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Cakewalk SONAR 8.5 Studio

Dolphin id:42268 Product SKU:16-CWSR8.50-10C

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SONAR 8.5 Producer gives you what you need for recording, composing, editing, mixing, and mastering. Get innovations that matter, from exclusive features to ignite creativity and perfect your tracks, to groundbreaking technologies that always keep you in control, all backed by the industry’s leading 64-bit audio quality.

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SONAR 8.5 Producer gives you what you need for recording, composing, editing, mixing, and mastering. Get innovations that matter, from exclusive features to ignite creativity and perfect your tracks, to groundbreaking technologies that always keep you in control, all backed by the industry’s leading 64-bit audio quality.

And SONAR 8.5 Producer delivers the go-to production tools you want with the best collection of virtual instruments, mixing, and mastering effects found in any DAW.

With version 8.5, SONAR continues to innovate on all fronts. New beat creating and arrangement tools, a new drum instrument loaded with stellar kits, enhanced audio quantizing, new multi-stage effect plug-ins, and more combine together to make SONAR the most complete, most professional, and best sounding DAW on any platform.

SONAR 8.5 is the digital audio workstation that offers one-of-a-kind music creation tools to help you right from the start of the production process. Whether you are searching for new ideas or looking to add musical parts to existing songs, SONAR 8 can help you breakthrough those creative blocks.


  • Session Drummer 3 lets you quickly and easily create original, mix-ready drum parts for your productions. (Producer version only)
  • Matrix View lets you enter the world of non-linear music composition and experience a whole new approach to creating music in any genre. (Producer version only)
  • Step Sequencer 2.0 lets you create drum tracks, beats, bass, and synth lines with a click of the mouse. Save time with a convenient auto-populate feature for common rhythmic patterns.
  • Arpeggiator - Use the new per-track Arpeggiator to create new sections for your songs, breathe life into stale chord progressions, and discover new musical lines and hooks.
  • Rapture LE is a special version of the award- winning Rapture synthesizer. It includes over 200 programs & hundreds of oscillator shapes.
  • TruePianos Amber is a VSTi that provides realistic piano sounds, superb playability, and acoustic-style responsiveness. (Producer version only)
  • Dimension Pro — your go-to instrument allows you to add both real and synthesized instrument sounds to your projects including synths, strings, basses, acoustic and electric guitars, vocal hits and more. (Producer version only)
  • Media Browser lets you browse and preview audio and MIDI groove clips and patterns.
  • Guitar Rig 3 LE allows you to plug-in to the award-winning guitar amp modeler from Native Instruments. It includes 3 amps & cabinets, 11 effects, tuner, metronome, and over 50 presets. (Producer version only)
  • Track Templates make it easy to get your project started. SONAR includes a variety of templates for audio, virtual instrument tracks, and even entire projects.
  • Recording without limits—unlimited tracks of audio and MIDI mean you can create to your heart's content. Record your whole band, mic each individual component of a drum kit, even record an entire orchestra using a multi-channel audio interface.
  • Loop Recording—record until you get the part perfect, try out different parts for your project, and play them back later—all hands free.
  • Pure power—SONAR pioneered support for multicore and multiprocessor computers, Windows Vista, and x64 processing, and now version 8.5 is the first DAW for Windows 7. SONAR is optimized for high track count/low latency performance and a more responsive user experience, with version 8.5 we’ve further enhanced performance on x64 operating systems, and improved performance while recording and looping.
  • AudioSnap 2.0: An innovative tool that makes audio timing issues a thing of the past. Perfect for musicians of any skill level, a super-friendly interface lets you easily correct drum and instrument timing, create remixes, and more.
  • Roland V-Vocal 1.5: Perfect vocals – on pitch and in time. More than just pitch control, V-Vocal also gives you control over timing, dynamics, vibrato, and formant.
  • Smart MIDI Tools revolutionize MIDI editing by providing you with a powerful and customizable workflow innovation.
  • Comping in SONAR is a breeze with powerful tools that take the headache out of getting the perfect take.
  • Synth Rack—SONAR includes a Synth Rack for easy access to all the virtual instruments in your project.
  • Active Controller Technology (ACT)—Get instant hands-on control of all your instruments and effects using ACT. Grab the knobs and sliders of your MIDI controller and know that they're going to control your favorite parameters on every instrument and effect you happen to be using in SONAR—just the way you want.
  • Easily add popular MIDI controllers including the Edirol PCR series for serious control of your virtual instruments. Even use ACT to mix your project via a MIDI controller.
  • SONAR supports popular control surfaces including those from Edirol, Mackie, Euphonix, and Frontier Design. Enjoy the best control surface support in the industry.
  • Control your Project—Keep your projects organized and your screen clean. Track folders are perfect for organizing groups of tracks such as drums or strings which can take up screen space. Know information about each trackt at a glance with Track Icons. Get around large projects fast with the Navigator View.
  • Control SONAR—Make SONAR your own with complete global customization. Create your own keystrokes, Track Templates, UI appearance, color schemes, plug-in layouts, and more.

SONAR 8.5 offers the perfect mixing environment for any professional engineer. SONAR's industry-first, end-to-end, 64-bit double precision floating point mix engine allows you to mix with sonic clarity using a suite of versatile effects, powerful mixing tools, and endless routing possibilities.

SONAR 8.5 allows you to deliver the final polish to your tracks with high-end effects that were designed specifically for the task of mastering.SONAR 8.5 offers various options for collaborating with other studios as well as delivering to virtually any format including CD, video, surround, and even the web.

SONAR 8.5 Producer includes the best collection of included virtual instruments found in any DAW. Whether you're looking for acoustic or electric instrument sounds, emulations of classic gear, modern synthesized tones, drums, or a groovebox, you need to look no further than SONAR 8.5. You may be surprised to find that some of these included plug-ins would cost hundreds of dollars if purchased separately


Session Drummer 3 (Producer Exclusive)

Session Drummer 3 - Session Drummer has been a mainstay in SONAR for easy and fast creation of realistic sounding drum tracks. Now, Session Drummer 3 hits the stage with an all new look, sporting a sleek photorealistic 3D drum kit, along with routing improvements, plus 12 new kits and over 700 new patterns for additional high quality drums sounds and grooves.


  • Photorealistic drum kit page to load kits, programs, patterns, and tweak mappings.
  • Dedicated Mixer page for fine tuning kits (12 channels each) with control over volume, pan, width, and tuning controls.
  • Mix and match kit components: all kit pieces are broken down into individual components for flexibility in creating your drum sounds.
  • Ships with over 200 different drum sounds across 20+ kits.
  • Drag-and-drop drum components: build kits by dragging any WAV or OGG file from the desktop onto a pad.
  • Comprehensive collection of presets and MIDI-based loop files to provide a creative jump-start for your drum tracks.
  • Flexible MIDI pattern playback.
  • 12 pads/12 outputs.


  • 10 high-quality kits from the renowned content provider Sonic Reality, ready to play in any track along with 1 coupon for a free download of one Ocean Way Drums kit.
  • 2 polished kits from Steven Slate Drums, fine tuned and tweaked to sound amazing in any mix.
  • Genre-defining original samples of the classic Roland TR-707, TR-727, TR-808, and TR-909 drum synthesizers, along with kits from
  • Sequential Circuits Drumtraks and Linn Electronics LinnDrum.
  • 2 Organic kits from Smart Loops.
  • Over 700 new MIDI patterns from Steven Slate Drums, Groove Monkee, and Smart Loops.
  • Over 2.5 GB of drum sample content in all. 

PX-64 Percussion Strip (Producer Exclusive)

PX-64 Percussion Strip - is a seven-stage processor designed specifically for shaping drum and percussion sounds. Like the VX-64 Vocal Strip, the PX-64 Percussion Strip employs Cakewalk’s exclusive tube saturation algorithms with unique filtering and auto-leveling circuitry technologies. Combining transient shaping, compression, expansion, equalization, delay, and tube saturation in one convenient plug-in, the PX-64 Percussion Strip includes 70 go-to presets along with click & drag reordering of processing stage routing, making it fast and easy to enhance any drum or percussion track in seconds.

Processing stages include:

  • Input — the Input/Gain stage simulates a tube pre amp.
  • Transient Shaper —shape the audio signal’s attack phase independently of the decay/sustain phase.
  • Compressor — balance the overall signal level and limit the dynamic range.
  • Expander — control dynamic range by reducing levels that fall beneath a specified threshold.
  • Contour EQ — 4-band EQ optimized for drums and percussion.
  • Delay — adds space and rhythm to the signal with option to tempo sync to host.
  • Output — output gain stage and specialized saturation control with a built in soft-clipping filter.

VX-64 Vocal Strip (Producer Exclusive)

VX-64 Vocal Strip - is a seven-stage processor designed for sculpting incredible sounding vocal tracks. Each of the VX-64's stages have been fine-tuned to be vocal-specific, taking the work out of loading an entire chain of vocal processors.

The VX-64 features a new Cakewalk technology that employs phase-coherent, multi-band saturation to avoid unwanted distortion; unique filtering to avoid artifacts at extreme high and low frequencies; and an auto-leveling circuit that prevents the tube saturation from sounding too harsh when high gain transients are processed by it. VX-64 also employs a new de-essing algorithm designed with Cakewalk's LP-64 linear phase effect filtering technology to remove sibilance without creating any frequency smearing.

The VX-64 includes 64 go-to presets and click & drag reordering of processing stage routing, making it fast and easy to get high quality vocals in seconds.

Processing stages include:

  • Input — simulates a tube pre amp.
  • De-esser — removes sibilance without smearing.
  • Compander — vocal compressor with expander to reduce unwanted background noise.
  • Tube EQ — for adding character, ranging from subtle warmth to intense heat.
  • Doubler — advanced doubling effect providing the quality of actual re-tracking.
  • Delay — preset delays useful for vocal tracks with tempo sync.
  • Output — provide saturation control with a built in soft-clipping filter.

Matrix View (Producer Exclusive)

Matrix View - with simple and flexible cell-based, non-linear audio and MIDI arranging and triggering, the Matrix offers new ways to experiment with arrangements or creating remixes of existing songs, or quickly laying down beds of tracks for new songs in any genre. The Matrix is also a perfect tool for beat-juggling and triggering one-shots and backing tracks live.

The Matrix view is easy to use, simply drag-and-drop any type of audio or MIDI clip/file/pattern from the Track view, Media Brower or desktop into empty cell, then click individual cells or columns of cells to turn on and off playback. The Matrix provides a comfortable, trigger-anything looping environment using four trigger modes, multiple play styles, and advanced MIDI controls. Click the Capture button to simultaneously record your Matrix performance as an arrangement of audio and MIDI tracks in SONAR’s Track View.


  • Cell-based view offering non-linear arrangement and live triggering.
  • Sync to SONAR Transport / Track View.
  • One-step capture of Matrix “performances” to Track View for more precise editing and mixing.
  • Drag-drop any audio (multiple files at once) and MIDI content from the Track View or the Media Browser into the Matrix.
  • Four triggering modes with measure, beat, 1/8, 1/16, 1/32, 1/64 note resolutions.
  • Play Styles: Global and Per-Cell modes for looping and latching (set cells to trigger from the beginning, or offset from SONAR Now Time).
  • Flexible Routing: each row routes to a track, multiple rows can be routed to the same track, per row mute and exclusive solo.
  • Completely MIDI controllable.

AudioSnap 2.0

AudioSnap 2.0 - The original AudioSnap provided powerful, non-destructive, multi-track control over audio timing. AudioSnap 2.0 provides a refreshing new look and refinements to its core controls, significantly improving workflow. New features include a simplified UI, dedicated transient tool, proportional stretching mode, and multi-track audio stretch and quantization that maintains accurate phase relationships.

Proportional stretching can be used both to correct unwanted timing fluctuations and provide gradual timing adjustments across several transients. In addition, rendered audio fidelity is greatly improved using the new Radius Mix Advance Mode.

New in AudioSnap 2:

  • AudioSnap Palette presents all commands and options in one easy-to-read toolbar.
  • Simplified transient marker appearance reduces visual clutter and enhances focus on relevant information.
  • Transient Tool allows for dragging or snapping of transients without having to worry about inadvertently moving an audio clip; lasso selection allows for grouped transient edits.
  • The Merge and Lock transients command is great for editing, stretching, and quantizing multi-track drums while keeping audio in phase.
  • Grouped proportional stretching allows for the easy correction of fluctuations in the tempo of a performance without losing feel.
  • Tab to Transients available from the Track and Piano Roll Views, follows Audio, Groove, Step Sequencer, and MIDI Groove Clips.
  • Tempo detection, tempo mapping, and tempo syncing audio. New tempo detection algorithm auto-detects the tempo of all audio in
  • SONAR and the Clip Tempo Map feature allows for easy manual tempo mapping of non-rhythmic, non-constant, or atypical audio.
  • Enhanced fidelity with Radius Mix Advanced Mode: new Radius Mix settings improve “pitch coherence,” which preserves the naturalness of timbre in human speech, vocals, reed and brass instruments.

Step Sequencer 2.0

Step Sequencer 2.0 - SONAR’s Step Sequencer view is known for being the most advanced and comprehensive available in any DAW today. Step Sequencer 2.0 takes this power to a new level with increased depth of control over your sequences.

Step Sequencer 2.0 was built with 3 goals in mind: to simplify the interface for an elegant and musical workflow, to design a set of useful and powerful per-lane controls, and to provide finer control over per-step adjustments.

New in Step Sequencer 2.0:

  • Add Flam to any step by simply double clicking it (then use the flam time knob to adjust timing).
  • Easily load/save patterns from the Options button or drag and drop patterns from the Media Browser.
  • New Auto-populate feature provides shortcuts to fill a lanes every 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 steps.
  • Redesigned Controller Pane for per row articulations and controls, including Volume, Pan, Pitch Bend, Mod Wheel, Portamento
  • Per step parameter controls for Velocity, Time Offset, Probability, Lane-based MIDI articulations, Filter Cut and Filter Res.
  • Parameter values are now displayed as bars underneath steps in the controller pane, making editing per step parameters such as
  • Velocity, Step Offset, Probability, and other MIDI articulations quick and easy.
    Exclusive Per Step Probability provides control over the probability of how often a step will be triggered. Use it to create automatic
  • variations (make some steps only play occasionally) to keep repetitive patterns sounding fresh.
  • All this is combined with the functionality from Step Sequencer 1.0 including: Step Recording, the Velocity Multiplier, Fit to Quarters capabilities, and more.


Integrated Arpeggiator - Each MIDI and Instrument track in SONAR now has a built-in Arpeggiator which allows you to turn even the simplest chord progression into exciting new sound textures. The SONAR Arpeggiator is a perfect tool for adding variety to any Instrument or MIDI track that repeats a number of times in a song, or for creating complimentary parts using other instrument sounds that follow your chord progression.

The SONAR Arpeggiator includes hundreds of presets, patterns, and classic algorithms, and provides not only powerful controls over the rate, octave range, latch, swing, flam, velocity, duration, and pitch offset of the arpeggiation, but also control over mix, channel input, and shape.

Roland V-Vocal (New in SONAR 8.5 Studio)

Roland V-Vocal editor lets you achieve perfect vocals tracks and is integrated right inside SONAR. It includes pitch correction, phrasing, dynamics, vibrato, and Pitch to MIDI conversion.

  • Based on Roland VariPhrase technology
  • A unique technology that allows you to control the tempo and pitch of audio phrases in real time with virtually no degradation of sound quality
  • Powerful vocal processing: automatic pitch correction, vibrato, and more
  • Adjust the phrasing or timing of vocals
  • Control the dynamics of vocals
  • Create harmonies by copying vocal clips, then applying V-Vocal pitch shifting to copied audio
  • Pitch to MIDI conversion allows you to create new synth parts based on monophonic audio
  • Completely non-destructive processing

Media Browser

Media Browser - SONAR’s Loop Explorer View has been updated and expanded. In its new form, Media Browser is now SONAR’s hub for content. Audio Groove Clips, Step Sequencer Patterns, REX Loops and Project5 MIDI PTN files can all be previewed in Media Browser and easily dragged into any track. As well, video files can be viewed in Media Browser and easily dragged into a Video Thumbnail Track. Users’ content folders can be stored and recalled as handy Media Browser presets. SONAR 8.5 ships with out-of-the-box presets that point directly to Beatscape REX Loops, Session Drummer 3 MIDI Drum Loops, Step Sequencer Patterns, RXP REX Loops, PTN MIDI Patterns, and MIDI Groove Clips.

Engine Optimizations and leading technology innovations

Engine Work - Audio interfaces, MIDI interfaces and control surfaces can now be disconnected and reconnected again or “hotswapped” while SONAR is running without the need to restart SONAR. This is particularly useful for plugging in a new MIDI controller while inspired to lay down a new part, or in the event an audio interface needs to be power-cycled. SONAR 8.5 also includes optimizations and stability improvements for recording audio, and while looping.

Open Support - Cakewalk has been, and will continue to be, a proponent of open standards in software and hardware. SONAR 8.5 brings a variety of compatibility improvements for VST plug-ins, as well as for Cakewalk’s BitBridge technology, which allows for access to classic 32-bit “x86” VST plug-ins in a 64-bit “x64” environment. SONAR Producer customers can take advantage of the new BitBridge XR, which automatically provides up to 32 BitBridge servers, each capable of using up to 4GB of RAM, for a total of 128GB of RAM access from 32-bit plug-ins! SONAR also now provides native REX loop support, via the Track View, updated Media Browser, and new Matrix View.

Windows 7 Ready - Cakewalk was a finalist in Microsoft’s 2009 Partner of the Year Awards, and as you would expect from the industry-leading Windows DAW, SONAR 8.5 is ready for Windows 7 right from the get-go. Cakewalk has been testing SONAR from early Windows 7 Betas right through to the latest Release Candidates, and we are pleased to recommended Windows 7 as a platform for SONAR 8.5. Additionally, SONAR 8.5 was evaluated at an independent Microsoft application compatibility lab and officially passed the rigorous Win7 compatibility testing.

Other new features
During SONAR 8.5 development, Cakewalk engineers have added what we are calling a collection of “featurettes” that we are sure SONAR users will appreciate, since many of them came directly from user feedback, including:

  • Convenient Freeze and Archive buttons on each track.
  • Updated Insert Send Assistant, with matching track gain/pan while creating sends.
  • Solo Button on all effects plug-in windows, to quickly solo and focus on the track being processed.
  • New Track View grid lines options to present grid lines behind or in front of clips.
  • New option to automatically lock scrolling during playback when initiating an edit.
  • The Now Time cursor can be dragged to a new position during playback.
  • DC Offset meter in the Cakewalk Analyst plug-in.
  • New FX -SONAR 8.5 now includes the Project5 “Half-Rack” Tempo-Sync’d Effects, including the Alias Factor Bit Decimator, Classic Phaser, Compressor/Gate, HF Exciter, Mod Filter, Chorus/Flanger, Para-Q, StudioVerb II, and Tempo Delay.
  • Installation has been simplified with an easy one-click install option that accepts all default settings and locations and installs the entire SONAR application, as well as plug-ins and content data.


  • Operating System* Windows XP SP3, Windows Vista SP2 (32 and 64-bit), or Windows 7 (32 and 64-bit)
  • Processor Speed Minimum: Intel Pentium 4 2.8 GHz [EMT64] or AMD Athlon XP 2800+ or higher
  • Recommended: Intel Core 2 Quad Core Q8400 Yorkfield 2.66GHz or AMD Phenom Quad Core 9750 2.4GHz or higher
  • RAM Minimum: 1 GB
  • Recommended: 4 GB
  • Graphics Minimum: 1024 x 768, 16-bit color
  • Recommended: 1280 x 960, 24-bit color or higher
  • Hard Disk Space Minimum: 200 MB (Minimal Installation) or higher
  • Recommended: 50 GB (Full Installation) or higher
  • Hard Disk Type Minimum: Any
  • Recommended: EIDE / Ultra DMA (7200 RPM) or SATA
  • MIDI Interface** Windows-compatible
  • Audio Interface*** Windows-compatible
  • Media Drive**** Dual Layer DVD-ROM, DVD+/- R, OR DVD+/-RW for installation/ CD-R OR CD-RW capability required for CD audio disc burning
  • Web Server Access***** Minumum: Any
  • Recommended: Available web server space with FTP access privileges

*SONAR does not officially support Windows 95, 98, ME, NT, 2000, XP x64 or pre-release (RTM) versions of Windows7

**Required to connect external MIDI devices

***Required for audio playback. See www.cakewalk.com/PCResource for a complete list of recommended audio devices.

****SONAR is presented on DVD media. DVD-ROM, DVD+/-R, or DVD+/-RW Drive required for installation

*****Cakewalk Publisher requires you to have available web server space with FTP access privileges. An internet connection is require for music uploading. A broadband connection is recommended.

Image: Cakewalk SONAR 8.5 Studio

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