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Help configuration Cakewalk

Member for

21 years

I used to use Cakewalk Pro 8 under Windows 98, but tonight I tried to install it under Windows XP. I managed to install it, but now I'm in trouble with configuration and parameters. When I play an example .wrk file (WildWest.wrk) I can't hear anything!
I suppose I must modify Audio Options or something, but which option and to which value? I hardly understand all this mess :cry:
My soundcard is SoundBlaster Live.

Could somebody help me?

Good night.


Member for

14 years 2 months

Space Mon, 11/12/2007 - 15:21
Check the bit depth Herve.

Cakewalk Pro Audio 8 defaults to 16-bit audio sampled at 44.1khz. If you try to import or "insert" a file of a higher bit depth( what I meant), say 24 bit, it most likely will not allow this.

You can change your global settings to make all projects set to 24 bit sampled @ 44.1khz.

Some tips on your way to locate the manual:
Controlling the transmission of Impact sound through floors

Maybe this will help.

Member for

15 years 10 months

Kapt.Krunch Mon, 11/12/2007 - 15:54
What Space said (again) :wink:

I got the "import" thing because I assumed that you recorded it into Cakewalk, and then tried to import it. That's what threw me.

Does it give you an error message, and if so, what? Also, check the properties of the ones that play in both GW and CW, and compare to ones that won't, and make sure the ones that won't play in CW still play in GW? Something's gotta be different.

Kapt. Krunch

Member for

21 years

Member Thu, 11/15/2007 - 07:22

To Kapt.Krunch: I loaded NS Kit SoundFont the way you describe in the tutorial you wrote above, however I cannot see a new instrument patch in the list - or am I supposed to open a new bank to see it inside a new list?

To everybody: I am still stucked with this problem of wave file insertion. Any hint, someone?

Good night.

Member for

14 years 2 months

Space Thu, 11/08/2007 - 18:17
If I had a system that ran and I was happy with it, I'd leave it alone.

Cakewalk Pro Audio 8 isn't providing updates any longer and Windows 98 isn't either.

If it worked before, I would put it all back together like it was.

For the XP computer you could google Audacity audio and take a look at that no cost no charge audio recording software, if money is an issue.

Member for

21 years

Member Fri, 11/09/2007 - 00:32
Thanks for your answer.

Actually I switched from Windows 98 to XP a long time ago, and I won't go back to 98 now. I don't use my PC for Cakewalk only.
I think Cakewalk must work with XP too, cause all features seem to be there, I just need the correct settings to let the sound out, that's all.
By the way, I remember I had troubles with settings when I installed Cakewalk under Windows 98 too... a longer time ago ;)

But if I can't manage I'll try Audacity audio.

Good night.

Member for

15 years 10 months

Kapt.Krunch Fri, 11/09/2007 - 03:26
#1. Run Wave Profiler. Make sure SB shows up, and its settings are correct.

#2. If SB doesn't show up, reinstall its software/drivers, and repeat #1.

#3. If it does show up, make sure you have the tracks for audio in your .wrk file routed to it in the tracks view.

#4. Make sure the audio track levels are up in Cakewalk. (Probably are, since .wrk file was likely saved with them up). Also make sure the SB control panel has its main and wav faders activated and turned up.

#5. Likely suspect. Did the associated .wav files for that, and any other .wrk file, get moved to a different drive/folder? If the .wav files aren't where the saved .wrk file wants to find them, then it simply can't use them. They aren't actually imbedded in the file. The file tells Cakewalk to place a pointer to that .wav file to be used in association with that file. Good luck with that, as Cakewalk assigns arbitrary long alpha-numerical names to it's .wav files. The track named "Satan's Timbale" may be named like someone's outta-control password, with upwards of 15-20 letters and numbers, and nothing to indicate what it actually is. The best you could do in that situation is to search all .wav, listen to each, and attempt to put all the associated files back in the .wrk file it belonged to, and then save as something different, keeping in mind where you have set up Cakewalk to save your WavData files. And then, DO NOT MOVE THEM AGAIN!. I don't believe you can just move them to your new WavData directory, and have them useable. If the .wrk file tells it to look for those files in C:CakewalkWavData, but you moved the audio to go to D:CakewalkWavData, then it still won't find them...the instructions saved in the .wrk file tell it to look on the C: drive.

Or, if you remember the path to the original setup, place that folder back where it was so all your data is in the right place. Set up Cakewalk to use that as your data folder, for now. (Options>Audio>Advanced). Bring up one .wrk file to make sure it works. Set up Cakewalk to have the WavData folder where you want it. Now, save that .wrk file,and the audio should probably now be saved to you new folder. I'd rename it, just in case. Like, change "Messy Booger Boogie" to "Messy Booger Boogie 2". It should be exactly the same thing with it now pointing to the right folder, so you can go in later and nuke the original files, if you wish, since they no longer are relevant. You can always rename the tunes without the "2", if you wish. Go back and set up Cakewalk to the old folder, load another tune. When you're certain it's correct, change the WavData folder again to the new folder, and save it there. Do this for all, one at a time. I THINK that may work, if that's the problem.

Try all that, and let us know. :wink:

Good luck,


Member for

21 years

Member Fri, 11/09/2007 - 06:13
Thanks Kapt.Krunch. I will have a look at it all at home tonight. Yet I can say the following:
-I did run Wave Profiler. Can't remember what came from it though.
-Control panel is OK for sound, cause sound comes out from other applications (Winamp, iTunes and so).
-The .wrk I used is a sample coming with Cakewalk, which does not contain any .wav, only MIDI parts. I could try with .wav too.

I will let you know.


Member for

21 years

Member Fri, 11/09/2007 - 14:00
Me again.

When I run Wave Profiler, it says it is analyzing SB, I hear one or two cracks like glitches, and it's done.

I tried to insert a (very small) .wav file into a brand new project... but I can't. It says "audio disk may be full". Which looks absurd.

I checked in track properties that the volume level was high.

In track properties the port is: "UART MIDI SB Live!". Is it correct?


Member for

14 years 2 months

Space Fri, 11/09/2007 - 16:14
...It says "audio disk may be full".

You might want to address this issue first. If cakewalk is giving out errors it may be that the system is giving it(cakewalk) the information first.

Run scandisk. Check "automatically fix file system errors".

Click "start" and XP should give an error "The disk check could not be you want to schedule this disk check for the next time you restart?"

When this error pops up, select "Yes."

You can restart then or whenever you want to have this happen.

Then again, the directory and/or the files in the directory that cakewalk pro audio 8 is reading from may have acquired a "readonly" attribute from maybe a file transfer or by Win XP.

Member for

15 years 10 months

Kapt.Krunch Sat, 11/10/2007 - 07:30
What Space said.

Also, for SB default MIDI, you need the SB control panel's MIDI fader engaged, and turned up.

Now, for a lengthy, but important SB MIDI tutorial. You may even want to print this for reference.

Go into, I think, "Options">"MIDI Devices". I have the dreaded SB Live still on one of my computers. What mine indicates:

Input Ports:
SB Live MIDI In (EF40)

Choose that, or similar...otherwise it may pop up and say "You have no inputs selected. Continue anyway?"

In the Output Ports:
A: SB Live MIDI Synth
B: SB Live MIDI Synth

Choose those and move them to the top, A then B under it. This just gives you the choice of 32 MIDI channels...16 in A, 16 in B...if you desire.
It also sets them up to use the cheezy default MIDI set, or sets them so you can load SoundFont sets into them.

If you really MUST use the annoying Creative S/W Synth, choose that also, and move that up under B: Synth.

If you have any MIDI device connected to the MIDI Out of the SB card, you'll need to highlight the SB Live MIDI Out (EF40), or similar, to route a MIDI track to that port. Move it under S/W Synth.

Ignoring the .wav for now, let's see if we can get MIDI sound.

The Creative software you should have loaded loads a pop-down taskbar at the top of your screen. Not there? Load it in.

If there, find the SoundFont icon, and click on it. May be under "Audio HQ".

Confirm that under the "Configure Bank" tab, "Select Bank", has probably the "Synth 4MB GMGSMT" loaded in, and that the red bar is set around 4MB (mine says 3.82 MB).

If you need to load larger or more SFs, you'll need to increase the memory allocation. To do that, go to the "Options" tab. In "SoundFont Cache", slide the pointer higher than the total amount for all your SFs combined. You may need to access this often when working in Cakewalk, and loading more SoundFonts. Since I have plenty of RAM (these use system RAM), and MIDI is relatively easy on a system, I just choose 80 or 90 MG so that Cakewalk doesn't keep popping up telling me "Not Enough Memory to Load SoundFont". When I have all the SFs loaded that I am going to use for that piece, I then go in and lower it as far as it will go, which is just enough to cover the loaded SFs. This frees up RAM for the rest of the system.

So, now you have your 4MB SF loaded. It will be "Bank 0". Whatever is in that bank is your default, and won't go away. To load different instruments' SoundFonts in Cakewalk, you'll have to specify a different bank. Bank 0 is always the default set.We'll work with the 4MB one for now. You CAN load a different, larger bank for the default, but I prefer to keep it small and just work on the arrangement before I start trying to mix'n'match and tweak MIDI sounds.

Now, in Cakewalk, (close the MIDI Ports window, if you haven't already), go to "Options">"SoundFonts". Bank 0 should show General MIDI. You can't change that from here. That points to the default set you loaded in your SoundFonts dialogue. You can, however, load more SFs from here, starting at Bank 1. Say you want to replace the drums with NS Kit. Remember, you'll need to increase the memory in SoundFonts to accomodate more, or you'll get the "Not Enough Memory" error. Do that first. You'll choose "Attach", and navigate to the folder that contains the free NS MiniKit, or whatever. It gets loaded into Bank 1. Choose "Close".

In Cakewalk Tracks view, select a drum track, go to "Port", and choose "SoundFont Device". Not there? Let's make it so.

Open "Instruments" in your Track Properties". In"Port/Channel" you should see your A: and B: SB Live MIDI Synths, and maybe others, depending if you've disabled your onboard card, or not.

In the "Uses Instrument" box, you may see General MIDI, General MIDI Drums, Generic Patches, SoundFont Device, and maybe some Roland and Yamahe stuff in there.

Your concern is General MIDI and SoundFont Device. Clicking on each of the channels in each port will allow you to assign things to GM or SoundFont. If you want everything to just use the default MIDI Bank 0, just make sure all ports and channels are connected to General MIDI, keeping in mind that Channel 10 (drums) should go to General MIDI Drums.

If, however, you want them to act as SoundFont devices, connect everything in A: and B: Synth to SoundFont. (No Drums differentiation here...they're all SFs). May as well, gives you more choices. And if you choose not to load another SF in that track, it will just default to Bank 0. Be sure "Save Changes..." is checked, and close. Close Track Properties.


OK...Choose a track that you want replace a sound on. Bass? OK. Go to Cakewalk's "Options">"SoundFonts", and load up a Bass SF.


Open up "Patch" in your Tracks View. Make sure your Port is SoundFont Device. Bank Select "Controller 0" for SB cards. Load the SF into the Bank. Go to Patch, and choose the patch, or among the patches, that show up (some banks have multiple patches). Close.

It's now loaded. BUT. Your MIDI file may not know this. To make sure it plays, open "View">"Event List". If there is already a Patch Change listed before the first note, change it. If not, create one.

Choose a spot before the first note...doesn't matter if it's between, before or after anything else...just before the first note. Click on the little "star-looking" button, or whatever is "Insert Event". If you watch, you'll notice that it has just inserted a duplicate event from a neighboring event. Click on the "Kind " entry, which will bring up a box. Choose "Patch Change", and "OK".
The right entry will probably display some instrument, and maybe not the one you want. Click on that. Go to "Bank", choose your bank, go to "Patch", and choose your patch. (Controller 0"). Hit OK.

Now, as long as you don't move the location of that/those SF file(s), and you have first set enough memory to load them, any time you load that .wrk file (has to be a .wrk or .bun...a simple MIDI file won't save all this), then all those sounds should load exactly as you left them.

Placing the program change ensures that, as long as the above is true, then it will always play that patch surprises. You should do this for every track in the file.

One last thing. It never hurts to send a GM Reset at the very start of a .mid, .wrk. .bun file. This sets all the controllers and patches to default so only things you instruct it to do will happen. You should insert an extra, short measure to the very begiing of the file, if anything else starts right at the beginning. this EVER gonna END? Yeah, last thing, but important.

At the very begiining of the file in Track 1, insert an event, as above. It may duplicate another, so roll it's time (HMSF) back to about 00:00:00:10.
Under "Kind", choose "Sysx Bank". That should now be the first thing, well ahead of anything else. You only need to do this on one track, for each port. For convenience, I always just put it into Track 1 for Port 1, and the first available track for other ports.

Now, go to "View">"Sysex". They are probably all empty, unless you have obtained a file with it already there. If not there, create one for Bank 0. Go to the "Open Folder". Hopefully, all Sysex banks are there, under the Cakewalk folder. If not, you'll have to search for "gmsystem.syx", and load it from wherever it is.
Once loaded, if it's not going to the port you want, select the little MIDI connector icon, and choose the proper port.

WAIT! Almost finished, but one more thing.

There should be an upward green arrow with a yellow star next to it, or whatever the "AutoSend Bank" is. Click on that so "Auto" is checked, and close.

Save as a .wrk file.

Now, everytime you open that .wrk file and start it up, the GM resets automatically, the proper sounds load, and you have no surprises. You have just gained mastery, and Cakewalk will do what YOU want it to do, instead of an oboe popping up where a piano should be.

Try all this, and see if'n you can't get some MIDI sounds outta that thing.
There are tons of free SFs on the web...some fairly good, some crap. Try anything, just be careful where you dowload them from.

Hope this helps, if you even managed to get through it all! :roll:


Member for

21 years

Member Sat, 11/10/2007 - 16:44

Thanks for your answers and complete tutorial. (I am not sure to understand why I need to do all this, but guess what, I managed to do it all!)

By the way, I now understand why I could not hear any sound: it is at the very beginning of your course :D In "Tools">"MIDI Devices", my Output Port was "UART MIDI SB Live!" (just like my Input Port). As soon as I modified it to "SB Live MIDI Synth" I became able to hear sounds (MIDI + wav as well).
Many thanks.

I downloaded and imported NS Kit SoundFonts, but I am not sure I can see more instrument patches than before... something wrong?

And I manage to insert wave files too. It appears that only the wave file I tried to insert before cannot be inserted for some reason. Other wave files are OK!

So now I think everything's fine, I will be able to work properly.

Many thanks again.

Good night.

Member for

21 years

Member Thu, 11/22/2007 - 08:44

I found out why the insertion failed! As a French speaker, I named files with French names, some of them containing accented characters, such as é or è. Those files containing such characters in the physical file name could not be inserted. If I rename them it's OK.

Good night.

Member for

21 years

Member Tue, 11/13/2007 - 12:47

Good idea, but...

Some files which are 44100 Hz signed 16-bit PCM, can be inserted into Cakewalk, and some other files which are 44100 Hz signed 16-bit PCM, cannot. Error message is "Unable to import wave file. The audio disk may be full."

Are there other features in the wave files that could be different?

Good night.

Member for

15 years 10 months

Kapt.Krunch Sun, 11/11/2007 - 04:46
Good you got it working. I had a feeling it was that UART MIDI thing.

The NS Kit will show up as only one patch. Others that you may eventually download may contain more. For instance, I have a SF called "Bass Machine". It has 26 different bass patches in it. A lot of others have more, or less. Some have only one.

That entire tutorial was basically to show you how to get Cakewalk to work with your SB card and programs, and how to set everything up properly so the .wrk or .bun file plays properly very time. Again, remember that a standard .mid file won't retain all this info, so save as a .wrk or .bun. Save to a .mid if you want to export to another application, because another app will probably ignore the extra info anyway.
The reason for the GM reset is that if you have some other patch or control change later in the tune, and you stop the song after that change and rewind to the beginning, it's possible that it will use the last command sent to the board. That means a different instrument, if you changed instruments on a track, or maybe you drew in a full-bore reverb fade-in. If it isn't reset, that track may play the last instrument, instead of the one you want, and it may start it with full reverb, instead of what you want. This wipes out the changes to default.

Placing the Patch Changes after the Sysex GM Reset ensures that it calls and plays the proper patches, as long as those patches are not moved from where they were in your folders.

Speaking of folders, I set up a SF2 folder in my Drive C: root directory. In that, to help keep things sorted, I have the following folders:

Brass (Yes, I know a sax is technically a reed instrument, but..)
Entire Set (these contain the full compliment of GM-compatible sounds)

I'd suggest something similar, and drop them into the New-Sort folder to audition, then either nuke them, or move them to the appropriate folder.

The other data you saw in there is control data...pan position (#10), volume level (#7), reverb (#91), chorus (#93), etc. All that data tells the card to set those parameters to that amount. Just as you inserted a patch change, you can insert any of that controller data, anywhere. It's good to have all that at the beginning of each track, after the Sysex, so once it resets, it readjusts it's volume, pan, etc., and always plays properly to what YOU want. It matters not what order they are in, just after reset, and before the first note of the track. You can place them at the beginning of the tune, or right before the first note in the track, if the first note is later. I prefer to do the latter so I can see visually in my Tracks View where that track actually starts. Otherwise, I have to scroll to find it, because the track will be solid colored from the beginning to the first note, and often I'll have complete instrumental changes at one point. Just makes it it keeps it from sending 50+ tracks worth of data all at once!

Say you wanted a synth patch doing an "autopan" from left to right over a short period of time. You could open the the Piano Roll Editor, choose "Controllers">"Pan", and draw from bottom (left) to top (right) over the period of a measure. This is going to add a load of pan data to your track. When you open up your Event List Editor on that track, you'll now see a long string of the same colored data (#10) incrementing from near 0 to near 127. (0 is full left, 127 full right, 64 center).
You can enter a single number before or in any track. Say you want the piano about 10 o'clock panned. Insert a controller 10, value about 50 or so. If you want it hard left, value 0, hard right value 127. You can insert these changes in your Piano Roll, and it may be easier, because you can see where the actual notes are for that track while it plays, and you can stop and draw, say, a quick pan change in right before the note you want.

All other controllers are simply 0-127 value, depending on the strength of the effect you want, (or volume, controller #7). It would be very beneficial to get a list of MIDI Controllers, and a GM Patch List to have handy.

You indicated you got it into SB Live MIDI Synth, which will play the default Bank 0. If you want to play SFs, which will give you a wider range of sounds, you'll need to do the section about setting the SB Live MIDI Synth to "Uses Sound Font Device", which I conveniently highlighted in bold in the earlier post...because I'm psychic and knew we'd need to refer to that again (or is that psycho?) :shock:

Something else very important is to assign each track its own MIDI channel. You can actually have two different tracks with the same MIDI channel in the same file, but they must be routed to different ports.
Otherwise, patch or controller info you insert into one track will affect the other. Basically both will affect both. That can create some mass confusion. If you want to double an instrument from the same performance data, say a finger bass and a slap bass, to mix'n'match the I often sure it is assigned a different channel, or if on the same channel, assign it to SB Live B:, (which may be Port 2 to you). That way, twiddling with one won't affect the other, and each will retain individual and complete control.

There is so much more to know about Cakewalk, MIDI and SFs, but these are all the things that seem to confuse people starting out. Following all these suggestions will keep things more in your control. Yes, it takes time to insert and enter all that info, but it's often less time than trying to track down why something isn't behaving properly. I've actually made some decent-sounding stuff with my MIDI computer playing SFs, through a Roland card, and outboard keys/modules...while connected to my audio computer, which played my real instruments as audio, and virtual instruments from the imported MIDI file. I just mixed'n'matched, sometimes, 3 or 4 drum sets, several saxes, several basses, etc., and tweaked velocities, volume, modulations, etc. to try my best to get mostly fake stuff to sound more real, as opposed to all the people who sample real stuff to make it sound more mechanical. I have a few ambitious tunes that contain more than 50 MIDI tracks...and that's only on the MIDI computer. There's more virtual instrument tracks on my audio computer, of which both are synced together. There may only be 10-12 actual basic performance tracks' instruments that I started on one port until the I was satisfied with the arrangement, which I saved and imported into the other computer, but they may all be doubled or even tripled....or more. I don't futz with actual sound design until I get the performance and arrangement right. Then, when I record anything real, using the basic sounds as a guide track, I then search for sounds to fit around the recorded audio stuff. Much easier and less destructive to audition or change MIDI sounds than to mess with audio once it's recorded well.

Also, if you loaded that Vienna SoundFont Editor, you can actually tweak any of those SFs, if you wish. You can tweak almost any parameter you wish...modulations, reverbs, filters, EQ, tunings, etc. Takes a while to figure out, but it has come in handy when I found something that was almost there, but just not quite. If you don't have it, it's free to download from numerous places, probably the Creative site.

As I said, there are literally thousands of free SFs to download. Some of them are horrendous, and I usually nuke them...unless I think they are so horrendous I may be able to use them as an annoyance factor in something when I'm feeling twisted. :twisted:

Some of them are actually quite useful. Strategically placed horn "blats" are useful to add somewhat more realism to a trumpet line. Strategically placed "breath noise" is useful for flute passages...(just no Ian Anderson gutteral grunts'll have to do that by yourself). :wink:

Also, don't be afraid to try the "Key" box in Cakwalk's Track's View. An octave up (+12), or down (-12) may change the sound of a MIDI instrument to just what you were looking for. I found that any other value usually makes it out of tune. And keep in mind that you may surpass the range that the individual instrument will do. You may be amused by some of the sounds you can get by doing this. DON'T do it on drums, though. It'll just make different noises may have a triangle where your snare was, or something.

And remember, MIDI drives VST or DX virtual instruments, so the more you learn about basic MIDI now, the more ready you'll be when you step up your program to one that uses them. Virtual instruments can be MUCH more realistic than even the best SF. (They can also suck).

Use what you have, don't be afraid to experiment, and learn all you can. A few times of doing all this, and you should be able to remember most of it to easily find and fix a problem, or to avoid it in the first place. Your Event List Editor in a program can become your best friend, Piano Roll a close second. Download and print out a GM MIDI Patch list, A GM Drum (or Percussion) list, and a GM Contoller list, for reference. I have mine right here, and still use them occasionally.

One other thing. Some SFs will adhere to the GM patch list for instruments, others won't. Full GM-compatible sets will have the instruments in the same place. Individual instruments may, or may not. That trumpet may be patch number 56, or it may be 1. So, you have to select it.

OK, enough for today's lesson. You should now have enough ammo to completely control your MIDI universe!

Have fun,


Member for

15 years 10 months

Kapt.Krunch Wed, 11/14/2007 - 02:51
hervelam wrote: [quote=Kapt.Krunch]The NS Kit will show up as only one patch.
Which one is it? Do you know its name?


It will show up as the NS Mini Kit, or whatever one you downloaded. It is one instrument set, with only one preset (for the free and Mini Kit). You have to know where you put it, find it, and load it into a Soundfont bank into Cakewalk. Then you have to load it into one or more drum tracks in Cakewalk's Tracks View.

All the drums are matched to GM Percussion notes, so you just load it, and the snare should be a snare.

Other instruments/sets may have more than one choice. You could get a piano SF with a dozen different piano sounds in it. An example is the SteinWST22F SF. It has 5 piano presets: 4Grand 0, 4Brt Grand, 4Mellow, 4HnkyTnk, and 2Grand 0. When pulling up that SF, you then have a choice of choosing any of the presets.

The NS Kit is called NS Kit (whichever version).


Member for

21 years

Member Mon, 11/12/2007 - 00:25
hervelam wrote: And I manage to insert wave files too. It appears that only the wave file I tried to insert before cannot be inserted for some reason. Other wave files are OK!

I worked hard yesterday night on recording myself on guitar. And then...
I couldn't insert the wave files into Cakewalk again!

I checked the pb with several wave files: some can be inserted, some cannot.

At a moment I thought it was a Hz pb, cause a file that seemed OK was 48000, instead of the usual 44100. But then I managed to insert some files of 44100 too.
So I really don't know why some wave files do, and some others don't. Any idea someone???

Good night.

Member for

15 years 10 months

Kapt.Krunch Mon, 11/12/2007 - 02:53
hervelam wrote: I worked hard yesterday night on recording myself on guitar. And then...
I couldn't insert the wave files into Cakewalk again!

I checked the pb with several wave files: some can be inserted, some cannot.


You shouldn't have to "insert" your guitar .wav file if you've saved the file as a .bun (bundle). You simply open it up, Cakewalk finds the file, and loads it.

Some of this stuff is going to require cracking open the manual, and reading it.

Look up the differences in "Save" formats, and when to save as what.

As to why some files won't "insert", and some will...I don't know. Probably a simple explanation, though. :wink: