Using Avid Artist Series Controllers with SONAR

by Craig Anderton

The Avid Artist Series Mix controller is compatible with SONAR. However, remember that this is a Pro Tools-centric controller, so not everything is implemented in SONAR (or in any other program for that matter). Regardless, the basics (and more) are there, but there are also some unique aspects you need to know.

There are horror stories all over the web of not getting the Artist Series Mix to work, even with Pro Tools, and many refer to it as a “doorstop.” Others have found ways to get it to work, which often involve strange rituals of turning things on in an esoteric and specified order—but it doesn’t have to be that weird. It seems the only real issue occurs when the Artists Series Mix initializes before other elements are ready to work with it, so all you need to do is take control over when it initializes—here’s how.

PREP WORK (IN THIS ORDER)

  1. Install the latest EuCon software from Avid’s Artist Series web site. This is essential, because the Artist Series Mix talks to your computer over Ethernet (or to your router/switcher if you already have a wired internet connection appropriating your computer’s Ethernet port).
  2. You may be instructed to do a firmware update.
  3. If needed, install the SONAR Eucon plug-in from https://www.cakewalk.com/Support/Knowledge-Base/20080104/EUCON-Control-Surface-Plug-in. The SONAR EuCon plug-in is needed to have it show up as a control surface in SONAR.
  4. Next time you boot up SONAR, select EuCon as a new control surface in SONAR (in Edit > Preferences > MIDI > Control Surfaces). Do notselect MIDI in or out for the Control Surface, that’s not what EuCon uses.

CONSUMMATING THE SONAR/AVID MARRIAGE

Using the following method, it doesn’t seem to make any difference when you turn on the Artist Series Mix. I usually wait until SONAR has booted, but I’ve also turned it on before anything else, after everything else, etc. The key is to keep the EuCon application from running before you want it to start.

  1. In Task Manager, Startup Tab, right-click on anything that says EuCon and disable startup. I left anything that says MC Client enabled because it didn’t cause problems. After doing so, reboot. You only need to do this once, not every time you want to use the Artist Series Mix.

  1. Boot SONAR and open a project.
  2. Turn on power to the Artist Series Mix.
  3. Wait until the Avid logos turn off in the display, then open the EuControl application that shows up with your apps.

  1. After it’s loaded, locate the EuControl button in the System Tray (or in the Hidden Icons if needed). It may take a while for this button to show up.
  2. Right-click on it and choose Restart EUCON Applications.

  1. When a dialog box says Restart all EUCON applications?, click Yes.

It will take a little while (although well under a minute), but eventually everything will recognize everything else, the faders will mirror what’s in SONAR’s console view if you’d previously selected EuCon as the control surface, and you’ll be ready to go. Note that you’ll also want to use the EuCon system tray icon to access the various settings, but that’s all pretty straightforward if you read the documentation for Avid’s EUCON software.

IS IT WORTH IT?

The Artist Series Mix is a pretty slick controller, even with somewhat of a “Made in China” (which it is) vibe. It has bright yellow OLEDs, and a small form factor that fits in crowded workspaces.

So…here’s what works.

  • Faders
  • Panpots
  • Solo
  • Mute
  • Record enable/disable
  • Sends (up to 8)
  • Gain Trim
  • Phase
  • Automation read/write
  • Bank Select
  • Strip nudge (i.e., move strips in a bank over one at a time)
  • Transport controls
  • It recognizes Aux Tracks, and buses are treated like tracks—no special switching is needed
  • Bank select by selecting a channel in SONAR. This is pretty cool if you’re focused more on SONAR than the controller. If you select a track that’s outside where the existing tracks fall, the faders will “scroll” so that the left-most fader is the selected track, and the other faders increment as you move right. For example, if the faders are on 1-8 and you select track 11, the faders will now go from 11-18.
  • Fader touch select. You don’t need to click anything to start controlling a fader…just touch and go
  • Footswitch jack for punch-in and punch-out
  • You can have up to four controls if you want 32 channels of faders.

Here’s what sorta works.

  • Selecting a track in SONAR selects it in the control surface, but unfortunately, not the other way around.
  • Bank select by selecting a channel in SONAR doesn’t work with buses. You need to use standard bank switching and strip nudging to get to buses.
  • Input Echo works except on Track Folders; however the corresponding control surface light (i.e., in the button you push) doesn’t illuminate when Input Echo is on.
  • Effects kind of work, sometimes. Maybe. I haven’t cracked the code on what makes them happen. I was able to get a Waves C1 compressor working, and for a fleeting moment it seemed like I had ACT figured out, but I wouldn’t go into the Artist Series Mix with the expectation of controlling plug-ins. Then if you can figure it out, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Here’s what doesn’t work.

  • The timed dimming function. Given that the manual states dimming is to prolong the life of the OLEDs, it’s concerning they don’t dim as advertised.
  • I don’t really think the effects editing qualifies as working, although as noted above, sometimes it does.
  • As of the most recent Artist Series software update, the meters no longer work in the display.

These units aren’t exactly inexpensive, but they work as advertised (or at least they do if you’ve read this), and perform the standard functions you’d want in a control surface. However, not everyone is enamored of them—check out some of the user reviews on various sites, like Sweetwater.com. In any event, I have the Artist Series controllers working fine with SONAR now—so I know they definitely can do the job.

Note: This article is excerpted from “The Big Book of SONAR Tips,” which is available from the Cakewalk store.

Musikmesse 2010: V-Studio 700 & V-Studio 100 Win at MIPA

At this year’s Musikmesse International Press Awards (MIPA), Cakewalk received 4 nominations for the development of the A-PRO Series Keyboards, V-Studio 700, V-Studio 100 and SONAR 8.5 Producer. Just being nominated is quite the honor, but we were humbled last night when we won in two categories, Best Recording Hardware for the V-Studio 100 and Best Digital Audio Workstation Controller for the V-Studio 700.

    MIPA_Awards

The V-Studio 700 has now won the MIPA two consecutive years in a row, and in two different categories. Last year, the V-Studio 700 won for Best Recording Hardware, so this year’s Controller win really speaks to the VS-700’s versatility, not to mention the high regard for which it is held by the press.

Cakewalk’s Michael Hoover and Roland’s Takao Watase accepted the awards. For those of us in the business of creating products for musicians, the MIPA is the equivalent of winning a Grammy. Aside from having great customers creating great music with your products, the MIPA is the highest honor in our industry. For the 10th annual MIPA, the editorial staff of 111 music magazines from around the globe came together to choose the absolute best products in each category.
Continue reading Musikmesse 2010: V-Studio 700 & V-Studio 100 Win at MIPA

Recording Magazine “Covers” V-Studio 100

vs-100-top-playrecordSince its release, Cakewalk’s V-Studio 100 has received high acclaim from leading music industry publications worldwide. This month, V-Studio 100 made the cover of Recording Magazine. Along with their great advice for beginners and tips on recording solo, Recording Magazine tells how the V-Studio 100 is no longer just for the SONAR user. It’s durable design, cross-platform functionality and affordable price point make it a great companion for the gigging musician. Here’s a few of our favorite quotes from the issue:

“Yes, even on a Mac—this interface won’t fail to please you with everything it can do.”

“I found the quality of the converters to be excellent, if not on the level of an Apogee or Benchmark box costing many times more.”

“I used it to quickly and reliably capture stereo mixes of live performances.”

“Ideal for the solo recordist who might want to sing and play guitar while having a keyboard or drum machine handy or for a small group that doesn’t have to mike a drum kit… this interface won’t fail you with everything it can do.”

Pick up your copy of Recording Magazine at fine music retailers and newsstands today!

Add A ‘Mixing Machine’ To Your Gig Bag

vs-100-top-playrecordYour band is working on a new EP. You’ve got four shows lined up for the month of February. It would be really cool to record your performances to add a few live tracks to the new release. With Cakewalk’s V-Studio 100 you can record, edit, mix and produce those tracks without missing a beat.

The V-Studio 100 is a cross-platform, 8 in + mix/6 out USB Audio Interface that also functions as a SD Recorder, Digital Mixer and DAW controller. On stage, you can use the V-Studio 100 to play pre-made backing track, mix vocals and other instruments, and record your performance directly to an SD Card. Back in studio, dump your live tracks into your favorite DAW and start the production process. V-Studio 100 acts as a control surface for any program using Mackie Control (SONAR, Ableton Live, Logic, Record, Digital Performer). It’s 100mm motorized fader, five rotary encoders, 11 general purpose buttons and transport controls can all be re-assigned to control your DAW and soft-synths. For those musicians just starting out in digital music-making, the V-Studio 100 comes with it’s own DAW software — SONAR VS (Windows only)–  as well as cross-platform plugins (VX-64 Vocal Strip, Channel Tools, Boost 11, Guitar Rig 3 LE, Studio Instruments, Rapture LE and Dimension Pro LE).  

Check out the feature in the February issue of EQ Magazine which notes the V-Studio 100 ‘wears many hats but one says ‘mixing machine.'”

TUAW.com, the Unofficial Apple Weblog, Explores the Versatility of V-Studio 100

Mac+VS100_v1Josh Carr, a reporter for the unofficial Apple weblog, TUAW.com, is slowly migrating from his analog mixer to the world of digital audio workstations. In studio, Josh uses Logic Pro for his music production needs. During the past two weeks, he has managed to learn the ins and outs of the V-Studio 100 as a DAW Controller and SD Recorder. In his review, Josh comments on how versatile the unit really is:

“When you toss in the SD card of your choosing, you’re able to record individual tracks for later synchronization… set it up at your latest show and record it for critiquing or a low budget live album… you can even toss an already-produced track from your computer onto the SD Card and use if for live playback… if you’re a one man band like me.”

Keeping the holiday season in mind, Josh recommends the V-Studio 100 as a great gift for the musician making the jump from analog mixer to DAW controller and for someone setting up a home studio on a budget.

Read Josh’s full review of Cakewalk’s V-Studio 100 at TUAW.com

In Studio and On the Road with V-Studio 100

CakewalkVS100Whether recording in your home studio or performing on the road, Cakewalk’s V-Studio 100 can get the job done. With multiple I/O options, easy to use transport controls and a built-in digital audio workstation, you can hook up the V-Studio to your computer via USB and start recording. Away from the computer? Capture your performances with the V-Studio 100’s SD Recorder.

In a recent review, Computer Music gave the V-Studio 100 5.5 out 6 stars. Impressed with the units flexbility, the reviewer exclaims:

“It’s hard to deny the value of the VS-100. The audio interface alone is a winner for its great preamps and rock-solid Mac and Windows drivers, especially when combined with the utility of a flying fader and transport buttons. Throw in a basic mixer with real hardware controls and a fine software bundle, combined with the ability to mix and record even without the computer and the VS-100 is a near-perfect, do-everything box.”

Get a better look at the V-Studio 100,  take our brand new V-Studio Interactive Tour

Read the full review at Music Radar.com

Cakewalk’s V-Studio 100 Gets New Snow Leopard Drivers

Mac-Snow-LeopardToday, Cakewalk continues Mac compatibility with the release of new Snow Leopard Mac Operating System (version 10.6) device drivers for the V-Studio 100 portable music production system. The new Snow Leopard drivers are also available for the UA-1G audio interface and UM-1G, UM-2G, UM-3G MIDI interfaces. More hardware drivers will be announced soon.

Cakewalk’s Vice President of Products & Marketing Michael Hoover states:

“Mac users are loyal, and very much looking forward to the new version of their OS. In turn, Cakewalk is loyal to its Mac customers, and supporting them means staying ahead of the development curve and anticipating customer’s needs. These new drivers are just the first step in our planned support for Snow Leopard and our Mac-based consumers.”

To download the drivers for your hardware, please visit our website. Click here for more information on Cakewalk’s V-Studio 100  and Audio / MIDI Interfaces

Musikmesse Day 2: Continued

Day 2 of Musikmesse started out real well. I opened up the tradeshow daily to see that we had gotten a write-up on page 2 about the fact that the V-Studio console was going to be available to SONAR 8 customers as a stand alone control surface.

I think one important point that was missing from the article, and I couldn’t expect it be written there, was that this is another example of Cakewalk listening to our customers. Some SONAR 8 users told us that they have spent quite a bit of money on their I/O and that you really only need the best control surface possible for SONAR.

We listened, and with just a little bit of work on our part, we will now be able to give them what they asked for, starting this summer. I still personally feel that if anyone had the full experienceof using the entire SONAR V-Studio 700 system together with the I/O and Fantom Synth, they would rethink their decision to only buy the console, but I guess I’m biased.

I kept reading the daily and I also found this nice photo of Ben Klempel and Massimo Barbini posing with the V-Studio 100. Massimo is the Managing Director of Edirol Europe, our distributor in Europe, and a really inspiring guy… I’m gald he’s on our side.

Brandon of course, was in his usual form, knocking out the crowds with his V-Studio 700 Demos.

There’s another good video from the show online. In this video, which should play after an ad, Sonic State interviews Julian from Edirol Europe about the V-Studio 100 and the VS 700C.

Also, the video I wrote about in the blog a couple of days ago, that Craig Anderton shot is now available online at Harmony Central.

When you get to the page, click on ‘Preview Video’ to watch Craig’s pre-show coverage. Alex, Steve, Brandon and I stage a mock argument about what’s important about the V-Studio 100 at around 4:20. You might get a laugh from it.

Signing off,

Carl Jacobson

Musikmesse Day 2: O Fortuna

Ok… I can’t contain myself so we’re going to have blog dessert first and jump right to the end of the day. SONAR V-Studio 700 won the MIPA award for Best Recording Hardware!

If you’re not aware of what the MIPA is or what it means to Cakewalk, just imagine that you won a Grammy award. Over 100 music products magazines worldwide come together each year to vote on what they feel are the best and most innovative products of the last year. So it is such a incredible honor that SONAR V-Studio 700 was selected for this!

Greg Hendershott, Cakewalk’s Founder and CEO and Mr. Kimitaka Kondo Managing Director of Roland Corporation were hand to accept the award.

I’ve uploaded a video clip from the event of our winning the award and Greg and Mr. Kondo’s speech:


SONAR V-Studio 700 Wins MIPA 2009
Uploaded by CakewalkInc

And here are some more pictures from the night:

Greg and Mr. Kondo accept the award.

The stage was filled with many happy people, as they called up the winners of all categories.

Charly Steinberg won a Lifetime Achievement award tonight for his work over the years to move music technology forward. It was a moment of sheer transcendence for me to see Greg and Charly together. Cakewalk won a MIPA tonight in a category that beat out Steinberg’s latest offering, and Charly the founder of that same competitor was honored for his life’s work.

Despite how fiercely we have competed over the years, the two of them greeted each other like old friends and had a genuine, warm moment congratulating each other. It really reminded me that we’re all in it for the same reason… to make music and to help people make music. And maybe we shouldn’t forget that are competitors are just like us in that regard. In alot of ways, they help us make better products for you, because we have to continue to innovate to stay competitive with each other.

Anyway enough of the philosophical ramblings. Here’s another photo from the evening, it features some of my favorite people, members of the Cakewalk and Roland team.

From left to right: Masahiro Minowa, Michael Hoover, Robin Kelly, Koichi Mizumoto, Greg Hendershott, Alex Westner, Carl Jacobson (me), Steve Thomas and Brandon Ryan.

Those are genuine smiles you’re seeing in this picture. This team and many other people back in the offices of Cakewalk and Roland, put in a tremendous effort over the last couple years to make SONAR V-Studio 700. To be recognized with a MIPA for that work, really made it all worthwhile.

Well, I need to run to a meeting. Part 2 of Day 2 will be coming soon.

Signing off,

Carl Jacobson

Create Digital Music Uncovers SONAR V-Studio 100

Create Digital Music is one of the industry’s top blogs featuring the latest news, tips, product reviews, forums and articles on digital music making. Yesterday, CDM was among the first outlets to introduce SONAR V-Studio 100!

“The V-Studio 100 is set up in a way that appears to come close to what I think a whole lot of us need as laptop musicians. And despite the Cakewalk name, it’s actually aimed at users of a variety of Mac and Windows tools…”

See what else they had to say about Cakewalk’s newest product, the portable music production studio for Mac and PC.

Visit Create Digital Music Now.