asked for feedback, a list from you after having used studio one and reaper, would be very telling and helpful.

So thanks and I hope Bandlab finds the feedback useful.

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I've used Cakewalk since it was called Twelve Tone Systems. After trying Studio One post-Gibson collapse, I find it hard to justify going back. Sure, there are things I miss, but stability is important. I didn't have a lot of crashes with Platinum, but that was mostly because I had learned over the years what not to do. I treated my DAW like a live explosive, and this relationship worked well for years.

A lot of the issues that Cakewalk still has really boil down to the way the audio engine interfaces with Windows devices. It is very picky about how a device presents itself, and sometimes counter-intuitive settings will make it work great, until you get the white screen of death and lose something you were working on. CTRL-S is your best friend.

Dan

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I was pretty well involved in that 2016 thread and I tend to still agree with a lot that we all wrote on there. Some things definitely still need to be addressed.

That said, there's a few things that have been said here that should be clarified.

You don't need to open the AudioSnap pallette to quantize. Just choose Audio Transients from the Edit Filter on however many tracks you have selected, then press Q to bring up the Quantize dialogue. (The caveat here is that this is a really bad idea to just let it detect and go - as mentioned, you either need to do manual cleanups or do transient detection prep like I mentioned in the old thread).

You can reset all meters globally, from the Options > Meter Options > Reset All Meters entry, and you can assign a keybinding to that if you like.

CbB has had quite a lot of work done with plugin stability, including sandboxing. If those crashes are still happening now, definitely shoot a MiniDump off to the Bakers so they can sort it out, if you haven't done so already. It's frustrating and annoying when you get a crash but if you don't tell anyone about it, it won't get fixed.

I reckon this is probably the most stable it's ever been, honestly (the odd bug notwithstanding, and usually there's a quick hotfix to patch it, rather than waiting for some long release cycle).

I still stand by the stretch method for audio quantizing I mentioned in the other thread, but aside from that, the other points brought up here are definitely still valid!

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Tim,

Ah, looks like I was wrong about the meters! Can you reset all meters in all different pane views to be -24dB for example, or only globally reset them to the default option?
 

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I believe it's just a complete reset and clearing of the peak reading, and no other options available.

That said, I haven't dug into the meter options too much past that, so I'm happy to stand corrected if I'm wrong :)

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The scale of the meters can be set individually (or quick grouped) in the Track View and Console View. As far as I can tell the only meters that are global are the ones in the Track Inspector.

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Posted (edited)
On 3/24/2019 at 1:46 PM, ChernobylStudios said:

Hi there,

Yes, I used Cakewalk exclusively since Cakewalk Pro Audio 9.03. Many years! Before I write this, I want to say that the large majority of new people getting into audio are most likely going to be just fine and well served with Cakewalk by Bandlab. It's just that when people progress, become better, etc., certain things start to become clear.

The real truth of the matter is not about what Cakewalk lacks or doesn't lack in features because Cakewalk has and does most things most people would need and more. (Albeit sometimes in an outdated way.)

The main 'Cakewalk killer' is the inability to do any kind of consistent drum or audio editing. Anytime you start to get a decent number of audio clips in the session, the session tanks. This is an issue I raised in 2016 on the old forums and you can read that thread here. There are other audio editing related issues:

  • AudioSnap doesn't detect at the zero-crossing point;
    • Always detects late, which introduces clicks and pops. It means you have to manually move all the detection markers anyway, completely defeating the purpose.
  • When doing a "Beat Detective" method, splitting clips will take literally ages and the file size of the session increases by an order of magnitude. The session bogs down to a screeching halt and you can't even save properly.
  • No quick quantize keyboard shortcut. Have to always open the AudioSnap menu.
  • Tab to Transient doesn't work very well with grouped clips.
  • Stretching only works with one clip at a time.
    • Impossible to stretch tracks for cymbal bleed, as you have to do it one at a time which causes phase issues and artifacts.
  • Group clips don't split together;
    • Even after grouping a track, you can't just select one track to have them all selected. Still have to select them all. What was the point of making a group, then?

Now there are other improvements that'd make Cakewalk better, here are some just off the top of my head:

  • Better keyboard remapping abilities;
  • Colored markers;
  • Better plugin stability;
    • Kazrog Plugins consistently crash Cakewalk, for example. These are plugins that I use all the time with clients.
  • Being able to move multiple tracks at once without having to put them into a track folder;
  • Being able to resize strips in Console view independently;
    • For example, the mix strips are narrow, but the bus strips are wide;
  • Being able to reset all the meters globally;

So it's not about features, but stability and bug fixes for Cakewalk that'd bring me back to Cakewalk. Anybody who blindly wants to defend Cakewalk without having tried Reaper or other DAWs are fooling themselves.

Anyway, hope that gave you some insight. 👍

I couldn't agree more with you... But I work mainly  with MIDI and I am quite happy with the program as it is. There is no reason to unconditionally defend or use only one DAW. I have Cakewalk, REAPER and Mixbus installed and all of them are wonderful DAWs and also NONE is exempt of problems or doesn't have improvable parts. Here it is my feature request list:

- Better keyboard remapping abilities (same as Scott)

- Better plugin stability (same as Scott)

- Audio editing/AudioSnap improvements (Same as Scott)

- "Audition notes" button on PRV

- "View note names" button on PRV

- Better notation editor

- Finished MATRIX view 

- Better MIDI learn

- PDF manual

 

Edited by Feral State Sound
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I work almost entirely w/ midi and don't really understand most of the needs of the advanced users who answered above.  BUT, I'd love to see some sort of magnifier, especially in the PRV and its controller section.  These old eyes have much trouble seeing the tiny numeric indicators w/in the controller section and the note section as well.

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, willard cottrell said:

I'd love to see some sort of magnifier, especially in the PRV and its controller section.  These old eyes have much trouble seeing the tiny numeric indicators w/in the controller section and the note section as well.

Windows does have some magnification tools.

https://www.laptopmag.com/articles/increase-text-size-computer

https://support.microsoft.com/en-nz/help/11542/windows-use-magnifier

Also a large monitor on low resolution would help. High resolution makes everything ultra tiny. 

Edited by Davydh
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Posted (edited)
On 3/27/2019 at 11:16 AM, Feral State Sound said:

I couldn't agree more with you... But I work mainly  with MIDI and I am quite happy with the program as it is. There is no reason to unconditionally defend or use only one DAW. I have Cakewalk, REAPER and Mixbus installed and all of them are wonderful DAWs and also NONE is exempt of problems or doesn't have improvable parts. Here it is my feature request list:

- Better keyboard remapping abilities (same as Scott)

- Better plugin stability (same as Scott)

- Audio editing/AudioSnap improvements (Same as Scott)

- "Audition notes" button on PRV

- "View note names" button on PRV

- Better notation editor

- Finished MATRIX view 

- Better MIDI learn

- PDF manual

 

A Cakewalk Reference Manual pdf file was released March 29, 2019.  This is a revised release of the Sonar Reference Manual.  This manual is about 2186 pages which is about 500 pages less than the former Sonar Reference Manual.  The manual is current as of the March 2019 update.

Here is a link: 

https://discuss.cakewalk.com/index.php?/topic/2862-is-a-pdf-manual-or-offline-help-available/

 

Edited by fogle622
Change embedded to link
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On 3/24/2019 at 5:46 AM, ChernobylStudios said:

Group clips don't split together;

  • Even after grouping a track, you can't just select one track to have them all selected. Still have to select them all. What was the point of making a group, then?

 

Was that a bug at some point? 'cause that woulda pis't me off no end as well.

The Groupin' o' th' Clips is part of why I'm CWAF.

Fun times, just last night I recorded my drum kit with Group All Clips turned on, that's with 4 mics using my own variation of the "Recorderman" configuration for the overheads.

First thing I did after saving the project was pop open the Lanes on Track 1 (Left OH), set the Now to where I wanted to chop off the thumping about at the start of the recording, left clicked to select the clip, hit "S" to split it, then clicked on the clip to the left, hit the Delete key to get rid of the chaff, then clicked up at the top of the remaining clip and dragged it to the wall.

Close the Lanes, hit the spacebar to play the project and it's all trimmed, all in sync, all 4 tracks. Everything (in its right place, in its right place) grouped correctly through the splitting, deleting, and moving operations. I was one happy boy, because that's something that Mixcraft can't do. Through all that, I didn't even bother to open the Lanes on the other tracks to see how they were doing.

Now were you talking about something else, or did this used to be broke back in the grim, dark Sonar days? 'cause that's at least 3 operations where I clicked on a single grouped clip and all of its groupmates followed right along, including once where grouping survived a splitting operation.

As long as I don't get cute and start right clicking, which has its own rules with grouped clips, it works great (the right click stuff does too, once I figured out the logic).

Also, resizing the strips in the Console view independently? I'm not sure what you mean there, but I can make both Track and Bus strips narrow and wide individually and then do them all at the same time by holding my Ctrl key. What I mean is like 2 or 3 of each can be narrow and the rest not. But if I want all of my Track strips to be narrow, I can do them all in a swoop using the Ctrl modifier, and that affects only the Track strips, not the Bus strips.

There's also been some serious retooling of the stretch algorithms, they've sourced that engine from a different vendor, Elastique rather than Zplane, or vice-versa, but you can still choose which one you want to use.

Maybe you could download the latest release and try some of your "killers" and see which ones of them have gone bye-bye while you've been gone. If it seemed like the old company was letting bugs and annoyances float around like turds in a punchbowl, maybe you'll find it's a new game. There's been over a year of not having to find new users to pay new license fees to keep a whole corporate division going.

The promise:deliver ratio with BandLab has been very favorable in the past year. Regarding a PDF manual and offline documentation, we heard "no plans no plans no plans no plans" for a year right up until this beautiful, fully updated, downloadable PDF manual that has obviously been under construction for months just pops up with a forum announcement from the author and a permanent menu download link.

CWAF! 🖖

(I think Reaper is great too but when I try it once every 3 years or so it takes me an hour and a half to arm a track for recording. I think this means that I am not among the people who are smart enough to use Reaper and if I were to come over to a studio that was using Reaper I'd have to just tune the drum kit or something)

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On 3/27/2019 at 8:16 AM, Feral State Sound said:

- "View note names" button on PRV

Man, why in the name of all that is holy can't the name of the note (or drum) appear (and no, not just over at the left on the fake piano, I mean right at where I'm looking) when I hover my cursor over the damn thing in the Piano Roll View like happens in every other damn MIDI editing program? In this one I have to guess?

Button my eye, it should just be there already.

Instead, it's hey, look at the grey grid with the meaningless rectangles on it! I guess I could right click and pull up a TON of information about the note....

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19 hours ago, Starship Krupa said:

I think Reaper is great too but when I try it once every 3 years or so it takes me an hour and a half to arm a track for recording. I think this means that I am not among the people who are smart enough to use Reaper and if I were to come over to a studio that was using Reaper I'd have to just tune the drum kit or something)

You are smart enough - just Reaper was programmed by an engineer. Cakewalk can be installed and more or less understood right away due to the interface but it's equally as jarring for inexperienced folks who see all these modules, etc. It just takes time to get use to it. Although with Reaper it'd be better if things like the Better Menu Set, etc, were automatically installed and things like that. Otherwise you can make Reaper look and function pretty much just like Cakewalk. 

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24 minutes ago, ChernobylStudios said:

You are smart enough - just Reaper was programmed by an engineer. Cakewalk can be installed and more or less understood right away due to the interface but it's equally as jarring for inexperienced folks who see all these modules, etc. It just takes time to get use to it. Although with Reaper it'd be better if things like the Better Menu Set, etc, were automatically installed and things like that. Otherwise you can make Reaper look and function pretty much just like Cakewalk. 

Cakewalk could mitigate this to some extent by asking the user what "level" he/she is at when installing (e.g. beginner, intermediate, advanced), and setting the default lense accordingly.

The Basic lense is much less intimidating for newbies.

In general though, my main criticism of the Cakewalk UI (from a beginners point of view) is that there's so many almost-hidden features... it's not always obvious that the buttons have a right click menu, or that a slight change in the icon is actually an indication of a huge difference in behaviour (e.g. record mode). Once you know it though, it's absolutely fine.

 

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Thank you for the affirmation of my smarts. Yes, I did rather more mean it as a critique of the learning curve. And given the enthusiasm of the user base and the versatility of the program with its UI, an "Intro" theme would be a welcome addition that might help new user retention. Because believe me, I have so much wanted to like Reaper, for several reasons.

As for CbB, newbie Lenses, what a great idea! And in general, maybe more in the way of templates that come with the program to get people running and help with new user retention.

This is something that I would like to put my efforts toward as I get more skills. One of the issues holding me back is that there are a couple of nasties, bug-wise down in the Takes and Grouping subsystem.

I think that an important workflow for a DAW like Cakewalk or Pro Tools or Cubase or any of the ones that are built to support heavy-duty audio work to at least allow (even if it's not the main workflow), is the basic one that people are used to from using tape and Pro Tools.

If you want to record and then edit 2 tracks of audio, it goes like this: arm 2 tracks for audio recording, hit record, stop recording. Your audio is ready to edit. You cut it up and move it around in blocks called clips or regions.

Formultiple takes, same thing, but you get the various takes in rows. Edit, and mute and unmute the clips and rows to comp and then you mix.

That's, IMO, what experienced DAW users are going to recognize and be able to jump in with right away.

Cakewalk has that for the most part, but what slowed me way down on learning comping, was, ironically, Speed Comping. I just wanted to start with my audio in the lanes, start with basic slip editing tools, and when I tried to do this, at the end of my tracking sessions my takes were cut up into clips I didn't want and were muted in odd ways.

Then when I tried some basic comping, there was confusing behavior based on where on the edge I clicked, and clips would go muted and unmuted all over the place. Of course, these are all Speed Comping features, and I've been getting used to them, but it took a long time. A long time as in holding things up when it didn't need to.

I am working on a detailed feature request for a mode where we can bypass the speed comp features, Basic Mode or something like that, which people can switch to while they are getting up to speed with Speed Comping. I mean, once I started getting the hang of the speed comping features, I think they're the shnizzle, but one can easily get into trouble with them or find them daunting and confusing if they just want to jump in right away and do a little overdubbing and basic editing.

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On 4/10/2019 at 5:39 AM, msmcleod said:

Cakewalk could mitigate this to some extent by asking the user what "level" he/she is at when installing (e.g. beginner, intermediate, advanced), and setting the default lense accordingly.

[...]

 

That's an excellent idea at first thought, but doesn't that just call for a variety of programs? For instance, Cakewalk had Home Studio and Music Creator, etc., not to be confused with the various versions of SONAR which came down to differing sets of features.  As cool as your idea is I'm not sure CbB can be simplified enough to make it an intuitive program for beginners.

Kind regards,

tecknot

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