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Cakewalk, Inc. is a music production software company. Based in Boston, Massachusetts, the company is best known product is their professional-level digital audio workstation (DAW) software, SONAR. SONAR integrates multi-track recording and editing of digital audio and MIDI. The company also offers a full range of music software products, including Pyro Audio Creator—a digital music management program, and Dimension Pro—a virtual instrument.
Greg Hendershott founded the company in 1987 as Twelve Tone Systems, Inc., and was its CEO until 1 July 2012. The firm soon found that most customers referred to it by the name of its initial product, a MIDI music sequencer that Hendershott had named Cakewalk (in reference to a movement of Children’s Corner by Claude Debussy). To avoid confusion, the company operated for many years as “Twelve Tone Systems, Inc. DBA Cakewalk”. In September 2008, the company officially changed the corporate name to Cakewalk, Inc. Previous to this, in January 2008, the logo on the company’s products ( but not the company name itself ) had changed to “Cakewalk by Roland” to reflect Roland Corporation’s purchase of a majority interest in the company.
The SONAR digital audio workstation provides users the ability to create projects in which they edit digital audio tracks, MIDI tracks, and associated information like lyrics and music notation. SONAR displays a range of project information—including audio waveforms, musical scores, editing consoles, event lists. The operator can mix midi output and audio tracks down into a stereo .WAV file format and burn that to an audio CD or publish it to other media formats.
The company released the original MIDI music sequencer product, Cakewalk, for MS-DOS. In 1991, they released a version for Windows 3.0. Early Cakewalk for DOS versions (up to 3.0) required the intelligent mode of the MPU-401, and so could not be used with product clones of the MPU-401, while later Cakewalk versions (since 4.0) relied on the dumb UART mode only. The company renamed the sequencer Cakewalk Pro at some point, and then Cakewalk Pro Audio when they added support for digitized audio.
In 2009, Cakewalk announced a new product line: SONAR V-Studio 700 and SONAR V-Studio 100. These became the flagship products in Cakewalk’s new line of hardware and software music production products. The next generation V-Studio line of products is modeled on Roland’s hardware Cakewalk’s SONAR Producer.
Effective 1 July 2012, Greg Hendershott resigned as CEO, after 25 years with the company. Michael Hoover, previously Executive Vice President of Products, became President, effective 1 July 2012. On December 6th, 2013, Roland sold all their shares of Cakewalk to Gibson Brands. Cakewalk will continue to operate in Boston, developing products for the Cakewalk brand along with joint products with TASCAM.