Cakewalk Sonar Home Studio instruments · Source: https://www.cakewalk.com/Products/SONAR-Home-Studio
Cakewalk Sonar Home Studio Matrix view · Source: https://www.cakewalk.com/Products/SONAR-Home-Studio
Cakewalk Sonar Home Studio step sequencer · Source: https://www.cakewalk.com/Products/SONAR-Home-Studio
Cakewalk have announced the return of Sonar Home Studio. To be honest, I never knew it went anywhere, but it seemed to drop off the line-up after version 7 back in 2008. Other versions such as Sonar Artist seemed to fill the gap for an entry level version. But now, revamped and reborn for a new generation of entry-level musicians (joking! of course you can be as professional as you want) Sonar Home Studio is back and looking fine.
Sonar Home Studio
Entry level recording software often cuts far too many corners in an effort to justify the upgrade to the far more expensive “proper” version. I think that Garage Band on the iPad did a lot to remedy that situation, and these days entry level software has to be pretty full-featured and decent. By the looks of it, Sonar Home Studio doesn’t disappoint. Sonar is a pretty mature platform and Cakewalk have been able to pull what’s great about it into a simpler and more straight-forward looking interface. It has to do a bit of everything, and it does. There’s 64 channels of audio recording, beat making, loop launching, step sequencing, instruments and guitar effects. It’s a pleasing bundle of stuff.
Digging a little deeper we find support for up to 64 audio tracks. It comes with over 1000 loops and samples to drag-and-drop and time stretch into your project. There’s a cool looking step sequencer, which looks a lot like a matrix sequencer but they’ve already used that word in the Matrix View. The Matrix View is a performance environment where you can trigger loops and sequences on the fly – particularly good with a touch screen. There’s a bunch of “Style Dial FX” modules for those one knob mix improvements and judging by the screen shots they look pretty good. As do the included instrument suite which make up the much needed band sounds of bass, drums, electric piano and strings.
There’s also a version of Rapture called the Rapture Session sample player that comes with 450 electronically focused sounds. The Overloud TH3 Cakewalk Guitar Amp Simulator gives you some great tone for your guitar recordings. Unexpected tools like comping are very welcome as is the support for VST plug-ins.
It’s all optimised for Windows 10, with multi-touch support and an integrated help system to guide you through the software. It’s also very share friendly with hooks into YouTube, SoundCloud, Facebook and Twitter. And finally you can shoot your mix up to the LANDR online mastering house to give it that final zing.
All in all, Sonar Home Studio looks like a capable bit of software. I hope that Cakewalk have stripped out all the dated looking plug-ins they usually include which tend to sully an otherwise clean and fresh interface. The price is $34.99 until the end of November and then $49.99 after that. The next version up, Sonar Artist, is $99 so Home Studio is well placed. There’s no mention of a subscription option as they have with the other versions. You can buy it direct from Cakewalk or via Valve’s Steam Store.
More information available on the Cakewalk website.