It was once a “proper” DAW with a “proper” price tag called Sonar but when Bandlab bought Cakewalk they decided on a new approach. Cakewalk By Bandlab is a full-fledged professional DAW that you can use now, for free.
It is for Windows only and in fact, Bandlab says they are working with Microsoft to build in better support for the Surface Pen and Surface Dial, multi-touch and Bluetooth MIDI. That’s going to keep it a Windows exclusive and perfect for people using touch-enabled Windows computers, hybrids and tablets.
Here are some of the highlights. Cakewalk by BandLab has a 64bit audio engine with plug-in support for DirectX and VST3 effects and virtual instruments. There’s ARA support for integrated Melodyne pitch correction. The studio-quality “Pro Channel” brings professional effects directly into the mixer console with reverbs, resonant filtering, dynamic compression, EQ and tape emulation. One recent innovation was the ability to save and recall different mixes within the same project. Of course, it has unlimited audio and MIDI tracks, something not often found in free software.
Despite its award-winning interface some people just don’t like it. It can appear busy and cluttered at times. It has a workflow that doesn’t gel for everyone. That’s why there’s such great competition in the DAW market. All these bits of recording software do very similar things and yet can have vastly different approaches and ways of working.
Pros & Cons
- Unlimited track counts
- Full VST format plug-in support
- Professional tools and effects
- Good touch support
- Windows only
- Can feel cluttered