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

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.

Continue reading Universal Routing Technology 202: Unlocking the Creative Potential of the Aux Track

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. Continue reading Universal Routing Technology 101: Improving Your Workflow With Patch Points

How the 2015 New Music Seminar took over NYC

Congratulations and thank you to the New Music Seminar for another great conference year. In 3 days there were many panels and workshops with useful information for just about anyone in the music industry.  On the music side of the coin, the artists involved this year were simply stellar, and offered a refreshing look at new talent.

The New Music Seminar (NMS) is a forward-thinking, annual music conference and festival acting as a catalyst for change in the music industry. Taking place in NYC from June 21-23, 2015, NMS this year was dedicated in exploring new ways to support artists, exchanging of business ideas, and showcasing the next generation of stars. The conference portion held at the Wyndham New Yorker Hotel kicked off with an exhilarating array of movements on Sunday, June 21st ending with an outstanding turnout for the opening night festival featuring none other than Melanie Martinez.

Cakewalk and Gibson Brands were both busy during the conference with panels, workshops and also sponsoring the event with a final prize package to the winning AOV (Artist on the Verge.)  Our first engagement was a private songwriter’s workshop at the NYC Gibson Showroom titled: How to Train Your Computer to be a Songwriting Partner. This workshop was nothing less than pure entertainment featuring songwriter and producer Mark Hudson and digital pioneer/Gibson EVP Craig Anderton.  This workshop was a discussion and presentation on modern-day songwriting, and how you can stay more creative in the digital world with some simple (but not so obvious) tips and tricks. Continue reading How the 2015 New Music Seminar took over NYC

Cakewalk Participates at the New Music Seminar: June 22/23 NYC

Cakewalk and Gibson Brands will be participating in the New Music Seminar this week, so if you happen to be in NYC please make sure to stop in and say hello.  The New Music Seminar is one of the most prestigious music conferences in the United States, and is held annually each June in New York City.  It originally ran from 1980 – 1995 and was re-launched in 2009 with great reception by the music community. The conference features over 150 CEOs, Presidents, Executives, and leaders in the emerging music business along with over 100 artist performances. The mission of the New Music Seminar is to grow a sustainable and better music business to allow creators the best opportunity to succeed. The NMS strives to enable more artists to achieve success and encourages new levels of investment in music and artists.

Please join Cakewalk and Gibson Brands at New Music Seminar:

————————————————————

Monday June 22, 2015 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
How to Train Your Computer to be a Songwriting Partner
Gibson Showroom
421 W 54th Studio 5
New York, NY 10019

Come join a private in-studio session at the Gibson Showroom [Cakewalk] Studio 5 NYC:  In a world of zeros and ones, where does the computer fit into traditional songwriting? Songwriter/producer, Mark Hudson, (“Living on the Edge,” Aerosmith – amongst other hits) and digital pioneer, Craig Anderton, along with producer/songwriter Jimmy R. Landry will interactively cover new approaches to songwriting for the modern-day musician.

 

 

 

Tuesday June 23, 2015 11:30 am – 12:30 pm
Leveraging The Relationship: Artist and Brand Alignment:
Gramercy Park Suite
Wyndham New Yorker Hotel
481 8th Ave, New York, NY 10001

With the shifting paradigm of the music industry and how artists engage with fans, the importance of relationship management is more imperative than ever. What’s the protocol for artists approaching companies and brands, and once that relationship is established how can it be leveraged for the benefit of both? This panel will dive into strategic plans for artists looking for endorsements and partnerships, while also dissecting past examples that have resulted in success.

Conductor: Jimmy Landry (Head of Artist and Public Relations, Gibson Brands)

Players: Perry Greenspan (Director of Strategy, Platinum Rye Entertainment), Elliot A. Resnick, Esq. (Attorney at Law, SAHWH, LLP), Aimee Berger (Founder/Partner Camplified/ItACampThing, Primary Wave Entertainment), Amaechi Uzoigwe (Manager, RUN THE JEWELS), Ryan Fitch (VP Sync Licensing & Brand Partnerships, MAC Presents)

 

Tuesday 2:30 pm – 2:45 pm  – NMS Intensive:

Grand Ballroom
Wyndham New Yorker Hotel
481 8th Ave, New York, NY 10001

Hi-Res Audio: So What?

Conductor: Craig Anderton (Executive Vice President, Evangelist, Gibson)

Why Musicians from all over the world are attending Gearfest

If you’ve ever driven through the mid-west, you know there’s not a lot happening in between the cities that you encounter during the ride.  That is, unless, you happen to be driving just north of Fort Wayne, IN during the early summer month of June.  In this case, you are sure to find your way to one of the fastest growing music events in the country – Gearfest!

Cakewalk had the privilege to take part in Gearfest again this year, and I was fortunate enough to make my first trip to what is quickly becoming known as a mini Namm in the mid-west. The event is put on by a great company called Sweetwater which is basically the end-all-be-all of anything you need for gear in the cyber world.  If you can’t find it in a store, or you simply just want more choices for purchasing, you can bet that you will find it at www.sweetwater.com.  Sweetwater is also known for having one of the most knowledgeable staffs in the industry, and if you just give them a call with a question you are sure to have an answer quickly by someone at their facility.

The first thing notable about Gearfest is the size of the event.  What started out  not to long ago as an idea to bring local people together for the community, has turned into a 10,000+ strong conference which now spans over 2 days and includes an interesting and unpretentious concoction of artists, industry professionals, music fans and gear-head-musicians from literally all over the globe.  The second thing to note is that it has its own vibe and culture very unique to itself.  Many music oriented conferences and/or festivals for that matter sometimes turn into promotional spectacles for those trying to gain an edge on their profile; Gearfest is the opposite. Continue reading Why Musicians from all over the world are attending Gearfest

Cakewalk at Gearfest 2015 with iLan Bluestone

On Friday/Saturday June 12th and 13th, Cakewalk and Gibson will be part of a great music event in Fort Wayne, IN called “Gearfest 2015.”  What once started out as a smaller “musician’s conference,” has now transformed into a collective gear-fanatic affair where music equipment enthusiasts from all over the U.S. and beyond converge upon this mid-sized mid-west town.  It’s certainly impressive and appreciated by many that Sweetwater has put this much care and effort into bringing together over 400 manufactures along with hundreds of presenters to this world-class event.

On Friday June 12th 11:15am at Gearfest, Cakewalk will be presenting a very interesting panel with U.K. based SONAR Platinum user iLan Bluestone.  In the last year, Bluestone has gone from newcomer, to one of the most in-demand new acts on the international dance music scene.  This presentation will be an exclusive interview geared [no pun intended] towards a day in the life of a successful touring electronic musician/DJ in today’s industry.  The interview will be followed by a demonstration of iLan’s approach to music production on SONAR Platinum.

Also presenting on 2 panels at Gearfest will be Gibson’s own Craig Anderton.

Friday, June 12th, 11:30am – Everything You Need to Know About Dynamics (Craig Anderton) [Conference Hall 2, Room A]
Saturday, June 13th, 9:45am – How to Master in Your DAW (Craig Anderton) [Conference Hall 2, Room A]
Saturday, June 13th, 11:15am – A Conversation with EDM Producer iLan Bluestone (Jimmy Landry/iLan Bluestone) [Conference Hall 2 Room A]

Details:
Sweetwater Gearfest 2015

Sweetwater Campus
5501 US Hwy 30W
Fort Wayne, IN 46818

We hope to see you there!

SONAR and Rapture Pro at the International Music Summit Ibiza, Spain

One thing is certainly clear.  Ibiza is a very creative island in terms of music. Besides the infamous “foam parties” and club-scene, there are locals here that write, record, promote, produce, live and breathe electronic music on a world-class level. Bringing all these creative people together yearly is a festival known as the International Music Summit, where professionals and music fans converge from all over the world to celebrate and discuss the industry.

This year The International Music Summit is being held at the Hard Rock Hotel in Ibiza, and the Gibson Brands family is here supporting all the great artists. One component to the partnership is the Gibson tour bus which unbelievably came here on a boat and is serving as a meeting spot for many exclusive artists. Parked out in front of the Hard Rock Hotel, the Gibson tour bus has made its appearance in a big way including a SONAR/Tascam / KRK / Surface Pro 3 mobile recording setup inside.

Many of us have been having fun creating some great music here on the bus, but one major highlight today was an appearance by the legendary Arthur Baker who just happened to be sporting his trusty TR-808. Within about 20 minutes, we had a substantial piece of music combining Arthur’s 808 skills, the new Rapture Pro, and some cutting edge loops from Loopmasters. We started with Arthur creating a beat on the 808 at 128bpm and sparingly added in some other loop elements from Loopmasters which created an interesting combination of modern and vintage sounds. After that, we added a lot of color with the large array of sounds from the new Rapture Pro library. Later today we will be adding some vocals to the composition so hopefully we will have something to post by the end of the conference.

On a technical note, I had the good fortune to test out SONAR on the new Surface Pro 3 and what I have to report is good news – the Surface Pro 3 is the real-deal for music creators. The one that was (thankfully) sent to Cakewalk from Intel boasted an Intel Core I7 along with 8 gigs of ram, and this machine flinched at nothing I threw at it. In fact on the contrary, I found it very quick and snappy on every level. I also found the touch responsiveness to be nothing less than spectacular. I highly recommend this machine, but along with that recommendation is the key element of obtaining one with a Core I7. Also be advised that these only have one USB port, so a USB3 powered port expansion is the ticket. Also noteworthy is to make sure your interface is not a power-hog (Class A components usually are). Continue reading SONAR and Rapture Pro at the International Music Summit Ibiza, Spain

Video from Winter NAMM 2015

NAMM

Highlights from Winter NAMM 2015
NAMM was our first opportunity to show off the new SONAR line to the public, and the reception was nothing short of spectacular. To handle the crowds, products were demoed at three locations—the Gibson, TASCAM, and Hal Leonard booths. We met artists, press, and of course many, many customers—and we were equally happy to thrill long-time Cakewalk supporters as well as bring new users into the fold.

Cakewalk NAMM 2015

We wish everyone could experience the excitement of NAMM, but to give you a taste just click the links below to see demos and interviews from the show floor. And—there’s also a sneak peek of the new David Bendeth Signature Series Compressor.

Dan Gonzalez demos the new features in SONAR

Audiofanzine gets a demo of the new SONAR

Keyboard magazine interviews Craig Anderton on Membership

Engineer/Producer, John Paterno shows off Overloud REmatrix

Sneak peek at new David Bendeth Signature Series Compressor

 

Basics: Five Questions about Latency and Computer Recording

Get the lowdown on low latency, and what it means to you

By Craig Anderton 

Recording with computers has brought incredible power to musicians at amazing prices. However, there are some compromises—such as latency. Let’s find out what causes it, how it affects you, and how to minimize it.  

1. What is latency? When recording, a computer is often busy doing other tasks and may ignore the incoming audio for short amounts of time. This can result in audio dropouts, clicks, excessive distortion, and sometimes program crashes. To compensate, recording software like SONAR dedicates some memory (called a sample buffer) to store incoming audio temporarily—sort of like an “audio savings account.” If needed, your recording program can make a “withdrawal” from the buffer to keep the audio stream flowing. 

Latency is “geek speak” for the delay that occurs between when you play or sing a note, and what you hear when you monitor your playing through your computer’s output. Latency has three main causes: 

  • The sample buffer. For example, storing 5 milliseconds (abbreviated ms, which equals 1/1000th of a second) of audio adds 5 ms of latency (Fig. 1). Most buffers sizes are specified in samples, although some specify this in ms. 

 Fig. 1: The control panel for TASCAM’s US-2×2 and US-4×4 audio interfaces is showing that the sample buffer is set to 64 samples. 

  • Other hardware. Converting analog signals into digital and back again takes some time. Also, the USB port that connects to your interface has additional buffers. These involve the audio interface that connects to your computer and converts audio signals into digital signals your computer can understand (and vice-versa—it also converts computer data back into audio).
  • Delays within the recording software itself. A full explanation would require another article, but in short, this usually involves inserting certain types of processors within your recording software. 

2. Why does latency matter? Continue reading Basics: Five Questions about Latency and Computer Recording