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SONAR X1 Explained

Presented by DAW master Eli Krantzberg, this collection is the best way to get started with Cakewalk SONAR X1. If you're overwhelmed with SONAR X1's features and functions, this series was made for you. Learn SONAR X1 right the first time, or discover new things about it you never knew.

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Getting Started


Start Me Up 6m:10s

See how to scan and set up your audio and MIDI hardware when launching Sonar X1 for the first time.


Creating A Project 6m:51s

Learn how to use the Quick Start dialogue box to either create and save a new project or open an existing one, and learn about the different Sonar file types.


Skylight 6m:50s

Explore the main components of Skylight, Sonar X1's new customizable workspace interface.


Browser Overview 7m:45s

Learn how to set up and navigate the Browser to audition files at the project tempo, and then drag and drop them in to the Clips Pane.


The Transport Module & NOW Time 5m:59s

Learn how to use the transport module and read the various NOW time display formats, as well as how to control default start and stop playback behavior.


Transport & NOW Time Shortcuts 5m:55s

Speed up your workflow by learning some of the most commonly used transport and NOW time shortcuts.


Working with Instruments & the Browser 4m:45s

Learn how to use the Browser to load a soft synth and audition MIDI clips.

Basic Recording


Audio Record Setup 5m:52s

Discover how to create a new audio track manually, set the input and output for recording, and customize the metronome settings.


Recording Audio 6m:19s

Watch as a cowbell part is recorded in real time, followed by a shaker overdub on another track set to the same input.


Soft Synth Setup & Recording 8m:39s

Learn how to create and set up a soft synth track for recording, and look at some of the preferences for filtering specific types of MIDI messages.

Track Controls


The Track Pane 6m:59s

Learn how the track pane controls for audio, soft synth, and MIDI tracks work.


Track Pane View Settings 6m:32s

Learn some useful keyboard shortcuts to manage the Track Pane display, and how to use the Track Manager and Track Control Manager to filter specific tracks and controls from view.


Track Inspector Controls 5m:50s

Get an overview of the basic Track Inspector architecture and controls.


Track & Clip Properties Inspectors 6m:48s

Explore some of Sonar X1's new track and clip properties inspectors.

Quantizing and Groove Clips


Intro to AudioSnap 11m:53s

Learn how the AudioSnap palette and settings work and see how it's used to correct the timing of an audio recording.


Quantizing MIDI 7m:40s

See how the quantization parameters are used to correct the timing of MIDI events.


Groove Clips 8m:07s

Learn how to use Loop Construction View and the groove clip section of the Clip Properties Inspector, to create groove clips.



Editing Basics 7m:09s

Discover how to establish time and/or track based selections, and execute basic drag and drop edits.


Cut Copy Paste & Split 6m:44s

Watch how to customize cut copy and paste behavior, and some of the different ways to split clips.

Advanced Editing


Zim Zam Zoom 5m:29s

See how various mouse and keyboard shortcuts are used to zoom, scroll, and scale the display.


Basic Tools Overview 6m:57s

Learn how the basic tool functions work on audio and MIDI clips, and how to use the new HUD tool menu for easy access.


Snap to Grid 5m:26s

See how to use the Snap To Grid parameters to utilize landmarks as well as musical subdivisions or absolute time, and how to snap movement "by" a certain amount as well as "to" a specific position.

Advanced Recording


Input Quantize 5m:38s

Learn how to use the Input Quantize functions to create custom quantize presets that can be applied non destructively on input.


Markers 7m:53s

Explore how to create, edit, and use markers in your project as a means of navigation and identification, as well as a basis for time range selections.


Loop Recording 4m:10s

Learn how to set up loop recording with overwrite mode to automatically create track layers with each take, except the last, muted.


Track Layers & Take Management 5m:34s

See how to work with track layers to manage and edit multiple takes.


Punch Recording 4m:43s

Explore how punch recording is used in conjunction with loop recording to replace a predefined time range with multiple takes.

Workflow Techniques


Solo & Mute 5m:15s

Learn about some various mute and solo functions including dim solo, exclusive solo, and solo override modes.


The Navigator Pane 3m:51s

See how the display can be navigated graphically by using the Navigator View.


Multidock & Screensets 6m:30s

Explore some new ways of managing multiple windows and views using Sonar X1's new Multidock and Screenset features.

Working with MIDI


Piano Roll View Display 5m:54s

Learn how to call up and set the various Piano Roll View display options.


PRV Note Editing 5m:25s

Explore the way various tools are used to edit and create notes in the piano roll view.


Working with Controllers 6m:26s

Learn how to add, edit, and create MIDI continuous controller events in the piano roll view.


Working with Staff View 6m:10s

Discover how basic note, chord, and text marking creation and editing functions work in the staff view.


Basic Step Recording 5m:44s

See how the Step Recording window is used for non real-time MIDI note entry.


Advanced Step Record Mode 5m:51s

Explore some of the funky pattern based possibilities using the advanced step record mode features.


Tempo Meter & Key Changes 5m:00s

See how to create either static tempo changes or continuous ramps, and how to enter and delete meter and key changes throughout the project.

Effects and Mixing


Real Time Effects 5m:33s

Learn how to instantiate, manage, and use real-time effects plug-ins.


Pro Channel 7m:35s

Explore Sonar X1's new channel strip called Pro Channel, and how it can be used on some of the tracks in this arrangement.


Clip Based Effects 3m:42s

See how effects can be used on a per clip basis, as opposed to a per track basis.


Busses 9m:09s

Learn how to set up parallel signal routing using busses and send assignments.


Sub Groups 2m:58s

See how to create a sub group by using a bus as an output assignment destination for multiple tracks.


Automation 101 6m:08s

Learn how to selectively read or write enable specific parameters, and how to capture parameter movement in order to dynamically change a value over time.


Working with Automation Envelopes 7m:12s

See how to create and edit automation envelopes directly within Track View.


Final Tips & Export 10m:02s

Pick up a few last minute mix tips, see how to use a peak limiter plug-in on the master bus, and learn how to export the full mix.

Eli Krantzberg

1. When did you start dabbling in music?

I started playing drums in high school at age fourteen. Like most kids my age around then, I was into progressive rock. Genesis, Emerson Lake and Palmer, and Yes. They rocked my world. A few short years later though, my musical life changed. While studying music in college I discovered Charlie Parker, Milt Jackson, Sonny Stitt, and John Coltrane. Milt Jackson spoke to me in such a profound way that it left me no choice but to take up vibraphone.

These great players, along with  drummers like Philly Joe Jones, Max Roach, Art Blakey, and Elvin Jones changed not only the way I thought about drumming, but also music - and by extension, life - as a whole. I realized life was meant to be a creative endeavor. The idea of improvising based on a loose set of guidelines and rules permeated into my psyche even when I wasn't holding a pair of drumsticks or mallets. But if I am going to be perfectly truthful, I have to hold Henry Miller and Woody Allen equally responsible for shaping the way I view and experience the world around me. 

2. What training have you had?

I am currently an Apple certified Logic Pro. Young and cocky, and armed with only a partial University degree, I dropped out of school and  began playing steady commercial hotel engagements and jazz gigs when I could. This went on for many years until I decided it was time to complete my degree - which I ultimately did with a major in Political Science and a minor in music. 

It was at this point that I formed my current band Nightshift. We are going in to our twenty third year now - playing commercial one nighters like weddings, corporate events, etc. Don't turn your nose up at it though - it has allowed me a wonderful quality of life. It gave me the freedom to go back to school and complete a post graduate degree in Communications Studies - all the while supporting myself by playing weddings.

3. When did you get into recording?

It was in this graduate program - in the early nineties - that I found myself drawn to the fledgling emerging universe of hard disc recording and midi sequencing. Based on nothing more than the recommendation of one of my band mates who had an old Atari, I jumped in head first and bought a Mac LC ll, along with a version 1.1 of what was then Notator Logic. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. But, in hindsight, it was a decision of epic importance in my life - shaping my future as much as the music of Milt Jackson and Charlie Parker did fifteen years prior. 

I opened up my own commercial home studio in 1998 and began doing a variety of projects, working on radio jingles, artist CD projects, and whatever came my way. A couple of years later a colleague called me up - desperate. He was working at a post production house and one of the editors had just quit. They were doing audio post for a weekly TV series and needed a Pro Tools editor - and fast! And so, once again, I jumped in head first into what would ultimately open up my world even more - the world of Pro Tools. 

4. People you have worked with/for?

Focusing on Logic, I built up a small but loyal client base and my phone kept ringing for Logic tech support and instruction. Film composers and studio owners all over the city were calling me. Even the music stores were giving out my phone number at this point! This kind of stuff becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. The more of it you do, the more calls you get to keep doing it. At least that's the way it should be!

As my Logic chops kept growing, I was hired by an old buddy of mine, Len Sasso, who was then an associate editor at Electronic Musician magazine, and began writing some columns for them. I had a blast doing them - and really learned to focus and express my thoughts in a concise and clear manner. This lead to a collaboration with LA based composer Terry Michael Huud on the 2006 film called Civic Duty - which was certainly one of the highlights of my professional life as a composer. 

5. Why are you so good at training people?

I wake up every day excited to boot up, and create. Whether it's instructional videos, creating music, working with a studio client, performing with my band, or teaching at the schools - my days are filled with what I love doing. Enriched by the stimulation and creative freedom this modern music making software brings to my life. I bring that excitement and passion to each and every training product I create. My years of experience both using and teaching these programs has taught me the best way to make the user comfortable with these complex programs.

Products by Eli Krantzberg

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