If there is anything the Cakewalk crew likes as much as music, it’s computer technology. So, as you might imagine, we have more than our fair share of hardcore PC gamers.
When the Cakewalk gamers found out that Steam (the enormous video game platform by Valve) was opening up to offer other computer software, we became hell-bent on being the first major music software on board. And that day has finally come!
Music Creator 6 Touch is a great fit for Steam users and anybody looking to get started making music with fun, powerful, and inexpensive recording software. Music Creator 6 Touch makes it easy to create original music with no musical experience required. Music Creator has all the tools, loops, instruments, and FX needed to create, edit, and mix music, transforming any Windows 7 or 8 computer into a music studio. Musician’s can share music with the world by burning a CD or using SoundCloud to post music on Facebook and Twitter.
Music Creator 6 Touch was previously available as a download from Cakewalk’s store for $49.99/£39.99/€49.99, and now it makes its debut on Steam. Created by Valve, makers of best-selling game franchises like Portal and Counter-Strike, Steam has more than 50 million users around the world and offers more than 2,000 titles. And the folks at Valve could not be cooler.
They let us have a little fun recreating the song “Want you gone” from the Portal 2 video game in Music Creator for the new Music Creator 6 Touch video. Check it out!
Music Creator 6 Touch makes it fun and easy to create original music or remix your favorite songs – with no musical experience required. Transform any Windows 7 or 8 computer into your own personal music studio. Music Creator has all the tools, loops, instruments, and FX you need to create, edit, and mix great music. And when you’re ready to share your music with the world, you can burn a CD or use SoundCloud to post your music on Facebook and Twitter.
Music Creator 6 Touch also adds touch support for Intel-inspired Ultrabooks and other Windows 8 touch enabled devices. Use the same multi-touch gestures you’ve grown accustomed to on your smartphone to interact with Music Creator 6 Touch.
NEW! Seamlessly create, record, edit, and mix your music using the award-winning Skylight user interface – with over 100 enhancements
Get creative with 32 audio tracks and 128 instrument tracks
NEW! A complete backing band – features 6 virtual instruments including Studio Instruments (Bass, Drums, Electric Piano, and Strings)
All the must-have FX including Reverb, EQ, more
NEW! Plug-in your guitar and get incredible sounds using the Overloud TH2 Creator amp sim
NEW! Create beats and drum tracks with the integrated Step Sequencer
Trigger audio and MIDI loops using the Matrix View for real-time performance and remixing
Easily drag and drop loops, instruments, FX, and project templates from the built-in Browser
NEW! Windows 7 and 8 support
NEW! Use any Windows 8 touch enabled device and interact directly with the software using your hands (touch device not required to use the software)
Save more with new bundles: You can get even more value and savings when you purchase Music Creator 6 Touch bundles which include Music Creator 6 Touch plus additional sound packs.
A few months ago I wrote an article about Windows 8 and how it applied to music applications like SONAR. In this article I will mainly cover what’s changed or new in our Windows 8 support as of SONAR X2a.
~ We shipped SONAR X2a, our brand new Windows 8 native version of SONAR. This was exhaustively tested with Windows 8 and specifically takes advantage of new Windows 8 specific features like multi-touch. More about this below.
~ Windows 8 is widely available in the mainstream and appears to be selling well – even better than Windows 7, based on media reports from ZDNet. As of end November Microsoft had sold 40 million Windows 8 licences in a month (more than its predecessor Win7)
~ There is a large proliferation of Windows 8 PC’s available in the consumer channel, including several Intel Ultrabooks, hybrid’s and convertibles, laptops that can switch to tablets etc. Microsoft’s surface RT is also now available, although the much awaited Surface Pro (the version that can actually run classic Windows desktop applications) is yet to be released. There are also several interesting mobile solutions scheduled for early 2013. Its definitely an exciting time for users interested in mobile music platforms, since many of these have powerful Intel CPU’s and specs that are easily capable of running DAW software. It can also be confusing – there are so many products out there that you will have to do your research and look for something that fits your needs best.
~ Metro, the new application model from Microsoft which runs on both Intel and ARM CPU’s, is no longer called Metro. Perhaps not the most logical name, but the new official name for Metro Style Apps is “Windows Store Apps”. Windows Store Apps are not the same as Desktop Apps – they have somewhat limited capabilities, at least from a DAW user standpoint.
~ Many hardware vendor’s have tested and released Windows 8 compatible drivers for their supported hardware. (Although Windows 8 did not mandate any changes to driver’s, many vendors have to update installers and do compatibility testing before releasing their products)
~ Microsoft released its its latest Visual Studio development platform for building Windows applications. Applications like SONAR X2a built for Windows 8 typically use this platform for application development.
SONAR X2a is Cakewalk’s latest update for SONAR X2. While SONAR X2 and X1 are compatible with Windows 8, SONAR X2a is the first DAW release specifically designed to take advantage of new Windows 8 specific features such as multi-touch support. X2a was also built with the latest development tools and Windows SDK’s, bringing over various fixes from Microsoft. X2a is still fully compatible with Windows 7 and will continue to install on Vista (though not officially supported anymore).
X2a includes the following: (more…)
Electronic music producer Encanti has a brand new toy. Watch as the Z3TA+ 2 preset designer takes the new QuNeo controller for a spin with Z3TA+ 2. Z3TA+ 2 is currently available as a VST for Windows, and it’s coming soon for Mac, so it can be used in other hosts like Ableton Live as pictured below.
Encanti: “In this example, all of my square pads on my QuNeo are set to “latch”, which means where ever my finger goes on the x-y axes, the value will remain there once I take my finger off. The notes are pre-programmed and playing back on the sequencer. This gives me 16 x-y controllers, which I can use to fine-tune values across the board. QuNeo’s XY pads are immediately useful with Z3TA+ 2 because once you’ve set up some interesting routing settings in Z3TA+ 2′s modulation matrix, you are free to explore their potential by dialing in many different values at once with the QuNeo pads. When I find a “sweet spot”, I save a preset in Z3TA+ 2 and keep on exploring. Later on, I can revisit all my variations, and explore them further, add/subtract ideas, make pads into leads, and keep ideas flowing until starting the process over again with new routings in Z3TA+ 2′s modulation matrix or possibly binding my QuNeo to different controls.
Two sweeping resonant bandpass filters are at the soul of this gnarly bass sound. While most traditional x-y setups typically control “filter freq” and resonance, I’ve opted to control filter frequency and pole separation width as my x-y, on two different x-y pads. I’m also modulating these filters with two envelopes, while I control the duration/volume using two different x-y pads. This opens up a huge range of expression – because 3 sweeping poles on two filters (that’s six points of resonance all moving together) is easier to keep track of since I can define their movements all at once with the QuNeo. I’ve also got an envelope opening a delay effect, which I can control the attack/sustain and duration of. With a soft attack on my delay volume, my bass womp has a nicely compressed-sounding impact when the note hits, but I can still add lots of variation to how spacial it sounds, lending me the ability to make those long notes sound really massive.
The QuNeo is controlling the same parameters as the last preset, except I’ve added a few things: each filter has it’s own LFO modulating the frequency along with the envelopes – and again what’s also true with this patch is that the soul lives in the filter modulation settings. There’s also a quadruple-phaser modulation, with pad control over speed, depth, volume, and feedback, which sounds good with all the LFO sounds happening. I also have the ability to change the octave of different oscillators independently. One of my faders are also controlling the key of my chords (via Ableton “pitch” midi effect), allowing me to easily explore different range potentials for the patch.”
There has been a large amount of interest and speculation about Windows 8, Microsoft’s latest OS scheduled for release in late 2012. Windows 8 is one of the most ambitious OS releases from Microsoft since Windows 95, and is the first OS that attempts to unify the desktop and mobile user experience with multitouch support baked in across the board. A lot of attention in the media has been devoted to the new user interface and the brand new application model called Metro aka WinRT. Understandable, since changes to UI tend to attract the most attention in any software product.
After attending one of the Windows 8 developer camps and talking with some folk at Microsoft, we learned about some of the work done in Win8 to make the operating system scale better to devices with a smaller disk/memory/CPU footprint. This was done primarily to make Win8 perform more efficiently and with lower power requirements on mobile devices like tablets. I was curious if the effects of these changes would percolate through to the general OS and kernel level and benefit desktop applications as well. (more…)
With so many different file formats from digital recording over the last 20 years, sometimes one can be left in a tough predicament trying to get things to work properly. I was one of those people just recently, so I want to share my experience hoping that I will save someone an afternoon’s worth of conversion work some day.
Old Pro Tools, Digital Performer and Logic programs used a file knows as the .SD2 “Sound Designer File.” Now if you are like me, you’re always looking for more “sounds.” Recently I came across a drive that contained killer drum sessions from a record I did at Longview Farms studios a while back. I knew there were awesome live drums recorded with the best mics and pres along with a slamming drummer. I jumped on my old Mac, mounted the drive and copied 1.5 gigs of raw SD2 files onto a thumb-drive.
Next, I plugged the thumb drive into my HP workstation and copied the files onto the machine. To my surprise, when I tried to import the files into SONAR X1 it would not work. My next logical move was to rename the files with the “.sd2” extension. After going through this procedure the icons switched into a recognizable symbol, so I was sure that this was the winning formula; but again, the files failed to load. This time I even got an error message that came along with the grief.
After searching for a remedy I knew I had a problem as most of the help forums read something like this:
I would like to convert some old drum tracks (an album’s worth recorded some time back) from mac sd2 files over to wave files so I can use them in pro tools on pc. Nothing – and I mean NOTHING – I do seems to work.
1. Importing the sd2 files in pro tools on the pc but it won’t read them
2. Exporting them as wave files on the mac but pc won’t recognize them
3. Bouncing them as wave files but pc won’t recognize them.
So, after doing a lot of research I found out a few things about the SD2 format in conjunction with the PC:
1.) If you try to copy SD2 files from a Mac to a PC on an incorrectly formatted drive, the header info is lost along with something known as the resource fork (structured data within a file on a Mac.) This basically corrupts the file when going from Mac to PC formats.
2.) By copying files onto the transferring disk that is formatted in FAT file system, the information in the files can be converted after being copied onto a PC.
3.) You need a trustworthy converter.
Here is exactly how I successfully converted old SD2 files on a Mac onto my Windows 7 HP workstation:
Formatted the transferring thumb-drive so it had the FAT File System
Copied the files onto the thumb-drive and then transferred them onto my PC
Renamed all the new files on my PC with the .sd2 file system
Downloaded and installed a small program called SDTwoWave
Opened the program.
Corrected some of the names of the files as they ended up with bad Characters from the transfer.
Selected the files to be converted in SDTwowav: “SRC” button.
Created a new destination folder on my hard drive and chose it with the “DST” button in the SDtwowav program.
Batch processed all the files.
Went back in and deleted the old SD2 files.
At this point, SONAR X1 recognized and imported the new .wav files with no problem and I had some killer new (0ld) multi-track drums to utilize.
First-Class Upgrade Promotion
From June 1st to June 30th, when you buy or upgrade to SONAR X1 Producer, Cakewalk will automatically bump you up to the flagship version, SONAR X1 Production Suite. Just purchase SONAR X1 Producer from any retailer or upgrade at the Cakewalk Store, and Cakewalk will take care of the rest. Just register your purchase at www.cakewalk.com/register, and you will receive email instructions on how to get your first-class upgrade to SONAR X1 Production Suite.
Recording and making music on your computer can seem overwhelming when you are just getting started. You have the musical ideas in your head but you need to get them down and into a finished song format. This post will walk you through device setup, recording audio, playing virtual instruments, working with loops, and more. But first let’s go through some questions and make sure you have all the ingredients to begin recording.
What do I need to create high quality recordings on my Windows computer?
The simple answer is that you will need three basic things to begin building a Windows based computer recording system.
A relatively new and well performing computer.
An audio interface or a high performance computer sound card.
The version of Cakewalk music recording software that fits your needs.
Is my Windows computer good enough for recording music and audio?
Cakewalk recommends the following minimum system specs for (more…)
Congratulations to Paul Oakenfold and TC Spitfire who found themselves at #3 on the Billboard Dance Club Songs this past week with the track Surrender.
The track was written by Paul, TC and J Hart who also sang the track. TC Spitfire who is a passionate SONAR X1 Expanded user co-produced and mixed the track using a combination of all the ProChannel modules. “This new era with the ProChannel and X1d [Expanded] is on a serious elevated level. The combination of the modules has me staying more and more inside SONAR natively,” TC told us.
On a daily basis, TC is very busy individual. Between writing new music, producing, mixing and remixing, he finds himself a bit overextended these days and “taking it and enjoying it while it’s there.” Most recently, he has worked with artists such as Cher, Matt Goss, Matt Morris and Jean Baptist – and that is just in the recent past. “On a daily basis I will jump from remixing a track for 4 hours, to writing in another studio for 4 hours, and then back to our lab for another however-long-it-takes-session – for the next barrage of musical craziness.”
For the track Surrender which is currently charting on the Billboard Dance Club Chart, TC collaborated with both Paul Oakenfold and J Hart on the writing side and then built and mixed the song completely in SONAR X1 Expanded.
* * * * * * * * * *
CW AR: This vocal sound is huge in this track. What was some of the processing involved?
TC: On the vocal track I used the new Hybrid mode in the ProChannels QuadCurve EQ. I cut quite a bit of the low end off and had quite a bit of mids popping for this track around 1.8k. I was able to surgically cut out some other frequencies in the mids to get the vocals away from other keyboard parts in that range.
CW AR: This track and all your tracks for that matter are really tight, what are the main factors for you in achieving this sound?
TC: It’s pretty simple, but it’s also pretty complicated. It’s simple, because most of it has to do with compression, EQ and limiting, which are 75% from the ProChannel in my tracks. It’s complicated because carving the frequencies, making the decisions on where to compress and how much, and what to use a limiter on – all factor in. Sometimes, over compressing and using too many limiters will just make a song sound flat-lined and not breathing. I think another factor is not using too many of the same compressors or EQ’s on every single track. I really like mixing up my inserts. On some tracks I will use the 76 and others I will use the Softube compressor. I even use the PC4K bus compressor on tracks – call me crazy – haaa. There are no rules in the digital world and use my ear and the tools SONAR X1 Expanded provides to get the sound to where I need it to be.
SONAR X1 is the most intuitive D.A.W. on the market today. It’s easy to get up and running, and it’s just as easy with practice and experience to become an advanced user. If you are running windows, and you are a musician, now is a great time to pull the trigger with the SONAR X1 Advanced Workshop Giveaway Promotion.
“SURRENDER” [Completely recorded, mixed and mastered in SONAR X1 Expanded:]
SONAR X1 continues to be the leading the digital audio workstation for the Windows platform for many reasons. For 25 years Cakewalk has focused almost exclusively on development for Windows operating systems and Windows based computer technologies (see our section on SONAR X1 leading technologies for more information). While cross-platform DAWs may seem like a great option if you are not sure which platform you want to run, those who have chosen to use Windows will appreciate the hardwork and dedication by the Cakewalk development team to fine tune SONAR for Windows. This is one of the most cited reasons as to why SONAR dominates on the Windows PC platform. But today, I want to discuss another reason why Cakewalk is a leader in the industry.
Since 2010, Cakewalk has made a commitment to educating all levels of Cakewalk customers on music production. At Cakewalk, we think that post-sales activities are just as important as pre-sales ones, and nothing is more import than making sure users understand and enjoy the software they are using. (more…)
[Click on any picture for higher resolution] For the last couple of weeks I have been writing about how I’ve been building custom acoustic treatment panels for my new project studio which is running SONAR X1 Producer Expanded. I started with the sound cloud over the mix position and then showed how I basically cut out all the corners of my room (a square room unfortunately for me) by building corner traps. This week I’ll dive into probably the most important component; the wall panels.
The wall panels are really important for me for a few reasons. (1.) They absorb the first sound reflection from the speakers so that the frequency waves are tamed down, and (2.) They absorb the sound in the room in general to control echo and reverberation. I do a bit of professional moonlighting work on the side including songwriting/production for ESPN Sports Center as well as other commercial stuff, so it’s important for me to have a controlled environment to listen to my mixes and productions on SONAR so that what I deliver is the real-deal. As I stated before, it’s pretty much impossible to create a perfect listening environment unless you are building a room from scratch (floating room, sound proofing inside the walls, etc…,) but it is possible to greatly improve your surroundings. In my own opinion, I think the way to look at it is to figure out what it is you are trying to accomplish before you purchase or build anything. I think some of the important questions to ask are:
*How much can I afford to put into the project?
*Is it important for the place to look professional?
*Will a vibed-out room make you or whoever is using the room feel more creative?
*What are the basic sonic trouble elements to the room?
*Will the room be used for mixing or recording?
*What genre of music will the room be used for (i.e.> Hip-hop with a lot of low end, Jazz, etc…) (more…)