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
Compiling or “Comping” takes is relatively new to sound recording. With the increased ability of technology has come the increased desire to comp with excruciating attention to detail, sometimes all the way down to a syllable or note, to create “The Perfect Take.”
The Acoustic and Electrical Eras (1877-1945)
When audio recording was first introduced, it was an entirely mechanical process. Comping did not exist. In fact, neither did mixing as we know it. Everything was recorded in one take, and level adjustments were made by moving musicians closer to or farther from the horn–essentially the microphone of its time.
In the primitive stages of this recording format, it was not uncommon to have copies of the same record that sounded entirely different. This was because if a band wanted to release 1,000 copies of a song, they would have to record it 1,000 different times, each take resulting in its own uniquely-performed copy. Continue reading The Evolution of Comping
With the advent of digital audio, some feel a certain quality associated with the analog signal path has been lost. While that may have been true at one point, analog emulations have come a long way since first introduced. Let’s find out how to add that “analog sound” using some of SONAR’s plugins. (Note: Many of the following examples use features are exclusive to SONAR Platinum, so if you don’t already have this version, you can try a free demo by clicking here.)
#5 – ProChannel Tape Emulation
Tape does some pretty magical things to audio, so SONAR Platinum includes tape emulation as a ProChannel module. Best of all, you can use it as much as you like without having to clean the heads!
Here’s how tape emulation enhances the sound:
Emulates the “head bump” of analog tape to enrich the low end, adding subtle warmth
Smooths response by slightly rolling off lowest lows and highest highs
Increases sustain by smoothing peaks
Saturates the signal in a non-linear, analog manner
Optionally introduces high-frequency hiss
For a basic application, insert the Tape Emulator in the Master Bus ProChannel. You’ll immediately hear a more cohesive mix. Increasing the REC LEVEL increases the overall saturation. The REC LEVEL knob, TAPE SPD switch, and BIAS switch all interact in unique ways, so try out different combinations to hear how they affect each other.
After hearing how the Tape Emulator affects your sound, try applying it to individual tracks (your drums will sound particularly fabulous). This will be a more subtle effect, adding a sense of depth to the overall mix.
How did you get started with music? When I was about 10 years old, my dad bought this acoustic guitar for himself for $20 or so. I thought it was so cool that my dad knew how to play AC/DC and Kiss songs (correctly or not made no real difference to me at the time), so I asked him to show me everything he knew. I picked up the basic chords pretty quickly and started sneaking into his room while he was at work to play the guitar unsupervised. One day he came home earlier than usual and heard me in my room playing the guitar. He was too shocked at how quickly I surpassed his skill level to scold me, and he said I could keep the guitar. Around the same time, two of my cousins were getting into guitar and I HAD to get as good as they were, so I put in as many hours of practice as I could.
Fast-forward about two years, I was starting to get into electric guitar more and more, and for Christmas I got this multi-fx pedal, and I was quickly obsessed with tone and all the neat things you could alter about a guitar’s sound. This naturally evolved into a passion for the field of audio engineering, and I decided that’s what I wanted to study after high school.
I managed to hone my musicianship enough to get accepted to Berklee College of Music right out of high school, and I took on a Music Business major, a Music Production and Engineering major, and an Acoustics & Electronics minor. During summers I interned for various music-related companies, not the least of which was the world-famous Blackbird Studio in Nashville, TN. It was throughout these college years and internships that I learned a lot about myself, particularly that I knew I wanted to work in the music industry to some degree, but I wanted audio engineering to remain entirely fun for me; I wanted to keep it around as a serious hobby but not make it my full-time profession. Continue reading Meet the Bakers: Joey A
These days, some professional mixing and recording engineers are doing work for major labels completely missed the analogue age. Others are still mixing on consoles. We have come to a point where there really is no “right” or “wrong” in terms of mixing. Some tracks are mixed so perfectly that they are not signed off on by the label because they are lacking something “distinct” or “of a raw nature.” Other times, indie songs are mixed by a band itself and find their way to the top, where at that point the label just has someone remix the single for mainstream radio. (For example compare the normal and radio mixes of Gotye “Somebody That I Used to Know.)
NYC based mixing and recording engineer Liu Ortiz has seen it from all sides of the music and business spectrum. Starting out at such a young age of 16 as an engineer, his career has placed him with a perfect balance (at still a young age) with a ton of knowledge in both the digital and analogue worlds. He has worked on tracks with and for artists such as Mary J. Blige, Pink, Luther Vandross, Christina Aguilera, and even RZA to name a few, and was quite a successful engineer at the Hit Factory in New York City.
Coming from the world of Cubase and Pro Tools, and after hearing all the buzz about the full feature-set of SONAR X3, Liu decided to give SONAR X3 a whirl on a new track by Jennifer Hudson feat. R Kelley for RCA Records. After mixing the track, he found himself gravitating towards the workflow so he continued the journey onto another project called The Summer Set; a very well established band from Scottsdale Arizona who are quickly making waves internationally. I recently got a chance to visit with Liu at the new Cakewalk Room which is ironically enough in the old Hit Factory where he often worked. Liu showed me some of his new mixes, showed me where his picture and plaques were on the wall, and even gave me a few interesting stories about some of the “good ole days” featuring Missy Elliot, Queen Latifah and Sean Puffy Combs [don’t worry Liu – I’ll never tell 😉
Cakewalk Artist Relations: Since you grew up on analogue consoles, what are there big sonic differences you hear now that you mix “in the box”?
Liu Ortiz: Well in the beginning way back when DAWs first started, I noticed that no matter what I did as I progressed with more plugins and inserts of each channel, the mix coming out the box would progressively get thinner; especially with vocals. I couldn’t really do much to fix that problem until not too long ago where technology has progressed with DAWs and computers in general. Now, I can pretty much faithfully emulate hardware with EQ’s and compressors of pretty much all the consoles I have worked on in the past.
Neve and SSL’s had such distinctive qualities about them similar in comparison to that of Strats and Les Pauls. Since I worked on both extensively, I remember all the little nuances that each series had. So when I am mixing I just try my best to EQ with those particular traits in mind since they were my personal favorites. Pretty much all DAWs now are inherently very neutral, so I can dial in whatever tone I want and don’t have to worry about the vocals or guitars becoming shrill. I really appreciate technology now and just concentrate on crafting the best mix possible. I must add that it is pretty amazing to me that SONAR X3 has a Console Emulator built into every bus and every track – this blew me away Continue reading How Eliud “Liu” Ortiz used SONAR X3 for his recent Jennifer Hudson mix (RCA Records)
SONAR X1 user Tim Wynn is the Quintessential modern day composer/producer, and a rising Hollywood name whose diverse portfolio includes feature films, television series, documentaries and video games for major clients such as ABC, Activision, Electronic Arts, Fox, Fuji, Marvel, Sony, THQ, Universal and Warner Bros.
With several globally successful franchises already to his credit ranging from blockbuster video games such as Command & Conquer, Dungeon Siege, GUN, The Punisher, Red Faction, The Simpsons and Warhawk to adding to the sound of the hit television series Supernatural, Tim Wynn is gaining international recognition as a leader in a new generation of highly talented and versatile composers. His recent releases include Fox Digital’s debut release, the comedy-horror web series Wolfpack of Reseda; the world’s first 3D television series Tokyo Control; the hit drama series Lucky Seven for Fuji TV, and 2K’s The Darkness II, the action-horror video game based on the best-selling Top Cow comics.
The Darkness II is the sequel to the critically acclaimed 2007 release The Darkness. Inspired by the popular comic book series produced by Top Cow Productions, Inc., The Darkness II is an intense first person shooter that puts you in the role of Jackie Estacado, don of a New York crime family and wielder of an ancient force of chaos known as The Darkness. Continue reading How Tim Wynn used SONAR X1 to Create the Music for THE DARKNESS II
A question I am often asked is, “Just what exactly is the signal path in SONAR X1?”. You plug in your mic or instrument and the sound flows through your monitors. But what is the journey your audio signal takes in between? Let’s take a trip through the Channel strip and find out!