New software, old software?

So, I get an email from a good friend about Sonar being done asking me what I’m going to do? You guys know about it also as we’ve talked about it on this forum already. I thought my answer to him may be something you may find useful, so I’ll post my reply to him. His question was “what are you gonna use now and what will you do now that Sonar is gone?” This is my reply.

"Half the problem with recording software is the constant updates trying to make it better. I can’t see me not using Sonar in 5 years because some other DAW comes out with more bells and whistles. I look at it like this…

I never upgrade my operating system on a pc. I buy a new pc and have the new OS on it. So that means, I have dedicated machines that have builds of the software I love and need on them. The latest and greatest of anything doesn’t always mean the best. I’m still not sold on Win 10…7 works well for me and I don’t have that box on the net. I use it for recording. Who cares if anything is updated?

I’ve spent more f@#$ing time updating and problem solving in the past more than anything. It’s nice to turn on one of my machines and use the stuff that’s on it without feeling the need to keep up with the Jones’. I’m sick of that really. Sonar works well for me on Win 10 and 7. I see no reason why I can’t use it indefinitely? Whatever the case, if I decide to switch to something else, I’ll buy another DAW machine. That’s worked well for me. As of now, this is what I have.

Cakewalk Pro Audio 9.0 on a box running Win 98 SE. Some cool early versions of Wave Lab and Cool Edit pro that can’t be replaced. The box runs great for as old as it is. Some cool old DX plugs too!

Sonar 3 to Sonar 6 running on an old XP box. Some cool older plugs and DX stuff that no longer works on today’s systems works fine there. The box has 4 gig of RAM and a 1 gig processor…but it’s in line with my other computers on my network, so I can always dump stuff off to have it rendered with no issues or time constraints. It works overnight and has saved my butt several times.

Sonar 8.3 to Sonar Platinum on a few Dell work boxes, Studio One 2.5, WaveLab, Adobe Audition, Sequoia, Cubase, Reaper and everything else on these as well as my two nuclear powered DAW machines. One running 7 one running 10. I’m set and almost have dedicated hardware in this respect. Nothing gets updated, so nothing gets corrupted. Think about it. You only have issues when you fk up, an update fks you up, or you’re troubleshooting some piece of software that should have never been released let alone sold. Keeping all that in mind, I’ve done more work than actual tweaking the second I switched my mentality to the above. Think it over…at the end of the day, you get the job done no matter what you use to get it done. I don’t need the latest and greatest of anything to finish a job, make it great and make my money. That’s where MY head has been for the past 5 years and why I believe part of my business being successful is because of this way of thinking."

So there you have it. Though quite a few of us may not be able to just buy another computer or whatever, there are really affordable options out there should you need to. I have these Dell Inspiron systems that I bought as a goof. i3 processor, 4 gig of RAM…I run huge projects on them if I need to without an issue. You don’t need much. Do they work as well as my nuclear boxes? Yeah…just not as fast and they can’t run as many tracks. But for what they are and what they cost, it’s nothing for me to send rendering jobs to them while I start working on other projects so that I’m not losing time.

For example, video rendering really taxes a system no matter how powerful it is. I don’t run anything else on a box rendering video. CPU’s heat up to 165 F, and you can tell even my 6 core and octo core are beading a little with sweat. When you get busy, it’s nice to pass that off to another pc and keep on working on your monster box. The good thing is, I also have everything set up in different stations to just use something if I need it. In my main room, there are two computers. One of those Dells, and a real DAW box. KVM switch, one monitor, mouse, keyboard and everything else runs though them. My Midas console runs through both so I can work through either.

In another room I have the same set-up. In another room, several computers with the older operating systems etc. So for me, it’s like I have the best of all worlds and after a while, when something works well for me and there are no crashes or anything major, I just retire the system from any updates. We kill ourselves with updates unless something major affects us.

I think of the whole update thing like updating bios. You don’t “just do it”. You have to have a reason to do it. I feel the same way with DAW software and heck, any software. If something works, leave it alone so YOU can work. We are so focused on updating because of “better”. Better for who? You or the person that programs that doesn’t actually use the software as extensively as you do?

I’ve fought with Cakewalk Bakers about that issue. They had this option they wanted to remove. I was totally against it because I actually USE the thing. The guy pushing FOR it was just a developer. If he had 100 hours of actual recording time on the DAW or finished a whole project or two, I’d be surprised.

Whatever the case…don’t buy into the hype people. Seriously. Ever hear people wanting to go back to hardware recorders because they’ve had so much problems with software? In a sense, that’s what I’ve done over the years. Once I made something work without crashes, I retired the system from updates. I kid you not when I tell you I have working versions of Win 98 and XP still up and perfect to this day to where you can literally use them…and for what they are, they are still quite fast. I like to tweak my systems…so they are all tricked out using info from

The stuff he shares allows you to make a Windows box perform 1000% better because you shut down all the unnecessary crap that doesn’t need to be there in a recording situation. I sincerely believe that along with proper maintenance, that these boxes have lasted this long. Never run anything that doesn’t need to be there…never autostart something that doesn’t need to run, and keep your system clean. At the end of the day, do what you feel is best. I’ve done the same things for years and have had the same outcome every time over and over.

System drive C, DAW drive D, Sample drive E, scan disc, defrag, blackviper tweaks, and stop updating if you ever have a stretch of about a month or two without a single crash or issue that stops you from working. Windows update too. They kill you.

Now that said, this is only for offline DAW boxes. My Dell work boxes go on the net, so I keep them updated with Windows…but even there, sometimes you get hosed. Keep the old cliche phrase in your mind…“if it ain’t broke, don’t even try to fix it.”



Great post Danny! I can relate with your fascination for older gear and gadgets, and old OS that nobody uses anymore. Whatever works!

I had to wonder, since you have older stuff that you value running for a long time, how do you “back up” or have some insurance on your valued setups? If you did have a hard drive crash or other anomaly, how would your restore that system? Do you do drive cloning or anything like that? The reason I ask is that my main rig torpedoed a few weeks ago and I was really sunk for awhile. I’m looking for a solution since it takes so long to rebuild to what it was before. I had file backups up to date, so wasn’t out in the data aspect, but the software configuration and all tweaks takes a lot to get back to. I used to have a Raid 1 mirror drive that was going to be my disaster recovery backup, but that got corrupted at some point. Not many people use Raid 1 for some reason, but I figure that or drive cloning may be the way to go.

I’d appreciate your thoughts!


@Danny_Danzi Totally agree mate!
My studio pc is actually running vista but is offline and never goes on the net. All tweaked only for audio.
It loads up and boots cubase in less than 10 seconds and shuts down in about 5 secs.
I have no issues running cubase6 and no buffer or drop out issues.
Its only a quad core pentium but i’ve had it running 30plus tracks all with plugins like waves and izotope and only get slight lag during extreme processing.
I was round at my mates the other week and he was running pro tools on a high spec i-mac and using an m audio interface. The system was slow as fuck and the latency was shocking! I didn’t have the heart to tell him that my system pissed all over his for a 10th of the price :+1:
I doubt the gear was to blame but more the fact his mac was being used for everything and on the net.
I know i’m not in the same league as you guys and am only a hobbyist but its good to know i’m not the only one using older systems.
Rock on…

Great post dude

1 Like

Stan my man. :slight_smile: OK a few answers for you here.

For the older systems, I had a friend that traded favors with me. You know, business bartering. This friend has massive connections to hardware and software. Like off the hook stuff. Anyway, as I was learning the computer ropes back in the day, he comes over one day with two shopping bags full of Maxtor hard drives.

We backed up all my old systems mirroring each drive, I put them away in storage and they are still locked up in my vault along with some reel to reel tape. Lol!

For current backup, I do a few different things. I’ve been successful with that backup software everyone uses that I can’t think of the name.right now. Ugh…you’ve heard of it.

The other thing I do is upon completion of a fresh OS after my viper tweaks, I have a hard drive clone that so if I ever need to reset my configuration and start clean, I have that option. It’s faster to load that than to install WIndows. Most times you’re better off re-installing all your other software so you can rethink a few things. That part sucks but each time I’ve done it, I’ve done better than the time before.

I’m also a backup whore. I constantly back up via DVD, CDR, external hard drives and flash drives. Speaking of external drives…

I have one that literally allows me to clone my machine onto it. It’s not s permanent fix, but it could be if you wanted to keep that drive just for that. Externals are down in price so hey whatever works. The other cool thing about that drive is…when it clones my entire system, you can bring it with you and use it on other systems. It’s pretty nifty. Sort of like bringing your computer without the computer. I believe it’s an Iomega USB 3.0 drive.

So those are the things I’ve done. I have all my bios backed up…discs and discs loaded with stuff all the way back to my first Packard Bell machine running Windows 95. I don’t have that box anymore as my ex girl took it when we broke up. But i had it maxed out for the time. 100mhz CPU and 16mb of ram or something. Lol! That was as far as the chipset would allow. I wish I still had that system just because. I got all my others though except for that one and a nice box I bought from sweetwater…one of those creation stations. Lightning took that one out. It was before I had a ups system.

Anyway…hope this helps a bit.


Smart man LazyE! When it works…it simply works and we don’t have to push things much further. We are our own worst nightmares with all the constant updates and special configurations. That was an issue for some people running Sonar. Sometimes there was way too much configuring to make it work.

When I first ran cubase, I had to do a system reconfigure, I had to use 256 colors…my system looked terrible all for an audio program. Thankfully that changed, but it kept me away from Cubase until they sorted that out. Then of course Steinberg has horrible support other than some of the peers that try to help on their forums. They all (Daws) have their bugs and issues though…pick a camp. Lol!

Yes, that’s what I’m doing this time is trying to be leaner and meaner with installing ‘essential’ tools, after having that baseline Windows install as a clone.

I may do that, rather than have an internal drive for a clone. I have a Blacx “Black Widow” gaming HDD dock I can just plug any SATA drive into. It’s really handy for things like that.

Wait did i miss something? Is sonar done? I have not heard of that.

Yes, pretty much - Gibson (the new owners) have announced that they have ceased development. See here:

well i guess i need to start thinking about a new DAW. Being using cakewalk pretty much since 2002 so this is going to be an interesting search for a new fit.

1 Like

I’ve been using it since 2005, I’ve been messing around with Reaper the last couple days and it’s pretty good, but its not Sonar.

1 Like

yeah i think i after this current project is complete i am going to have to start to have a look at it.

1 Like

No rush though, keep Sonar backed up and it should be good for a while. My plan is to learn Reaper and try not to switch completely until I feel that it is actually an upgrade. At the same time I want to be capable of finishing a song in another daw just in case.

1 Like