How the new “TH3 Cakewalk” Will Elevate Your Recordings in SONAR

Whether you update SONAR every month or not, this month is a great time to hit the C3 button.  Besides the new cutting edge LP mastering plug-ins, we have worked hard and closely with our good friends at Overloud to deliver something that can truly change your sound as a SONAR user. TH3 Cakewalk has arrived and will now replace TH2 moving forward, and I had the opportunity to run the beta for the last month building some basic presets for the plug-in. Right out of the gate I found this VST3 to be a nice upgrade from its predecessor TH2.

Now I am absolutely nothing close to a guitar wizard, but I have been hacking around since I picked up the instrument at age 5, so I’ve been around the block with guitar tones touring, producing, engineering, recording, etc. like a lot of folks probably reading this.  From a production standpoint, I’ve always loved the convenience of amp simulators, but always hated what would happen to the tone when trying to mix them together with drums that had been recorded with 1073’s, API’s or other heavy duty pres and mics… the tone gets small pretty fast.  In my opinion, this is something that Overloud in general has excelled at—DSP and algorithms that truly stay at the front of the mix no matter what the context.  TH3 brings this concept to even another level.  Here are some of my quick thoughts and findings.

Sounds
There are a lot of changes with the new TH3 Cakewalk including the new and upgraded User Interface which I will get into, but I bet a lot of folks like me really base their judgments on how things sound.  The good news is that once you are up and running with the plug-in you will notice a nice improvement on the sound quality from TH2 Producer/Cakewalk.  5 new amp models with more accurate model reproduction are included in TH3 Cakewalk, and all have improved DSP along with enhanced preamp and power amp stages.  To my ear, I notice a more “open and natural” sound in general, but also notice a more responsive relationship between the pick and the strings in terms of “feel”—like when you play a guitar through an amp that just had the tubes replaced.  I also notice more presence overall, but the right type of presence without harshness.  The low-mids and mids are thick and punchy and I especially love the new Slo88 and Tweed Deluxe amps which have a lot of character.  The Bassface is a beast as well; this amp is a secret weapon for many rock producers who use it to double rhythm guitar parts recorded with other amps.  Blending these two sources together produces a tone that is about as thick as it gets.

New amps in TH3 Cakewalk:

 

Bassface 59:  Model of a classic american “bass” combo amp, tuned to be great for rhythm and blues playing on guitar once overdriven

Continue reading How the new “TH3 Cakewalk” Will Elevate Your Recordings in SONAR

5 Tools To Get “That Analog Sound” From SONAR

With the advent of digital audio, some feel a certain quality associated with the analog signal path has been lost. While that may have been true at one point, analog emulations have come a long way since first introduced. Let’s find out how to add that “analog sound” using some of SONAR’s plugins. (Note: Many of the following examples use features are exclusive to SONAR Platinum, so if you don’t already have this version, you can try a free demo by clicking here.)

#5 – ProChannel Tape Emulation

Tape Emulator Gif

Tape does some pretty magical things to audio, so SONAR Platinum includes tape emulation as a ProChannel module. Best  of all,  you can use it as much as you like without having to clean the heads!

Here’s how tape emulation enhances the sound:

  • Emulates the “head bump” of analog tape to enrich the low end, adding subtle warmth
  • Smooths response by slightly rolling off lowest lows and highest highs
  • Increases sustain by smoothing peaks
  • Saturates the signal in a non-linear, analog manner
  • Optionally introduces high-frequency hiss

For a basic application, insert the Tape Emulator in the Master Bus ProChannel. You’ll immediately hear a more cohesive mix. Increasing the REC LEVEL increases the overall saturation. The REC LEVEL knob, TAPE SPD switch, and BIAS switch all interact in unique ways, so try out different combinations to hear how they affect each other.

After hearing how the Tape Emulator affects your sound, try applying it to individual tracks (your drums will sound particularly fabulous). This will be a more subtle effect, adding a sense of depth to the overall mix.

Continue reading 5 Tools To Get “That Analog Sound” From SONAR

Why Cakewalk’s CA-2A Made a Big Impression at NAMM 2013

Every January, thousands of gear companies, PR professionals, artists, and gear-junkies converge in Anaheim, CA for what is known as one of the world’s biggest music festivals; The NAMM Show.  If you have never been, it’s a playground for the musician where one can find everything from the latest boutique guitar amp to the newest beta software development.

As a software company that participates at the NAMM show year after year, one pattern we have seen which holds true for all companies is that you just know when you have a great product on your hands.  This year was no exception when we unveiled the new CA-2A leveling amplifier to the press, artists and gear-heads; the feedback was beyond our expectations.

The CA-2A had 3 primary points of contact with the public at NAMM:

1. On the show-floor where SONAR X2a was being demonstrated on three machines.

2. The main-stage demonstration area where Cakewalk’s Seth Perlstein (along with other artists) showed off all the features of our software.

3. The Cakewalk V.I.P suite at the Hilton where we set up a studio atmosphere to show off our newest software combines with Roland’s integrated hardware.

While the show-floor and main-stage demo area served as a platform to show our customers and retail buyers our new products, the Hilton suite was where we were able to get the CA-2A in the hands of some well-known artists, along with seasoned experienced gear-savvy journalists.  The beauty of these meetings was that we were not looking for pats on the back or hot air; this was a chance for us to get straight feedback from professional users other than our beta developers for the first time.  After 4 days filled with over 50 meetings, here are a few quotes directly from the demonstrations:

TC Spitfire (producer/songwriter/engineer – Paul Oakenfold, Cher)

“With the style of music I produce on a daily basis, I’m excited to put the CA-2A to work next week.  I absolutely have to have side-chaining capabilities with dance music, so to have that feature in this type of leveling amplifier is huge for me.”

 

 

Tim Wynn (producer/composer/musician – co-owner of SonicFuel studios specializing in Film, Television and interactive media music)

“On any given week I could be writing and producing music for feature films, TV shows or mixing music for some of the biggest titles in video games.  I think the CA-2A is going to be a big part of my plugin arsenal.  From what I just heard in direct comparison to the other leveling amplifiers, I can’t see why anyone would not pick this up.  The fact that it’s lightweight on DSP and you don’t need an external card to run many                                              instances will be a big plus for me; for anyone for that matter.”

Shawn Clement (producer/composer/musician – Clemistry Music at Paramount Studios, Hollywood, CA)

“Anyone looking for a fat classic vintage compression sound will love this thing.  It’s great that you [Cakewalk] guys modeled the R37 screw as well which works miracles on vocals.” [The R37 screw helps control the high-frequency compression.]

 

These were just a few out of the many folks that stopped in to hear the CA-2A up against other leveling amplifiers.  In the next week I will be uploading another blog here exemplifying the sonic capabilities of the CA-2A as I put it to the grind here in my studio in NYC.

A quick look at the CA-2A Feature Highlights:

  • VST, Audio Units & ProChannel compatible (Mac/PC)
  • Meticulously modeled.
  • With only a few simple controls, it’s easy to use and provides instant gratification.
  • Warm, smooth and natural sounding compression characteristics.
  • Frequency-dependent gain reduction.
  • Compressor and Limiter modes.
  • Up to 40 dB of smooth gain reduction.
  • Sidechain input for ducking, de-essing and pumping.
  • Gain reduction CV output to modulate other effects.
  • Zero latency for real-time tracking and mixing.
  • Fully modeled “R37” HF Pre-emphasis control.

See all CA-2A T-Type Leveling Amplifier features

Availability and pricing:

The CA-2A T-Type Leveling Amplifier is now available for $99/£79/€99 and includes VST, AU, and ProChannel Module formats.  Customers who previously purchased the PC2A (ProChannel Module) format can upgrade for $19.99/£15.99/€19.99 on the Cakewalk Store.

Download the CA-2A T-Type Leveling Amplifier

New In SONAR X2 Producer: Scorching tones and killer effects with TH2 PRODUCER from OVERLOUD

 

SONAR X2 Producer users rejoice. Now you can get awesome guitar tones and effects from clean and spanky to crushing metal with the new TH2 PRODUCER amp modeling plugin by Overloud!  Continue reading New In SONAR X2 Producer: Scorching tones and killer effects with TH2 PRODUCER from OVERLOUD

SONAR X2 Feature Peek: Why BREVERB SONAR Will Become Your New Go-to Reverb

I finally had the chance to record and mix a full production in SONAR X2 Producer last week and one of my favorite new features is BREVERB SONAR.  I knew it was going to be good, but I didn’t know HOW good.  I found that out immediately when I sent the lead vocal track though to a bus with BREVERB SONAR and it was instant gratification.

Check out this video to see BREVERB SONAR in action on a vocal track:

Continue reading SONAR X2 Feature Peek: Why BREVERB SONAR Will Become Your New Go-to Reverb

New in SONAR X2 Essential and Studio: Scorching guitar tones with TH2 SONAR from OVERLOUD

SONAR X2 Essential and Studio users rejoice. Now you can get awesome guitar tones from clean and spanky to crushing metal with the new TH2 SONAR amp modeling plugin by Overloud!  Continue reading New in SONAR X2 Essential and Studio: Scorching guitar tones with TH2 SONAR from OVERLOUD

Get Z3TA+ 2, Rapture, and Stutter Edit for $199.95 – The Electronic Musician’s Dream!

Electronic Musician Bundle

Watch the promo video to see Z3TA+ 2, Rapture, and Stutter Edit in action.  What you hear was made exclusively with these 3 plugins!

Cakewalk and iZotope have teamed up to bring you three inspiring tools for electronic music at a price that will make you think you are dreaming! Save over 50% when you download the Electronic Musician’s Dream Bundle which includes:

  • Z3TA+ 2 (regular price: $99)
  • Rapture (regular price: $99)
  • iZotope Stutter Edit (regular price: $249)

Regularly $447 if purchased separately, you can download this special bundle for only $199.95 through July 24th – save over 50% off the regular price.

Download it today


Z3TA+ 2 coming to the Mac this August – Sign up to be notified

Z3TA+ 2 for Mac

Z3TA+ 2 has been a huge hit with musicians since its release in August 2011 but we still get that one persistent question: When will it be available for Mac? We are happy to announce that day is coming soon.

Z3TA+ 2 will be available in VST3 and AU format for Mac OS X 10.6.8 or higher and VST2 for Win7/Vista in early August 2012. Customers who have already purchased Z3TA+ 2 for Windows will receive the new Mac installer at no charge when it is released. We will have more information on Z3TA+ 2 for the Mac in the coming weeks.

If you love Z3TA+ 2 and know a friend or family member who is using a Mac, please let them know about this exciting news. They can also sign up to get updated information via email and to be notified
when it goes on sale.

Visit the Z3TA+ 2 for Mac sign up page

Get hands on control of SONAR X1’s ACT functionality with the Roland A-300PRO

SONAR X1′s Active Controller Technology (ACT) allows for full control over your mix and effects via hardware MIDI controller. Not only can you control mix settings like volume and pan on tracks, ACT lets you control parameters on effect and synth plugins in real time!

Coupled with the Roland A-300PRO MIDI Keyboard Controller you can fully immerse yourself in your mixes. No more “mousing around” to draw automation for a filter sweep on a synth, grab a control and get interactive.

ACT has templates for most MIDI controllers so setup is a breeze and hardware controls are already mapped to the most common parameters in all of your plugins. Want to customize the mapping? It’s as simple as pushing one button, clicking the parameters and moving the desired hardware controls. No menus needed!

Watch ACT and the A-300PRO in action Continue reading Get hands on control of SONAR X1’s ACT functionality with the Roland A-300PRO

How to get great guitar tones with Guitar Rig 4 LE in SONAR X1 Producer

As a lifelong guitarist and tone hound, I’ve had the pleasure of recording and playing on some of the world’s most cherished amplifiers. My sonic heaven is a set of glowing tubes spilling into a vintage Marshall 4×12 cabinet and projected out at mind numbing volume. But at 3am when I have an idea that just can’t wait and I don’t want to be arrested for disturbing the peace, I find my salvation in Native Instruments Guitar Rig 4 LE which is included in SONAR X1 Producer.

Armed with a guitar and a cable, your choice of great tones await within Guitar Rig 4 LE in just a few steps. From searing, tube style lead tones, thick and chunky metal to crystal clean majesty it’s all there! Continue reading How to get great guitar tones with Guitar Rig 4 LE in SONAR X1 Producer