10 Reasons You Will Love The SONAR X Series

The SONAR X series was introduced to the world back in 2010. Since that time, we’ve continued to refine and improve SONAR. Customers upgrading from SONAR 8.5 and earlier are in for an amazing experience. Below we’ve put together the top ten reasons you will love the SONAR X series.

1. ProChannel

The ProChannel redefines the way you work with the Console View. Each audio track, instrument track, and bus comes with a complete modular strip of analog effects. Even the inspector allows the users to preview a selected track’s ProChannel strip right from the Track View. With the click of a button users can expand this analog mixing console and fully customize it by dragging around the modules, or loading up a ProChannel presets. Load up the Compressors, Tube Saturation, Reverb, Console Emulators, Tap Emulators, and the new QuadCurve EQ Zoom with Analyzer by simply right-clicking.

SONAR’s ProChannel lends itself to an immensely visual experience (more…)

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6 Creative Ways to Use The VKFX Delay – Free with SONAR X3 Studio or Producer

SONAR X3 Producer’s ProChannel comes loaded with great effects for every channel like Compression, EQ, Saturation, and Reverb. Now, for a limited time, if you purchase SONAR X3 Studio or Producer before November 30th, 2013 you will also get Overloud’s incredible VKFX Delay ProChannel Module for free. Here is a description and some creative ways to utilize this wonderful new tool.

Overloud’s VKFX Delay Module is a rendition of a classic tape delay with an incredible set of parameters that virtually allows you to get just about any sound you please.

The Parameters

Feedback adjusts the amount of repetitions of the delayed signal. This has varying tonality as you increase or decrease it.

Tone adjusts the brightness of the delayed signal. Sometimes it’s important to taper off the high end of a signal so that it does not get in the way of itself. Bright acoustic strumming or picking could become engulfed by a series of shearing delays if your tone is not adjusted correctly.

Time is a crucial parameter on any delay unit. This determines the intervals of time between each delay repetition. When the time parameter is not synced to SONAR, the intervals of time range between 0.0 – 2.7 seconds.

When the sync button is enabled the VKFX Delay syncs to musical denominations ranging from 1/32t to 4 based around the tempo set within SONAR.

Mix controls how much of the delay effect makes it into the actual passing signal. Increasing this to 100% would produce the delayed effect only.

Lastly, the 8 different Modes within the VKFX Delay module control two sets of settings.

  • The panning scheme for each repetition
  • On what beat each repetition falls on

As seen in the figure, the first five different modes repeat within the mono spectrum and vary with each beat they fall on. Settings 6, 7, and 8 spread the repetitions from Left, Center, and Right making for an intense panning/delayed effect.

1. Chorus Effect (more…)

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DEVELOPER NOTES – SONAR X3 QUADCURVE EQ (UI ENHANCEMENT)

Introduction

Since it first appeared in SONAR X1 Producer, the QuadCurve EQ has become my go to EQ. That’s saying something given the abundance of killer plugins in my collection (yes, like many of us, I own far too many plugins).

Maybe I’m just lazy, but I love the fact that it’s always there, ready to go on any track or bus at a moments notice. No need to wade through plugin menus – it’s already waiting patiently in the ProChannel.

And it’s no slouch either. There’s no trade-off for that convenience. The QuadCurve EQ is up there with the best of them.

But, as much as I love it, I admit I have, in the past, occasionally found myself reaching for one of the alternative plugins in my arsenal.

Why? The QuadCurve EQ user interface could be, well, a bit cramped. The small EQ plot is fine for quick adjustments, but not so great for fine-tuning. Metering is also important to me, which the QuadCurve EQ was lacking.

The good news? SONAR X3 Producer addresses these issues, and much more besides.

So what’s new?

See me!

First off, it’s easier on the eyes. The UI is cleaner, clearer, and you no longer need a magnifying glass to read the knob values!

Then there’s the EQ plot, or should that be “plots”? The small ProChannel plot is still there of course, and it’s as useful as ever, but now there’s a new secret weapon at your disposal…

…the QuadCurve EQ Zoom Window:

As you can see, it’s essentially a much larger EQ user interface which, among other benefits, provides a much finer degree of control.

I say ‘secret weapon’ because it may not be immediately obvious how to get to it (more…)

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EDM Production Tip: Ducking Synth Melodies using Sidechaining

Ducking is a popular technique used in EDM music to apply percussive processing to pads, leads, and bass lines using side-chains on compressors. This technique is also used as a method for getting bass and drum passages to subtly fit together in mixes. In order to successfully apply ducking to your track you must have the following:

  • Compressor inserted on a pad or lead track with side-chain capabilities
  • Percussive source to key the side-chain

First, grab a kick drum sample and align it to the desirable rhythm you need.  Next, insert a compressor onto your synth lead or pad track.  Afterwards insert a send on the sampled kick drum track and set the send to “Pre-fader”. In SONAR, deselecting the [Post] button enables pre-fader sends.  Mute the kick drum sample and turn up the gain on the send.

Once you have the signal flow set, enable the Sidechain on the Compressor.  Now, every time the kick drum sample plays the Side-Chain will trigger the compressor and “Duck” the signal.  You can set the compressor using the Threshold, Attack, and Release settings to shape the kind of effect you want.

Try it yourself with the SONAR X2 Producer free 30-Day trial.

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The Distance Effect: How to make audio sound far away using Reverb

Creating distance in a mix or sound design project often results in the use of a distance effect.  This effect can make anything sound as if it’s 50 ft away, and is quite easy to setup.

1) Insert a pre fader send onto an audio track. Within just about every DAW and/or mixing board there is a setting on the Sends sections called “Pre”.  Within SONAR this setting is enabled when the “Post” button on the send is deactivated.

2) In SONAR, I right-click on the Sends area in the console view and select “New Stereo Bus”.

3) Rename the bus “Distance Effect”. Now my audio is routed to this Bus. It’s often good practice to label your buses, or else mixes become confusing to work with.

4) Insert an instance of Reverb onto that bus. In this example I used BREVERB SONAR and called up a Plate preset.

5) Mute the audio track and hit play.

 

To read more about BREVERB SONAR check out Breverb: A 2013 Sound Design Odyssey on our Knowledge Base.

Try the BREVERB ProChannel Module for free – Download the SONAR X3 Producer Trial

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How to make your Kick and Snare sound more aggressive using compression

Compression can be used in many different formats but one of the most useful methods is for adding an aggressive sound to your Kick and Snare. A typical compressor’s settings involve Threshold, Attack, Ratio, and Release.

  • Threshold is a setting in decibels. Once it senses that audio surpasses the set decibel level it activates the compressor.

  • Attack is a measurement in milliseconds for how fast the compressor should begin compressing audio that exceeds the set threshold.

  • Ratio is the amount of gain reduction applied to the compressed signal.

  • Release tells the compressor how fast to stop compressing the signal once the threshold is no longer exceeded.

 

By setting the Attack and Release times relatively fast it allows for each drum’s initial hit to sound and then afterwards reduce the audio transient in gain. From our ears’ perspective, each hit sounds more aggressive.

Pictured above: The ProChannel in SONAR X2 Producer.  Try it free!

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EDM Production: Creating Industrial Drums with Session Drummer 3

SONAR X2 Producer’s versatile drum production tools allow you to get creative with your sound. Want to push the limits of EDM or get that mid-90′s industrial vibe from your tracks? Check out this Quick Tip on how to process your drums utilizing the stock ProChannel effects and Session Drummer’s Tune Parameters.

  • On your Session Drumer track, load PC76 – U-Type Compressor
  • Set Input to 18db
  • Attack 0.5-1.0 ms
  • Fast Release 500 ms
  • Ratio set to Infinite or “All Buttons in Mode”
  • Set Output so that you are not overloading
  • Activate Console Emulator for more saturation
  • Activate the Softube Saturation Knob set this to 2-3 o’clock and set the type of saturation to “Keep Low”
  • Activate Breverb Prochannel. Set the parameters to a rather short Room Reverb

Drums are now over-saturated and over-compressed

Now that you have the basic foundation for a distorted/saturated/pumpy/electronic drum sound lets Mangle it.

  • Activate Write Automation on the Session Drummer Track in the Track View
  • Open the interface for Session Drummer  and go to the Mixer View
  • Activate the Write Automation within the Session Drummer VST Plugin
  • Play the track and move the “Tune” knob (with your mouse or your MIDI controller) for the High Hat in rhythm to create tuning aliasing. This will be labelled “Tune 03″ in your automation.
  • Once this is done minimize the interface for Session Drummer  
  • Within the Track Pane using the Edit Filter go to Automation > Session Drummer x64 1 > Tune 01 (Kick Drum Tune Knob)
  • Select the Draw Tool and draw in some nodes that closely match the same curves and structure as the automation we just laid down.
  • Open the Automation Lanes to see the automation data side by side

Deactivate the Write Enable buttons just incase you are no longer going to automate any more parameters

  • As you do this feel free to adjust your compression, saturation, tuning, tempo, and automation to fully customize

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SONAR X2 makes the grade at USC Thornton School of Music

Professor Chris Sampson, founding director of the Popular Music program at the USC Thornton School of Music, recently wrote an article for the Roland Music Education blog explaining why he prefers to teach with SONAR X2.

“As a professor of songwriting, I teach in both a classroom setting and privately, and a little over a year ago, I incorporated SONAR X2 into my instruction with great results.”

This is a screenshot from an actual private lesson

Professor Sampson cites SONAR X2′s Skylight User Interface, Smart Tool, ProChannel, included virtual instruments, overall workflow, and the sound quality of SONAR’s 64-bit audio engine as powerful enhancements to his teaching process.

“With these assignments, it is very important to me that the tracks sound great and authentic to the style I’m presenting, because the students’ enthusiasm can be seriously eroded if the track does not sound good. This is where the sound quality of SONAR X2’s 64-bit audio engine really shines.”

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The professor also gave us ‘extra credit’ for our own commitment to teaching aspiring musicians.

“In addition to the educational benefits of SONAR itself, there’s an abundance of training resources available at SONAR University. The videos there make it easy to understand the concepts behind every phase of the recording process, and the various tips I’ve picked up from The Cakewalk Blog have been invaluable as well. Both are great resources for students to build their own skills independently.”

Read the full article on the Roland Music Education blog.

Or download the SONAR X2 Producer Free Trial and see why SONAR X2 is getting high marks in the classroom and the studio.

 

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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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Javier Colon, Winner of NBC The Voice Using SONAR X2 for New Record

It’s been quite a ride in the last 2 years for Javier Colon after being crowned the winner of NBC’s hit TV show The Voice.  Some highlights include releasing the record “Come Through for You” on the Universal/Republic label, gaining millions of new fans, and touring around the world sharing the stage with artists including Maroon 5, Colbie Caillat and Gavin DeGraw to name a few.  It’s rare for an artist like Javier to experience so many facets of the music industry.  He is been signed to two major labels, put out his own successful independent music, and claimed the top spot on one of the biggest television shows of our time.  But what sets him apart from other artists (besides the obvious) in today’s never ending plethora of supposable talent?  I recently got a chance to catch up with Javier in his new SONAR X2 home studio in Connecticut and find out what he’s been up to, and where he’s going. (more…)

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