The recent release of Cakewalk SONAR 7 has me covetous of new and upgraded studio software. Just about every piece of software in the Closet — that’s what I call my studio — has an upgrade available. This entry is more of a note to myself, to weigh the pros and cons of dropping all that cash to keep everything current.

So I’m making myself a handy table:

Application Pros Cons Price Purchase?
Cakewalk SONAR 7 Dimension LE is included with the installation. Boost 11 sounds like a nice limiter, but some folks still seem to like the Voxengo Elephant, which I have. V-Vocal can convert pitch to MIDI, and there’s a slew of stuff I don’t have because I didn’t upgrade to SONAR 6. Upgrading from SONAR 5 to SONAR 7 is much more expensive than upgrading from SONAR 6. I’ll have to wait for a sale of some sort. $229 Yes
Propellerhead Reason 4.0 Reason 4.0 features four new instruments, which I don’t think I’ll use much since I rely heavily on the NN-XT sampler. The Orkester Library still has no solo viola samples. $129 Not at this time
Ableton Live 7 Live 7 supports a new set of orchestral libraries. The sound samples sound pretty good. Those orchestral libraries cost about $250, with the entire set costing $700. $159 boxed/$139 download Probably
Sony Sound Forge 9 Honestly, I bought Sound Forge because I wanted something a bit more versatile than Audacity, and CD Architect was bundled with it. The latest version of Sound Forge supports multi-channel recording, but I don’t know if I really need it. $149.95 boxed/$134.95 download No
Sibelius 5 The big feature is the support of VST. I haven’t really put Sibelius 4 to much use. $129 Not at this time
NEW! Cakewalk Pro Suite This package bundles SONAR 7, Project5, Dimension Pro and Rapture. I prefer Ableton Live over Project5, and I’m not so much into synthesis to need Rapture. $529 No
NEW! Native Instruments Kontakt 3 I covet the Vienna Symphonic Library, and it looks like there’s a lot of versatility with the guitar samples. I hear it can be buggy with SONAR 7, and the only way to keep the cost of a new acquisition down is to crossgrade from the Finale GPO Player. $279 Depends on my profit-sharing check