Take Control of Your Mix with Mix Recall

Mix Recall is a powerful way to organize mixes within a project—Whether you want to have a mix without vocals or a version of the song using a different processing chain on the drums—Mix Recall is the perfect solution for these types of situations, but it can do more than that. Say you are handed a project from someone else using SONAR or you got a new plug-in you want to try out using a previously recorded song, Mix Recall can help you handle this as well by getting your project reset back to a neutral position.

Adding the Mix Recall Module

Check that you have the Mix Recall module available in the Control Bar. You can add it to the Control Bar if it’s not already there by right-clicking in a blank space and adding it from the menu.

Creating a Mix Scene

Start by creating a new Mix Scene with the current project setting using the [Save As New Scene] button.  This will allow us to make a change and then come back to the original point to see the difference.

Make a change to the mix by adjusting the volume on a couple of tracks or muting a track previously un-muted.

Click the [Save As New Scene] button on the Mix Recall module again to save these changes into another mix scene. Give this mix a unique name and save it. Now you can reload your previous mix and see the changes reverted back to where we started. Selecting the second mix scene with bring us back to the present state of the mix. You can also use the [Recall Previous Scene] button to toggle back and forth between 2 mix scenes or simply go back to the last mix scene you were at.

Resetting a Mix

Using a project you want to reset, click the drop down arrow on the Mix Recall module and select “Reset Mix…” from the menu. This will remove all automation envelopes, plug-ins, and reset the ProChannel back to the default modules along with any controls in SONAR.

That’s It! Now you can get back to working on your mix instead of trying to manage multiple saved versions of the same song or trying to manually remove each plug-in or automation envelope.

Advanced Techniques

  • Create a save point as you begin your mix once you have basic levels and panning so you can always go back and hear your project from the start.
  • Create save points within your mix to go back and see how it has progressed.
  • Save several iterations of a mix and bounce each when sending it to a client or friend. Here are some common iterations to save as Mix Scenes.
    • Vocal Up Mix (Plus 1-3dB)
    • Vocal Down Mix (Minus 1-3db)
    • No Vocals
    • Radio Edit Mix
  • Time box your mix by only giving yourself an allotted amount of time and dividing that up over what you need to do.  Save each stage as a Mix Scene to go back and look at your progress and how you did at each stage.

Mix Recall is available in SONAR Artist, Professional and Platinum

Using Melodyne to Create a Double in SONAR

Melodyne is not only a great way to tune vocals and still maintain their musical quality it can also be used for several other unique purposes like creating a tempo map from a live audio recording or extracting MIDI from audio. In this tutorial, we’ll be looking at using Melodyne to make things multiply for added thickness and depth.

What is doubling?

Double tracking is an audio recording technique where a performer sings or plays along to their own performance, to produce a “bigger” sound than can be obtained with a single voice or instrument. It is a form of overdubbing; the distinction comes from the doubling of a part, as opposed to recording a different part to go with the first. The effect can be further enhanced by panning one of the performances hard left and the other hard right in the stereo field.

Doubling Audio with Pitch

If you are working with a single vocal track and want to thicken things up, a classic technique is to create two copies of the original track and tune one track up and the other down very slightly. When mixed into the original track this will add additional texture and thickness to the vocal. To add width, simply pan each copy slightly off-center from the original track.

Open a project with a vocal track you want to double and click the Add Track button and make 2 additional audio tracks. Give each track a unique name and then hold down [Ctrl]+[Shift] to copy and lock the position and drag the vocal clip to each track to create both copies.

Doubling Audio with Pitch Inside SONAR Recording Software

To create a Melodyne clip, click on the first copy and press [Ctrl]+[M]. Melodyne will open in the MultiDock. You can also use the Region FX menu and select Melodyne | Create Region FX.

Select all the notes in the Melodyne window by clicking on one note then pressing [Ctrl]+[A]. Use the fine tuning control to tune the first track up by +3 cents. Double click in the area with the orange rectangle around it to type in the desired amount. Once you have entered the amount you can click away or hit [Enter] to apply.

Create Your Melodyne Clip

Repeat the steps for the second copy and then use the Inspector to mix both track in to taste. You can select both tracks at the same time and then use [Ctrl] to create a Quick Group. You’ll then have the ability to bring the volume Up / Down and mix it into the original track. Play around with the panning as well to get different amounts of width in the mix.

Pro Tips:

  • Use Pan to create additional width.
  • You can use the format control to create even more separation from the original.
  • Add additional processing to the doubles for other interesting sounds.

Doubling a Live Instrument with MIDI

More often than you can imagine producers want to hear an additional sound in a recording and those instruments or a player for them are not around. As a piano player, you have many options available to you with the use of virtual instruments and MIDI. What if you are a guitar player who wants to create a double on an instrument you don’t play or don’t own? You are in luck, with Melodyne and SONAR we make this a price of Cake.

* This process works best with single note lines but can also work well for simple chords or double stops as well.

Create a single note recording of a hook you want to double and use the Add Track button to create an instrument of your choice.

Using Melodyne You Can Create a Single Note Recording of a Hook

Hold down [Ctrl] and drag the audio clip to the Instrument track.  Watch as Melodyne automatically converts the audio to MIDI.  Double click the newly recorded clip to make any adjustments needed.

Make Adjustments in SONAR As Needed

Pro Tips:

  • Hold [Shift] while moving notes to maintain their original location in time.
  • Select all the notes and drag to a higher or lower octave.
  • Create a harmony by selecting a scale to snap to and then drag the notes up or down by a 3rd.

Melodyne Essential is included with SONAR Professional and SONAR Platinum. If you own SONAR Artist you can follow along using any demo of Melodyne from the Celemony Website.

Try SONAR Music Recording Software for 30-days

15-Compressor Shootout: Lead Vocals

No question, there are a lot of compressor plugins out there, and they all have their unique layouts, quirks, and sonic qualities. In the video below, we line up 15 different compressors and demonstrate these differences.

Below the video, you’ll also find a helpful updated list of key features, a downloadable chart, and links to learn more about the compressors that do not come standard with SONAR Platinum. If you’re not familiar many compressor plugins, I recommend starting here.

It’s worth noting that this video demonstrates a limited scope of each compressor’s capabilities. Since the compressor is being used to level out a vocal performance, each one has been set up optimally for the application, usually with a low ratio and fairly fast attack and release wherever applicable.

Every possible measure was taken to keep the responses and output levels of each compressor as uniform as possible so that the shootout makes for a consistent apples-to-apples comparison. In the future, keep an eye out for more of these shootouts, as the same tools might have totally different effects on a snare drum, acoustic guitar, electric bass, or saxophone.

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