Cakewalk Sonar - Part 1

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Get an introduction to the new multitracking application from Cakewalk, Sonar, from avid Cakewalk user and supporter Paul Labarre.

Well I've had some time to twiddle with Sonar for awhile and I have to say, I am getting to like it more and more. Even though there are still some issue's that I would like to see resolved to better match Cubase (fully functional channel strip's for each audio channel) I guess in the long run Sonar has some thing's going for it that make it more appealing. The main thing that makes this program much more appealing is that they brought all the control you need right to the track view. They have divided the window into 3 sections now, the track pane houses the main control's, the clip's pane houses the actual track data, and the bus pane. You can now adjust almost all your levels, right from the track view. There are also audio meter's available for record, monitor's, playback and all the buses. There are quite a few new feature's with the meter's also. They can be setup in a lot of different ways. And that means each track can have a different meter setup. But a word of warning, if you plan to run the meters in RMS you better have a fast rig and alot-O-Ram. Because they will slow that mother down quite a bit, but anyway the new meter setup is far above most DAW program's. Access to all your send's and return's is right there, along with the abilty to get at all your dsp processor's, (FX) patch em in and out at will without having to open a bunch of window's to get at em. You can arm, solo and mute just like before, and also choose your input's and output's all without having to go to another screen. And the icing on the Cake ( I still want to call it CakeWalk ) is that you can expand and minimize each track individually now so that all you have is a single track line that still contains the track name, midi or audio icon, track number and a volume control. Another new feature that just gets me going is the fact that you can now get to all the audio editing feature's without having to open a new window, or in some case's and external editing program! The Audio track in the clips pane can expand right when you maximize the the track pane, or all by itself which makes for good use of your space if you got a small moniter. You also have access to the Loop editer right from the track also but we will caver that in another article because there is way to much to go into. Lets just say that that was another of many issue's that made me jump for joy, and also one more external editing program I didn't need to open to get my work done.

One important detail I almost forgot, you can now run your effect's in real-time in Sonar. But again a word of caution, you gotta have a fast rig to do this and be running real low latency.

OK, thats enough on the audio for now. Lets look at the midi stuff. The stuff here is pretty basic, but it is still all accessible. You can select the tracks output, channel, input, mute, solo, and arm the track. You can also access your synth's bank's, patches, channel volume, panning and in the case of General Midi and some other synth's that comply you can get at the chorus and reverb levels' as well. You can also add real-time midi FX and Sonar has a nice setup for that. Again all the track editing can be accessed right from the clips pane with just one click. They have retained all the other buttons that made for quick access so you can still do it the old way or join the 20th century and just click the clip. All the editor window's and function's are there plus a few new one's.

The new pane they added is the bus pane, were you can access all the stuff you added to your track's aux send's and return's, such as the effects. You can bring up the effects main control's and so on, and this is also were you will experience the ability to automate your effects in real-time. ( Another of my favorite feature's ) It also houses the main busses and the virtual busses. Again you can add and tweak effects in the main busses also. You also have control over the main meter's and output's here. Again these tracks can be minimized and expanded at will which again save on screen space.

All this stuff of course can be used or not. There are tabs at the bottom of the window that allow you to setup just what you do want to see. You can select from just the mix stuff, FX stuff, input/output or all at once (which is what I'm running, cause I like lots of stuff and I can ).

Anyway, there is a lot more to cover, real-time automation for both audio and midi, the Loop editor and explorer, and all Dxi stuff which really kick's major butt. So if you guy's have a preference what you wanna here about next, go post it in the say stuff part of the message boards and maybe I'll give ya what ya want. I'll be straight with ya right now, the real-time FX and the Dxi synth's and stuff really make this program a top notch DAW, so if your gonna go get Sonar get the XL version cause it is more than worth the $$$$$..

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