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Joe Dun

Make Cakewalk easy

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i think part of the challenge these days is that a daw is now no longer solely an engineering tool, but also a  music-making tool, and the boundary is (deliberately?) blurred...

8 hours ago, Jim Fogle said:

The key point for me is we (forum members, DAW users and music lovers) HAVE to come up with solutions that will attract new people to the business or hobby.

for me, no, why evangelise it, why is it key to attract new users? the right people with the right attitude will find the tools for their interests - by evangelising, you inevitably end up with those users who expect the tools to do the work for them, ideally with no learning or effort involved - stop saying it's easy to make music in x app - a dog whistle to the lazy and incompetent - and you won't keep getting all the same basic "how do i insert a synth" type questions...

however, evangelising "it's easy to make music in this app" will increase sales, which is the key thing for businesses

have you ever tried explaining a maths problem to someone who just doesn't get it?

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I am the original poster.  In retrospect, I should have named the thread "Make Cakewalk a cakewalk"... and that primarily means that a new user of the software, and even new to MID should be able to get started and have a path to master the program with the resources provided.  That resource should primarily be the user manual.

I realize that many of the replies are not directed at myself, but just general statements about software users.  I will restate that I am a highly experienced computer user, who cut his teeth on CPM, then in DOS, and even did a bit of machine-language programming.  I have invested the hours to try to learn Cakewalk. Though, I will concede that I should give the BandLabs version a fresh start from the beginning.  However, the recent example where I was unable to figure out how to reorder tracks, somewhat discouraged me on that effort.  It indicated to me that the documentation is still not where it needs to be, since the documentation described actions that didn't work.  Hopefully that was just a fluke, and the forum proved to be a great resource to eventually figure it out.  I am willing to give Cakewalk another try.

Cakewalk, to live up to its name sake, should be something a complete beginner should be able to do basic operations without having to resort to asking for a proper explanation on a forum.

-Joe

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4 minutes ago, Joe Dun said:

I am the original poster.  In retrospect, I should have named the thread "Make Cakewalk a cakewalk"... and that primarily means that a new user of the software, and even new to MID should be able to get started and have a path to master the program with the resources provided.  That resource should primarily be the user manual.

I realize that many of the replies are not directed at myself, but just general statements about software users.  I will restate that I am a highly experienced computer user, who cut his teeth on CPM, then in DOS, and even did a bit of machine-language programming.  I have invested the hours to try to learn Cakewalk. Though, I will concede that I should give the BandLabs version a fresh start from the beginning.  However, the recent example where I was unable to figure out how to reorder tracks, somewhat discouraged me on that effort.  It indicated to me that the documentation is still not where it needs to be, since the documentation described actions that didn't work.  Hopefully that was just a fluke, and the forum proved to be a great resource to eventually figure it out.  I am willing to give Cakewalk another try.

Cakewalk, to live up to its name sake, should be something a complete beginner should be able to do basic operations without having to resort to asking for a proper explanation on a forum.

-Joe

I agree the name is misleading. There are many steep learning curves involved throughout.  For the first time I now side with the people who said "Sonar" should have been retained, instead of reclaiming the old "Cakewalk" name. I do not think that this robust software can ever be a snap to learn--turn it on and instantly know how to do things.

 

 

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On 11/22/2019 at 9:15 PM, Joe Dun said:

It took quite a lot of effort on both myself, and others, to finally drill down to the root cause. I.e. the active area is not normally available until you expand the tracks.

Missed this discussion originally, but, for the record, the hotspot described in the Ref. Guide works for me at absolute minimum height and width of tracks. That said, I usually use the area to the right of the top row of widgets, as it's usually wider and easier to hit.

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@pwalpwal.  I get what you're saying and agree more than you might think.  I get aggravated almost anytime someone evangelizes a thought and did not suggest that method of attracting new users,  But perhaps you misunderstood my post .  @Joe Dun restated my thought much better than I possibly can.

@Francois van der Merwe's comment is very interesting.  I wonder how many forum members have looked at the online DAW.  I admit I haven't but not for the reason many suspect.  The online DAW requires the user to install and use Google Chrome and I don't use Chrome.  I've tried alternate browsers that rely on Chrome technology but the BandLab.com website rejects them.  However, I've used the online mixer available on another website and was happily surprised at the ease of use.

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1 hour ago, Jim Fogle said:

I wonder how many forum members have looked at the online DAW. 

I will assume by "online DAW" you mean Bandlab. I have looked at it and tested a few things in it.  I think for someone starting out, it should be easier to learn than Cakewalk.  It was quite frustrating for me for two reasons: (1) I have experience with the Cakewalk/SONAR/Cakewalk by Bandlab line of products, so I had to spend time trying to learn how to do in Bandlab what I already knew how to do in Cakewalk/SONAR and (2) based on my prior usage, I found Bandlab didn't seem to give me the control over what I wanted to do that I had with Cakewalk/SONAR.

However, I found it to be far more accessible and intuitive than other music production/recording software I purchased but have never been able to use.

Also, I took note of the social aspects of Bandlab and have it on my personal to-do list to learn the ins and outs of collaborating via Bandlab.  I like that Bandlab projects [or whatever they are called there] can be exported and then opened in Cakewalk (and presumably vice versa).

I barely scratched the surface of Bandlab, but I see value in it.

Apologies if by "the online DAW" you did not mean Bandlab.

Edited by User 905133
to add "purchased and" before have never been able to use
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I love Cakewalk pretty much the way it is.

Of course there can always be improvements, but the loyal users like it for a reason.

If you want something more streamlined, use the BandLab app on your PC browser.

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I never exceeded the capabilities of the Music Creator consumer DAW formerly offered by Cakewalk.  The products were extremely stable and worked with audio, groove clips, song construction sets and midi.  The earlier products shipped with a printed manual that explained how to set up the DAW and its capabilities in easy to understand language.  The manual offered tutorials that were instructive and easy to follow.  Some audio content was included to learn and practice on.

My point is, Cakewalk use to know how to educate a beginner new to audio production.  I believe Cakewalk has either lost that knowledge or that goal is far down the "to do" list.

My question is what can forum members do to fill that gap and is there a desire to do so?

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