[Originally posted as a daily tip on the SONAR forums and reposted for viewers here on the blog.]
by Craig Anderton
You want big-sounding drums? Want your metal drum tracks to sound like the Drums of Doom? Keep reading. This technique transposes a copy of the reverb and pans the two reverb tracks oppositely. It works best with unpitched sounds like percussion.
1. Insert a reverb send.
Insert a send in your drum track, then insert your reverb of choice in the Send bus.
SONAR X3 Studio and Producer have included the mind-bending Dual Analog Phaser and Dual Analog Chorus units from Nomad Factory. As you might know both units are time based effects and are variations of delay units. Both types of effects split the signal into two parts and then combine them again after the signal passes through the unit.
Phaser – When the audio passes through the unit the signal is flipped out of phase and then a LFO-controlled notch filter sweeps through this signal’s frequency spectrum.
Chorus – One part of the signal is unaffected and the other is delayed anywhere from 20ms-50ms and then it’s pitch is modulated by a Low Frequency Oscillator
The included LFO on both units has Square, Sine, Triangle, and Sawtooth options for even more sound design options. Within the Chorus users have the ability to control each side of the stereo audio signal independently as well as change the different LFO rates.
Check out the destruction done to a simple jazz drum loop. There really are not limits to the sounds that these plugins can produce.
When installing SONAR X3 Producer your eyes may have sailed across a plugin by Tone2 called “BiFilter2”. This program is more than just a filter, its a sound designer’s dream. It’s simplicity is misleading at first glance, but once you open up the hood of this plugin you’ll be grateful of it’s existence. This filter has everything from basic EQ cutoffs, Comb Filtering, to even FM filtering.
Most of the time plugins of this nature are limited to the filter type being set as a preset and then the user having the ability to automate and modulate the different parameters within that preset. BiFilter on the other hand allows you to radically switch between filter types without hassle and even automate distortion types all within a single automation lane. Essentially, one could use a single BiFilter per track and switch distortion filter types without stacking up on multiple plugins or introducing unwanted CPU usage.
BiFilter alone is worth cracking open and listening to. Once you hear this unbelievable plugin every template you make will have one pre-loaded into your FX Bin.
When people ask me what I do for a living, it is often difficult for them to grasp the words; I record sounds and musical instruments that musicians use to create music. At Digital Sound Factory we breakdown the instrument to the fundamentals and capture the sounds that make up its character. Each note and playing style is recorded. We are essentially creating a ‘digital archive’ of musical instrument sounds that render playback on modern computers.
Creating sound expansion packs for Cakewalk synthesizers involves many steps in the development process. It’s a long journey from defining the scope of the sound set to hearing a sound when playing a MIDI note. This is an overview of how an expansion pack is born and what goes on behind the scenes.
Defining the Project
First we take a close look at the scope of the project and define the instruments and samples required.
Musicians, engineers, and studio time are not free, so the better prepared we are, the more we capture. Each instrument requires different considerations. Sampling drum’s is different from sampling synthesizers is different from sampling brass or winds. In the case of drums, how the drum should be tuned, number of velocity hits on center to the edge of the head, matching rim shots, various microphone placements, to name a few. Sampling brass or woodwinds will entail multiple volume levels of sustain, more breath, less breath, breath only, mutes, staccato, and more.
The Recording Process
Sampling is similar to recording music in some ways, but in other ways it is very different. The similarities are musicians are recorded in professional sound environments using microphones, mixing console, speakers, etc. The very different part is we are not there to record music. We record the instrument and its characteristics. I can’t begin to tell you how many sessions I have walked into and the musicians are ready to impress with great music. In these sessions we focus on the technique, not the music.
Each note the instrument is capable of playing is meticulously recorded at various amplitude levels and styles (ie: sustained, mute, fast attack, slow attack, soft, loud, etc.) using 4 – 16 microphones, fast computers, and Sonar. It is imperative that any addition sounds that are not part of the instrument, such as squeaky chairs, breathing, or noise from the musician are identified and eliminated during the recording process. Occasionally there are sounds that make their way into the sample and need to later be isolated and removed using software tools. All microphones, takes, tracks, hard drives, etc. are documented for use during the editing process.
Selection and Editing
After days, weeks, or months of recording, the tracks are reviewed and the best takes are sliced and copied to a new project. This may include as many as 4 to 16 tracks of microphones that can be mixed or separated to create the final individual .wav files for each pitch/velocity/etc. Selecting the best ‘takes’ involves a lot of listening and is essential to delivering the highest quality instruments. Any additional DSP (Digital Signal Processing), such as leveling, noise cancelation, equalization, and amplitude fades are completed at this stage. Sustained notes require looping the recordings to create a seamless pitch at the loop points. Loops are adjusted to lengths based on memory size targets. Each .wav file is tagged with the instrument name, style, and pitch identification.
SFZ files are created and used to map the incoming MIDI controller note number to the correct .wav file and location. The SFZ files are text files and use ‘opcodes’ or operation codes that are used to control various synthesizer program parameters. It contains relevant information about the instrument such as velocity, filter types, envelopes, LFO’s, and others. SFZ files are programmed for each playing style and sometimes combined to create layers.
This is where the instruments develop personality and flavor. SFZ files can be combined as elements to create layers. Filters, modulation sources and destinations, and effects are assigned. The program is named and saved to the relevant style folder.
Digital Sound Factory Recording Video
This video includes recording sessions for orchestral strings, winds, brass, and percussion in the concert hall and studio, drum kits and percussion, ethnic instruments, and grand piano.
Download DSF Expansion Packs for as low as $19.95
Stock up this weekend on DSF expansion packs for Dimension Pro/Dimension LE. The DSF collection features thousands of sounds for all types of music and genres. Included are Grand Pianos, Guitars, Basses, Classic Keys, Orchestral, Hollywood Sound FX and much more. Buy one or buy them all and save big during this special offer. Ends February 28th, 2013.
Z3TA+ 2 Sound Design By Timothy Swartz Digital Sound Factory
Digital Sound Factory veteran sound designer, Timothy Swartz takes us on a tour of Cakewalk’s Z3TA+ 2 software synthesizer and how to quickly create interesting sounds. The video begins by explaining basic programming of Z3TA+ 2 envelopes, LFO’s, filters, modulators, and effects. As the tutorial progresses, Tim explains Z3TA+ 2 program parameters and takes us through the process of creating synth pads, synth bass, synth leads, and electronica synths. We hope you find this video informative and will stimulate your imagination. (40 min. running time)
Digital Sound Factory offers a collection of over 1,000 Z3TA+ 2 programs, designed using these concepts, now available on the Cakewalk Store.
Cakewalk’s Seth Perlstein was on hand at the annual Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, California to demonstrate SONAR’s role in sound design and sound editing for video games.
In the video above, Seth shows how to sync sound effects to video clips using SONAR 8.5’s Audiosnap time-stretching tool with the V-Studio 700 console as a DAW controller. Learn how to create your own sound effects using Cakewalk’s new A-PRO 300 keyboard along side SONAR 8.5’s arsenal of instruments and effects including Session Drummer 3, Rapture, and Perfect Space convolution reverb.