Cakewalk Sonar X3e
by Cakewalk
(Cakewalk Website)

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Prices range from $149, $249 and $599 - depending on which version you purchase.

System Requirements:

Intel Core 2 Duo E8200 2.67 GHz/AMD Phenom Quad Core 9750 2.4 Ghz, 2 GB RAM, 1280x800 minimum screen resolution, 4.5GB for minimal installation, 15GB for complete installation

Last Updated: 2014-03-20
For more detail about software : Software Description
  View Cakewalk Sonar X3e Screenshot

Software Description

Featured in Hitsquad's recommended list of the best DAW Software

Cakewalk say this is DAW 2.0 and their catchphrase is "SONAR has evolved and so can the way you make music". Sonar X3 now come with improved audio engine and a wealth of upgraded and new features.

There are three versions:

Enhancements and updates in version X3e

  • Plug-in related bugfixes
  • Melodyne ARA integration bugfixes
  • User interface bugfixes
  • Audio & MIDI fixes
  • Improved stability and other enhancements
  • Update details available here

Enhancements and updates in version X3d

  • Video enhancements by defaulting to Microsoft's Media Foundation framework
  • Bugfix for reported issues
  • Improved plug-in usability
  • Audio & MIDI UI fixes
  • Other updates and bugfixes

Enhancements and updates in version X3c

  • Various bugfixes and stability improvements related to the new X3 release.

Enhancements and updates in version X3

  • Improved core workflow now with 64-bit audio engine
  • Unlimited tracks, FX, sends and full VST3 support
  • Comping feature
  • Color Customization of tracks
  • VST3 Support and enhancements
  • Melodyne Essential with ARA integration now integrated to Sonar X3 Producer and Studio
  • Built-in youtube publishing and sharing
  • Integrated Gobbler cloud saving and sharing
  • QuadCurve EQ Zoom & Analyzer
  • Tape Emulator
  • New effects and instruments including XLN Audio Addictive Drums, Strum Acoustic Session, Nomad Factory Blue Tubes FX, Lounge Lizard SONAR, and much more.

Enhancements and updates in version X2a

  • Support for Windows 8 for both 32 and 64-bit
  • Multi-Touch support
  • New "Now Time markers" that indicate playback and recording status
  • Enhanced playlist view
  • Improved User Interface
  • Enhanced context menu for adding ProChannel modules
  • Better piano roll view and staff view interface
  • Mouse pointer now shows the name of the items you are dragging from the browser
  • Improved accessibility features
  • Now lets you scan VST folders from the browser
  • Automatic checking for software updates
  • Various other UI improvements
  • Automation improvements
  • Various other bugfixes and enhancements.

Enhancements and updates in version X2

  • Improved Skylight interface
  • Improved Smart Tool
  • Improved automation features
  • Enhanced audio and MIDI engine
  • SoundCloud integration
  • New R-Mix Sonar
  • Various other improvements

Sonar is also featured in our roundup of the best Music Production Software

Enhancements and updates in version X1d

This update is free for registered SONAR X1 owners with SONAR X1 Expanded (build 425) or SONAR X1c Producer/Studio/Essential (build 319).

  • Usability Enhancements
  • Grouping improvements
  • Enhancements for VS-700 & SONAR X1d integration
  • Key binding enhancements
  • Rewire 64
  • QuadCurve EQ
  • Improved FX Chain 2.0 (Expanded version only)
  • Updated PX-64 Percussion Strip v1.0.2
  • Updated VX-64 Vocal Strip v1.0.3
  • New Commands
  • Stability and Bugfixes

Enhancements and updates in version X1c

This update is free for registered SONAR X1 owners.

Bus Selection
You can now group and select busses:

  • ALT+CLICK on a bus will select that bus and all upstream sources
  • ALT+CLICK on a track will select that track and all downstream destinations

Last Note Selected for Draw Tool
Sonar now remembers the duration of the previous note clicked when the ‘Last Selected’ item is checked in either the HUD (Heads Up Display) or the Control Bar. When the draw duration is set to ‘Last Selected’ the draw duration will be whatever the last note clicked on in the Staff, Piano Roll or Inline Piano Roll views.

23.976 FPS Timecode format
SONAR now supports 23.976 frames per second on the time ruler.

User Interface Updated

  • New UI for Step Sequencer
  • New UI for Loop Construction View

A full list of bug fixes and improvements is available at

Enhancements and updates in version X1b

In SONAR X1b it is now possible to apply the ProChannel (Producer only) and the Sonitus:fx EQ (Studio only) to Surround Busses. This addresses a number of issues, including potential crash issues with Sonitus:fx EQ being moved to the FX bin when loading a project saved in SONAR 8.5.

EQ and ProChannel for Surround Busses

  • It is not possible to access the Surround Bridge UI for the Sonitus:fx EQ or ProChannel when used on Surround Busses. This means that un-linking channels and other Surround Bridge options are not available.
  • Sidechaining is not possible with the surround-bridged ProChannel compressors (Producer only).

Auto-Enable for ProChannel Modules (Producer only)
ProChannel modules will now auto-enable when used for the first time. Please note the following:

  • The first time a control is touched or moved within a given module, it will turn the respective module ON.
  • Any subsequent changes to any control in the same module (other than the enable/disable command) will not enable or disable the module.
  • This command is persisted per-module, per track and per project - once a specific module has auto-enabled once, it will not auto-enable a second time.

ProChannel Freezes with Track (Producer only)
When freezing a track the ProChannel will now freeze as well. In order to reflect this, the ProChannel will become grayed-out. When the track is un-frozen the ProChannel will be re-enabled.

V-Studio 700
An updated control surface plug-in for the VS-700 is included with SONAR X1b. A full pdf of changes is available here. In short:

  • ProChannel support added to the CHANNEL STRIP CONTROL (Producer only).
  • Updated controls in the ACCESS PANEL as well as updated functionality to mirror workflow changes in X1.
  • Addressed other workflow and controls from 8.5 to X1.

V-Studio 20
A new version of the VS-20 control surface plug-in is included with X1b. This update now allows for the DAW OUTPUT control on the VS-20 hardware to control both the left and right faders of the hardware Main Output in SONAR.

V-Vocal Update
V-Vocal has been updated with SONAR X1b, issues addressed include:

  • Fixed a potential crash that could occur when changing time durations of a V-Vocal clip.
  • Fixed a potential crash that could occur when removing a V-Vocal clip.
  • Fixed a potential crash that could occur when adjusting a V-Vocal clip.
  • Addressed an error with looping V-Vocal clips.
  • Included several general stability improvements when working with V-Vocal.

Console Layout Updates
SONAR X1b includes updates and improvements for the Console Strips including:

  • Removed drop arrows and overlay icons from controls in Narrow Strips, allowing additional characters to be displayed.
  • Adjusted labels and label positions on various controls.
  • Removed ellipsis from FX bin to allow seeing as much of the FX name as possible.
  • An editable EQ plot has been added to narrow strips for ProChannel (Producer only).
  • Track name and number have been moved to separate rows allowing for longer track names to be displayed.

Console Selection Enhancements and Re-ordering

  • It is now possible to select non-adjacent tracks in the Console View. To do this hold SHIFT or CTRL while clicking on a track strip's Track Number field.
  • It is also now possible to re-order tracks. Hold ALT while dragging a track to change its position. This gesture is available from any open part of a track strip.

Browser Additions

  • A "Loop Preview" toggle has been added to the Media menu of the Browser. When enabled, SONAR will preview clips the same as with X1a. When disabled, SONAR will always preview a clip starting from the beginning and will play through a single time, ideal for one-shots.
  • It is now possible to view, preview, and add FLAC files to a project from within the Browser.

MultiDock Updates

  • The hit-zone for docking has been limited to the top section of the MultiDock, limiting the chance for unintentional docking.
  • When the MultiDock is floating, pressing D will now minimize the MultiDock as opposed to re-docking it.

ASIO Dynamic Sample Rate Improvements
Improvements have been made to the way SONAR handles dynamic sample rate changes with ASIO devices. If an ASIO driver supports changing its sample rate dynamically, it will be possible to load SONAR projects at different sample rates. SONAR will automatically switch the device sample rate when playback is started without requiring a restart of the application.

Keybindings and Hot Keys

  • CTRL + SHIFT + F12 has been added as the default control to toggle Snap modes between Move-To and Move-By.
  • It is now possible to bind a key to Snap to Measure.

Clip Length Format Changed
Clip lengths are now displayed in Beats:Ticks format. This provides a consistent, accurate length value despite meter changes in a project.

Plug-in Updates
To solve an issue that could be encountered when using more than 4GB of RAM the following effects and instruments have been updated (x86 and x64):

  • Boost11.
  • Channel Tools.
  • Linear Phase EQ.
  • Linear Phase Multiband Compressor.
  • ProChannel.
  • PX-64 Percussion Strip.
  • VX-64 Vocal Strip.
  • TS-64 Transient Shaper.
  • TL-64 Tube Leveler.
  • Session Drummer 3.
  • Studio Instruments - Bass.
  • Studio Instruments - Drums.
  • Studio Instruments - Piano.
  • Studio Instruments - Strings.

To solve a potential crash that could be encountered when automating, the following effects have been updated (x86 and x64):

  • Cakewalk Alias Factor.
  • Cakewalk Classic Phaser.
  • Cakewalk Compressor / Gate.
  • Cakewalk HF Exciter.
  • Cakewalk Modfilter.
  • Cakewalk Multivoice Chorus/Flanger.
  • Cakewalk Parametric EQ.
  • Cakewalk Studioverb2 (x86 only).
  • Cakewalk Tempo Delay.
  • Cakewalk Bitmeter.

XRayExclude.INI Updated
XRayExclue.ini has been updated to exclude Nugen Audio. This avoids an issue with Nugen Audio plug-ins by preventing X-Ray from affecting those plug-ins.

JUNO-Gi Support

  • The Master.ins file has been updated to include support for the Roland JUNO-Gi Synthesizer.
  • Four Project Templates will be installed to the JUNO-Gi subdirectory of the Project Templates folder.
  • A JUNO-Gi Control Surface Preset has been included.

Related Hardware:

studio monitors
Check out our roundup of affordable Studio Monitors.

Related News:

Cakewalk: Sonar X1 Expanded, PC4K S-Type Expander/Gate Module, and the Sonar X1 Production Suite
Cakewalk Releases Music Creator 6
Other Cakewalk Products
PC4K S-Type Channel Compressor for Sonar X1 Producer Expanded
Cakewalk launched the Sonar X1 Expanded, PC4K S-Type Expander/Gate Module, and the Sonar X1 Production Suite

Comment viewing options

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New releases aren't even alpha-ready

Oh God, what a sick joke this software is.

Sonar X2 on windows 7 - it is f***ing awful

Just "upgraded" hah, hah. New machine. New Sonar Version (suckered into it by them offering discount on a plugin extension pack).

Won't load video. Won't work properly with video after I'd searched for and got third party drivers. Crashes all the time.

I reverted to Sonar X1 still on windows 7 on a much faster PC with more than double the memory. Yet it is HIDEOUSLY SLOW.

I am mad!

Contact Sonar Support

Try contacting Cakewalk's technical support team, they should be able to better understand the issue and help you with your problem. Goodluck!

Could be great, but isn't

After using cakewalk software for years I had to finally let go of the hopes that they would create products that worked properly.
For well over 5 years, each release was a total nightmare because it's loaded with bugs. There are different ways to set-up the software depending on different machines. A user must trouble shoot problems and get it working on their system. Even after that, there are still too many work-arounds required to use the software. Also, A LOT of bugs exist in every aspect of any area you try to work in, it's really terrible and keeps a person from making progress on music.

I do not recommend cakewalk products to anyone looking for a DAW.

New releases are really beta-releases. Users may pay for a new version then discover bugs and post them on the cakewalk user forum.
This is really poor way to treat customers. After enough bugs are reported on the forum, cakewalk issues patches for the release and after a hotfix (or 2 or 3) then two additional updates, they call it done. This is where they need to be when the customer first buys the software.

They can't release quality code because they don't understand what real testing is.
Not one of their employees is an actual software tester, they're all developers performing usability testing.

x-1 internal sync keeps switching to audio sync after playback

x-1 internal sync keeps switching to audio sync after playback

I have win 7 64 bit and cursor stops but playback can still be heard, and the Session switches itself back to Audio (sync) From the Internal mode.

cakewalk sonar

i dowloaded the demo they give you , all that stuff they show isnt in there , not only that the trial version sucks ,i couldnt even get the vst to work rite , configure the audio and midi a pain in the ass , i installed the edirol sound card nothing but problems , i had to use asio4 freebie and if you try to load a drum wave file from the start you cant install it the program wont let you install wave file when you first open the program ,this is junk sonar take your product and shove it up your AAAAAAAAA

Can I use a USB Mixer?

I was wondering, can I use a USB mixer with Sonar 8 Studio Edition?

USB-Audio Codec

Hi guys I have a "yamaha MG166c-usb mixer" but can't indipendantly record tracks in a multitrack ssession, just 1 stream for all the band players...can't edit afterwards. The purpose is to use all 16 tracks for a Live recording thats comming up.

I tried: Adobe Audition 3,2 and 1; Cubase AI4, SX3, SX...
Any Suggestions on a specific recording Software that will work that way with my mixer (interface) please let me know.


The USB out is a full mix

The USB out is a full mix out, not individual sends. Sorry.


When 30 days are past ,how much will it cost me,or what is the cost of this product

Re: Cost

Visit this website for detailed pricing information:

Sync Problems!

I have been trying to convert all my old cakewalk midi files and synced analog tape tracks to Sonar bundled files. After first loading and converting the old cakewalk files to Sonar, I run the tape with time code and record the tape tracks into Sonar. On playback, the audio tracks run faster than the midi tracks. I have some clues to the problem, but haven't found a fix. Any help out there?

Re: Sync problems

Your problem might be:

1) Metronome time of the mixdown and new track

2) Different comp with different internal clock speed so use the same comp when u mix down.

3) Try 4 count metronome at the beginning and try to sync

4) If none of these above work then try Sonar 2.

Cakewalk notation option problem!

Is there any way to make Cakewalk's notation option work with Windows XP ?

Foot Controller?

I am a solo musician currently using pro audio 8 to play back midi backups. I was told by cakewalk that a foot controller would not work with pro audio 8 but would work with sonar.

I just need basic functions (play, stop, loop, etc.) I'm running from my laptop to a roland xv2020 sound module. Has anybody out there done this?

Save As...

I am trying to save a file using the demo version of Sonar but the "save" and "save as" option is missing under my "file" window. Any other options?

Can u drag the files onto

Can u drag the files onto your computer desktop. Maybe even mix down to one track in cakewalk then drag to desktop.

Re: Save As...

The demo doesn't let you save, you'll have to purchase the software for this function to work!

I can't pan audio tracks!

I can't pan audio tracks. I don't know if i'm just doing something wrong or what. full right or left just lowers the valume a little. can anyone help me?

Re: I can't pan audio tracks!

Open console view and click on one of the small buttons above the slider. This allows panning to be manual as apposed to automatic, which seems to be the default.


now I'm in X1 Expanded...
so far I can't manually pan... I don't see any small buttons above the volume slider where the panning knob is... and what is automatic panning anyway? many thanks if you can get me going... I have Sonar 8.5 loaded on same machine... no problem panning there...

just go to your master and

just go to your master and click the stereo button.

Thats it!

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