Is Cakewalk confusing or am I a moron?

roncadillac

Member
Go ahead, you can say it... You won't hurt my feelings lol.

I've used Audacity for over ten years, it has it's limitations of course but as a whole I really like it. I find audacity to be very 'plug and play' and user friendly for what it is. I wanted to be able to capture midi data as well as have some more features with my recording/editing software, I'm also cheap and just recording as a home hobby so I wanted to spend little to no money on this upgrade. After some research I decided to give Cakewalk a try. The download and install was quick and easy with no viruses, I was immediately able to disable the bandlab social media aspect so I don't have to deal with that, and the software it self boots right up and runs very smoothly despite my old crappy computer. The problem is... I am very overwhelmed with this program.

Is this just something I'll get used to as I play with it, considering I'm coming off of a lengthy stint with a very basic program, or is Cakewalk just in fact confusing? I have played around a bit with logic on a friend's computer and didn't have a problem, it was easy to use it's basic functions, but I don't have a Mac and I don't want to buy an expensive program.

Just curious of other people's thoughts on cakewalk.
 

Al Strange

Well-known member
Go ahead, you can say it... You won't hurt my feelings lol.

I've used Audacity for over ten years, it has it's limitations of course but as a whole I really like it. I find audacity to be very 'plug and play' and user friendly for what it is. I wanted to be able to capture midi data as well as have some more features with my recording/editing software, I'm also cheap and just recording as a home hobby so I wanted to spend little to no money on this upgrade. After some research I decided to give Cakewalk a try. The download and install was quick and easy with no viruses, I was immediately able to disable the bandlab social media aspect so I don't have to deal with that, and the software it self boots right up and runs very smoothly despite my old crappy computer. The problem is... I am very overwhelmed with this program.

Is this just something I'll get used to as I play with it, considering I'm coming off of a lengthy stint with a very basic program, or is Cakewalk just in fact confusing? I have played around a bit with logic on a friend's computer and didn't have a problem, it was easy to use it's basic functions, but I don't have a Mac and I don't want to buy an expensive program.

Just curious of other people's thoughts on cakewalk.
I’ve used Cakewalk since the 90’s to write music and program keys. I love the notation view where you can essentially write a score and the percussion staff is excellent for coming up with drum parts. That said I don’t think it’s the most intuitive software out there. I’ve just got a new computer and am pondering which Digital Audio Workspace (DAW) will work best for me…would be interested in other views. :unsure:
 

roncadillac

Member
I’ve used Cakewalk since the 90’s to write music and program keys. I love the notation view where you can essentially write a score and the percussion staff is excellent for coming up with drum parts. That said I don’t think it’s the most intuitive software out there. I’ve just got a new computer and am pondering which Digital Audio Workspace (DAW) will work best for me…would be interested in other views. :unsure:

Good call on the notation view, I didn't think about that. I used that view almost exclusively when I ran FL Studio (still called Fruity Loops at the time) for a few years before switching to audacity. I'm sure I'll get more comfortable with cakewalk, and being free software I won't complain, but I'm usually pretty good with 'hitting the ground running' with this type of stuff.
 

Supergrobi

Technical Supervisor
Audacity basically is a wave editor, which is a completely different concept compared to a DAW like Cakewalk and friends. So in my opinion the hurdle to take is getting the concept of a DAW straight. If that is understood you should be able to work with any of todays DAWs since they all share that same concepts. Yes, there's differences on how to execute a specific task (e.g. Cubase: select the scissors tool in order to cut a region, Ardour: position the cursor and hit S), but if one gets the idea it's just taking two or three hours to read through the manual in order to learn about how to invoke your desired commands.
 

Chris Whitten

Well-known member
All DAWS are confusing. If you were in at the beginning (early 90's) they started out very simple, but have got bloated with extra features and complexity as the decades have gone by.
There is a steep learning curve to most, so don't beat yourself up. I use two different DAWs and only understand the few features I regularly use.
 

felonious69

Well-known member
I'm OLD!
I'm still cutting and pasting with scissors and glue sticks.
Although I CAN read well, I have the attention span of a bottle rocket...
...light...up...boom.
Throw in some bells and whistles and some shiny stuff, and before ya know it, I'm pregnant...And I'm a guy!
 

rhumbagirl

Senior Member
Sometimes the user manual isn't written well in order to understand the operation. Some manuals are just technical specifications - eg for the Roland SPD-S - instead of a howto to use the device or software in a particular musical setting. I found Reaper's routing matrix insufficiently described in the user manual, which had errors in it.

I've only used Ableton Live for my DAW so I can't comment further, other than to say I like Ableton's function description popup when you hover over something with your mouse.
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
When I moved from Logic Pro to Studio One, I used the videos from Groove 3. They are very well done, very complete and anything purchased is a lifetime purchase.

 

roncadillac

Member
Thank you for the replies everyone! So it sounds as though being a bit overwhelmed with new software is 'normal' and spending a bit more time with it certainly will help. I've always been a 'learn by doing' person and it doesn't help that my other gear I'll be typically running into cakewalk (ekit, keyboard, and drum machine) isn't set up right now so when I go into cakewalk I'm kinda just clicking around without anything happening because I'm not actually sending any audio/data into it. I just wanted to familiarize myself with it's layout a bit before diving in to a project but it sounds like my time will be better served by running some audio/data and actually getting hands on with it's features. I recently joined a band full time that I filled in for all of 2020 so I plan on making some scratch demos from our new material to use as a test for my new set up.

I know it's a completely different animal but regarding audacity's ease of use: my wife was the coach of a nationally ranked middle school dance team, she wanted to use modern 'pop' music but considering the age of the participants (and strict competition rules regarding content) most of this music required very specific language editing beyond your typical ftc approved radio edit version. I showed her how to isolate specific small sections and reverse them so the 'words' are not audible while not breaking the tempo nor having a loud off putting 'BEEP'. Seriously, in less then 20 minutes she went from never using any music editing program in her life to editing music in Audacity like a pro.
 
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felonious69

Well-known member
Sometimes the user manual isn't written well in order to understand the operation.
Some times, the only thing worse than a user manual is the item/product that doesn't come with a (physical) user manual, and you have to download/find your "help" among all the buttons/pages/screens/windows/websites...
 

doggyd69b

Well-known member
Thank you for the replies everyone! So it sounds as though being a bit overwhelmed with new software is 'normal' and spending a bit more time with it certainly will help. I've always been a 'learn by doing' person and it doesn't help that my other gear I'll be typically running into cakewalk (ekit, keyboard, and drum machine) isn't set up right now so when I go into cakewalk I'm kinda just clicking around without anything happening because I'm not actually sending any audio/data into it. I just wanted to familiarize myself with it's layout a bit before diving in to a project but it sounds like my time will be better served by running some audio/data and actually getting hands on with it's features. I recently joined a band full time that I filled in for all of 2020 so I plan on making some scratch demos from our new material to use as a test for my new set up.

I know it's a completely different animal but regarding audacity's ease of use: my wife was the coach of a nationally ranked middle school dance team, she wanted to use modern 'pop' music but considering the age of the participants (and strict competition rules regarding content) most of this music required very specific language editing beyond your typical ftc approved radio edit version. I showed her how to isolate specific small sections and reverse them so the 'words' are not audible while not breaking the tempo nor having a loud off putting 'BEEP'. Seriously, in less then 20 minutes she went from never using any music editing program in her life to editing music in Audacity like a pro.
You could spend time trying things or you can just go to YouTube and type "how to do (insert desired action here) in Cakewalk. I am sure you will find at least 10 tutorials on such action and eventually you will find a channel that has all the tutorials already as a play list. You can then download the tutorials and make a folder or just subscribe to the channel to re-watch as needed. Reading the manual sometimes is not the best course of action when all you need is to learn how to do just a few things. Check the channel called Creative Sauce.
 

MntnMan62

Junior Member
No. I’m an even bigger moron than you. Why? I don’t even know what cakewalk is.
 

roncadillac

Member
No. I’m an even bigger moron than you. Why? I don’t even know what cakewalk is.

Cakewalk is a DAW that's full version is totally free and legit, doesn't require a Mac, provides many features found on much more expensive software, and has midi data functionality. The above reasons are literally the only reasons I chose it over something else.
 

MntnMan62

Junior Member
Cakewalk is a DAW that's full version is totally free and legit, doesn't require a Mac, provides many features found on much more expensive software, and has midi data functionality. The above reasons are literally the only reasons I chose it over something else.
Proof that I am a much bigger moron than you. I also have no idea what DAW is. I sort of know what midi is but if you asked me to explain what it is, we’d be out of luck. 🤪
 

roncadillac

Member
Proof that I am a much bigger moron than you. I also have no idea what DAW is. I sort of know what midi is but if you asked me to explain what it is, we’d be out of luck. 🤪

It's basically a recording/editing program. Midi is how I can play a song 1 time on my ekit then push a few buttons and have it be perfect sound quality and absolutely 100% on time regardless of how bad I played it lol.
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
DAW = Digital Audio Workstation.

Just a fancy way of saying “computer with specialized software”.

For Cakewalk users, I found this article informative.

 

roncadillac

Member
Thanks again everyone!

I have to take a day off work to take my dog for a surgical follow up visit which will grant me an unusual few hours to myself and I just got my upgraded ekit set up so I'm going to take that time to just play around a bit. I am aware of how to 'start' midi data in it and that will be a common function for me so I'm going to start there. Whatever I decide to send into it I'll then use as a test for editing, eq'ing, etc. I've got some downtime during work tomorrow I can burn with some YouTube videos on the topic as a preamble.
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
What hardware interface are you using?
What computer platform & OS?
 

roncadillac

Member
What hardware interface are you using?
What computer platform & OS?

For midi I'm just running via USB, for any actual audio I'm using a basic small powered mixer via USB. I did the same (less midi of course, previously ran the ekit through 'live' signal outs) into audacity and was able to quickly dial in a rather impressive sound so I think I'll be able to take it a bit further with cakewalk. I'm familiar with all of the basic principles of what I'm trying to do, I just need to learn cakewalk and learn how to improve my processes and projects with a program that has more features. Computer wise it's a ten year old HP laptop running windows 7 (lol).
 
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