By Craig Anderton
Cakewalk’s cross-platform, step-sequencing-oriented synthesizer has a ton of hidden features and shortcuts. Here are some favorites; the numbers correspond to the numbers in the screen shot.
1 BETTER SOUND QUALITY
Each Element has a Quality parameter that defaults to Std. If the patch uses pitch sweeps, change this to Hi to minimize aliasing. To further minimize aliasing, click on the Options button (the Screwdriver icon toward the upper right) and check “Use sinc interpolation when freezing/rendering.”
2 RAPTURE MEETS MIDI GUITAR
Click on the Options button. Check “Set Program as Multitimbral” so Rapture elements 1-6 receive MIDI channels 1-6, which can correspond to guitar strings 1-6. For the most realistic feel where playing a new note cuts off an existing note sounding on the same string, set each element’s Polyphony to 0 (monophonic with legato mode), and Porta Time to 0.0.
3 ENABLING PORTAMENTO
Portamento is available only if an Element’s Polyphony = 0. If Polyphony = 1, only one voice can sound (monophonic mode), but without legato or the option to add portamento.
4 MULTI OPTION DETAILS
An Element’s Multi option can thicken an oscillator without using up polyphony. However, it works only with short wavetables, not longer samples or SFZ files.
5 ACCEPTABLE FILE FORMATS
Each Element can consist of a WAV, AIF, or SFZ multisample definition file. SFZ files can use WAV, AIF, or OGG files. Samples can be virtually any bit depth or sample rate, mono or stereo, and looped or one-shot.
6 MELODIC SEQUENCES
When step sequencing Pitch, quantize to semitones by snapping to 12 levels or 24 levels (right-click in the sequencer to select). If you simply click within the step sequencer, each time you type “N” it generates a new random pattern.
7 CHAINING ELEMENTS FOR COMMON FX
You can route an oscillator (with its own DSP settings) through the next-higher-numbered Element’s EQ and Effects by right-clicking on the lower-numbered Element number and selecting “Chain to Next Element.” (You can’t do this with Element 6 because there is no higher-numbered element.)
8 KNOB DEFAULT VALUES
Double-click on a knob to return it to its default value.
9 THE PROGRAMMER’S FRIEND: THE LIMITER
When programming sounds with high resonance or distortion, enable the Limiter to prevent unpleasant sonic surprises.
10 FIT ENVELOPE TO WINDOW
If the envelope goes out of range of the window, click on the strip just above the envelope graph, and choose Fit.
11 SET ENVELOPE LOOP START POINT
Place the mouse over the desired node and type “L” on your QWERTY keyboard. Similarly, to set the Loop End/Sustain point, place the mouse over a node and type “S.”
12 CHANGE AN ENVELOPE LINE TO A CURVE
Click on an envelope line segment, and drag to change the curve.
13 CHANGE LFO PHASE
Hold down the Shift key, click on the LFO waveform, and drag left or right.
14 CHOOSING THE LFO WAVEFORM
Click to choose the next higher-numbered waveform or right-click to choose the next lower-numbered waveform. But it’s faster to right-click above the LFO waveform display, and choose the desired LFO waveform from a pop-up menu.
15 PARAMETER KEYTRACKING
The Keytracking window under the LFO graph affects a selected parameter (Pitch, Cut 1, Res 1, etc.) based on the keyboard note. Adjust keytracking by dragging the starting and ending nodes. Example: If Cut 1 is selected and the keytracking line starts low and goes high, the cutoff will be lower on lower keys and higher with higher keys. If the line starts high and goes low, the cutoff will be higher on lower keys and lower with higher keys.
16 CHANGE KEYTRACKING CURVE
Click on the Keytrack line and drag up or down to change the shape.
17 CHOOSE AN ALTERNATE TUNING
Click on the Pitch button for the Element you want to tune. Click in the Keytrack window and select the desire Scala tuning file.
ADDING CUSTOM LFO WAVEFORMS
Store WAV files (8 to 32-bit, any sample rate or length) in the LFO Waveforms folder (located in the Rapture program folder). Name each WAV consecutively, starting with LfoWaveform020.wav, then LfoWaveform021.wav, etc.
SMOOTHER HALL REVERB
If you select Large Hall as a Master FX, create a smoother sound by loading the Small Hall into Global FX 1 and the Mid Hall into Global FX 2. Trim the reverb filter cutoffs to “soften” the overall reverb timbre.
THE MOUSE WHEEL
The wheel can turn a selected knob up or down, change the level of all steps in a step sequence, scroll quickly through LFO waveforms, zoom in and out on envelopes, and more. Hold the Shift key for finer resolution, or the Ctrl key for larger jumps.
FINEST KNOB RESOLUTION
Use the left/right arrow keys to edit a knob setting with fives times the resolution of just click/dragging with the mouse.
NEW LOOK WITH NEW SKINS
In the Rapture folder under Program Files, the Resources folder has bit-mapped files for Rapture graphic elements (e.g., background, knobs, etc.). Modify these to give Rapture a different look.
COLLABORATING ON SOUNDS
To exchange files with someone who doesn’t have the same audio files used for an SFZ definition file, send the audio files separately and have your collaborator install them in Rapture’s Sample Pool library. This is where Rapture looks for “missing” SFZ files.
Craig Anderton is Editor Emeritus of Harmony Central. He has played on, mixed, or produced over 20 major label releases (as well as mastered over a hundred tracks for various musicians), and written over a thousand articles for magazines like Guitar Player, Keyboard, Sound on Sound (UK), and Sound + Recording (Germany). He has also lectured on technology and the arts in 38 states, 10 countries, and three languages.