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

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

Mining Gold from PA Recordings with SONAR

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by Craig Parmerlee – SONAR user since SONAR 7

SONAR and other DAWs are used heavily to produce high-quality recordings, while other people use SONAR as part of a compositional process.  I find that most of my SONAR usage is a little different, processing live recordings tracked in a concert or club setting.  This usage presents various problems that aren’t as apparent in a controlled studio setting.  This blog will present a workflow and various SONAR features I have found valuable when processing live recordings.

Objectives

  1. In most cases, my primary objective is to produce a recording that the musicians can study in order to improve their performance.
  2. In some cases, the performance and production quality will be high enough to serve as demo material to promote the group.
  3. I try to deliver a mixed and mastered copy to the musicians within 48 hours, while the event is still fresh in mind, so speed and efficiency are very important.
  4. Often a musician will ask for a further edit on one of the songs, for example, to include in their personal résumé.  Flexibility and ability to recall settings are important.

Changing Expectations

Tascam DR-40 Field Recorder

Years ago, I did such projects using Audacity, which seemed adequate at the time.  However, expectations have changed radically.

Today many musicians have a low-cost stereo field recorder such as the TASCAM DR-40.These recorders are the equivalent of point-and-shoot cameras.  For around $100, they can produce remarkably good quality under ideal circumstances.

This has become the baseline against which many musicians judge other live recordings.  Even though I want to produce quick results, if I can’t do substantially better than a TASCAM DR-40, for example, then I am wasting my time (I should note I love those small field recorders and often use them too, but that is not the subject of this blog).

Fortunately, with SONAR I have found a work flow and a set of “go-to” features that allow me to do much better than a stereo field recorder almost every time, using only the microphones that are already placed for the live PA system.

A Word About My Background

Continue reading Mining Gold from PA Recordings with SONAR

panup: Studio Session & LANDR Test

by Panu Pentikäinen (panup at Cakewalk forums)

Alex PortraitAlex ja Armottomat (Alex) visited my recording studio in February. We had five days total to do a fully mastered CD, make promo photos of the band, and record live video footage in the studio for later editing. I’ll describe here how one of the six songs was recorded and mixed.

Drums, bass and the electric guitar were recorded live with one to three takes. Acoustic guitar and demo vocals were recorded, too, but they were re-recorded later over the backing tracks. The drummer was the only one to hear the metronome (standard SONAR audio metronome, time signature set to 1/4); the others had eye contact with the drummer. Although the guitar amp was in another room (the bass was recorded direct), there was no spill other than a faint demo vocal in the drum room mics.

Time is always an enemy when you have to record many songs in a limited amount of time. I decided to make decisions before pressing the R (record) button rather than leaving everything to the mixing phase. I applied EQ to kick drum, drum room and the acoustic guitar before A/D conversion. One of the phrases I hate is: “This sounds like crap now but it hasn’t been mixed yet.” Some people really think that everything can be fixed in the mix! (Although to be fair you often can, because in SONAR we have VocalSync, built-in Melodyne, built-in drum trigger, and AudioSnap).

And although it sounds incredible, now it’s even possible to upload songs from SONAR to the LANDR online mastering service and instantly hear a preview of how the song would sound as mastered. Hearing the demo master may help you to improve the project’s mix. Continue reading panup: Studio Session & LANDR Test

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

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

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HOW ILAN BLUESTONE APPROACHES HIS CHARTING EDM TRACKS

SONAR Platinum artist iLan Bluestone’s career trajectory is moving fast.  The jet-setting EDM producer is touring the world, but was kind enough to share not only his time with us discussing his music production techniques, but also his new single collaboration with mogul-producer BT titled “All These Wounds.”  We caught up with iLan in Chicago at the Spring Awakening Festival, and then again down the road at Sweetwater’s Gearfest: