Sonar 3 Producer Edition 9/10.
Date Posted 12/01/2004.
Sonar has been released in its 3rd version. Essentially Sonar is
Cakewalk's answer to Cubase. It allows you mix computer generated
MIDI instruments with real audio such as vocals. The special thing
about Sonar 3 is the huge number of ways it lets you accomplish
it, and the number of built in plugins.
have been a regular user of Sonar, and upon first looks, the new
version has a far more polished interface. As in the previous version
you have a multitude of plugins to add effects to audio, such as
echo etc. There are also soft synths (basically computer generated
instruments) such as Virtual Sound Canvas, Cyclone (a special sampler),
DreamStation (303 style synth) and several others. The Production
version adds on this by giving you professional reverb courtesy
of Lexicon. There is also the Ultrafunk fx:Sonitus suite, which
is quite expensive to buy on its own. You also have more control
over the effects and the way they are automated. But by far my favourite
extra, is the VSampler 3.0 soft synth. It includes with it an absolutely
fantastic virtual piano. You cannot tell the difference between
a properly made MIDI track played through that and a real piano!
Unsurprisingly the sound samples for these take up several gigabytes.
As in previous versions of Sonar, you can configure it to work alongside
ReWire based soft synths such as Reason and Cakewalk's own Project5.
Unlike the previous versions of Sonar you can also use VST Plugins
(Cubase's choice), with an included adapter plugin. This might prove
tempting for current Cubase users, who wish to switch to Sonar.
these effects and virtual instruments are quite CPU intensive. However,
I was very happy to see that they are not too processor hungry.
I was able to run one track playing the virtual piano, with about
six effects (including reverb, which is one often one of the most
CPU demanding effects) using just 20% of my CPU (2.53 GHz Pentium
4). Obviously the more powerful your computer is, the more effects
it can cope with.
Sonar 3 Production edition is very good. The extras are excellent,
especially the virtual piano. However, it would have been very nice
indeed, if Cakewalk had also included their Project5 soft synth
as part of the deal, since 450 pounds is a lot of money to pay for
this software, nearly double the Studio Edition (269 pounds), even
given the number of plugins that are included. Some users may prefer
to buy the Studio Edition and Project5, rather than the Production
Edition. For current users of Sonar 1 and 2 there are a couple of