SONAR X3 Producer: Can You Ever Have Enough Virtual Instruments?

If you love virtual instruments then you’ll be happy with your upgrade to SONAR X3 Producer. We’ve got instruments for every use case, skill level, and genre of music. Who needs a band when you’ve got SONAR X3’s array of instruments at your disposal.

1. Addictive Drums

Hailing from the beautiful city of Stockholm – XLN Audio brings Cakewalk users a bountiful set of sounds inside of their flagship program Addictive Drums. The program consists of some of the best drum samples that you could possibly get that are completely optimized for both hardcore and first time users.

2. Dimension

A classic in the Cakewalk world. Dimension is a powerhouse sample based virtual instrument that can play extensive libraries consisting of drums, guitars, strings, etc. Continue reading SONAR X3 Producer: Can You Ever Have Enough Virtual Instruments?

Making the Gibson EB 5-String Bass Expansion Pack

What goes into creating a comprehensive expansion pack? It’s not as easy as it might seem…

If only I’d known what I was getting into…

When I first played the EB 5-String Bass, I loved the sound and wanted to sample it for my own use. In the process, I created a Dimension Pro instrument and made it available for free to the Cakewalk community as a “thank you” for all the support you’ve given SONAR.

But also in the process, I found out the EB uses a unique Tuned Coil Tap technology for the two pickups, yielding a total of eight distinct sounds. I found them all useful, so of course I wanted to sample those before the loaner bass went back.

And that’s how the new Gibson EB-5 String Bass Expansion Pack started. If you’re interested in what goes into creating a Dimension Pro instrument…read on Continue reading Making the Gibson EB 5-String Bass Expansion Pack

February is Bass Month at Cakewalk

Bass Month

Welcome to Bass Month
In January we brought you Guitar Month and introduced a brand new, one-of-a-kind Bass Guitar Instrument for Dimension Pro that samples 5 different variations of a real Gibson EB-5 (courtesy of Gibson’s Chief Magic Officer, Craig Anderton). The response was tremendous so we decided to make February Bass Month.

In honor of bass month, we’ll be bringing you tips and tricks on recording and playing bass. And it won’t just be the electric bass, as we’ll feature tips for all types of bass instruments including synths.

We kick off the month with a tip from Dan Gonzalez, who shows you how to easily record your bass parts on any instrument and convert it to a virtual bass instrument using the new ARA integration.

Read more

Guitar Month Bonus Pack (Free Downloads)

Guitar month is almost over but we’ve saved the best for last: All customers can now download the Guitar Month Bonus Pack, which includes a selection of Craig Anderton’s AdrenaLinn loops that he sampled using Roger Linn’s famous AdrenaLinn effects pedal.

Download AdrenaLinn guitar loops

Craig has also designed a one-of-a-kind Bass Guitar Instrument for Dimension Pro that samples one of the eight basic sounds obtainable with a real Gibson EB 5-String electric bass, and includes five programs based on these samples.

Download Gibson EB-5 Bass for Dimension Pro

And, in case you missed them, here are two free guitar FX Chains that Craig posted on the blog earlier in Guitar Month. Now go make some music!

CA Power Chord FX Chain

CA Vintage Wah FX Chain

Approaching the Remix With Cakewalk Synths – Norman Matthew [MURDER FM]

PUTTING MY FACE ON YOUR NAME:

Remixing is one of my favorite things to do in the studio for many reasons. For one thing the song has been written, so the pressure of writing a masterpiece is off my shoulders. I’m also able to listen to a song from beginning to end; a completed thought, if you will. I get creatively juiced immediately if I connect to it. That’s where the magical third thing kicks in – I get to put my musical stamp on another artist and pay tribute to their work by recreating their art through my eyes. It’s an opportunity to let the world crawl inside my head (scary as that may be) and hear it the way I do. Continue reading Approaching the Remix With Cakewalk Synths – Norman Matthew [MURDER FM]

30% off Z3TA+ 2 for Cakewalk synth owners through June 30th

Z3TA+ 2 special offer

Z3TA+ 2 has been making a lot of noise lately and continues to be a favorite with critics and users all over the world. If you haven’t tried Z3TA+ 2 yet, you are missing out on one of the greatest synths of all-time. MusicRadar.com did a round-up of the 39 best plug-in synths in the world and Z3TA+ 2 came in at #13.

Now through June 30th, we are sweetening the deal even more for Rapture, Dimension, and Studio Instruments users. Regularly $99, you can download Z3TA+ 2 today for only $69/£55/€69 – get 30% off the price.

Z3TA+ 2 features 1000 new sounds from top sound designers including:

  • Nico Herz, Big Tone Studio
  • Frank Genus, Pro Sounds
  • Francesco Silvestri, FI Sound
  • Chad Beckwith, FI Sound/Patch Arena
  • Bryan Lee, Xenos Soundworks
  • Ben Cantil, Encanti Productions
  • Tim Swartz, Digital Sound Factory
  • Kieran Swarbrick, Dance MIDI Samples
  • Listen to over 50 sound examples

The new sounds alone are worth the price of Z3TA+ 2 but you also get much more:

  • A completely redesigned user interface
  • Quicker access to needed controls
  • More parameters and controls
  • 1,093 classic Z3TA+ patches
  • All new patch browser
  • New filter types
  • New waveshapers
  • New modulation destinations
  • Revamped FX section with drag and drop
  • New Performance Module
  • Plus version 2.1 enhancements
  • And more!

Download Z3TA+ 2 today and save 30% off the regular price

Murder FM Finds Their Way to Revolver Magazine with SONAR X2; New Single “We the Evil” Finding International Success

The interesting and never-boring Texas-native front man of MURDER FM, Norman Matthew, will be guest appearing on the Cakewalk blog every other Monday (NorMondays) delivering music production tips, tricks and conditional evilness.  As a seasoned producer/songwriter/instrumentalist, he will be delving into his bag of production wickedness to shed some interesting light on how he approached sounds, songs and life in general;)

MURDER FM’s dark, edgy, and sleek style has been creating a buzz in the music industry domestically, and is quickly becoming a huge hit internationally.  Norman Matthew and the band have established a cult-like following, propelling two of the bands’ videos “As Beautiful as You Are” and “Machine Gun Kisses “to the Top-Ten list on Continue reading Murder FM Finds Their Way to Revolver Magazine with SONAR X2; New Single “We the Evil” Finding International Success

Free Platinum Samples Rock Legends Kit 3 with SONAR X2 Producer

Content Club

Free Platinum Samples Rock Legends Kit 3 with SONAR X2 Producer
Now through June 30th, all customers who purchase or upgrade to SONAR X2 Producer will receive the new Platinum Samples Rock Legend Kit 3 free as part of the SONAR X2 Producer Content Club May-June giveaway. This kit was recorded by Grammy nominated recording engineer Rail Jon Rogut whose credits include Meshell Ndegeocello, Ry Cooder and Michael Jackson. Designed for Session Drummer 3 and Dimension Pro, this expansion kit was recorded via a classic Neve 80 series console, Sontec Equalizers and a Fairchild 670. Microphones used included Telefunken ELA M 251’s on the Overheads and the Floor Toms, AKG C12A’s on the Rack Toms & Neumann M49’s on the Stereo Room.

The free Rock Legends Kit 3 is a natural ambient kit with a shank style hi-hat. Rock Legends Kit 3 is a larger, roomier version of the kit with a different Crash 1 and additional EQ and compression on the Kick, Snare & Toms.  The free Rock Legends Kit 3 only has 2 round robins with 16 velocity levels.

Highlights:

  • 125th Aniv. Limited Edition Gretsch Rock Legend drum kit.
  • Played with metal tip sticks.
  • Recorded using vintage Neve, Sontec, Fairchild gear and Telefunken, AKG and Neumann microphones.

If you already own SONAR X2 Producer, your free download is now available on your My Account page on the Cakewalk Store.

Upgrade to SONAR X2 Producer today or
Buy SONAR X2 Producer at a retailer near you.

Designing Sounds for Cakewalk Synthesizers – Behind the Scenes at Digital Sound Factory

Digital Sound Factory

When people ask me what I do for a living, it is often difficult for them to grasp the words; I record sounds and musical instruments that musicians use to create music. At Digital Sound Factory we breakdown the instrument to the fundamentals and capture the sounds that make up its character. Each note and playing style is recorded. We are essentially creating a ‘digital archive’ of musical instrument sounds that render playback on modern computers.

Creating sound expansion packs for Cakewalk synthesizers involves many steps in the development process. It’s a long journey from defining the scope of the sound set to hearing a sound when playing a MIDI note. This is an overview of how an expansion pack is born and what goes on behind the scenes.

 

Defining the Project

First we take a close look at the scope of the project and define the instruments and samples required.

Musicians, engineers, and studio time are not free, so the better prepared we are, the more we capture. Each instrument requires different considerations. Sampling drum’s is different from sampling synthesizers is different from sampling brass or winds. In the case of drums, how the drum should be tuned, number of velocity hits on center to the edge of the head, matching rim shots, various microphone placements, to name a few. Sampling brass or woodwinds will entail multiple volume levels of sustain, more breath, less breath, breath only, mutes, staccato, and more.

 

The Recording Process

Sampling is similar to recording music in some ways, but in other ways it is very different. The similarities are musicians are recorded in professional sound environments using microphones, mixing console, speakers, etc. The very different part is we are not there to record music. We record the instrument and its characteristics. I can’t begin to tell you how many sessions I have walked into and the musicians are ready to impress with great music. In these sessions we focus on the technique, not the music.

Each note the instrument is capable of playing is meticulously recorded at various amplitude levels and styles (ie: sustained, mute, fast attack, slow attack, soft, loud, etc.) using 4 – 16 microphones, fast computers, and Sonar. It is imperative that any addition sounds that are not part of the instrument, such as squeaky chairs, breathing, or noise from the musician are identified and eliminated during the recording process. Occasionally there are sounds that make their way into the sample and need to later be isolated and removed using software tools. All microphones, takes, tracks, hard drives, etc. are documented for use during the editing process.

 

Selection and Editing

After days, weeks, or months of recording, the tracks are reviewed and the best takes are sliced and copied to a new project. This may include as many as 4 to 16 tracks of microphones that can be mixed or separated to create the final individual .wav files for each pitch/velocity/etc. Selecting the best ‘takes’ involves a lot of listening and is essential to delivering the highest quality instruments. Any additional DSP (Digital Signal Processing), such as leveling, noise cancelation, equalization, and amplitude fades are completed at this stage. Sustained notes require looping the recordings to create a seamless pitch at the loop points. Loops are adjusted to lengths based on memory size targets. Each .wav file is tagged with the instrument name, style, and pitch identification.

 

SFZ Creation

SFZ files are created and used to map the incoming MIDI controller note number to the correct .wav file and location. The SFZ files are text files and use ‘opcodes’ or operation codes that are used to control various synthesizer program parameters. It contains relevant information about the instrument such as velocity, filter types, envelopes, LFO’s, and others. SFZ files are programmed for each playing style and sometimes combined to create layers.

 

Programming

This is where the instruments develop personality and flavor. SFZ files can be combined as elements to create layers. Filters, modulation sources and destinations, and effects are assigned. The program is named and saved to the relevant style folder.

 

Digital Sound Factory Recording Video

This video includes recording sessions for orchestral strings, winds, brass, and percussion in the concert hall and studio, drum kits and percussion, ethnic instruments, and grand piano.

Buy Sounds for Cakewalk Synths

Digital Sound Factory offers over fifty expansion packs for Cakewalk’s Dimension, Rapture, Sound Center, Z3TA+2, and Session Drummer 3.  Digital Sound Factory on the Cakewalk Store

DSF Sale

Download DSF Expansion Packs for as low as $19.95
Stock up this weekend on DSF expansion packs for Dimension Pro/Dimension LE. The DSF collection features thousands of sounds for all types of music and genres. Included are Grand Pianos, Guitars, Basses, Classic Keys, Orchestral, Hollywood Sound FX and much more. Buy one or buy them all and save big during this special offer. Ends February 28th, 2013.

Shop and save today

Sale on all Dimension Pro/LE Packs plus new title from DSF

DSF Sale

Download DSF Expansion Packs for as low as $19.95
Stock up this weekend on DSF expansion packs for Dimension Pro/Dimension LE. The DSF collection features thousands of sounds for all types of music and genres. Included are Grand Pianos, Guitars, Basses, Classic Keys, Orchestral Continue reading Sale on all Dimension Pro/LE Packs plus new title from DSF