SONAR 2015 Lexington Update Notes

Last updated on 3/18/2016

This article was adapted from the SONAR Lexington Update PDF.

The SONAR Lexington update includes the following:

  1. Performance and Speed Optimizations
  2. Five New Style Dials
  3. Fixes and Workflow Enhancements

 

How to Download the Lexington Update

 

Open the Cakewalk Command Center. If you don’t have the latest installer (CakewalkCommandCenterSetup1.1.2.2.exe), please download it.

To download the Lexington core update itself, download from the core SONAR Artist, Professional, or Platinum category. It is not necessary to download anything else.

 

 

Performance and Speed Optimizations

Artist, Professional, Platinum

The positive reception to Kingston’s performance optimizations were, to put it mildly, inspiring. As a result, the Lexington development team continued to focus on possible areas of improvement. The improvements are particularly noticeable with projects hosting large numbers of tracks, plug-ins, and clips, although all types of projects benefit.

Speed Increases for Projects with Hundreds/Thousands of Clips

This optimization improves clip handling when a project contains hundreds or thousands of clips. To test a suitable scenario, transients were turned on for three minutes of drums, then split on transients to create 958 separate clips. This track was then cloned to create a total of 1,916 clips, with AudioSnap still enabled, in order to time various operations. (Note: Tests were conducted using an older AMD Phenom II X6 1055T Processor with 8 GB RAM running 64-bit Windows 8.1.)

 

Operation

X3/Kingston

SONAR Lexington

Improvement

Select All

2 secs

0.1 seconds

20x faster

Open context menu for clips with all selected

3 seconds

0.8 seconds

3.75x faster

Clicking before audio on track to set Now Time

3.9 seconds

0.1 seconds

39x faster

Changing the active track

2.2 seconds

0.1 seconds

22x faster

Bounce all to clips

27.8 seconds

14.2 seconds

1.96x faster

Quantize all clip start times (AudioSnap on or off)

10.9 seconds

2.0 seconds

5.5x faster

 

File Import Optimizations

Importing audio files has been optimized in several ways. The performance gains are most visible when importing multiple wave files or multichannel audio files. X3 was chosen as a benchmark for the comparison below, but similar gains occur with releases prior to Lexington.

 

Operation

SONAR X3

SONAR Lexington

Improvement

Import 2 second 24-channel audio file

7 seconds

< 2 seconds

3.5x faster

Import 23 REX files from browser

13 seconds

5 seconds

2.6x faster

 

Project Load Speedup

Having projects load as fast as possible is always desirable, so loading protocols were optimized further for the most commonly encountered project settings. For example, projects with plug-ins on stereo tracks (a very common scenario) benefit substantially from this. Additionally, unnecessary automation parameter updates during load were deferred, which greatly speeds up loading projects with many tracks and plug-ins.

Improved Multichannel Audio File Support

SONAR now supports Multichannel PCM WAV files with more than 24 channels. Because Microsoft doesn’t support such files natively, prior to Lexington multichannel WAV files with more than 24 channels that were not authored in a specific way (WAV format extensible, in case you wondered) would not load properly. SONAR now has native support for such files, and will import them properly as well as import them faster.

 

 

Five New Style Dials

Artist, Professional, Platinum

Lexington adds five Style Dials to the existing group of GRIT, SPACE, and MAX. As with all Style Dials, the dial controls multiple parameters simultaneously to give a wide range of effects; they’re compatible with the MixStrip in SONAR Artist, and the ProChannel with SONAR Professional and SONAR Platinum.

GATER

 

GATER is a classic drum-oriented gating effect that removes unwanted bleed in close miked drums. This simple, one-knob approach makes dealing with unwanted bleed really easy to handle. At lower settings the knob is more open and natural sounding with a slower release. At higher settings it is a quick and fast gate for a more extreme and impacting sounds on a drum mix making the drums really pop. GATER is particularly effective with drum loops as well as close-miked drums.

 

SHAPER

 

SHAPER is also designed for drums. One very common situation when close miking drums is that the drum attack can be a bit dull when the mic placement isn’t quite right, or the preamps don’t respond to drum transients quickly enough to reproduce a clean hit. The SHAPER Style Dial can help out in these types of situations. Dialing to the right emphasizes the drum’s attack, while dialing to the left boosts the drum’s decay. Also try SHAPER with hand percussion, and even bass.

 

SMOOTHER

 

SMOOTHER is a de-harsher and de-esser that manages to do so while still preserving a track’s presence. Based on multiband compression, SMOOTHER reduces the complexity of multiband processing by optimizing it for the specific task of reducing harshness. It’s great on vocals, guitars, drums, cymbals, and any other sound source that needs taming in the upper midrange. Amp sims can also benefit from SMOOTHER; automation can bring SMOOTHER in or out as needed.

 

DEPTH

 

DEPTH is a type of stereo widener that uses small amounts of delay, phase processing, and cross-panning to create a wider and “bigger” stereo image. Turn the dial clockwise to widen the image. This module is great for widening stereo drum loops or a stereo guitar bus, as well as pulling a lead vocal back from the forefront of a mix; the widening effect is best heard on stereo tracks or buses, but the Depth’s impact can still be effective on mono elements in a mix.

 

PULSE

 

PULSE is a tremolo effect that modulates level, and was inspired by vintage tube amps that had simple tremolo controls. The sound is smooth and lush at lower settings, while rotating the dial clockwise increases the tremolo’s speed (rate). However, this also adds some saturation to the output; fully counter-clockwise bypasses PULSE. This effect sounds fantastic on keyboards, synths, and electric guitars, and handles automation extremely well.

 

 

Fixes and Workflow Enhancements

Artist, Professional, Platinum

The Lexington fixes and workflow enhancements are available in their own knowledge base article.

 

 

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