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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 Highly customizable UI
The Sonar DAW comes with a new and improved UI with extra focus on being customizable.
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 Great bundled instruments
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 Session Templates
New projects can have the entire session defined from a template. Tracks, IO, folders routing, Etc
Pro Vocal Alignment tool
Pro Includes Melodyne Essential via ARA
Pro Integrated drum replacement
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 Includes Addictive Drums 2
Pro Touch screen support
If your computer has a touch screen, use gestures to optimize your workflow.
For under 200 USD, you get the full version of the DAW with all the bells and whistles, and free stuff that comes in the bundle you would not get from another DAW.
For less than 200 USD more, you get free updates for a lifetime. Any future updates with the SONAR Platinum DAW is free when you have this pass.
They have sold the SONAR Platinum DAW with the LIFETIME Pass key as a bundle from June 01, 2016-Aug 01, 2016. It's already over but who knows when it will comeback? The team from cakewalk are just generously full of surprises.
Pro Track folders
Group tracks into folders to expand/collapse Solo Mute or Archive.
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 Very frequent updates
The last few years they have given updates with new features and fixes nearly every month. Great support, constant innovation.
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 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 Intuitive interface
The interface is very intuitive once you learn the program. It's like working in the studio with physical components.
Pro In collaboration with BandLab Technologies
Con Windows only
This DAW isn't 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 Gibson owned (they're almost Bankrupt, $500,000.00 in Debt)
Many feel with the "Lifetime" subscription, really hurt Cakewalk as there is no more monthly/yearly income. Most likely the IP will be sold as Gibson is in a bad financial situation (they owe about half a Billion $ due early next year) They are one of the all time "Great" guitar builders.
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.