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Cakewalk Sonar


March 11 2017

I have purchased Cakewalk Sonar and will slowly make the transition away from hardware and towards software. However, a note about Sonar’s copy protection.

==Sonar: Now copy protected==

Cakewalk Sonar is one of many computer programs people can use to make music. Just as word processors have made typewriters by and large obsolete, this kind of “Digital Audio Workstation” (DAW) software is making traditional tape-based music production obsolete.

I chose Cakewalk Sonar as the DAW I will learn how to use. While the Cakewalk vs. Ableton vs. Pro Tools vs. Cubase vs. Reason vs. Studio One vs. Ardour vs. Reaper vs. etc. debate is one which will never have a definitive answer, I chose Sonar because it only had serial number copy protection.

“Had” being the operative word here. Starting in 2015, Cakewalk Sonar started using basic challenge-response copy protection. The key word here is basic — Cakewalk didn’t actually try to make the challenge response algorithm hard to crack, and, indeed, there are programs which, given only a challenge, generate a response.

It’s unfortunate that Cakewalk has made installing their software on new computers reliant on their key generation servers remaining online, or using programs that are in a legal gray area to generate a response code. While Cakewalk has promised that the key generation servers are in escrow and will not go offline, I doubt I would be able to generate a response code 30 years from now — and, yes, I do have gear I have owned for more than 30 years in my studio which I still actively use in my music.

Looking back, Reaper, which does not have copy protection at all, might have been a better choice. But, unlike Reaper, Cakewalk includes a selection of nice instruments, and it is probably easier to use.

Hopefully, I will have time to learn how to use Sonar (I also need to update my audio interface to one with MIDI). Until then, I am comfortable with the old school tape based (these days, “tape” is a Tascam DP-32SD Portastudio, which uses a SD card but acts like an old school multitrack tape recorder) and hardware way of making electronic music.

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