Cakewalk Professional 8
For Windows 95/98/NT 4.0
What's new in Version 8
System requirements
Trial version
Version 8 feature comparison chart
Press release
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Affordable music and sound software for professionals

The #1 choice for project studios

Cakewalk Professional 8 is the multitrack MIDI and digital audio software that allows you to produce music and sound projects quickly and affordably. It provides many of Cakewalk's advanced technologies, with a focus on the needs of the commercial project studio¾ including support for up to eight tracks of digital audio, a real-time mixing console, and rock-solid synchronization to film and video. If you're serious about your music and sound projects and are looking to maximize cost efficiencies, then Cakewalk Professional 8 is for you.

New in Professional 8
  • Import and synchronize AVI, MPEG, and QuickTime video to audio and MIDI tracks.
  • Apply real-time MIDI effects to MIDI tracks using non-destructive plug-ins. Includes quantize, change velocity, transpose, delay/echo, arpeggiator, MIDI event filter, and chord analyzer.
  • Vector-based audio mixing (non-destructive envelope mixing). Draw lines and curves on top of audio events for accurate, graphically-based audio mixing.
  • New toolbars, shortcut keys, command menus, and many other enhancements make Professional 8 more intuitive and faster to use.

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Cakewalk Professional 8
Figure 1: Cakewalk Professional 8

Feature Highlights


Multitrack digital audio
Record and play back up to eight audio tracks in tight synchronization with MIDI. Record audio at variable sampling rates (11.025, 22.050, 44.1 and 48 kHz). Quickly perform multitrack audio edits: cut, copy, paste, split, combine¾ with simple mouse clicks. Edit any section of audio with sample accuracy.

Vector-based audio mixing
Draw lines and curves on top of your audio data for graphical editing of automation data. Draw non-destructive volume fades and panning right on your audio events.  Creating a mix has never been more intuitive.

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Cakewalk Professional 8
Figure 2: Graphical audio mixing

Powerful audio editing
Normalize, fade/envelope, crossfade, EQ, and reverse audio. Bounce down audio tracks for additional track recording.

32-bit, real-time audio effects processing
Professional 8 includes powerful effects optimized for 32-bit floating point processing:

  • Use 32-bit, floating-point processing for faster, higher-resolution, real-time processing.
  • Use up to eight simultaneous effects in real-time as channel inserts, auxiliary sends or master effects.
  • Apply real-time effects to audio as off-line edits, if desired.
  • Use Cakewalk audio effects in mono or full-stereo, 32-bit versions
    • Stereo 2-band Parametric EQ
    • Stereo Chorus
    • Stereo Reverb
    • Stereo Delay/Echo
    • Stereo Flange
    • Pitch Shift

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Cakewalk Professional 8
Figure 3: Real-time Stereo Reverb

Support for real-time, DirectX audio plug-ins
When you're ready to expand your suite of audio processing effects, just add any DirectX- compatible audio plug-in. Professional 8 runs DirectX plug-ins in real-time as stereo effects, or as off-line edits. With support for DirectX, the industry-standard for audio plug-ins, Professional 8 provides a way for you to increase your audio effects capabilities as needed. There is a wide range of available DirectX plug-ins from which to choose, including the Cakewalk Audio FX 1 Dynamics Processor, Cakewalk Audio FX 2 Analog Tape/Amp Simulator, and Cakewalk Audio FX 3 SoundStage Designer.

Final mixdown
Automatically mixdown multiple tracks of audio to a stereo WAV file with all patched audio effects, panning and volume applied. You can use this WAV with your favorite CD-burning application.


Cakewalk MIDI FX
Apply real-time effects to your MIDI tracks, just like audio plug-ins. Use effects in real-time during input and during playback, or apply them as off-line edits.   Professional 8 includes the following MIDI FX plug-ins:

  • Arpeggiator
  • Quantize
  • Change velocity
  • Transpose
  • Delay/echo
  • MIDI event filter
  • Chord analyzer

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Figure 4: MIDI FX delay/echo

MIDI recording and editing
Record up to 256 tracks of MIDI using a MIDI keyboard or other MIDI instrument. Then Edit MIDI tracks with the tools and views that best suit you. Professional 8 features the following editing windows for MIDI:

  • Piano Roll/Controller View
    With the Piano Roll/Controller view you can edit notes, velocity levels, and controllers graphically in a grid format. Percussion tracks are displayed with instrument names. Use your mouse to draw volume changes, RPNs, NRPNs, pitch bends, modulation, or any other MIDI Controller. Velocity and Controller data are displayed adjacent to note events for most efficient editing.
  • Lyrics for vocalists
    A dedicated Lyrics view with selectable font sizes displays scrolling text during record or playback. Great for learning original or cover songs.  Lyrics are automatically synchronized to notes on a track. Just transpose the song into the key you want.
  • Tempo
    Draw tempo changes and view tempo maps that affect audio and MIDI in real-time. Also view and edit tempo in an easy-to-read list format.
  • Markers
    Label and navigate through sections of your music easily by pointing and clicking on a list of text cues. Markers are displayed globally in most views and can be inserted in real-time. Quickly select, edit, and arrange entire sections simply by clicking between markers. Ideal for scoring film, video, and multimedia.
  • Event List
    When you need to get down to details, view and edit a list of all selected events occurring in all selected tracks. Step-play MIDI events for discrete auditioning. Insert MCI commands to trigger multimedia applications (animation, video, CD-ROM) during playback.

Edit and print notation

  • Compose and edit multitrack notation of your arrangements in sizeable fonts.
  • Notes appear on-screen as you record from a MIDI instrument.
  • Zoom-in the Staff view to display notation at any size.
  • Assign any number of tracks to individual staves.
  • Standard and single-line percussion clef notation, guitar chord grids, expression text, dynamic markings, enharmonic spellings, pedal markings, composer name, title, and copyright information.
  • Variable fonts for expression text and lyrics.
  • Print up to 24 staves per page.

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Cakewalk Professional 8
Figure 5: Professional 8 Staff View

Advanced MIDI features

  • Cakewalk Application Language (CAL). Use CAL to create your own quantization routines, chord builders, data thinners, drum maps, and other editing commands. The CAL Record button lets you create and save powerful key macros by recording keystrokes and mouse movements. Includes sample programs to use and modify, and an on-line function reference.
  • Supports MIDI Machine Control (MMC).
  • Key Bindings let you create shortcuts for your favorite editing commands or macros
  • Control the program from a remote MIDI keyboard or assign shortcut keys.

True integration of audio & MIDI

Cakewalk Professional 8 is a truly integrated music and sound workstation. Most editing commands and features enable you to alter audio data in the same familiar way as you would MIDI events. Features:

  • Audio and MIDI tracks record and play back in rock-solid synchronization.
  • Flexible audio and MIDI recording with real-time, loop, replace, sound-on-sound, and auto- punch record modes.
  • Punch in/punch out, record audio and MIDI on the fly.
  • Audio and MIDI tracks synchronize to external SMPTE clock.
  • Discontiguous selection and editing of both audio and MIDI.
  • Audio and MIDI cut/copy/paste, drag/drop, and split/combine commands.
  • Transpose edits can pitch-shift audio and MIDI events.
  • Lengthen or shorten audio and MIDI events by a specified percentage.
  • Quantize and groove quantize will change the start time, duration and velocity of audio and MIDI events.
  • Groove quantize MIDI to MIDI, MIDI to audio, audio to MIDI, or audio to audio.
  • Swing quantize, quantize by percentage, and randomize your audio events and MIDI tracks.
  • Tempo view has a "stretch audio" option. Using this option, all audio in the sequence will be stretched immediately after any gesture with the line draw, free draw, and erase tools. In addition, changing the tempo during playback from the control panel will stretch all audio in the sequence to conform to the tempo change.
  • Fit-Improvisation to change tempo to fit audio or MIDI data.
  • Fit-to-Time lengthens or shortens audio and MIDI events to the specified, real-world or SMPTE time.
  • Interpolate both MIDI & audio events for criteria-based selections and edits.
  • Retrograde and velocity scale both MIDI and audio events.

The Console view¾a better way to produce music and sound
Until now, recording and mixing MIDI and audio tracks required you to switch from different editing windows and use separate MIDI and audio commands. With the Console view, all this changes.

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Cakewalk Professional 8
Figure 6: Professional 8 Console View

Designed to simulate a professional mixing console, the Console View is a single, convenient window from which you can control all your sound projects. It enables you to arm and record tracks, apply processing effects, create sub-mixes, automate volume and panning levels, and more. All in real time. You can:

  • View/hide MIDI tracks, audio tracks, auxiliary busses, master section, audio input meters.
  • Add up to eight real-time effects to audio tracks with included 32-bit audio effects or any other DirectX-compatible audio plug-ins. Effects can be added on individual tracks, auxiliary sends, or master outputs.
  • Add multiple MIDI FX as inserts on your MIDI tracks.
  • Mute, solo, and arm tracks for recording with individual buttons for each track.
  • Multitrack solo.
  • Automate volume and pan levels.
  • Submix audio tracks with reconfigurable auxiliary busses.
  • View audio record-level meters per track, and output meters per sound card output, with clipping indicator and peak hold.
  • View color-coded fader groupings
  • Select MIDI port, channel, bank and patch, and audio source and output ports with convenient display buttons for individual tracks.

Record and arrange intuitively
Professional 8 gives you the freedom to be more creative. You can easily record multiple takes on separate tracks, plus copy and paste different sections to create the ideal performance.

  • Use the "bird's eye" Track view to quickly arrange and preview MIDI and audio tracks.
  • Record and mix MIDI and audio tracks in real-time with the new Console view.
  • Quickly edit and print high-quality notation.
  • Take advantage of other views including Piano Roll, scrolling Lyrics, and Event List. Or draw tempo changes with your mouse in the Tempo view.
  • Arrange and edit multitrack sections of music using flexible clips.
  • Assign names to your MIDI and audio clips and customize clip colors.
  • Link clips for easy editing of repeated parts.
  • Arranging your music is as easy as cutting and pasting, or dragging and dropping your clips to when and where you want to hear them.


Sync AVI, MPEG, and QuickTime video
With the proliferation of affordable digital video capture boards, and widespread distribution of digital video in multimedia and over the Internet, the time has never been better for you to make the leap to desktop video production.  Cakewalk Professional 8 is the perfect multimedia solution to complement your video editing software and hardware.

While many audio editing programs only allow you to open digital video files and "freewheel" them to your audio tracks,  Cakewalk Professional 8 lets you open AVI, MPEG, and QuickTime video files and then sync them with frame-accuracy to 8 audio and up to 256 MIDI tracks   You can then edit the existing audio or create your own soundtracks and sound effects.  Then export your finished project to AVI ¾perfect for any multimedia project.

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Figure 7: Video playback window

SMPTE/MTC support
Timing is everything, especially when scoring for film and video. To synchronize audio and MIDI tracks to film and video, you need software that can "chase-lock" to SMPTE timecode for frame-by-frame accuracy. Cakewalk provides simultaneous chase-lock synchronization of both audio and MIDI tracks to an external SMPTE clock source. Or if you prefer, turn off chase-lock to conserve CPU power, and synchronize to your MIDI device, sound card, or system clock.

Prepare music and sound for the Internet
The World Wide Web has made distributing your music fast and easy. Particularly when you can save music and sound from Professional 8 directly to RealNetworks' RealMedia" file format, the industry standard for streaming audio and MIDI over the Internet. Adding music to your own Web site, or making it available on sites like that of the Internet Underground MusicArchive (, has never been more convenient.

Integrate and automate your studio hardware with Cakewalk® StudioWareTM
Cakewalk StudioWare brings a new level of studio integration and automation to the Windows 95/98/NT workstation. StudioWare lets you control studio hardware from within Cakewalk Professional using a virtual control panel that emulates the hardware. Cakewalk provides StudioWare panels for popular studio gear including:

  • Roland VS-880
  • Roland GS sound modules and synthesizers
  • Yamaha 03D
  • Yamaha ProMix 01
  • Yamaha 01V
  • Tascam RC-808
  • Novation Super Bass Station
  • E-mu Orbit
  • Many more available at

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Cakewalk Professional 8
Figure 8: StudioWare panel for the Roland VS-880

System Exclusive (SYSX) Librarian
Professional 8 provides 256 banks (over 1MB each) to hold MIDI System Exclusive messages. Use these banks to take snapshots of equipment configurations for backup, or to automatically reconfigure your equipment differently for each song's requirements. You can also record and playback an unlimited number of 256 byte Sysx messages in real-time as events in tracks, and SYSX can even be echoed in real-time¾a great feature for many synthesizers.

Enhanced user interface
Professional 8 includes numerous user interface enhancements to help you increase your productivity. User interface enhancements include lasso zooming and othe zoom enhancements, loop and auto-punch markers, event list display filter, and more.

Open and edit multiple files simultaneously
Professional 8 enables you to open and access multiple files simultaneously, so it's easy to copy and paste sections of MIDI and audio from one project to another. It's a simple "drag-and-drop."

Custom screen layouts
Configure Professional 8 to the way you want to work, then save your custom screen layouts. Or create different layouts for different editing sessions. Professional 8 automatically saves your layout for works in progress, allowing you to reload the file later exactly where you left off.

Custom presets
Create your own customized editing presets. Many commands enable you to save parameters as presets for later use, including all DirectX plug-ins loaded by Professional 8; MIDI FX; quantize; groove quantize; fade; crossfade; and more.

On-screen tutorials
Eight new Cakewalk TECHniques on-screen tutorials give you a head start on all of the new features and functionality. There's no faster way to learn about Professional 8. Whether you consider yourself a novice or a veteran, you'll appreciate getting a jump-start on the Console view, "vector-based" audio recording, and more. Professional 8 features the following tutorials:

  • Basic audio editing.
  • Cakewalk 8 overview.
  • Importing and exporting audio.
  • Recording audio.
  • Setup tips.
  • Track settings and selectionmethods.
  • Instrument definitions.
  • Using the Console view

Extensive MIDI and audio song files
Professional 8 features over 30 high quality Cakewalk song files by Yes keyboardist Igor Khoroshev. Styles include Orchestral, Ska, Acid Jazz, Techno, Alternative, and more. Also included is Theme from Dark Matter, a MIDI and audio file from LA film scoring team Shawn Clement & Sean Murray; and two MIDI and audio files by Boston rocker Charlie Farren.

System Requirements

Windows 95/98: Pentium 120 MHz or higher; 16 MB RAM
Windows NT 4.0: Pentium 120 MHz or higher; 32 MB RAM

Professional 8 comes on CD-ROM

Windows compatible sound card and/or MIDI interface. Sound card required for digital audio record/playback. Printer and MIDI instrument optional.

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Last Updated: May 26, 1999

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Hits Since May 1, 1999

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