An overview of the new features in Sonar 7. It must be something about the festive season. The very short story is that Sonar is a mature digital audio workstation that merges MIDI and audio sequencing, a hefty suite of virtual instruments, audio effects and MIDI processing. It offers unlimited audio and MIDI tracks your PC allowing , the excellent Audio Snap rhythmic and tempo control system, solid video integration, surround mixing and a powerhouse of audio and MIDI manipulation and processing options that rival and often better the competition.
Through—composed, mega—multitracked scores for film or TV can be accommodated just as easily. Like all the major DAW platforms, it already handles everything from MP3 files to high-bit-rate audio, integrates effects and virtual instrument plug-ins, and offers video functionality and loop-based composition. The most surprising novelty, perhaps, is in the area of MIDI handling.
Working with MIDI has seldom been so flexible, on any platform. There are new ways of doing almost everything — and some might even make experienced users do a double take. A new Step Sequencer view has also been added. Effects processing has been beefed up, too: This instance of the new Step Sequencer view is being used to create a pattern for a TR drum-machine patch in the Roland-derived Groove Synth plug-in.
Note how drum names appear in the note column; normally, note names would be displayed. In the case of Sonar 7, the results amount to probably the most significant part of the update.
Where other platforms keep massaging audio and plug-ins, Cakewalk have gone back to basics. Insert a virtual instrument into the track list, select this option, and the link is automatically made. We can already visualise and edit MIDI via piano roll, event list and staff score—based views, each of which can handle step input with looping if required. The number of rows appears to be just about unlimited — they can certainly run off the screen and become unmanageable — and the number of steps is also very flexible.
A separate pane also allows you to edit controller data in step-sequencer fashion; it stretches to keep up with however many steps are assigned to the pattern. Perfect for creating drum patterns, this view is a funky way to make music in general.
Just assign the notes that you know you want to use in a given pattern. Feel pentatonic, on a root note of C? Then just have five, 10, 15 or however many rows that output C, D, F, G and A in the desired octave ranges. What this does is force the pattern, however many steps or beats it has, to last for whatever number of quarter notes you assign. The result is polyrhythmic — you might have a five-beat pattern that you force to play for four quarter notes, which is five-against-four.
Beyond this simple example you could create some rather extreme polyrhythms that even, perhaps, Bill Bruford would find challenging to play. The most significant operational change to the MIDI engine as a whole is the behaviour of the mouse tools in the Piano Roll view. They are still, as with previous versions of Sonar, Select, Draw and Erase tools, but now each is completely customisable. There are about 20 different operations, including selecting, drawing, erasing, slip—editing and transposing, that you can assign to mouse actions, alone or in combination with the Ctrl, Shift and Alt keys.
You can have the action of each tool vary according to where you click in a note or data, and much more. There are default settings, of course, so you can carry on using the tools in a similar way to Sonar 6. If you have a busy track in the Piano Roll view, engaging the microscope by clicking the button with a microscope in it, of course, in the tool bar lets you magnify notes and work on them without having to fully zoom in. Straight out of the box, this became one of my favourite toys.
Hold your mouse-click over the grey strip at the bottom of the window: Neither synth offers much in the way of real, deep editing. The patch libraries are large, though, and you can fool around with offset parameters to create variation patches, which can be saved.
Dimension LE is especially welcome, with its big, instantly useable library, including the Garritan Pocket Orchestra, created just for the synth. Rapture, if the LE taste is anything to go by, is an impressively powerful synth. There are some amazing things the programmers are doing with modulation across the six-element voices that make up Rapture patches.
The synth is based around very small, single-cycle samples and is dubbed a wavetable synth for this reason. Dimension LE offers this feature but can also load larger samples — including REX2 loop files — but no editing is possible beyond a handful of controls. The Garritan Pocket Orchestra set is worth having, with a fabulous harpsichord, great percussion and harp, pretty good strings, useable woodwinds with some excellent layers and cursory brass.
Not bad for free. DropZone will load two audio files of practically any format you care to throw at it. Note the keyboard: The same goes for an attached MIDI keyboard. One highly frustrating aspect of Dimension LE is that its uneditable parameters include pitch, rendering the proper use of REX loops almost impossible. But there is a solution.
Yet another new Sonar 7 virtual instrument is DropZone, a two-layer sample—based device that makes it easy to integrate playable samples and loops into your track. This is really good stuff to get for free. The bread-and-butter effects from Cakewalk and Sonitus are still here, of course, but there have been some changes. Side—chain inputs have been added to the Sonitus compressor and gate effects and the VC64 Vintage Channel from v6; one is also present in the new Boost 11, of which more in a second.
Side—chaining basically causes the audio being processed to respond to the level of a second audio signal; common uses include ducking instrumental tracks underneath a vocal, by routing the vocal to the side-chain on a bus compressor then routing the instrumental tracks to that bus; and gating a synth pad from a hi-hat or percussion track, so that it acquires a rhythmic quality. The side-chain inputs are not available when loading one of the effects into clip or surround bus FX bins.
The modified plug-ins just behave as normal in these cases. The most impressive of the new plug—ins are a trio of serious mastering tools. Linear phase means that there are no phase shifts at different frequency ranges during processing. Different frequency ranges going out of alignment or interfering with each other is a common side-effect of some processors; it can lead to desirable fuzziness in some cases but more often than not adds unwanted muddiness and distortion.
The eccentric equalisation curve on the display for this LP64 equaliser did have a legitimate purpose. Parameters can be changed by dragging the display, or altering their values in the lower part of the screen. As simple as it may look, the LP64 equaliser is the ultimate in flexibility: The display is very precise in showing the curve and important parameters.
The plug-in can even be automated, should you wish. This is one instance where I think a collection of presets might have been handy, even if it just provided some typical curves that might suit different kinds of programme material.
Still, for all its power, the equaliser is easy enough to work with using just your ears. The LP64 multi-band Compressor is a fine example of its type.
The interface to this rather over-specified monster is a little more daunting than that of the EQ, but is still very clear. This is no mean feat considering that the device has no fewer than five frequency bands. The user has complete control of the frequency span of each band and the amount of compression that is applied. Two presets are supplied: It works for me! Boost Good as these two devices are — and they are top-drawer in every way — I live for plug—ins such as the new Boost 11 peak limiter.
The plug-in then gets on with the job of tracking peaks and limiting them, causing the audio input to come out as loud as it can be with nothing much in the way of unwanted artifacts. A difficult, intricate vocal line is tracked by V-Vocal 1. There are a load of other improvements in different areas of the program. I just never expect this kind of thing to work, let alone work well, but here it does.
The process can handle vibrato and bends, but if your singer produces a dead note, or something very expressive, you may get misreads. These are easily spotted, though, and you can drag the wrong notes to the correct pitches, either in V-Vocal before processing or in the new MIDI part. This last gives it the capability to record large files and projects of over 2GB in size.
Also among the new file formats supported is Sound Designer II, as used mainly by Digidesign software, especially in older versions of Pro Tools. These issues can be resolved within Sonar 7 but I found them a little long-winded, especially since I have a little free tool visit www. Audio can be ripped right off a CD using one of the file import commands, and burning CDs is just as easy. Cakewalk Publisher gets your tracks ready for your on-line presence. Cakewalk Publisher is another way to get audio out of your software.
With it, you can create a customised streaming music player, with a playlist of the desired music, and upload it via FTP to a web site. Publisher generates simple HTML tags that allows the audio player to be displayed on any other web site.
A full manual is supplied in PDF format, and it is a monster. Sonar 6 had a document of over pages; the v7 manual weighs in at nearly pages. I shudder to think of the unwieldiness of a printed version. One to dip into, I think! Even so, not all facilities supplied with Sonar 7 are mentioned in here. This great feature is applicable to Synth Rack, Audio Snap palette, plug-ins, the floating Piano Roll view and a few other windows.
Conclusion Interfacing external signal processing is now as easy as this insert graphic implies. The new v7 set of toys have virtually no negative consequences for established working methods in Sonar — everything integrates into the environment in a way that is instantly familiar.
Even the MIDI enhancements are managed in a way that should have little impact on experienced users; any surprises will definitely be of the pleasant kind. It is your friend. Merry Christmas. But keeping with the Sonar family, we should just point you in the direction of the SOS web site.
Download SONAR Producer Edition for free. SONAR Producer Edition - SONAR X1 Producer has everything needed to deliver the polished, “radio-ready” recordings that are expected in today’s music industry – all in one box.4/5(77). Discuss: Cakewalk SONAR 7 Producer Edition (Windows/Mac) Sign in to comment. Be respectful, keep it civil and stay on topic. We delete comments that violate our policy, which we encourage you to. Sep 19, · Cakewalk, the world’s leading developer of powerful and easy to use products for music creation and recording, announces the feature packed release of SONAR 7 Producer Edition and SONAR 7 Studio Edition, the technology leading digital audio workstations.
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