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A Brief Dabble with Cakewalk

Project5 Tracks

Despite owning copies of Cakewalk’s Sonar, it was Cakewalk’s Project 5 that I gelled with the most. Project 5 came with a collection of synths, the most notable, and the reason I purchased Project 5, was the Dimension synth. For the first time ever, I able to perform on a keyboard and capture MIDI. This took me straight back to the days of performing on keyboards in the college recording studio and recording directly to a multi-track – no more programming of note starts, ends and velocities! Of course, another advantage of MIDI is the ability to edit any little mistakes or inaccuracies - I couldn't do that in the studio!

Cakewalk's Project 5

Another throwback for me, was due to the lack of power of my PC [and perhaps the efficiency of Project 5]. My set-up could only really handle 4-5 tracks of VST synths before the processor protested and audible clicks, stutters and silences resulted. My solution to this problem was to render the first few tracks to a WAV file then start a new project with that WAV file as one track then layering additional synths on top of this; very similar to the audio bouncing I used to do on the multi-tracks! There were some drawbacks to this technique, but it sufficed!

Tracks Produced in Cakewalk's Project 5

I actually worked on quite a few tracks in Project 5 but only really finished two; which I rushed to completion! Both tracks were originally composed many, many years earlier [on the PSS-270] but I hadn’t been able to produce them either due to the limitations of the methods I was using, or I was unable to get the ‘sound’ I desired from them.

Incidentally, the MFX numbering scheme started with Project 5. When starting a project, I number it with the next sequence number, the first being MFX-001 and the next, MFX-002 and so on. I’m not quite sure what will happen when I get to 999, but I think I’ve got quite a few years to go before I get anywhere near that! What’s also revealing, is how many tracks I don’t finish, or how many I skip over as I suddenly get inspiration for a new track; mostly when composing or working on an existing one! I guess that’s my creative process! It is my intention to revisit and complete the promising ones; don't be surprised when tracks are published not following an incremental MFX number!

In the end, Cakewalk pulled the plug on Project 5 and when Windows 10 came out, despite managing to coax Project 5 into running on Windows 10, I knew it was probably time to move on. Nether the less, here’s some of the limited tracks I managed to complete:

The Restless Sea
This piece was originally composed for a GCSE music examination in 1990. The original piece comprised of four analogue audio tracks recorded onto magnetic tape. Each instrument (the music department's electronic piano and a synthesiser) was manually played (no MIDI sequencing) and recorded directly to tape. Unfortunately the original tapes have since been lost but apparently copies were still being played to GCSE students some 11 years after! In early 2017, with the use of Cakewalk's Project 5 and most notably the Omnisphere 2 VST synthesiser, this piece was re-produced with a slightly different melody to the original along with some synthesised wave sounds to reflect the title of this track, 'The Restless Sea'.
12 Feb 2017
Oriental Dream
This piece was arranged using Cakewalk's Project5 Version 2. Key VST instruments used Dimension and Omnisphere 2. This piece was originally composed over 20 years ago; spending all that time rattling about in my head. The background sound through this piece, which gives the track a little more depth (in my opinion) was ripped from YouTube and features sounds from a Rain Forest.
03 Nov 2016

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