The SONAR 2016.09 update includes the following:
- Plug-in Load Balancing
- Expanded CPU Performance Meter Modes
- Quick Group Freeze
- Full Screen Toggle
- Ready for Melodyne Essential 4.1
- Softube Saturation Knob Update
- Fixes and Enhancements
How to Download the SONAR 2016.09 Update
- Open Cakewalk Command Center. If you don’t have the latest installer, Command Center will prompt you to download and install it. Cakewalk highly recommends that you do this. (Also remember that you can always download the latest version from the Cakewalk Command Center page.)
- Update SONAR Core by selecting SONAR Platinum/Professional/Artist, then clicking Install.
- The SONAR Theme Editor will be listed as a separate item in Cakewalk Command Center. Select it and click Install
SONAR’s plug-In load balancing exploits the full power of multi-core CPUs to balance DSP workloads across multiple cores when possible. This can result in fewer spikes in the audio engine, as well as minimize audio dropouts that are caused by unbalanced processing loads.
To enable/disable plug-in load balancing, choose Edit > Preferences > Audio - Playback and Recording. Check Use Multiprocessing Engine (otherwise plug-in balancing is not available), then check Plug-In Load Balancing.
When enabled, SONAR will attempt to load balance track/bus/clip/ProChannel FX Racks, FX Rack FX Chains, and ProChannel FX Chains if any of these contain two or more unbypassed plug-in effects.(However, please note that this technology does not benefit virtual instruments in the synth rack, FX Racks with active side chains, or External inserts.)
When To Use, Or Not Use, Plug-in Load Balancing
Load balancing uses CPU power more efficiently, but it also requires some CPU power because it processes the plug-ins at smaller buffer sizes. If the loads aren’t unbalanced in the first place, any benefits of balancing may be offset by the extra overhead. So, first check out the existing performance status with the new Performance Meter modes (described in the next eZine section). Right-click on the Performance module, choose CPU Meter Display Options, then select Audio Processing Load. The Performance Meter will show whether the load on the CPU cores is balanced or not.
Enable plug-in load balancing if:
- There is CPU spiking, or one core is significantly higher than the others
- The project uses a high audio latency setting
- One track performs most of the effects processing
Do not enable plug-in load balancing if:
- The CPU load is evenly distributed (i.e., there is no excessive core spiking, and no individual core works significantly more than the others)
- The project uses many lightweight plug-ins with a similar load
- All tracks use about the same number of effects, or have a similar load
- The project uses a Mixing Latency Buffer Size setting under 256 samples in Edit > Preferences > Audio - Driver Settings
For information about how plug-in load balancing works, as well as “under the hood” tweaks you can do to alter the smallest internal buffer subdivision used for plug-in load balancing (which allows for more aggressive load balancing), please see the online help.
Artist, Professional, Platinum
The Control Bar’s Performance meter gives information on your system’s resource utilization, and has now been expanded to offer three different monitoring modes. Among other advantages, the Performance meter can differentiate between how much resources SONAR is drawing compared to the system as a whole. This can alert you if something else is going on that’s taking resources.
The three Performance Meter modes are:
Audio Processing. This default mode measures SONAR’s audio processing load, and represents the ratio of the actual time taken to process a buffer compared to the buffer duration. This helps you determine if you need to increase latency, or can speed operation up a bit.
System Performance. This shows the global system-wide load across all processor cores, as reported by the operating system itself (not just reporting from within SONAR).
Overall App Performance. The meter shows the entire SONAR process CPU utilization for all processor cores.
To choose a mode:
- Resize the Control Bar Performance module to Large or Auto if needed (the CPU meter must be visible), then right-click anywhere in the module.
- Point to CPU Meter Display Options.
- Choose the desired mode.
The tooltip over the CPU Meter shows the selected mode’s name.
Artist, Professional, Platinum
Hot on the heels of last month’s Quick Group FX Insert, we’ve answered another popular feature request with Quick Group Freeze.
Freeze is an important feature when you’re running out of CPU power because it temporarily bounces tracks that include power-hungry plug-ins (like virtual instruments and plug-ins) to audio, which requires much less CPU for playback. Freezing also “disconnects” the original track to save CPU power consumption, but you can also unfreeze/thaw at any time if you want to edit the plug-in parameters or make other changes.
Previously, tracks had to be frozen one at a time. With Quick Group Freeze, you can freeze multiple tracks with a single gesture.
1. Select the tracks you want to freeze. To select multiple tracks, Ctrl+click on the track number in the Track or Console view, or use the Smart Swipe feature to select multiple consecutive tracks.
2. Hold down the Ctrl key, then click the Freeze button in any of the selected tracks. All selected tracks will now be frozen.
Similarly, you can also “thaw” multiple selected tracks
Artist, Professional, Platinum
Full Screen mode hides SONAR’s title bar and the Windows task bar so that SONAR’s interface fills the entire screen. This gives more “screen real estate” for working within SONAR.
Another advantage of full-screen mode is that you can leave the task bar locked in place rather than set to auto-hide, which occasionally doesn’t work properly. This is because some applications can trigger a notification that keeps the taskbar open, but doesn’t provide an obvious way to close the notification.
However it’s also important to be able to exit full-screen mode quickly if you want to use the task bar, so now there are three options.
Menu: Choose Window > Full Screen
Keyboard shortcut: F11
Touch control or mouse click: The new Full Screen button in SONAR’s top right corner
Full screen button in standard mode
Full screen button in full screen mode
Melodyne Essential version 4.1 adds extremely useful new features and benefits to all users of Melodyne Essential.
More info coming soon.
If you’ve overlooked how useful the ProChannel’s Softube Saturation Knob can be, now would be a good time to revisit it—this update offers improved stability, compatibility fixes, and streamlined graphics. It also complements the ProChannel Tube distortion module well.
The key to getting the most out of the Saturation Knob is selecting the proper mode (Keep High, Neutral, and Keep Low). For example, Keep High doesn’t distort the high frequencies, so for lo-fi drums the cymbals won’t be as distorted as the rest of the drum kit, which gives more “body.” However if you want to retain the kick drum’s tone and level, then you would choose Keep Low, which avoids distorting low frequencies.
As to using the Saturation Knob and Tube module together, each has a different character, and driving one with the other can give sounds you can’t get with either one by itself—and switching their order gives yet another set of timbres. You can also enhance saturation by the modules you put before and after saturation, like inserting the S-Type Channel compressor first, then Cakewalk’s Tube distortion, and finally the Saturation knob. Driving the Saturation Knob with Tube produces a wider variety of distortion effects than the reverse order. Finally, follow the Saturation knob with EQ to shape the saturated sound.
For an example with bass, start with all modules bypassed. Adjust the tone to taste, then enable the compressor and dial some dynamics processing for a “rounder” sound. Enable Tube in Type 1 mode and turn up the Input and Drive controls for an amp-type growl. Next, enable the Saturation Knob; select “Keep High” to give a fuzz bass sound, “Neutral” for a more aggressive version of the tube distortion, or “Keep Low” to change the tone and give a more sustained distortion. You can then use the QuadCurve EQ to emulate a cabinet effect—enable the Low Pass filter to trim the highs, bring the midrange down a bit around 1.5 kHz to emphasize the bass, and then add a broad, low bass bump for a rounder tone.
This combination of compression, distortion, and EQ will give the bass more authority and grit, and stand out in a bit more in mixes. The Saturation Knob is even useful as a Send effect when you want to add a little bit of dirt to multiple tracks.
Artist, Professional, Platinum
This month’s update fixes the following issues in multiple categories:
New Fixes in Update 2 of SONAR 2016.09
- Resolved an issue where 32bit plug-in could potentially not get scanned after a reset due to a string truncation that was affecting paths for database, fault reports, bit bridge, etc.
New Fixes in Update 1 of SONAR 2016.09
- String truncation was affecting paths for database, fault reports, bit bridge, etc.
- Groove Clips did not follow Tempo Changes after saving and reopening a project
- SONAR was failing to send crash dumps and could cause a possible hang
- Fault Reporter was not opened when a crash was experienced
- Having "Stop at Project End" would continue playback past the last event in the project
- UAD plugs are no longer balanced when "Load Balancing" is turned ON
- Improved handling of crashes to ensure project backup and audio hardware shutdown
- It was not possible to drag a clip to a different lane in another track if the target track was below the source track
- Speed Comping could create unexpected extra clips
- In some cases, Speed Comping would fail to mute/unmute clips
- Paste of clip always ended up on Take Lane original to source clip
- Dragging a comp clip to a Take Lane produced unexpected results
- In some cases, attempting to cross-crop two adjacent clips in different lanes would affect only a single clip
- Fixed a crash when deleting Arturia B3 V
- Various VST 3 Host Bypass fixes
- Plug-in upsampling did not operate properly in some cases
- Quick-Group insert FX could fail if the selected tracks contained different numbers of plug-ins
- Customizing FX Chains could cause SONAR to hang
- FX Chains could cause crash when used in a playlist
- Changing VST3 presets from the plug-in property page sometimes resulted in inconsistent behavior
- Assignable controls for Waves plug-ins could send to incorrect parameter
- Pro Channel would disappear on all tracks/buses after Melodyne bounce-to-clips when followed by right-clicking another clip.
- Undo of a copied Melodyne clip did not update the Melodyne GUI
- Deleted tracks that contained Melodyne Region FX clips were still displayed in Melodyne's track header
- Empty database created and possible crash when re-personalizing SONAR
- Crash on startup related to SQLLite
- The Plug-in Browser could display empty category folders
- The Plug-in Browser could display an empty "Uncategorized" folder in the Instruments tab
- SONAR could crash upon launch if the Plug-in Browser library database was corrupt
- In the Plug-in Browser, it was not possible to revert DirectX Plug-ins to their original name
- Renaming/categorizing plug-ins in the Plug-in Browser would close all expanded folders
- Renaming/categorizing plug-ins in the Plug-in Browser could result in temporary freeze if performed on Windows Basic/Classic theme
- Changing friendly plug-in name did not initially update existing instances in FX Racks
- The Plug-in Browser did not hide folders for VST2s with identical plug-in names
- Cakewalk TTS-1 did not display a friendly name in the Set Categories dialog box
- Plug-in Browser category was named "General Midi" instead of "General MIDI"
- When not showing plug-in categories, the Plug-in Browser would create a new folder for any loose VST3 plug-ins that were installed in the Common Files\VST3 root folder
- Closing a project with the Synth Rack open could result in a crash
- Insert Synth menu would fail to open if there were more than 255 VSTi plug-ins available
- Matrix could skip first note in MIDI clips when playback started.
- It was not possible to scroll in the Matrix with the mouse wheel if the mouse was over track strips.
- Undoing a Matrix performance recording could result in a crash.
- Saturation Knob could cause SONAR to crash.
- Quick Group of Edit Filter does not allow switching tracks to the same envelope
- Colors: "track view bus name text" & "track view track folder name text" are not working independently.
- Deleting an ARA clip and changing the screenset crashes Sonar.
- Selecting the last Automation Lane could cause a crash
- It was not possible to rename bus Automation Lanes
- It was not possible to use the Crop tool on the right side of a crossfade unless you selected the clip
- Selecting the left clip in a crossfade would obscure the right clip's fade in
- Cropping multiple clips simultaneously would fail in some case when Snap to Grid was enabled
- Adjusting crossfade on multiple selected tracks did not produce correct results
- Auto Crossfades did not work properly with clip selection groups
- 'Select Track Envelopes with Clips' did not function properly when moving grouped clips
- Modified clip colors in the Inspector didn't show immediately
- Unexpected behavior when adjusting clip length from the Clip Properties inspector if the
- format was MBT
- Superfluous snap offset was created after stretching audio clip
- Scroll bar thumb was difficult to see while being dragged
- Clicking rapidly in the scroll bar did not always advance the timeline
- Under rare circumstances, a crash could occur when deleting buses
- “Follow Host Tempo” did not behave as expected
- Melodyne 'Follow Host Tempo' did not behave as expected.
- The About screen showed mixed version information
- General Installer improvements
- Help Module would not show text for the time ruler or Clips pane
- Help button for Preferences > File - Audio Data did not open help topic
- Help button for Preferences > Project - Surround did not open help topic
- Multiple Brazilian-Portuguese UI fixes (applies to Steam users of SONAR Brazilian
- Portuguese 2016.08)
- [Russian] Several list items in Edit > Preferences > Customization - Colors were cut off
- [Russian] Some values in the Groove Quantize dialog box were cut off