How iLan Bluestone used SONAR Platinum on his new track “Bigger Than Love” (#1 on Beatport)

Just a few short years ago, we learned of a new up-and-coming artist who was using SONAR.  After introducing ourselves and learning more, the one thing that kept resonating were the infectious melodies and counterparts embedded into his tracks.  We were delighted to witness him working in SONAR, but at the same time very intrigued that he was using SONAR 8.5.

Soon after being in touch with iLan, we were able to catch up with him face to face in his studio just north of London for a night where we introduced SONAR X3 to him.  It was a fun night and very interesting to watch a pro’s reactions going from 8.5 to X3 considering that undoubtedly the platforms are truly different.  There were some moments of, “Whooaaah… that will save me a ton of time,” and there were moments of, “Ummm…that will take a while to get used to.”  Leaving iLan to his own devices we were really unsure where he would take it.

 

 

Toggling back and forth from 8.5 to X3 for a while, iLan finally found his stride with SONAR Platinum.  He told us, “After working on both 8.5 and X3, once I was on Platinum there was no going back.  The basic features alone like the smart tool and Mix Recall not only save me a lot of time, but allow me to create things I could not create in 8.5. With the amount of tracks I create and pace of my workflow, the fact that Platinum is rock solid and really fast means everything to me.  8.5 always allowed me to ‘not’ sound like everyone else in my genre, and Platinum just continues that path for me.”  iLan’s first full production in SONAR Platinum titled “Bigger Than Love,” a collaboration with singer/songwriter/artist Giuseppe de Luca was recently released on Anjunabeats and quickly found its way up the charts to the #1 spot on Beatport.

Continue reading How iLan Bluestone used SONAR Platinum on his new track “Bigger Than Love” (#1 on Beatport)

SONAR PLATINUM ADDS Ultra Analog SESSION 2 SYNTH IN 2016.03 UPDATE

As a fan of our bakers and all the great features coming out of the Rolling Updates, I absolutely love exploring all the new things SONAR brings every month.  As a big fan of Lounge Lizard, I was really excited to learn that we would be incorporating the Ultra Analog Session 2 (UAS2) instrument into SONAR this month.  So at this year’s Namm convention I made a point of meeting up with my buddy Marc over at Applied Acoustic Systems to learn more about the synth before trying it out.

“A fun synth to play around with,” Marc explained.  And once I got my hands on it I understood what he was talking about.  Being a bit underwater with time these days, I decided to put an hour (or so) cap on diving into the synth and writing a short piece of “whatever” inspired me while first hearing and manipulating the sounds; and making use of the features.  I challenged myself a bit by using ONLY instances of this synth combined with stock SONAR Producer ProChannel modules so I could get a good feel for its capabilities.  I also thought it would be a fun test since there are no stock drum or percussion patches in the synth.  Here is what I found:

  • Useful:  In my book, you can never have enough options when it comes to sounds.  I have synths where I only LOVE a few patches but you know what? – Those patches are worth every penny having the synth in my arsenal.  I found the UAS2 to have some really great sounding vintage patches.  With 7 banks of sounds there are a lot of tones that would come in handy and will work well in certain styles of music.  I found combining these sounds with ProChannel shaping to be a great combination for creating some unique sounds.
  • Diverse:  I like the fact that for a synth with a small footprint, it crosses a through a wide array of tones.  The 5 main tonal character traits are Arpeggio, Bass, Lead, Pad, Polysynth, along with a bonus of two banks from Richard and Sean Devine that come in handy for more options.  I like the fact that there’s not a ton of overwhelming stuff here—and what’s in the box is all great and diverse for different applications.
  • Cool features:  I personally love using arpeggiation effects.  Admittedly, I love them because I am a horrible keyboard player and they make me sound like I know what I am doing… kind of;) I sometimes use arpeggiation in a way that might be different than some users—I follow no rules of arpeggiation (is that even a word?)—I throw on tons of effects… I let my ears rule both my hands and find notes and things that just sound good to me.  I often use this effect on choruses while knocking out all low end to give a song an inconspicuous lift.  The “Arpeggio” on this keyboard is cool.  It’s simple and straight forward and allows the user to combine a bit of old-school arpeggio tactics along with many syncing options.
  • A Strong Simple Synth Engine:  For someone like me who is not a synth expert, this instrument is great.  The 3 sound generators (VCO, Filter and Amp) are simple enough to navigate for those who do not fully understand the complexities of creating synth patches.  In my opinion, 10 minutes of turning knobs with this instrument is enough time for anyone to come up with some great sounds.  For example, after putting a limiter on my master bus I noticed one of my staccato parts was cutting through in a way that sounded too intense compared to the kick.  Very easily was I able to identify the “Amp Attack” as the culprit, and by simply dialing that knob back a bit the sound became what it needed to be.
  • Onboard FX:  Similar to Z3TA+, this synth carries its own FX processing right inside the synth.  Although multiple FX are not possible in one patch, the good news is that AAS didn’t skimp on the quality of the engine.  I tested all FX (Chorus, Delay, Distortion, EQ, Flanger, Phaser, Reverb) with different patches and found the available parameters to be intuitive while rendering high-quality sounds.

How Cakewalk Pros use SONAR X3 for Songwriting

Songwriting is such an intricate art-form. Some approach it seriously, while others find their best work casually writing with others in a lighter atmosphere. There are a lot of moving parts, and in my opinion a lot of magic and unexplainable voodoo that go into a song that simply resonates with the general public for unexplainable reasons. Do you think Afroman thought his song “Because I Got High” would have over 45 million views on YouTube when he wrote it? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WeYsTmIzjkw

There are so many different and interesting ways to write songs, and SONAR is a DAW that literally becomes your writing partner. From inspiring drum grooves with Addictive Drums, to the ease of workflow with loops, to quickly shaping sounds to inspire a more creative path, SONAR is way more than your industry-standard “recording” software. It’s a place you go to when you want to creatively craft a masterpiece. We thought it would be interesting to hear from some day-in-day-out professionals who depend on SONAR for their livelihood.

Javier Colon
Singer-songwriter
Major Label Recording Artist
International Touring Artist
Winner of Season 1 “NBC’s The Voice”

Cakewalk Artist Relations:     What is your main approach to songwriting?

I’m usually an acoustic guitar guy when it comes to songwriting but sometimes I’ll sit at the piano and get inspired and start writing. I’ve worked with a lot of producers and songwriters that build a track and then write to it – we’ve come up some great songs that way too.

Cakewalk Artist Relations:     How does SONAR help with the songwriting process?

Javier:     SONAR helps me tremendously when writing because it’s so flexible; you can change things in a session as quickly as you can change your mind – this really helps the songwriting process. When I write a song there is a constant process of elimination. I’ll think of a line, and I might like it for a minute, and then toss it out. There are also ideas that I absolutely know will make it into the song. I constantly record as I go so I don’t forget ideas that I really love – SONAR’s arranging workflow really keeps this process creative and easy for me in terms of songwriting.

Also, X3’s looping and comping functions really help with songwriting.  I record chord progression loops so I can come up with melody ideas in real time. Then I’ll go back and audition all the ideas easily to get a good idea of what melodies are better than others.  SONAR X3 has really been a great tool for songwriting for me.

Cakewalk Artist Relations:     What is one of the recent songwriting successes or projects you have had or really enjoyed? What was the workflow or songwriting process like for that?

Javier:     I recently wrote with a good friend of mine, Josh Kelley Continue reading How Cakewalk Pros use SONAR X3 for Songwriting

Take control of your tempo with SONAR’s Audiosnap, Available in X2 Producer and studio

SONAR X2’s AudioSnap engine and tempo analysis features give you unprecedented non-destructive rhythmic and tempo control over your audio. Employing sophisticated transient detection technology, the AudioSnap engine automatically analyzes all recorded and imported audio files for rhythmic content to determine where the beats are in the music.  Continue reading Take control of your tempo with SONAR’s Audiosnap, Available in X2 Producer and studio

SONAR X2’S Step Sequencer: Powerful, flexible and included in all versions of X2!

The Step Sequencer is included in all versions of X2 and is fully integrated in to the SONAR X2 user interface design. Controls are easy to identify and use, and commands are easily accessible from dedicated drop down menus. Continue reading SONAR X2’S Step Sequencer: Powerful, flexible and included in all versions of X2!

Get hands on control of SONAR X1’s ACT functionality with the Roland A-300PRO

SONAR X1′s Active Controller Technology (ACT) allows for full control over your mix and effects via hardware MIDI controller. Not only can you control mix settings like volume and pan on tracks, ACT lets you control parameters on effect and synth plugins in real time!

Coupled with the Roland A-300PRO MIDI Keyboard Controller you can fully immerse yourself in your mixes. No more “mousing around” to draw automation for a filter sweep on a synth, grab a control and get interactive.

ACT has templates for most MIDI controllers so setup is a breeze and hardware controls are already mapped to the most common parameters in all of your plugins. Want to customize the mapping? It’s as simple as pushing one button, clicking the parameters and moving the desired hardware controls. No menus needed!

Watch ACT and the A-300PRO in action Continue reading Get hands on control of SONAR X1’s ACT functionality with the Roland A-300PRO

How to make modern music with samples, sequenced drums, and synths – A SONAR Master Class

Modern music production combines many different elements. Loops and samples, sequenced drums and synths, live instruments and more. In this video, you can sit in on a session where all of these elements are used to create a piece of music from start to finish with SONAR X1 Producer.

Pull up a chair, crank up the volume and see just how easy and fun it is to create music when the inspiration strikes using SONAR! After watching the video, download the content pack which includes the Track Templates and presets used in this project.

Continue reading How to make modern music with samples, sequenced drums, and synths – A SONAR Master Class

Drum replacement made fast and easy with SONAR’s AudioSnap 2.0

You’ve got the song, the killer drum performance and everything is ready to mix but there’s one problem. Your kick drum sounds awful and there’s no option to re record the drum tracks. Don’t panic! Using SONAR’s AudioSnap 2.0 and the drum plugin of your choice, you can turn that dud into major thud!

  Continue reading Drum replacement made fast and easy with SONAR’s AudioSnap 2.0

Create Unique Percussion Beats with the Beatscape Factory Content In SONAR X1: Part 2; ProChannel

In Part 1 of this blog series, I highlighted the basic information to get the Beatscape content going in SONAR X1 Producer  without using the Beatscape program.  If you read that post and starting working a bit with the Beatscape content you probably found out that there’s some really good samples in there from which to draw.  In this post, I will dive into a few tips and techniques and focus in on The ProChannel to show how fast and easy it is to create a more tailored sound with Beatscape content (and any other sample based content for that matter.)

For me and my style of music production, it’s all about layers and a multi-dimensional vibe.  I started out like a lot of folks, on 2” tape and followed a lot of rules, but in this new digital era I rely more on my ear than I do on following fundamentals.  Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s more important now than ever to understand the fundamental concepts of recording and producing music, but it’s also just as important to rely on what you are hearing in relation to what you are going for.  Sometimes I will start out with something that sounds quirky or not pleasing to the ear; a person in the room will look at me like I have two heads, and then within minutes they don’t even recognize what I started with.

I like to blend multiple elements together to create a “part.”  In this video example by simply using the Beatscape content and The ProChannel, I will take 8 samples that sound cluttered together, and then shape them into one interesting loop that will sound more professional than where it began.

1.)    I started with the basics by finding 3 kicks I liked, and 3 snares [snare and claps] I liked and shaped both using the ProChannel so that they worked well together as a groove.  As you will notice, working with the ProChannel is lightning fast in terms of a workflow; everything is right there so there’s no inserting plugins or switching back and forth between screens and menus.

2.)    I then arranged the snares and claps using the Smart Tool so that they created a unified part.

3.)    Next, I added top loops to add depth and dimension to the groove.  As you will hear, when these loops are first pulled into the mix they are very prominent and overbearing.  Again using the ProChannel I was able to quickly sculpt these top loops to add character to the groove as a whole.  Using the Smart Tool once again, I copied over one of the loops and reversed it to set up a dramatic effect.

4.)    Finally, using the ProChannel I called up a mastering Preset which instantly added thickness, volume and control over the whole new loop.

In this video you will see and hear not only how great the Beatscape content is, but also how powerful the ProChannel is in terms of sound, workflow, speed and ease of use.  There’s a solid reason behind the fact that SONAR X1 is buzzing in the music industry.  There’s no other DAW on the market that covers the territory of SONAR X1 Producer.  If you are serious about music creation and production, go to our Dealer Finder here and pick up an investment in yourself and your future; The SONAR X1 Production Suite.

Create Unique Percussion Beats with the Beatscape Factory Content In SONAR X1: Part 1

There’s no doubt that SONAR X1 comes with a lot of great content, but one component that I think is sometimes overlooked is the Beatscape content.  Beatscape originally came with SONAR 8 and it’s a great sampler machine for mixing and mashing up content.  And now with the power of the Browser, Drag and Drop and the ProChannel, anyone who is looking to make creative drum beats that really stand out from the crowd can utilize all this content right at their fingertips in SONAR X1.

The Beatscape content is great for creating drum tracks from scratch, or embellishing existing drum tracks.  Whether or not you have Beatscape installed does not affect the ability to utilize this content in X1.  In fact I prefer to use the content in X1 without Beatscape at all.  Here’s how easy it is to utilize the Beatscape content.

1.       If you do not have Beatscape installed, copy all of the “Beatscape Factory Content” from your SONAR X1 install disc or from the file in your download purchase and place it somewhere on your hard drive.

*If you do have Beatscape installed, you will navigate to the Beatscape Content folder in the next step.  Your Beatscape folder is usually in these locations depending on whether or not you are running a 64bit system:

If you are running a 32bit system of Windows:

“C:\Program Files\Cakewalk\Beatscape\Library\Beatscape Factory Content\” or you can search for the folder easily in Windows. 

If you are running a 64bit system of Windows:

“C:\Program Files (x86)\Cakewalk\Beatscape\Library\Beatscape Factory Content\” or you can search for the folder easily in Windows. 

2.       In the SONAR X1 Browser, navigate to where the “Beatscape Factory Content” folder is and save that location by simply clicking the “save content location preset” button.  You can also rename this location by double-clicking inside the text rectangle.

3.       In the “Media” tab, make sure Auto Preview, Preview at Host Tempo and Loop Preview are all checked.

4.       You can preview any loop by clicking on it.  With the Beatscape content file system; the word “combo” is used in the files that have the complete loop.  The great thing about this content is that for most loops, the parts are broken apart so you can use them all together for the complete “combo” loop, or you can pull in just single elements of the loops.  When pulled in separately you can combine them with other loops or you can pull them all in and then layer them on separate tracks.

5.       Experiment with different individual loops by simply dragging and dropping them into the track view and layering them on different tracks.

You can get quite creative with the Beatscape content, and it’s just another quick and simple way to get up and running fast on SONAR X1.  Next week I will show some of my favorite tips and techniques to get unique sounds from the Beatscape content using the ProChannel and other effects.

Upgrade to SONAR X1 Producer to get Beatscape and it’s massive content library.