SONAR Home Studio 7, from the acclaimed Cakewalk, is one of the best recording programs available for the home musician or band. The workspace is laid out in Track and Console views. The Track view shows the horizontal timeline and the stacks of tracks. From here you will be able to arrange the entrances of various instruments, implement fades, clip and adjust clips or watch the audio stream as you are recording. From the Console view, laid out like as a digital mixer board, you can tweak the volume, pan, and implement buses.
Home Studio 7 also provides the Piano Roll view to create/control MIDI events, as well as the Loop Explorer, which can be used to insert loops of all sorts onto the tracks in track view. Effects ranging from basic equalizer and reverb to an amp simulator are available using both the Track and Console views. They are all adjustable to the smallest degree for your perfect sound. For ease of mixing, the Track view can snap clips to a timeline that is based on measures (meter and tempo can be adjusted to your piece). For ease of recording, a metronome and timer (which counts in musical or real time) are given. When you find it necessary to hear certain tracks by themselves, muting and soloing them are simple operations, as well as looping a selection while you adjust effects.
Home Studio can also be used to make music videos, it has a virtual drum set, and handles your MIDI devices with ease. Buses are a way to group certain tracks so that you can apply the same effect to the whole group. In SONAR Home Studio 7, the slightest hindrance to your work is taken into account; no detail is too small. This is evident in the option of labeling your tracks with images, selecting the style of ping the metronome makes, or even changing the program's color from dark to light as a rest for weary eyes.
As far as outfitting the home studio of an aspiring band/musician goes, SONAR Home Studio 7 provides a powerful workspace and a host of tools. However, this means that a considerable amount of time must be spent with your nose in an instruction manual as you experiment. But once familiarity is obtained, appreciation for the limitless world of recording opened to you by SONAR Home Studio 7 will follow.
- Powerful for the home musician
- Presents a large array of tools
- Steep learning curve, as so much time must be devoted to experimentation