Free Sonar Platinum

Cakewalk has been sold to BandLab who is now offering a free version of Sonar Platinum if anyone is interested. The license is for six months and I don't know what will happen at the end of that period.

Windows only apparently. Here is the press release.

Here is the download link.


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    Thanks for the link Ingo. I tried it but it times out (I don’t know, probably it's my connection) but looking in google I found similar news about Cakewalk. I think it is a very good free offer and I downloaded it but windows 10 warns me not to install it. I am not sure what to do. Do you think there's a catch inserted by Bandlab?

    The news and review I found in the Sound On Sound magazine

    which provides other links for downloading




    and says that all one has to do is sign up for a free Bandlab account.

    Anyone else in the know about Sonar Platinum, please advise.

  • Hi Socrates - I guess their server was down for awhile. It works as I write this, and I added the download link to the discussion heading above.

    I downloaded Sonar and it seems to work fine although I have done little with it.  You have to be careful with the download, the first download is the "BandLab Assistant" which shows up on your desktop and will try to get you involved with the BandLab application which is apparently an online recording and collaborating application which I know nothing about.

    You have to set up an account with BandLab and confirm it through your email. Then on the Assistant window you go to the applications tab and choose Cakewalk and it will open a browser page at the Bandlab website which asks for donations, but in the meantime the Cakewalk Sonar application begins downloading so just ignore the webpage and follow the standard download and set up procedures and it should work fine.

    If a web server times out on you in the future you might try this website:

    to see if their server is down or if your connection has a problem. Good luck!

  • Got it downloaded and open. Now I just have to figure out what to do with it.

  • Thanks for all help Ingo.

    I opened an account in Bandlab and I've installed Cakewalk successfully.

    So now I've got a big DAW. What the hell do I do with it? (that's the difficult bit, isn't it? :-) )

    You see, 22 years ago I was using Logic audio in one of its early incarnations and I had quite a few problems with it which the technicians recognized they were through no fault of my own. Eventually I gave up on Macs, Logic, and all that and I never learnt how to make passable recordings or continue with learning the workings of a DAW.


    A few years ago, under windows 7, I bought a good sound card that I thought would cover all my small recording requirements, and back then I did some good recordings with it, but not on a good DAW.

    Last year I downloaded Audacity and I thought that once I manage to gather a few musicians around me we are going to have a few good recording sessions.

    When I finally got hold of the musicians (they are all very busy giging people) I found that Audacity was not seeing my sound card. I was advised to download new windows 10 drivers for it and I did, but still audacity was not recognizing the sound card so I gave up again.

    This year (I will un-install Audacity first cause I came to hate it) I will try the same thing with Cakewalk once I'm in Crete, where most of my musical friends are. I am afraid that this time Cakewalk will not recognise my sound card again.

    The card in question is a Focusrite scarlett 2in4 (which I see, is a lot cheaper now a days) and I will try to certainly do something with it and Cakewalk before I leave England again, but I don’t have any confidence that it will work. New windows 10 drivers for the Focusrite are on my pc since last year, but if anyone can suspect another pitfall from what I'm saying, please let me know.

    Thanks again Ingo.

  • Socrates,


    I have used Audacity on a variety of PCs with and without fancy sound cards. It has always worked automatically, every time. I've never had to configure it or change drivers. 

    I don't have a Focusrite, but I have used a usb audio interface and Audacity used it just fine. You might have to choose it from the pull-down menu.

  • Thanks Bob,
    The audacity last year was recording ok with my laptop mike, but I have invested on some good mikes (cardioid, condenser, vocal and all-purpose (BLUE Baby Bottle is my best value for money). I don’t even know where I left now, I suppose, some in England some in Greece, but I do want to use them now with Cakewalk and Focusrite, only I'm afraid it will not work, unless I take the matter up with the company. But you know how it goes: They don’t accept anything wrong on their part and tell you to take it up with Microsoft etc.
    Focusrite card does use a usb connection and I thought all will be fine like it once was (in 2015 to be precise), but no cigar!

  • Well gentlemen I'm no expert on Sonar so perhaps someone else will join in here and help us all. But in the meantime I can hopefully give some hints.

    Sonar is a very powerful system and has many more features than Audacity, I don't think most of us will ever use all of what it is capable of doing so it's surprising that they have offered it for free.  Apparently they will request donations from us at some point and you can then decide if you like this DAW, and if so what it is worth to you.

    My suggestion to start is, first open the program.

    You will see a 'start screen'  Click on 'basic.cwt' This opens up a two track recording set up with a MIDI track and an audio track.

    Go to 'help' on the menu and click on 'getting started guide' which will take you to a website with lots of topics which you can browse as you please. The more detailed manual was not available yet when I looked.

    Back in the Sonar app, click on Utilities on the menu bar, then on 'audio and midi setup' and click 'next'

    Your sound card should appear in the drop down list for input and output; if not select it for both audio and midi input and output. If your soundcard is not midi capable you probably will get offered the Microsoft synthesizer which you can use to make some noise at least, hopefully.

    Back to main page, plug an instrument into your sound card / interface and give it some volume, leave the monitors off for now.

    Track 1 audio is in the center of the screen, click the red dot which arms the track for recording. Playing the instrument should now make the green meter lights register.

    Try the monitors or headphones now, if you don't hear anything when playing, click on the speaker icon next to the red button to enable monitoring.

    Tape recorder transfer controls are at the top of the screen, click on the red one to record, then rewind and listen.

    If you get this far you'll soon be famous!

  • Hi,

    I have been using Sonar for many many years now. So am happy to answer specific queries/if someone is stuck somewhere. Its a really powerful DAW with a great UI. Ideally you need an audio interface + one or two good VSTs + a midi/usb controller keyboard to get going.

    I am happy another company has picked up the s/w so now I dont have to migrate to cubase as I was planning to :)


  • I'm not particularly interested in composing in a DAW. That concept is too foreign to me. Rather, I want to import midi data from my notation software.

  • The same here Bob.
    Outside the scope of recording ordinary songs with acoustic instruments (which is my main motive for getting Sonar), and referring to more complicated classical pieces, once I have finished with a piece in Sibelius and I have mixed it to the best of my ability using Note Performer, my question is: How can I improve the sound in a DAW? And let us say that I do improve the product in a DAW like Sonar in a way which can thrill other listeners also, then my first aim is not to produce a stereo mix out of it in order to burn a CD. The question here for me is, how do I get this final mix back into Sibelius? Why do I want to do that? For various reasons:
    To export a video of my score from Sibelius, but using the DAW mix rather than the NP sounds, for example, playing in sync with the DAW mix.
    How do I do that?
    Anyone knows? Please advise.
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