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Pro Highly customizable UI
The Sonar DAW comes with a new and improved UI with extra focus on being customizable.
Pro Great bundled instruments
Pro Powerful mixing including ProChannel
A Pro Channel ensures that you have all the necessary plugins in a really good mixing rack with console emulation for all busses and channels. This feels and sounds like a real mixing console.
Pro Very frequent updates
The last few years they have given updates with new features and fixes nearly every month. Great support, constant innovation.
Pro Session Templates
New projects can have the entire session defined from a template. Tracks, IO, folders routing, etc.
Pro Add effects plugins to individual audio or MIDI clips
In addition to an effects rack and ProChannel effects that you can insert into each track, SONAR also allows you to insert effects plugins on individual audio or MIDI clips.
Using the non-destructive editing, you can easily cut one of those clips into smaller pieces if you'd like to apply an effect non-destructively to an individual note or musical phrase.
Pro Highly flexible audio routing
In SONAR Platinum you can create an unlimited number of audio tracks, patch points, aux tracks and busses. Each track can send its output or an unlimited number of aux sends to any patch point or bus. A patch point can route to any number of aux tracks. Each aux track or bus can send its output or an unlimited number of sends to any other patch point or bus. (* A patch point is a destination where audio can be sent from any output or aux send, while an aux track is a track that receives its input from a patch point. This allows the track to be used similarly to a bus, with the additional flexibility of allowing multiple aux tracks to get their input from the same source point, and the organizational convenience of having the track alongside other tracks, instead of in the separate bus area).
Pro Professional DAW
Professional, complete and very efficient DAW. It is unbelievable how BandLab does not charge a penny for it!
Pro Intuitive interface
The interface is very intuitive once you learn the program. It's like working in the studio with physical components.
Pro Inbuilt bridge
Includes inbuilt bridge allowing a 64-bit software to use a 32-bit plugin and vice versa without having to painstakingly use an external bridge to bridge the plugins. This will save one from bridging every new plugin that isn't compatible.
Pro Vocal Alignment tool
Pro Track folders
Group tracks into folders to expand/collapse Solo Mute or Archive.
Pro Touch screen support
If your computer has a touch screen, use gestures to optimize your workflow.
Pro Integrated drum replacement
Pro Easy to learn and use
Everything is very straightforward and intuitive, making it's workflow quite streamline and easy to customize.
Pro Supports video playback
You can play video alongside your audio tracks during playback to make it easier for post-production or audio-to-video sync.
Pro Includes Melodyne Essential via ARA
Pro Built in vocal comping and pitch correction
The Sonar DAW has some of the best pitch correction available, and it comes with the DAW.
Pro In collaboration with BandLab Technologies
Pro Integrated SoundCloud and YouTube uploads
When you're done with a project, upload it straight to SoundCloud or YouTube from the Sonar DAW.
Pro Home Studio, Platinum, Professional, and Artist subscription tiers
Lots of new features to separate them from the pack and put them in the lead again like when they were the very first DAW to go 64 bits. New model for purchasing the DAW means a purchaser can pay a monthly fee to use the DAW instead of having to buy it all upfront, so now you can try it for a month or 4 and if it does not work for you, dump it without having spent the full price to buy the whole thing.
Pro Laptop friendly
Also good for small screen laptops.
Pro Better for running external MIDI devices
It comes with a lot of Hardware Instrument definition templates and you can easily build your own.
Con 64-bit Windows only
This DAW is not available on any operating system except for Windows. However, many Mac users operate the Sonar DAW in a dual boot environment.
A version for Mac is in the works. You can learn more about it here.
Con Lacks a separate audio editor
Con Transport bar is big
Con Stability and unfinished features
Stability and tools are unfinished. As an example, AudioSnap simply does not work as it should when editing transients in the audio and staff view it does not work correctly.
Con Over-engineered GUI
Every part of the screen has tiny windows and symbols that might move, expand or disappear when you click on them. It is distracting and disorienting for new users.
Con Steep learning curve
This DAW has a bit of a learning curve, if you're new to DAW software, this may not be recommended for a beginner.
Con Non-free software
Does not respect your freedom. Does not provide source code.
Con Sound and fx routing is broken or non-intuitive
E.g. Midi instrument> change to MIDI channel, assign midi controler>click Icon on track which sometimes leaves midi control to a non desired track, and the process fails, and now you mull through the steps again, only to find it fails> contact support>They tell you to update>software update fails> Support contacts you 3 months later>Rinse&repeat.