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Old 20th October 2008 , 09:51 PM
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Thumbs up Sonar 8 Producer >now includes 8.3 and 8.5< [Extended] User reviews


Extended User Review Preview

Why?
I have already written a shorter User review here. So why write another..?

First of all I want to give something back to DV who have been very kind in giving me a free copy of Sonar Producer 8 as a prize. This review is also also a thank you to the forum members here who have been just great. I have picked up so much useful info since joining this forum.

Also of course there may be interest from some forum members for much more detail on Sonar 8.

User Review reminder
Just as reminder...User reviews can be as short or as long as you like, no limits or rules just some guidelines but even that you can change of course.

Extended vs short
If you are doing a short review then it is better to keep that to the existing threads for User reviews which has been done already (thanks guys) but if you have much more to say and the time to put aside to write it...then why not start your own thread in this sub forum for a much more detailed and focused review?

I have done a shorter one already but this will be far different both in the amount of detail and format for the review but is remains...a User review...just Extended

This Extended User review needs it's own thread (this one) as I will be taking questions and will attempt to answer them to the best of my ability but keep things focused on one thread.

Format
I will not post the whole review in one post as it will stretch for pages most likely which would make it extremely difficult to read IMO. I want to take advantage of the forum format we have here to stop the review at any point and answer questions. Also to keep things more to the point I will post various parts of the review in separate posts.

I will do this to ease the process of anyone looking to quote a particular part of the review without having to find the exact area in 5 - 10 pages and select text here and there and then ask questions. Simply hit the quote button for the area (in a separate post) I am reviewing.

Updates
I will be updating the review with new content every 3 - 4 days at least (to give me some breathing space heh) but some days may have more updates than others. Either way it will be detailed and could run for weeks or longer.

Approach and style
I am going to be quite frank and avoid going into too much technical detail. I am going to review things from my point of view and based on my experience with this product which stretches back to Sonar v.2.

The review of will also be based on my workflow but I will go into as much detail as possible about areas I would not necessarily use.

More detail
I will also discuss the differences between the x64 and x86 versions and why you might want to consider going x64 with Sonar. This review will cover the x86 version of Sonar but I will explain aspects of the x64 version as I go along where necessary.

Starting points
I will start with a bit of background info on Cakewalk and Roland, move into Installation Part 1. Which will be in two parts at least, then new features and other areas within Sonar starting from the features I use then other features in Sonar, although not necessarily all, it just depends on any questions I get really. I will try and cover the FX and instruments as well, at least the more recent or best of. I'll do my best to answer any Q's. This extended review should be interesting.... Should be finished by the time Sonar 9 is out LOL!
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Old 21st October 2008 , 04:05 PM
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Hey - I've been waiting for you to do a write up.

I own this too and I'll add my experience to your sections - I've used Le, 6 & 7 - and I'll say a few things I've discovered elsewhere too.
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Old 22nd October 2008 , 11:28 AM
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Cool! Should be fun. I might be able to start the review today.
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Old 22nd October 2008 , 05:35 PM
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Default Cakewalk By Roland...short summary




A short summary.

I think the first real fruit of this relationship was Cakewalks Kinetic. Things went a bit quiet for a few years regarding the partnership between these two and then Cakewalk Power studio bundles started to appear. Those bundles do include Edirol hardware which is also part of the Roland Set up. The REAC offering is another Cakewalk and Roland product so the partnership has been quite fruitful IMO.

Now of course we also have the Sonar Studio700 package which also includes a version of the Roland Fantom. Cakewalk were unusually quiet at summer NAMM 2008 and many thought it was big brother Roland perhaps choosing a less aggressive or visible marketing campaign for Cakewalk but it appears they were simply putting the final touches to the Sonar Vstudio 700.

Cakewalk have now moved to version 8 of their flagship product and it looks like hardware and software integration is a big part of Sonarís future, indeed it appears that it is a big part of a few other Hosts futures as well with Yamaha also investing time and money into dedicated interfaces for Cubase. Definitely a new strategy for the Superhosts out there.

Next...Installation Part 1
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Old 23rd October 2008 , 04:52 PM
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Default Installation Part 1

Sonar 8 Producer Installation part 1

The arrival
A knock on the door and a UPS guy offers me a very large box...way too big for anything I have ordered I thought...but it was addressed to me so I thought OK let me sign for it just in case it is the prize from DV. Turns out it was from DV...see attached.


Discs
This time around the Sonar Producer package has no less than 4 DVD installation discs. Previously IIRC it was no more than one or two discs.


The DVD discs are for the following...

1. Sonar 8 Installation
2. Additional content
3. Beatscape
4. Dimension Pro

I thought it was interesting to see Beatscape get its own disc. Dimension Pro used to ship on two discs but now it all fits on one. Definitely my preference. All the content is there though. All present and correct.

There had been some concern on Cakewalks Sonar forum about the packaging. Some people thought it was too light. A small pack of sorts. Some reports claimed the discs just narrowly avoided being damaged. That may be why DV put the package I had in such a big box!

The complaints were from people who upgraded their package and as a result did not get a fully boxed copy, but all the discs in a much smaller package with the same four discs listed above, present and correct. That is the same version I received. Exact same package just a smaller box.

I will go into more detail on each disc in the Installation Part 2 write up.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 4-DVDs.jpg (18.8 KB, 39 views)
File Type: jpg Nicely-shrink-wrapped.jpg (19.7 KB, 28 views)
File Type: jpg Somewhere-in-that-box-is....jpg (17.8 KB, 29 views)
File Type: jpg The-big-UPS-box.jpg (17.7 KB, 27 views)
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Old 27th October 2008 , 05:07 PM
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The box is an issue if it's just wrapped up and posted like some have been.
DV put it in an outer box.

Guitar Rig is attached to the first disc. Heads up: Guitar LE upgrade is 66% off as a download until 31st October - that's good.

Some people in some parts of the world did not get serial numbers.

You can't load disc two - additional content - until you've loaded the Dimension Pro one.
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Old 27th October 2008 , 05:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by I_Am_Bic_Pentameter View Post
The box is an issue if it's just wrapped up and posted like some have been.
DV put it in an outer box.
Just as well DV did in my case as well.

Quote:
Heads up: Guitar LE upgrade is 66% off as a download until 31st October - that's good.
Yes! A Pretty sweet deal. I might bite in a few days.

Quote:
You can't load disc two - additional content - until you've loaded the Dimension Pro one.
Additonal content was the last disc I installed so I guess I missed that potential complication, thanks for mentioning it. Heh...I need to get part 2 up.

8.0.1
Some people on the Sonar forum have got emails confirming an 8.0.1 release some time this week...(I did not get that email, and I am subscribed to their news letter) should be interesting either way.

Did you get the email with info on 8.0.1 coming out this week?
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Old 27th October 2008 , 06:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Monarch View Post
Did you get the email with info on 8.0.1 coming out this week?
No. I'm certain I'm on their mail list - I get other stuff.

The update is needed for minor niggles for me but some people it's quite important on the hi-tech end. Word on the street is that it's a bit buggy but the things to correct, to my untrained eye, don't appear to be insurmountable. Hence a quick patch update.
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Old 27th October 2008 , 08:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by I_Am_Bic_Pentameter View Post
No. I'm certain I'm on their mail list - I get other stuff.

Thats what I found so strange. I also get other newsletter emails from Cakewalk.

Quote:
The update is needed for minor niggles for me but some people it's quite important on the hi-tech end. Word on the street is that it's a bit buggy but the things to correct, to my untrained eye, don't appear to be insurmountable. Hence a quick patch update
Yeah that sounds about right. It's pretty stable even now but having said that I will not delay downloading the patch.
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Old 28th October 2008 , 05:17 PM
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Sonar 8 Producer Installation part 2

The installation process was quite smooth. No hiccups. I started with the first disc...

1.Sonar 8 Installation disc: The first thing that greets you is the agreement. Not really a big deal for most software installations but you do need to have a good look at this one. You cannot sell Cakewalk software at least not Sonar and quite a few other Cakewalk products. You will be asked to tick both boxes on the screen (see attached) the key one here is the one that states “I understand that I cannot transfer or sell this software”.

Bear this in mind if you plan to buy and use Sonar. You cannot sell it later. Not that you will be short of features with Sonar (far from it), but things can change in future so if you like your software to have some level of re-sell value, you will have to embrace Sonar for good once bought, as things stand now.

For many its a non issue but I just thought I would give it a mention as second hand software exchanges on a very regular basis over the internet.

Moving on...you will be asked to select what FX or Instruments you want to install and where you want to install them. Once that process has completed you will be presented with the GR3 install screen LE in this case. Standard install process here, choose where you want to install it.

The GR3 Activation screen will follow that. While you don’t have to activate it straight away it is probably not a bad idea. The installation process for the Sonar 8 disc took about 17 minutes (including Guitar rig 3 LE).

2.Beatscape: This requires 4 to 5 GB of hard drive space. You can choose where to install the content . The install took about 6 – 8 minutes. Not much to discuss here...quite straight forward with only one instrument to install.

3. Dimension Pro: I was really looking forward to this as it meant no need for two discs any more. Not that big a deal but my CD player for some reason had problems reading the first Dimension Pro disc from the stand alone instrument I bought years ago.

Bad disc or CD / DVD player? Not sure but it’s one less disc to worry about. It was nice to pop in one disc this time. Install was OK and took about 15 – 20 minutes. Dimension needs about 8 GB’s for the content. You can choose where to install it.

4. Additional content: This was the shortest installation timeframe of the four discs. Previously you had to manually copy additional content from Sonars discs. But this time additional content is part of the installer. This is a much more polished approach. Nice to see.

Exact contents?
  • DSF v2 Classic keys (982MB) DSF stands for- Digital sound factory "1GB of Electric Piano sounds" Will talk more about this later in another part of the review.
  • Hollywood FX (123MB) (“Film score ready samples and sound FX”)
  • Dimension Pro Expansion Pack 1 (129MB) Super collection of basses pads e.t.c many say the expansion packs are even better than the original 1000 or so patches (which are excellent by the way). Expansion pack 1 has about 300+ patches.
  • Dimension Pro Expansion Pack 2 (156MB) Another superb set of 300 or so patches.
Next I will give my thoughts on the new features in Sonar 8.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Agreement.jpg (18.9 KB, 18 views)
File Type: jpg Beatscape-install.jpg (15.9 KB, 16 views)
File Type: jpg Dimension-Pro-install.jpg (17.4 KB, 12 views)
File Type: jpg Additional-content.jpg (15.8 KB, 20 views)
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Old 28th October 2008 , 05:26 PM
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this is fast becoming an excellent comprehensive overview of Sonar 8, nice1 M
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Old 28th October 2008 , 05:35 PM
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Thanks sureno! I have had some input from IABP as well. Once this review is finished I will attempt to copy all the core review posts and put them into a word doc. Maybe a PDF as well. No promises on that or the timeframe of course heh But I think it would be nice to have as an alternative to this thread for forum members to read
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Old 29th October 2008 , 03:05 PM
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A little about the inclusion of Dimension Pro

This was LE in previous versions and you could purchase the full version - as many did - including me - great programme btw.

Now, timing is everything and some were a bit miffed this was included in Sonar 8 as they were selling it as separate item right up until the announcement, so to speak. I purchased mine way back so I wasn't really affected but I did think it was a bit unfair on new buyers and have said so.

Of course, we all know when buying music gear that sales and deals can happen any time and some you win and some you lose. You have to accept that, but nevertheless I felt, and so did quite a few others, that it wasn't handled as well as it could have been.

My own take is that the upgrade would be thin without a few pullers to get people interested. That's why Dim Pro (a major puller) was added and that along with Beatscape and a few other things on top of the supposed performance related additions (which do appear to be there according to the vastly experienced users) makes it a reasonable upgrade. I do believe it would have been a mighty thin upgrade without Dim Pro. Certainly though, some who already have Dim Pro have not made the leap and it's something I think Cakewalk could have balanced - ie a broad concession (I believe some small concession may have been agreed???)- but others feel differently, so there you go. Swings and roundabouts - maybe - but not great for recent converts to Sonar who felt they got stung.

The reason I bring this up is that it appears to have been a policy to include previous upgrade plug-ins - which of course, newbies would not know and also the main platform upgrade has been introduced around Autumn time. It's worth noting this if you have an LE product you may upgrade - perhaps a full version of Rapture may be next for inclusion - and also the time they do the main platform upgrade because............

.............a bit of clever buying of an older platform and holding back on upgrades from LE may reap it's rewards.
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Old 29th October 2008 , 05:02 PM
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And here's the first maintenance patch::-

8.0.1
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Old 29th October 2008 , 05:38 PM
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Most EXCELLENT work gentlemen...
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