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Is Cakewalk gaining users/popularity with Bandlab?

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Posted (edited)
17 hours ago, Craig Anderton said:

You're preaching to the choir! I've been pushing for this with music software in general - levels like video games. Lenses create a more beginner-friendly environment, but they're still lenses to a complicated program. With 8.5, where you had all those customization options, I did an interface that was basically an ADAT with faders. No MIDI, no VIs, no waveform editing, no plug-ins except for a reverb send on each channel and a limiter on the output. The idea was that you could give something like that away for free, and hook people.

I don't know if it's possible from a software standpoint to create a modular DAW, but that would be ideal. For example after mastering the ADAT interface, you could then add the waveform editing module. Or the virtual instrument module.  But since no DAW does this, it's probably not possible. Even better would be a standardized module format, so you could use, for example, Cakewalk's virtual mixer module in Pro Tools, or Cubase's staff editor in Cakewalk.

I think the basic Lens is fine, honestly, and can't see much reason for the second point as its usefulness is completely dependent on ex-SONAR users caring enough to "plug-in" functionality from SONAR into other DAWs... and they'd probably want to become as proficient using the actual other DAW's functionality as possible... particularly for industry professionals.  That would certainly look nice on a feature list, though...

I think the biggest issue with Cakewalk are:

1.  Windows-Only

2. Bugs that have persisted since older versions (and still aren't fixed):  Example

3.  Weak Bundled Plug-In and Instrument Bundle.  Beginners do not want to spend 20 hours scouring the internet for subpar instruments.  Virtually no Loops bundled - and no avenue to buy what used to be in/bundled with the Sonar Platinum product (It's been a year... how long will that take?)

4.  No Marketing; Lots of people simply don't know about it, because Cakewalk (the company) didn't really do as much as they could to push it.  Similar issue to VEGAS Pro with Sony.

5.  Not a lot of learning material.  Not covered in nearly as much depth as competing DAWs, due to lack of industry momentum.  Improving, but the quality of the material isn't yet on par with other, newer, DAWs.

6. Lack of AAF support inhibits it in some niches (Film Audio Post, etc.),  as well as its collaborative potential with people who do not use Cakewalk (AAFTranslator is $199, mind as well just buy Studio One if you're going to blow that much on an OMF->AAF Utility, frankly).

Platform-locked plug-ins don't matter to beginners and hobbyists/upstarts.  They probably won't be using multiple DAWs, anyways, so depending on them to pick up Cakewalk as "another DAW" is not a great strategy if that level of the market is a big deal with BandLab.  I wouldn't even recommend those people double fist two DAWs.  Learn ONE and then learn about Music Theory, etc. so that you can actually produce good work.  Don't bog yourself down with redundant software.  That's for "later."

Edited by SomeGuy
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Video was mentioned. Be aware that not all people like manual on video better than manual to read.

I'm one of them that always search for helpful things to read.

When i see or hear something interesting i often go into "meditation mode". When that "mode" is over and it's time to go on with the material a video has moved on and has to be rewind but with text you just go on from where you left it.

PS. My sister is the opposite. She could read a manual for hours and don't get it. I'll come over and do it one time as she watch and she gets it right away.

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8 minutes ago, Kurre said:

Video was mentioned. Be aware that not all people like manual on video better than manual to read.

I'm one of them that always search for helpful things to read.

When i see or hear something interesting i often go into "meditation mode". When that "mode" is over and it's time to go on with the material a video has moved on and has to be rewind but with text you just go on from where you left it.

PS. My sister is the opposite. She could read a manual for hours and don't get it. I'll come over and do it one time as she watch and she gets it right away.

If it's something I'm doing for the first time, then in general I prefer to be shown something. So videos are good for me.

However, there's a huge downside to videos: it's almost impossible to skim through a video and get to the part you're really interested in. The Groove3 SONAR tutorials are a good example of this. Whilst the videos are excellent and very comprehensive, if I just want to be reminded of how to do a particular task it means watching several minutes of "explaining" before I find what I need.

This is where written documentation is so much better, as it's very easy to skim through until you get to the part where you can read in detail.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, SomeGuy said:

I think the basic Lens is fine, honestly, and can't see much reason for the second point as its usefulness is completely dependent on ex-SONAR users caring enough to "plug-in" functionality from SONAR into other DAWs... and they'd probably want to become as proficient using the actual other DAW's functionality as possible... particularly for industry professionals.  That would certainly look nice on a feature list, though...

I think the biggest issue with Cakewalk are:

1.  Windows-Only

2. Bugs that have persisted since older versions (and still aren't fixed):  Example

3.  Weak Bundled Plug-In and Instrument Bundle.  Beginners do not want to spend 20 hours scouring the internet for subpar instruments.  Virtually no Loops bundled - and no avenue to buy what used to be in/bundled with the Sonar Platinum product (It's been a year... how long will that take?)

4.  No Marketing; Lots of people simply don't know about it, because Cakewalk (the company) didn't really do as much as they could to push it.  Similar issue to VEGAS Pro with Sony.

5.  Not a lot of learning material.  Not covered in nearly as much depth as competing DAWs, due to lack of industry momentum.  Improving, but the quality of the material isn't yet on par with other, newer, DAWs.

6. Lack of AAF support inhibits it in some niches (Film Audio Post, etc.),  as well as its collaborative potential with people who do not use Cakewalk (AAFTranslator is $199, mind as well just buy Studio One if you're going to blow that much on an OMF->AAF Utility, frankly).

Platform-locked plug-ins don't matter to beginners and hobbyists/upstarts.  They probably won't be using multiple DAWs, anyways, so depending on them to pick up Cakewalk as "another DAW" is not a great strategy if that level of the market is a big deal with BandLab.  I wouldn't even recommend those people double fist two DAWs.  Learn ONE and then learn about Music Theory, etc. so that you can actually produce good work.  Don't bog yourself down with redundant software.  That's for "later."

I think that only the first two points and maybe the sixth are applicable to Cakewalk this times. AFAIK Bandlab is working on the bundled Cakewalk instruments and maybe we will see more of them added soon and there is no need of marketing for a free product. In my opinion, being free for everyone is the best possible marketing strategy (but maybe it would be better to announce the actual program on the Bandlab main page). The learning material is growing each day and I think that this is going to be the rule as long as the program remains free. 

When I started to show some interest on Cakewalk SONAR (maybe 2016 or 2017), there was only one Youtube channel that was making updated and quality free training content for Cakewalk, Chernobyl Studios. For me, that was symptomatic of a dying program. Now, if you search for "Cakewalk" on Youtube, you will see tons of new updated videos about the program and even people switching to Cakewalk from other DAWs (Fortiori for example). As if it was not enough, you also have the Craig Anderton book and an official online and offline free wonderful manual. So, in this part I think that the program is advancing adequately. 

On the other hand, I am not sure about the Bandlab commitment to fix the long-standing Cakewalk bugs or any intention to make the program cross-platform. The second can wait but I think that it is a must in the long-term if Bandlab plans to reach a large audience. Regarding Cakewalk bugs, although it seems that Bandlab is concentrating on stability and fixes, it is strange that some of the serious bugs stills remains one year after the re-release and the same applies to the half-finished features, they are still half-finished and there is no commitment to improve them (ehem ehem Staff editor , cough cough Matrix view). Are you losing interest on developing the product? Everything seems to go reaaaally slow.

Edit: Please don't tell me that I cannot make any requests or demands because the program is wonderful and it is free. Cakewalk is only free for now as we finally know what are the Bandlab plans for it. For me, the program it is free to download but not completely free, at least as long you are sending analytics about your personal use. 

Edited by Feral State Sound

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5 hours ago, Feral State Sound said:

Edit: Please don't tell me that I cannot make any requests or demands because the program is wonderful and it is free. Cakewalk is only free for now as we finally know what are the Bandlab plans for it. For me, the program it is free to download but not completely free, at least as long you are sending analytics about your personal use. 

Meng has already stated that Cakewalk will always be free.

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6 hours ago, SomeGuy said:

I think the basic Lens is fine, honestly, and can't see much reason for the second point as its usefulness is completely dependent on ex-SONAR users caring enough to "plug-in" functionality from SONAR into other DAWs... and they'd probably want to become as proficient using the actual other DAW's functionality as possible... particularly for industry professionals.  That would certainly look nice on a feature list, though... 

Let me elaborate about a "modular" DAW structure. I would like to see it not just for Cakewalk, but as an industry standard. ReWire has shown that it's possible on a basic level. There are a lot of possibilities. For example, only CbB and Acid let you create and edit Acidized files. If there was a modular architecture, Cakewalk could sell their Loop Construction view as a module to plug into, for example, Cubase or Pro Tools if they too were modular. Also, people here often talk about how they prefer CbB's Console View compared to other programs. It would be great if you could "rewire" Cakewalk's mixing console into other programs that don't implement it as well. And a modular approach would solve the Staff View issue :)

Standards have really helped drive music software. Imagine where we'd be if ASIO and VST didn't exist. We'd be waiting for Microsoft to finally develop their audio drivers, and have probably nothing but plug-ins locked to specific DAWs. I know the idea of modular DAW is kind of blue sky stuff, but hey...sometimes the sky is blue.

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I really am surprised that Microsoft hasn't made a useful audio driver like Core Audio yet.  But as we know Microsoft is Microsoft😐

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Posted (edited)
On 4/16/2019 at 7:25 AM, Feral State Sound said:

I think that only the first two points and maybe the sixth are applicable to Cakewalk this times.

Then, respectfully, you need to go around to the places where beginners and learners are hanging out.  The fact that Adobe has massive amounts of educational material for their products is a competitive advantage which has people paying a subscription for what you can get for cheap (or even free, in some cases) elsewhere.  You are severely underestimating the impact this has on how people view a product.

NLEs, DAWs, VFX Compositors, etc. are not Notepad.  They're complicated applications, and potential users really appreciate having good materials to guide them.  This directly affects their view of how easy to use your software is.

Complicated software with many educational resources are easier to use than those with fewer.  That's how people view things, because many people quickly realize that the internet is full of distractions and depending on forums and YouTube for this stuff wastes massive amounts of time.

Marketing speaks for itself.  Many people have no clue what Cakewalk was until the publicity from it being sold off or purchased by BandLab. 

 

Edited by SomeGuy

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Posted (edited)
On 4/16/2019 at 1:36 PM, InstrEd said:

I really am surprised that Microsoft hasn't made a useful audio driver like Core Audio yet.  But as we know Microsoft is Microsoft😐

Core Audio is a framework, not a driver.

And Microsoft has had something equivalent to Core Audio.  That's what WASAPI is.  It's existed since Windows Vista, at least, which was released in 2006 - so not very long after Core Audio became a thing for OS X (10.3, IIRC).

Windows has supported driver-less audio devices that "just work" since Vista.  The Windows Logo requirements required machines that shipped with Vista to include such a device (Audio device that doesn't require drivers to function).  The drivers and control panels are icing on the cake.  That is why when you do a fresh install on a clean machine, Windows 10 will often have Cortana speaking during setup, despite the fact that no specific drivers are installed (on most machines).

Edited by SomeGuy
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Posted (edited)
On 4/16/2019 at 1:00 PM, Craig Anderton said:

Let me elaborate about a "modular" DAW structure. I would like to see it not just for Cakewalk, but as an industry standard. ReWire has shown that it's possible on a basic level. There are a lot of possibilities. For example, only CbB and Acid let you create and edit Acidized files. If there was a modular architecture, Cakewalk could sell their Loop Construction view as a module to plug into, for example, Cubase or Pro Tools if they too were modular. Also, people here often talk about how they prefer CbB's Console View compared to other programs. It would be great if you could "rewire" Cakewalk's mixing console into other programs that don't implement it as well. And a modular approach would solve the Staff View issue :)

Standards have really helped drive music software. Imagine where we'd be if ASIO and VST didn't exist. We'd be waiting for Microsoft to finally develop their audio drivers, and have probably nothing but plug-ins locked to specific DAWs. I know the idea of modular DAW is kind of blue sky stuff, but hey...sometimes the sky is blue.

Windows [natively] uses DirectX Plug-Ins for Audio and Video Effects, among other things.  Most media stuff is branded DirectX (Encoders and Decoders, as well).  The Sonitus FX Plugins in Cakewalk are actually DirectX Plug-Ins, which is why they show up for use in VEGAS Pro despite no effort to set them up there.  The Studio Instruments are DirectX Instruments, IIRC.

Same with VEGAS Pro Audio Effects - they [annoyingly] show up in Cakewalk for use, because they are DirectX Plug-Ins and these Windows-only creative apps tended to support the native frameworks well (the same way macOS audio apps support Audio Units... almost without fail... which are the DirectX equivalent for Audio Effects and Instruments).

WASAPI is actually a thing most people here act like they have never heard of.

We can argue how much Steinberg stood to benefit from pushing VST another day.  Then again, there are multiple applications that don't support OpenFX or VST Plug-Ins... And even more that only support VST2 and not VST3.  Personally, I prefer to use system-native APIs for this kind of stuff, though that is more work for the developers.

That being said, all of them have no issues doing it for macOS, but use lowest common denominator solutions for Windows 😛

Edited by SomeGuy

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11 hours ago, SomeGuy said:

WASAPI is actually a thing most people here act like they have never heard of.

WASAPI is a fantastic advance when working with laptops where you're stuck with onboard sound. However, you still can't get the kind of latencies with it that you can with ASIO. I think WASAPI will have a shot at replacing ASIO only when it starts hitting the sub-10 ms latency range consistently.

One huge advantage Core Audio on the Mac has over ASIO is the ability to aggregate interfaces easily. This is something that's been possible to do with the native Windows drivers for as long as I can remember, but again, aggregating meant using higher-latency drivers than ASIO. Sonar got on the WDM bandwagon early on, and it looked promising...but if you check out forum comments of that era, it seems most people opted for ASIO as being better in terms of either stability, compatibility, or latency. With WASAPI, it seems that WDM is now a "legacy" driver.

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On 4/14/2019 at 8:16 PM, Starship Krupa said:

I just have a thing about moonieware, and Reaper is, unfortunately, moonieware.

It's definitely not moonieware because Reaper isn't perfect. The userbase has created scripts and such to help deal with silly things like a confusing menu system. The Reaper Better Menu Set is a required addition before anybody gets started, in my opinion. Right now the entire Reaper community is pissed off because the new default Reaper 6 theme isn't professional enough in their opinions. CbB is in direct competition with Reaper because a lot of people erroneously believe that Reaper is free and therefore when people say Reaper does such-and-such better, it's something to take heed. Reaper does do a lot of things better. And faster. Being that tons of people do not pay for Reaper and use it for free - I'd say it makes a lot of sense to listen very closely what people say about Reaper.

On 4/15/2019 at 3:39 PM, SomeGuy said:

I don't typically see Cakewalk users do this.

Make a video being critical about Cakewalk and see what happens. You'll find a rabid userbase coming out of the woodwork to misrepresent you and find any reason to slag off your criticisms. To think that Cakewalkers don't drink the kool-aid here is simply naive. The only good thing I can say about this is that in the new forum, a lot of the old elitist party-poopers are not here to jump in and stoke the flames. 

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5 hours ago, ChernobylStudios said:

It's definitely not moonieware because Reaper isn't perfect.

Nor is any other software. The term has little to do with the product itself, although by nature the product must be one that is less popular than mainstream offerings.

The term mostly referred to advocacy behaviors on the part of a user base, and was coined mostly to piss off such advocates and provide the rest of us with a way to let off steam.

Popping their heads up in online discussions about other programs to say that everyone involved should try XYZ because it's way better, never admitting to any shortcomings on the part of XYZ no matter how obvious. Basically the belief that if we all clap really loud to show how much we believe in XYZ we can create a sustainable market share for it.

Reaper's fanbase seems to have settled down, perhaps as the program itself has become useful enough to keep them occupied making music with it.

A friend of mine says that if one wants to do live sound work, Reaper's versatility in routing will make one quite happy.

I think that the company has done a great job, and seems to pay attention to what the users request, which is always smart. The most important thing is that they have shown that their licensing model can work. I suppose I'll keep giving it a try every couple of years. I've always been rooting for them to succeed.

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Reaper has nothing to do with this topic, which has apparently drifted way off course... 😉

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6 minutes ago, abacab said:

Reaper has nothing to do with this topic, which has apparently drifted way off course... 😉

+100

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15 hours ago, ChernobylStudios said:

Make a video being critical about Cakewalk and see what happens. You'll find a rabid userbase coming out of the woodwork to misrepresent you and find any reason to slag off your criticisms. To think that Cakewalkers don't drink the kool-aid here is simply naive. The only good thing I can say about this is that in the new forum, a lot of the old elitist party-poopers are not here to jump in and stoke the flames

That may very well be the case, since I've gone back and looked a bit at the old Cakewalk forums 😛 

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Posted (edited)
On 5/5/2019 at 11:34 AM, Craig Anderton said:

WASAPI is a fantastic advance when working with laptops where you're stuck with onboard sound. However, you still can't get the kind of latencies with it that you can with ASIO. I think WASAPI will have a shot at replacing ASIO only when it starts hitting the sub-10 ms latency range consistently.

One huge advantage Core Audio on the Mac has over ASIO is the ability to aggregate interfaces easily. This is something that's been possible to do with the native Windows drivers for as long as I can remember, but again, aggregating meant using higher-latency drivers than ASIO. Sonar got on the WDM bandwagon early on, and it looked promising...but if you check out forum comments of that era, it seems most people opted for ASIO as being better in terms of either stability, compatibility, or latency. With WASAPI, it seems that WDM is now a "legacy" driver.

Yes, much of the older Vista Technologies are legacy, deprecated, and have been replaced since several years ago.

As far as the ASIO, etc. stuff... some of this is down to device manufacturers, as well.  Support for Windows technologies has generally been way worse than the equivalents on macOS, because Microsoft does not manage its platform as tightly as Apple.

This also extends to other things, like APIs for Text and Graphics, etc.  A lot of applications are still using legacy APIs for this stuff, even though superior replacements have been in place (in the Windows OS) for several years.  They simply don't see a point in updating and optimizing for the new stuff, because that isn't a fat new feature that will sell new licenses.

This is hilarious to see when you compare products like PaintShop Pro (uses legacy APIs, mostly) to something like Affinity Photo (uses all the new Windows and macOS APIs for things like Multi-Threading, Text and Graphics Rendering, GPU Acceleration, etc.).  The difference in both quality and performance are stark.  Having a newer/freshes code base also helps 😉

There are Audio Interfaces and devices that still have random issues in different DAW software... something that Microsoft tried to eliminate with their OS and Windows Logo requirements - but that has not worked so well.

Still need that 800MB driver package for those Realtek Audio Drivers!

P.S.  Honestly have had awful experience trying to get ASIO to work on Laptops with integrated audio.  Basically need an interface, there, and hope it isn't problematic with your DAW (less risky if you use one of the more "popular" DAWs (Pro Tools, Cubase, Studio One, Reaper, etc.)).

Edited by SomeGuy

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6 hours ago, abacab said:

Reaper has nothing to do with this topic, which has apparently drifted way off course... 😉

Apologies, then, I thought that discussions of other DAW's and how they stack up as far as popularity and user base and so on fit in with the topic.

No more Reaper madness.

That's one of the odd things in the DAW world, it's never been possible to know for sure how many people are using what, it's always been anecdotal.

With CbB and the BandLab Assistant, BandLab can get pretty accurate tracking of who is sticking with the program. If they renew the license, they're likely using it. It's not like other freeware where all they know is how many times it's been downloaded.

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44 minutes ago, Starship Krupa said:

Apologies, then, I thought that discussions of other DAW's and how they stack up as far as popularity and user base and so on fit in with the topic.

No more Reaper madness.

No apologies needed, it's all good!

I use several DAWs, and even have Reaper installed. Although it's far from my favorite, I'm always interested in learning more about it. 

But for DAW comparisons, I usually head over to the KVR forum for those fun and games! 😂

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As regards to the popularity of Cakewalk, Reaper is on topic because the popularity of other DAWs is related to the topic.  Most people aren't trying to use every popular piece of software on the planet.  The one that grabs them in a certain market tends to be the one they stick with, so users that Reaper gains are often users that Cakewalk has either lost, or won't gain as a result.

The more market share competitors gain, the more pressure Cakewalk has on it in the market because the popularity gap can widen.

Not sure why those two people made those posts.  They don't make a lick of sense.

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