Date Posted 12/06/2003.
Project5 is a new product from Cakewalk. Essentially it is a bit
like Propellerhead's Reason application. The idea of it is that
it replaces hardware based synths. The main advantage is that it
is significantly cheaper. Also it is a lot more convenient, since
you can mix-down your whole song, with one button, all digitally!
It has a couple of soft synths, brought together with it's own pattern
manager where you can create MIDI data, either through piano roles
or a analog-style sequencer. The idea is to run it alongside your
ReWire based sequencer. I had trouble setting it up to output more
than one track through Project5's, but that's probably more due
to the fact that I do not tend to read the manual!
a first release Project5, was quite stable, but there seemed to
be one or two bugs, which will hopefully get fixed in a downloadable
patch. I found that I could run several soft synths at once without
stressing my processor too much (I was using a Pentium 4 2.53GHz
though). Essentially the more memory, and processing power you have
the more FX and instruments you can run at once. It is important
to note that Project5 is designed to complement a sequencer such
as Sonar, since Project5 does not have audio file support.
great thing with Project5, is that each of it's soft synths are
DXi instruments, so you can include them in your Sonar project without
having to use ReWire. For me this was ideal, since I rarely used
the pattern makers in Project5 (or indeed Reason), relying instead
on Sonar's excellent MIDI capabilities.
soft synths in Project5 were much better than I had expected. We
have the DS864 sampler, which can emulate a huge array of instruments.
There are many samples included, which sound very good. I was particularly
impressed with the string sounds, which were very lush and quite
realistic. The PSYN analog synth is also quite impressive. The range
of sounds far eclipses those that you can find on applications like
ReBirth. There are many ready made presets, but you are free to
make your own sounds. I liked the sound of the pads. Two drum machines
are included, the nPulse, which is an analog based device and also
Velocity that uses wave files as samples. I generally do not analog
based drum machines, but its inclusion is important for techno musicians.
The accompanying CD includes numerous drums kits, as well as DS864
instruments. Another instrument of note, is the Spectral Transformer,
that lets you add special effects to your audio.
are many other effects you can add to your music, like studio reverb,
EQ etc. however, for users of Sonar XL you probably already have
enough effects like this to play with.
conclusion, I like Project5. I cannot say whether it is better than
Reason (since I have only used version 1), but I like the way that
Cakewalk have separated the instruments in DXi versions so they
can be used outside of Project5 (but I suspect this only works in
Sonar??). Also the quality of the DS864 really stood out. If you
use Project5 together with Sonar XL, I expect you will have all
the power you need to create music.