SONAR X3 Quicktip: Focus the Low end of your Kick and Snare with a Program EQ

Program Equalizers have been around since the 1950’s and in SONAR X3 Studio and Producer users will receive two of these incredibly emulated modules.

Let’s take a look at what the new Program Equalizer EQP-2B can do for our kick drum. You’ll notice that we have the ability to both boost and cut the same frequencies on this EQ. Choose a low frequency from the variable adjustment and then begin increasing the Boost parameter.  Increase it all the way and your kick drum signal will become quite overpowering. Adjust the Attenuate knob and the signal will begin to smooth out and focus your signal a bit better.

For this country kick drum I picked 80Hz for the low end and boosted the signal to it’s ceiling.  Next, I adjusted the Attenuate knob to it’s lowest setting. This effectively sharpens out the boosted signals and gives the signal a unique focus in the lower spectrum. After that, I adjusted for clarity and the end result is very useable.

Moving to the snare, user’s can get the same effect using the PEQ5B.  This has some of the same algorithms as the EQP-2B but with an added EQ section in the bottom of the plugin. At first listen the Snare sounds a bit boxy and grainy in the low and mid-range.

I applied a sharp reduction around 50HZ with the Low Shelving EQ and then another sharp cut around 800Hz.  This seemed to make all the difference. Afterwards, I moved to the upper half of this EQ and applied the same thinking that I did to the Kick but instead I focused the EQ to around 122HZ.  This will allow the snare to get out of the way of the Kick.  Next, boosting and then attenuating the signal seemed to focus the shape of the Snare right where I needed it.

Learn more about these plugins and SONAR X3 here.

EDM Production Tip: Ducking Synth Melodies using Sidechaining

Ducking is a popular technique used in EDM music to apply percussive processing to pads, leads, and bass lines using side-chains on compressors. This technique is also used as a method for getting bass and drum passages to subtly fit together in mixes. In order to successfully apply ducking to your track you must have the following:

  • Compressor inserted on a pad or lead track with side-chain capabilities
  • Percussive source to key the side-chain

First, grab a kick drum sample and align it to the desirable rhythm you need.  Next, insert a compressor onto your synth lead or pad track.  Afterwards insert a send on the sampled kick drum track and set the send to “Pre-fader”. In SONAR, deselecting the [Post] button enables pre-fader sends.  Mute the kick drum sample and turn up the gain on the send.

Once you have the signal flow set, enable the Sidechain on the Compressor.  Now, every time the kick drum sample plays the Side-Chain will trigger the compressor and “Duck” the signal.  You can set the compressor using the Threshold, Attack, and Release settings to shape the kind of effect you want.

Try it yourself with the SONAR X2 Producer free 30-Day trial.

The Distance Effect: How to make audio sound far away using Reverb

Creating distance in a mix or sound design project often results in the use of a distance effect.  This effect can make anything sound as if it’s 50 ft away, and is quite easy to setup.

1) Insert a pre fader send onto an audio track. Within just about every DAW and/or mixing board there is a setting on the Sends sections called “Pre”.  Within SONAR this setting is enabled when the “Post” button on the send is deactivated.

2) In SONAR, I right-click on the Sends area in the console view and select “New Stereo Bus”.

3) Rename the bus “Distance Effect”. Now my audio is routed to this Bus. It’s often good practice to label your buses, or else mixes become confusing to work with.

4) Insert an instance of Reverb onto that bus. In this example I used BREVERB SONAR and called up a Plate preset.

5) Mute the audio track and hit play.


To read more about BREVERB SONAR check out Breverb: A 2013 Sound Design Odyssey on our Knowledge Base.

Try the BREVERB ProChannel Module for free – Download the SONAR X3 Producer Trial

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