Figure 498. The (audio) Playback and Recording sectionThe Playback and Recording section lets you specify various settings that affect playback and recording.The Playback and Recording section contains the following settings:
Driver Mode. Select from WASAPI, WDM/KS, ASIO or MME. Consult your hardware documentation to determine which driver your hardware uses. WDM/KS drivers are the latest available and typically have very low latency. MME is an older driver type and has higher latencies. ASIO drivers also offer lower latency. Your hardware may have all multiple driver options. If so, you should try ASIO first. If ASIO is not available, try WDM, then WASAPI, and finally MME.
Dithering. Whenever an audio signal is converted from a higher-bit resolution to a lower resolution, it is necessary to apply dither to avoid introducing undesirable quantization noise or harmonic distortion into the signal. The purpose of dither is to reduce the resulting distortion by adding low-level random noise or “dither” to the audio signal. Different mathematical calculations are used to generate dither, each method has advantages and disadvantages depending on the particular operation. SONAR features the Pow-r dithering process, short for Psycho-acoustically Optimized Wordlength Reduction, which can produce lower-bit files that sound indistinguishable from higher-bit source files. When this option is turned on, SONAR uses dithering when you export a higher-bit file at a lower resolution, or lower the bit depth of a project’s audio files by using the Utilities > Change Audio Format command, or when you “render” audio (bounce, freeze, or apply effects).This option is turned on whenever the Dithering field has a value other than None. You can choose bit depths for recording, importing, and rendering (bouncing, freezing, and applying effects) in Edit > Preferences > File - Audio Data, and for exporting in the Export Audio dialog box (File > Export > Audio command). SONAR offers five kinds of dithering:
Rectangular. Essentially white noise, no noise shaping. Advantages: least CPU-intensive, lowest signal-to-noise ratio, preferable to shaped dither when successive dithering can occur (e.g. bouncing, freezing). Disadvantages: suffers from intermodulation distortion, higher perceived loudness than Pow-r dither.
Triangular. Higher level than rectangular, no noise shaping. Advantages: low CPU-intensive dither, superior to Rectangular as it does not suffer from modulation noise effects. Preferable to shaped (Pow-r) dither when successive dithering can occur (e.g. bouncing, freezing). Disadvantages: higher perceived loudness than Pow-r dither.
Pow-r 1 (Producer only). Noise-shaped dither. Advantages: less CPU-intensive than Pow-r types 2 and 3, lower perceived loudness than Rectangular or Triangular. Disadvantages: less noise shaping than Pow-r types 2 and 3, not recommended for operations where dither will be applied successively (e.g. bounce and freeze).
Pow-r 2 (Producer only). Noise-shaped dither. Advantages: lowest perceived loudness, highest quality settings, recommended for audio export. Disadvantages: highest CPU-intensive settings, not recommended for operations where dither will be applied successively (e.g. bounce and freeze).
Pow-r 3 (Producer only). Same as Pow-r 2 except most CPU-intensive and transparent of all choices.
Share Drivers With Other Programs. This option allows other software to access device drivers. When this option is checked, other software can access device drivers when SONAR is not the focus of Windows.
Use Multiprocessing Engine. This option is grayed out unless you have a multiprocessor computer. If you have a multiprocessor computer, check this option if you want SONAR to use both processors at all times. If you do not check this option, SONAR still uses the second processor for some tasks.
Use MMCSS. This option gives real-time applications such as SONAR higher priority for resource scheduling (thread scheduling) under Windows 7 (leave it checked).
Always Stream Audio Through FX. If any tracks or buses contain active plug-in effects, the audio engine will be activated and stream silence through the effects, even if the tracks have no audio data or Input Echo enabled. You will typically only disable this option if you want to conserve a bit of CPU processing if you play a project that contains lots of empty audio tracks with effects. There are several benefits to having this option enabled:
Always Open All Devices. With this option checked, SONAR opens all enabled stereo pairs of audio outputs as soon as you press play or turn on the audio engine. Any pairs that don’t have any tracks feeding them stream silence, but are still ready for use. So if you then change a track's output assignment on the fly SONAR doesn’t have to reopen a device, which can cause gaps in playback.
Disable Input Monitoring During Playback. This option is off by default. When enabled, input monitoring will be disabled on all tracks during playback but not during recording.
Command Audition Length (seconds). When you apply an edit or effect to an audio clip, SONAR lets you audition that edit for “N” seconds: the value you fill into this field.
Record Pre-allocate File (seconds). When this option is set to a value greater than zero, SONAR will pre allocate the file to be recorded to the size specified (in seconds). This means that the file will not be resized while recording until it reaches the allocated size. The setting has the potential to reduce disk activity while recording and allows for more possible tracks. The valid range is 0–14400 seconds and the default value is 0. A reasonable setting would be 10 minutes (600 seconds) to 30 minutes (1800 seconds).
Fade On Start (milliseconds). When this option is set to a value greater than zero, starting playback will cause a gradual fade in of the audio for the specified duration. The valid range is 0–100000 and the default value is 0.
Fade On Stop (milliseconds). When this option is set to a value greater than zero, stopping playback will cause a gradual fade out of the audio for the specified duration. The valid range is 0–100000 and the default value is 0.
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