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Former Sonar user seeks advice with import/ export for legacy projects


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Got a situation I'm sure others have gone through, hoping you can please share any insights, advice, experiences, and opinions….please skip to questions in bold if you don't need the background.

Was a  loyal Cakewalk power user from  DOS days through Sonar 8.   Switched to Mac/Logic about 12 years ago and hadn’t used it since.    In Sonar, I have two albums (about 19 songs) I planned to export for remix and adding new live overdubs.   The song (CWP) files are on a fairly organized external  Firewire drive, that were done on an old Xp Machine w/Sonar 8 producer.  Plugins & program are on the internal XP system drive.  

The songs contain mainly mono audio tracks (Sax, Violin etc. no live drums ) stereo loops, Midi files controlling external hardware synths (which I still have), and virtual synths (Stylus, Kontakt etc.) There are probably 15-40 tracks per song
I booted up Xp machine and it’s of course painfully slow.  Surprisingly, some of my Sonar muscle memory and all my macro shortcuts came back to me.  Was like visiting an old friend and seeing many of the features I used to love.  Problem is, that machine would  take ages to get anything done, and can’t support any current plugins.    BTW Was a trip in time seeing Netscape on there too! LOL

Bought a refurb I5 Windows 10 machine w 8mb.  Was going to copy my old Firewire song & audio drive files onto SSD to import.  The intention was to prepare the tracks to make  audio and midi stems for export to Logic;  since I’m really rusty on Cakewalk.     But because there’s a lot going on in the songs,  thinking now I might just stay in the native Windows environment and Cakewalk.

I figured I’d be more comfortable using my old version of SONAR,  but on a faster machine.    Looks like Bandlab’s Cakewalk would be far more stable and allow me to use my current plug-ins and virtual instruments.  Also, can’t find my original Sonar8 disk, nor my serial, so looks like my hand is forced anyway.     I briefly tried Bandlab which looks very stable and polished.  


1. With the exception of missing plugins, can  (older) Sonar songs load  accurately -  Any tips for importing?

2. Are  Bundle files the best way to get them into Bandlab/Cakewalk,  or can I skip that long preparation step and just load the regular song  (with it's nested files) off the corresponding SSD song folders and then re-save in Bandlab format?

3. Can Bandlab/Cake be set up in “classic” mode-  I never used Platinum, and the loop/xray stuff is not needed.

4. That said, if I went with my original plan-  Anyone have advice/tips or suggestions for preparing midi and audio stems for export for Logic/Abeton/PT etc.?

Pleasantly surprised how good Win10 is, though I’ll really  have to re-learn Windows and Cakewalk after 12 year absence.   One great thing is all my current FX and Synth plug-ins can be installed on Win 10,  so at least I’d still have that part of my workflow and tools in tact.   

Not sure how long it’ll take for me  to get up to speed, but (someone please tell me if I’m wrong….)  I think it will be faster for me to complete the projects in Cakewalk, rather than going through all the steps of exporting stems, and then having to import &  massage them into Logic?.

Many thanks in advance for reading and any advice and shared experiences. I’m sure much will be answered through trial & error, but hoping you can save me some of that.


Chris C

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The short answer is yes. I open old projects from 8.5 and even 6 and 7 all the time. I still have 8.5 installed because it came with a few things I still use. 
So old projects work as expected. 

CbB is a very much improved version of Sonar. They have focused on bug fixes and you'll find once you get used to the new workspace it's like riding a bike. 

It is recommended you install your older version first and then install Cakewalk. 

Edited by John Vere
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Funny, I just today reinstalled a slimmed 32-bit Ver. 8.5 from my OG CD's - only to use that DSP FX stereo chorus.  I copied my bass track to and fro for processing from CWBL - WITH BOTH OPEN AT THE SAME TIME.  

Like the Cactus Flower says, it's super simple and CWBL is so solid and immunized.  It will seamlessly open any and all of my Cakewalk  *.bun,  *.wrk  and *.cwp files back to 1996, including all of these in the screenshot below.  But I always keep the original versions (don't save over) to harvest organs from.  And never save a CWBL project with an older version.

I truly believe there is a warp in the fundamental digital universe that allows us to keep using this constantly evolving and updating WunderMuzikMaker for FRICKIN' FREE.  I mean, I bought my 'lifetime version' well before the last Sonar Platinum, but I never expected those old 12-Toners to last as long as I have.  Thanks Meng, BandLab, Morten and the rest of youze guys.   Truly an immaculate reincarnation. 



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From my knowledge, I still have no fellows in cross DAW converters. So, it is possible convert projects from Cakewalk into REAPER only (free but in-official and incomplete, at least it tries convert audio+MIDI+FXes with reasonable success). For audio (no MIDI, no FXes) there is AATranslator which covers most DAWs.
In practice, if projects are complicated and working with Bandlab is an option, that is most convenient approach.

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Many thanks for the replies all- really appreciated!!   This sounds very encouraging. 

Being able to load   old stuff directly  and not having to create Bun files first,  will streamline the process.

Didn't realize this (and the old) forum was up, and started going through some of the posts.     

As recommended,  my next quest is to see if I can find my old Sonar8.5   disk and serial, which I think I can grab off the XP install. 
Worst case I'll just dive in with the Bandab version today.   With work I also regularly have to use Abelton and PT,  so  I'll just tackle another OS and DAW.

 I can't remember, but I think the only Cake-centric plugs I regularly used besides the stock ones, were the  full paid versions of  Rapture and Dimension.  Was happy to see those got updated to AU, as I missed them too. 


Thank you again!

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