Sonar 6 Works in Windows 8!

fpo-hero_imageUpdate 17 Jan, 2013

I am so beyond happy right now, something that was looking pretty ugly has turned right around for me. I installed Windows 8 over the holidays and have since been learning touch screen gestures, but I needed to get my recording studio set back up and was told that Sonar 6, which I’ve used for nearly a decade wouldn’t work in Windows 8, bummer. Sonar 6 has been around since 2005 I think, and it’s got everything that a musician of any caliber needs to get their job done. And when I have an idea that I want to get down, the last thing I need is getting the glazed eyes from staring at a system that I’m not used to. But it looked like this was it, after getting away with not upgrading for years, passing by versions 7, 8, 8.5, X1, I would finally be forced to do it.

So after letting Microsoft format my drive, ridding my computer of any traces of Windows Vista, I did a clean install of Windows 8. Now with a blank canvas, I decided to upgrade to X2, Sonars flagship recording software or DAW. I did the trial version just in case it was something I hated. I just never saw why I should move on, when Sonar 6 had everything I needed and I can basically operate it in my sleep.  But first the computer, before I upgraded to Windows 8, I upped my memory to 8 gigs, thank you They have a cool test for your system, letting you know exactly what you need. Anyway, I went from a 32 bit to a 64 bit system.

Cakewalk_1c_black_invThen I downloaded the newest, latest and greatest Sonar X2. But when I opened up the program I was very disappointed to say the least. Who on earth thought of this? Who decided it was a good thing to take away the ease of use, the ability to customise the colours, and replace it with the “skylight interface”, whatever the hell that is. I still don’t know and to tell you the truth, well I digress.

My dear X2, I knew Sonar 6, Sonar 6 was a friend of mine, and you X2 are no Sonar 6. It doesn’t even have a save button on the dash, maybe it’s there somewhere, but I can’t find it. You can’t change the colours of anything, so unless you like grey on grey, you’re screwed. It has a horrible UI, like old newspaper cheap, and just all around doesn’t have a comfy feel to it, coldish. The funny thing, it’s layout is pretty much how I’ve wanted Sonar 6 to be for years, with the console sliders on the bottom. That was my only gripe about Sonar 6.

Anyways, I did what I almost did right after first install, pulled out my Sonar 6 disk, threw her into the drive and let her rip. To hell with what they say, if it worked then it worked. I tried a side by side setup first, but that was a no go. Tried again and got a redundancy error, never heard of that before, so I looked it up. The redundancy error has to do with the inability to read data, in my case it would be the disk. But I knew it wasn’t the disk, it was more like the drive that I was using. I’ve been wanting to change out that drive for awhile. Continuing on, I was not to be that easily discouraged, I uninstalled X2 and I put the Sonar 6 disk into my other dvd drive. Low and behold ladies and germs, I have Sonar 6 up and running on Windows 8!

For anyone counting, if you’re a Sonar Producer upgrade, you get X2 for $200.00. Yeah, saying they don’t support Sonar 6 in Windows 8 because they wanted to sell me and everyone else that has Windows 8 a $200.00 upgrade. Business is what it is and you can’t blame them for trying to make a profit. But sorry Cakewalk, I’ve been a customer since the early days, like Sonar 2, maybe before that, and this X2 was the worst product you’ve put out. I’m sure you had great intentions, but it didn’t show in what I was looking at. It looked and felt unfinished and kind of jumbled up. Hopefully, there will be an update or change to it, fix it or something. And to make matters worse, one of the phone techs told me it would have Z3ta, wrong! I could go on about it but I won’t, it’s over and I’m all good now.

Hint: when I uninstalled X2, it asked if I wanted to keep shared files or code and I did, all of it. Maybe that had the drivers that Cakewalk said it wasn’t supporting, although I doubt that to be the case. I don’t know, but what I do know is if anyone asks now, the answer is yes, Sonar 6 works in Windows 8.

The only problem I’ve encountered is some of my favourite plugins didn’t work now. With almost every song that I’ve done I’ve used dbAudio mastering plugins and FXReverb to name a few. So looking into the Cakewalk forums I found out why and how to fix it.

As it turned out, those particular plugins don’t work with a 64 bit Sonar system, only 32. Not to be deterred, I uninstalled Sonar 6 64 bit and installed the 32 bit, which doesn’t matter anyway because it has a 64 bit engine. And once again some good news, all of my plugins work. I also reinstalled X2 64 bit next to it since I still have time on my trial, thought I’d look at it some more, no hurt in that.

I’ll keep checking in with Cakewalk to see if any improvements occur, maybe give it another tryout in the future. But until that day, goodbye X2 and hello again to my dear companion, Sonar 6.

A few thing I didn’t mention originally, everything works just fine in Sonar 6, although I have noticed a bit of thrashing of late. For those who don’t know thrashing, it’s when the system is jumping from physical memory to RAM and back again, crossing paths with itself along the way. That’s how I interpret thrashing anyway. Whether it’s a Windows 8 bug or an incompatibility issue, it’s certainly nothing to freak over. A few times I have had to let Windows do an emergency save before exit, but that happened before Windows 8 too. You could probably run Sonar in compatibility mode (just thought of it), that could help any confusion within either the system or program, but it hasn’t been a big enough issue with me that I would go that route.

The only other issue with Sonar 6 and Windows 8 is sliding the project horizontally, vertically is fine. But my solution to that was using the bottom ribbon, hold down the nav button till it catches, then slide the project that way.