Cakewalk’s Sonar 8: Studio vs Producer

Sonar 8 Studio and ProducerSonar 8, by Cakewalk comes in two different flavors… Studio, and Producer.

As with most DAWs with multiple versions (see: Pro Tools LE/HD, Logic Express/Pro) there are two different levels of differences… differences in features, and differences in bundled plugins and software…

In the general sense, you can tell these two different version of Sonar’s target audiences by their name, Studio and Producer.. But lets take a closer look.

The Tech Side

On the technical side of things, both Sonar 8 Studio and Producer are fairly even.  Both allow for a maximum 24-bit 384 kHz Audio Quality, Unlimited Tracks, have a 64-bit Audio Engine, and the same editing capabilities.

The differences lay in the mixing and mastering aspects.  Sonar 8 Studio allows Stereo Mixing, and has Boost 11 included as a mastering tool, as well as Windowed Sinc Sample Rate Conversion.

Sonar 8 Producer allows for Multi-Channel Mixing (surround sound), and includes a larger suite of included mastering tools… Not only do you get Boost 11 and Windowed Sinc Sample Rate Conversion, but also the LP-64 Master FX, TL-64 Tube Leveler and POW-r Dithering Plugins.

Arranging

As far as in DAW arranging and composition, both Sonar Producer and Studio are on equal ground.  Both have the ability to create Simple Instrument Tracks, utilize the Loop Explorer as well as the Step Sequencer.

Audio Plug-Ins

This is where the two versions start to stray off, Sonar 8 Studio shipping with 31 included Audio Plug-Ins, and Sonar 8 Producer Shipping with 42.

What plug-ins do you loose with Studio?

  • LP-64 EQ Linear Phae Mastering EQ
  • LP-64 Multiband Linear Phase Mastering Compressor
  • TS-64 Transient Shaper
  • TL-64 Tube Leveler
  • VC-64 Vintage Channel
  • LP-64 Master FX
  • Roland V-Vocal 1.5
  • Native Instruments Guitar Rig 3 LE
  • Sonitus Surround Compressor
  • Lexicon Pantheon Reverb (Avail in Studio SE)
  • Perfect space Convolution Reverb

Virtual Instruments and More

The two versions of Sonar 8 show their intended uses here, with the differences in bundled VSTs.  Sonar 8 Producer includes 3 additional VSTs… As well as a few looping tools.

  • Dimension Pro 1.2 Virtual Synthesiser w/ Classic Keys
  • True Pianos Amber VSTi
  • Z3TA+ 1.5 Waveshaping Synthesiser

The additional tools would be the Hollywood Edge Sound FX Library for the Dimension Pro VST, as well as the BeatScape looping instrument…

Conclusion-ish

In reality, the two versions differ a bit more than what their names imply, as the mastering tools and additional audio plug-ins would definitely come in handy for any user of Sonar 8 Studio, but the real question is would you use these plugins?  Many engineers have already purchased and usable plugins which may be preferred or higher quality than the plug-ins included in Sonar 8 Producer.

So which to buy?  Studio, if you have your own Plug-Ins… Or Producer, if you use VSTs and want their Plug-In Package.

Don’t forget to read Audio Thru’s story on Sonar 8 Rebates and Free Upgrades

Purchase

Sonar 8 Studio on Samash.com for $199 after rebate until 8/30/09
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Sonar 8 Producer on SamAsh.com for $399 after rebate 8/30/09
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Upgrades to Sonar 8 on Amazon.com