Cakewalk Sonar 8 specs revealed

Sonar 8 looks to be a fully-featured music production system.
Sonar 8 looks to be a fully-featured music production system.

Cakewalk has now released the full details of its Sonar 8 Producer DAW update. This adds new features, optimisations, workflow enhancements, instruments and effects.

Let's look at the main Sonar application first, where the Loop Explorer 2.0 view enables you to browse/preview MIDI and audio groove clips and patterns and drag 'n' drop them into the track view.

The new Instrument Track, meanwhile, is designed to ease the process of working with virtual instruments, while multiple tweaks have been made to improve the software's overall performance.

Cakewalk says that enhancements have been made to the editing, recording, mixing and control aspects of Sonar, and the workflow has been improved, too. Put simply, there should be plenty here to keep existing users happy.

But what of newcomers to Sonar? Where are the eye-catching additions that will draw them in.

Instruments and effects

Beatscape is sure to get plenty of attention: this is billed as a loop performance instrument and comes with 16 trigger pads. Each of these offers a REX file player, a step generator, multiple effect processors and groove slicing/dicing tools.

Designed for triggering, performance and remixing, Beatscape comes with a 4GB library of REX content and the option to drag 'n' drop audio directly from Sonar. It could be worth the price of the update on its own.

Also new to the Sonar package is Dimension Pro, a powerful synth that's been available to buy as a standalone product for a while now. The TruePianos Amber Module, meanwhile, is designed to deliver 'world-class' piano sounds.

On the effects side, you get the TS-64 Transient Shaper, the TL-64 Tube Leveler and a copy of Native Instruments Guitar Rig 3 LE.

That gives you an overview of some of Sonar 8's biggest assets - for a full spec rundown, check out the Cakewalk website. The software is available for pre-order now, with the full-on Producer Edition costing €499/£349 and the cutdown Studio Edition going for €299/£219. As before, it's Windows-only.

Ben Rogerson
Deputy Editor

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it.