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Jesse Jost

Still using SONAR?

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adding plugins while track is playing without glitchy/crashy would make it second to none ;)

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On 10/13/2020 at 1:38 PM, Starship Krupa said:

Ain't it just great to be able to leave it running and forget about it?...

I'll typically get that with Cakewalk, until I've ran out of pc resources :D.  I've read many complaints over the years on kvr that Cakewalk has stability issues and always believed this is more of an user error or something is going on with their system, more than a Cakewalk instability. Always loved that i could open some plugins in Cakewalk a few other DAWs struggled to open, had the feeling like Cakewalk was always more liberal with how it approaches plugins than, say, Cubase which is more strict imo. The rare crashes I get are those mystery ones that happen randomly and thus are difficult to chase, and the most probable scenario is that I'll hit something while Cakewalk is playing, like open a plugin GUI, but the crash won't happen if I stop Cakewalk first.

On 10/25/2020 at 2:02 PM, Noel Borthwick said:

It has more to do with how well the plugin vendors test their products in other DAWs than "how well" any given DAW handles plugins. We have a pretty solid VST3 implementation second to none.

Most probably the videos I watched were posted using solid working plugins only and/or any crashes were edited out. I'm more than fine with how Cakewalk handles plugins, just noticed that it is getting a touch less stable while playing. Whether it's Cakewalk's fault or the plugins's I won't be able to tell. Crashes that I'm getting are very rare these days, last time I had a crash was when opening IK T-Racks 5 plugin for the first time in a project, but then it never happened again. Now try to be smart here :D.

Edited by chris.r

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9 hours ago, pwalpwal said:

adding plugins while track is playing without glitchy/crashy would make it second to none

Whatever those folks at Ableton are doing, jeepers. I was able to switch driver modes without stopping playback. Yet they haven't even implemented WASAPI support, despite the fact that so many of their users are on laptops using no external interfaces. The internal help system even recommends ASIO4ALL.

4 hours ago, chris.r said:

always believed this is more of an user error or something is going on with their system, more than a Cakewalk instability

As much of a CbB rah-rah as I am, I will say that the first issue of Cakewalk by BandLab was quite unstable on my system. I had to "baby" it to get it not to crash. If I moved the main window during playback, the Now Time and playback head would stay behind on the desktop and keep running all on its merry own. If you go back over the change lists, Noel and company have implemented tons of bugfixes. It follows that for every bug fix, there was a bug.

I have a theory that with programs we use all the time, after a while we learn to tiptoe around things that to new users are glaring defects.

If someone only knew Ableton Live, for instance, and tried to add a plug-in during playback and CbB stopped its audio engine, they might conclude that it's buggy and unstable. We, on the other hand, would take that in stride. As you say, you've learned that plug-in X will crash it if you insert it while playback is running, so you hit the spacebar, drop in the plug-in, and hit the spacebar again. Ta-dah, all is happy in Cakewalk land.

My favorite chorus is Acon Digital's Multiply. Acon recently updated it, including the "new and improved" VST3 version. If I use the VST3 in CbB and change the stereo interleave on that track, my DAW emits a horrible meter-pegging BRAAAAAAAP sound that doesn't go away until I mute the channel or plug-in. I reported it and the devs suggested I contact Acon, which is reasonable, it's obvious to me that Acon had some trouble with the VST3 spec. If I use the VST2 version of the new Multiply, it's solid as a rock, so I deleted the VST3 and only use the VST2. Ta-dah, all is happy in Cakewalk land.

I used to be a QA engineer for a product that used 3rd-party plug-ins, and like VST, the "standard" was proprietary and controlled by a powerful competitor. We regularly saw plug-ins that worked fine in the other program but crashed the snot out of ours. Our program initially followed the spec to the letter, but our devs had to "code around" the various ways that the plug-ins didn't comply. Our product manager spent a lot of time in contact with plug-in developers, trying to convince them to use their resources to make their products more compliant. But since they already worked in the competitor's program, it was a hard sell.

Whenever the CbB devs encounter a plug-in that crashes, they must decide whether or not to code around it. CbB is supposedly very compliant with the VST spec, Noel B. says that even Steinberg say so. But even when both the host and the plug-in are "compliant" with the spec, they still may have problems, because the spec doesn't cover every possible scenario. One of the more bulletproof ways involves "sandboxing," allowing the host to trap errors, but that introduces another layer, hence latency, and it doesn't solve the compatibility issue itself. CbB sandboxes during plug-in enumeration, which is great. Sound Forge doesn't, and it hangs on startup with a certain brainworx plug-in.

Anyway, on topic: Cakewalk by BandLab handles plug-ins better than SONAR did. 😁 In my experience, and according to the change lists. So in the unlikely event that anyone is reading this, if you're still using SONAR and have issues with plug-ins, try CbB. There's no cost and no risk (except that you might get sucked into making more music).

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1 hour ago, Starship Krupa said:

I have a theory that with programs we use all the time, after a while we learn to tiptoe around things that to new users are glaring defects.

I by myself can prove your theory valid... I'm on Cakewalk since 90-ties :D 

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7 hours ago, Starship Krupa said:

and tried to add a plug-in during playback and CbB stopped its audio engine, they might conclude that it's buggy and unstable.

Yes, this is also my experience: Never do such changes during playback! The only occasions when CbB (also Sonar) crashes at my place are if I do something during playback. So I got used to avoid that! 😉

7 hours ago, Starship Krupa said:

If you go back over the change lists, Noel and company have implemented tons of bugfixes. It follows that for every bug fix, there was a bug.

Maybe, but there are many new bugs within the new features/functionalities also. If I look at the bug fixes I see that there have been a lot for e.g. the Arranger! My impression is that the latest releases are more dedicated to new features than bug fixes. I have reported a couple, some with downsized projects, but it seems there does not happen a lot! I don't like to do a lot of effort anymore, I'm done!

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Got to disagree with that, in fact stability and bug fixes was a big bullet point for the previous release:

There's been TONS of fixes dating back to pre-X series SONAR. But of course, since this software isn't dead software, it still has to evolve and add features to make it a competitive product, which sometimes can take a while to settle.

But let's compare this to something like Vegas, for example. One big release a year, MANY bugs that have gone unchecked for years, and you have to be a braver man than me to install the initial new release. Once it settles after a few updates it's fine for a lot of people but that's a lot of uncertainty for something that's paid software that's impossible to roll back to a previous version. On the other hand, CbB is still fixing things from a previous product line even now, adding new features every other month and I'd argue the majority of people on here are having a pretty solid experience.

I know I'd be gone pretty damn quickly if I was having the kind of problems that impact my workflow - I just simply don't have time for buggy software. People can call me a fanboy all they like, but that's the honest answer on my part - it works for me. If it didn't, I'd be using something else.

Of course, everyone's system is different, everyone's workflow is different. A lot of the devs are really hands-on here (when they can be - this is a peer-to-peer forum, ultimately) so it's worth reaching out to support and getting stuff in the system rather than just going "ah, buggy rubbish, let's use ProTools instead" - if stuff gets fixed, we all win. This is something you DON'T get by using abandoned software instead of a currently maintained product.

If something's not working, let's find out why. :)

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4 hours ago, marled said:

Yes, this is also my experience: Never do such changes during playback! The only occasions when CbB (also Sonar) crashes at my place are if I do something during playback. So I got used to avoid that! 😉

I hope you're joking, but it was something that used to happen lots when I tried the 1st CbB and happens rarely now.

What I meant to suggest is that I've never seen a DAW with as sturdy a playback engine as Ableton Live, and if that were all I were used to, the occasional burps I get from Cakewalk and other DAW's when I mess about with plug-ins might look worse. When the audio engine stops unexpectedly during playback in CbB, I think it's  annoying, but not a sign that it's a particularly crap DAW. It rarely happens, but it does from time to time. That's what I meant by "take it in stride." (perhaps a poor way to put it) I hit the spacebar and if it starts up and doesn't happen again, who cares. One audio engine drop out when I insert a plug-in isn't cause for alarm if it's many hours of use since the last one.

I can say that I'd rather go onstage and do a live set with Cakewalk as my performance DAW than try to comp audio tracks in Ableton Live or Reason.

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On 10/25/2020 at 2:11 PM, pwalpwal said:

adding plugins while track is playing without glitchy/crashy would make it second to none ;)

I would also add gapless plugin bypass for smooth comparison on top of that. :) 

Edited by chris.r

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1 hour ago, Starship Krupa said:

I hope you're joking, but it was something that used to happen lots when I tried the 1st CbB and happens rarely now.

What I meant to suggest is that I've never seen a DAW with as sturdy a playback engine as Ableton Live, and if that were all I were used to, the occasional burps I get from Cakewalk and other DAW's when I mess about with plug-ins might look worse. When the audio engine stops unexpectedly during playback in CbB, I think it's  annoying, but not a sign that it's a particularly crap DAW. It rarely happens, but it does from time to time. That's what I meant by "take it in stride." (perhaps a poor way to put it) I hit the spacebar and if it starts up and doesn't happen again, who cares. One audio engine drop out when I insert a plug-in isn't cause for alarm if it's many hours of use since the last one.

I can say that I'd rather go onstage and do a live set with Cakewalk as my performance DAW than try to comp audio tracks in Ableton Live or Reason.

I don't want to say that it happens often (maybe because I avoid some things), but if I do things during playback CbB crashes sometimes even in very small projects. I had that just 2 days ago (tampered with audio clips). But otherwise it is stable and I really can live without doing major things during playback.

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5 hours ago, Lord Tim said:

But of course, since this software isn't dead software, it still has to evolve and add features to make it a competitive product, which sometimes can take a while to settle.

Maybe, fanboy! 😄

But on my side I don't expect a lot of new features, CbB/Sonar is already a very rich DAW. There is only one new feature of CbB that I really love and value over Sonar: The visual clip gain change. I know, this maybe very different to other users and I accept this. But sometimes I just have the feeling that the program gets overloaded of functionality/complexity(for users and developers) and that a lot of old things could need some finish.

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I'm definitely with you on some of the old features that could do with a  polish - parts of CbB are really quite old now and I'd love to see them brought into line with the fancy new stuff like the  Arranger tracks and Articulation maps. 

But from what I gather the team is pretty streamlined now and there's only so many hours in the day to prioritise stuff.  I've certainly got my pet list of things I want them to look at (and I'm sure they're sick of me badgering them about it! Haha). I'm just happy things are moving ahead as they are. I could have been pretty satisfied with the last SONAR before Gibson pulled the rug out, but seeing what's in there now has really made a big difference to my personal workflow. :)

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9 hours ago, marled said:

Maybe, but there are many new bugs within the new features/functionalities also. If I look at the bug fixes I see that there have been a lot for e.g. the Arranger! My impression is that the latest releases are more dedicated to new features than bug fixes. I have reported a couple, some with downsized projects, but it seems there does not happen a lot! I don't like to do a lot of effort anymore, I'm done!

New features do need time to get polished, that's to be expected and they get fixed pretty quick. Some of them are very welcome, the upcoming Articulation Maps as an example or visual clip gain that you mentioned. What's disappointing is that new features are not always implemented in best way, visual clip gain for example could be implemented in a little bit more practical way to save us the need for a few additional clicks but it didn't and I have the feeling like it was left unfinished, 98% there but left the 2% out. And so I have to keep that jealous look towards some other DAWs that do the trick the better way, but no, no way for switching cause they lack so much in other departments :D. As to why bugs that you reported aren't fixed I can only wonder, maybe they are too specific and need more time for a thoughtful solution or maybe they are already logged in and just wait for their turn.

Edited by chris.r
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3 hours ago, Lord Tim said:

the fancy new stuff like the  Arranger tracks and Articulation maps.

Oh yeah! I like your kind of wording! It is how I feel, too. 👍

 

3 hours ago, Lord Tim said:

and I'm sure they're sick of me badgering them about it! Haha

I think they are glad that you are not as cumbersome as me! 😆

 

3 hours ago, chris.r said:

As to why bugs that you reported aren't fixed I can only wonder, maybe they are too specific and need more time for a thoughtful solution or maybe they are already logged in and just wait for their turn.

No, I don't think they are very specific. But I think maybe they hate me! 😄

Some are easy to fix, but I can imagine that some things (e.g. loudness problems with VSTi, normal/frozen/export, ...) are quite difficult to change because a lot maybe affected. On the other hand I have seen that other users are also affected by some of them. Finally you are right, it is just a matter of priority.

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I am seeing a theme here at times.   Stability and bug fixes are more important than adding new features.    Thank you, great Cakewalk people!

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22 hours ago, chris.r said:

I would also add gapless plugin bypass for smooth comparison on top of that. :) 

I don't see this often on my systems. I wonder what the difference is? System specs in sig, nothing special.

I have noticed that audio gaps while bypassing/unbypassing FX seem to happen more when I use the VST3-specific button in the upper left corner of the plug-in window than if I use the buttons in the Track/Console FX rack. I think there's a different bypass mechanism depending on which bypass button you hit.

VST3, it figures.

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It really comes down to the plugin too - some plugins with long lookaheads that introduce latency will necessarily cause gaps when taken out because the engine needs to recompute the latency compensation. I know some hosts just kind of go "ehhh" and let it fall where it does to stop the gaps, but that's not how CbB does stuff.

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I have no idea about a DAW programming but I always believed this is a design thing. You design a feature to work that way or another - example, how we deal with gapless connecting two clips - crossfades... Sure a gapless bypassing would require some additional effort to achieve it. That's why it is still an exclusive feature even today, only rarely found on some products.

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On 10/27/2020 at 11:44 PM, Starship Krupa said:

I don't see this often on my systems. I wonder what the difference is? System specs in sig, nothing special.

I have noticed that audio gaps while bypassing/unbypassing FX seem to happen more when I use the VST3-specific button in the upper left corner of the plug-in window than if I use the buttons in the Track/Console FX rack. I think there's a different bypass mechanism depending on which bypass button you hit.

VST3, it figures.

We have no control over what the VST3 bypass does since all the host does is pass on the bypass request to the plugin. The DAW continues streaming audio to the plugin as before. If you have a problem with that specific bypass you can report it to the the plugin vendor.  The Cakewalk FX Rack bypass on the other hand properly handles plugins with lookahead by managing this behind the scenes while playback is underway. i.e. Bypassing and unbypassing the plugin should not cause an interruption in the audio.

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