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Cakewalk by BandLab vs. Studio One 5 Prime: A Comparative Analysis


In the dynamic world of digital audio workstations (DAWs), two contenders stand out: Cakewalk by BandLab and Studio One 5 Prime. Both offer powerful features, but they cater to different audiences. Let’s delve into their differences and explore alternative open-source DAWs.

Cakewalk by BandLab

  1. Background: Cakewalk by BandLab was once a paid software (formerly known as SONAR) but has now been resurrected as a free DAW. It’s a Windows-exclusive gem that packs a punch.
  2. Features:
    • Professional-Grade Tools: Cakewalk boasts a rich suite of editing tools, multi-track recording capabilities, MIDI support, and advanced VST compatibility.
    • User-Friendly Interface: While there’s a learning curve for beginners, its intuitive interface makes it a formidable choice for seasoned users.
    • Cross-Platform Compatibility: Unfortunately, Cakewalk is Windows-only, leaving Mac and Linux users out.
  3. Can It Match Pro Tools?: While it’s not a direct match for Pro Tools, Cakewalk holds its ground with its robust features.
  4. Alternative Open-Source DAWs:

Studio One 5 Prime

  1. Overview: Studio One 5 Prime, developed by PreSonus, targets beginners transitioning to professional use.
  2. Key Features:
    • Simplicity: Studio One doesn’t overwhelm users with excessive windows or questions. It lets creativity flow without hindrance.
    • Live Performance Focus: Ideal for electronic music producers and live performers.
    • Cross-Platform: Available for both Windows and macOS.
  3. Learning Curve: Studio One strikes a balance between simplicity and functionality, making it accessible to newcomers.
  4. Pro Tools Comparison: While Studio One Prime lacks some advanced features found in Pro Tools, it’s a solid starting point for budding musicians.


  • Cakewalk by BandLab caters to Windows users seeking professional-grade tools.
  • Studio One 5 Prime is user-friendly and cross-platform, making it a great entry point.
  • Neither fully matches Pro Tools, but they offer impressive features.
  • Explore open-source alternatives like Ardour, Zrythm, and Stargate for a diverse music production experience.

In the end, the best DAW depends on your specific needs and musical journey. Whether you’re composing film scores or creating electronic beats, these free options empower your creativity without breaking the bank.

(1) Stargate Is The Newest Open-Source Digital Audio Workstation.
(2) Compare Cakewalk by BandLab vs. Studio One | G2.
(3) Cakewalk vs. PreSonus Studio One Comparison – SourceForge.
(4) Cakewalk By bandlab vs Studio One detailed comparison as of 2024 – Slant.
(5) Studio One vs Cakewalk by Bandlab detailed comparison as of 2024 – Slant.
(6) Top 10 Best Free DAW Software 2024 – Music Production Nerds.
(7) Open Source Windows Digital Audio Workstations (DAW).
(8) 7 Best Free and Open Source Digital Audio Workstations.