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  • #91
    Sonar now has an External Insert plug-in, like Cubase. The purpose of this is to let you use external hardware with Sonar that looks and acts like a software plug-in (although of course, you can only instantiate one instance of a hardware plug-in if there's only one piece of hardware). Actually, Sonar could always do this, but it was relatively complicated: You had to send a track to a bus terminating in an unused audio interface output, patch that to the effect input, patch the effect output to an unused audio interface input, record that to a track, then shift the track in time as needed to compensate for the delays caused by going out to an external device, then coming back in again. And you had to mute the original track, too. The plug-in concept is a lot easier.

    The attached image shows the GUI for the "External Insert" plug-in. You specify the external audio interface output in the send section (you can also choose to send the left, right, or mono signal), and where the effect is coming back in the Return section. In this case, I was using the Dock 1 ports from the E-Mu 1820m interface. You also have level controls for the sends and returns, as well as the option to invert the phase of the return signal.

    The part in the middle is the Delay block, which compensates automatically for delays through the system and effect: Click on the upper delay button, and Sonar "pings" the effects loop, and sets a delay compensation time.

    To test this out, I loaded a drum loop into one track, and the drum loop processed through an external effect (DigiTech RP250, set to bypass) into another track, then listened. Without delay compensation (the default setting), there was audible slapback echo. Clicking on the delay button gave 79 ms of delay, and the slapback echo effect disappeared. I then threw the second track out of phase, to see if the timing was precise enough that it would cancel. It was close, but not exact; I used the manual offset option to add 860 samples (about 20 ms) and they cancelled. That's pretty close, and in most cases, 20 ms wouldn't be a big deal.

    The implementation on this is painless. The send and receive block out any options that can't be used, but you can send two tracks into the same effect; however, you can't use the same outputs, although you could bring the right output back into one track, and the left into another. But that's kind of a hassle...I think you're better off just sticking to one hardware effect per insert.

    One more thing: The send and return gains, phase invert option, left mute, right mute, and mono are all automatable parameters. Overall, I'd say for those who want to use external processors with Sonar, this feature makes it very easy.
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    • #92
      advantage on tracks. But when you want the EQ to be as neutral as possible, and leave your mix pretty much alone except for whatever changes you program in, the LP64 gets the nod. I wish it could be automated, but I can cope . . . I can break a file down into objects, and insert an LP64 in each one, with stepped changes.


      Craig,

      You should be able to automate it with a track envelope...

      Scott

      --
      Scott R. Garrigus - Author of Cakewalk, Sound Forge 6, 7/8 and SONAR 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Power books.
      ** Sonar 7 Power - Coming this month! ***
      http://www.garrigus.com/

      Publisher of DigiFreq. Win a free Absynth 3 or Kontakt 2 DVD Tutorial and learn cool music technology tips and techniques by getting a FREE subscription to DigiFreq... over 20,000 readers can't be wrong! Go to:
      http://www.digifreq.com/digifreq/

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      • #93
        Yes, it's physically possible to automate it, but you get the same gapping problems as if you adjust it manually, making it more or less useless for automation unless you can make your changes during passages where no audio is happening.
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        • #94
          I've been using Sonar 6 Pro for a while now, and I'm really happy with most of it. The one thing that lets it down for me is the stave notation view - I would really like to be able to create a decent lead sheet for songs. Features like 'repeats', multiple lyric lines and articulations etc. would be incredibly helpful. I've been using Finale for my lead sheets, but it isn't my favourite bit of software!

          I've even considered changing to Cubase because it is a feature that is so important to me, and from what I can tell, Cubase does it a whole lot better!

          Does Sonar 7 have any improvements in this area or will I need to continue battling with Finale to get my lead sheets?

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          • #95
            I was wondering how the new features in Sonar 7 would allow better integration with the Creamware Scope Professional card? Ableton Live 7 looks like it will have support for external effect/instruments . how does this feature in Sonar 7 shape up?

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            • #96
              Go back a few posts and you'll see I covered the external effects thing. Any questions on what I wrote? As to external instruments, I always figured hey, give it a MIDI out, and record the audio...

              As to SCOPE, what kind of integration are you looking for? It already does a good job as far as I'm concerned...I'm a big fan of the SCOPE system.
              N E W S O N G ! To Say 'No' Would Be a Crime (Remix) is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

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              • #97
                A sidechain effect, at least in terms of software, is an effect with a standard audio input along with a second input that allows audio other than the primary audio input to control some aspect of the effect's sound.

                One classic example is a noise gate with a "key" input. This allows an audio signal separate from the one feeding the input of the noise gate to open and close the gate. For example, the output of a kick drum could provide the sidechain signal for a bass line going through the noise gate. This would "lock" the bass to the kick, making it sound like the world's tightest rhythm section.

                Another classic example is compression. For example, suppose you're recording a singer/songwriter and you put rhythm guitar through a compressor. By feeding the vocal into the compressor's sidechain input, compression will occur if the vocal, not the guitar, exceeds the compression threshold. Thus, the guitar will be compressed when the singer is singing, but otherwise returns to its uncompressed state if there are no vocals.

                You can think of vocoders as having a sidechain input-the input for the modulator. Sonar doesn't include a vocoder per se (although you can use the Pentagon soft synth as a vocoder, as described in the Pro Review for Sonar 6), I just mention it for sake of example.

                Yet another use for sidechaining is to use a processed version of the effect's input signal to control the effect. Again using compression with a vocal as an example, you can do de-essing by feeding a copy of the input vocal with a massive treble boost into the sidechain input. The trebly parts will kick in the compression, while the sections without a lot of treble will remain uncompressed.
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                • #98
                  Sonar 7 includes three modified versions of previously-available effects that do chaining: Sonitus:Gate, Sonitus: Compressor, and Vintage Channel VC-64. Of these, the VC-64 definitely has the most complex implementation, so we'll deal with that last and start off with gating.

                  When you insert one of these effects into the effects bin, the sidechain input becomes available as a destination for a track or bus. Referring to the attached image, the Sonitus:gate is inserted in a track called Pad_HugeBrass+Strings, which plays a continuous, sustained pad. The track Kit_ClassicElectro (shown in the Inspector) has a drum part that goes to the main out, but also has a send to a bus called Bus > Gate (circled in red for clarity). The bus output's destination is the Sonitus:Gate side input (circled in orange for clarity).

                  So the signal flow is that both audio tracks feed the main output, but the drum track also feeds a bus, which provides the control signal for the Gate's sidechain input. As a result, the drum track "chops" the pad track, making it sound more rhythmic-as you'll hear if you listen to the audio example, which includes the drum sound and the "chopped" pad sound.

                  Note that you can also just route an audio track out to the sidechain, but in that case, it won't be going to the main out. However, this implies you can come up with audio tracks designed solely to control sidechain inputs that never appear in the main output.
                  N E W S O N G ! To Say 'No' Would Be a Crime (Remix) is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

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                  • #99
                    Hi Craig,

                    Going back to the external insert plug-in, have you been able to get good results with the plug on a bus? Do you get consistent pings every time? Have you tried it with several other plugs in the same effects bin? These seem to be problematic areas for many people. I know Cakewalk has promised an improvement in stability for a future update, but in the meantime it's useful to know who is having problems with what. The following thread on the CW forum describes some of the issues:

                    External Insert Thread

                    Thanks,

                    John
                    Send lawyers, guns and money...

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                    • I have yet to try this with a bus, I've just done tracks so far. But I'll check it out as soon as I finish up the section on sidechaining.

                      As to the "inconsistent ping" issue, usually it hits a number and stays there. If I keep pinging, I can get it to change but if I ping a few more times, it settles down to a consistent number. It doesn't nail the delay perfectly (see my original post above, I needed to tweak for best results) but 20ms seems close enough for most parts. I don't know if using the E-Mu interface has anything to do with the overall stability I'm experiencing; maybe it's a factor.

                      So while I wouldn't say the external insert thing is flawless, I certainly haven't even come close to experiencing some of the issues others have. But I'll try the bus insert and see if I can break that
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                      • I think you’re really going to like this example…let’s check out sidechaining with the Sonitus:Compressor. In this setup, the tracks and assignments are the same as for the noise gate, except that compression is being applied to a jazz double bass loop (courtesy Big Fish Audio).

                        The first audio example is the sound of the bass compressing itself. In other words, the bass signal controls the compression – this is the way compression normally works.

                        In the second audio example, the drum part provides the control signal for the compression. This means that compression happens only when the drums are playing. So, some offbeat hits come through louder, making for a more dynamic part. Also note that despite being more "present" this part doesn’t “step on” the drums at all, because it’s compressed when the drums hit.
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                        • Now, this is where it gets interesting. The third audio example plays the first and second examples at the same time, but with one flipped out of phase so you can hear the difference between the two tracks more clearly. You’ll notice lots of bass peaks – this is how much louder the bass peaks sound on the track where the compression is controlled by the drums. Interesting, eh?

                          This is of course just one example of sidechained compression at work, but it's a concept that lends itself to experimentation. Just have a bus set up and ready to go to at any time, and you can check out sidechaining using the type of setup we've described.
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                          • The VC-64 channel strip also has a sidechain input, and the two compressors as well as the EQs all have Key switches which, when enabled, allow them to be fed with the sidechain signal. The instrument routings that use compression work like the examples given above for the Sonitus:Compressor, and are useful for the same types of effects.

                            However, with the VC-64 you can "double" the effect. For example, you could load a VC-64 patch that incorporates two series compressors (like the Instrument Setup), and make the effect even more radical by keying both compressors to the sidechain. In the audio example, you'll hear just that: Drums double-compressing an organ loop, with a short attack time so that there's almost an "attack delay" effect from the drum hits temporarily squashing the signal to near-nothingness.
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                            • Using sidechain with EQ is a different matter, as the results depend on which EQ you have set to Key, and the routing. The following isn't mentioned anywhere that I could find in the documentation, but here's the way it works.

                              Instrument Setup: Sidechain replaces input signal if EQ1 and/or EQ2 is set to key.

                              Vocal Setup: Sidechain replaces input signal if EQ1 or both EQs are set to key, and mixes with input signal if EQ2 is set to key.

                              Two Band Compression: Sidechain replaces input if both EQs are set to key, or mixes with input if one EQ is set to key.

                              Filtered Compression: With EQ2 set to key, the sidechain signal goes to EQ2 on the way to controlling the compressor. With EQ1 set to key, the sidechain signal replaces the input signal.

                              Mix and Master Setup: Setting EQ1 and/or EQ2 to key replaces the input signal with the sidechain signal.

                              Parallel Compression: Same as Mix and Master Setup.

                              Selective Compression: With EQ1(or EQ1 and EQ2) set to key, the sidechain signal replaces the input signal. With EQ2, the sidechain signal gets mixed in after going through EQ2.

                              Selective with Sidechain Filter: Setting EQ1 to key does nothing. Setting only EQ2 can produce some really interesting compression-meets-gating effects, depending on how you adjust the C2 compressor settings. The audio example has the organ kind of gating along with the drums (and to make it more interesting, I'm sweeping the EQ2 frequency too). As far as I'm concerned, this setup is the most convincing argument for the VC-64 having a sidechain in. Setting EQ1 and EQ2 to key mixes the sidechain and input signals, with the sidechain going through EQ2.

                              Split Stereo Setup: With EQ1 set to key and EQ2 off, the sidechain signal comes out of the left channel and the input signal comes out of the right. With the opposite EQ key settings, the sidechain comes out of the right and the input signal out of the left. With both EQ1 and EQ2 on, the sidechain signal replaces the input signal.

                              Mid-Side Setup: This does various combinations of mixing and stereo effects. In the audio example, EQ1 is set to key, so the sidechain (drums) signal is mixed in with the organ. The organ is going through EQ2, which has the same automation as in the Selective with Sidechain Filter example.
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                              • I found another good use for Boost 11: To bring up room sound mics. I just tried this on a classical harpsichord recording (I'm serious). There's only a dB or two of reduction, but the slight boost helps it co-exist better with the direct harpsichord sound.
                                N E W S O N G ! To Say 'No' Would Be a Crime (Remix) is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

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