The SONAR Mac Prototype, a collaboration between Cakewalk and CodeWeavers

Several months ago, we promised to deliver a SONAR Mac Alpha. To build it, we collaborated with a company called CodeWeavers. CodeWeavers has a technology called CrossOver that is basically a Windows-to-Mac translator, allowing native Windows applications to run on a Mac.

Together, Cakewalk and CodeWeavers used CrossOver to enable a native Windows version of SONAR Home Studio to run on a Mac. We’ve packaged this product for release as a SONAR Mac Prototype, available now as a free download to all who are interested.

Since our first announcement of this product, we’ve learned three important lessons…

First, building this SONAR Mac Prototype took more effort than we had hoped or expected. There has been a constant stream of UI/UX details, and performance tweaks to resolve — just to deliver this prototype.

Second, we should have been more transparent with the Cakewalk community about this initiative; and set clearer expectations. We have recently made some organizational changes that we hope will improve our ability to communicate in a more effective and timely manner.

Third, we realized that trying to bring the full SONAR experience to the Mac would take away from what we do best – create the world’s finest software for the Windows platform. With Microsoft’s renewed commitment to creative applications for Windows, we’ve been able to carry out several important improvements in the past few months.

In November 2016 we launched SONAR Home Studio, the first DAW to support WASAPI shared mode using Microsoft’s low latency API, resulting in latencies as low as 3 ms on supported devices (10 msec otherwise).

In January 2016, we appeared on stage at CES with Avid, Microsoft, and Autodesk for Dell’s announcement of their new Canvas product, highlighting what musicians will soon be able to do with large-screen touch interfaces built for their Windows PCs.

In March 2017, we released a SONAR update to become the first Windows DAW to support Bluetooth MIDI controllers natively, stemming from a close collaboration with Microsoft.

In fact, Cakewalk has a long history of innovations on the Windows platform, from being the first DAW to natively support 64-bit Windows, to the first DAW to support Windows Touch, to a patent-pending plug-in load balancing solution.

Next month marks Cakewalk’s 30th anniversary, a major milestone in our industry. We’ll be celebrating every month, looking at our past, present and future, with stories, free content and more innovations.

We are proud to continue our investment in SONAR as the leading DAW for the Windows platform. The SONAR Mac Prototype is the end of the line for SONAR on the Mac.

One more thing… (couldn’t resist the Steve Jobs reference) while we’re not going to bring the SONAR product line to the Mac, we have begun to explore new ideas and initiatives that will reach more musicians on more platforms than ever before, and we’re all very excited about our future!

So, stay tuned…and let’s make some noise together!

22 Replies to “The SONAR Mac Prototype, a collaboration between Cakewalk and CodeWeavers”

  1. My decision to buy a mac recently was based on what I had thought was going to be Sonar on he Mac in a full version, as was alluded to. I love Sonar but that’s made me waste a lot of money. Thanks guys.

    1. To be fair, why on earth would you shell out thousands of dollars in hardware for a piece of software with no ETA? I do not believe for one second that you bought a Mac for this reason alone, and therefore I do not believe that Cakewalk is responsible for you “wasting money.”

      1. It most certainly influenced my decision, so now I either keep it and go Logic, or sell. Luckily it wasn’t a new mac, I’m not THAT dum! 🙂

          1. Yes, I will. Plus I’ve still got my copy of Sonar Platinum on my old laptop, which just about handles it. So the best of both, even if Sonar isnt the latest.

  2. Lesson learned, don’t share as much news with the community in the future. Some people get butt hurt too easily. Im very happy with sonar on PC and would like to see full work towards PC updates and fixes.

    1. The lesson we learned is the opposite, actually. We should have shared more news with our community, and set clearer expectations. When we don’t communicate enough, people fill in the void with their own guesses and interpretations of what’s going on or not.

  3. Plus I didn’t upgrade for free lifetime updates when I thought the mac version was on its way. ☹️

  4. I am so glad that Sonar is still a PC only DAW in full working mode. Macs are too expensive and over rated. When Cakewalk made the original announcement that there was going to be a Mac version , I was very upset. Not being a Mac DAW should not be an hindrence to Cakewalk as true Sonar users will be quite happy paying less for a machine that is half the price of an equivilant Mac.

  5. I was really counting on a Mac version to come out. However I have explored several other DAWS since turning to Mac and find them brilliant to work with. I actually feel that I can live without Sonar now so I will cancel my monthly subscription right away. Very sad. I have been using Cakewalk since 1998 and Sonar from the beginning. I put up with the bugs and crashes (something I never get from the DAWs on a Mac) This last episode of keeping us all waiting just to tell us that it is not happening has made my mind up. I remixed my stuff on other DAWs so I can safely go. Thanks for waisting my time guys.

  6. I started with Cakewalk 3.0 in the 90’s. Best midi sequencer in a galaxy. I ended up with sonar 8.5 which I tried to use “seriously” but with no success. Bugs, midi timing problems, unstability, but I still liked Cakewalk for ideal UI and “old school” flow based on midi. Then I decided I need stability and perfect midi timing with my hardware synths and midi interfaces. Bought used mac mini i7 quad core with 16GB RAM and invested 200 euro on Logic. It took me weeks to “change” my mind form logically crafted Cakewalk/Sonar to completely unlogically crafted (nomen omen) Logic Pro X. Now I understand “environments” and other old emagic’s “ideas” but I always wanted Logic to be Cakewalk/Sonar in configuration and ease of use. I was really excited when you announced Sonar for Mac several months ago. Today I downloaded this “prototype” version and tried to configure my soundcard (Liquid Saffire 56 + 2 Octopre ADAT expanders) and YAMAHA’s two UX256 midi interfaces. With no success. No CoreAudio support, only 8 audio in/outs and only one midi interface configurable. OK, I understand it is a prototype only but it was a waste of time. Now it’s time to go deeper in Logic which is not as user friendly as Cakewalk/Sonar but based on ordinary mac mini (late 2012) is perfectly accurate in the sense of midi timing. Wish you all the best Cakewalk.

  7. I’m actually somewhat glad to hear this. I was concerned that Cakewalk would split talent and resources between Mac and Windows, thus dropping quality for both – moreso Windows which I care about. This is the right answer. There are plenty of good DAW options for folks who live and die by Macs. As for me, I’d rather sink money into a solid PC and run Cakewalk which I’ve understood and loved for almost 20 years now. Bravo! 👏

  8. SONAR is the only DAW I’ve used. I Started with SONAR 4. I’ve been an infrequent user for the last few years, but it seems to me that Cakewalk has been struggling. However, Cakewalk continues to be responsive in addressing user concerns & I like the ongoing improvements and the direction SONAR seems to be going. I’m hoping that Cakewalk has found a home with Gibson & that there’s some synergy there.

    1. Holy crap my dad is called Bill Phillips and for a moment I was like “Huh? My dad knows about DAW’s?”

  9. Have you done ANYTHING about support? I gave up and forced a return on Rapture/Zeta3 after months of no response to issues with those instruments running on OSX. BUYERS BEWARE if Cakewalk has fixed their support problem you will be screwed.

    1. Hi Peter, we had a extensive customer support challenge last summer that we have since mitigated. We still have more improvements to make. I searched for your gmail address in our support database but didn’t turn anything up. Please email me at and I can try to help track down your return issue.

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