How To Create Melodies From Audio Loops with SONAR X3 & Melodyne Editor

by Dan Gonzalez 

 

Introduction

In modern EDM music you’ll see the use of audio loops everywhere. These could be created by a third party or by the person writing the music. It doesn’t matter, but what does matter is the music you create with those loops and how you construct them in a way that brands your own sound.

Do yourself a favor and check out Melodyne Editor. You can analyze and edit polyphonic data easily – and with SONAR X3 you can use this data to enhance and inspire the creation of new and innovative melodies for your music. (more…)

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Free Rapture and Rapture LE Expansion Pack: Supervillain

by Dan Gonzalez

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a FREE DOWNLOAD!

Aurally inspired by some of the most infamous bad boys of the comic world – the Rapture Supervillain Pack brings some serious injustice to your array of sounds and effects for SONAR X3 Producer and SONAR X3 Studio. 

We’ve drawn up some sounds and effects for the following comic Supervillain fan favourites:

Ultron, Apocalypse, Loki, Brainiac, Darkseid, Doctor Ocotopus, DoomsdayDr. DoomGalactusGeneral ZodHarley QuinnThe JokerMagnetoMandarinMegamind (Movie Star)MysterioElectroSilver SurferSinestroParallaxSyndrome (The Incredibles)ThanosRed SkullJuggernautDark Phoenix, and Violater

Download it here.

Check out SONAR X3 FREE for 30 Days

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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. (more…)

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The “Punch” Factor with Synthesizers

What exactly constitutes “punch”? Find out here

by Craig Anderton

We all know a punchy recorded sound when we hear it—but what exactly constitutes “punch”? It seems that perhaps punch is something that can not only be defined, but quantified.

This all started because years ago, I wondered why seemingly every musician agrees that the Minimoog has a punchy sound. Then, when I started playing a Peavey DPM3, several people commented that my bass patches had a punchy sound, “like a Minimoog.” Clearly, the technologies are totally different: one was analog, the other digital; one used voltage-controlled oscillators, the other sample playback. Yet to listeners, they both shared some common factor that was perceived as punchiness.

Analyzing a Minimoog bass line revealed something interesting: even with the sustain set to minimum, there was about 20-30 milliseconds where the sound stayed at maximum level before the decay began. There is no way to eliminate that short period of full volume sustain; it’s part of the Minimoog’s characteristic sound.

I then looked at the DPM3’s amplitude envelope and it exhibited the same characteristic—a 20-30 ms, maximum level period of sustain before the decay kicked in. Also, both instruments had virtually instantaneous attacks. Could this combination be the secret of punch?

For comparison, I then checked two synths that nobody considered punchy-sounding: an Oberheim OB-8, which is generally characterized as “warm” and/or “fat” but not punchy, and a Yamaha TG55. Both had fixed attack times, even with the attack control set to zero, that lasted a few milliseconds. I also recalled some experiments ex-Peter Gabriel keyboard player Larry Fast ran in the mid-70s, when he was curious how fast an attack had to be for a sound to be “punchy.” His research indicated that most listeners noticed a perceptible loss of punch with attack times as short as one or two milliseconds.

So it seems the secret of punch is that you need an extremely fast attack time, but you also need a bit of sustain time at maximum level. This sustain isn’t long enough to be perceived as sustain per se; it’s more of a psychoacoustic phenomenon.

Wondering if this same technique worked with other sounds, I took an unprocessed snare drum sound and tried to add punch by normalizing each cycle to the highest level possible for the first 20-30 milliseconds. Comparing the processed and unprocessed sounds left no doubt that the edited version had more punch.

When I designed the Minimoog Expansion Pack for Rapture, I made sure that where appropriate, the envelopes had that characteristic Moog attack (Fig. 1). Note that the second node sustains the sound for 27.5 ms. Rapture’s tight attack time and ability to create “high-resolution” envelopes made it easy to add punch.

Fig. 1: Adding the “punch” factor to a Rapture Minimoog patch. (more…)

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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. (more…)

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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

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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 (more…)

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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

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Halloween Treat: Free Haunted EDM Rapture pack for all SONAR X2 Producer customers

Haunted EDM

Halloween treat: Upgrade to SONAR X2 Producer and get Haunted EDM
Just in time for Halloween, we have added a new treat to the SONAR X2 Producer Content Club. When you upgrade to SONAR X2 Producer, you will get the Haunted EDM Rapture Expansion Pack free of charge.

Upgrade to SONAR X2 Producer today

If you already own SONAR X2 Producer, the Haunted EDM Rapture pack is already in your account as a bonus treat from the SONAR X2 Producer Content CLub.

Haunted EDM for Cakewalk’s Rapture is a patch collection of tormented soundscapes, ghoulish leads, disembodied pads, frightening drum hits, and scary basses that will possess your music and reanimate your sound palette. From the laboratory of mad scientist Encanti, this library comes loaded with premier tricks and treats. Electronic Dance Music producers, beware…your sound collection will never be the same.

Please note: Haunted EDM will automatically be delivered with your SONAR X2 Producer order along with the DSF Symphonic Strings HD pack.

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CakeTV Live: SONAR X2 Webinar

Last week was our fourth installment of CakeTV Live, which we broadcast bi-monthly, live, from Center Staging in Burbank, CA. In this latest episode we showed over 450 live viewers the new features of SONAR X2. In case you missed it, the webinar is now available for viewing on CakeTV (or right from this web page, below).

During the webcast we did our best to cover all of X2′s new features like Smart Grid, ProChannel FX Chains, and R-MIX SONAR. However, there were a few new features that we didn’t have time to demo that we think are worth mentioning.

(more…)

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