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.

Ultimate Guide to Cakewalk Synths Gets Facelift

cakewalk synthsCakewalk synthesizers are among the most commonly used software synthesizers in the business. Rapture, Dimension Pro and Z3TA+ are capable of creating powerhouse sounds that will turn your music into sonic masterpieces and Simon Cann wants to take your music production to that level.

In his guide, Cakewalk Synthesizers: From Presets to Power User (2nd Edition), Simon Cann will help you understand the basics of synthesizer programming and teach you how to utilize Cakewalk’s synthesizers to their full potential. Since the first edition of this book was released in 2006, Cakewalk has added four new synthesizers to the product line including Session Drummer 3, Beatscape, Dimension Pro, and Rapture.  The updated book begins with an overview of the general principles of music synthesis and sound creation — covering oscillators, different synthesis methods, filters, envelopes, LFOs, and effects — and then shows you how to make your own sounds with Cakewalk’s new instruments and incorporate them into your own productions.

In addition, Simon has included a free download package with the purchase of Cakewalk Synthesizers covering a wealth of information on the .SFZ format.

Visit Simon Cann’s website to pre-order your copy today.

Computer Music Magazine Reveals 11 Un-Missable SONAR Power Tips

Get more out of your favorite DAW with this list of the 11 Un-Missable SONAR 8 Power Tips by Computer Music Magazine. These tips explain the benefits that the latest enhancements made to SONAR’s audio engine and user interface provide to it’s users; with faster performance and more intuitive control. Featuring tips on Cakewalk’s new loop performance instrument, Beatscape, as well as SONAR’s new tools for arming and disarming tracks during recording and playback, this list will surely enhance the way you make music in SONAR.

Read Computer Music Magazine’s 11 Unmissable SONAR 8 power tips as seen on MusicRadar.com.

EM Magazine Hosts SONAR 8 Masterclass On Groove Tool, Beatscape

If you haven’t seen Electronic Musician’s master-class on SONAR 8’s new loop instrument, Beatscape, this would be a great time to check it out!

Via basic, easy to follow instructions, EM takes you through the process of importing and organizing audio files into Beatscape’s library and more. A brand new feature to the SONAR platform, Beatscape offers 16 pads to load and trigger your loops or samples for sequencing your music and beats. It also includes a massive 4GB REX library with preloaded material (beats, breaks, phrases in many genres). With drag and drop capabilities, Beatscape brings a new level of entertainment to remixing tracks!

Take a look at the masterclass in full at EMusician.com

Best of YouTube: SONAR User Tutorials

Here’s a few of our favorite SONAR tutorials created by three talented SONAR users on Youtube. Watch the videos to learn more about SONAR’s new features and tools. Just hit play on one of the clips below:

Using Beatscape and Step Sequencer:

Editing MIDI Notation:

TS-64 Transient Shaper & 3rd Party Plug-Ins:

EMusician.com: SONAR 8 is ‘Better at the Core’

EMusician.com gives SONAR 8 Producer high marks in their upcoming March review, stating that “version 8 is one of the most compelling SONAR upgrades in years.”

Critic Allan Metts gives props to SONAR 8’s programming and performance enhancements, including its compatibility with Microsoft VISTA and WASAPI (Windows audio-driver platform) support. Metts also commends the addition of four new plugins (TL64 Tube Leveler, Channel Tools, TS64 Transient Shaper, N.I.’s Guitar Rig 3) and three new virtual instruments (Beatscape, DImension Pro, True Pianos:Amber Module).

With more words to say than room, EMusician posted an exclusive online bonus article, in which Metts calls SONAR 8 “better at the core”.

Cakewalk In the News: SONAR 8 Producer & Cable Products

Sound On Sound (UK) has followed the SONAR product family since the beginning. Featured in this month’s edition, is an extensive review of SONAR 8 Producer. SOS debunks the myths about the upgrade and sheds some light on the new enhancements; including Beatscape and TS64 Transient Shaper, the 64-bit / VISTA compatibility, and the overall value of the digital audio workstation. Thought I’d share a few quotes from the article:

“The Producer Edition… has an amazing collection of free virtual instruments, signal processing, and MIDI processing plug-ins that give real meaning to the term ‘added-value’.

‘The TS64 is creating a lot of excitement, and rightly so. Though primarily designed for drums and precussion processing, this plug-in offers such precise control over the dynamics of an audio track or mixed audio that it will certainly be used on anything.”

See the SOS website for an article excerpt and more information.

The Video Theater at Harmony-Central is chock full of clips and highlights of this year’s NAMM show. The playlist features Cakewalk Product Specialist Samara Krugman giving a close-up look at Cakewalk’s new line of USB MIDI and Audio Interfaces: UA-1G, UM-1G, UM-2G, UM-3G. Also hosted on the playlist is an overview video of Craig Anderton’s Electronic Guitars Expansion Pack for Rapture, Rapture LE, SONAR HS 7, and SONAR 8.

SONAR 8: The Fine Print

Cakewalk’s CTO Noel Borthwick sheds some light on the features “under the hood” in SONAR 8.

*Note that this list is not a substitute for the official feature list & other features already documented in the SONAR 8 manual. Rather it is a list culled from Cakewalk’s Engineering Department*

Enjoy!

Performance optimizations:

Although every version of SONAR we shipped in the past had some degree of optimization work, SONAR 8 is the first version of SONAR to which we applied the same engineering process to performance optimizations as we do with other more user visible features. i.e. we established goals, built a specification for the optimizations, split up the work into milestones and tracked the progress of these tasks just as we do for other features. To make testing more deterministic, we devised various internal profiling tools in order to track and measure changes in performance across a variety of hardware platforms on XP as well as Vista.

Systems tested included brand new cutting edge platforms from Intel and AMD as well as earlier generation machines.

We split up this work into the following classes of performance enhancements for SONAR 8:

1. CPU and kernel level optimizations – use less of your CPU to do the same amount of work

2. User Interface optimizations – faster drawing, scrolling, zooming

3. Driver level optimizations – more efficient access to drivers, minimizing driver state transitions

4. Vista OS specific optimizations – Better use of MMCSS thread priorities, support for custom MMCSS task profiles, new WASAPI support

5. Audio engine optimizations – optimize “hotspots” in our bussing, streaming and mixing code

As a result of all these changes, SONAR 8 has the following benefits:

– greatly minimized kernel usage. This helps provide more “kernel bandwidth” to drivers who need it the most. More kernel bandwidth translates into less potential for audio glitches.

– Lower CPU usage – translates to better performance at low latency

– More efficient use of audio drivers – esp with ASIO drivers

– Better performance on Windows Vista esp X64. Many of the complaints of Vista performance as compared to XP have been solved with SONAR 8. X64 low latency performance should now be on par with X86.

– Faster application launch

– Less flicker in GUI. Track view splitters no longer flicker when resizing.

– More responsive zoom and scroll with large projects. Zooming with wave files now uses 1/2 the RAM with 24-bit or less stereo or mono files used.

– Better meter performance.

– Improved thread scheduling by insuring threads are properly distributed on processors.

This link shows the overall benefits of SONAR 8 as compared to SONAR 7: http://www.cakewalk.com/Products/SONAR/English/benchmark.asp

Continue reading SONAR 8: The Fine Print