Anatomy of a SONAR Project: Replacing the Placeholder

DELIVERING MUSIC FOR THE FILM “FOR BLOOD” (COFFEERING ENTERTAINMENT LOS ANGELES, CA)

Sometimes I am fortunate enough to have the time to take on a project outside of Cakewalk, and I love that those projects let me put our current SONAR Platinum “Rolling Update” to the test in the field. Recently, the LA-based production company Coffee Ring Entertainment asked me to write, produce and deliver three tracks for their new movie, For Blood. This article describes highlights of the process involved in writing and producing one of those tracks for a specific scene in the film.

My first question to the director was, “Do you already have placeholder music in the rough cut?” When producers and directors have placeholder music they like already set into the cut, it speeds up and simplifies writing and producing the music. Fortunately the answer was “yes,” so all I needed to do was replicate what they liked about their placeholder tracks using the array of instruments and plug-ins in my home project studio rig.

A primary objective in writing music for film is to forget about yourself and your own emotional agenda. And oddly enough, for me at least, this notion really speeds up the workflow because you are writing/producing for someone else’s purpose other than your own thoughts. Adamantly keeping this in mind throughout the writing/producing process helps to stay focused on what the client wants. For this song, it’s exactly what I had to do because the producers had a Tarantino-ish type track set into the scene, and my innate production style tends to lean more towards big, clean commercial pop rock. Luckily, I could go to YouTube and analyze suitable styles of music but even luckier for me, SONAR’s Addictive Drums and TH2 plug-ins were  ideal for dialing in the kind of music that was needed. (more…)

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How LA Producer Luigie Gonzalez is Using Patchpoints in the Jamaica Plain Release

In-demand LA Producer Luigie “Lugo” Gonzalez is in the trenches on a daily basis depending on SONAR to deliver radio-ready masters to major labels.  As an advocate of this year’s Rolling Updates, and especially the new Universal Routing Technology [URT] in SONAR, Luigie told us how he is initially using URT:

CW Artist Relations:     What are you currently working on?

Luigie:     Right now I am in the middle of a few projects as always. Universal artist Ah Moon is being released right now and thankfully turning some heads.  It’s actually Burmese which is very interesting.  I am also working tracks with DJ Shift and the new single “Painkiller” is dropping at radio in the next month depending on the label.

CW Artist Relations:     In general, what are your thoughts on SONAR’s updates this year?

Luigie:     Every release has been rock solid.  Honestly though, at first, I was reluctant.  I have to have a stable platform because I am constantly delivering, and one technological mishap could be disastrous.  Cakewalk is onto something with the monthly updates.  Every release has been better and more efficient.  I haven’t had any problems with stability, and I really look forward to the new features every month.  Every release so far has been great, but this month’s Jamaica Plain release was a game-changer for me with the new Patch Points and Aux tracks

CW Artist Relations:     How are you using Patch Points and Aux Tracks?

Luigie:     I’m already using them a lot, and I am already hearing a difference in my mixes from the different ways I can control things.  The possibilities of what I am going to be able to do creatively will be endless really, but right now I am primarily using them for control in a few different ways.  I use VCA’s, and I do a lot of layering in general, so having the ability to route kick layers and synth layers helps me balance signals so that I don’t overload my channels.  It’s basically giving me a lot more control in general.  One specific example using Patch Points is when I use Turnado, Stutter edit or any other special effects.  Now I can use Patch Points to affect only the signals I want without affecting a whole bus; but rather just the tracks I route to the new patch point.

CW Artist Relations:     What else comes to mind for new features that you are using?

Luigie:     I have to say, upsampling is one of my favorite features as well!  Now having it on playback is even better!   Sometimes you hear the difference, and sometimes not… But that’s because not all plugins support up-sampling, and some already do by default.  There are instances where it actually helps a lot and you can certainly hear it especially when I use fancy EQing on the reverb returns.  In some cases, I’ve noticed about a 20% improvement on my mixes.  They tend to have more air, depth and clarity when I take advantage of upsampling. 

Click here for more information on SONAR Jamaica Plain Release

Click here to try SONAR for fee

 

 

 

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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.

(more…)

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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.
(more…)

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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.

(more…)

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