Just a few short years ago, we learned of a new up-and-coming artist who was using SONAR. After introducing ourselves and learning more, the one thing that kept resonating were the infectious melodies and counterparts embedded into his tracks. We were delighted to witness him working in SONAR, but at the same time very intrigued that he was using SONAR 8.5.
Soon after being in touch with iLan, we were able to catch up with him face to face in his studio just north of London for a night where we introduced SONAR X3 to him. It was a fun night and very interesting to watch a pro’s reactions going from 8.5 to X3 considering that undoubtedly the platforms are truly different. There were some moments of, “Whooaaah… that will save me a ton of time,” and there were moments of, “Ummm…that will take a while to get used to.” Leaving iLan to his own devices we were really unsure where he would take it.
Toggling back and forth from 8.5 to X3 for a while, iLan finally found his stride with SONAR Platinum. He told us, “After working on both 8.5 and X3, once I was on Platinum there was no going back. The basic features alone like the smart tool and Mix Recall not only save me a lot of time, but allow me to create things I could not create in 8.5. With the amount of tracks I create and pace of my workflow, the fact that Platinum is rock solid and really fast means everything to me. 8.5 always allowed me to ‘not’ sound like everyone else in my genre, and Platinum just continues that path for me.” iLan’s first full production in SONAR Platinum titled “Bigger Than Love,” a collaboration with singer/songwriter/artist Giuseppe de Luca was recently released on Anjunabeats and quickly found its way up the charts to the #1 spot on Beatport.
Thanks to Melodyne’s advanced tempo detection and SONAR’s powerful ARA drag-and-drop integration, your projects can now follow a live recording’s tempo. Simply drag a standard audio clip (or Melodyne region effect) to SONAR’s timeline, and SONAR creates a tempo map that follows the clip tempo. Watch the new video for more information.
Introducing the new video series from Cakewalk, where you’ll find feature reviews, artist interviews, audio lessons, and lots and lots of musical “nerding out.” The first episode is available on YouTube now.
While there have been hundreds of fixes and enhancements added to SONAR since X3, we’ve compiled this list of the ones we think X-Series users will be particularly fond of.
Fixed clip & metronome placement during loop record
Fixed complex looping scenarios
Fixed MIDI issues during audio loop recording
Mute Previous Takes no longer interferes with Comping mode
Improved transient detection
Speed improvements when editing MIDI in PRV
Improved drag selection
Improved editing with the Smart Tool
Improved Lasso for audio transients at all zoom levels
Edit > Select > From/Thru no longer clears selections
Fixed Delete Hole issue when selecting empty measure in Track View
Fixed issues with Shift+Click on audio clips
Improved clip behaviors when using auto crossfade
Improved clip dragging graphics and offset handling
Improved note selection in PRV
Improved Melodyne behavior after setting region
Sends now feed side-chain on project open
Fixed jumps when rewriting automation
Fixed VST3 behaviors in Clip FX bins
Improved console view EQ display
Fixed Dim Solo issue when using instrument tracks
Fixed plug-in output errors
Fixed plug-in removal issue on Simple Instrument Tracks
Chris Broderick has been focusing on his band Act of Defiance and their new record on Metal Blade Records. “We recorded all vocals, cello, lead, rhythm, classical and acoustic guitars at Ill-Fated Studio’s in Los Angeles, CA on SONAR Platinum. The features we gained upgrading from X3 to Platinum really helped us capture this new record.”
Audio / MIDI Engine
Fixed intermittent crash when switching driver modes
Fixes to Bounce to Clips for MIDI
Fixes to the Arpeggiator Preset workflow
Improved MIDI input port detection
Fixed layout issues when removing icon from header
Fixed muted waveform drawing
Fixed waveform draw with tempo changes
Improved waveform draw on Groove Clips
Fixed waveform redraw on cropped clips when dragging
Improved clip fade waveform
Improved scroll in Console View
Improved Timecode unification in all views
Improved Track Folder grouping
Improved workflow when changing a Screenset
Norman Matthew of the band Murder FM not only used Platinum on his recent record produced by Beau Hill, but his band is also using it live on tour. “Platinum is ridiculously stable. Our show has developed into something more dynamic–and we like triggering some sounds that we used on the record on tour. SONAR Platinum works so well for us on stage as well as in the studio.”
Controller pane no longer resets size when switching tracks
Drum Pane now persists when re-opening PRV
Fixed PRV piano keyboard collapse when PRV maximized
Fixed right-click snap in PRV
Fixed Show/Hide state in PRV Track Pane
Other Views – LCV / Lyric / Marker / Meter etc.
Fixed orphan window in projects opened from Playlist
Fixed Screenset recalls
Fixed Take Lane rearrange on undo
Fixed vertical zoom behaviors when hiding tracks
Improved double-click behaviors on MIDI clips in Track View/PRV
Improved Step Sequencer behavior when using a clip assigned to a drum map
Fixed bounced clip time base reset problem
Fixed Now Time marker movement when pressing Pause
Fixed silent drum map note issues after tempo changes
Fixed a crash when trying to open a moved project from recent file list
Fixes to BitBridge which could cause a project to hang on closing
Improved recall of Remote Control for synths
Javier Colon, winner of NBC’s The Voice continues his lifelong musical journey with a new record deal and album coming out on Concord Music Group this spring. “I’ve been using SONAR for a long time, but going from X3 to Platinum was the best upgrade I’ve had. Platinum was like a writing partner for me with this new record.”
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
Craig Anderton brings you on a DSP-inspired journey through all the different ways in which you can get your vocals processed and finalized. Various topics involving the VX-64, EQ, Compression, Expansion, and much more. Check out the article here.
How to use a vocal double to enhance lead vocals
One of the toughest things about working with a lead vocal track is getting it to pop out, while allowing it to still sit in the track nicely in context with its surroundings [other tracks]. Every mixing engineer has her/his bag of tricks, but here are a few ideas to utilize a “vocal-double” which may help support and embellish the lead vocal track. Cakewalk guru Jimmy Landry shows you how he worked on the vocals for his Javier Colon demo track. Check out the article here.
Make your voice sound thicker (studio & producer)
Vocal production can lead to many different types of processing. Sometimes subtle enhancements to your vocals can make all the difference in the final mix. SONAR X3 Studio and Producer introduces Melodyne Essential as a fully integrated and pitch correction editor. This easy to use software allows users to access their Melodyne right from the Multi-Dock without needing to perform any special tricks within the software – including fattening up your vocals. Check out this highly-read article here.
Make your voice sound like Daft Punk with Melodyne Editor and SONAR X3 Producer
Certain effects have defined generations of music. The decade of the 80’s for example was a major era for reverb. In today’s pop music, the use of pitch correction software seems to be an effect that many artists and producers are utilizing creatively. Daft Punk has been using this effect for a number of years now, making them one of the first to bring this vocal style to the level of popularity it is today. Check out the article here.
Hum a melody and convert it to MIDI using ARA
As a musician, inspiration can hit you on the train, during dinner, or even while you’re driving somewhere. Many musicians carry some sort of recorder around with them. I know sound designers who always have a device ready for taking samples, and guitarists that hum melodies to themselves when they feel they’ve come up with something original that they want to remember. Now you can import your melodies right into SONAR and convert them to MIDI using the innovative ARA integration. Check out the articles here.
Free Quick Kit Project Templates for SONAR X3 Users
Yes, we’re bringing back the freebie post from last December. Our Free Quick Kit Project Templates made a big splash with the community as one of our top posts over the last 12 months. These pre-mixed project templates load right from quick start menu in all three versions of SONAR X3 without any assembly required. Open a quick kit, drop in your sequence, and you’re ready to rock with great sounding drums. Now we’re opening it up to anyone who has Session Drummer 3 in their arsenal. Download the free pack here.
9 Microphone Techniques for Recording a Snare Drum
Ever wanted to know how to mic up a snare drum? Well we wrote a comprehensive article about 9 different ways to do it. This article is brought to you by the community of Cakewalk readers that follow the blog and read it regularly. Check out the article here.
What’s New in Addictive Drums 2?
2014 brought us more than just content, it brought us Addictive Drums 2. Ever since we’ve posted our extensive video about XLN Audio’s new instrument we’ve heard nothing but great reviews. Here’s our most popular video chosen by the readers of The Cakewalk Blog. Check it out here.
Subtractive EQ Part 1: Snare Drum
Here’s one of our most popular posts this past year in case you missed it the first time around. There are a ton parts to this series, but the first part has seemed to win over the rest. Here’s a nice thick article about how to apply subtractive EQ to a snare drum. Check it out here.
Setting up your Addictive Drums
Check out how you can easily setup Addictive Drums (1 & 2) to accommodate multiple different working environments within SONAR X3 Studio and Producer. This one of kind drum synth is the best of the best. Check out the article here.
How to use Compression on Snare Drum in SONAR X3
Using compression is one of those tools that is tricky to understand if you’re not familiar with how the different audio signals in your mix. Check out our most viewed video from the extensive video series about using the CA-2A Leveling Amp on snare drum. Check out the video here.
How to Compress Drum Reverb in SONAR X3
Another popular drum related video from the Compression video series is #6 where I give some tips on using compression on drum reverb. You can see the video here.
Producing Drum Samples in SONAR X3
Last but not least we’ve seen that our community has really enjoyed our Producing Drum Samples video series. This video series is available to watch here and guides you through some awesome ways to mix and EQ drum samples to your liking.
If you’re looking for more Drum Production tips check out the tag for this on our blog here.
In the past 3 articles we have looked at basic tools for drum editing as well as identifying, splitting, cropping, and aligning clips. All of these techniques can be followed pretty accurately by reading along and performing the functions as I’ve written them. This portion of the blog series will require that you listen intently to what you’re doing as we work through it.
Make sure to wear headphones and get your critical listening ears on so that your drum edits are clean and not full of pops. Previously I mentioned that we would need to monitor our drums as we edit them and that erroneous edits come through the most in the cymbal microphones. In order to make this possible we’re going to mute the tom tracks and lower the volume for the kick and snare tracks. This exposes mostly high hat, ride, and overhead microphone signals. Also, make sure to pan the overhead microphone signals hard left and right too.
STEP 14: Turn on Auto Crossfade
SONAR is known for it’s streamlined feel and quick functions. One of the best examples of this is SONAR’s auto cross-fade functionality. Since we’re putting this drum pattern back together we’ll need some speedy way of making sure the clips do not pop when overlapping.
In this part of the blog series we’ll cover cropping and aligning the clips that we sliced and diced in the previous post.
STEP 09: Cropping Multiple Clips
SONAR rocks when it comes to cropping multiple clips at once. Now that we’ve sliced up the first measure, select all the split clips from measure 22 to 23 including the blank waveforms leading up to measure 22. You can select multiple clips by clicking the header of each Clip Group and holding SHIFT.
While holding SHIFT, crop the right side of any of the selected clips.
The Softube Mix Bundle is a strong and creative addition to SONAR’s ProChannel strip. This bundle adds 5 solid effects, great for any mix, to the Softube Saturation Knob already in SONAR X3 Producer.
For this article I’ve mixed a Heavy Metal track from the group Dark Ride using mostly Softube ProChannel effects.You can download the project here and follow along if you have the Softube Mix Bundle. If not then the screenshots in this article should suffice.
Setting up the Mix
Listen & add Markers
At first listen I put in Markers throughout the entire project to make navigation and looping sections much easier. Using the shortcut M – it’s pretty easy to drop in a Marker wherever your Now Time Marker resides. After that, you can name them accordingly. This paticular song was relatively short and included an introduction, two verses, 3 choruses, bridge, solo section, and breakdown.
Routing, grouping, and track folders
While you’re mixing it’s easy to become slightly overwhelmed by larger projects. What I do in this instance is make a stereo bus for every group of instruments that I have in the project. This allows me to apply mixing effects to the instrument groups as whole before they hit my main mix bus. The tracks route directly to the buses and then the buses route directly to the 2 bus. For each instrument group I also assigned them a color category and a track folder to make things a bit easier to manage within the Track View.