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What’s the difference between Cakewalk Sonar / Homestudio Global Audio Folder, Per-Project AudioFolders file organization, and bundle files? THE SCOOP ON CAKEWALK FILE FORMATS.

Global Audio Folder: This default option basically takes all projects’ audio (wave) files and puts them in a centralized location (according to the Options – Global – Audio Data – Global Audio Folder location). This has an advantage of always having one option where all the files are, but it makes it difficult to differentiate between audio files belonging to different projects since the filenames are all encoded by Sonar/Cakewalk. Basically the only way to backup the project is to create a bundle file, see below. Also, this folder becomes large rather quickly, with many files (imagine a 24 track session with only 4 splices or takes per track, that’s almost 100 audio files for one session, multiply this by 20 sessions, that’s already over 2000 audio files).

Bundle File: This makes a copy of ALL essential files to the project (including a copy of the audio files) and packs them into a single file. This method is extremely portable and is a good way to backup entire projects onto CD or DVD. The downside of this method is that it requires the extra space of copying the entire project, and it must be ‘packed’ and ‘unpacked’ when loading or saving, Sonar cannot play the bundle files directly. While this is automatic in Sonar, it still requires a bit more time while it makes copies of all the audio files. When it unpacks the files, it makes a copy of them in the Global Audio Folder regardless of your Per-Project Audio Folders choice. While this is a good backup method, it is also usable by some people as method of saving your projects.

Per-Project Audio Folders: This is usually the best method of saving your Sonar/Cakewalk projects. You’ll notice it asks for a filename and location when you start a project. That’s because it creates a separate folder for the new project and audio files. When finished, you will have a folder named the title you gave it, and inside the folder will be the standard .wrk project file, as well as all other files essential for the project, including all the audio files. This project folder can be burned to CD as-is, and will save all parts of the project. Advantages of this method are that it keeps the large audio files separate from other projects so you can backup or burn them easily, delete, and move them without worrying about where the rest of the project is located. The project also opens quickly and does not need to be packed or unpacked.

* You can save any of these formats to a bundle file.

* You can convert a Global Audio Folder project to a Per-Project Audio Folder file by selecting Per-Project Audio Folders and then going to File – Save As and checkmark Copy All Audio with Project.

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