Have Gig Bag, Will Travel or Where in the World is Carmen Rizzo?

hht back stage perm 1Carmen Rizzo checks his cell phone one last time as he boards the plane at LAX.  This is the first of several flights that will take him half way around the world over the next 24 hours – from Los Angeles to Perm, Russia .  He’s got a text message from the people he’ll be performing with in Perm; they want him to come back in 10 days for another show, and they need his commitment immediately.  He’s taken slightly aback – he’s not exactly sure what he’ll be doing onstage when he arrives this time – but he agrees to make the return trip, figuring that as long as he has the right assemblage of tools, he’ll be able to handle whatever situation is thrown at him.

This is typical for a road warrior like Rizzo.  The Los Angeles-based producer, DJ, record label owner, and radio show host is a rapidly-rising global brand, sought after for his wide range of skills that have earned him two GRAMMY nominations.   He’s worked with the likes of Seal, Coldplay, Paul Oakenfold, Ryuichi Sakamoto and Alanis Morissette.  He’s a member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS).  He also DJs a radio set heard by 14 million listeners each month on the highly influential KEXP 90.3 FM in Seattle.  With so many irons in the fire, he’s become extraordinarily flexible, yet fastidious in his preparation, maintaining a strict work ethic that sees him keeping regular hours in his home studio during the week and, whenever possible, not working weekends to spend time with his children.  But this last-minute request is not unusual for Rizzo.  He’ll just roll with it.

Continue reading Have Gig Bag, Will Travel or Where in the World is Carmen Rizzo?

Using Cakewalk Instruments in OS X Hosts

Having trouble getting your Cakewalk instruments to load in your OS X DAW or sequencer? Use this guide to get Rapture, Dimension Pro and others to install correctly on your Mac computer. This guide provides basic setup information for a variety of hosts including Ableton Live, Apple Logic and Pro Tools.  There is also a section that explains what to do if your instruments are not recognized as available plugins under the OS X platform. For more detailed information on using Cakewalk’s instruments within your host, you will need to refer to the programs’ documentation.

Read through this helpful tutorial at Cakewalk.com

Using USB Interfaces to Connect & Record Instruments to the Computer

You did it! You bought software to record your music. You read the getting started guide, booted up the program, and even played around with the included features. There’s only one thing missing- your instrument!

Compact and affordable, our new line of USB Audio and MIDI interfaces for MAC and PC, make connecting your microphone, turntable, control surface and all sorts of devices to the computer, quick and easy. Scroll through the videos in the player below to get a closer look at these handy new tools for digital music-making:

*Select the icon above (box with arrow pointing out of it) to view the videos in full screen*

For detailed instructions on how to install and setup these interfaces on your computer, visit our Audio/MIDI Interfaces Support Page.

EM Magazine Hosts SONAR 8 Masterclass On Groove Tool, Beatscape

If you haven’t seen Electronic Musician’s master-class on SONAR 8’s new loop instrument, Beatscape, this would be a great time to check it out!

Via basic, easy to follow instructions, EM takes you through the process of importing and organizing audio files into Beatscape’s library and more. A brand new feature to the SONAR platform, Beatscape offers 16 pads to load and trigger your loops or samples for sequencing your music and beats. It also includes a massive 4GB REX library with preloaded material (beats, breaks, phrases in many genres). With drag and drop capabilities, Beatscape brings a new level of entertainment to remixing tracks!

Take a look at the masterclass in full at EMusician.com

SONAR Illuminates the Sounds of a ‘Blind X-perience’

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be somebody different? To walk the proverbial ‘mile’ in someone else’s shoes? One organization, based in Hong Kong, is giving visitors an experience they could have never imagined!

Four years ago, David Begbie (DJ by preference) and the CrossRoads Foundation began an interactive crusade to educate the well-off on the life challenges of the less fortunate by placing people in simulated ‘Life X-periences.’ With props and sound effects, Begbie recreates the plights of living in a third world country, battling a deadly disease, walking the streets as a prostitute, and more.

One X-perience in particular, guides visitors around darkened rooms where sound and touch are the only senses they can rely on. Aptly named, the ‘Blind X-perience’, the visitors feel for props and listen to sounds of an African village. At the center of these X-periences is Cakewalk’s audio sequencer SONAR, delivering a series of sound cues for the different scenes.

Take a look at Pro Audio-Central’s article on the CrossRoads Foundation’s Life X-periences to learn more about this enlightening exhibit.

Optimized for VISTA x64: Rapture 1.2

Cakewalk’s award-winning Rapture is the ultimate wavetable synthesizer for igniting the sounds of today’s pop, dance, and electronic music scenes. Sounding like no other synth, Rapture offers brilliant sound design capabilities with patches that blend up to six different elements. Available for PC and Mac.

Out of the box you get a stunning collection of over 500 programs including Basses, Leads, Pads, Arpeggios, Textures, Electronic Percussion and Sequences. At the heart of Rapture’s six-part sound engine are powerful, multi-mode wavetable oscillators. These pristinely produced wavetables provide a virtually endless array of sonic possibilities, plus you can multiply each oscillator up to 9 times across the stereo field with controlled detuning, creating some of the fattest sounds ever heard.

New Features in Rapture 1.2:

-Envelope Generators can now be retriggerd from the Step Generator
-Internal Tempo with Tap – Rapture can now sync to its own internal t tempo
-You can now save and load presets in the Envelope Generator and Step Generator sections
-Envelope Generator now autoscrolls when entering nodes
-Knob Focus Indicator – the currently selected knob will now have edging around it
-Built-in DC Offset blocker to remove unwanted DC Offset distortion
-Up/Down selectors now have direct text entry by double-clicking on them
-New alternate ‘Zoom On View’ mode in the Envelope Generator
-Vista x64 improvements – the installer now allows you to choose to install either the 32 or 64-bit versions of Rapture on Windows Vista x64

All registered Rapture customers are eligible for the free update.

EMusician.com: SONAR 8 is ‘Better at the Core’

EMusician.com gives SONAR 8 Producer high marks in their upcoming March review, stating that “version 8 is one of the most compelling SONAR upgrades in years.”

Critic Allan Metts gives props to SONAR 8’s programming and performance enhancements, including its compatibility with Microsoft VISTA and WASAPI (Windows audio-driver platform) support. Metts also commends the addition of four new plugins (TL64 Tube Leveler, Channel Tools, TS64 Transient Shaper, N.I.’s Guitar Rig 3) and three new virtual instruments (Beatscape, DImension Pro, True Pianos:Amber Module).

With more words to say than room, EMusician posted an exclusive online bonus article, in which Metts calls SONAR 8 “better at the core”.

NAMM Show 2009: Blogged by Cakewalk

Day 5: Well that’s it. The NAMM show is a wrap. Today is Sunday and while it is the last day of the show, there is definitely an air about the place that says the show is finally over and foot traffic is much lighter than it has been the whole rest of the show.

At 5pm when they finally turned the lights down, you could hear a wave of exhibitors clapping and cheering. If I were to tell you it was a quick show, I would be lying. But it was definitely a good show and we were able to reach out to a lot of people with all of our products including our new USB hardware devices and of course, our baby: The SONAR V-Studio 700.

Everyone here did a wonderful, professional job this week and I know we’re all proud of what we’ve accomplished.

As I wrap this up, I look forward to touching down at home in Boston and sleeping in my own bed. Though as much as I don’t mind the 80 degree weather in January, I think it’s the nasty winters at home that really make you appreciate the nice weather when you get it. Although, we could be another 4-5 months off from weather like this at home.

C’est la vie, thanks for reading, oh and scroll down the page to see our videos from NAMM:

Enjoy!

Ian: Out

Continue reading NAMM Show 2009: Blogged by Cakewalk

Artist Spotlight: Justin Lassen

Sometimes A Road Sings In the Mind of the Darkly Inclined
Composer, producer, remixer & musician Justin Lassen

By Randy Alberts

“For me it all started with Cakewalk, a keyboard, and a lot of free time,” laughs the globetrotting Justin Lassen, a one-of-a-kind visionary 27-year-old film, game and music soundtrack composer based in Southern California.

A designer, multi-instrumentalist and self-described “heavy Sonar guy,” to boot, Lassen is also one of the most creative composers, remixers and producers in the film, game and music industries today. He’s a talented film soundtrack remixer who recently reworked the score of Clive Barker’s Midnight Meat Train, a dark film take on the producer’s 1984 short story of a photographer tracking a serial killer, into a full length companion album to the movie. Lassen has also produced music remixes for Nine Inch Nails, Madonna, Garbage, Linkin Park, Lenny Kravitz and Blue Man Group and he’s consulted on numerous game and technology projects for companies like Interplay, Novus Delta, Intel and, of course, Cakewalk.

Interviewed by Playboy, Mix, EQ, GearWire, PC Gamer and other arts and trade mags and sites, Lassen’s a darling of the computer-generated graphics art world, as well. A rare musical subject for numerous CGI trade magazines such as Post, It’s Art, The Escapist and CG Society Magazine, he literally can translate the inspiring, hauntingly beautiful visual art he sees into his own musical performances, arrangements and remixes. It’s a phenomenon of the senses called ‘synaesthesia’ he’s personally well acquainted with: Seeing sound, hearing scents, touching words, smelling colors. If the set and setting are just right, what Justin views through his irises can literally become real-time music from his fingertips.

“I’m a visual artist, designer and programmer,” he adds, “who just finds music much more fulfilling.”

Smells Like A Symphony, Tastes Like Sonar 7

Lassen, who happened to be Cakewalk’s Featured Artist of The Week for August 25, 2008, released his own CD, And Now We See But Through A Glass Darkly, in 2003 to acclaim from leading international CG artists, film, game and music professionals. This disc of his own uniquely composed and produced dark chamber symphonic suites has already reached 5.5 million copies in circulation. His debut CG release in 2006 of Synaesthesia then melded Justin’s two worlds of “beautiful dark symphonic” music and CG artwork again to critical peer praise, and earlier this year while in Europe he wrapped up the final release: Synaesthesia Encore, a new collection of pieces that musically addresses Justin’s own personal experiences with the phenomenon.

“Synaesthesia is something that has taken quite a hold of me over pretty much my entire musical career and life,” explains Lassen. “I have had some of my best compositional and performance moments in these types of situations, where I can actually feel an image playing the song right before my ears, completely and naturally. When I see visual work like this that really inspires me in this way, my fingers begin to play music very magically.“

Remarkable. Much to his liking, Justin’s successful role in creating the remixed soundtrack CD for Barker’s wide-released Midnight Meat Train is now attracting interest from other film, music and game audio producers, as well. An always-on, busy musician, remixer and symphonic arranger who travels for his music extensively and just returned from an exhaustive trip across the EU and back to his home studio in California, nothing would please the affable Lassen more than to score more symphonies and movie soundtracks for a living.

“I use Sonar 7’s notation features to clean up my arrangement ideas for orchestra, choir or other performers I might bring into a given session,” says Lassen about his go-to laptop DAW.

“I recall this one time in Paris when I was asked by Intel to do the soundtrack for a new high-tech game for a new platform. There was a pretty tight schedule of just three weeks, and I didn’t have a lot of gear to experiment with. So, I just used FL Studio on a laptop to jot down some ideas that later I would evolve and finish up back in L.A. and Phoenix. I then took those sketches and beats and brought them into Sonar and added many of the orchestral and electronic elements, as well as tracking all the guitars and vocals and doing the final mixing and mastering. I then cleaned it all up and converted the files over to OGG format, for the Unreal Engine 3 the game uses, all quite easily and well before my deadline.”

Continue reading Artist Spotlight: Justin Lassen

SONAR 8: The Fine Print

Cakewalk’s CTO Noel Borthwick sheds some light on the features “under the hood” in SONAR 8.

*Note that this list is not a substitute for the official feature list & other features already documented in the SONAR 8 manual. Rather it is a list culled from Cakewalk’s Engineering Department*

Enjoy!

Performance optimizations:

Although every version of SONAR we shipped in the past had some degree of optimization work, SONAR 8 is the first version of SONAR to which we applied the same engineering process to performance optimizations as we do with other more user visible features. i.e. we established goals, built a specification for the optimizations, split up the work into milestones and tracked the progress of these tasks just as we do for other features. To make testing more deterministic, we devised various internal profiling tools in order to track and measure changes in performance across a variety of hardware platforms on XP as well as Vista.

Systems tested included brand new cutting edge platforms from Intel and AMD as well as earlier generation machines.

We split up this work into the following classes of performance enhancements for SONAR 8:

1. CPU and kernel level optimizations – use less of your CPU to do the same amount of work

2. User Interface optimizations – faster drawing, scrolling, zooming

3. Driver level optimizations – more efficient access to drivers, minimizing driver state transitions

4. Vista OS specific optimizations – Better use of MMCSS thread priorities, support for custom MMCSS task profiles, new WASAPI support

5. Audio engine optimizations – optimize “hotspots” in our bussing, streaming and mixing code

As a result of all these changes, SONAR 8 has the following benefits:

– greatly minimized kernel usage. This helps provide more “kernel bandwidth” to drivers who need it the most. More kernel bandwidth translates into less potential for audio glitches.

– Lower CPU usage – translates to better performance at low latency

– More efficient use of audio drivers – esp with ASIO drivers

– Better performance on Windows Vista esp X64. Many of the complaints of Vista performance as compared to XP have been solved with SONAR 8. X64 low latency performance should now be on par with X86.

– Faster application launch

– Less flicker in GUI. Track view splitters no longer flicker when resizing.

– More responsive zoom and scroll with large projects. Zooming with wave files now uses 1/2 the RAM with 24-bit or less stereo or mono files used.

– Better meter performance.

– Improved thread scheduling by insuring threads are properly distributed on processors.

This link shows the overall benefits of SONAR 8 as compared to SONAR 7: http://www.cakewalk.com/Products/SONAR/English/benchmark.asp

Continue reading SONAR 8: The Fine Print