Dancing Dots
Where Music Meets Technology for the blind
Dancing Dots serves blind musicians and their educators through technology and training

CakeTalking 8.8 for SONAR 8.5
A Cakewalk SONAR Tutorial with Scripts for JAWS for Windows

Announcing CakeTalking 8.8 for SONAR 8.5.3. You are invited to step up to the most feature-rich, user-friendly, reliable and helpful version yet of the classic CakeTalking for SONAR accessibility solution for blind audio producers. If you have been using any previous version of CakeTalking then you, more than anyone, know what happy news you have just read because CakeTalking has been setting and surpassing the standard for accessibility to SONAR for over 12 years now. David Pinto, CakeTalking’s creator, has once again worked his magic to make CakeTalking even better, simpler, more intuitive and helpful than ever before.

There is so much to tell and we will list some of the main points below. But, to get the whole scoop, see the entire 26-page What’s New document .

Improvements fall into these categories:

  • Support for previously unsupported SONAR features,
  • Expanded support for those that were already supported,
  • Even more feature to increase speed and efficiency, and
  • New ways to get help when you need it.

As always, the CakeTalking approach leaves you free to be the constant creator, not the techie trouble-shooter.

Listen to an MP3 audio presentation of CakeTalking for SONAR (134 Megabytes) Bryan Smart, Dancing Dots' lead tech support and training specialist, blind audio producer and CakeTalking enthusiast, puts SONAR through its paces. In this detailed but fast-moving audio presentation, Bryan covers a whole lot: basic operations of SONAR, the track view, mixing, showing effects and how to edit your music with CakeTalking, mixing with a control surface, recording a simple project using software synthesizers, demonstrating the Matrix view, and demonstrating some basic editing features like cut/copy/paste, quantize, transpose, and interpolate. He also briefly touches on SONAR's AudioSnap facility. The entire demo is about an hour and 45 minutes long but it is designed to present the basic operations in the first 20 minutes or so.

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Highlights of CakeTalking 8.8 for SONAR 8.5.3

  • CakeTalking fully compatible with JAWS 16 and earlier all the way back to JAWS 7.1. CakeTalking has implemented reliable workarounds that make these JAWS versions stable while running SONAR.
  • Channel Tools Plug-in is Now Totally Accessible. Channel tools is a super plug in, extremely useful in mastering and creative mixing. It provides easy and powerful channel processing for gain, delay, stereo panning, and Mid-Side decoding. Channel Tools is ideal for enhancing and adjusting stereo separation for stereo tracks and full mixes, and correcting faults in existing stereo recordings.
  • Laptop Keyboard Layout Now Supported. CakeTalking is now fully functional when using a laptop that has no NumPad.
  • Skipping to the next or prior recorded track. Use ALT+ Extended DOWN ARROW, to move to the next recorded track, and ALT+ Extended UP ARROW, to move to the prior recorded track. A great time saver.
  • Matrix View much more responsive and simple to use
  • CakeTalking works with both 32-bit and 64-bit editions of Windows under Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7.
  • CakeTalking 8.8 will not run under any version of Windows later than Windows7.
  • And many more listed in the 26-page What’s New document

Important Information

CakeTalking Makes Cakewalk SONAR Talk

CakeTalking customizes the JAWS for Windows screen reader so blind users can access the SONAR software that so many sighted people use to convert their PC’s into recording studios. And CakeTalking tops it all off with a set of detailed tutorials in the form of electronic documents of hundreds of pages that instruct the JAWS user on all the “how to’s”. Using CakeTalking with JAWS, blind musicians can focus their energy on creating, not trouble-shooting!

Is your child, student or client creating music with a keyboard and computer for school, for fun, for profit? CakeTalking for SONAR will make it happen more easily, more quickly and just make it even more fun!

Raúl Midón: Capital Records Recording Artist and CakeTalking Enthusiast

Check out Dancing Dots' customer and Capital Records recording artist, Raúl Midón, showing off his skills with CakeTalking for SONAR from Cakewalk: http://blog.cakewalk.com/songwriter-raul-midon-produces-music-with-cake-talking-technology/

Raúl has so much talent and so much enthusiasm when talking about what he can do with CakeTalking as a blind artist. We thank our friends at Cakewalk Music Software, makers of SONAR, for putting this piece together.

Over 10 Years of CakeTalking!

Since its introduction at a packed presentation during the CSUN conference in Los Angeles in the year 2000, CakeTalking has changed the lives of all kinds of blind musicians from students who can now independently record and mix their song demos and other audio productions, to working professionals who produce entire album projects for clients who pay them a competitive hourly rate for their production services. During that ground-breaking CSUN presentation, CakeTalking's creator, David Pinto, invited four of his blind students to show how they use Cakewalk with CakeTalking. In one short hour an enthusiastic audience witnessed the following:

  • A six-year-old girl recorded and orchestrated the Spinning Song for piano, french horns, flutes and percussion.
  • A college undergraduate recorded a melody and displayed it in staff notation.
  • An eighteen-year-old composed a theme for a news program including a fade for the announcer.
  • A fourteen-year-old recorded the piano, guitar and bass parts for her own song and then recorded herself singing the lead vocal and three harmony parts.


"I have gone from being a lost blind musician with some creative thinking to a now enthusiastic blind musician with a vigor to accomplish all that I can with my recording system. Without the invention of CakeTalking, this would not be possible. I thank you, sir!"

Stacy B. from Mississippi

"Thanks to Dancing Dots, and your Cake Talking scripts for Cakewalk's SONAR, I have opened my own professional recording studio. I am now producing high quality work, and am able to earn a decent living doing what I love. I can't say enough for the wonderful work that you guys are doing. You have opened up worlds of possibility for me."

Sincerely, Terry D taillon, musician, singer, song writer, and thanks to Dancing Dots, and their scripts for Sonar, a working producer.

More Praise for David Pinto's CakeTalking Scripts and Tutorials

CakeTalking gets you creating right away with reliable access and sensible instruction ! The key commands are intuitive and easy to learn. Extensive online help and separate tutorial documents direct you in recording, editing and mixing your music. Our customers are already using CakeTalking with Cakewalk and JAWS to create everything from song demos to professional radio jingles and CDs for recording artists.

"The sad fact is that most blind musicians don't have the same access to the amazing computer solutions that the sighted world get to use in there music making. Now, step in my heroes, Dancing Dots. They are a company with great vision for the future. Not only is the company run and owned by blind persons, but, many of them are talented musicians as well. They have made Cake Walk products fully accessible for the blind musician. It's a blessing, a miracle and I thank them."

Joey Stuckey Producer, studio owner and musician.

System Requirements

  • CakeTalking 8.8 for SONAR 8.5 requires SONAR 8.5 Producer or SONAR 8.5 Studio edition. WARNING: CakeTalking is not compatible with the Cakewalk SONAR Home Studio product, and works only with Windows XP (Home or Professional) Windows Vista, or Windows 7. SONAR system requirements.
  • You can now install CakeTalking for SONAR on a 64-bit or 32-bit machine.
  • Run with JAWS version 16 or earlier. Some older versions of JAWS will not run with current versions of Windows. By the way, if you want to purchase or upgrade JAWS for Windows, Dancing Dots is authorized to sell it to you. In fact, Dancing Dots represents not only Freedom Scientific's products, but most of the major manufacturers of assistive technology and music supplies.
  • To record high-quality, digital audio with SONAR you should have a second, high-quality audio interface (soundcard). Use your onboard soundcard for JAWS speech and dedicate your high-end interface, which can have multiple inputs and outputs, to processing audio from SONAR. Audio interfaces for use with SONAR which Dancing Dots sells and supports.
  • For best results from SONAR, Sound Forge and other digital audio software, and to avoid potential system conflicts, order one of our Dancing Dots digital audio workstations. We have selected and tested all components and configured the system to be a dedicated digital audio and MIDI workstation for the blind user. We install and configure all required hardware and software and ship the machine to you ready to use saving you hours of installation and set up time. Dancing Dots Accessible Audio and Notation Workstation.
  • For best results when using CakeTalking on your laptop, Dancing Dots recommends that you use a full-size PC Keyboard as many important CakeTalking functions are much more easily controlled by keystrokes from the num-pad. However, CakeTalking 8.8 may be run with your JAWS Keyboard Layout set to laptop if you wish.
  • To change the JAWS Keyboard Layout, see “Use Keyboard Layout” under Options | Basics menu.: USB or wireless PC keyboards are relatively inexpensive. Some customers have had success with auxiliary num-pad attachments but others have not so try before you buy! However, starting with the release of CakeTalking for SONAR 7, there are now alternate keystrokes that trigger certain functions formerly only accessible from the num-pad so having a full-size num-pad is now more of a convenience than a necessity.
  • When you order CakeTalking, you tell us your JAWS for Windows Serial Number. Your unit of CakeTalking will be authorized to run only on a machine on which that unit of JAWS is installed. Should you ever wish to use CakeTalking with a different JAWS Serial Number, you must order an additional copy of CakeTalking for that unit of JAWS.

Differences between Cakewalk SONAR Studio and Producer

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