Originally posted by GuitslingerTim
I'd like to address a few of your points.
Cakewalk has been attempting to address user complaints and requests for features as can be seen by the subsequent versions of Sonar released Since Sonar1. Sonar3 consists of a new batch of code written from the ground up, which has been improved upon in Sonar4.
The Producer Edition of S4 not only comes with quality plugins, but ones that function in surround sound.
There are many free quality plugins that will work with Sonar, and their recent purchase of RGC Audio, demonstrates a positive step toward providing even more substantial plugins. I've been using the free SFZ soundfont player from RGC and it's excellent.
There has been more than one accusation that other digital recording programs have audio engines that sound better that Sonar's. In studying the problem, Cakewalk finally determined the issue was adjustable pan laws that Sonar lacked, which other programs featured. It was never an issue of audio engines sounding better--which is a subjective determination--but rather one of the engines sounding different. The fundamental quality of the Sonar audio engine is indistinguishable from that of any other DAW software. Sonar4 has selectable pan law settings.
I'm using Sonar4, think it sounds great, think it has great features, and as for it being a toy, the learning curve is substantial, as evidenced by the manual, which is over 700 pages in length. Sonar has come a long way since version 1.0.
Here's a pro review:
Of course they are going to tell you it has something to do with "pan laws" and that they have addressed the issue. I would have to hear S4, but first, answer one simple question.
Can you arm a track during playback?