DEVELOPER NOTES – SONAR X3 QUADCURVE EQ (UI ENHANCEMENT)

Introduction

Since it first appeared in SONAR X1 Producer, the QuadCurve EQ has become my go to EQ. That’s saying something given the abundance of killer plugins in my collection (yes, like many of us, I own far too many plugins).

Maybe I’m just lazy, but I love the fact that it’s always there, ready to go on any track or bus at a moments notice. No need to wade through plugin menus – it’s already waiting patiently in the ProChannel.

And it’s no slouch either. There’s no trade-off for that convenience. The QuadCurve EQ is up there with the best of them.

But, as much as I love it, I admit I have, in the past, occasionally found myself reaching for one of the alternative plugins in my arsenal.

Why? The QuadCurve EQ user interface could be, well, a bit cramped. The small EQ plot is fine for quick adjustments, but not so great for fine-tuning. Metering is also important to me, which the QuadCurve EQ was lacking.

The good news? SONAR X3 Producer addresses these issues, and much more besides.

So what’s new?

See me!

First off, it’s easier on the eyes. The UI is cleaner, clearer, and you no longer need a magnifying glass to read the knob values!

Then there’s the EQ plot, or should that be “plots”? The small ProChannel plot is still there of course, and it’s as useful as ever, but now there’s a new secret weapon at your disposal…

…the QuadCurve EQ Zoom Window:

As you can see, it’s essentially a much larger EQ user interface which, among other benefits, provides a much finer degree of control.

I say ‘secret weapon’ because it may not be immediately obvious how to get to it Continue reading DEVELOPER NOTES – SONAR X3 QUADCURVE EQ (UI ENHANCEMENT)

SONAR X3 Quicktip: Focus the Low end of your Kick and Snare with a Program EQ

Program Equalizers have been around since the 1950’s and in SONAR X3 Studio and Producer users will receive two of these incredibly emulated modules.

Let’s take a look at what the new Program Equalizer EQP-2B can do for our kick drum. You’ll notice that we have the ability to both boost and cut the same frequencies on this EQ. Choose a low frequency from the variable adjustment and then begin increasing the Boost parameter.  Increase it all the way and your kick drum signal will become quite overpowering. Adjust the Attenuate knob and the signal will begin to smooth out and focus your signal a bit better.

For this country kick drum I picked 80Hz for the low end and boosted the signal to it’s ceiling.  Next, I adjusted the Attenuate knob to it’s lowest setting. This effectively sharpens out the boosted signals and gives the signal a unique focus in the lower spectrum. After that, I adjusted for clarity and the end result is very useable.

Moving to the snare, user’s can get the same effect using the PEQ5B.  This has some of the same algorithms as the EQP-2B but with an added EQ section in the bottom of the plugin. At first listen the Snare sounds a bit boxy and grainy in the low and mid-range.

I applied a sharp reduction around 50HZ with the Low Shelving EQ and then another sharp cut around 800Hz.  This seemed to make all the difference. Afterwards, I moved to the upper half of this EQ and applied the same thinking that I did to the Kick but instead I focused the EQ to around 122HZ.  This will allow the snare to get out of the way of the Kick.  Next, boosting and then attenuating the signal seemed to focus the shape of the Snare right where I needed it.

Learn more about these plugins and SONAR X3 here.

Back for a limited time: The Softube Mix Bundle (VSTs and ProChannel Modules)

Softube Mix Bundle

Back by popular demand: Save 40% off the Softube Mix Bundle
This past February, we featured the Softube Mix Bundle at the Cakewalk Store for only $179 (40% off the regular price). Since that time, we have been asked by many users to bring it back. Through a special arrangement with Softube, we are happy to announce that this special is back for a limited-time. Through July 31st, you can save 40% off this special bundle that includes both VST and ProChannel versions.

The Softube Mix Bundle is a collection of five essential tools that give you full control over the key elements of building a mix—compression, equalization, and reverb. These plug-ins are the same great Softube plug-ins professional recording musicians rely on daily, so you can mix with confidence, knowing that the FET Compressor you put on your vocal track is the same one used on hit records around the globe. If you missed out last February, this is your opportunity to download this very special bundle at an unbeatable price!

Purchase the Softube Mix Bundle exclusively from the Cakewalk Store for only $179/£125/€149 – save 40% off the regular price of $299.

Highlights:

Download it today

QuadCurve EQ Demystified

If you’re a SONAR X1 user then you’ve probably already seen that the free SONAR X1d update has been released for all versions of SONAR X1. And if you’re a SONAR X1 Producer Expanded user, then you’ve probably already noticed that you’ve got a shiny, new EQ in the ProChannel called the QuadCurve EQ.

However, you might be wondering what exactly the deal is with the new EQ and and what the differences are in the four modes.

                Hybrid                           Pure                            E-Type                        G-Type

Continue reading QuadCurve EQ Demystified

Cakewalk’s V-Studio 100 Tops ‘Sound Guys’ Holiday Wishlist

V-Studio 100The Ask A Sound Guy bloggers, Ben and Sanjay, were first introduced to Cakewalk’s V-Studio series last winter at the NAMM Show. The smaller of the two units, the V-Studio 100, impressed them so much that they included the unit in their 2009 Holiday Wishlist.

When they later got hold of a unit to review, they put the portable music studio through its paces. Ben began by recording vocals and electric guitar remotely using the V-Studio 100’s built-in XLR inputs (with phantom power). “The preamps were exactly what you would be looking for in an interface like this,” he exclaimed. “They’re quiet, transparent, and boost the signal accordingly.”

To track the project live, Ben used the V-Studio 100’s on-board EQ and Compression. And to edit and mix the project, Ben integrated the V-Studio 100 with his own DAW. “I set it up to be used inside Logic and Live, and it worked well both times. The 100mm touch-sensitive motorized fader was a really nice feature to have. It’s probably more of a personal thing, but I enjoy seeing a fader move when its reading back automation inside my DAW of choice.”

Lastly, in hopes of pushing the envelope of the V-Studio 100, Ben recorded a full band (drums, bass, guitar and vocals) in a rehearsal space situation. He placed “two mics on the drums, a SM57 on the guitar cab, condenser on the bass cab, and vocals directly into the V-Studio.” Although it was live and “sloppy rock and roll,” Ben reported that the band was pleased with the final recording.

In all, Ben recommends the V-Studio 100 to producers, engineers and musicians on a budget, looking for an “all in one” solution for music production.

Visit Ask A Sound Guy to read the full review.

Add Punch to Your Percussion with SONAR 8’s TS-64 Transient Shaper

One of SONAR 8’s handy new features is the TS-64 Transient Shaper. Although the idea of the transient shaper isn’t new, it’s not a common processor to be bundled with a host DAW.

A transient shaper is a dynamics processor for sculpting the transient dynamics of any percussive-based source material. The TS-64 works best, for example, with drum loops and percussion, electric and acoustic guitars, and piano. While included in SONAR, the TS-64 is not exclusive to the DAW and can be used in any program that accepts VST plug-ins.

Sound On Sound’s Craig Anderton used the tool in SONY Sound Forge and Steinberg’s Wavelab without a hitch! Take a look at his thought on the TS-64 Transient Shaper, it’s controls, and how they can affect the sound of your mix.

The Basic Guidelines of EQ

What is Equalization or ‘EQ’? How can I use it to enhance the sound of my tracks?

Read the following guide to learn the basic terms, settings and tips associated with EQ. Adjusting the frequency levels while recording your instruments and vocals is just the beginning.

Also, watch the video below on how to adjust EQ in the console view of your Cakewalk software:

Hard Rocker Andrew W.K. Produced Albums With SONAR

Did you know that the Party Animal / Rock Star Andrew W.K. is a SONAR user?  With the exception of his 2006 release ‘Close Calls With Brick Walls,’ W.K. has recorded all of his albums using SONAR.  As told to EQ, “I really liked working with SONAR because I could have multiple regions of audio in one track and overlap them to make this collage of waveforms’.

‘Brick Walls’ proved to be a change from the usual for W.K. as he literally stepped outside the ‘walls’ of his software to collaborate in real time with the legendary Rastafarian Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry. ‘He is the first person I have met who truly uses magic in the studio,’ states W.K. The pair jammed out a whole album with the help a few mics and a small group of session musicians to play the backing tracks. Without the help of a computer, the instruments were mixed naturally in the air.

Read the whole article on Andrew W.K. at EQMag.com

The Fine Print III: Sidechaining in SONAR

The term ‘sidechaining’ refers to the manipulation of one signal by another where signal B (typically referred to a key input) effects signal A (primary input). Sidechaining is most often found in compressors, limiters and gates. Examples of sidechaining include ducking, voiceover, de-essing and pumping. For more information, check out this article on the Basics of Sidechaining.

Cakewalk’s CTO Noel Borthwick discusses the implementation of Sidechaining in SONAR is his latest Fine Print article. Since version 7, SONAR has supported side-chaining for both VST and DX plug-ins in all of its applications. This article describes how SONAR communicates with side-chain capable VST and DX plug-ins as well as how SONAR can be used as a guide to write a side-chain capable plug-in of your own.

Produce Robotic, Metallic Sounds with SONAR Vocoder

Robin Kelly’s latest video shows you how to use Pentagon, one of SONAR’s soft-synths, as a vocoder. A vocoder is an audio processor also known as a “talking synthesizer”. It analyzes speech, transforms it into electronically-transmitted information and recreates it into robotic, mechanical sounds. Vocoders can be heard in recordings by Cher, Beastie Boys, Kid Rock and Lil Wayne.

View more of Robin’s videos and tech tips.