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Cakewalk SONAR X1 Producer Reviews

4.0 stars based on 8 customer reviews
  • Customer
    from June 3, 2012

    Cakewalk SONAR X1 Producer

    Great DAW for the PC. I haven't evene explored all the options yet, but am quite impressed with what I've seen so far.

  • Bud
    from Minnesota January 12, 2012Music Background:
    Recording engineer, Pro musician.

    I'm sticking with 8.5

    I'm a longtime user of Sonar. I have X1 Expanded with a few add-on "modules". If you are a user of prevous versions, you might be as frustrated as I was with the new layout. They moved everything. Some of the changes are quite good but there are enough niggling oddities to render this version unusable to me.

    First and foremost are the editing tools. You now have to shift click to change editing modes from say, evelope editing to slip editing. In 8.5 you can do everything without any keystrokes. There are a lot of improvements to workflow if you do a lot of complicated editing. But for my basic needs, it acutally adds time and effort.

    I can accept most of these things but it's also unreliable. I've yet to complete a project without some sort of problem. The bitbridge quits, it freezes, the audio just stops working or it crashes completely. I've lost count of the reports I've sent. Never a response. I've spent more time on the forum in the last six months than I have in ten years. I still do not have enough faith in it to use with a paying client. It's been out for a year now and a lot of longtime users are still using 8.5 because it's solid and it works. X1 is half baked and still bug ridden a year after release. I'm sticking with 8.5

  • Patrick
    from Atlantic Beach, Fla. November 4, 2011Music Background:
    Musician, songwriter, recording engineer

    Good Overall

    I've owned older Sonar programs, so I'm familiar with it. Laid out much like the other "big three" programs. The overall sound quality and editing features are comparable to any good studio. I was disappointed in the drum category, though. Not much to choose from, and what is there is not that great.

  • Brian Murphree
    from Nashville, TN September 14, 2011Music Background:
    Mix Engineer, Network Engineer, Mastering Engineer

    Awesome features, but buggy.

    I usually either review when I rave or when I rant, but this time I will do both.

    Raves: Excellent User-interface (nice color scheme!), can support multiple monitors, love the 6 layout buttons, love the easy Automation, Track Folders (although nesting them would be even better), feels like a console should, but can switch easily to the waves/tracks views. I love the manual automation editing (i.e. Gain, Pan, VST automation editing etc.). The AudioSnap (manual methods) rocks! I love being able to clean up a bad drum hit or sloppy guitar chord etc. V-Vocal is very cool, but my V-Vocal doesn't work at all (bug?) Some of the plug-ins are very nice, but I tend to gravitate back to Waves plug-ins. Albeit, the Sonar plug-ins are free! Some of the other plug-ins are cool, like the Transient Shaper. But use your ears!! It can do more harm than good in some cases.

    Rants: Buggy (I know Cakewalk doesn't want to leave that out there, and work hard not to give us bugs, but I have a song that simply will not finish exporting, even after processing for 12 hours), and has some Skylight bugs (cosmetic). It also runs like a bad 32-bit emulator in 64-bit Windows 7 instead of running like a true 64-bit native program (haven't tested OSX). there's a big learning curve.

    Cakewalk over-emphasizes MIDI (which is just my perception). Audio Editing is absolutely HORRIBLE! Unless you know every single detail of every editing feature, this is among the most klunky and inflexible audio editors unless you aren't very good with manual editing and don't care about accuracy to the audio sample level. Some VERY basic editing features are missed in this program.
    Pro-Channel is useful, but I found that external plug-ins were actually easier to use and I find myself more likely to use those over the ProChannel.
    I love that Sonar comes packed with some great plug-ins, but I tend to use plug-ins from 3rd-party vendors more often than not. Besides, I cannot, for the life of me, figure out how to use the PerfectSpace Convolution Reverb. It makes absolutely no sense to me.

    Delivery: Cakewalk believes in content and filling your plate with software (some of you may like that), which is probably why you still can't download your full copy of Sonar X1 Producer when you place your order. I would have preferred they dump the extra "junk", lessen the price and let me download Sonar X1. Or, at least, let me extend my Trial period with a "don't-kill-my-trial-license-while-I-wait-on-the-box to-show-up" feature.

    Summary: I really like what Cakewalk has done here. I believe the company has gone to the pros and novices alike to find out what people really want and the price is actually good! There's some new features I wouldn't have considered possible (ala AudioSnap), and some I'll never use in a million years because there's really no good way to learn them (even with the offered training videos). I do recommend purchasing the Groove3 training videos: Explained and Tips and Tricks. I love the guy's voice, too (very ice-creamy).

    But! Alas, Sonar X1 seems to be fraught with bugs (at least in my case (ver. X1c Build 319)), crashes frequently, freezes up, doesn't seem test for I/O speeds/capacity, seems to work better in Windows XP than 64-Bit Windows 7, and seems to "expire" processing a 3-minute song at 30 tracks, after 12 hours, even though I've cleared out AudioSnap and "Bounced to Clips", rendering my work at a standstill until Cakewalk can help me fix the issue--if there's a fix.
    It seems more resources at CakeWalk are innovators and software programmers, but I gather there is some void left in the area of hardware driver integration expertise. Still, it's an awesome product and priced very well.

  • Snakeman
    from USA February 28, 2011Music Background:
    Songwriter; Engineer; Producer

    X1 is AWESOME!!

    I've been using Sonar since 6XL. X1P takes DAW recording to brand new levels. Comes equipped with lots of fantastic tools for making great sounding recordings. Just Pro Channel alone is amazing and really puts the finishing touches on your tracks. If you're serious at wanting to make pro recordings X1 is the ticket.

  • Collin
    from Washington, DC February 19, 2011Music Background:

    I was skeptical...

    I'll admit, I'm a long time Sonar user and I was skeptical as to whether or not this new version would be worth the hype.

    It is. Buy it or upgrade to it. It sounds incredible.

  • Eddie
    from Mississippi December 22, 2010Music Background:
    Composer, Arranger, Jazz Pianist, Music Teacher,

    The Musical God's have finally rain down on US!!!!!

    I mean seriously! How did people ever record before SONAR! This time I have absolutely fallen in love with my digital audio workstation. I believe everybody who has ever wanted to experience something MAGICAL while they create must get this DAW! This is a simply a must have! Good Job to the guys at CAKEWALK!!! You guys deserve a raise for this one!!!!

  • Sarmad
    from Tehran December 19, 2010


    This is a perfect DAW software. Everything you need to produce high quality commercial music is there. The pro channel lokks sexy and do a wonderful thin. Session drummer is awesome. the GUI is incredible and the new design makes it fun to create music .

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