Cakewalk has announced the SONAR X2a update which they tell us includes many fixes and enhancements, plus support for an innovative technology allowing artists to create music on multi-touch enabled machines including Intel-inspired Ultrabook devices. All registered SONAR X2 customers can download the free SONAR X2a update.
Cakewalk says that they are committed to ensuring that all SONAR X2 customers receive timely updates and feature enhancements, therefore the X2a update covers a wide variety of improvements.
Michael Hoover, President of Cakewalk, told Sonic State, "Our customers are very intuitive and we take their feedback seriously. Many of the enhancements in SONAR X2a are based on the direct feedback from our users, and we are looking forward to our customers enjoying a more engaging and complete experience with this free software update."
Here's Cakewalk' take on the areas of focus in the update:
Over 250 fixes and enhancements
Various fixes and enhancements based on direct customer feedback. Cakewalk's "customer first" approach ensures highest impact items are given priority. A list of prominent fixes will be available upon release.
Windows 8 support
SONAR X2a adds full functionality support in both Windows 8 32-bit and 64-bit platforms.
Unique Now Time markers
The Now Time marker changes appearance to indicate if playback is stopped, paused, running, or recording.
Playlist View Enhancements
The Playlist includes many new enhancements for the live performance environment.
Rich context menu for adding ProChannel modules
When adding a ProChannel module, the context menu shows a visually rich menu with a small thumbnail image of the module, the module name, and a brief description.
Updated Piano Roll View and Staff View track pane user interface
The Track pane in the Piano Roll View and Staff View shows more intuitive buttons, and the current track is highlighted.
Visual feedback when dragging items from the Browser
When dragging items from the Browser, the mouse pointer shows the name of the items.
SONAR's power is now more accessible to vision impaired users.
SONAR's accessibility features, including Microsoft User Interface Automation, expose rich information about its user Interface elements such as type, state, name, and value.
With reliable access to this information, vision impaired users can implement user Interface automation-capable screen reader programs such as Microsoft Narrator, JAWS, NVDA and Window-Eyes. This will allow users to access, identify, and manipulate SONAR's user Interface elements as the screen readers broadcast aloud what's on the computer.
Scan VST folders from the Browser
The Scan VST Folders command is now available in the Browser's plug-ins tab drop-down menu.
Multi-touch support in Windows 8
In addition to the computer keyboard and mouse, users can now interact with SONAR X2a via touch using Intel-inspired Ultrabooks, touch-enabled devices, or compatible touch screen displays running Windows 8. This offers touch gestures for:
Cakewalk tells us that an evolving trend of music creation on-the-go has encouraged themselves and companies like Intel to develop new, mobile-oriented ways to make music utilizing the "touch" experience. As Ultrabook devices hit the market with stunning graphics, precision, power and control, users can now swipe, pinch, drag and touch their way to a more inspired musical workflow; all with power and portability.
George Persiantsev, product manager for Cakewalk, told us, "We are very excited to work with Intel and be the first to market the touch experience to musicians. It will be interesting to see how artists become more productive, creative, and have more fun when combining music creation with touch in SONAR X2."
Cakewalk believes that, with Microsoft Windows 8 support, the touch experience lends itself perfectly to music composition with instant visual and audio response. They say that thiis transpires into a natural and creative thought process for the artist, while also adding the benefit of increased productivity. Some of the basic features for music production include touch, multi-touch, scrolling, dragging, holding, zooming, swiping and tapping in different musical environments; all within SONAR X2's award-winning Skylight User Interface. Some examples include sliding a fader (or multiple faders) during the mixing process, tapping sample-loaded cells to trigger sounds, or zooming in and out by pinching to re-size the views.
Users of SONAR X2A will now experience a new creative environment on touch enabled devices. Highlights include:
Skylight User Interface
Ultrabook with 3rd generation Intel Core processors, combined with Windows 8 and SONAR X2a, can help music creators utilize familiar smartphone and tablet gestures in many new and creative ways on their PCs. Mobile systems, once difficult for artists to use on the go, are now exceptionally thin, much more efficient on battery life, and come packed with the power of desktop computers. The interactive nature of the touch experience works seamlessly with the musician's mind, and is intended to trigger new avenues in the creation process.
Steve Pitzel, Creativity Software Program Marketing Manager for Intel's Software and Services Group, had this to say, "As someone who works with advanced technology every day, and loves to create music, I'm always impressed at Cakewalk's ability to harness the power and innovations available with Intel-based platforms. Marrying multi-track recording with the mobility and touch capabilities available in the latest Ultrabook devices gives songwriters and recording artists a truly innovative way to create anytime, anywhere."
A Cakewalk spokesperson concluded, "It's simply the best of both worlds. SONAR X2 users on the Windows platform will have more options at their fingertips for a faster and more intuitive musical experience. And now with more device-makers implementing this technology into their designs (such as the Ultrabook™ convertibles) it's possible for artists to find inspiration in ways that were never before possible."
Pricing and Availability:
The free SONAR X2a update for SONAR X2 Essential, SONAR X2 Studio and SONAR X2 Producer is available now as a free download.
We sat down with Rob to discuss the creative process and what lead him to using a modular