Bye bye Cakewalk

In 2001, I bought myself a shiny new Yamaha synthesizer and to go with it a program called Cakewalk Pro Audio 9. That and its successor versions, including SONAR, was to be my DAW for many years until one day Gibson Brands spectacularly went bust. The company had been passed from pillar to post first being sold to Roland and then finally on to guitar manufacturer Gibson, but at this point no-one actually knew whether we’d ever see Cakewalk/SONAR available again.

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Some thoughts on music engraving/scorewriter programs

NB: This is not a particularly scientific or forensic review. It’s mainly my subjective view, but then again, it’s me that’s got to use it, so for the purposes of this, that’s probably fair enough. Had you have done this review, you might well have come to a completely different conclusion, that’s the way it is.

So, just after Christmas, I had a few days spare and, because the open source MuseScore 4.0 had been released just before Christmas (which was a major rewrite of the program), I thought it was time to download it and have a play with it, but also to compare it against the commercial competition, which mainly costs a lot of money, but handily also had 30-day trial versions.

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Cakewalk RIP

Very sad today to see an announcement that Gibson Brands is shutting Cakewalk down with immediate effect.  I’ve been using Cakewalk Pro Audio 9 and SONAR 1 all the way through to SONAR Platinum since something like 2001.  A real shame.   At the time of writing, there appears to be no indication of whether the Cakewalk products are going or likely to be sold.

Update: As of now, no news on what’s going to happen to the Cakewalk products, but I’m not convinced it’s a good idea to wait to see, so I’ve decided to crossgrade to Cubase 9.5 Pro – just waiting for the sales team at Cakewalk to verify my eligibility, and then I can order it.  They have a special offer on at the moment at £248 inc VAT which isn’t an outrageous price.  And you’d hope that with Steinberg being owned by Yamaha that they aren’t going to just suddenly drop what is probably the oldest DAW in the world at the drop of a hat.


For those of you that read my last article, you’ll know that I had to turn the power management off on the PCI slots to make my sound card work properly.  Well tonight I’ve been comparing the new WASAPI drivers vs the ASIO drivers on my RME HDSP9632 sound card using SONAR Platinum, and the effective latency results were quite surprising:

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“Pure Audio” Blu-Ray discs – what is the point?

Recently, the recording industry (and in particular Universal Music) have announced the joyous news that you are now able to get “High Fidelity Pure Audio” format (that’s an audio Blu-Ray disc to you and me, only playable in Blu-Ray players), supposedly in up to 192kHz/24-bit audio which, it is claimed, will sound vastly superior to the 44.1kHz/16-bit audio CD which has been around for 30-odd years already.

Apart from perhaps the ability to release multichannel recordings on a physical disc without Dolby Surround encoding it (which could be done with, amongst other things, the FLAC file format anyway), what is the point of using such a high sample rate?  Have they not read yet?

Available from all good record shops now :)

Over the past few months, I’ve been working on an orchestral soundtrack for Cuddington Youth Drama for their next production, “Search for Odysseus” by Charles Way.  It’s a play based around Homer’s Odyssey, but from the son’s (Telemachus) point of view, in the search for his father.  It’s taken a while to get it done – 22 tracks in all, and nothing but the song words to go on, so it’s been a bit of challenge (especially as it’s also the first play score I’ve composed!).  Anyway, the score is all done and recorded now, apart from the obligatory tidying up and necessary spit and polish, and actually finished a week ahead of schedule!

So, if you’re local, don’t forget to come and see it – details on the CYD web site.