NBC “The Voice” Winner Javier Colon: HOW SONAR PLAYED A ROLE IN HIS NEW RECORD ON CONCORD MUSIC GROUP

You could call Javier Colon timeless.  After winning the inaugural season of NBC’s The Voice, he has battled even harder than he did during the show’s “Battle Round.” Last year his perseverance and life-long dedication to creating music on his own terms brought him to yet another chapter in his career with a new recording contract with Concord Music Group.  Concord Music Group is home to many enduring artists such as Ray Charles, James Taylor and The Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band to name a few, but it’s also one of the most respected and ageless labels of our time.

When the ink was dry, Javier who is a longtime SONAR user dug deeper than he ever had before, and started writing songs for the new record.  “A lot of the songs on this new record started right in my home studio on SONAR Platinum,” Javier recently told us in conversation.  “The thing I like about SONAR for writing is that it’s really quick for getting ideas down.  It’s like a creative partner.  Of course it’s great for mixing and creating masters too, but for me since I was fortunate enough on this record to be working with top-notch mixing engineers, the single most important thing was getting the songs right.  The features in Platinum are great for songwriting.  Even just the loops in Addictive Drums 2 are a great starting place to generate ideas—there’s just no shortage of inspiration in the program.”

Javier’s new record titled “Gravity” comes out April 15, and he recently shot a new video in LA (also including scenes from Europe) directed by Gregory Poppen.  The record itself is actually 15 songs, a bit of a different approach from pop music’s recent pattern of releasing fewer tracks per album.  On this record Javier really wanted to get more music out there for his fans who have stayed with him all this time throughout every phase of his career.

Continue reading NBC “The Voice” Winner Javier Colon: HOW SONAR PLAYED A ROLE IN HIS NEW RECORD ON CONCORD MUSIC GROUP

LANDR Blind Taste-Test

UPDATE: Results are in! Here’s the answer key:

It was a very tight race, but the clear winner was Track 3 (so there is definitely still plenty of room in this world for professional mastering houses).

In 2nd place was Track 5, which was followed extremely narrowly by the LANDR masters, where Track 4 beat Track 2 by almost nothing. Track 6 was next, and Track 1 was last.

Note: These masters were intentionally not level-matched, as we believe that for a song of this style, the resultant level was part of the criteria for the quality of the masters. We will be doing another one of these tests in the future, wherein the levels will all be matched.

What do you think? Do these results surprise you? 


We thought it would be fun to have a blind mastering taste-test and include LANDR. Below is a track from a project I Co-wrote/recorded/produced/mixed compliments of a great artist from Finland by the name of Peppina.

Track 1 is the actual pre-master, and then the following tracks are masters rendered by different means.

One of these tracks (the one that is actually on the record) is mastered by a prominent mastering house/engineer in NYC.

A few also may be rendered with different LANDR settings 😉

One is also mastered using all in-house Cakewalk plug-ins…

Below these tracks you will find a survey, please vote for your favorite “master” and leave any general comments.

Results will be posted in 2 weeks.

Create your own user feedback survey

 

 

 

 

Artist Spotlight: Eric Hansen—How He Gets Big Pro Soundinig Results at Home

“Is it World Music?”  “Is it Spanish Music?” “Is this Jazz?” “Is this in the Acoustic Genre?”  Fortunately for guitar virtuoso and now-Pro D.I.Y’er Eric Hansen, the simple answer to these questions he faces regularly about his music is, “YES.”  Eric is another longtime SONAR user who depends on SONAR daily for his livelihood.  He is based out of Southern Florida which might just be where his Spanish and Latin influences come from, where at a young age he had a unique fondness for Flamenco infused Pop music.

Eric began studying the guitar at age 14 and was performing professionally with local rock groups by the age 16.  He then attended Florida Atlantic University where he studied Classical and Jazz guitar and was the first actual guitarist to complete the Honors Performance Program at F.A.U.  He went on to graduate with academic honors while simultaneously studying Flamenco and Latin American music with musicians from Spain and Peru.

In his professional career, Eric is no stranger to the Billboard Charts with 6 records under his belt all crafted in different versions of SONAR spanning over 15 years.  Eric is in the final stages of another record, but this one is being tracked, mixed and recorded all in SONAR Platinum.  After Eric getting Cakewalk an exclusive preview to 3 of the new songs on the record, we were interested in finding out more about how all these great tracks are coming together in Platinum [DEMO PREVIEW]:

Continue reading Artist Spotlight: Eric Hansen—How He Gets Big Pro Soundinig Results at Home

How SONAR user Bentley Ousley Executes a Crazy Idea

I love it when something comes across my desk that MAKES me want to dig deeper—find out more.  Recently I have been spending more time reading our Cakewalk forum and I am amazed at how passionate and talented our user base is.  I find myself going through posts, clicking links, poking around and being genuinely entertained and inspired.  One recent post really got my attention and after inquiring directly to the user, I found myself turning into a CSI investigator (Cakewalk-SONAR Investigator) looking for clues to make some sense out of what I had just stumbled upon…

Opening the case:

Cakewalk User: bentleyousley – [My Inside Voice]: “…sounds a little suspicious to me—sounds like a Rock Star I should know.”

Case: Once and Future Cities: A Fractal Journey – [My Inside Voice]: “…I think I remember the word ‘fractal’ from some distant math class or something.”

Location: Kansas City – [My Inside Voice]: “best BBQ I’ve ever had in that city, but a SONAR user in Kansas City with a studio that looks like a rocket fuselage? Okaaaayyy???…”

Evidence: PBS, Kansas City Star, Kansas City Planetarium – [My Inside Voice]: “…PBS? A Planetarium? A home-brew large format projector and software? Fractal equations translated into visuals? A brilliant film all edited and scored meticulously in SONAR Platinum by one person made for planetariums?  I’m IN…” Continue reading How SONAR user Bentley Ousley Executes a Crazy Idea

How Jerry Gerber Creates Incredible Compositions Without Ever Using the PRV

The art of “making music” in this digital age… When you really think about it, how incredible is it that as music-creators we can take something from our minds, and sculpt it into something tangible?  No matter how novice or professional you are, no matter what others think or say about the music YOU create, there’s no denying that we are living in an incredible time of opportunity for crafting music.

A while back I was introduced to a gentleman and composer working in SONAR out of Northern California by the name of Jerry Gerber.  I knew he was a great composer from his accomplished list of credentials, but what I wasn’t prepared for was being absolutely fascinated by the sonic depth of “his sound,” the detail and integrity of his tracks, and moreover—how he accomplishes all of the above mentioned.  When you listen to his work, and then hear his theoretic viewpoint of how to correctly compose and produce music, you quickly realize that this guy has tapped into something a bit deeper than most musicians.

What really made an impression on me was that without ever using the Piano Roll View (PRV), Jerry Gerber has composed and produced for some very highly-profiled films, television shows, computer games, concerts, dance and interactive media, and also back in the day wrote all of the original music for the remake of the popular children’s television show, The Adventures of Gumby.  His approach to all this is through an expert level of “MIDI Sequencing” which he explains in the newest edition of the SONAR Newburyport eZine.

I was intrigued and beyond impressed by his words in the eZine, so I decided to [self-indulgently] dig a bit deeper by reaching out to Jerry to get some insight on his methods of madness with his new record.  His words of musical wisdom make a lot of sense for anyone creating music in any genre, and I highly recommend the read; and then applying what you learn by analyzing and enjoying his new full-length composition.

[Cakewalk]:       You talked a lot about the “programming” aspect of the new record, but what was the “writing” process like for you? Continue reading How Jerry Gerber Creates Incredible Compositions Without Ever Using the PRV

Anatomy of a Project: A Nontraditional Approach to a Commercial Recording

By Jimmy Landry

Last summer, Peppina—a young female artist from Finland— plunged herself into the NYC music scene for two months. With the help of renowned NYC entertainment attorney Steven Beer who discovered her, she managed to head back to Finland with a major-label sounding EP. The project was recorded in different ways, in different locations all over the city—and with budgets being slashed, these days it’s pretty much hand-to-hand combat when making a low budget recording where anything goes. But the upshot is yes, you can record a commercial-sounding record on a budget—so here are some of the techniques we employed to accomplish that goal. SONAR Platinum was instrumental in saving time on this EP. Between the Drum Replacer, VocalSync, onboard Melodyne, Speed Comping and general speed enhancements, I got to the finish line a lot faster than previous records. I highly recommend anyone who’s on SONAR XX to take a close look at what the program has brought to the table in the last year.

This all started when Steven Beer called about an artist he’d heard sing at a film festival, and invited me for a meeting at his office. Interestingly, there were two other producer/writers there as well—a bit unorthodox, but pretty much anything goes these days, so nothing really surprises me anymore. We discussed the artist’s interests, influences, and other variables, and then listened to some of my reel as well as music from the other producers. It turned out the lawyer’s master plan was to bring the three of us together to co-write, record, and mix a five-song EP before she went back to Finland in 45 days.

Peppina already had some momentum in Finland from a loop she wrote and uploaded to a site called HITRECORD (owned by actor and director Joseph Gordon-Levitt). Her upload was so popular that Gordon-Levitt flew her to California to perform the piece at the Orpheum in LA during one of the show’s TV episodes. This all sounded good to me, so I signed on to a production team that would share in the production duties and heavy lifting. As to budgets…well, there was enough there for us to take it on as a challenge.

Continue reading Anatomy of a Project: A Nontraditional Approach to a Commercial Recording

Month-end artist recap: Nov2015 World tours, Wahlburgers and more

Jorg Kohring

LA-based producer/mixer/musician (and former Lifehouse guitarist) Jorg Kohring was busy in November remixing the single “On Fire” off his last record. The remix/rerelease just hit over 15.000 views on YouTube in a little over two weeks. Jorg told us, “This remix is doing really well, people love the sound and production which is all done in SONAR Platinum.  YouTube began putting some high profile ads in front of the video, so I think we may be seeing a lot more activity with the video as it gets in front of more people.  It was interesting to remix a song in Platinum that was originally produced and mixed in SONAR X3. The new SONAR has really come a long way and it shows in the mix.” ~Jorg Kohring

 

Yogi Lonich

LA producer/musician Yogi Lonich has been quite busy these days inside and outside of SONAR.  He recently performed with Scott Weiland in Las Vegas at the Sayer’s Club, and is also currently rehearsing for international tour dates with Chinese pop star Jason Zhang in 2016. Yogi is the master of diversity with SONAR; he is currently recording his new record Run Through the Desert due out in 2016, while also composing and producing for shows such as Wahlburgers, Freaks and Geeks, Donny Loves Jenny and Long Island Lock Up to name a few. He also just co-wrote and recorded a song completely in SONAR with LA actress/singer/producer Rita Wilson (Sleepless in Seattle, Runaway Bride, My Big Fat Greek Wedding) with no release date announced yet for that track.

“The Drum Replacer in SONAR Platinum is something I am constantly using.” ~Yogi Lonich

Murder FM

Dallas musician/songwriter/producer/mixer and SONAR user Norman Matthew of MURDER FM has been on tour in November co-headlining the REVOLVER Magazine “South for the Win Tour” w Seasons After. The band’s debut (Major Label affiliated) record “Happily Neverafter” came out late summer, and it’s been nonstop ever since for Norman and the group. The record was tracked and created in SONAR Platinum, and then mixed by Beau Hill before being released on Famous Record Global/Sony Red. Besides Beau’s contributions, plenty of firepower went into the release including track-collaborations with Will Hunt of Evanescence and even an official remix of the single by Tommy Lee of Motley Crue.

The band is home for a few weeks now gearing up for yet another west coast/mid-west run with Hed Pe and Alien Ant Farm kicking off in Seattle on December 3, 2015. For more information on the bands whereabouts visit http://www.murderfmmusic.com/.

“Upgrading from X3 to Platinum changed the way I make music. Platinum is like having a creative assistant.” ~Norman Matthew

R1CKONE

Producer/DJ R1CKONE has spent most of his November on tour over in Europe and the U.K. with the reunion of Crazy Town in support of their new record titled Brimstone Sluggers.  R1CKONE who collaborated on the new record operates his [semi-private] SONAR studio in Hollywood for 3013 Music Group and has been busy developing many artists in LA area for a number of years.  In December he will be back working on new tracks for Shifty and Epic,  but for now he is just enjoying Europe’s seasonal offerings.

“I’m constantly creating and constantly seeing folks with other DAWs. There is no way I could do what I do on any other platform other than SONAR.” ~R1CKONE

Anatomy of a SONAR Project: Replacing the Placeholder

DELIVERING MUSIC FOR THE FILM “FOR BLOOD” (COFFEERING ENTERTAINMENT LOS ANGELES, CA)

Sometimes I am fortunate enough to have the time to take on a project outside of Cakewalk, and I love that those projects let me put our current SONAR Platinum “Rolling Update” to the test in the field. Recently, the LA-based production company Coffee Ring Entertainment asked me to write, produce and deliver three tracks for their new movie, For Blood. This article describes highlights of the process involved in writing and producing one of those tracks for a specific scene in the film.

My first question to the director was, “Do you already have placeholder music in the rough cut?” When producers and directors have placeholder music they like already set into the cut, it speeds up and simplifies writing and producing the music. Fortunately the answer was “yes,” so all I needed to do was replicate what they liked about their placeholder tracks using the array of instruments and plug-ins in my home project studio rig.

A primary objective in writing music for film is to forget about yourself and your own emotional agenda. And oddly enough, for me at least, this notion really speeds up the workflow because you are writing/producing for someone else’s purpose other than your own thoughts. Adamantly keeping this in mind throughout the writing/producing process helps to stay focused on what the client wants. For this song, it’s exactly what I had to do because the producers had a Tarantino-ish type track set into the scene, and my innate production style tends to lean more towards big, clean commercial pop rock. Luckily, I could go to YouTube and analyze suitable styles of music but even luckier for me, SONAR’s Addictive Drums and TH2 plug-ins were  ideal for dialing in the kind of music that was needed. Continue reading Anatomy of a SONAR Project: Replacing the Placeholder

How LA Producer Luigie Gonzalez is Using Patchpoints in the Jamaica Plain Release

In-demand LA Producer Luigie “Lugo” Gonzalez is in the trenches on a daily basis depending on SONAR to deliver radio-ready masters to major labels.  As an advocate of this year’s Rolling Updates, and especially the new Universal Routing Technology [URT] in SONAR, Luigie told us how he is initially using URT:

CW Artist Relations:     What are you currently working on?

Luigie:     Right now I am in the middle of a few projects as always. Universal artist Ah Moon is being released right now and thankfully turning some heads.  It’s actually Burmese which is very interesting.  I am also working tracks with DJ Shift and the new single “Painkiller” is dropping at radio in the next month depending on the label.

CW Artist Relations:     In general, what are your thoughts on SONAR’s updates this year?

Luigie:     Every release has been rock solid.  Honestly though, at first, I was reluctant.  I have to have a stable platform because I am constantly delivering, and one technological mishap could be disastrous.  Cakewalk is onto something with the monthly updates.  Every release has been better and more efficient.  I haven’t had any problems with stability, and I really look forward to the new features every month.  Every release so far has been great, but this month’s Jamaica Plain release was a game-changer for me with the new Patch Points and Aux tracks

CW Artist Relations:     How are you using Patch Points and Aux Tracks?

Luigie:     I’m already using them a lot, and I am already hearing a difference in my mixes from the different ways I can control things.  The possibilities of what I am going to be able to do creatively will be endless really, but right now I am primarily using them for control in a few different ways.  I use VCA’s, and I do a lot of layering in general, so having the ability to route kick layers and synth layers helps me balance signals so that I don’t overload my channels.  It’s basically giving me a lot more control in general.  One specific example using Patch Points is when I use Turnado, Stutter edit or any other special effects.  Now I can use Patch Points to affect only the signals I want without affecting a whole bus; but rather just the tracks I route to the new patch point.

CW Artist Relations:     What else comes to mind for new features that you are using?

Luigie:     I have to say, upsampling is one of my favorite features as well!  Now having it on playback is even better!   Sometimes you hear the difference, and sometimes not… But that’s because not all plugins support up-sampling, and some already do by default.  There are instances where it actually helps a lot and you can certainly hear it especially when I use fancy EQing on the reverb returns.  In some cases, I’ve noticed about a 20% improvement on my mixes.  They tend to have more air, depth and clarity when I take advantage of upsampling. 

Click here for more information on SONAR Jamaica Plain Release

Click here to try SONAR for fee

 

 

 

What Windows 10 Means for Music Creators

Windows 10 is here, and our trusted code-commanders have been working closely with Microsoft to ensure an enhanced experience for our valued Cakewalk community.  Our benchmark testing has shown the new operating system to be very efficient with a lighter footprint.  In general, Windows 10 has outperformed Windows 8 in all of our tests in terms of performance and efficiency.  Subjectively speaking, the “look and feel” of this free upgrade is a much welcomed improvement over the “Metro” landscape of the previous operating system.  But what does this mean for music creators?

1.)    More responsive: Out of the gate people will notice a much snappier operating system.  The tweaks Microsoft made to the kernel and other parts of the OS in general have given it a responsive overhaul.

2.)    Upgrade ease:  Moving into Windows 10 is a very quick and easy upgrade.

3.)    Unified OS:  The best elements of Win 7, Win 8, and Win 8.1 have been combined into a streamlined experience with Win 10.  Store Apps and Desktop Apps seamlessly run side by side for a smooth universal experience.

4.)    New MIDI API available across all devices:  The new API allows multi-client access to single MIDI hardware and new jitter-free operation.  Microsoft worked hard on bringing this all together for better MIDI implementation.

5.)    Enhancements to the kernel: Microsoft has made changes in the multimedia scheduler and kernel components to minimize spikes – this can make a big difference in low-latency streaming apps like SONAR.

6.)    FLAC and ALAC Support:  Windows 10 has native support for these two codecs.  Both “Apple Lossless Audio Codec” and FLAC  could mean great things for Windows audio moving forward.

7.)    Much faster boot-time:  A lower footprint in memory combined with some new optimization techniques will get you up and running and making music faster than ever.

8.)    Runs smoother on older machines:  The lower memory footprint and optimization tweaks will also allow Win 10 to run more efficiently on older machines.  This is great news for Wn 7 users who never upgraded to Win 8.

9.)    Lower Latency:  15ms lower roundtrip latency using WASAPI (shared mode).

10.)  Core isolation: Drivers and applications can now isolate and dedicate low latency audio processing to a single CPU core.  This can minimize the effect of DPC latency spiking from networking, Bluetooth, or other DPC spiking processes by preventing interruptions to audio processing.

At Cakewalk, we are dedicated to staying on the forefront of technology.  Our CTO (featured below) and his team worked closely with Microsoft to make sure our products run smoothly on Windows 10.  We are very excited about this free update, and highly recommend it to our customers. Try SONAR with Windows 10 today for the ultimate music creation experience.