Cakewalk a professional program or not?

I was just watching a video that goes over all the free DAWs out there and they guy says that Cakewalk is great, but does not put it on the list of professional recording DAWs. He gives 4 that he says are and then adds Reaper to the list at the end. So my question is is Cakewalk considered a professional recording DAW or not and if not, what is it about it that keeps it out of that category?

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So my question is is Cakewalk considered a professional

Hi James I started out on cakewalk many years ago and it worked fine for me. I found studio quite a bit easier to use with many more features and stuck with it. I stopped at studio one 5, but there are more on down the line. I still go back and use the cakewalk from time to time. I also never checked on if it was discontinued? So after all the blabbering, I guess I didn’t answer your question. ha ha

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I guess it depends on your definition of “professional”.

Having used Cakewalk, for many years, I disagree…

Personally though, I think the term “professional” is a red herring, and greatly misused. Perhaps a more accurate description would be that, in general, it is not perceived by working “professionals” as a “professional” DAW.

The same has been said of Reaper (my current DAW of choice), although there are more and more professionals using it in recent times.

… but just because not many “professionals” use it doesn’t mean it isn’t capable of being used professionally and yielding professional-sounding results.

It would be interesting to get @Danny_Danzi ‘s take on this.

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Paul, you have the best non-answers of all.

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Cakewalk is as pro as any other DAW software out there. I use quite a few, but it’s been my go-to since I started using it on floppy disks in 1997.

Don’t let the “free” part scare you and don’t listen to or believe what you hear on the net…even through credible sources. Always find out for yourself. I’ll take Cakewalk over Pro Tools, Studio 1, or Cubase any day. There’s nothing wrong with the above-mentioned DAW software. I just like Cakewalk better.

I don’t say that because I work for them, honest. I say that because I like workflow, the looks and the tools offered. I use other DAWs, too. Sequoia, Reaper, Studio One, Adobe Audition, and even Audacity. Each DAW has its strengths and weaknesses. If I had to label a DAW “non professional” I’d say Audacity.

But like Andrew said, pro is more the user than the software. I’m sure the power users here could get great results out of any DAW they choose, and rightfully so. Don’t let name dropping choose your destiny. I’ve done 3 to 5 projects per day using Cakewalk since 2004. I’ve never been happier, and the people I’ve worked for are still my clients from the time I opened.

I used to get calls from people…“you use pro tools?” I’d say “no” and they’d hang up on me. Those who allowed me to speak didn’t care about anything but pro tools. They had no clue a DAW is a DAW you can record with no matter what you use. It’s silly really. Use whatever works…just make sure to try things for yourself. You’ll be surprised at how many diamonds you’ll find.

One other thing, the free version is the pay version minus the plugins and vsti’s that were licensed to Cakewalk. Melodyne, Sonitus, V Vocal, Blue Tubes, one of Boz’s plugs, Bark of Dog I believe, and some other incredible plugs are not in the free version.

To be honest, I’m not sure what plugs come with the free version as all my licensed plugs work with it because they were installed already and I have older versions of Cakewalk on my machines. We have a pay version coming out soon that will have some cool bells and whistles.

Whatever the case, believe me, Cakewalk is as professional as any DAW software ever released. With that said, like all the others, it has its strengths and weaknesses.


Thank you Danny so much for taking the time to say all that. I have tried others and I liked reaper but the learning curve was taking away from recording time way too much. I went back to Cakewalk because the way it is designed “thinks the way I think”.


You’re quite welcome. I tried to keep my personal bias out of the equation due to being a beta tester/developer for Cakewalk for about 25 years.

That said, we’ve had our share of crap releases, and I’ll never defend crap no matter who I work for. I worked for Fractal Audio as a beta tester, and as much as I love their stuff, I stopped working with them because I didn’t like their team, and their team didn’t like me. I wasn’t afraid to tell them what I thought of their business model, which got me in hot water. I’ve told Cakewalk my feelings as well. They have thicker skin and truly want a better product.

But when it comes to DAW software, as funny as this may sound, it’s the old Harry Potter scenario where they say “the wand chooses the wizard” just about always.

I really like Reaper and have the coolest looking version that I built myself with customization. It’s a solid DAW, but there are things about it that annoy me. Some of the options and menus are overkill. The speed feature in it is priceless. I hate that Cakewalk doesn’t have that.

I dig Studio One. It’s really good for mastering. Good for recording, too. But again, some things I like, some I could do without. But I do use this one.

At the end of the day, it’s like you said…the workkflow is what is most important as well as HOW MUCH you can get done without issues that deter your progress. People don’t realize how important that really is. It’s like getting a new guitar processor or the work I used to do for fractal.

They’d release an update that would totally screw up the tone stacks in the amps I’d be using. I’d have to sit there for hours trying to get back what I lost. Talk about annoying…try doing that for 30 patches! So I’d wind up sticking with the firmware before the new one. I’d lose out on cool new features, but I’d have all my killer tones.

Doing any type of tedious tweaking takes you away from what you originally set out to do. I want to plug in, play, and record without messing with drivers, work arounds, or any other weird anomaly that could very easily make me say “screw this, I’m gonna go play Xbox!” Lol!

Always use what works and allows you to get your ideas out. I got a buddy that still uses Cool Edit Pro. His songs sound great. Workflow and work DONE is what matters most. :slight_smile: