Cakewalk Drum Replacer Review

Cakewalk’s SONAR features a range of internal plug-ins, of the most interesting and useful is undoubtedly the drum replacer. We review it here…



Manufacturer Cakewalk
Price Part of SONAR Platinum ($525)
Contact Cakewalk via website


Drum replacement is common practice in professional music production, and essentially involves analysing live multitracked drum recordings and then either literally replacing specific drum hits or, more commonly, bolstering existing ones by overlaying extra samples at the same points as the existing snare sounds, for example. To do this manually is insanely time consuming, so Cakewalk has introduced a new Drum Replacer feature as part of its latest update to SONAR Platinum.

It’s not available separately, since it’s integrated into the DAW. It’s very nicely built into the workflow, and after choosing a drum channel, preferably a single mic rather than a mixdown for the sake of better detection, you add the effect. The resulting process analyses the signal, then provides you with three additional layers, into which you can load either one of the provided samples or one from your own collection.

Each layer can be fine-tuned by setting a filter and an interval control, and there are also individual level and pan controls, plus a master dry/wet blend control.


It works very well, and makes it straightforward to beef up your drum parts with surprisingly little effort.Drum Replacer has other functions, too, such as the ability to extract MIDI information from drum parts for use elsewhere in a project, extract hits from loops and create percussion from a melodic part. Based on ARA technology, it genuinely takes the hassle out of these processes and has a slick and friendly interface.

Since it’s not a plug-in, but a part of SONAR itself, there’s zero latency and fairly minimal CPU overhead. If you work with multitracked drums a lot, it’s a very interesting and useful addition.

Key Features
● ARA technology
● Analyse drum parts and replace hits
● Extract audio to MIDI
● Create rhythms from melodies
● Integrated into SONAR