SONAR Performance Benchmarks with Windows 10

The SONARBench test on Windows 10

We wanted to do some simple benchmarks to find out how running SONAR under Windows 10 compared to Windows 8.1. We did our tests on a moderately powered system using a basic audio interface (TASCAM’s US-322, the predecessor to the new US-2×2 and US-4×4 interfaces) set to 286 samples on input and 287 samples on output, for a total of 573 samples / 13 ms.

The SONARBench Project

This test project is useful to run not only because it provides information about SONAR’s performance, but also gives us a 1:1 basis for comparison with results reported by users in the field. The test project includes a 12-track mix of a band plus several additional tracks with only a sine wave. Each track includes five instances of the Sonitus Multiband compressor that are initially bypassed. We enable one Sonitus plug-in at a time until the CPU is taxed enough to cause audible “glitches,” and then notate the maximum number of enabled Sonitus plug-ins that SONAR can play once through without audible glitches.

The test continues by enabling more and more instances of the Sonitus Multiband until the audio engine drops out so we can note the maximum number of enabled plug-ins that allow SONAR to play without dropping out.

Test 1: Number of Sonitus Multiband plug-ins that can be inserted in audio tracks before glitching occurs.

Win 10: 203

Win 8.1: 179

Windows 10 is the clear winner here.

Test 2: Number of plug-ins that can be inserted before SONAR drops out.

Win 10: 362

Win 8.1: 362

For this test, there’s no difference in performance.

The DAWBench Project

This benchmark is similar to SONARBench, but uses plug-ins that other DAWs would be able to use (in this case, the CA-2A T-Type Leveling Amplifier running as a VST3 plug-in). This test also includes a 12-track mix of a band plus several tracks with a sine wave, and CA-2A instances are enabled one per track at a time until each track has one active CA-2A. We then repeat this until all tracks have a second CA-2A enabled or the audible glitches return, at which point we note the maximum number of active plug-ins that can be enabled without audio glitches.

Like the first benchmark, additional CA-2A instances are enabled until the audio engine drops out completely. We then note the maximum number of plug-ins that can play twice through the audio loop without a dropout.

Test 1: Number of plug-ins (CA-2A VST3) that can be inserted before before glitching occurs.

Win 10: 50

Win 8.1: 52

Statistically, the results are essentially equal; the discrepancy is likely attributable to jitter.

Test 2: Number of plug-ins (CA-2A VST3) before dropout.

Win 10: 103

Win 8.1: 85

Windows 10 is the clear winner here.

TH2: Using Guitar Amp Software Live

Turning this powerful amp, cab, mic & pedal modeler into a MIDI-controlled effect for live use.

Original article posted on The Cakewalk Knowledgebase

TH2 is the guitar amp modeling software included in SONAR X3 and Music Creator 6 Touch, and while it deserves all the high praise it’s received as a guitar processor, one aspect that is often overlooked is its deep MIDI routing capability. More specifically, it’s possible to adjust the settings of TH2’s amps and effects pedals and even switch between separate banks, sounds and variations by using a hardware MIDI controller or a MIDI CC message in a track. With this setup, TH2 can become your full-time pedalboard and let you take the sounds of your studio recording to the stage.

Wait, what’s that sound? Oh, it’s all the groaning from the people who think that mixing “MIDI” with “stage” will only lead to wasted time and headaches. Fear not, TH2 is smarter than usual software and the flexibility you’ll gain—even if you don’t make TH2 your Continue reading TH2: Using Guitar Amp Software Live

Blue Cat Audio Analysis Plugins – Worth A Closer Look

The highly flexible, unique Blue Cat Audio plugins are now available at the Cakewalk Store. Find out how these critically-acclaimed plugins make comparing your audio tracks to reference material and to each other a breeze and how nearly any component—peaks, RMS, crest factor, even isolated frequency bands—can become a key signal for advanced sidechaining.

Blue Cat’s Analysis Pack
At first glance, the plugins in the Blue Cat Analysis Pack seems fairly self-explanatory: Blue Cat’s DP Meter Pro is a digital peak meter, Blue Cat’s FreqAnalyst Multi and Blue Cat’s FreqAnalyst Pro are spectrum analyzers, Blue Cat’s Oscilloscope Multi renders waveforms and Blue Cat’s StereoScope Multi and Blue Cat’s StereoScope Pro are stereo image visualizers. Their included histograms, 3D and 2D spectrograms, envelope graphs, XY and different views may be no surprise, either. However, what their names do not make clear is their capability to generate control data from the dynamics and spectra of your audio. Use them with a dynamics processor to get nearly infinite sidechaining possibilities.

Blue Cat Analysis Pack
Image © Blue Cat Audio

You may be wondering what the difference Continue reading Blue Cat Audio Analysis Plugins – Worth A Closer Look

Film Composer James Bernhard Gets it Done Right with SONAR

Film composer and longtime Cakewalk user James Bernhard is a busy man. With films to score and a new music production company to run, it’s understandable. Fortunately SONAR is with him to help get things done right, right away.

James BernhardAfter getting his start as a songwriter in Long Island, NY, he made the move to LA to write music for television & film. It was in LA where the musical partnership with four-time Grammy award winning mixing engineer Brian Vibberts and golden-eared mastering engineer Patricia Sullivan (employed by Bernie Grundman Mastering) began. From this, the new company G4H Music Productions Inc. was born.

James was gracious enough to take time away from composing to have a conversation about his career, how he uses SONAR to score to picture and, despite pressure from colleagues, why he won’t ever switch to another DAW. Continue reading Film Composer James Bernhard Gets it Done Right with SONAR