Act of Defiance: How Chris Broderick is using SONAR after Megadeth

Starting from the early age of 11, Chris Broderick started on a journey that eventually brought him to every corner of our world.  Little did he know at that time that he would accomplish what most musicians only dream about.  As a multi-genre / multi-instrumentalist/vocalist, he got his chops like many others, long hours and hard work.

From his early days he could be found practicing guitar, piano and violin for upwards of 14 hours a day as a teenager. This eventually led him into an extraordinary path of education at the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music where he was just as well known in the Denver music scene playing in local, yet highly regarded bands.  As time, fate and his esteemed career moved forward, Chris eventually moved into a greater role of guitar taking over for Joey Tafolla in the critically acclaimed band Jag Panzer.  Besides his professionalism, Chris landed this job partly due to the fact that he was the only one that could handle the duties laid out by Tafolla.

For nearly a decade of performing and touring on 4 records, Chris enjoyed playing with Jag Panzer while also taking part in live performances by the band Nevermore. In late 2007, Chis got a call from Shawn Drover, the drummer of Megadeth who had put forth his name in the hat of replacements for Glen Drover who had recently left the band.  After Dave Mustaine saw a video of Chris playing guitar, on February 4th 2008 Chris made his debut appearance as the new guitarist for Megadeth.  Dave Mustaine had commented that he thought Chris was the greatest guitarist Megadeth had ever seen, and that his collaboration with Chris reminded him of when Ozzy met Randy.

Most recently, Chris Broderick made the heartfelt decision to leave the band Megadeth. We got a chance to sit down with Chris and the most interesting part to this story is that the departure is really Uninteresting.  Unlike your usual big-drama band-break, it was simply Chris’s time to move on to something new… Act of Defiance with former band mate Shawn Drover: (more…)

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SONAR and Rapture Pro at the International Music Summit Ibiza, Spain

One thing is certainly clear.  Ibiza is a very creative island in terms of music. Besides the infamous “foam parties” and club-scene, there are locals here that write, record, promote, produce, live and breathe electronic music on a world-class level. Bringing all these creative people together yearly is a festival known as the International Music Summit, where professionals and music fans converge from all over the world to celebrate and discuss the industry.

This year The International Music Summit is being held at the Hard Rock Hotel in Ibiza, and the Gibson Brands family is here supporting all the great artists. One component to the partnership is the Gibson tour bus which unbelievably came here on a boat and is serving as a meeting spot for many exclusive artists. Parked out in front of the Hard Rock Hotel, the Gibson tour bus has made its appearance in a big way including a SONAR/Tascam / KRK / Surface Pro 3 mobile recording setup inside.

Many of us have been having fun creating some great music here on the bus, but one major highlight today was an appearance by the legendary Arthur Baker who just happened to be sporting his trusty TR-808. Within about 20 minutes, we had a substantial piece of music combining Arthur’s 808 skills, the new Rapture Pro, and some cutting edge loops from Loopmasters. We started with Arthur creating a beat on the 808 at 128bpm and sparingly added in some other loop elements from Loopmasters which created an interesting combination of modern and vintage sounds. After that, we added a lot of color with the large array of sounds from the new Rapture Pro library. Later today we will be adding some vocals to the composition so hopefully we will have something to post by the end of the conference.

On a technical note, I had the good fortune to test out SONAR on the new Surface Pro 3 and what I have to report is good news – the Surface Pro 3 is the real-deal for music creators. The one that was (thankfully) sent to Cakewalk from Intel boasted an Intel Core I7 along with 8 gigs of ram, and this machine flinched at nothing I threw at it. In fact on the contrary, I found it very quick and snappy on every level. I also found the touch responsiveness to be nothing less than spectacular. I highly recommend this machine, but along with that recommendation is the key element of obtaining one with a Core I7. Also be advised that these only have one USB port, so a USB3 powered port expansion is the ticket. Also noteworthy is to make sure your interface is not a power-hog (Class A components usually are). (more…)

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Why Award Winning Jazz Artists Are Choosing SONAR

When you think of SONAR Platinum, you might not think of Jazz. In the last few years, we have had the pleasure of seeing various SONAR-using Jazz artists enjoy some well-deserved and large-scale success. What is success these days? Well depending on whom you ask, you will certainly get many different answers.

Bobbi “Funkee Boy” Tamarro will tell you first hand that success doesn’t come easy. As an international recording artist, songwriter and producer, he’s amassed an impressive amount of credits throughout his music career including chart hits across multiple music genres. Besides several top Billboard chart hits including his presence as a Top 5 Smooth Jazz artist, he has also penned licensing deals on television networks such as ABC, FOX, NBC, CBS, SHOWTIME,  and VH1 to name a few.

In 2014 Tamarro released his 3rd CD “Soul Purpose,” where the keyboardist/producer combined his talents with assembling a stellar line up of A-List recording artists. Soul Purpose featured guest appearances from Warren Hill, Najee, Bob Baldwin, Cindy Bradley, Nick Colionne, LEILA, Surface, Lamone, Timmy Maia, Tevin Michael and more. With the success of this release, he found himself up on a podium accepting a prestigious SESAC award for his efforts.

Recently with all his sales and charting success, Tamarro has respectfully turned down approaching major labels in the recent past as he has simply cracked the code as an indie artist competing in the big leagues. Bobbi tells us, “the number one thing is to do things right the first time, and be prepared to ‘invest’ and financially support your record. As an independent artist your record has to look, sound, and feel every bit as good as any major artist in your genre.”

SONAR feature you can’t live without?

The SONAR features I can’t live without are “everything!!” From the ease of workflow, editing, & visual representation to the ProChannel, Eq’s, Vintage Channel, and the Virtual Instruments included. They are all extremely valuable to me when making a record.

For more information on Bobbi Funkee Boy Tammaro please visit:
http://www.funkeeboy.com
https://www.facebook.com/Funkeeboy

Paul Wertico is internationally known as “one of the most versatile and musical drummers in music today.” As a member of the Pat Metheny Group from 1983 to 2001, he won seven Grammy Awards and several gold records, and toured the world dozens of times.  He has also won many other awards, including being named a Chicago Tribune 2004 “Chicagoan of the Year,” being a recipient of a 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Cape Breton International Drum Festival, and winning an Independent Music Award for “Best Live Performance Album” in 2014. Paul is an active drum clinician and session musician, and is currently a member of the Larry Coryell Power Trio, as well as Wertico Cain & Gray. There’s no such thing as spare time for Paul, so he is also an Associate Professor of Jazz Studies at Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts.

When it comes to recording, one would be hard pressed to find anyone in the Jazz world with as much experience as Paul as he has played drums and percussion on hundreds of recordings including Paul Winter’s Grammy nominated release, Earth: Voices Of A Planet, and also on four of vocalist Kurt Elling’s Grammy nominated releases to name a few.  To check out more of Paul’s incredible studio work visit his discography here.

SONAR feature you can’t live without?

I have too many favorite reasons for using SONAR to name them all, but versatility, stability, and ease of use, are just a few of them!

For more information on Paul and his exceptional work please visit:
www.paulwertico.com
www.facebook.com/paulwertico1
www.wcg.band

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Why Trance Chart-Topper iLan Bluestone Uses SONAR Platinum to Craft His Unique Sound

There is a new breed of DJ’s emerging, and U.K. native iLan Bluestone is leading the pack. This new insurgence is fueled more by raw talent rather than the button-pushing antics for which some DJ’s have been scrutinized.  Musicianship, song-structure, production, arrangement and mixing are now all part of the game with these super-DJ’s who have the skills to bring it all together. SONAR has been at the heart of iLan’s career for over 10 years now.  Hailing from the town of Borehamwood just north of London, he taught himself guitar and piano at a young age and took his time developing his sound. “I think it takes a while to figure out your sound and what you’re good at,” iLan told us while visiting his home studio in the U.K. “A lot of artists get really close to finding their own sound, but then for one reason or another things don’t seem to connect.  It takes a lot of dedication and patience to really develop as an artists these days, especially in the EDM world.” These words of wisdom seem to have a lot of weight behind them considering iLan’s sonic-trajectory in the last 18 months. On Beatport alone, he has seen the Top Ten Trance chart over 12 times including eight #1 tracks. He has also graced Billboard Charts and is literally the only U.K. artist to go from his bedroom production suite to a recent sold out show at Madison Square Garden (more…)

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Mixing Vocals: Create Depth with a Digital Reverb

by Dan Gonzalez

Depth is a factor of every mix, just like Height and Width. This is a harder concept to grasp because there really is no “Depth” adjust on a mixer. In this article we’ll talk about how to create depth using the Sonitus Reverb.

Creating Depth using the Sonitus Reverb

Digital reverbs are the proverbial swiss-army-knives of the mixing world. They are programmed in a way that emulates every part of a reverb. This includes the pre-delay, decay time, width, diffusion, early reflections etc. Since these emulate spaces like halls, plates, rooms, and other reverberant places – we can use them to create a room sound around our audio tracks for the purpose of creating depth. That’s a fancy way of saying that we can use reverb for depth. Here’s a vocal track that has no effects on it at all. It’s mixed into this track completely dry.

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Mixing Vocals: Easy Dynamic Vocal FX in SONAR

by Dan Gonzalez

A word on Vocal FX

Mixing vocals is a tricky process since it is the most prominent element in any song. Vocals can be processed a very specific way to achieve an effect of sorts – or they can be processed in subtle ways to fit nicely into an overall mix. Most of the time you’ll be dealing with the latter of the two so it’s important to figure out ways to enhance your vocals without overpowering the other instruments.

Critical attention to detail is what makes any track sound like a polished mix and to achieve this a lot of engineers approach each section, instrument, entrance, exit, etc. dynamically. Obviously one way to do this is by mixing with tons of automation, but there are other ways to setup your mix so that you don’t have to write loads of automation data.

Setting up a dynamic vocal effect

Let’s take a pretty dry vocal track and add a dynamic effect to it. Here’s an example of a verse that we can use.

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Making The New York Impulse Pack for the SONAR “Braintree” Release

by Dan Gonzalez

Impulse responses (IRs) are small bursts of audio data that represent the frequency response of a real life space. By using convolution reverbs we can use them creatively in our productions to increase depth and ambience.

 

The concept

To accurately represent a real life space, you need to excite it with a frequency sweep or a loud sound rich in complex frequencies like a starter pistol or snare drum hit. For my IR samples in the New York Impulse Pack I used a sine sweep. The sine sweep is the easiest way to make sure you get an accurate representation of a space.

Once you capture that space, you must process it with a utility that shortens the
frequency sweep into a state that convolution reverbs can use. Typically this audio data is no more than a split second long.

I used this workflow to produce the Impulse Responses you’ll receive in our content for users that are a part of the Braintree Release for SONAR Platinum and SONAR Professional.

The equipment you’ll need, and what I used

- Speaker, Studio Monitor, or Full Range Flat Response Speaker. I used a Cerwin Vega P1000.

The P1000X is a two-way, bi-amped, full-range bass-reflex speaker. It employs a 10-inch woofer and a high-frequency compression driver, powered by a custom Class-D amplifier. With a power rating of 1000 watts, the P1000X is one of the most powerful PA product in its class. A proprietary hemi-conical horn provides premium sound clarity over an even and wide coverage area. A built-in mixer with convenient I/O connections allows for simple and fast setup, while Enhanced EQ, VEGA BASS boost and High-Pass Filters enable exact tuning and exceptional performance for any application. The P1000X is a versatile product that can be used as a single speaker for small venues, set in pairs or installed with threaded hang points, and combined with the P1800SX Sub for a larger venue needing more coverage and SPL. Its compact size makes it ideal to operate as a floor monitor as well.”

- Pair of microphones, the flatter response the better. I had the benefit of borrowing a pair of Earthworks QTC40s.

- The ability to create a sine sweep. I used this free utility and then bought the license for $40.

- An audio interface to simultaneously play the sine sweep and capture sound of the excited space. My RME UFX worked out wonderfully because it has very clean preamps and multiple inputs and outputs.

- Of course, SONAR Platinum

The Microphones

The Microphones I used are pretty high-end reference microphones that have a frequency range from 20Hz-40kHz. These are great because they represent the sound of the room without any color. Since we’re in the business of capturing the sound of room – they make a perfect companion for this type of project.

Setting up the spaces

I setup the microphones in a few initial spots to get an idea of how the space sounded. On my first try it was clear that the space was going to sound good no matter where I placed the microphones and the source speaker. Both spaces are not highly reverberant, they just have quality sounding early reflections – which makes them great for getting initial sounds of drums and vocals.

The goal was to capture the room in various positions. I setup the microphones in close stereo pairs, distant stereo pairs, and subsequently moved the source speaker around them to bounce the sine sweep off different walls. During the processing stage, I then split these stereo IRs out into mono signals so that users could have a choice between stereo or mono processing. For example, here’s a rough diagram of how I setup the microphones in the center with various speaker locations for one set of IRs.

 

 

 

 

The IRs themselves

To excite the space I created a sine sweep with Voxengo Deconvolver.

BE CAREFUL WHEN PLAYING THESE, THEY ARE LOUD

Once the signal played through the room it sounds like this:

Large Room IR Example

Not very exciting on first listen, but when you process the tracks and apply some instruments you start to understand their sound. Here is a drum passage without the impulse response:

Now, here’s the same drum passage with the ambience of one of the “Big Room” IRs that I captured. You can hear how it doesn’t necessarily add reverb, but more an ambience.

Lastly, here’s just the ambience:

Small Room IR Example

Here’s a synth passage without any IRs applied:

Here’s the same patch with one of the SmallRoom IRs applied:

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SONAR PLATINUM: Hello from DanceFair Utrecht Netherlands 2015

[Many photos; this conference is way too vivd to tell it all in words.] Cakewalk’s SONAR Platinum, along with many other Gibson Brands’ products are making a splash in Utrecht Netherlands this weekend at DanceFair 2015.  EDM has had strong roots in Utrecht, and in the Netherlands in general for quite some time, so it’s absolutely the perfect location to capture the spirit of this genre. Electronic music makers from all over the world have converged here over the weekend to celebrate and discuss the state of the industry, technology, creativity and performance.

Some of the world’s most influential electronic professionals including Martin Garrix, Alvaro, GLOWINTHEDARK, Andrew Bayer, Roog, and even Cakewalk’s own SONAR Platinum endorsee iLan Bluestone can be seen walking the halls, testing out the latest and greatest new gear, and even holding workshops for tomorrow’s EDM stars. One of the greatest aspects of Dancefair is that the pros are very accessible to the many aspiring (and very young) EDM enthusiasts who can be seen mingling in breakout rooms around the conference.

The conference is held at Jaarbeurs Utrecht which is a very impressive complex to say the least, and also lends itself very well to the modern theme and overall vibe of this convention. From complex rhythms to chilled out backbeats, walking through the different pockets in this facility has everything modern EDM has to offer. The KRK listening room was exceptionally popular (more…)

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The New SONAR: Better Design in all 3 versions

by Dan Gonzalez

Commitment to Design

As SONAR fanatics, we tend to constantly improve and optimize our interface to make it more fluid and user-friendly. In the new SONAR, our sends and fx stacking have taken on a new look to better suit the needs of the modern day mixing engineer. This new look adopts our dynamic window management philosophy.

Our sends act dynamically with your mix

Upon first opening your shiny new SONAR Platinum, Professional, or Artist’s console view, you’ll notice that our Sends section has a different look. In addition to making the Sends look and feel like they belong to our interface, we’ve added the ability to set your sends to 1, 2, 4, 8, and unlimited live sends. As you add up the sends to the console view the window expands to meet the needs of your mixing architecture.

As you remove them, the sends section reduces in size. This dynamic feature makes the overall feel of your console view a bit more larger than life and is definitely handy in those larger mixing sessions.

Our FX Stacking has smartened up

Loading FX into SONAR has become a much smarter process and has continued the recurring theme of dynamic window management. Drag and drop your FX into the new FX Stacks and you’ll see how they expand and compress depending on the number of effects you have loaded into your mix.

Recycling Plugins windows are clean and clear

SONAR Platinum, Professional, and Artist have now optimized the way we handle VST plugin windows. Now in the user interface they will cycle through clicked VST plugins so that the interface isn’t cluttered with unused windows.

 

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The New SONAR: New Tricks for Drag and Drop

by Dan Gonzalez

There are a lot new things going on inside of the new SONAR Platinum, Professional, and Artist especially in some of the parts of the interface that aren’t so obvious. Did you know that we made some enhancements to our Media Browser and Drag and Drop mechanism? Well, it’s pretty useful stuff – especially for our die-hard users that know and love these workflows.

Export region selections using drag and drop

Within SONAR, you can now select a portion of an audio clip in the track view and drag it to another location on your computer. This nifty trick is great for extracting parts of audio without editing it and exporting.

Drag and drop now renders certain fx

Next up, if you drag audio clips to a destination outside of SONAR, any Clip FX or Clip Gain envelopes will be applied to the clip. Previously we wouldn’t bake any of this into the audio – but now it’s a pretty seamless.

Drag and drop to media browser inherits interleave setting

Drag and drop to the Media Browser now properly exports the expected interleave (mono or stereo) instead of always exporting to a stereo file or multiple mono. Multiple mono files work, but they can be annoying if you want to stick to the way your tracks were meant to be heard. You can see in the snippet below that my stereo audio file is twice the size of it’s mono counterpart. These were exported to the Media Browser using drag and drop.

 

Media Browser now supports Broadcast Wave Format via Drag and Drop

Drag and drop to the Media Browser now supports Broadcast Wave format so if you’re transferring files from one project to another – they’ll stay true to your timestamp on the timeline.

Copy or Replace Files Using Drag and Drop

Audio and MIDI files can be copied or replaced in the Media Browser via drag and drop using the CTRL modifier. If you drag and drop an auio file to the Browser, SONAR will rename it. But if you hold CTRL while you do this, the file will force the Clip Name that it has inside of SONAR. You can see here how the Clip Name stays as (19) when holding down CTRL.

In addition, if you need to replace the same file in your browser with an update version all you do is hold CTRL while dragging to the Browser.

Wrap Up

Grab your new version of SONAR Platinum, Professional, and Artist and start checking out these new tweaks today. Stay tuned for more about the latest additions to our Skylight Interface and upcoming new features on SONAR’s What’s New page.

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