A question I am often asked is, “Just what exactly is the signal path in SONAR X1?”. You plug in your mic or instrument and the sound flows through your monitors. But what is the journey your audio signal takes in between? Let’s take a trip through the Channel strip and find out!
First, there is the physical connection to your audio interface with an instrument or mic. Most audio interfaces will have a gain control on the unit to adjust the level of signal going to SONAR. This should be adjusted so that the signal is not high enough to “clip” or go over 0db which will cause distortion. Most audio interfaces will have a red light to indicate when the signal has gone over this point.
Next, the signal goes through the ProChannel (X1 Producer exclusive) which in turn can be placed either before or after any effects inserted in the FX Bin. *Special Note– For non Producer users, the signal flow is the same with the exception of the ProChannel’s absence.
Like the channel strip in SONAR, the signal flow through the various modules inside the FX Bin and ProChannel is top to bottom and the modules can be dragged to change their placement in the signal chain.
After passing through the ProChannel and FX Bin, sends can be created to bring the signal to alternate busses or hardware outputs. These sends can also be placed either before or after the channel’s final volume section.
Now the signal enters the Volume fader for control of the final audible level and Pan control for placement in the stereo or surround field.
Lastly the signal travels through the Mute and Solo buttons and is routed to the output bus or hardware output selected in the channel’s output source section at the bottom of the channel strip.
You might be wondering if the same signal path applies to busses as well. It certainly does, with the added bonus of routing the output signal to additional busses for endless possibilities of creative mixing techniques!
Knowing the path your audio takes as it travels from input to output is a huge factor in getting a good recording and mix. The placement in the signal chain of Effects and ProChannel modules will affect the sound in different ways dependent on the order they are placed in so experimentation is key. For a more detailed schematic view of SONAR X1‘s signal flow, click on the picture below.