We didn't find some of the editing and arranging features, as intuitive as Cakewalk clearly thinks they are. The new Inspector shows a wealth of data in a small footprint and allows for ergonomic track mixing. There are however, more than 30 effects included with X1 Essentials.
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SONAR X1 Skylight User Interface Skylight introduces a next-generation workspace and ushers in a new level of simplicity by providing an intelligent interface that moves beyond contemporary, single-window design and layout clutter. Default Screensets are ready-to-go for just about any production scenario imaginable or create your own Screensets for tracking, mixing, jamming or experimenting.
We kept forgetting to arm tracks, before recording, and wasted a lot of good takes - this way of working will come with practice. The main arrangement window is in the middle, transport and editing controls at the top, a channel strip down one side and the media pool on the other.
Most functions are now performed with a single implement that switches automatically based on context. Access crucial functions quickly and clearly with the new modular Control Bar.
Setting up and using home recording software used to be a bit of an assault course. The Console View, Step Sequencer, Piano Roll - even instruments and effects can all be contained within one consolidated area.
There are however, more than 30 effects included with X1 Essentials.
And that was before all the challenges that recording digital audio presented: It is still a bit of a steep learning curve though and the documentation, help and supporting videos could be more integrated and better organised. There are certainly enough instruments to get you started, including the TTS-1 multi-timbral General MIDI Level 2 synth good standard sounds, nice drums and the Sound Center 3 different instruments including some clever electric guitar effects - but no strummed guitars.
Screensets — Just the way you remembered it Per-project Screensets remember every window position, size and state and are accessed directly from the Control Bar or via your qwerty keyboard.
A little familiarity with the way that mixing desks and effects chains work, in the real world, is invaluable here.
All those instruments and effects provide everything you need for home recording. This is extremely useful, because X1 Essentials eats up a lot of screen real-estate though it does support multiple monitors and in this way, you can create dedicated screens for editing, mixing and so on.
We still think the entire process is too opaque and believe that more could be done, to make the documentation more accessible, better organised and easier to follow.
Recording MIDI or audio is relatively straightforward, though newcomers may have to get their heads round routing, to achieve the desired results. Underneath, everything is a tabbed area where you can display a range of components such as the mixing desk, loop creator and more.
Modules logically group related functions and can be arranged to suit your desire. It does lack some of the bells and whistles of the more expensive products in the range, but it's got everything that most people will need. Skylight introduces a next-generation workspace and ushers in cakdwalk new level of simplicity by providing an intelligent interface that moves beyond contemporary, single-window design and layout clutter.
Control Bar — Total control freak Access crucial functions quickly and clearly with the new modular Control Bar. It got to the point where some manufacturers - Cakewalk included - produced programs such as Guitar Tracks. We're impressed with the collection of online tutorial videos but again, these need better structuring and it's not always easy to find the one that walks you through this or that feature. This is along with adjusting the latency, so you could hear what you were playing - as you were playing it rather than a second later.
The latter of which, extensively uses drag and drop not just loops, notes and audio sections but also effectsas well as time savers, such as like track templates and effects chains - many of the cakewqlk are already defined for you. There was one oddity: This dramatically speeds up editing and arranging by vakewalk the need to constantly switch tools. This also includes Dimension LE sounds, including the highly thought of Garritan Pocket Orchestrathe Dropzone sampler and the Square 1 vintage analogue-style synth.
Cakewalk SONAR X1 Essential | Musician's Friend
Drag and drop just about anything you can think of from the Browser directly to your workspace. The completely redesigned Browser organizes all of your content into one, easily managed place.
With a powerful collection of effects and instruments to get you started and more available tracks than DAWs costing twice the price, SONAR Essential is the perfect way to get your feet wet and to begin crafting your own masterpiece. For the price, X1 Essentials includes everything you need to make music at home - with the exception of a cheap MIDI keyboard and a decent microphone. In addition, the software doesn't play nicely with anything else that uses sound.