HOW The Duke Western USES SONAR TO CREATE MUSIC FOR DUCK DYNASTY (AND MORE)

Here at Cakewalk we are fortunate to have an external team of rocket scientists who help test out SONAR beta releases.  This team is dedicated, passionate and most of all appreciated by all of us internally here at the Cake shop.  Recently I received a general email from one of my esteemed colleagues mentioning that one of our trustworthy beta soldiers was jumping off the beta-battlefield in lieu of another SONAR related activity.  Huh?  This peaked my curiosity and I felt obliged to dig a bit deeper on the subject.  What could “another SONAR related activity” involve?  SONAR Olympics? SONAR CPU Racing? SONAR Academy?

Featured Music Placements on Discovery Channel, History Channel, CBS, Bravo Network

Continue reading HOW The Duke Western USES SONAR TO CREATE MUSIC FOR DUCK DYNASTY (AND MORE)

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)

Artist Spotlight: Eric Hansen—How He Gets Big Pro Soundinig Results at Home

“Is it World Music?”  “Is it Spanish Music?” “Is this Jazz?” “Is this in the Acoustic Genre?”  Fortunately for guitar virtuoso and now-Pro D.I.Y’er Eric Hansen, the simple answer to these questions he faces regularly about his music is, “YES.”  Eric is another longtime SONAR user who depends on SONAR daily for his livelihood.  He is based out of Southern Florida which might just be where his Spanish and Latin influences come from, where at a young age he had a unique fondness for Flamenco infused Pop music.

Eric began studying the guitar at age 14 and was performing professionally with local rock groups by the age 16.  He then attended Florida Atlantic University where he studied Classical and Jazz guitar and was the first actual guitarist to complete the Honors Performance Program at F.A.U.  He went on to graduate with academic honors while simultaneously studying Flamenco and Latin American music with musicians from Spain and Peru.

In his professional career, Eric is no stranger to the Billboard Charts with 6 records under his belt all crafted in different versions of SONAR spanning over 15 years.  Eric is in the final stages of another record, but this one is being tracked, mixed and recorded all in SONAR Platinum.  After Eric getting Cakewalk an exclusive preview to 3 of the new songs on the record, we were interested in finding out more about how all these great tracks are coming together in Platinum [DEMO PREVIEW]:

Continue reading Artist Spotlight: Eric Hansen—How He Gets Big Pro Soundinig Results at Home

How SONAR user Bentley Ousley Executes a Crazy Idea

I love it when something comes across my desk that MAKES me want to dig deeper—find out more.  Recently I have been spending more time reading our Cakewalk forum and I am amazed at how passionate and talented our user base is.  I find myself going through posts, clicking links, poking around and being genuinely entertained and inspired.  One recent post really got my attention and after inquiring directly to the user, I found myself turning into a CSI investigator (Cakewalk-SONAR Investigator) looking for clues to make some sense out of what I had just stumbled upon…

Opening the case:

Cakewalk User: bentleyousley – [My Inside Voice]: “…sounds a little suspicious to me—sounds like a Rock Star I should know.”

Case: Once and Future Cities: A Fractal Journey – [My Inside Voice]: “…I think I remember the word ‘fractal’ from some distant math class or something.”

Location: Kansas City – [My Inside Voice]: “best BBQ I’ve ever had in that city, but a SONAR user in Kansas City with a studio that looks like a rocket fuselage? Okaaaayyy???…”

Evidence: PBS, Kansas City Star, Kansas City Planetarium – [My Inside Voice]: “…PBS? A Planetarium? A home-brew large format projector and software? Fractal equations translated into visuals? A brilliant film all edited and scored meticulously in SONAR Platinum by one person made for planetariums?  I’m IN…” Continue reading How SONAR user Bentley Ousley Executes a Crazy Idea

Month-end Artist RECAP: JUNE – BILLBOARD CHARTS, PAN AM GAMES, HEAT!

Summer officially kicked off in June with plenty of BBQ’s, beaches and Pro SONAR users doing some extraordinary things.  June also offered the SONAR Platinum Everett update which introduced the world’s most technologically advanced drum replacement feature.  Here are some highlights from last month on a few of the many hard working professionals using SONAR.

Murray Daigle – Toronto, Canada [Official Theme Song for Pan (and ParaPan) Am Games]

SONAR Platinum user Murray Daigle is the one of the most-awarded producers in the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN). Based in Toronto, he is also known for his songwriting and mixing skills with major label and independent artists for over 20 years.  In June, Daigle added yet another major accomplishment to his profile when his writing efforts and song-pitch for the 2015 Pan/Parapan Am Games were selected as the official theme song for the event.  The song was written at a “writing camp [workshop]” sponsored by the Songwriters Association of Canada, and then recorded and produced by Daigle with one of Canada’s most established pop artists Serena Ryder. The song, “Together We Are One,” was chosen out of 70 submissions created from the workshop. Seventeen artists perform on the song, including Mykey Thomas (Smashing SatellitesNeverest), Spyro Chalkiotis (lead singer of Neverest) and the Morningstar River drummers to name a few.  The song is currently picking up momentum as Universal has been promoting it to major radio stations, and a video for the song was also cut.  Additionally, the song is being played before every single game as well at the celebratory nightly fireworks ceremonies. Continue reading Month-end Artist RECAP: JUNE – BILLBOARD CHARTS, PAN AM GAMES, HEAT!

How SONAR user Bobbi Tammaro won a SESAC award over many Major Label Artists

Respect and credibility

A few weeks ago SESAC announced their 2013 Jazz Award recipients, and SONAR X3 user Bobbi “Funkeeboy” Tommaro was one of the well-deserved artists on the list.  I have been fortunate to get to know Bobbi in the last few years on and off the SONAR playing-field, and the first word that comes to mind is “respect.”  These days considering the state of the music industry, the word respect has more meaning than ever and Bobbi has earned it from his music peers along with just about everyone else that hears his story.  Besides respect, he has earned much credibility in the Smooth Jazz world from being a repeat-offender on the Billboard charts as an independent artist.

Bobbi who is also PKA “Funkee Boy” has amassed an impressive amount of credits throughout his music career. At the young age of 15 he was already making a name for himself winning the Connecticut State Organ Championship and also opening for national acts such as Spyro Gyra.  As he progressed he scored numerous chart hits across multiple music genres, as well as, several top Billboard chart hits/Top 5 Smooth Jazz hits, and licensing deals on television networks such as ABC, FOX, NBC, CBS, SHOWTIME, VH1, etc.

Before making his own records his music has [and continues to in terms of residuals] appear on some of the most popular and well respected shows ever such as Beverly Hills 90210, General Hospital, All My Children, Sunset Beach, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, Love Boat, One Life To Live, Young & The Restless, They Call Me Sirr, Soul Food.  Stepping out from behind the scenes as a songwriter/producer & into the forefront as a Smooth Jazz Artist, Bobbi’s track record progressed and continued to impress.

Most recently, starting off 2014 by releasing his 3rd CD “Soul Purpose”, the smooth jazz keyboardist/producer combined his talents with assembling a stellar line up of A-List recording artists. The newest award-winning record “Soul Purpose” features guest appearances from Warren Hill, Najee, Bob Baldwin, Cindy Bradley, Nick Colionne, LEILA, Surface, Lamone, Timmy Maia, Tevin Michael and more!!!

Chalk one up for the hard working jugglers. 

A few key elements set Bobbi apart from the pack that keeps him successful.  The obvious one is the raw talent of songwriting and performing his instrument, but if you go a few levels deeper, you will find a multi-instrumentalist, producer, mixing and mastering engineer.  Peeling back a few more layers exposes an organized machine who literally “does not need a label” to hit the Billboard Top 5 Smooth Jazz Chart.  In fact Bobbi has had many labels approach him and has respectfully declined any offers to do business.  Why?… because he has cracked the code and found a formula that works for himself as an independent artist competing in the major leagues.

It’s not easy

Hitting the Top 5 on any Billboard Chart is not an easy thing to do.  Besides the songs and production alone (which he does ALL in SONAR INCLUDING Mastering), Bobbi also has to oversee the efforts for Radio Promotion, Publicity, Social Media, Sales and Marketing.  If you ask me, this is a very rare skill-set to have as an artist considering just the time it takes alone to write and record a [great] full length record.  Bobbi does have help from his wife Leila who is also a very credible artist, and the two of them seem to have a great formula for getting the music out to the masses as if they were a Major Label.

Cakewalk:          It’s pretty amazing that you do so much to get your music out, can you describe the short-form version of a typical record release?

Bobbi Tammaro:            Sure, it’s hard to keep it short form because so much goes into it… So here goes Continue reading How SONAR user Bobbi Tammaro won a SESAC award over many Major Label Artists

HOW UPGRADING TO SONAR X3 GAVE THESE PRO ARTISTS AN EDGE

Luigie Gonzalez
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Grammy nominated Producer, Songwriter, Mixer, Multi-Instrumentalist

“When I walk into sessions with my SONAR machine, I hear ‘what is THAT’ a lot from other producers and artists.  And then like clockwork, I hear a lot of ‘whoah’ and ‘wow’ when they see what I can do beyond their limitations.  I’ll never forget Jimmy Jam being blown away once in a studio when I started getting my sounds going in SONAR – that was a pretty cool feeling because he could see and hear what made my **** sound different from other producers on the scene at that time.”  

Since upgrading to SONAR X3, my favorite new feature is the Nomad plugin suite.

The Nomad Bundle that comes with X3  has been a go-to for me when boosting mid and high frequencies.   The mids are awesome and super-musical!  I also usually use them for HiHats to boost 8KHz – 16KHz without sounding to square-digital or harsh.   It just has a nice sizzling tone that sounds so different than any other plugin in my arsenal of VSTs.  When I mix I am very observant of the “stereo image,” and Nomad’s “Imager” is the trick to help make room for things.  Also, I use the Tempo Delay often because of its warmth and versatility.   I also, love the Tempo Delay’s parameter controllers – having 3 independent delay configurations is great to achieve the perfect delay tone in my mixes.  I can really get unique sounds with the delays and shape them to my heart’s content.

On the other hand, I cannot live without the Console Emulator (I believe this was new to X2 but it just never gets old)…  It just opens my mixes in such organic ways that have I become addicted to it!  I use the trident (A-type) mode for kicks, bass and everything with low end character because it adds great sub harmonics.  The SSL (S-Type) I use for snares, kicks and everything in between to achieve that pocket /punchy sound which warms up the top end frequencies without dulling the sound.  The Neve (A-Type) for Vocals, synths, guitars and everything that needs to sound frontal or cut through mix.  It helps my “center” in the mixes along with some nice mid-frequency response.

I always add a bit of drive (Console Emulator) to my buses to emulate the console circuitry saturation because it works without distorting anything too much – just enough to add more random harmonics and make the whole mix sound even more organic and full.  I think the Console Emulator is one of the best features to SONAR in a long time, and I’m very happy Cakewalk implemented it as part of the ProChannel.

Track coloring is also something I was waiting for some time.   It helps me keep organized especially when mixing 100 plus tracks sessions which is usually the case for me.  It’s so smart that the track colors respond to the bus colors, this way I stay even more organized by visually understanding my large mixes.

I really dig the QuadCurve ProChannel EQ as well.   It’s super-transparent and colorless on certain modes which plays an important part when carving very precise frequencies.   It’s kind of like the FabFilter but the fact that it’s part of the ProChannel makes it easier and faster to use.  It’s also dead-precise while still sounding amazingly clean!

~Luigie Gonzalez

DJ Spooky
Location: New York City and The Poles
Producer, Music/Song/Sound Creator, Author, Visionary

When you are as diverse of an artist as DJ Spooky you need some serious music-creation tools.  Take Of Water and Ice for example.  This album is the result of DJ Spooky’s art residency at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. Of Water and Ice is a composition for string quartet and video that evolved out of his large-scale multimedia work Sinfonia Antarctica: an exploration of the composition of ice and water, and our relationship to the vanishing environment of the arctic poles. DJ Spooky created The Book of Ice based on his travels to the poles. All of the electronic sounds are generated by interpretations of either algorithms that mirror the geometry in ice crystals or the math of climate change data.

“The biggest asset to me upgrading to SONAR X3 was the speed Continue reading HOW UPGRADING TO SONAR X3 GAVE THESE PRO ARTISTS AN EDGE

How Tim Wynn used SONAR X1 to Create the Music for THE DARKNESS II

SONAR X1 user Tim Wynn is the Quintessential modern day composer/producer, and a rising Hollywood name whose diverse portfolio includes feature films, television series, documentaries and video games for major clients such as ABC, Activision, Electronic Arts, Fox, Fuji, Marvel, Sony, THQ, Universal and Warner Bros.

With several globally successful franchises already to his credit ranging from blockbuster video games such as Command & Conquer, Dungeon Siege, GUN, The Punisher, Red Faction, The Simpsons and Warhawk to adding to the sound of the hit television series Supernatural, Tim Wynn is gaining international recognition as a leader in a new generation of highly talented and versatile composers.  His recent releases include Fox Digital’s debut release, the comedy-horror web series Wolfpack of Reseda; the world’s first 3D television series Tokyo Control; the hit drama series Lucky Seven for Fuji TV, and 2K’s The Darkness II, the action-horror video game based on the best-selling Top Cow comics.

The Darkness II is the sequel to the critically acclaimed 2007 release The Darkness. Inspired by the popular comic book series produced by Top Cow Productions, Inc., The Darkness II is an intense first person shooter that puts you in the role of Jackie Estacado, don of a New York crime family and wielder of an ancient force of chaos known as The Darkness. Continue reading How Tim Wynn used SONAR X1 to Create the Music for THE DARKNESS II

Congrats to SONAR User Bobbi “Funkee Boy” Tammaro who Hit the Billboard Charts from his Home Studio

Congratulations to Bobbi Tammaro (aka “Funkee Boy”) who is seeing some great Billboard charting success with his new self-produced/mixed full-length album titled “Philosoulphy” which was created entirely in SONAR.  The album is also currently the #1 most selling Smooth Jazz CD in the world on CDBABY.COM.  Bobbi has an interesting SONAR story and is also a great example of the sign of the times in the modern day music industry.

For a long time, Bobbi was that guy behind the scenes; the guy that created, as well as put together great music for other major artists such as Tadros, Tenderoni and Leila.  Exclusively using SONAR, he also found his way to mainstream song-placement success on shows such as Continue reading Congrats to SONAR User Bobbi “Funkee Boy” Tammaro who Hit the Billboard Charts from his Home Studio

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.