Creating Your Own Guitar Tone with TH3 in SONAR

TH3 Cakewalk edition allows for anybody with SONAR to have access to amazing guitar tones. It comes with loads of amps, cabinets, effects and even allows for changing the position of the mic. If you want to do stereo processing of effects to create a stereo delays or parallel processing by mixing two amps together, you can do that as well.

Where to start?

Insert TH3 on to your guitar track and make sure you are using the correct input and have the Input Echo button enabled to hear what is plugged into that input.

A good place to start after inserting TH3 on to your guitar track is to check your level into the plug-in and the tuning of your guitar.

Check your level:

Strum a big chord on your guitar to see how much signal is coming into the plug-in. There should be a healthy amount of signal coming in and no clipping in the red.

Tuning:

Play each string and adjust until you see the tuning pin is in the center for each string.

Auditioning Amps

Open the [Components] section on the right if it is not already open and select the amps category from the list. Once you have that selected, you can then drag in the first amp at the top. You’ll be asked if you want to insert a matching cab, click [YES PLEASE!].

Give it a try! To audition other amps and cabs click the up and down arrows on the top left corner of the amp head or cab. Depending on what you are going for this is where you’ll want to pick out an amp that has some of the characters you are going for.

Here is a list of the included amps in TH3 Cakewalk along with the units they are modeled after.

  • Bassface ’59 – Modeled after the ’59 Fender Bassman
  • Darkface ’65 – Modeled after the ’65 Fender Twin
  • Modern – Modeled after the Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier
  • Overloud Custom Power – Overloud Custom amp
  • Randall T2 – Official model of the Randall T2 head
  • Rock ’64 – Modeled after the Marshall JTM45
  • Rock 900 – Modeled after the Marshall JCM900
  • Slo 88 – Modeled after the Soldano x88r
  • THD Univalve – Official model of the THD Univalve Single- Ended Class A amplifier
  • Top30 – Modeled after the Vox AC30
  • Tweed Deluxe – Modeled after the Fender Tweed Deluxe
  • Bass SuperTube VR – Modeled after the Ampeg SVT-VR

Spice It Up Now

I’m going for a pretty classic tone that is mostly clean with a little bit of grit on it. I picked out the Top30 type head with a matching cab and will add an overdrive going into the amp. Go to the Components section again and select overdrive category. Drag in the TUBE NINE over before the amp. Dial in a some gain to taste using the “Drive” control and give it a whirl.

There are many other effects included with the TH3 Cakewalk edition, here is a compete list of everything you get.

  • TUBE NINE Overdrive
  • FatMuff Fuzz
  • FUZZRACE Fuzz
  • CHR-2 Chorus
  • Digital Delay
  • RSS Compressor
  • ANALOG FLANGER
  • Rich Flanger
  • 9-0′ Phaser
  • AQTX Spring Reverb
  • AmpTrem Tremelo
  • Auto-Wah
  • cry maybe Wah
  • Gate Expander
  • Volume

Mastering Space

Using spacial type effects like reverb and delay are critical in getting many of the classic guitar tones from the past. Here are some good rules to live by when getting started using reverb, delays and other spacey effects.

  1. Use modulation type effects like Chorus, Phasers, and Flangers toward the middle of your chain after distortions & overdrives.
  2. Use Delays after the Modulation type effects.
  3. Place reverbs at the end of your chain.

TH3 Cakewalk edition is included in SONAR Home Studio, Artist, Professional, and Platinum.

Using Melodyne to Create a Double in SONAR

Melodyne is not only a great way to tune vocals and still maintain their musical quality it can also be used for several other unique purposes like creating a tempo map from a live audio recording or extracting MIDI from audio. In this tutorial, we’ll be looking at using Melodyne to make things multiply for added thickness and depth.

What is doubling?

Double tracking is an audio recording technique where a performer sings or plays along to their own performance, to produce a “bigger” sound than can be obtained with a single voice or instrument. It is a form of overdubbing; the distinction comes from the doubling of a part, as opposed to recording a different part to go with the first. The effect can be further enhanced by panning one of the performances hard left and the other hard right in the stereo field.

Doubling Audio with Pitch

If you are working with a single vocal track and want to thicken things up, a classic technique is to create two copies of the original track and tune one track up and the other down very slightly. When mixed into the original track this will add additional texture and thickness to the vocal. To add width, simply pan each copy slightly off-center from the original track.

Open a project with a vocal track you want to double and click the Add Track button and make 2 additional audio tracks. Give each track a unique name and then hold down [Ctrl]+[Shift] to copy and lock the position and drag the vocal clip to each track to create both copies.

Doubling Audio with Pitch Inside SONAR Recording Software

To create a Melodyne clip, click on the first copy and press [Ctrl]+[M]. Melodyne will open in the MultiDock. You can also use the Region FX menu and select Melodyne | Create Region FX.

Select all the notes in the Melodyne window by clicking on one note then pressing [Ctrl]+[A]. Use the fine tuning control to tune the first track up by +3 cents. Double click in the area with the orange rectangle around it to type in the desired amount. Once you have entered the amount you can click away or hit [Enter] to apply.

Create Your Melodyne Clip

Repeat the steps for the second copy and then use the Inspector to mix both track in to taste. You can select both tracks at the same time and then use [Ctrl] to create a Quick Group. You’ll then have the ability to bring the volume Up / Down and mix it into the original track. Play around with the panning as well to get different amounts of width in the mix.

Pro Tips:

  • Use Pan to create additional width.
  • You can use the format control to create even more separation from the original.
  • Add additional processing to the doubles for other interesting sounds.

Doubling a Live Instrument with MIDI

More often than you can imagine producers want to hear an additional sound in a recording and those instruments or a player for them are not around. As a piano player, you have many options available to you with the use of virtual instruments and MIDI. What if you are a guitar player who wants to create a double on an instrument you don’t play or don’t own? You are in luck, with Melodyne and SONAR we make this a price of Cake.

* This process works best with single note lines but can also work well for simple chords or double stops as well.

Create a single note recording of a hook you want to double and use the Add Track button to create an instrument of your choice.

Using Melodyne You Can Create a Single Note Recording of a Hook

Hold down [Ctrl] and drag the audio clip to the Instrument track.  Watch as Melodyne automatically converts the audio to MIDI.  Double click the newly recorded clip to make any adjustments needed.

Make Adjustments in SONAR As Needed

Pro Tips:

  • Hold [Shift] while moving notes to maintain their original location in time.
  • Select all the notes and drag to a higher or lower octave.
  • Create a harmony by selecting a scale to snap to and then drag the notes up or down by a 3rd.

Melodyne Essential is included with SONAR Professional and SONAR Platinum. If you own SONAR Artist you can follow along using any demo of Melodyne from the Celemony Website.

Try SONAR Music Recording Software for 30-days

Norman Matthew Faces Life – “As Strange as Angels” – New Solo Record Created in SONAR Platinum

Norman Matthew Heads Back Into His SONAR StudioIt’s a cloudy summer morning in Dallas, TX, and Norman Matthew is crawling back into his SONAR Studio seemingly picking up where he left off a year ago, July 2016. During that month in 2016 on TX Interstate 10, his previous band Murder FM found themselves road-challenged and entangled in an accident in their tour vehicle 20 miles outside of a tour stop in El Paso, TX.  At this moment, Vocalist/ Guitarist/Producer Norman Matthew knew his life was about to take a turn.”

“I loved and still love Murder FM. It was my identity. I loved those guys more than anyone can imagine. We had a thousand ups and downs together—we traveled the world with our music—we saw more miles than many will see in their lives, and we did it together. We went through marriages, divorces, and even saw a man lose his life in front of us on tour—obstacles were no stranger to us. Mistakes… I made plenty of them but the road was the only place that ever really felt like home. It was the only time I truly recognized myself. But when worlds collided on the road in July 2016, already embroiled in chaos in my own personal life, I knew there was nothing more important than making sure every breath I took was for my son. I had to make a change—and it became evident that my son meant everything to me, and I needed to put that at the forefront of my life.”

Continue reading Norman Matthew Faces Life – “As Strange as Angels” – New Solo Record Created in SONAR Platinum

Is the car test still relevant?

“My first mix sounds awesome in my car!”

Said no producer ever…

Every producer and mixer knows the struggle; the infamous car test. You know the drill. You print a near-perfect mix in your home studio and then bounce it with the label, “FINAL MIX_wav”  and send it to your phone. You can feel the excitement, energy and anticipation of releasing your masterpiece into the world…and then you step into your car.

The nervous sweat drips down your back and your ears are clogged from hours of non-stop mixing. You press play and immediately regret not going to law school. OK…maybe it’s not that bad but straight from the bat you know your mix isn’t translating well in your car stereo or even the cheap earbuds that came with your phone. You are not alone.

Why does my mix sounds so terrible in my car? Continue reading Is the car test still relevant?

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 the new “TH3 Cakewalk” Will Elevate Your Recordings in SONAR

Whether you update SONAR every month or not, this month is a great time to hit the C3 button.  Besides the new cutting edge LP mastering plug-ins, we have worked hard and closely with our good friends at Overloud to deliver something that can truly change your sound as a SONAR user. TH3 Cakewalk has arrived and will now replace TH2 moving forward, and I had the opportunity to run the beta for the last month building some basic presets for the plug-in. Right out of the gate I found this VST3 to be a nice upgrade from its predecessor TH2.

Now I am absolutely nothing close to a guitar wizard, but I have been hacking around since I picked up the instrument at age 5, so I’ve been around the block with guitar tones touring, producing, engineering, recording, etc. like a lot of folks probably reading this.  From a production standpoint, I’ve always loved the convenience of amp simulators, but always hated what would happen to the tone when trying to mix them together with drums that had been recorded with 1073’s, API’s or other heavy duty pres and mics… the tone gets small pretty fast.  In my opinion, this is something that Overloud in general has excelled at—DSP and algorithms that truly stay at the front of the mix no matter what the context.  TH3 brings this concept to even another level.  Here are some of my quick thoughts and findings.

Sounds
There are a lot of changes with the new TH3 Cakewalk including the new and upgraded User Interface which I will get into, but I bet a lot of folks like me really base their judgments on how things sound.  The good news is that once you are up and running with the plug-in you will notice a nice improvement on the sound quality from TH2 Producer/Cakewalk.  5 new amp models with more accurate model reproduction are included in TH3 Cakewalk, and all have improved DSP along with enhanced preamp and power amp stages.  To my ear, I notice a more “open and natural” sound in general, but also notice a more responsive relationship between the pick and the strings in terms of “feel”—like when you play a guitar through an amp that just had the tubes replaced.  I also notice more presence overall, but the right type of presence without harshness.  The low-mids and mids are thick and punchy and I especially love the new Slo88 and Tweed Deluxe amps which have a lot of character.  The Bassface is a beast as well; this amp is a secret weapon for many rock producers who use it to double rhythm guitar parts recorded with other amps.  Blending these two sources together produces a tone that is about as thick as it gets.

New amps in TH3 Cakewalk:

 

Bassface 59:  Model of a classic american “bass” combo amp, tuned to be great for rhythm and blues playing on guitar once overdriven

Continue reading How the new “TH3 Cakewalk” Will Elevate Your Recordings in SONAR

Anatomy of a Project: A Nontraditional Approach to a Commercial Recording

By Jimmy Landry

Last summer, Peppina—a young female artist from Finland— plunged herself into the NYC music scene for two months. With the help of renowned NYC entertainment attorney Steven Beer who discovered her, she managed to head back to Finland with a major-label sounding EP. The project was recorded in different ways, in different locations all over the city—and with budgets being slashed, these days it’s pretty much hand-to-hand combat when making a low budget recording where anything goes. But the upshot is yes, you can record a commercial-sounding record on a budget—so here are some of the techniques we employed to accomplish that goal. SONAR Platinum was instrumental in saving time on this EP. Between the Drum Replacer, VocalSync, onboard Melodyne, Speed Comping and general speed enhancements, I got to the finish line a lot faster than previous records. I highly recommend anyone who’s on SONAR XX to take a close look at what the program has brought to the table in the last year.

This all started when Steven Beer called about an artist he’d heard sing at a film festival, and invited me for a meeting at his office. Interestingly, there were two other producer/writers there as well—a bit unorthodox, but pretty much anything goes these days, so nothing really surprises me anymore. We discussed the artist’s interests, influences, and other variables, and then listened to some of my reel as well as music from the other producers. It turned out the lawyer’s master plan was to bring the three of us together to co-write, record, and mix a five-song EP before she went back to Finland in 45 days.

Peppina already had some momentum in Finland from a loop she wrote and uploaded to a site called HITRECORD (owned by actor and director Joseph Gordon-Levitt). Her upload was so popular that Gordon-Levitt flew her to California to perform the piece at the Orpheum in LA during one of the show’s TV episodes. This all sounded good to me, so I signed on to a production team that would share in the production duties and heavy lifting. As to budgets…well, there was enough there for us to take it on as a challenge.

Continue reading Anatomy of a Project: A Nontraditional Approach to a Commercial Recording

Studio Makeover Month: The Ghostwriter Studio Setup

Meet the Ghostwriter – a professional songwriting machine working under contract to create music for mainstream acts and artists. He lives to create music in a simple and inspiring environment without any hiccups or interruptions. He needs a mobile setup that comes with him to collaborate with Artists, but powerful enough to craft song ideas into finished demos on tight deadlines. This Ghostwriter has to be able to do it all, and he gets results with SONAR X3 Producer.

 

The Gear:

The Ghostwriter has delicately carved out his set-up according to his Songwriting process. Everyone’s process is different but over the years he’s learned that songwriting is a skill that needs to be worked over and over again in different ways. He’s picked a powerful Dell M6800 Precision workstation as his main workhorse computer because of the expansive hard drive space, optical drive, large visual workspace, 8GB of memory, and long battery life. With 4 USB 3.0 ports, transferring and backing up his music takes a fraction of the time it does on his MacBook.

Songwriting can sometimes start with an idea that hits faster than he can reach for a recorder. Instead he flips on his Gibson inspiration cable, and works the idea out while his computer is booting up. This clever cable catches the direct signal of his guitar’s pickup and transfers it to an SD card. After that, he just pops out the card and copies it to his SONAR X3 Producer Continue reading Studio Makeover Month: The Ghostwriter Studio Setup

Studio Makeover Month: The Axeman Studio Setup

 

“The Axeman” is a guitar driven musician that has an appreciation for the heavier side of the music spectrum. He has a solo project they’ve been working on for years and years – slowly perfecting tone, demos, and musical compositions. He is always up for doing freelance work- so it’s important that he has a vast selection of gear and instruments to keep his clients coming back for more.

 

The gear:

The Axeman has a surprisingly mobile setup for the home studio. He lives a nomadic recording lifestyle because a lot of production these days involves traveling to various musician’s homes to work on preproduction and other intricacies of the record process. His expenses have gone into purchasing a Fractal Audio Axe-Fx Mark II to keep from carting around various Continue reading Studio Makeover Month: The Axeman Studio Setup

How Adventure Club is using SONAR X3 to stay on the EDM charts and ahead of the pack

There is an interesting movement happening in the music industry.  We have all seen it, and most are very opinionated about it…  The EDM Revolution.  Love it, like it, hate it – regardless, it’s here and thriving.  I recently had the good fortune to spend a few very interesting days with SONAR X3 users Adventure Club; one in LA, and one in NYC, and I can honestly say that I think these guys have figured out [some sort of] a new model of the “music industry.”

Truthfully speaking, I really was unsure about what our interaction would be.  I understand the EDM scene from afar and surely respect it, but I wasn’t sure what actually goes into the work behind the scenes of an EDM artist.  SONAR is used by Composers, Songwriters, and Producers of all genres, but when Cakewalk found out that Adventure Club, a heavyweight EDM act was using SONAR 8.5, we were pretty intrigued.  I had heard of the duo strictly from their online presence and charting activity, but I had never focused in on any of their productions.  Their popularity alone on social media told me there was something different and unique about this artist, and my assumptions were correct.

If you are not familiar with Adventure Club [“AC”] they are a Canadian Elecronic Dance Music duo, composed of Christian Srigley and Leighton James, and based out of Montreal, Quebec.  The duo formed while attending high school in Montreal as a hardcore pop-punk band, but later decided to move onto the more electronic sound of Electronic Dance Music (EDM) after simply getting bored with the pop-punk sound.  The first song to put the duo on the map was their remix of the song “Daisy” by the American alternative-rock band Brand New, which was put on The Hype Machine, an MP3 blog aggregator website.  After this track resonated deeply with EDM fans around the world, the duo was off to a solid start with a solid online fan base and foundation.  What separates this group from other EDM acts is that they both are accomplished musicians with a great knack for music production in general.  This translates into very solid tracks which they produce on their own in SONAR X3 Continue reading How Adventure Club is using SONAR X3 to stay on the EDM charts and ahead of the pack