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Francois van der Merwe

Improvements needed, according to review of Mr. Bumblebee

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Posted (edited)

AdmiralBumblebee did a very thorough and scathing review of Cakewalk in Dec 2018.

I hate posting this bad review here because I really love Cakewalk. Lets look at this review as constructive criticism that leads to feature implementations and improvements.

I hope the dev's at Bandlab Cakewalk study this review and set goals accordingly.

 

Edited by Francois van der Merwe
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Not sure how to take this review to be honest. I found it highly subjective.

Although the reviewer did raise some good points on areas for improvement, there were plenty of comments that were just inaccurate as well (e.g. the "numbering" of audio devices, which is down to Focusrite's driver than Cakewalk) as  just marking something as useless because he personally wouldn't use it (e.g. surround - he doesn't use it so has nothing to say, but then marks it down at the end??).

On the plus side, he did praise the ProChannel in a big way, as well as praising areas that were not found on other DAW's. This wasn't reflected at all in the conclusion though.

 

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Luckily, the core features necessary for basic music making are in tact. For simple recording and mixing, Cakewalk is excellent. I quite enjoyed just recording a few guitar parts, some drums and bass, then doing a mix. It’s possibly the most pleasant of experiences in that regard when it comes to DAWs.

This would be what 99% of the userbase use it for, so good stuff then ! :)  Kudos to him for spending that amount of time on a review though, although I doubt more than a handful will read more than the conclusion.

 I will say what I always say, Cakewalk, and most other DAW out there are MORE than good enough to do the job. The software is NOT the problem these days. If you can't produce good music with Cakewak, Cubase, PT or whatever, it is not because of the software. We are way past that point and have been for a very long time. Stop focusing so much on the software and write better music, a new shiny feature or plugin will not make a difference.  He doesn't like Cakewalk, I do.  Different strokes etc ... 

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I thought it was pretty fair and balanced and raised some good points. I tend not to be a user of some of the thnigs he didn't like so much though.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, CosmicDolphin said:

I thought it was pretty fair and balanced and raised some good points. I tend not to be a user of some of the thnigs he didn't like so much though.

I agree with you, this guy seems nice and from my point of view his review is very impartial. Let's stop the "fanboysm" with the software and let's face reality. 

1 - Is Cakewalk the best free DAW in the world? Yes, no doubt.

2 - It has tons of unfinished features? Yes, it has... Video support, score editor, matrix view, audio editing, midi editing etc.

3 - Not being cross platform is a problem? Yes, it is for some people.

4 - Is the new owner fixing and improving the software? Yes... somehow. There are frequent updates but also there is no commitment of doing a much needed overhaul to the program from Bandlab. The same happens with the "features & ideas" section.

5 - Can you make music professionally with Cakewalk? Yes you can, as you can do the same with REAPER, Studio One, Pro Tools and all the others.

Edited by Alex H.
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according to mr bumblebee Cakewalk is 20 years behind when it comes to midi editing? Don't think i'd be setting any goals according to this guy's beliefs

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"The smart tool’s hot regions are small, so changing what the tool does requires hovering over tiny portions of notes."

I don't know, I kind of appreciate how deep is he going into details. Such things, most people aren't even aware of, when  first time working with new software. Those things you typically rather sense somehow but not notice consciously stright away. I can imagine, if you're new to Cakewalk, and have been trying some other DAWs in meantime, then you may get the feel of it as 'clumsy' or 'unresponsive', I've heard that about Sonar in the past. Of course I'm used to work with Cakewalk since more than 20 years so yeah, I may be "20 years behind" too, but he seems really experienced with handful other DAWs...

"I have spent 100+ hours in each one of these products creating detailed lists and coming up with objective evaluative tests to compare them. I’ve also worked for a handful of companies making these products, written various extensions, themes and a number of VST plug-ins. Oh yeah, and I am a recording engineer with OCD..."

I actually would love to see some bits like the 'smart tool's hot regions' adjusted. I believe I can work fast in Cakewalk but as I'm watching some videos where people are working in prv in, say, Fruity loops I can't stop wondering how faster are they. I'm not a programmer and have no clue how much work would that need. However the most important thing would be some proper decisions as for how much to adjust them.

And as I read the article I see honest approach and no hard feelings:

"Cakewalk - WINDOWS ONLY I have included this because it is a great product despite being Windows only."

So yeah, I probably would set goals according to this guy.

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The man is smart and does many good things, but...

He prefers Apple over Windows and so he has problems with many things but he does not have problems with dropped "legacy" features nor with single company eco-systems (apple, presonus). Not my style.

Also he use huge resolution monitors (only?).  And as the result  I was unable to finish reading his review with (latest) Firefox, these ridiculous big screenshots which "jump" on there own (why?) .

 

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Posted (edited)

I think he should be hired to redo the manual. He explains things very clearly. I now understand what snap to landmarks mean.

Could someone tell me what use you have for empty midiclips?

He seemed surprised it wasn't doable in CbB.

PS. I mean Mr Bumblebee.

Edited by Kurre
Addition.
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Posted (edited)

Another guy complaining about Cakewalk:

This one is different, since it has been done by a long time Cakewalk user. I am starting to think that the previous owners (Roland & Gibson) did very little for improving the software. Bandlab seems to be pushing the things in the right direction.

Edited by Alex H.

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2 hours ago, Alex H. said:

Another guy complaining about Cakewalk:

This one is different, since it has been done by a long time Cakewalk user. I am starting to think that the previous owners (Roland & Gibson) did very little for improving the software. Bandlab seems to be pushing the things in the right direction.

There was a interview that I've seen on reddit of one of the guys who was with Gibson at the time and when he was asked about the bugs he said something along the lines of "people don't get drawn in by bug fixes, they get drawn in by new features". I'm new to this daw, but from what it seems, Gibson focused more on adding new features to draw people in rather than making the programme more stable. Here's the thread to see what I'm talking about :)

 

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Also, here's the quote that I'm specifically talking about from the employee 

"Nobody will open their wallet for "we fixed a bunch of sh*t" but they will for "shiny new button that makes music". That is a flaw with selling one version each year. With rolling updates all of that went away and more effort went into fixing long standing bugs. The last 3 years of SONAR imo were the best years of SONAR for stability and effort applied to bugs."

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Posted (edited)
13 minutes ago, Stephen Ajewole said:

There was a interview that I've seen on reddit of one of the guys who was with Gibson at the time and when he was asked about the bugs he said something along the lines of "people don't get drawn in by bug fixes, they get drawn in by new features". I'm new to this daw, but from what it seems, Gibson focused more on adding new features to draw people in rather than making the programme more stable. Here's the thread to see what I'm talking about :)

 

The time has proven that Gibson were completely wrong with such decision since Cakewalk has been loosing users since the X1 days. Yes, people wants new features but polished ones and only followed by a solid core functionality. I agree with Bumbleebee in this part: 

"If Bandlab just took what’s already there and fixed it, it would be a great product. Get rid of the annoying popups, consolidate the menus, finish the tab view, finish the matrix view, improve automation, give the console an update, add some proper MIDI tooling, improve audiosnap, speed up the GUI, and integrate a decent audio editor, add AAF support. Now you have a product that will give any DAW a run for its money no matter the cost."

 

Edited by Alex H.
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10 hours ago, azslow3 said:

The man is smart and does many good things, but...

He prefers Apple over Windows and so he has problems with many things but he does not have problems with dropped "legacy" features nor with single company eco-systems (apple, presonus). Not my style.

Hehehe yes I agree, I prefer Windows too, generally. But I have to admit, when my friends are pulling out their Macbooks, they just plug them in and everything is working straight away, always! Without lagging, without hiccups. I have to fight the drivers everytime I try to move my laptop on stage. Better not to touch windows machine once it's working fine.

10 hours ago, azslow3 said:

Also he use huge resolution monitors (only?).  And as the result  I was unable to finish reading his review with (latest) Firefox, these ridiculous big screenshots which "jump" on there own (why?) .

I had to finish reading on my smartphone. My firefox didn't make it as well.

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2 hours ago, Alex H. said:

... Yes, people wants new features but polished ones and only followed by a solid core functionality. I agree with Bumbleebee in this part: 

"If Bandlab just took what’s already there and fixed it, it would be a great product. Get rid of the annoying popups, consolidate the menus, finish the tab view, finish the matrix view, improve automation, give the console an update, add some proper MIDI tooling, improve audiosnap, speed up the GUI, and integrate a decent audio editor, add AAF support. Now you have a product that will give any DAW a run for its money no matter the cost."

I would add better integration with hardware controllers to the list.

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1 hour ago, chris.r said:

But I have to admit, when my friends are pulling out their Macbooks, they just plug them in and everything is working straight away, always! Without lagging, without hiccups.

That is a mythos Apple has managed to spread. I agree, when you have a new Macbook and run Logic or other Apple staff on it, that works in general smoother then on Windows. That is logical, they produce one specific hardware and run own software on it. Windows has to deal with thousands of different hardware combinations.

But when it comes to practice... Read REAPER problem on 5k HDR Macbooks and saga how Justin tries to solve that, without success till now.  Software on my mothers iPad is more buggy then software on my no name Android tablet and I was surprise Apple lovers in fact know all that bugs.

"Lost" files? Sure! A colleague has asked me to help with his wife's Macbook. After some update, she no longer could run any program nor could she find own files. It was not so easy to find quite tricky manual fix (obviously known and not rare), but I have managed that.

Web and Video out of the box compatibility? Not for long... Another colleague has asked for help, the sites he likes no longer work in Safari, many videos are not working. Apple fix Safari and Video versions to Mac OS X version. Want up to date browser? Update the OS!

Some Macbooks have wlan problem in our institute. All Windows, Android and Linux devices are working fine, but these Macbooks have to be  wired. I still have no idea why.

Finally, some colleagues have switched from Macbooks after they was failing exactly one month after the end of warrantee. "Normal" laptops have 3 years, but Apple... just one!

Not to mention latest "too thin" Macbooks problem... but tss.. Apple does not like that ;)

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Posted (edited)

I get your point. I had Iphone once and could stand it for 2 weeks and then gave it for my kids. For home use I absolutely prefer windows but still would go with macbook+garageband combo for live use nonetheless 🤩. If only not the OS upgrades...

Back to the review, I think it's clear he made it in rush so it's understandable in some places the score is clearly too low. Enough to mention Remote Collaboration "0" or Software Updates "0", it's ridiculous. In my own review Cakewalk would have significantly more points. The more I'm impressed how quick and on point he was in finding the flaws, I particularly appreciate his versatile point of view, good job. Just imagine how good Cakewalk can become with most the issues fixed.

Edited by chris.r

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On 1/3/2019 at 7:34 AM, Alex H. said:

[...]

2 - It has tons of unfinished features? Yes, it has... Video support, score editor, matrix view, audio editing, midi editing etc.

[...]

This statement summarizes the crux of many issues.  "Unfinished features" comprise a much bigger list, and historically the old forum (especially under Gibson) became inundated with work arounds (e.g., "You can achieve that via this convoluted method, so it is already there!") rather than acknowledgement (e.g., "Oh, good point, we can definitely do that better!") and following through on it. This constantly came across as "I have given you a work around, so will forget you ever said anything." That mindset and its implied statement do not coincide with sales, usage, or promotion of a product; and Gibson epitomized this. The former "Feature Request" forum was filled with a plethora of good and detailed ideas, but was locked, and subsequently slid out of public view. I used to review them off and on and think of "what could have been." It amounted to a lot of heart-felt time and effort by users wasted.

The "200+ hours" from the article in the OP strikes home for me as well. Granted, he tried to delve into everything he could, but new users are often beset with a similar time investment. Practical guides for new users is important, especially where common tasks are readily exposed with underlying functionality polished.

[Side comment, potentially related] One thing I find concerning is that this new forum seems to be populated predominantly with members from the old. I *assume* this is open to everyone (perhaps in error), so find it odd that more new members are not present.

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