Jon Lee: Capitalist Turned Composer

profile picSo how does one of the top television-scoring professionals in the business get to where he is today? 

If you’re Jon Lee, first you run a hedge fund for 15 or 20 years…

Huh?

You’ll have to forgive Jon for not taking a more traditional route to the top of the film and television-scoring business. He found his true calling a bit later in life than most. But that hasn’t stopped him from making quite a name for himself in the field.

Although Jon started out in finance, it became a job he ended up “totally hating.” During his last few years in the business, he decided to do something about it and began pursuing his avocation: learning to play music. He took piano lessons, which eventually led him to composing. With the music bug firmly in his system, he soon enrolled at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music, where he studied with many well-established composers.

Jon got his Graduate Certificate in Scoring for Motion Pictures and Television, marking the formal end of his career in finance, and set out to land some initial gigs. He soon connected with fellow USC alum Timothy Michael Wynn, a hardcore SONAR user who co-founded the music production company Sonic Fuel. Jon went to work with Tim and his partner Chris Lennertz for about a year, “’til they kicked me out and said ‘go get a career,’” as Jon jokingly recalls.

Continue reading Jon Lee: Capitalist Turned Composer

SONAR Is A Conventional DAW, Packing An Arsenal of Options

stepsequencerIn keeping with tradition, says Create Digital Music’s Peter Kirn, SONAR looks like the average Windows software with lots of buttons, knobs and menus. However, with its latest version, SONAR employs a vast array of features that allow the user (whether expert or beginner) to customize the way they create music on the computer – making it easier for them to record and produce music on their own terms.

Calling SONAR, the DAW of More, Kirn takes a microscopic look at these new features, instruments, support and usability enhancements added to the program with the SONAR 8.5.2 update.

Continue reading SONAR Is A Conventional DAW, Packing An Arsenal of Options

Optimized for VISTA x64: Rapture 1.2

Cakewalk’s award-winning Rapture is the ultimate wavetable synthesizer for igniting the sounds of today’s pop, dance, and electronic music scenes. Sounding like no other synth, Rapture offers brilliant sound design capabilities with patches that blend up to six different elements. Available for PC and Mac.

Out of the box you get a stunning collection of over 500 programs including Basses, Leads, Pads, Arpeggios, Textures, Electronic Percussion and Sequences. At the heart of Rapture’s six-part sound engine are powerful, multi-mode wavetable oscillators. These pristinely produced wavetables provide a virtually endless array of sonic possibilities, plus you can multiply each oscillator up to 9 times across the stereo field with controlled detuning, creating some of the fattest sounds ever heard.

New Features in Rapture 1.2:

-Envelope Generators can now be retriggerd from the Step Generator
-Internal Tempo with Tap – Rapture can now sync to its own internal t tempo
-You can now save and load presets in the Envelope Generator and Step Generator sections
-Envelope Generator now autoscrolls when entering nodes
-Knob Focus Indicator – the currently selected knob will now have edging around it
-Built-in DC Offset blocker to remove unwanted DC Offset distortion
-Up/Down selectors now have direct text entry by double-clicking on them
-New alternate ‘Zoom On View’ mode in the Envelope Generator
-Vista x64 improvements – the installer now allows you to choose to install either the 32 or 64-bit versions of Rapture on Windows Vista x64

All registered Rapture customers are eligible for the free update.

NAB 2009: Robin Answers The Most Common SONAR & V-Studio 700 Questions

As the NAB Show wraps up, it’s a good time to reflect:

I have to say that for a product that has only been on the market for 2 years, I was amazed at just how many people I met, who have adopted the SONAR REAC Recording option for the V-Mixing system (Digital Snake and/or M-400).

As mentioned before, the REAC sends 40 channels of digital audio down a CAT-5 cable. Connect the cable to your PC’s network card and the Cakewalk REAC driver will pump the audio into SONAR. Many live venues, houses of worship and rental companies are taking advantage of the recording option. Using this option, the tracks record directly into SONAR. Once in SONAR the ‘live’ tracks can now be mixed, edited and mastered for either DVD, CD, web, or other formats. Obviously, this opens up a whole range of possibilities as you essentially have a 40 track recording studio at every live event whether it is a sermon or an outdoor rock festival.

Aside from the REAC recording customers, I spoke with many people who were in disbelief of the power and functionality SONAR has. I never like to say ‘no’ to customers, so NAB has been a great show and here’s a few examples why:

Customer: Can I use SONAR’s 64-bit internal audio engine on a 32-bit operating system?
Me- Yes , you can!

Customer: Do you have 64-bit audio plugins for mastering?
Me- Yes, we do and they’re included in SONAR.

Customer: What if my other plugins are 32-bit, I can’t use them right?
Me: Actually, SONAR has something called Bit Bridge which allows you to run 32-bit plugins on a 64-bit system.

Customer: Does Cakewalk support SONAR and/or the VS-700 running under Bootcamp?
Me: Yes, we do.

Customer: If I have a multitrack project that is in stereo, is it possible to convert it to surround?
Me: Yes! Just add a surround bus and route your tracks to it.

Customer: What about a surround mix to stereo?
Me: Of course, just reverse the steps and assign the tracks to a stereo bus.

Continue reading NAB 2009: Robin Answers The Most Common SONAR & V-Studio 700 Questions

NAB 2009: SONAR & V-Mixing System Wow Crowds

For more than 80 years, The NAB Show, produced annually by the National Association of Broadcasters, has served as the premiere event for broadcast technology professionals. But there’s more to the show than just tv and radio broadcasting, it’s the ultimate educational experience! Technology professionals and solutions providers from every corner of the world, come to the show each year to explore every stage of the audio / visual content lifecycle, from creation to consumption.

Cakewalk is one of this year’s exhibitors showing off their state-of-the-art creations at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada from April 20 through April 23. Follow along with Robin Kelly live from the show, here on The Cakewalk Blog.

Here’s his first post:

At the Roland Systems Group booth, Zac Kenney and I were presenting the SONAR V-Studio 700 as the mixing and editing solution to the V-Mixing system. At the heart of the system, is the M-400 Digital Mixing Console from RSS by Roland. Add to that the personal monitoring system, allowing each live performer to have up to 40 individual monitor mixes and the digital snake whick allows up to 40 channels of audio over a single CAT-5 cable, and you have an extremely impressive live mixing setup.

So how does Cakewalk’s SONAR integrate into this system? You can split the signal coming down the CAT-5 cable and connect it to the network card on your PC. Using the REAC driver, you then have 40 discreet inputs going into SONAR to record each channel individually to their own track.

After the live show the VS-700 becomes the platform for mixing and editing the 40-track live performance. From live venues and houses of workship to broadcast customers, the feedback was extremely good. They were all impressed with the flexibility and depth the SONAR V-Studio System provides. Add to that the ability to harness and control all the power of SONAR via a hardware inferface, and you have a ‘perfect solution’. The Fantom VS is an added bonus as this provides the added ability to add extra synth tracks after recording. The ARX slot was also wowing the customers when the ARX-01 Drum card was added.

In Las Vegas, people seem just about willing to bet on anything, but one thing no one I spoke to today was willing to gamble on was their audio. All through the day, customers were coming up to me explaining bow they prefer to mix in SONAR because it ‘just sounds better’ than other programs. Of course, it is always nice to hear such positive compliments about our flagship DAW but in a way it is extra special to hear this coming from folks who have very high (if not limitless) budgets, allowing them to choose any audio platform they wish. Even with that they are still using SONAR because of it’s quality.

It makes sense if you think about it. SONAR has a 64-bit double precision audio engine, multiple gain stages, and 64-bit/convolution plugins to sweeten the mix.

So YES. In Vegas, people will gamble on just about anything, anything but their audio quality!

That’s it for now. Day 2 starts tomorrow!

Robin Kelly
Cakewalk’s Director of Worldwide MI Sales