Producing Live DVDs with SONAR

Trev-Wilkins--Scadge-ProducFrom time to time, Engineer and Owner of Scadge Productions, Trev Wilkins gives us a brief update on his travels on the road and in studio. Here’s the latest:

It’s been a long time since I updated the blog but (fortunately) that’s due to being very busy.

The Albert Lee and Hogan’s Heroes DVD, Live in Rome, should be on sale now (everywhere!) after being completely mixed and tweaked in SONAR.

There’s another live album still in progress for Neil Innes (the 7th Python) and his reformed band Fatso from their anniversary tour. It includes a wide range of material that I recorded during the tour including Monty Python and Rutles songs. Currently residing in a SONAR folder, it should be out early next year.

We’ve just finished part II of the Raymond Froggatt Live DVD which should be going to press very soon. The band liked our setup so much that they’ve purchased SONAR and will be recording some material for their next album in our studio.

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V-Studio 100 Hits Store Shelves Worldwide

The portable music production studio, SONAR V-Studio 100, is now shipping worldwide!

The second product in the SONAR V-Studio line of integrated hardware and software by Cakewalk and Roland is a compact, feature rich, music production studio that enables musicians to create, record, produce, and perform music with or without a computer. SONAR V-Studio 100 is ideal for the musician, singer-songwriter, MC, producer, or engineer on-the-go, regardless of whether they use a Mac or PC.

How will SONAR V-Studio 100 fit your production needs? Read on to found out:

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Live From Mix Nashville 2009: First Stop, The Legendary Sun Studio

Hello, Hello from Memphis and Nashville!

I used to be in Nashville and Memphis from time to time in my past life of a touring musician, but I really forgot how amazing this region of the country is; especially in terms of music. The trip started out early yesterday (3am) when I left my apartment for Newark Airport and then magically found myself in Memphis 5 hours later. I’m not too much of a plane-sleeper but I knew I needed some ZZZ’s for what was going to be a very busy day in “The South”. I met up with Cakewalk’s PR head Steve Thomas at his hotel and we both found it funny that we have more face-to-face business meetings in random cities than we do in the Cakewalk Headquarters. The afternoon rolled in and we headed over to Sun Studio in Memphis.

If you are not familiar with Sun Studio, it’s one of the most famous studios in the United States and has turned out some of the biggest hits in our time some including tracks from Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, BB King, Roy Orbison and U2 to name a few. You might be wondering at this point why we would be visiting Sun Studio on a business trip and I can proudly tell you it’s because Sun Studio is powered by SONAR and as of yesterday, the new V-Studio 700 is at the helm. I had never been to the studio before and Steve has always mentioned how great of a vibe it has… and he wasn’t kidding.

First of all, head engineer James Lott is such a great guy and it was a pleasure to meet him finally. When he brought me into the studio, the combination of the room itself along with the gear and the memorabilia on the walls gave me an overwhelming sense of music history. I can totally understand why people still love to record in this room as it’s one of those places that triggers creative inspiration. Between the way the natural light hits the room, the décor (including authentic and rare photos of Elvis and other iconic artists) and the materials from which the studio was built, there is something very unique and inviting about this studio that I have never seen or felt before. The VS-700 looks great in the room and I’m looking forward to hearing all the tracks in the future that will be recorded on this system.

Continue reading Live From Mix Nashville 2009: First Stop, The Legendary Sun Studio

Cakewalk’s Bob Damiano Takes Center Stage

Cakewalk’s Director of Engineering Bob Damiano, or the artist known as Roberts Reason, was recently featured as the Center Stage artist on the Saturday Night Rocks internet radio show at Mixposure.com. Bob is a seasoned guitarist, vocalist, songwriter and engineer who has been playing in bands since he was 15 years old. When not behind the scenes at Cakewalk, Bob runs Rock Science Studios.

The program director for Saturday Night Rocks is Mike Kohlgraf, a SONAR fan and Cakewalk forum member.

Take a listen to the show here.

Synthesizer Expert Adds V-Studio 700 to Studio

Dutch Synthesist and Composer Michel Von Osenbruggen recently reviewed SONAR VStudio 700 in his blog after adding the system to his existing workstation in the Netherlands. Running on SONAR and a Tascam US2400 console, Osenbruggen compliments the system’s compatibility with his studio and comments on the VStudio 700’s flexible control. With transport, jog shuttle and T-Bar controls, Osenbruggen can produce his music without the hassle of switching between mouse and keyboard.  He states that he has more room to work, as SONAR VStudio 700 fits comfortably on his desk and features easily-assignable tracks and faders. To read Osenbruggen’s review in full, please visit the Synth.nl blog.

A former software developer and engineer, Michel Von Osenbruggen discovered his knack for music production via his interest of sound production through data communication.  He started producing his own music in the early 1990’s and later signed a record deal with electronic music record label Groove Unlimited. In October 2008, Osenbruggen released a project on CD, AtmoSphere, which takes its listeners on a musical journey through the layers of atmosphere between earth and space.  You can listen to more of his music here.

Artist Spotlight: Eddie King & Megatrax Productions

On Rapture, Dimension Pro & The Difference 64 Bits Make

Megatrax chief engineer, producer and composer Eddie King

By Randy Alberts

“I love the way SONAR sounds,” says producer, engineer and composer Eddie King. “Particularly in the bottom end which is tight, fat and well defined. It’s my subjective opinion that SONAR’s 64-bit processing makes a huge difference.”

Given his aural perspective comes from multiple vantage points, it can be said King’s subjective opinion distills closer to objectivity with every SONAR mix he finishes. A Mac-based Pro Tools engineer/producer by day at Megatrax-a premier production music library and recording studio for film, t.v., advertising and multimedia-and a talented home-based composer and arranger by night with SONAR on his screaming-fast PC server farm, Eddie’s bi-platform, dual DAW audio opinion carries just a bit more weight than most others’ do.

“Once I saw that SONAR runs solidly, has good functionality and then, the big one, that SONAR is the only DAW running at 64-bit,” says King, “that’s when I thought, ‘Well, hello!’ It makes sense that better resolution means things are going to sound better, too. Again, this is subjective, but I have to say that SONAR’s 64-bit resolution does, in fact, make a big difference. I know Cakewalk has done more objective, blind listening tests about this, but at least I know for sure that SONAR makes a big difference for my sound and my mixes.”

Both Sides of the Building: Mega Tracks & King’s Sound

Eddie King’s audio credentials began years before the founding of Megatrax. In 1980 he opened and for years seriously upgraded his old Neve 3 and vintage analog gear racks at Kingsound in North Hollywood, his own commercial studio wherein Megatrax-one of his clients there-first began building their respected, comprehensive music library. Fifteen years later, in 1995, he sold Kingsound to them, Megatrax made Eddie their chief engineer and the two have been a very busy team ever since.

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On the Road with Cakewalk

Earlier this fall, Cakewalk’s Director of Public Relations Steve Thomas and Cakewalk’s Products Evangelist Brandon Ryan took SONAR V-Studio 700 and SONAR 8 on tour – debuting the new products to producers, engineers, recording artists, and recording studios abroad.

Brandon Ryan, Paul White of Sound On Sound Magazine, and Steve Thomas

The pair began impressing industry colleagues in Southern California only to end their tour a few weeks later in Europe- wowing ‘them’ yet again. Photos from the trip can be seen on Cakewalk’s Flickr PhotoStream. Just click on our Flickr widget in the sidebar or visit Flickr.com.

Soft-Synths: Rapture & Dimension Pro

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Eddie King, Chief Engineer at Megatrax Production Music, in North Hollywood, California reveals a few production secrets using Cakewalk’s Rapture and Dimension Pro synthesizers.

Jorge Corante — producer, composer and owner of Urban Authentic, a music publishing and licensing company — shares his production techniques for using Cakewalk’s Rapture synthesizer.

Getting Technical: Optimizing SONAR 8 for Vista

With the help of Cakewalk’s Engineering Department, Create Digital Music’s Peter Kirn delves inside the mechanics of SONAR 8. Visit Create Digital Music to learn how SONAR 8 will hold its own in Windows Vista.

Cakewalk’s Noel Borthwick explains, “SONAR 8 introduces several, crucial enhancements for communications with audio devices in Windows Vista, including support for WASAPI (a new audio standard in Windows Vista and future OS), MMCSS task profile support, and WaveRT streaming.”

To view the complete list of enhancements made to the latest version of SONAR, take a look at the posting below.

Studio Spotlight: Sun Studio

SONAR at Sun Studio: The Birthplace of Rock ‘n’ Roll
Chief Engineer James Lott and Assistant Engineer Matt Ross-Spang

By Randy Alberts

“Our clients love what we do for them here with SONAR,” says James Lott, chief engineer for over 20 years at the legendary Sun Studio in Memphis, Tennessee. “It sounds great and we’ve been using it for a long, long time. But most of all they trust us and how we’re using SONAR to record them. When we tell a band ‘OK, you can move on to the next song now,’ they trust us completely.”

Spoken on behalf of Sun Studio—the birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll and the country’s only National Historic Landmark with a digital audio workstation in the tour—Lott’s professional trust in Cakewalk’s SONAR shouts volumes.

“Like a good horse,” he adds with a laugh, “when something in a studio runs as fast as SONAR and does everything you tell it to, then you’re gonna ride that horse a long, long way.”

Tracking History Then & Now

The sheer history of music behind Sun Studio, since Sam Phillips first built it in 1950, deserves far more space than this story allows- to give it proper justice.

Those who visit Memphis, especially musicians and engineers, would not want to miss taking one of the studio’s daily tours to learn more about the studio’s historic past.

Elvis recorded his first two songs at Sun Studio in 1953 for $3.25, when it was still called Memphis Recording Service. Before Elvis, there was Jackie Brenston & His Delta Cats who recorded the world’s first rock ‘n’ roll single, Rocket 88, at Sun, originally composed by Ike Turner.

James Lott, Cowboy Jack Clement, and Matt Ross Spang. Clement worked at Sun as an engineer. Known for works with Johny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and many other Nashville greats.

With all the history within the studio’s walls—the same cozy 25×20 live room, tight vocal booth, tiny control room, and tiled front office where the original studio manager, Marion Keisker, sat in for the absent Phillips’ to record Elvis’ first songs—Sun is one of the top, most vibrant studios in the world today.

Recently, Lott used SONAR to track, edit, and mix projects for Liz Phair, Matchbox Twenty, Maroon 5 and Bowling for Soup. Tom Petty, a tape devotee, also recorded some new tunes at Sun with the studio’s prized MCI 24-track machine. Another recent SONAR session at Sun involved Amy LaVere, an Americana music composer and vocalist who expertly plays an upright acoustic bass far taller than she. Billy Bob Thornton’s band too, was due in for another Sun session shortly after our interview with Lott.

“The vibe of this place, this sort of ‘welcome homey’ kind of feel, is really what brings people back here all the time,” says Lott.

“Billy Bob is a longtime friend of Sun, in here for the fourth or fifth time now, and it’s his birthday, too. He told us that he wanted to come celebrate and to make some music up in here. It’s very old school here: not much has changed from the old days. There’s the same floor tiles, control room, front office, and even old lamps from the ’50s hanging from the ceiling. Even Marion’s front desk is still here, the same one she was sitting at when Elvis first walked in the door. Besides our staff and the gear we use, it’s the original vintage vibe of this place that keeps ‘em comin’ back.”

Continue reading Studio Spotlight: Sun Studio