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Introducing Cakewalk Next and our new brand identity

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1 hour ago, Brian Walton said:

Reaper costs to own outright though they don't seem to need to create a sub to get there.

According to Justin Frankel:


The motivation is to make a system that's fair for people to use and to reduce our customer service issues. We don't wanna make people pay for things before they test it. So, the idea is you let people test it, and have them pay once they determined it meets their needs. And we don't wanna spend our time working on copy protection. And the more you make something disable itself, then you ultimately give incentives for people to crack it. And then you spend more time working on copy protection, and then the next thing you know, that's your job and that would be terrible.

Edited by Bruno de Souza Lino
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A positive response:

1. I last purchased Cakewalk SONAR Producer Edition in 2004 if I remember right. It was V4. I paid $450. I've had a working SONAR/Cakewalk for 19 years now. So that's like $23.68 per year, or $1.97 a month... And the software is a whole lot better now than it was back then!  So those of us who paid got a pretty sweet deal even if we have to pay again! 🙂

2. The 4k UI scaling vector update is a HUGE upgrade in and of itself. Are you guys still working on 1920x1080 monitors? 4k is incredible, but Cakewalk is TINY even on a 32 inch 4k monitor... And if you enable UI scaling, it's very blurry. Don't underestimate the value of the 4k overhaul -- it represents a large investment and it sets Cakewalk up to be competitive in the future.

3. Worries over vector performance -- FLStudio uses a vector based UI and performs very well. And if they do encounter performance problems, they can use a vector-rendered-to-graphics process that is the best of both worlds. It's just more code.

4. Speculation: Cakewalk NEXT will be included with their Bandlab subscription. Right now it's $15/month or $12.46/month when paid yearly. That includes some promotion and also music distribution (Spotify, etc.) ...

They might create two levels of subscription: $9.99 for Cakewalk NEXT (no distribution), and $14.99 for NEXT & SONAR + music distribution. That's competitive with Soundcloud -- you get a good DAW + distribution + music host for the same cost as Soundcloud. Not bad.  I can't see them going higher than $15/month for SONAR because they can't be more expensive than Studio One... Music distribution would really sweeten the subscription deal.

5. Lastly, if you're someone who loves a software and always buys the new version -- you're practically on a subscription anyway. I spent enough money with both Waves & Plugin Alliance that I could have subscribed for 8 years for each. And when I update to the next version of my Sonible tools? It'll be $240 in updates... And FabFilter? Oh boy. It adds up... Ableton updates are around $200 per version... It costs money to make software, and if SONAR can successful return to a pay model that means it has a future that it may not have otherwise.

6. As existing fans of the software -- our support & word of mouth will be important for the SONAR launch. If you like SONAR I strongly advise backing the company with this move. Day 1 purchases. Spreading the word to others. They need a strong user base to justify continued investment, so lets try to give them a good start.  If the launch falls flat we could end up losing this great product.  Or we can do what we can to push it forward and we could have another 20+ more years with it!

PS. If you're bummed about buying it in the past and having to buy it again -- just calculate how much you've gotten out of it, like I did. If you paid for it 15-20 years ago it might not be such a hard pill to swallow. We got our money's worth. 🙂

Edited by Cyanide Lovesong
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18 minutes ago, Cyanide Lovesong said:

The 4k UI scaling vector update is a HUGE upgrade

Has any representative from Bandlab actually described Sonar as such? I've seen "High DPI support" and "vector graphics" but i have not seen "scalable". Just tempering our expectations here.

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My statement after having thought for a few hours. Please understand, this is just me, one of many users, telling you what I will do. Don't argue, it isn't worth it. I only share it in case, other users might be just as confused as I was regarding the commercial aspect. It might help some people, to get a view from somebody else, or it might not.

1) I'm not interested in Next.
2) I'm basically interested in Cakewalk Sonar.
3) CbB is a fantastic free DAW. In fact the only REALLY free DAW.
4) Rebranded as Sonar and sold for whatever price, it is just one of many commercial DAWs.
5) If the offer is subscription only, i'm out. I personally have no interest in that in general.
6) If there is a one time payment that is higher than Reaper, I'm out.

The reason for this decision is simple. On the commercial market, I compare carefully my options. And if I have to pay anyway, I will go with the one that has the newest codebase. That ensures it is a fast DAW, with faster bug fixes (because the developers don't need to dive into 30 year old parts of code) and better future proof. I will use the next year to slowly transfer my projects to the new DAW and then look forward.

Subconsciously it might also play a role, that I don't feel good with Noel's aggressive and almost arrogant defense of subscription services. It signals to me, that the devs are on another mindset than me. That is understandable, but it makes me uncomfortable.

Again, this is just what I, a small little user, will do. I don't try to convince anybody to do the same, nor do I suddenly think bad of CbB. So please be friendly.

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9 hours ago, limpet said:

I started a few years ago with Reaper, used it for a while, felt a bit guilty and decided to buy the personal use license which I think was about £40 at the time. Unfortunately I couldn`t really get to grips with it so I went looking for something a little simpler to use and came across Mixcraft. This was easier to use, and so more enjoyable and I paid about £70 for it. Every couple of years it was revamped into a new release which existing customers could get, if they so desired, at around a 50% discount, so all good there.

Unfortunately, Mixcraft started to get a bit crashy and I very nearly lost a lot of projects so I had a look around and came across Cakewalk. I tried it out and I have to admit when I opened it up it was pretty intimidating, but after a few hours playing with it, it was humming along nicely and I have used it ever since with no issues. Got to love that pro channel.

Obviously this free to use situation was too good to be true and could never realistically last, so this news is not unexpected.

The only question to be answered really is about the pricing.

For me, not a heavy user, if it`s a case of a one off payment in the region of £80 to £100 with new versions every couple of years at a 40 % discount to existing users, then I could go for that. If on the other hand we`re talking more like £200 or God forbid a subscription then that would be too rich for me and I would be compelled to give Reaper another try, or see if Mixcraft has become more stable, which would be no real hardship as I have already paid once so it wouldn`t  be to expensive to re-visit and upgrade a bit.

Time will tell of course, but I will keep my fingers crossed and hope for the best.


You may or may not know - Mixcraft 10 has been released.

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As a long-time user since Cakewalk Pro Audio, through Sonar and Gibson, and into CbB...   I welcome the news with some trepidation.  Hopefully Cakewalk by Bandlab team and leadership have done some market research and understand their customer base well.  If not, I have concerns for the future of development.  Once you start charging it really matters where the development focus goes.  Just my point zero two dollars.  Here are some development wishlist ideas - this is an off-the-cuff and very incomplete list of thoughts:

  • Update the workflow in several areas where things haven't moved in years.  Other DAWs have much easier ways to do various things.  Cakewalk does it the multi-click/multi-step way "just 'cause" - this doesn't scale well into the future.
  • Provide some sort of well-supported/hooked API/scripting support.  This would enable a whole cottage industry of supporting tooling or processing options.  CAL was visionary back in the day, but it's abandoned ideologically.  Bringing back support for a simple scripting toolkit(python or javascript api?) would enable all kinds of workflows that could really move things forward.
  • Enhancing the MIDI generation/editing tools (see Cubase)
  • Machine/learning or AI support for mixing/tracking/mastering or midi generation...
  • Give some service to the scoring engine - or leave it behind and let it go to waste.  I don't use it, but for those who do and would, it's (afaict) a huge drawback that it's archaic.  To have a well-developed scoring engine with client support (look forward another comment) would kick Sonar into next-gen territory
  • Develop a mobile app that can talk to a session and be delegated certain views or layouts.  For example:  lyrics to a tablet device (this could be web-based so it doesn't require so much bespoke/multiplatform code).  Music score parts to instruments in an orchestra that would move along in sync to the clock so singers or players could read their parts in time during a tracking session.
  • About the mobile app idea: even to provide support for a local network discovery so client apps could be web-based and have limited but critical functionality like transport control or score/lyrics views would be, IMHO, very useful.

As I said, I fully recognize this opinionated list depends on the customer base for the product.  Who is that base?  Does Bandlab know?  Let's hope so...  otherwise I worry that things could spiral downward in a hurry.  Lots of competition in the paid space.

Bandlab:  I wish you well, and I'll most likely stay with you unless the pricing is whacked.  But really, if you're going paid, you have to at least keep up with the competitors, and in many ways you're not there.  It was easy to paper over while you were free.


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12 hours ago, Helios.G said:

Just saw a preview of pricing.  Apparently $499 is the price for the top tier level.  It scales down from there. 

Could you please link to this "preview?" The new product is called "Cakewalk Sonar," not "SONAR Platinum." This looks like old, archived information.

Edited by Starship Krupa
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9 minutes ago, Helios.G said:

sure.  I looked for cakewalk pricing, and this is what came up.  When you click through, it's the new product page.

Those are all cached Google hits from their spidering engine having read the old website. If you click on the actual links (try it) they take you to the current Cakewalk Sonar page, which has none of that pricing listed.

Please be careful. There's enough FUD floating up.

If you don't understand how Google's caching works, I can explain it. This is another reason why keeping the old Cakewalk, Inc. web server up and running for the past 5 years was....perhaps not the greatest idea.

Edited by Starship Krupa
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3 hours ago, Bruno de Souza Lino said:

"Rent-to-buy" is just another term for a payment plan. What you're describing is a subscription plan which only applies to updates.

Let's be fair, you can stop paying anytime you want and the product keeps working.

If subscriptions expire, then it stops working.


I think the "gibson model" were ok, you could make a statement and stop paying saying I am not that satisfied. It's very much like paying for upgrades traditional way like Cubase and alike has. The difference was every month or as often as you like you got loads of bugfixes and new features with "gibson model". I did the annual model and it was perfect for me.


My objection is the 6 months mandatory activation period as CbB. Three years ago and it was time for reactivation and it did not work. So uninstalled CbB and went back to good old Sonar Artist 2015, and has been on that since. New computer since 5 month, and only daw installed is Sonar Artist.


My path has been Fostex Portastudios beginning millenium, nTrack, Sonar Studio 4, Sonar Studio 8.5, Reaper 3-4, Samplitude ProX2, Sonar X3, Cubase Pro 8-9.5, StudioOne 4, Sonar Artist. And evaluated ProTools somewhere in between there.


Sonar stands the test.


So look forward to a new Sonar unless some mandatory activation period. Cubase or Gibson models are fine with me.

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58 minutes ago, Larioso said:

The difference was every month or as often as you like you got loads of bugfixes and new features with "gibson model". I did the annual model and it was perfect for me.

The thing that has to be understood for everyone is: Bugfixes are not updates. They are fixes.


So, if it turns out that on the last release of your so called "rent to buy" scheme, you get a version that won´t load your favorite or most needed plugin (e.g.: kontakt for that cue you have to deliver in two days, or that eq that is all over your mixing session), just because "bug"... you´ll cough up more payments just to, fingers crossed, get a bugfix, so you can continue working?

How is that correct behavior?

How is that not holding your work hostage?


So no, no subscriptions, especially if disguised as a "perpetual license". If I would be willing to pay upfront for 12 months of updates, I would expect, at least, a new feature once a month. At least. And new. Bugfixes? not gonna pay extra for those.

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2 hours ago, Helios.G said:

Just saw a preview of pricing.  Apparently $499 is the price for the top tier level.  It scales down from there.  I've been with cakewalk since music maker, and then sonar 5.  But 500 bucks in this day and age when competitors are available for a quarter of that, and current inflation is obscene.  This is the quoted text I saw in a preview window on google, you can't actually see it when you click through, but you can search for cakewalk pricing on google and see the text preview.

"$49.99/MO. ... Pay for SONAR in monthly installments for 12 months and own SONAR forever. Rent to Own. Other ways to buy SONAR Platinum. Top Dealers Buy ...


On a link further down I saw this too.

"SONAR - Compare Versions

Price, $49, $99, $199, $499 ; Updated, Periodically, Monthly, Monthly, Monthly."

And this one.

"$9.99/MO. ... Pay for SONAR in monthly installments for 12 months and own SONAR forever. Rent to Own. Other ways to buy SONAR Artist. Top Dealers Buy ...



I was hoping for a competitive monthly and yearly option, but I can't plunk down 500 or 50 a month right now, as much as a I love the platform 



Just to clarify again for people, this is the old Gibson era SONAR Platinum product that's been discontinued for over 5 years.

There has been no pricing information released for the new Cakewalk Sonar (or Cakewalk Next) as yet.

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Somebody posed the question at some point, but I can't find an answer in the thread.   Will Next run old CbB/SONAR projects?  If not, will Cakewalk provide a standalone file converter?   Even if not everything transferred over it would be useful to have a way to move at least some aspects of the projects beyond just exporting and importing stems.  Since there will now be a Cakewalk DAW that runs on Mac (limited Codeweavers effort does not count), being able to bring over old SONAR projects might be another angle to encourage former "Sonarites" that are on Mac to rejoin the fold.

Of course, Next itself will have to be good.  It will be hard for a version 1.0 DAW to compete with existing products if it is bare bones.  I am hoping that Next is in effect a partial port/port in progress of the Sonar functionality with some new twists.  I have been examining the few posted screenshots of Next for indication of Sonar ancestry.



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Sonar is basically the next stage of the SONAR Platinum / Cakewalk by Bandlab line and will open your legacy projects (from what I understand it'll still happily open old .WRK files from the early days too) but as I understand it, Next is a whole new product that has its own thing going on.

It'd be nice to see some kind of import tool, absolutely! But I guess if this is similar to Bandlab Studio, then you can upload your project to the Bandlab servers inside Cakewalk like we can now, and then open it up inside Next. It won't be a 1:1 thing but it'll be enough to get a project idea across from platform to platform.

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What came in my mind mind - can owners confirm that we just get one version with different payment options not a multiple tier versions with lower ones lacking some functions? Personally I really hate software distributed in tht way.

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On 6/6/2023 at 2:47 PM, Matthew Carr said:

Probably a common sentiment. I want to stay with Cakewalk Sonar as it's what I'm familiar with.. but it really does depend on the pricing. The free updates and new features were lovely while they lasted,  but obviously couldn't continue forever...  so now we'll need to see how Bandlab value Cakewalk against the competition, and if us old timers who have paid for the product previously get any kind of accommodation. I totally understand the comments about being two different companies, and it would be completely justifiable to start from scratch, but if that happens then personally I'd have a good look round at some of the competition... 

Having said that, we have to be thankful that Bandlab kept Cakewalk alive, and has continued to invest in it... and has one of the best DAW forums around (which, actually, counts for a lot!)

I bought Reaper when Gibson dropped Sonar (Platinum in my case).  Didn't use it much and got very irritated with it when I did (but more in a bit).  I was also relieved when Bandlab picked up Cakewalk, but also concerned.  "How long will it be free?", etc.  I was very surprised and grateful for what followed. 

I did not give up on Reaper however and though I am now intermediate at best I've come to appreciate it.  For various reasons I am not able to support the kind of budget that Studio One etc require. 

Anyway I think it would be very decent of Bandlab to offer a steep discount on the new Sonar (which initially at least will be using the substantially same code base as the old Sonar) to people like me.  If they don't do this I won't touch it.  BTW I know all too well they have no legal obligation.  

I will keep CBB and will install the final update.  I will finish some things off.  Then I may uninstall it and, sadly, say goodbye.  

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