Cakewalk Kicks off 30th Anniversary with Major SONAR Update & Much More

–SONAR 2017.05 Update release looks to the past, present and future of desktop music production with Ripple Editing, a new Adaptive Limiter and Pen support for MIDI editing–

Let the 30th Anniversary Celebration Begin!

May 2017 marks Cakewalk’s 30th Anniversary, so we’re throwing a year-long party—and everyone’s invited!

We’ve lined up some cool freebies, specials, and surprises you’ll be seeing over the next 12 months, starting with 30 free, expertly crafted presets for the QuadCurve EQ to kickstart your mixing and mastering projects.

What’s more, by popular demand we’re bringing back the eZine, and taking it to the next level as a new publication—Tech+Music. Each month’s issue is packed with news on the latest program updates, as well as tips, product reviews, articles on studio techniques, and more.

This month, our partner spotlight shines on Softube — we’ll introduce you to the Console 1 Mk II, including a giveaway, and we’ll be offering their high-end Tube Tech Classic Channel at a rock-bottom price.

Last, but not least, our giant SONAR 2017.05 Update looks to the past, present and future of desktop music production — featuring Ripple Editing, our new Adaptive Limiter, and Pen support for MIDI editing.

Thank you for your support as we embark on our next 30 years of innovation.

Now let’s dive in to the SONAR 2017.05 Update…

Continue reading Cakewalk Kicks off 30th Anniversary with Major SONAR Update & Much More

Using Avid Artist Series Controllers with SONAR

by Craig Anderton

The Avid Artist Series Mix controller is compatible with SONAR. However, remember that this is a Pro Tools-centric controller, so not everything is implemented in SONAR (or in any other program for that matter). Regardless, the basics (and more) are there, but there are also some unique aspects you need to know.

There are horror stories all over the web of not getting the Artist Series Mix to work, even with Pro Tools, and many refer to it as a “doorstop.” Others have found ways to get it to work, which often involve strange rituals of turning things on in an esoteric and specified order—but it doesn’t have to be that weird. It seems the only real issue occurs when the Artists Series Mix initializes before other elements are ready to work with it, so all you need to do is take control over when it initializes—here’s how.

PREP WORK (IN THIS ORDER)

  1. Install the latest EuCon software from Avid’s Artist Series web site. This is essential, because the Artist Series Mix talks to your computer over Ethernet (or to your router/switcher if you already have a wired internet connection appropriating your computer’s Ethernet port).
  2. You may be instructed to do a firmware update.
  3. If needed, install the SONAR Eucon plug-in from https://www.cakewalk.com/Support/Knowledge-Base/20080104/EUCON-Control-Surface-Plug-in. The SONAR EuCon plug-in is needed to have it show up as a control surface in SONAR.
  4. Next time you boot up SONAR, select EuCon as a new control surface in SONAR (in Edit > Preferences > MIDI > Control Surfaces). Do notselect MIDI in or out for the Control Surface, that’s not what EuCon uses.

CONSUMMATING THE SONAR/AVID MARRIAGE

Using the following method, it doesn’t seem to make any difference when you turn on the Artist Series Mix. I usually wait until SONAR has booted, but I’ve also turned it on before anything else, after everything else, etc. The key is to keep the EuCon application from running before you want it to start.

  1. In Task Manager, Startup Tab, right-click on anything that says EuCon and disable startup. I left anything that says MC Client enabled because it didn’t cause problems. After doing so, reboot. You only need to do this once, not every time you want to use the Artist Series Mix.

  1. Boot SONAR and open a project.
  2. Turn on power to the Artist Series Mix.
  3. Wait until the Avid logos turn off in the display, then open the EuControl application that shows up with your apps.

  1. After it’s loaded, locate the EuControl button in the System Tray (or in the Hidden Icons if needed). It may take a while for this button to show up.
  2. Right-click on it and choose Restart EUCON Applications.

  1. When a dialog box says Restart all EUCON applications?, click Yes.

It will take a little while (although well under a minute), but eventually everything will recognize everything else, the faders will mirror what’s in SONAR’s console view if you’d previously selected EuCon as the control surface, and you’ll be ready to go. Note that you’ll also want to use the EuCon system tray icon to access the various settings, but that’s all pretty straightforward if you read the documentation for Avid’s EUCON software.

IS IT WORTH IT?

The Artist Series Mix is a pretty slick controller, even with somewhat of a “Made in China” (which it is) vibe. It has bright yellow OLEDs, and a small form factor that fits in crowded workspaces.

So…here’s what works.

  • Faders
  • Panpots
  • Solo
  • Mute
  • Record enable/disable
  • Sends (up to 8)
  • Gain Trim
  • Phase
  • Automation read/write
  • Bank Select
  • Strip nudge (i.e., move strips in a bank over one at a time)
  • Transport controls
  • It recognizes Aux Tracks, and buses are treated like tracks—no special switching is needed
  • Bank select by selecting a channel in SONAR. This is pretty cool if you’re focused more on SONAR than the controller. If you select a track that’s outside where the existing tracks fall, the faders will “scroll” so that the left-most fader is the selected track, and the other faders increment as you move right. For example, if the faders are on 1-8 and you select track 11, the faders will now go from 11-18.
  • Fader touch select. You don’t need to click anything to start controlling a fader…just touch and go
  • Footswitch jack for punch-in and punch-out
  • You can have up to four controls if you want 32 channels of faders.

Here’s what sorta works.

  • Selecting a track in SONAR selects it in the control surface, but unfortunately, not the other way around.
  • Bank select by selecting a channel in SONAR doesn’t work with buses. You need to use standard bank switching and strip nudging to get to buses.
  • Input Echo works except on Track Folders; however the corresponding control surface light (i.e., in the button you push) doesn’t illuminate when Input Echo is on.
  • Effects kind of work, sometimes. Maybe. I haven’t cracked the code on what makes them happen. I was able to get a Waves C1 compressor working, and for a fleeting moment it seemed like I had ACT figured out, but I wouldn’t go into the Artist Series Mix with the expectation of controlling plug-ins. Then if you can figure it out, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Here’s what doesn’t work.

  • The timed dimming function. Given that the manual states dimming is to prolong the life of the OLEDs, it’s concerning they don’t dim as advertised.
  • I don’t really think the effects editing qualifies as working, although as noted above, sometimes it does.
  • As of the most recent Artist Series software update, the meters no longer work in the display.

These units aren’t exactly inexpensive, but they work as advertised (or at least they do if you’ve read this), and perform the standard functions you’d want in a control surface. However, not everyone is enamored of them—check out some of the user reviews on various sites, like Sweetwater.com. In any event, I have the Artist Series controllers working fine with SONAR now—so I know they definitely can do the job.

Note: This article is excerpted from “The Big Book of SONAR Tips,” which is available from the Cakewalk store.

6 Tips and Tricks with the Jamstik+ & SONAR

With the recent announcement of SONAR & Windows compatibility, the opportunity for connecting Bluetooth MIDI Controllers is now available with ease using Bluetooth 4.0. The jamstik is a five-fret guitar controller, designed small enough to fit in your backpack or carry-on. Here are five tips about the jamstik’s hardware and how it works within Sonar: Continue reading 6 Tips and Tricks with the Jamstik+ & SONAR

Wireless Audio and MIDI in SONAR

With the proliferation of Bluetooth enabled devices, IoT (internet of things), wireless technology is one of the hottest trends today with wide-reaching applications to audio, automotive, medical and other industries. Gibson R&D is actively involved with wireless technology both in the hardware and software space and a member of the Bluetooth SIG, responsible for the development and evolution of the Bluetooth specification. As a Gibson Brand, Cakewalk is committed to embracing the advantages of wireless technology. This year, we’re excited to integrate wireless MIDI technology into all versions of SONAR – our flagship recording, editing, and mixing software.

In the 2017.03 release of SONAR we worked closely with Microsoft to add support for Bluetooth LE MIDI devices via the new UWP MIDI API. In November of 2016, we added support for Microsoft’s new low-latency WASAPI shared mode API’s, which including support for Bluetooth audio devices via WASAPI. With these enhancements, SONAR now has built-in support for wireless audio and MIDI via Bluetooth.

In this blog post we’ll delve into some of the technical details behind some of the these features. Continue reading Wireless Audio and MIDI in SONAR

The SONAR Mac Prototype, a collaboration between Cakewalk and CodeWeavers

Several months ago, we promised to deliver a SONAR Mac Alpha. To build it, we collaborated with a company called CodeWeavers. CodeWeavers has a technology called CrossOver that is basically a Windows-to-Mac translator, allowing native Windows applications to run on a Mac.

Together, Cakewalk and CodeWeavers used CrossOver to enable a native Windows version of SONAR Home Studio to run on a Mac. We’ve packaged this product for release as a SONAR Mac Prototype, available now as a free download to all who are interested.

Since our first announcement of this product, we’ve learned three important lessons… Continue reading The SONAR Mac Prototype, a collaboration between Cakewalk and CodeWeavers

Bluetooth MIDI Is Here And Why It’s Important For You

A new way to enter MIDI

Greetings! My name is Mike Green, Music Product Specialist at Zivix, we make the jamstik+ portable SmartGuitar & PUC+ wireless MIDI link. I’m primarily a guitar player, and in my 15+ years of musical composition, MIDI has enabled me to write and record quickly. In full disclosure; I’m a lousy keyboardist. The jamstik+ and Bluetooth MIDI’s availability for Windows 10 has revolutionized what used to be a point-and-click endeavor. Now I can use virtual instruments in Cakewalk’s SONAR software controlled by the jamstik+ digital guitar so I can enter in data wirelessly via Bluetooth MIDI – using the guitar skills that come most naturally to me.

Tracking MIDI with the jamstik+ in SONAR Platinum

Jamstik+ & SONAR Platinum is a killer combo for the studio.

A hit with pro and amateur musicians, the jamstik feels like a traditional guitar neck and works with your favorite MIDI apps and DAWs.  Music notation, composition or accompaniment is easy with the Jamstik+ and Sonar Platinum Edition.

The jamstik+ is a great MIDI controller, and my favorite bundled virtual instruments in SONAR are:

  • Strum Session 2: This was an added bonus I did not expect, a built-in guitar modeller! Overall, I’m very impressed with the simple UI. There’s a plethora of modifiers to make your own presets with, and even a chord-finder as an added benefit. Make sure to take a listen to the short track I made featuring the “acoustic” preset (video is at the top of the blog post).
Using Strum Session’s Chord Finder with the jamstik+
  • Cakewalk Sound Center: This Soft-Synth includes a nice variety of tones.  There is a limit to what parameters you can tweak for each sound, but most of these sounds are good right off the bat.  

Make Sure Your PC is Bluetooth 4.0 Compatible.

With recent updates in the Windows 10 OS, SONAR’s DAW takes advantage of using Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy (BLE) to connect Bluetooth enabled MIDI devices. Now, almost all operating systems have this capability, so the performance is only going to get better from here, and more controllers will start “Roli” ‘ing in (haha). Check the specs on your PC (look for Bluetooth in Device Manager) to see if your PC is Bluetooth 4.0 compatible. If not, you can always try various BLE Dongles like this one by Asus.

Connecting is easy

  1. Pair to Windows 10
  2. Open SONAR
  3. Enable your MIDI Device In/Out Check-boxes in Preferences
  4. Select your Soft-Synth
  5. Play!

Use the PUC+ To Connect Other MIDI Controllers via Bluetooth

I should also mention if you’re looking to connect an existing MIDI keyboard, check out the PUC+ Wireless MIDI interface. It’s an easy way to cut the cables from your rig (for your electronic drum-kits, keytar, or even syncing/switching effects on our DAW). After seeing more and more innovative controllers at Winter NAMM 2017, one thing is clear — BLE MIDI isn’t going away anytime soon.

Keep An Eye Out For More Bluetooth Instruments

With the rise of mobile music apps, we are seeing the need for cool controllers that fit the lifestyle of musicians. In Jordan Rudess’s tech talk at NAMM, he put a strong emphasis on tablets being expressive instruments—with one drawback: no tactile feedback on the glass.  This is where controllers like the Jamstik+ come into play. A portable, configurable controller in a guitaristic form-factor. Stay tuned for more from Zivix this year!

Learn more at jamstik.com

Zivix is currently running a promo deal with Cakewalk users for 10% off your order on jamstik.com – Make sure to enter discount code: SONAR10 at checkout!

Pro SONAR User Murray Daigle Holds Mixing Clinics at LONG & MCQUADE – ONTARIO

Producer/Songwriter/Mixer Murray Daigle out of Toronto concludes a successful short run of Mixing clinics this evening at Long & McQuade stores in Canada. Murray Daigle is a Toronto based Music Producer, Songwriter and Mixer with a long illustrious career in the Canadian and international music industry. His songs and productions have earned him Certified Gold and multiple Socan #1 Awards. He has extensive experience in developing and launching many successful music careers, including his consulting work with the Vic Park Group, developing Canada’s pop sensation Neverest.

His most recent success includes Producing, Mixing and Co-writing “Together We Are One”, The official theme song of the 2015 Pan Am Games (Performed by Serena Ryder). His list of hit records spans two decades, beginning with hit making bands like Not By Choice and US Billboard charting acts like Cauterize, selling numbers well into six figures. Murray has worked for all the major labels and numerous indie labels around the world, producing, engineering, mixing and mastering hundreds of tracks, all from his home base MDS Recording.

"The new SONAR is like a music partner for me.  I rely on it daily for so many different things relating to what I do to deliver radio-ready tracks. There are so many different ways to approach music with SONAR, and the inspiration it generates is creative and effortless." 

Continue reading Pro SONAR User Murray Daigle Holds Mixing Clinics at LONG & MCQUADE – ONTARIO

The Dynamic Gate | A Cleaner Way To Mix Drums

by Daniel Gonz

Gates are wonderful processors that can clean up background noise and bleed in your audio tracks. They’re a bit tricky to understand because the key to successfully using one is often a specific feature that’s hidden or buried in the interface. The feature I’m referring to is called the sidechain. It’s a powerful element of my mixing workflow and I’d like to show you why.

To follow along with this post, you can download the audio examples here.

In its simplest form, a gate allows a signal to pass through it only when its decibel level is above a set threshold. This means the gate is ‘open’. If the signal falls below the threshold then no signal is allowed to pass. This means the gate is ‘closed’. The sidechain becomes an integral part of this entire process because it’s what the gate uses to detect whether or not the signal is above or below the set threshold.

Sonitus Gates On Kick and Snare in SONAR
Top Left to Bottom Right: Kick In Gate, Kick Out Gate, Snare Top Gate, Snare Bottom Gate

Continue reading The Dynamic Gate | A Cleaner Way To Mix Drums

Designer’s Notes: Smart Swipe

by Lance Riley

Background

In a world where consoles are less likely to be seen or even touched by musicians today and a control surface is referred to as a mixer occasionally, I always find myself missing the tactility of working in an analog studio. Don’t get me wrong though, I truly love all the affordances that our modern digital production environments allow for, but yet here I am… I wanted to make the mouse act more like a finger touching controls when working in SONAR, so we started working with that idea and came up with many ways that mouse gestures could be improved upon to do more than currently possible.

Introducing Smart Swipe

Workflow is extremely important to us, and we wanted users to see this as an improvement to their existing workflows without disturbing the way they use the app. We started looking at track state management and how we could make the app feel more responsive. There was already a lot of affordance to controlling groups of tracks through Quick Groups, but some gestures at times seemed like Quick Groups just weren’t quick enough. For example, I work a lot with 2 guitar mics, and sometimes I just want to solo or mute both tracks without using a bus. It seemed very natural to want to click and drag from a control on one track and have it affect the same control on neighboring tracks.

The benefits of using Smart Swipe

With Smart Swipe, you can:

  • Quickly Mute or Solo multiple tracks that are in series like Guitars with 2 mics, recording Bass with a DI and a mic, etc
  • Alleviate some situations where you would need to put tracks into a folder.
  • Add additional control to tracks already in a folder.
  • Quickly check the phase relationship across drum mics while playing back.
  • Quickly A/B the processing of tracks by Smart Swiping the FX Bin Enables
  • Isolate and listen to takes by looping a section and Smart Swiping the Solo Exclusive buttons on the take lanes.
  • Quickly enable or disable multiple sends on the same track in the Console View

Track View vs. Console View

The Track View & Console View have some similar controls, but also several unique ones. Here are the areas in which you can currently use Smart Swipe.

  • Track View:
  • Track: Mute, Solo, Record, and Input Echo
  • Track: Read, Write, and Archive
  • Track: Take Lanes
  • Mute, Solo (exclusive), and Record (exclusive)
  • Track: Automation Lanes
  • Read, Write
  • Track: FX Bin Enable
  • Bus: Mute, Solo, and Waveform Preview
  • Bus: Automation Lanes
  • Read, Write
  • Bus: FX Bin Enable

Console View:

  • Track: Mute, Solo, Record, and Input Echo
  • Track: Read, Write, Interleave, and Phase
  • Track: FX Bin Enable
  • Track: Send Enable and Post (Vertically)
  • Track: ProChannel Enable and Post
  • Bus: Mute, Solo, Read, Write, and Interleave
  • Bus: FX Bin Enable
  • Bus: Send Enable and Post (Vertically)
  • Bus: ProChannel Enable and Post

Summary

We are very excited to have added Smart Swipe to SONAR and we hope our users find it useful and meaningful to their workflow. Now that I have been using Smart Swipe for a while I can’t imagine using a DAW that doesn’t have this available. We already have further enhancements planned and are thinking of even more ways that we can continue to improve Smart Swipe and the SONAR workflow.

SONAR Facility, The Sound Foundation in Dallas gets global recognition with Ford Motors

Something inspiring is happening in the Dallas music scene, and Cakewalk is excited to be a part of it with SONAR Platinum. When Norman Matthew gets off the road from touring with his band Murder FM, or finishes up a major video or full length record, it’s not time to chill out.  In fact for him, that’s the time when he buckles down and digs into his “little side-thing” which is a major music operation called The Sound Foundation (TSF) in Dallas, TX.  Dallas has always been known to be a great music town, but Norman’s TSF has a great angle to its existence that resonates to the very core of his soul.  In fact just recently, TSF caught the eye of the Ford Motor Company who took notice of Norman and his operation and were so impressed, they featured the establishment on their “Good Works” series.

If you’re reading this article, I’m sure you are aware that the Major Label system has pretty much all but collapsed.  Look anywhere on the internet and you will find all the articles you can handle about how evil all the labels were, how they had this coming to them and how the lavish lifestyles of the greedy executives fostered this meltdown.  But what you may not know is that “back in the day,” a good piece of that excess cash folks paid down on an $18 CD that cost $1.76 to make went right back into a pool of starving artists (not directly of course).  It was called “Artist Development” and it helped pay and pave the way for many iconic artists who started out with the ole “Label Demo Deal.”

Continue reading SONAR Facility, The Sound Foundation in Dallas gets global recognition with Ford Motors