I started on Cakewalk 1 for DOS and grew with it over the years. I was a rebel at Berklee where everything was Opcode Vision, then later Studio Vision Pro. I still worked with Opcode lots but I alwasy kept Cakewalk. But I got to ProAudio 9 and then I got a mac and I realized while Cakewalk was cool it doesnt touch DP! Now I am back on a PC and struggling with Cubase SX3, maybe Its time to check out Cakewalk once again :)
You know, I have never used Sonar's staff view. I just never need it. When I enter notes, it's through a keyboard, and if I need to modify, I usually just replay it, but sometimes use the piano roll view. I would say that the other sequencers are better at notation in general.
I liked versions of Cakewalk through V3 - that's the ONLY program I've been happy working in the score view. after they got rid of the dots and added audio I had issues. It's just not for me... I've heard it's great now but I have no desire to switch....
I have been using Sonar for the past 4 years but have just recently switched to Cubase. The reason that I switched is that the notation (scoring) features of Sonar are essentially nil. However, Cubase is nearly as full featured as Sibelius or Finale. Anyone interested in creating written scores for their music (and who isn't?) should strongly consider Cubase. I purchased Cubase Studio 4 which is lower-priced than the full Cubase, but yet has all the midi sequencing, VST plug-in support and audio editing features I need. I believe Studio and Cubase have identical scoring capabilities.
When I got back into home recording again after a few years' lay-off (having had to return the Atari ST to its owner several years previously), I started on Cakewalk Home Studio, purely because it came with a serial > midi cable, and in those days I just had a bog standard PC with a soundblaster soundcard and very little knowledge about setting up home studio PCs.
I now have a dedicated music PC with an audiophile card, and in the past 7 years have upgraded from Home Studio to Sonar 2, and am now up to 5 Producer edition.
I am so familiar with Sonar that it would be very hard to switch sequencer now, and I do find it very user friendly in general, but I do have a few gripes with it, and cakewalk's customer service leaves much to be desired.
My main problems were dxi / vst based. On Sonar 2, you had to purchase f-xpansion's adapter separately. This worked fine on most plug-ins. Then came the upgrade to Sonar 5PE, and the built in adapter lost all my plug-ins! I spent hours moving, deleting, reinstalling my plug-ins, and had ongoing dscussions about this on the cakewalk forum, and emailed customer support a number of times, who basically told me to do things I'd already done (despite having told them clearly everything I'd tried!).
Anyway, to cut a long story short, I eventually solved it by switching off the internal adapter, and running the old fxpansion one. This is OK, but there are a few oddities. Preset names don't show up in some plug-ins (e.g. Mr Ray electric piano), and Trilogy now suffers terrible latency. The Grand, after tweaking a few notes in staff view, or transposing a track, decides it will suddenly cut every note off immediately, (or the opposite, sustaining notes for ever!). To rectify this, I have to close Sonar and re-open. After a few closes, it crashes my machine and I get the notorious BSoD!
I'm sure an upgrade to 6 would help my problems, but the thought of going through hours and hours of frustration again should it delete all my plugins fills me with dread, so I haven't bothered!
I don't enter my parts in the staff view - I play them all in, but being primarily a guitarist not a pianist, they usually require some editing of wrong notes! This I do in the staff view - have never tried the piano roll view or midi-step-matrix-whatnot; I just find the staff view much easier. I may try the paino roll some time to see if I get the same problem. I may also try changing buffer settings. The trouble is, I get a bit scared of changing too much, because so often in the past it caused days of work to get it working again, and if I'm spending that much time in my studio, I really ought to be doing my coursework, not breaking my PC!
I'm worried about all the plugins if I upgrade to S6. I didn't go into too much detail in the previous post for not wishing to send you all to sleep, but what happened was this:
I upgraded to S5PE, all seemed OK at first.
A few months later I bought Stylus RMX, but it would not show up in the plugin list. Cakewalk user-support didn't want to know. Spectrasonics, on the other hand, spent several half hour phone calls across the Atlantic trying to help me - I can't praise them enough.
I tried uninstalling all my plug-ins and re-installing, and this culminated in losing all my plug-ins, which is when I knew it was a Sonar problem, not Stylus. Cakewalk told me to ensure all my plugins were in a single directory. I did this, but it didn't work. I even tried installing Sonar on my laptop, which was 'vanilla' in music software terms, and put a couple of plugins in a single folder, and they didn't show up either!
When I ran the old adapter they all came back... Phew! But not without their problems, as mentioned in my previous post. I have also lost all the styles and other content in session drummer. I may reinstall S5 to see if that comes back.
So basically I'm scared of an upgrade to S6 in case it all happens again - I really haven't got the time to go through all that, and knowing what Cakewalk's 'support' is like, it doesn't seem worth the hassle at the moment!
P.S. I looked at the Cakewalk forum at the time, and I wasn' t the only user to have this problem. I may look back there and see if they eventually got anywhere.