Joerg Kohring: Former Guitarist of Lifehouse Finding Success with SONAR and a Solo Music Career

We recently got a chance to sit down with Joerg Kohring who is an LA-based singer/songwriter/producer working out of Los Angeles.  Originally from Germany, Joerg found his current musical path originally playing guitar in the award winning band Lifehouse.  Since then, he has found success with his own LA-based band Orbit Monkey as well as his production work with other artists.  Orbit Monkey’s debut record “Are We Alive” came out in 2011 and the band gained many fans from the recordings.  Since then, the band recently released a follow-up EP titled “Born to be Kings” and has released another single/video titled “On Fire” which was recorded and produced completely in SONAR X3.

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Free Songwriting Guide from Disc Makers

Songwriting

Songwriters on Songwriting
Check out Disc Makers’ free guide “Songwriters on Songwriting”. In this guide five successful songwriters weigh in on topics such as: how to write a great song, writing through writer’s block, co-writing, finishing a song, and much more!

Download your free copy

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Karl Sanders of Nile talks SONAR and Metal

Nile’s sound comes from a mixture of down-tuned riffing, inhuman drum speeds, and lyrical content about ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia – making them one of the most technical groups that exists in the Extreme Metal genre. Karl Sanders was gracious enough to spend some time doing an interview with us about his writing process, heavy metal, and SONAR.

1. How long have you been a Cakewalk user? What version did you start with? I have been a Cakewalk user since the mid 90′s, starting with Cakewalk Pro Audio 5. I was writing songs and recording song demos of the early Nile songs that eventually became the Nephren-Ka album. I really went nuts with all available MIDI and audio tracks– adding tons of ethnic instruments and MIDI orchestrations to the record. Then when it came time to tour the album, I had the insane idea that maybe we could have all those extraneous tracks available to us in our live performances if I brought my PC with me and just ran Cakewalk. At that time in 1996-97 this was an unheard of concept in Death Metal and everyone thought I was a lunatic. Nowadays (more…)

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Making the Gibson EB 5-String Bass Expansion Pack

What goes into creating a comprehensive expansion pack? It’s not as easy as it might seem…

If only I’d known what I was getting into…

When I first played the EB 5-String Bass, I loved the sound and wanted to sample it for my own use. In the process, I created a Dimension Pro instrument and made it available for free to the Cakewalk community as a “thank you” for all the support you’ve given SONAR.

But also in the process, I found out the EB uses a unique Tuned Coil Tap technology for the two pickups, yielding a total of eight distinct sounds. I found them all useful, so of course I wanted to sample those before the loaner bass went back.

And that’s how the new Gibson EB-5 String Bass Expansion Pack started. If you’re interested in what goes into creating a Dimension Pro instrument…read on (more…)

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SONAR X3 Making Its Mark in the LA Scene

On the backend of the 2014 NAMM Show, we had an opportunity to take a spin around LA and drop in on a few SONAR users hard at work.  From rock, to EDM and just about every genre in between, here are what some SONAR X3 users in the LA scene are up to:

Adventure Club

While we were making the rounds, we were lucky enough to find out that the Canadian duo Adventure Club was camping out in downtown LA for a while with their mobile SONAR rig.  Adventure Club is defining a new wave of modern musicians and SONAR is at the forefront of their sonic assault.  Originally hailing from Montreal, the duo has recently been all over the globe playing to more and more dedicated fans after seeing the success of over 1.3 million views with their single “Gold” feat. Luna.  Their SONAR tracks have been streamed over a million times on Spotify, and they were noted in the 2013 Top 10 artists most consumed on SoundCloud.

AC has been touring across North America, as well as parts of Europe and Australia and has also played at various music festivals including the American Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas, Nevada. They also made their first appearance at the Ultra Music Festival-2013 in Miami and additionally found themselves playing at the Ultra Music Festival in Seoul, South Korea in June 2013.

The duo’s remix of “Crave You” by the Flight Facilities was featured in the episode “Restraint” of the MTV television series Teen Wolf.  We got a chance to sit down with Christian and listen to some of his productions in SONAR and found it interesting to see how he gets some of his unique sounds (more…)

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SONAR User and Composer Jerry Gerber to Give A Power-workshop on MIDI at NAMM 2014

When programming complex orchestrations, getting that authentic “feel” can be a big challenge for any producer or composer regardless of the DAW at hand.  It takes many years of use-case scenarios along with a full bag of MIDI tricks of the trade.  Longtime SONAR user and MIDI-manipulator Jerry Gerber possesses both of these elements, and will be sharing his secrets at the 2014 NAMM show.   Interestingly, the workshop is not targeted for just SONAR users, but rather for anyone who wants to create the most artistic MIDI recordings possible with the technology they have available. (more…)

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Anatomy of an FX Chain: CA Power Chord (Free Download)

Let’s de-construct an FX Chain, and find out how to optimize distortion guitar sounds

by Craig Anderton

I like big, rich, smooth power chords—harshness need not apply. While TH2 Producer’s presets were a point of departure, I wanted to take them further.

The UI for the Power Chord FX chain

So I got to work on an FX Chain, and I’m happy to share it with you. The final FX Chain ended up as (more…)

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HOW TO CREATE A VIRTUAL 12-STRING GUITAR

And not just that, but virtual “Nashville tuning” too…and 18-string guitars…with lots of audio examples!

by Craig Anderton

One of the reasons I got into Gibson’s newer guitars is because of the way they implement hex outputs (i.e., each string has its own audio output). Although Gibson isn’t the only company that makes guitars with hex outs, they’ve taken the concept seriously and keep improving on it.

This all started with the HD.6X-Pro back in 2007 (the guitar that’s been in my avatar all these years!), which used a magnetic pickup; since then, the Dark Fire, Dusk Tiger, Firebird X, and Les Paul X have all had hex outs based on piezo pickup technology. The X-series guitars are my favorites, because they’ve increased the isolation between strings by reducing crosstalk even further.

The obvious use for hex outputs is hex processing, like the kind of super-clean, almost synth-like sound you get from distorting each string individually. But using a piezo pickup means it’s also possible to obtain very convincing acoustic guitar sounds, and with hex outputs, you can apply SONAR’s offline pitch transposition to emulate acoustic 12-string guitars as well as 8-string basses, “Nashville” tunings, and even guitars that don’t exist—like a 12-string where the top two strings aren’t doubled, but also transposed up an octave. Or how about an 18-string guitar, where you add another set of six virtual strings transposed up and an octave, and another set transposed down an octave (more…)

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Mixing Music For Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII

Falk Au Yeong has been making waves in the Video Game industry with many of his recent projects. One of the most notable includes the new Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII. We were able arrange an in depth interview about him, his work, and his favourite DAW – SONAR X3 Producer.

When did you first get into SONAR, and what version are you currently using?

I’ve been a Cakewalk user all the way since Cakewalk Pro Audio and Home Studio, mostly working with MIDI. The first version of SONAR I jumped into was SONAR 3 Producer, and I’m currently using X3 thanks to the extremely reasonably upgrade paths and goodies that come with each update. For example, I’m really digging integrated Melodyne right now and I’m not ashamed to say it!

What is the Video Game Orchestra? How did you become associated with them?

The Video Game Orchestra is a group that plays arrangements of Video Game Music, created by Shota Nakama in 2008. They’ve grown from humble beginnings to playing shows in all kinds of formats each year, from rock band, to acoustic, to full-blown “Rockestral” performances which consist of rock band, orchestra and choir. Recently VGO has also started to get involved in recording gigs and self-produced albums under Shota’s curation.

I got involved earlier this year when Shota e-mailed me asking if I’d be up to do a series of small gigs for ‘a very important client’. Little did I know that I’d be working with one of the biggest independent game music production companies in Japan in real-time, via Skype and various audio streaming solutions. But that’s how we started! Crazy post-midnight sessions recording all manner of instruments, from drums to accordion to alto trombone to string quartet.  (more…)

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A Holiday Miracle: 24 Hours To Write, Record, Produce, Mix A Commercial Track in SONAR X3

“Audio Production Jobs” come in all shapes and sizes these days;-)  Yes, the music industry in general has shrunken to an all-time low in terms of major label budget projects, but the flip side is that there are many nooks and crannies out there to stay creative while making money.  I think the key these days is getting into as many industry circles as possible, and then over-delivering.  If you’re handed a job for writing, mixing, producing or even recording, and you knock it out of the park the first time with low-no hassles to the client, you will certainly come to mind on the next round.  I would also be willing to bet that your name will be referred to other folks outside of that job’s “circle.”  You just never know to where things are going to lead.

Stemming from this theory, I have been fortunate enough to work on some pretty diverse projects ranging from title tracks for Pokémon DVD’s to Major Label artists and just about everything in between in one form or another.  For the work I do now, the one thing that gives me an edge using SONAR X3 Producer over other DAWs is the quickness of the workflow; which contributes to music creation diversity.  Sounds deep right? …well it kind of is.  Here’s a real-world example with italicized words in red representing why SONAR X3 features are crucial to me when facing tough audio jobs.

Just a few weeks ago I was contacted by NYC singer-songwriter Jodi Good’s music attorney Steven Beer on a Friday night to discuss an opportunity for a “Holiday Song” to be placed with a major publication [for Monday].  Now usually, “Holiday Songs” are recorded around August or September and we were already at the end of November, so I knew this was going to be a tough one to accomplish especially since the song had to be written, recorded and mixed fast.  The other strike against me was that this one was a bit out of my rock, and pop-rock comfort zones, but I knew the challenge would be a good experience on many different levels, so I decided to fire up the eggnog and go for it.  Plus I had the comfort of knowing that Jodi is a great songwriter especially in the lyric department, so it was “weekend on.”

Literally that night Jodi was sending me vocal-only words and melodies as text messages on my Samsung S4.  She doesn’t play an instrument and we didn’t have the benefit of time, so we had to start writing via virtual and digital means.  I instantly forwarded them via email to my HP Z400 main rig where I drag-and-dropped them into a session for reference where they automatically created audio tracks.  The next move was simply pulling them down to a midi track where Melodyne’s ARA technology kicked in instantly giving me the notes in Midi.  This helped me to figure out the best chord structures for the verses and pre-chorus and also allowed me to see where I could go writing the chorus melody.  After about a half hour on my trusty acoustic, I had the bones to send back to Jodi via text.

[I'm going out on a limb here for your laughing pleasure ;) Here's the actual writing file on my phone which is what I texted back to Jodi when we were writing the melody - so you can hear how the song started, and where it ended.] (more…)

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