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Video Training Review – SONAR X1 – Advanced Workshop With Craig Anderton From Cakewalk

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SONAR X1 – Advanced Workshop is a video tutorial that goes beyond simple training on how to get up and running using SONAR X1. This is a compilation of advanced workshop videos that provides an in-depth exploration of techniques – the kind that you would expect of a master workshop, which will give you real insight into some of the more advanced techniques that you can do with SONAR X1.

SONAR X1 – Advanced Workshop is a DVD takes on a range of subjects that includes vintage effects emulation, repairing damaged tracks, mastering within SONAR, constructing a looper in SONAR with unique features, and much, much more. This is Cakewalk’s first official video tutorial. SONAR X1 – Advanced Workshop is 100 minutes in length and contains 31 video tutorials in 5 main areas of focus.

 SONAR X1 - Advanced Workshop

Better Workflow and Creativitiy

Video 1, “Introducing Skylight,” shows you how to get better workflow and creativity using SONAR’s new Skylight interface. This tutorial shows you how to work with the new interface and how it really streamlines your workflow. Video 2, “Creating Screensets,” gives you the ability to combine certain functionalities together to get the most from your session. Whether you are mixing or fine tuning, each project can have up to 10 screensets of common layouts. This video will show you how to put them together to make your working with SONAR easier.

Video 3, “Editing with Smart Tools,” one of SONAR’s newest tool that works across all views and has the ability to switch functionality depending on where you use it in relation to what you want to edit. Here you will see how this tool will affect your editing capabilities. Video 4, “Object-oriented editing,” allows you to select a single part of a track- right down to a single note, to create as an object. You can then add an effect to that object and merge it back into the track where the effect will be applied.

Video 5, “Enter the Matrix View,” will give you another way to look at a track as well as a loop based improvisation method to compose and perform music. The matrix view contains rows and columns of cells and the cells contain loops or one shots. This tutorial takes you through working with the Matrix View and how to use it to compose a song. Video 6, “Arpeggiator meets percussion,” and has the ability to create interesting percussion patterns. Here you will see how to use the TTS-1 virtual instrument to work with MIDI files to create no limit to the number of percussion sound combinations you can create.

 SONAR X1 - Advanced Workshop

Video 7, “Humanizing the Step Sequencer,” will show you that you can put together parts fast but sometimes they can sound too automated. Here you will see you how to give this process a more natural feel to it through subtle timing adjustments.

Looping and Warping

Video 8, “Slicing loops for hi-fi stretching,” will show you how to stretch tempo without using VST processing so that the fidelity is the same as the non- stretched version. This is handy when you have a 125 BPM (beats per minute) loop and you need a 80 BPM loop. Video 9, “Creating a ‘looper’,” – which is a long delay that typically give atmospheric ambient effects, but they can also set up a grove where you set up overdub, after overdub. Here you will learn how to set these up as well as go beyond the standard looper.

Video 10, “Processing Groove Clips,” now will show you how to retain groove clip characteristics when applying effects without turning off groove clip looping. Video 11, “Optimizing Groove Clips,” will show you how to handle proper groove clip stretching even when they are not edited for optimum stretching. Here you will see how to add transience points to improve clips at different BPM.

Video 12, “Perfect pad looping,” will show you how to turn any sustained pad and see how to create a perfect pad loop. Video 13, “Timbre-shifting with loops,” gives you some new techniques when working with drum beats on how alternating the pitch and/or the slicing, and/or the transient detection parameter can give some really unique sounds to an existing clip. Then when added to the original clip you have a lot of possibilities.

 SONAR X1 - Advanced Workshop

Mixing and Effects

Video 14, “Using FX chains,” now shows how you can combine a series of effects into an FX Chain. Here you will see how to work with, load, and save groups of effects for use in your creations. Video 15, “Generating frequency-tracking automation envelopes,” using the Analyst plug-in can create envelopes that represent levels of the four specific frequency bands as well as an overall envelope. This video shows you how to work with this using a percussion track and applying it to a guitar track.

Video 16, “Virtual miking for acoustic instruments,” will show you that stereo miking is not always the best way to mike. Here you will see what can be done through the use of pro-channel EQ to create an artificial stereo image from a single mono track. Video 17, “Using the PX-64 on bass tracks,” The PX-64 is a percussion strip that when used with a percussion instrument such as a bass guitar, makes for a great percussion processor. Here you will see how to work with expanders, compressors, shaper, saturation, and other changes to modify the effects.

 SONAR X1 - Advanced Workshop

Video 18, “Integrating external hardware effects,” has become more important for those who have some vintage hardware in their projects. You will see how to use SONAR’s external insert plug-in to treat hardware effects just like software plug-in. Video 19, “Using Perfect Space reverb for sound design,” isn’t just about reverb – it’s a
convolution engine capable of taking any two waveforms and doing the equivalent of a DSP mashup. The results can be stunning—from vocoder-like effects to eerily beautiful alien soundscapes. Here you will see how you can load any wave or AIF file and create new sounds

Video 20, “Sidechaining for rhythmic effects,” gives you the ability to automate effects using audio output. The four effects that SONAR provides are Sonitus Gate, Sonitus Compressor, Vintage Channel, and ProChannel 4K Bus Compressor. Here you will see how to use sidechaining to impart the rhythmic characteristics of one instrument to another.

ProChannel (only available in SONAR X1 Producer)

Video 21, “Parallel compression,” looks at how compression restricts dynamic range by reducing peaks while raising lower level sounds. This gives an overall louder feel while bringing up subtleties. Because too much compression can result in a squashed sound that will give you a bland feel. By combining the compressed with uncompressed versions you can retain the dynamics better for a much more natural sound.

Video 22, “Adding Tube Saturation,” can help to beef up a variety of sounds. In this video you will work with a drum track modify the kick, tom’s and the snares on separate channels to get a much bigger sound. Video 23, “Emulating vintage phase shifters,” through the use of the parametric EQ is described in this video. Here you will see how to create the classic phase shifter effect using the ProChannel.

 SONAR X1 - Advanced Workshop

Video 24, “Optimizing amp simulators,” shows you how to set up your Guitar Rig Pro 4 simulator for optimum sound. Here you will examine several methods of working with your amp simulator. Video 25, “Creating vintage ‘wah’ pedal effects,” now looks at creating a ‘wah’ effect much in the same way that the phase shifter was created. Then, once you do that, a phase shifter is added for an additional effect.

Mastering

Video 26, “Mastering inside SONAR,” shows that SONAR is not just about recording, but also about editing and mastering. It comes with a number of tools that are suitable for mastering. Here you will look at how to set up SONAR for efficient mastering. Video 27, “Track down EQ problems with the Analyst,” which can include tracks that sound too bassey, too bright, or have other frequency response problems. By using the Analyst, it will make it easier to locate problems than trying to use your ear alone.

Video 28, “Repairing clicks,” now looks at how to fix clicks within tracks using a couple of methods depending on how many clicks there are to fix. Video 29, “Maximizing loudness,” gives you the ability to give a volume boost to your mix by using the Sonitus fx Multiband Compressor. Here you will see how to give the boost without increasing the peaks on the track.

Video 30, “Assembling an album,” now shows you how to put together a test assembly from within SONAR. This is the process of making sure that all songs flow together correctly. Here you will see various techniques for moving from one song to another. Then you see how to build a CD. Video 31, “Thanks for watching!,” is a short thank you for watching the training video and if successful introduces the idea of more video’s like this one.

 SONAR X1 - Advanced Workshop

SONAR X1 – Advanced Workshop is available from Cakewalk for $39.99 and is available as a digital download. It is presented in HD at 720p and works with iPad, iPhone, and other MPEG4 friendly mobile devices. One thing to note is this video includes many tips for ProChannel which is only available in SONAR X1 Producer.

SONAR X1 – Advanced Workshop brings together a lot of information and presents it in short succinct videos that get right to the point. The content is clear and easy to understand and shows you exactly how to accomplish each task.

From a training standpoint SONAR X1 – Advanced Workshop makes for a good overview of the SONAR product and introduces many topics and techniques while showing how to get a certain sound and effect. Many of the topics here only scratched the surface and could support their own videos – some even multiple videos such as the whole editing and mixing process, and based on the quality of this video, I hope to see them soon. It is because of this that I very highly recommend SONAR X1 – Advanced Workshop.

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About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.