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Cakewalk DAW to be rebranded as duo Sonar and Next

BandLab has announced that it is to rebrand its Cakewalk DAW into two new distinct products, Cakewalk Sonar and Cakewalk Next. as it seeks to “make its renowned music production software even more accessible to global creators.”

The original Cakewalk DAW will be renamed to SONAR, a name last used in 2018 when Cakewalk was acquired from Gibson, and will feature significant user interface improvements and a “best-in-class production experience on Windows desktop devices”, while still maintaining compatibility with legacy products.

Cakewalk Next will be brand new music production software promising “next-generation music creation tools designed to fuel creativity and streamline your workflow.” It’s still in beta although it’s possible to request access to it on the Cakewalk website.

The free Cakewalk by BandLab will be phased out over time, though it’s still possible to download it and the company has promised support and maintenance for it until at least the two new products are fully released.

Of course, anyone looking for a free lunch will likely be disappointed by the news. Those prepared to pay for the reincarnation of the software in SONAR may be happier, although it remains to be seen if the significant changes to operation and functionality still scratch the itch, and whether users will take the challenge of the likely learning curve or bite the bullet and look elsewhere.

Alternatively they may choose to continue using the original software, which won’t be disabled in any way once the new incarnations arrive, but with the understanding there will no longer be maintenance, security or other patches/updates so there is an element of both risk and creeping obsolescence to consider.

Pricing and exact availability details aren’t available yet. Users may well be hoping the company doesn’t go down the subscription path which is an increasingly popular revenue model for software both in and out of the music production space. The company says “Next and Sonar will be offered at price points designed to meet the needs of different customers.” Make of that what you will.

Cakewalk Sonar

Details are still a little sparse on the new software, but it touts award-winning user interface, unlimited tracks, and a high-performance 64-bit audio engine, VST3, Touch, and other “leading technologies”.

Along with a world of instruments and studio-quality effects come VocalSync audio alignment and Audio Random Access support. The suggested specs are a PC running Windows 10 or later, 8-core CPU, 16GB of RAM and ASIO-compatible hardware.

Cakewalk Next

This promises to be an easy to use yet powerful tool for creators of all stages. It will be developed for both Windows and Mac operating systems, and will feature such goodies as built-in song templates for inspiration in song creation, dedicated tools to edit and synchronise lyrics, unlimited access to the BandLab Sounds royalty-free sound library, sampler and pad controller features for shaping unique sounds and beats, and AU/VST plugin access.

Suggested specs are an 8-core CPU with 16GB and running Windows 10 or later for PC, or a 16GB Intel Core or Apple M-series processor with 16GB and macOS 10.15 or higher for Mac.

We’ll keep you posted as more information comes out.