Converting and Importing Pro Tools SD2 Files from a Mac into SONAR X1

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.
I tried:
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:

  1. Formatted the transferring thumb-drive so it had the FAT File System
  2. Copied the files onto the thumb-drive and then transferred them onto my PC
  3. Renamed all the new files on my PC with the .sd2 file system
  4. Downloaded and installed a small program called SDTwoWave
  5. Opened the program.
  6. Corrected some of the names of the files as they ended up with bad Characters from the transfer.
  7. Selected the files to be converted in SDTwowav: “SRC” button.
  8. Created a new destination folder on my hard drive and chose it with the “DST” button in the SDtwowav program.
  9. Batch processed all the files.
  10. 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.

 

How to Record Music on a Windows Computer – A Free Video Guide

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.

Record music on a Windows computer

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.

  1. A relatively new and well performing computer.
  2. An audio interface or a high performance computer sound card.
  3. The version of Cakewalk music recording software that fits your needs.

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Is my Windows computer good enough for recording music and audio?

Cakewalk recommends the following minimum system specs for Continue reading How to Record Music on a Windows Computer – A Free Video Guide

How TC Spitfire used the ProChannel on the track “Surrender;” Currently #3 on Billboard Club Chart

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.

On top of that, I used the PC4K channel compressor along with a slight touch of the Softube Saturation Knob with the switch on the “high” setting.  I also sent multiple lead vocal tracks out to a lead vocal bus which had the PCCL Limiter on it for a slight boost and some tightening.

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.

In the next year you will be hearing a lot more from Paul Oakenfold and TC as a new deal was just signed with Sony Records.  As soon as the details are released on that we will keep you posted.  Until then, you can check out SONAR X1 for free here.

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:]

Leading the DAW industry with Windows technology and education for music production

Music productionSONAR 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. Continue reading Leading the DAW industry with Windows technology and education for music production

How Building Cost Effective Acoustic Treatment for the Music Studio Will Help Your Music Production; Part 3: Wall Panels

[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…) Continue reading How Building Cost Effective Acoustic Treatment for the Music Studio Will Help Your Music Production; Part 3: Wall Panels

Computers in the Studio (Part 1)

Musician or IT professional?

It seems today’s musicians must be part artist and part IT professional. It’s a difficult dance that requires knowledge, time, and patience in order to achieve a level of success. The intention of this series of blog posts is to help with the IT part or the equation. My goal is to help with questions related to system optimization, maintenance, organization, networking, and other IT-related concerns important to musicians in the 21st century.

In this first post I’d like to talk about basic practices for achieving a smooth running PC-based DAW. I’ll also offer my thoughts and suggestions on OS “tweaking” or “tuning”. In subsequent posts we’ll get deeper into specific areas and talk about other aspects like organization and networking. Most of these tips will assume you’re running a PC with Windows 7 installed. Continue reading Computers in the Studio (Part 1)

SONAR X1 on a Mac? Yes, you can!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A question I am frequently asked is, “Do you guys make SONAR X1 for the Mac?” The answer to which is no, SONAR X1 is made for Windows. But do not despair, there is a solution! For Macs with Intel processors there’s an application called Bootcamp which will allow you to install the Windows operating system on your Mac.Unlike some of the other applications that allow you to run Windows inside the Mac OS, Bootcamp allows you to boot exclusively into Windows or Mac OS on startup. This is the optimal method of running Windows as all of the Mac’s resources are available. Continue reading SONAR X1 on a Mac? Yes, you can!

Cakewalk Develops New Windows 7 Resource Page

windows7logo1Microsoft’s latest effort in the OS department, Windows 7 dropped yesterday after much anticipation. Windows 7 promises to be a much more robust OS than its predecessor, Windows Vista, making it an ideal choice for audio production. With Cakewalk winning Microsoft’s prestigious Partner of the Year award, you can rest assured that SONAR 8.5 and many other Cakewalk products are fully supported and compatible with Windows 7.

To keep you up to date with the latest information regarding your Cakewalk products and the new OS, we’ve created a Windows 7 landing page on our website.

How Windows 7 Will Effect Your Music Production?

borthwick2Cakewalk Chief Technical Officer Noel Borthwick, a noted expert on Windows platforms, covers crucial topics around the introduction of Windows 7, such as compatibility with Cakewalk products, issues in upgrading from Windows XP and related points of interest for PC users.

For an in-depth look at Windows 7 and how it might affect your use of Cakewalk products, check out Noel’s Q & A below. Also, see Peter Kirn’s article at Create Digital Music for more  insightful tips on Windows 7.

Continue reading How Windows 7 Will Effect Your Music Production?

Windows 7 Improvements Cited on CNET’s Digital Noise Blog

windows7logo1Like many of you, Cakewalk is patiently awaiting the big launch of Windows 7 on October 22. We’ve been hard at work testing our products for the new platform and sharing our information with you – see Noel Borthwick’s article.

A few days ago, CNET blogger Matt Rosoff, posted his thoughts on how Windows 7 will make the art of audio production on PC easier – citing Noel in his brief review.  Take a moment to read through Matt’s article. There will be more Windows 7 mentions to come.