My First Impressions of Sonar 8.5.2

At long last, I’m finally getting a chance to tell you about some of my experiences with version 8.5.2 of Sonar by CakeWalk.
In case you’re curious, I started working with it on December 16, 2009, a couple days after purchasing the upgrade. For the first time, I could download it instead of waiting for the boxed version. It’s a great way to get Sonar, but I was expecting to have to download a bunch of files that would unzip into one big file. Instead, I had to get the setup file, which was practically 2GB in size, and took over 5 hours to download. (If you’re on dial-up, get the boxed version. Believe me, you’ll be there forever!)

The first thing that surprised me was that, in the normal template, you now get two tracks by default instead of four. Previously, the template consisted of two audio and two MIDI tracks, but now you get one of each. This isn’t a bad thing, since you can add additional tracks at any time, so it’s more of a case of getting used to it.
The only thing I had to fix in the Normal Template was to make it load the layout used by JSonar, the set of scripts I use with JAWS for Windows. If it’s not loaded, you can expect all sorts of problems, such as the Media Browser not displaying properly, and, in the case of a song a friend sent me, FX bins all over the place, even though there were only two on the track. (For those of you who are just getting into Sonar, the FX bin is where you can load a soft synth or audio effect to be used exclusively on that track.) In any case, all I had to do was load the Normal template, load the JSonar layout, and re-save the template. Problem solved!

Now here’s something that really got me excited. While browsing the MIDI track’s controls, I came across, get ready for this, an arpeggiator! OK, I know what you’re thinking, so what? That was my reaction at first, but once you enable it, you’ll be having lots of fun.
Project5, CakeWalk’s synth workstation program (which I don’t believe is being sold anymore), had an arpeggiator that you could use on any MIDI track, even if the synth didn’t have it. Now, after all these years, it’s finally in Sonar. I spent a few minutes trying the various presets using a piano sound from my Roland EXR-3S keyboard, and what I’ve heard so far sounds pretty good! But is it just me, or are there a lot of duplicates?
Later on, I loaded in one of my favorite soft synths, Z3TA+ (or Zeta as I’ll refer to it), and tried the arpeggiator with it, even though it has it’s own on a lot of the presets. Wow, this combination is awesome! I hope to produce an audio demo of this feature soon.

Well, that’s all for now, but I’ll continue to update you on my experiences with this excellent version of the product as time permits.

2 thoughts on “My First Impressions of Sonar 8.5.2

  1. I love you’re podcasts!
    One thing about Jsonar, tryed to install it on my vista computer and I got this error:
    File 1lysvvmpm is missing. Please call the maker of cakewalk and report this error.
    Error code: 1839482823-33-2-3321.

  2. Glad you like the podcasts. Hopefully there will be another episode in the near future.
    I can’t help you with the JSonar issue because I don’t use Windows Vista, but maybe someone on their discussion list can help. (See their website to subscribe).

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