Improving Your Synth Sounds With Real-Time Upsampling

By Craig Anderton

Some plug-ins and virtual instruments sound better when recording at sample rates higher than 44.1/48 kHz because high audio frequencies can interfere with lower clock frequencies, which causes foldover distortion. This adds a “wooliness” at lower frequencies, and can also compromise high-frequency response. Plug-ins that include internal oversampling do not have this problem, but not all plug-ins—particularly older ones—use oversampling.

The Foxboro update introduced Upsample on Render, which provides the benefits of using higher sample rate processing even in 44.1 kHz or 48 kHz projects by internally 2X up-sampling plug-ins of your choice, rendering them as audio, then down-sampling the rendered audio back down to the original sample rate. While it may seem counter-intuitive that the audio quality from rendering at 96 kHz is preserved at lower sample rates, the lower sample rates have no problem reproducing signals in the audio range, and by rendering at 96 kHz, the problematic frequencies no longer exist.

The Jamaica Plain update now offers Upsample on Playback, so you can preview and compare the difference in real time. To enable either Upsampling on Render or Upsampling on Playback on a per-plug-in basis, click the FX button to the left of the instrument name in the virtual instrument interface.

SONAR Upsample On Playback Option

To turn Upsampling on or off globally for plug-ins that have Upsampling enabled, use the 2X button in the Control Bar’s Mix module.

SONAR Plug-in Upsampling

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Universal Routing Technology 202: Unlocking the Creative Potential of the Aux Track

By Craig Anderton

Here are some representative applications for using Patch Points and Aux Tracks. There are often several ways to accomplish the same functionality, so use whichever is most comfortable. For example, if you already have existing tracks that you want to connect to Patch Points, it’s probably easier to assign their inputs to Patch Points than create new Aux Tracks. However, if you’re setting up a new recording scenario, it will probably be easiest to create an Aux Track as that will create both a track and a Patch Point assignment.

Application #1: Recording the Metronome to a Track

Note: If your project already contains a Metronome bus, skip to step 7.
  1. Choose Insert > Stereo Bus to create a new bus for the audio metronome.
  2. Rename the new bus to Metronome.
  3. Choose Edit > Preferences > Project – Metronome.
  4. Select the Recording check box and clear the Playback check box (you will hear the recorded metronome instead during playback).
  5. Select “Use Audio Metronome.”
  6. Click the Output drop-down menu and select the bus named Metronome, then click OK to close the Preferences dialog box.
  7. Click the Metronome bus’s Output control and select New Aux Track on the pop-up menu.
  8. Arm the Aux Track for recording.
  9. Begin recording.

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Universal Routing Technology 101: Improving Your Workflow With Patch Points

By Craig Anderton

Cakewalk has been quietly developing a Universal Routing Technology that gives tremendous flexibility when routing signals within SONAR. One of the first examples was the FX Chain, which provided a “container” for routing effect inputs and outputs together, and had the intelligence to disconnect controls if the effects being controlled were removed. The ProChannel and FX Racks are a basic example of taking the “insert jacks” on mixers to a more flexible level by providing two ways of inserting effects, where one block could be pre or post compared to the other.

Synth recording took the concept another step further by allowing real-time recording of synth outputs, but now Patch Points and Aux Tracks introduce a mind-boggling level of flexibility: you can feed tracks (audio or instrument) into tracks, buses into tracks, sends into tracks, or even (get ready!) tracks, sends, and buses into the same track—and much more. It’s even possible to do something like feed track outputs and bus outputs into an Aux Track, when can then feed with other Aux Tracks and a Send into a different track. This may sound complicated enough to make your head explode, but it’s all implemented in a smart, intuitive way that not only adds no clutter to the Track or Console view, but even cleans up unused patch points if the routing changes.

Please note: Projects that contain Patch Points and Aux Tracks cannot be opened in SONAR versions prior to SONAR Jamaica Plain (Update 9). If you need to open a project in an earlier version, first back up the project, unassign any patch points, then re-save the project.

For detailed Patch Points information, see the New Features section in SONAR’s online Help.

Creating, Choosing and Assigning Patch Points

When you open a track input or output picker, or a send or bus output picker, you’ll see the option “New Patch Point.” Select this to create a Patch Point. This is also how you pick an existing Patch Point. (more…)

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The Evolution of Comping

Compiling or “Comping” takes is relatively new to sound recording. With the increased ability of technology has come the increased desire to comp with excruciating attention to detail, sometimes all the way down to a syllable or note, to create “The Perfect Take.”

The Acoustic and Electrical Eras (1877-1945)EdisonPhonograph

When audio recording was first introduced, it was an entirely mechanical process. Comping did not exist. In fact, neither did mixing as we know it. Everything was recorded in one take, and level adjustments were made by moving musicians closer to or farther from the horn–essentially the microphone of its time.

In the primitive stages of this recording format, it was not uncommon to have copies of the same record that sounded entirely different. This was because if a band wanted to release 1,000 copies of a song, they would have to record it 1,000 different times, each take resulting in its own uniquely-performed copy.
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Five Reasons Why Patch Points Rock

By Craig Anderton

Looking for some advanced, interesting, or downright weird ways to use the new Patch Points feature? Here you go:

Signal Splitter

Suppose you want to split one track to several outputs, for example to do multiband processing. Here’s how:

SONAR Patch Points Splitter

The Dry track output goes to Patch Point 1 instead of the master bus. Five tracks, each of which filters a different band of frequencies, have their inputs set to Patch Point 1. The Dry track now feeds all five channels simultaneously. Placing all these tracks inside a track folder makes it easy to fold them up when you want a tidier setup.
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Create the trailer for Just Cause 3

Do you think you have what it takes to create the Just Cause 3 Launch Trailer? Now is your chance to prove it! Show us what you can do in a one to two-minute video. Square Enix is giving you complete freedom to come up with your own unique trailer, and the winner will become the official Just Cause 3 launch trailer!

Download the free, fully-functional SONAR Steam Edition demo and enter for a chance to win a Gibson music studio kit, including prizes from Cakewalk, Tascam, Neat Microphones and Epiphone – and a top spec gaming PC-rig!. Submission deadline is November 12th, 2015.

Visit the official Just Cause 3 Trailer Contest page

Here’s an example video that SoundtRec created using SONAR Steam Edition: (download the actual SONAR Project File to see how it was created)

Plus don’t forget to check out SONAR Steam Edition, now available on Steam!

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SONAR Professional Giveaway on Equipboard

Equipboard SONAR Professional Giveaway

This month, Equipboard will be giving away a copy of SONAR Professional to 4 lucky winners.

Equipboard is a community of musicians and music fans, building the world’s largest database of artists and the gear they use. For a chance to win, just submit music gear for any artist on Equipboard between October 1 and October 14. Each submission will count as its own entry, so you can improve your chances with ease! The first 2 winners will be selected on Thursday, October 8, then the next 2 winners a week later on Thursday, October 15.

If you win, you’ll not only receive SONAR Professional – unlimited and highly powerful recording and mixing software – you’ll get all the bells and whistles too! That means a fully unlocked copy of Melodyne Essential, Addictive Drums 2 Solo, the Nomad Factory BlueTubes plugin bundle, and more! For a comprehensive list of everything included in SONAR Professional, click here.

Well, what are you waiting for? Go Sign Up or Log In to Equipboard and start submitting!

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5 Ways SONAR’s Rolling Updates Are Working For You

With the introduction of the new SONAR last January, we also introduced a new delivery model we call Rolling Updates. Essentially, when you purchase an upgrade to SONAR Artist/Professional/Platinum, you receive 12 months of SONAR updates free. Each month, you receive an update (or sometimes more) which can include anything from fixes to new features and tools, add-ons, additional content, tutorials, and more. Once the initial 12 month period is up, you can renew for an additional 12 months and continue to receive updates, or keep everything you own up to this point. Lots of folks were skeptical at first about these Rolling Updates, but since their introduction, they’ve proven their worth. Here’s how:

5) Faster Learning Curves

When we were releasing a version every year or so, you’d receive a whole boatload of new features all at once – which was pretty cool, except you suddenly had tons of totally new features you had to learn to use. These game-changing new features were often designed to speed up your workflow and make your life a little easier, but investing the time to learn how all the new things worked could be overwhelming.

With Rolling Updates, you can now ease into all these new features. Instead of piling on 10-20 new tools, we’re introducing them in bite-sized pieces so you can take them in one or two at a time. This allows you to get a real feel for how they work before diving into something new, and has less impact on your workflow.

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What Windows 10 Means for Music Creators

Windows 10 is here, and our trusted code-commanders have been working closely with Microsoft to ensure an enhanced experience for our valued Cakewalk community.  Our benchmark testing has shown the new operating system to be very efficient with a lighter footprint.  In general, Windows 10 has outperformed Windows 8 in all of our tests in terms of performance and efficiency.  Subjectively speaking, the “look and feel” of this free upgrade is a much welcomed improvement over the “Metro” landscape of the previous operating system.  But what does this mean for music creators?

1.)    More responsive: Out of the gate people will notice a much snappier operating system.  The tweaks Microsoft made to the kernel and other parts of the OS in general have given it a responsive overhaul.

2.)    Upgrade ease:  Moving into Windows 10 is a very quick and easy upgrade.

3.)    Unified OS:  The best elements of Win 7, Win 8, and Win 8.1 have been combined into a streamlined experience with Win 10.  Store Apps and Desktop Apps seamlessly run side by side for a smooth universal experience.

4.)    New MIDI API available across all devices:  The new API allows multi-client access to single MIDI hardware and new jitter-free operation.  Microsoft worked hard on bringing this all together for better MIDI implementation.

5.)    Enhancements to the kernel: Microsoft has made changes in the multimedia scheduler and kernel components to minimize spikes – this can make a big difference in low-latency streaming apps like SONAR.

6.)    FLAC and ALAC Support:  Windows 10 has native support for these two codecs.  Both “Apple Lossless Audio Codec” and FLAC  could mean great things for Windows audio moving forward.

7.)    Much faster boot-time:  A lower footprint in memory combined with some new optimization techniques will get you up and running and making music faster than ever.

8.)    Runs smoother on older machines:  The lower memory footprint and optimization tweaks will also allow Win 10 to run more efficiently on older machines.  This is great news for Wn 7 users who never upgraded to Win 8.

9.)    Lower Latency:  15ms lower roundtrip latency using WASAPI (shared mode).

10.)  Core isolation: Drivers and applications can now isolate and dedicate low latency audio processing to a single CPU core.  This can minimize the effect of DPC latency spiking from networking, Bluetooth, or other DPC spiking processes by preventing interruptions to audio processing.

At Cakewalk, we are dedicated to staying on the forefront of technology.  Our CTO (featured below) and his team worked closely with Microsoft to make sure our products run smoothly on Windows 10.  We are very excited about this free update, and highly recommend it to our customers. Try SONAR with Windows 10 today for the ultimate music creation experience.

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5 Tools To Get “That Analog Sound” From SONAR

With the advent of digital audio, some feel a certain quality associated with the analog signal path has been lost. While that may have been true at one point, analog emulations have come a long way since first introduced. Let’s find out how to add that “analog sound” using some of SONAR’s plugins. (Note: Many of the following examples use features are exclusive to SONAR Platinum, so if you don’t already have this version, you can try a free demo by clicking here.)

#5 – ProChannel Tape Emulation

Tape Emulator Gif

Tape does some pretty magical things to audio, so SONAR Platinum includes tape emulation as a ProChannel module. Best  of all,  you can use it as much as you like without having to clean the heads!

Here’s how tape emulation enhances the sound:

  • Emulates the “head bump” of analog tape to enrich the low end, adding subtle warmth
  • Smooths response by slightly rolling off lowest lows and highest highs
  • Increases sustain by smoothing peaks
  • Saturates the signal in a non-linear, analog manner
  • Optionally introduces high-frequency hiss

For a basic application, insert the Tape Emulator in the Master Bus ProChannel. You’ll immediately hear a more cohesive mix. Increasing the REC LEVEL increases the overall saturation. The REC LEVEL knob, TAPE SPD switch, and BIAS switch all interact in unique ways, so try out different combinations to hear how they affect each other.

After hearing how the Tape Emulator affects your sound, try applying it to individual tracks (your drums will sound particularly fabulous). This will be a more subtle effect, adding a sense of depth to the overall mix.

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