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Topic: Upgrading Sonar 8.5

  1. #1

    Upgrading Sonar 8.5

    I know there are folks here who have upgraded from Sonar 8.5 to the X series. I'm currently considering several possible moves, upgrading Sonar among them, but also Reaper (which I'm currently evaluating), as well as Mixcraft. Reaper is implementing a staff view, but I don't know yet if it will be suitable. Mixcraft has a basic one, but I don't think you can open more than one inst. Upgrading to Sonar Professional may make the most sense, as I already know sonar and its staff view is suitable for my needs. So my question is, has upgrading from 8.5 to the latest version been worth it for you? As time goes by, 8.5 is getting older and less compatible. I have some weird quirks with it, such as not being able to use EWSO Gold basses, as they crash Sonar. Upgrading might solve this. Also, Vienna Sp. Ed. causes crashes as well. So, I know I have to either upgrade or move to something else. Any thoughts?

  2. #2

    Re: Upgrading Sonar 8.5

    I have both Sonar X3 and 8.5. Sonar 8.5 definitely has it's issues, but IMO, I still like it more than X3 myself. It's cleaner and the midi editing is better. It's also more efficient when it comes to adding in midi controllers when you are in the track view. Don't get me wrong, X3 is much more stable and has ton of new features, but the interface and the midi editing is why it's now sitting idle for me. EX: In sonar 8.5 all you have to do is click once and it will place the memorized note, in the X series you have to double click to get the same thing, it's much more of a hassle for me since I don't use the midi keyboard and strictly compose just in Piano Roll View. This is just my intake on it. On the other hand, whenever I try to use mutliple input echos and midi outputs, Sonar 8.5 always crashes. So, again my preference is boiling down to the midi editing, and slightly because the interface is not so bloated. If you use the midi keyboard or don't mind the new midi editing then I think it would be a good upgrade for the features and stability.



  3. #3

    Re: Upgrading Sonar 8.5

    Hello Michael,

    I upgraded from Sonar 8.5 to the X series and now to the latest Sonar family that have superceeded the 'X' series. I have Sonar Platinum.

    I have to say that there can be no comparison now to both the 8.5 and X versions; Sonar has moved on so much. I have trialled at length virtually all DAWS including Cubase, Pro Tools, Reaper and others. In my honest opinion, there is nothing to touch Sonar now for user friendliness, features, customisation, stability etc.

    In addition, Sonar now offers unlimited time trials of the three Sonar versions; 'Artist', 'Professional' and 'Platinum' (saving and printing disabled). Also, Cakewalk's membership program offers the option of paying monthly or one-off annual payment. This is not a subscription program as after the initial twelve months we keep what we have with an option to renew membership to receive all further upgrades ect.

    I do dislike the 'Command Centre', a 'live' feature where downloads and authorisations can be 'controlled' and also I totally loathe the new 'live' always connected 'Start Screen' where the company can stream things onto the computer. Fortunately both of these can be disabled and turned off. I prefer to download and install manually and to control what is allowed onto my computer .. not companies. Having said that, other folk in their forums like these features; it's all down to taste and preferences.

    I really do like the new main module type menu. Again, this is customisable where we can select modules we want and position them where we want as shown in my screenshot below. The 'File' menu module (top left in the screenshot) can be further customised with whatever links we want there.

    For more information on the Sonar family and a video: http://www.cakewalk.com/Products/SONAR

    More information on the trial versions here: http://www.cakewalk.com/Products/SONAR/Try-SONAR#start

    Sonar Plainum ~ This is just one view I have, we can set to show tracks / console however we want.

    Hope this helps.

    Best wishes.
    Patience is a virtue, sensitivity is a gift

  4. #4

    Re: Upgrading Sonar 8.5

    I'm on Sonar Platinum too. I am just a hobbyist but I am very happy with it. I like the business model for it.

  5. #5

    Re: Upgrading Sonar 8.5

    Thanks for the feedback, guys. Richard, I use my external midi keyboard to compose, so that shouldn't be a problem.
    Michael, thanks for the extensive and informative feedback. I did not know they now have unlimited trials. I will check that out. They have a sale on now through Feb, so if I can get it for 99.00, it would make a lot of sense. I like the interface screen you have set. That would work for me, as I use track and console views a lot. And I can get to staff view and event list as I do now it would appear, through the menu.

    I'm still going to evaluate Reaper, as it is so inexpensive and offers the prospect of running on Linux, which I find attractive.

  6. #6

    Re: Upgrading Sonar 8.5

    Well, I downloaded the Sonar Pro demo. I am dutifully impressed. It looks like I could get up and running with it pretty quickly. Now, is it just me, or does the new Sonar actually sound better? I was playing some inst's, actually East West as I didn't yet configure the Aria for the project I opened up; and they sounded better. Anyway, I am extremely tempted to go for it. Still working on just how to present it to my wife. She knows I'll be upgrading to GPO5 as soon as it's available, but this will be unexpected. (She wears the financial trousers in this household).

  7. #7
    Senior Member tedvanya's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Canada,winter Mexico

    Re: Upgrading Sonar 8.5

    I do not know if I can help with my experience with Sonar, but I am with Sonar X3 Professional, and have very little problems with it. Because of my limited use of all the features available, I think it is too bloated for me, but this not interfere with using it. I am with them since the very earliest Cakewalks and got used to the occasional quirks, which are less frequent now. Over all, I will keep using it.
    Good luck with it Michael,


  8. #8

    Re: Upgrading Sonar 8.5

    still on sonar 8.5 professional here...
    i am scarred by the learning curve of the new version... is it so much different??
    as an hobbist with very few spare time, i don't want to waste my time to learn a "new" program!
    also, i have a nektar panorama which does not support sonar integration. i forced myself to not upgrade sonar until nektar will completely support the software...

  9. #9

    Re: Upgrading Sonar 8.5

    Bosone, my guess, and it is only a guess, is that the learning curve will depend on what you do in Sonar. In working with the demo of Sonar Professional, I have discovered it is very small, for me. In fact, after a few hours, I am pretty much there. but then, I only do a few basic things with Sonar: enter notes by step-record with a midi controller, edit in staff view, adjust volumes in event list, and mix/master in console view. All this is the same as it was in 8.5. How you get to places may be different, shortcuts may be different, but that's it. And it loads really fast and runs very smoothly. I hope it will solve some of the problems I was having with 8.5, with crashes when I used certain instruments or synths. I'm going to upgrade. For 99.00 it's a no-brainer to leave behind outdated software.

    The "subscription" model was another thing keeping me from upgrading. It's not really subscription. If you buy it outright, you own it, and it works forever. And you get one year of free monthly updates (if you want them). Or you can pay as you go with the monthly plan. That's the only difference.

  10. #10

    Re: Upgrading Sonar 8.5

    thanks for the feedback.
    i am very confortable with sonar 8.5, i have my own keybindings and i can use it in a very advanced way almost by blind eyes... this is what mostly prevents me from the update!
    i my try the free version but, again, for now i don't have time to "waste" to learn it...
    i will reconsider it when (and if!) nektar will release complete integration with sonar and the midi keyboard. on cubase it should work like charm and i'm waiting the same... that would be a nice incentive to go on!
    i don't like subscription model, too... but at least you can pay once and use it forever, even without upgrades... it's not like east west subscription model than when you stop to pay you loose access to every sound!

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