ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Tips For Mastering Your Song In Sonar X1 and X2

Updated on August 11, 2016
copywriter31 profile image

James earned a BA degree in Music Performance-Keyboards from Concordia University and is a recording artist, composer and producer.

My Assignment

Mastering your new song can be a pleasant experience or can cause temporary mental madness depending on the mix you are given... I've prepared a few tips via video, pictures and from the benefit of 20+ years of making good (in most cases) music in recording studios of all shapes, sizes and styles.

I was commissioned to write music for a church in Houston, TX in 2003 for a musical play entitled "Jabez". One song in particular stood out as being the best and I came across that old CD about 2 weeks ago. After hearing the song again, I decided to put it on my next CD.

When I wrote and recorded 'Jabez', my 'studio' consisted of a keyboard, computer, a harware-based sound module and an amp... that's right-you read correctly; NOT studio monitor speakers, but a stand up Fender amp!

I'll spare you the details of how I mixed the song, but suffice it to say it turned out to be a fairly good mix. The song contained only a music bed and was originally produced to be a vocal duet. I imported the CD audio to Sonar X1 then added piano for the lead line and guitars for extra fills.

Adding the Parts

One would think recording a measely and easy 4 tracks to the pre-recorded music bed would be a walk in the park... this experience was more like a walk in the dark!

Imagine... no metronome or click track, intermittent tempo changes, and dynamics changing constantly and you can see the difficulties of laying down accurate, tasteful tracks: But I finally conquered the beast and was ready for mix.

I've been a faithful Cakewalk Sonar user, upgrading with every new edition. Staying true to form, I bought the recently-released Sonar X1 Producer and I used it for this session.

HOT TIP! The new Sonar X1 Producer DAW is incredible! If you are trying to decide between Pro Tools and X1, the decision is easy. In my opinion, the X1 blows Pro Tools out of the water if for no other reason, PRICE! Check it out.

Image of new Sonar X1 Producer's interface

The Mix

The mix was really simple. I found some plug-in effects for the piano and guitars that sweetened their sounds and that was that.

The old music bed gave me fits because I could isolate nothing for clarity. Fortunately, I was lucky when I performed the original mix in 2003. Still, this would have been a much
better-sounding recording if I could have mixed my usual way... that is, using isolated tracks for each instrument.

Hot Tip!

The new Cakewalk Sonar Platinum DAW is incredible! If you are trying to decide between Pro Tools and Sonar, the decision is easy. In my opinion, Sonar blows Pro Tools out of the water if for no other reason, PRICE! Check it out.


Unbeatable NEW software from Cakewalk

Additional Information on Mastering

The video did not mention the song I always use for a comparison model is a piece I wrote and recorded in 2005 - "Mystery of the 4 Winds". I use this song because it was mastered by Ernie Wells, owner of Eighth Note Productions in Houston, TX.

How good is Ernie Wells? Burt Bacharach called Ernie from Southern California two years ago to handle his "Greatest Hits" recording session. "Mystery of the 4 Winds" was impeccably mastered and I attempt to emulate the sound on everything I record and master.

Finally, technology has improved so much that Sonar's X1 Producer removes the transient spikes VERY well. They're barely noticeable in the main timeline. This quality dwells in their very professional, smooth-sounding compression found in Pro-Channel. Pro Channel is available to use on EVERY track... a huge leap forward! The ability to use Pro Channel with each and every track gives the big sound all of us seek as recording artists. Kudos to Cakewalk for a great new DAW.

The Finale

 For a full listen to the now-mastered "Jabez" click here.

Let me know what you think!

Sonar's X1 Producer's Pro Channel Strip - Incredible Sound!

© 2011 James Ranka

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • copywriter31 profile imageAUTHOR

      James Ranka 

      7 years ago from Port Neches

      Thanks... look forward to getting the info!

    • profile image

      piano chord progressions 

      7 years ago

      Record is a great applicatoin as well... I personally haven't had time to really dig into like I've wanted to (I got it free with my Reason 5 upgrade). If you'd like some tips on getting the drums to sound realistic with Reason 5 just let me know. There are some really good methods I've picked up on over the years same with guitars (involves alittle multisampling) but nothing that can't be done in 4-5 minutes of prep work.

      I'll get a email out to you before Tuesday!

    • copywriter31 profile imageAUTHOR

      James Ranka 

      7 years ago from Port Neches

      Since I wrote this hub, I purchased Reason and Record and I totally agree with your comments with one exception... DRUMS. I've found that a basic repeating pattern works fine for me in Record. I will compose using Record and the repeating pattern, then bounce the audio Reason .wav files for use in X1. I will then use Toontracks Superior Drummer2 for the unbeatable live sound it gives for the final mix.

      I'll look forward to hearing your material!

      Email to: copywriter31@gmail.com

      Good comments.

    • profile image

      piano chord progressions 

      7 years ago

      Reason - Is a beast (imo) when it comes to writing music (instrumentation). Me personally, I do everything in Reason * Sound Designing - Writing - Mixing * I use Sonar for recording vocals or I'll rewire as you mentioned if I want to experiment with some other sounds that I have via plugins.

      I'll also rewiring if I'm doing remixes. Now this can be done in Reason but I'm just use using a Daw for this (easier for editing vocals this way)

      Here and their I will use Sonar without Reason mostly when writing to video.

      I'll email you some stuff I've done. Right Now I have music placed with a few reality shows... did some sound desinging for native instruments, motu and I have some work that I'm working on for an up coming battlefield 3 expansion

    • copywriter31 profile imageAUTHOR

      James Ranka 

      7 years ago from Port Neches

      I used Reason for many years and was quite happy with it. How do you use the two programs? Is X1 your rewired device while you are using Reason as the main sequencer or vice versa? Give me an address where I can hear your results because I am seriously considering going your route, that is - using these 2 programs in sequence. (No pun intended.)

    • profile image

      Piano Chord Progressions 

      7 years ago

      Been using Sonar X1 Along with Reason great combination

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)