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)

DEVELOPER NOTES – SONAR X3 TOAST NOTIFICATIONS (UI Enhancement)

Introduction

With headline features such as comping and VST3 plugin support, it might be easy to overlook some of the more modest improvements in SONAR X3, which can nevertheless make a big difference to your workflow.

So, aside from the headline grabbers, what else has X3 got to offer?

Well, the user interface has had its fair share of attention too, and that’s what this article is about – highlighting an interesting new UI feature that might otherwise slip under the radar.

Let’s take a look at this simple, yet significant improvement, that’s designed to minimize unwanted interruptions.

Too much ‘dialog’?

As we all know, good software gets out of the way and lets you get on with what you do best. Sadly, it’s rarely that simple, particularly with large, fully featured applications like SONAR X3. Sooner or later, the software will need to draw your attention to something.

And it usually happens when you least want it to!

When you’re ‘in the zone’, there can be few things more irritating than unwanted popup messages. Messages that don’t simply distract you, but actually interrupt whatever you happen to be doing by demanding an immediate response. Such messages are usually referred to as ‘dialog boxes’ (on Windows at least), and the user must respond to them before being allowed to continue:

Some dialogs are necessary, important even (like the one above); but for all the useful, relevant questions an application might ask you, there are probably just as many you could do without!

The fact is, dialog boxes interrupt workflow, and should therefore be used sparingly.

So what to do? What if SONAR wants to draw your attention to something that might be important, but could just as easily be considered spam (depending on your point of view)? Why not let the user decide how urgent something is, and action it, or ignore it, as they see fit?

That’s where ‘toast notifications’ come in.

Anyone for toast?

When you start SONAR X3, you may notice (depending on your settings) something similar to this at the bottom right of the screen:

On first inspection it would appear that the VST Scanner has changed a lot in X3! Well, that’s not actually the VST Scanner.

It’s a ‘toast notification’. Continue reading DEVELOPER NOTES – SONAR X3 TOAST NOTIFICATIONS (UI Enhancement)