SONAR Tutorial

SONAR X3 Explained®

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50 Videos | Length: 3hr 52min 51sec
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    Tutorial 1



    Eli welcomes you to SONAR X3 Explained and discusses what he will be covering in the following videos.

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    Tutorial 2

    Starting Up SONAR X3


    Learn what is preserved when migrating preferences from older versions of Sonar, how to manage the Quick Start window, and how to verify audio and MIDI hardware connections.

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    Tutorial 3

    Starting a Project


    Learn about the different Sonar file types, and how to start a new blank project.

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    Tutorial 4

    The Tracks View


    Discover some of the different areas of the main workspace area, and learn what they are used for.

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    Tutorial 5

    Other Views


    Discover other commonly used views and how to manage them in Sonar's Multidock.

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    Tutorial 6

    The Browser


    Learn how to use the browser to audition and load audio loops into your project.

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    Tutorial 7

    Working with the Synth Rack


    Learn how to load and manage soft synths in the synth rack browser.

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    Tutorial 8

    Setting Track Inputs & Outputs


    Learn how to customize the controls visible in the Track Pane area of the Track View, and how to set track inputs and outputs here, as well as in the Inspector and Console View.

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    Tutorial 9

    The NOW Time


    Discover various ways of positioning the NOW time marker to determine where playback or recording will begin from.

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    Tutorial 10

    Controlling Playback


    Speed up your workflow with some simple and useful playback and positioning commands.

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    Tutorial 11



    Learn how to use the Loop module to have a section of your project play repeatedly.

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    Tutorial 12



    Discover a variety of ways of zooming the display using the both mouse and key commands.

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    Tutorial 13

    Looping a Groove Clip


    See how to loop a groove clip by dragging from the lower right edge with the Smart Tool.


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    Tutorial 14

    Meter, Key and Tempo Settings


    Learn to set up and add meter, key signature, and tempo changes where necessary in your project.

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    Tutorial 15

    Metronome Settings


    Recording to a click track helps maintain the relationship of the timing of your performance with Sonar's time ruler. See how to call up the metronome preferences, setup a count in, choose the sounds, and set their volumes for the click track.

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    Tutorial 16

    Audio Driver and MIDI Timing Settings


    Learn how to set the audio sampling rate and bit depth, as well as MIDI note resolution.

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    Tutorial 17

    MIDI Recording


    Learn about the different recording modes, how to set inputs, and how to auto arm MIDI tracks for recording.

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    Tutorial 18



    Learn to correct the timing of your MIDI performance by placing the recorded note on events at the specified beat division.

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    Tutorial 19

    Input Quantize


    Learn how to set your MIDI and soft synth tracks to automatically quantize parts as they are recorded.

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    Tutorial 20

    Audio Recording


    See how to set various audio recording preferences, work with input monitoring, PDC override, and the audio engine button.

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    Tutorial 21

    Creating an Audio Loop


    See how to trim an audio file and use the Clip Properties Inspector to turn it into a looping groove clip.

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    Tutorial 22

    Loop Recording


    Learn how to use Sonar X3's new comping record mode to loop record over the same area multiple times and have the clips automatically placed on take lanes.

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    Tutorial 23

    Take Lane Controls


    Explore the layout of the important take lane controls and functions.

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    Tutorial 24

    Take Lane Muting & Soloing


    Learn how to use the mute tool to mute and isolate takes, or selected portions of takes.

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    Tutorial 25

    Setting Up Sends


    See how the Insert Send Assistant is used to set up sends so that a unique amounts of each tracks signal can be routed to a bus hosting a reverb plug-in.

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    Tutorial 26

    Speed Comping & Dim Solo


    Learn how to use these two functions to quickly audition and isolate multiple takes recorded over the same area.

Arranging and Editing

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    Tutorial 27

    Flattening the Comp


    See how to move your selections to a new 'comp' lane using the Flatten command, and then move other takes horizontally in the time line.

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    Tutorial 28

    Managing Tracks


    See how to select, move, insert, hide, show, save, and recall tracks and track templates.

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    Tutorial 29

    The Clips Pane


    Learn to control how clips are displayed, named, coloured, scrolled, and zoomed.

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    Tutorial 30

    Copying and Pasting in the Clips Pane


    Learn how the drag and drop options work and how to use the copy special and paste special functions.

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    Tutorial 31

    Splitting Clips


    Watch as the split clips and cut commands are used in conjunction with lasso selections, drag and drop, and snap to grid functions to modify the musical arrangement. Also learn how to use the Smart tool to split clips at selection boundaries.

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    Tutorial 32

    Snap to Grid


    Discover some power Snap To Grid tips that will enhance your productivity.

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    Tutorial 33



    Learn how to view, create, edit, move, copy, delete, lock, and navigate, markers.

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    Tutorial 34

    Slip Editing and Fades


    Learn how to slip the contents of audio clips without altering the clip boundaries, and various methods of fading and crossfading audio.

Working With MIDI

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    Tutorial 35

    Piano Roll View Setup


    See how to set this window up to view and edit multiple MIDI tracks.

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    Tutorial 36

    Note Editing in Piano Roll View


    See how to select, scrub, mute, and move notes in the Piano Role View.

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    Tutorial 37

    Creating Notes in Piano Roll View


    Learn how to create, quantize, glue, insert, erase, and split notes in the Piano Roll View window.

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    Tutorial 38

    Other MIDI Editing Functions


    A quick tour of the some of other ways of processing and altering MIDI data.


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    Tutorial 39

    Configuring the Console View


    Learn how to set up screensets, control the display in the Console View, set default snap to values, and more.

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    Tutorial 40

    Real Time Effects


    Discover how to add and manage audio effects in your project from the Browser, the Track Pane, Track Inspector, or Console View.

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    Tutorial 41

    Clip Based Effects


    See how to work with the Clip Effect Bin to process individual clips.

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    Tutorial 42

    Intro to EQ and Compression


    Learn about the fundamentals of EQ and compression, and how hear how they are applied to the song's vocal and drum loop.

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    Tutorial 43

    FX Chains


    Discover how to work with and manage multiple audio effects in containers called FX Chains.

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    Tutorial 44

    Region FX


    Learn about the exciting new Region FX feature in Sonar X3. See how to convert audio to Region FX clips, and how to manage the new Region FX functions.

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    Tutorial 45

    The Melodyne Interface


    Learn how to navigate the interface, correct pitch and timing, edit blobs using their hot spots, edit with key commands, and snap to or override the pitch grid, scale grid, and timing grid.

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    Tutorial 46

    Melodyne in Action


    Watch as Melodyne is used to change the position and length of a note, create harmony parts, and convert pitch to MIDI.

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    Tutorial 47

    Recording Automation


    See how to use Sonar's automation write modes to animate the movement of parameters by capturing the real time movements of knobs or faders with the mouse.

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    Tutorial 48

    Creating and Editing Automation Envelopes


    Discover how to create and edit automation by drawing directly in the Clips Pane.

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    Tutorial 49

    The Final Mix


    Watch as a tight doubling is added to the vocal and some peak limiting is added to the full mix. Listen to a final run through of the finished work.

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    Tutorial 50

    Exporting the Mix


    Learn how to bounce down to new tracks and to use the Export Audio function to render your full mix down to a single stereo file to burn on CD or share with others.

The latest version of Cakewalk SONAR has arrived! SONAR X3 is here with many new features and functions, and SONAR guru Eli Krantzberg takes you from beginning to end, showing how to unleash the true power of this fully featured, cutting edge DAW.

Beginning with the important fundamentals like starting a project, window overviews, controlling playback and more, Eli then moves onto recording audio and MIDI, quantizing, creating loops, setting up sends for FX and comping for the perfect take. Next, Eli goes deep into arrangement and editing, covering topics such as track management, clips, markers, applying fades and more.

Eli then shows you how to work with MIDI in the Piano Roll editor and other MIDI functions. Mixing is up next, and Eli demonstrates how to configure the Console View, use real-time effects, EQ, Compression, Melodyne to correct vocals, automation, exporting and much, much more!

SONAR X3 raises the bar for a full featured DAW yet again, so why not get ahead of the game and learn it right from the beginning... Watch "SONAR X3 Explained" today.

Submitted 8 months ago

Great instructional video for Sonar.

It's great to be able to quickly review all that the powerful Sonar program has to offer. Eli does a great job of covering the essentials.

I am a: Semi-Pro, Sound for Film/TV, Cakewalk Sonar, Studio One

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Submitted 1 year ago


Expertly explained. Repeats and highlights important info.

I am a: Professional, Musician, Producer, Audio Engineer, Sound Designer, Cakewalk Sonar

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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.

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SONAR X3 Explained® is rated 4.9 out of 5 by 2.
Rated 4.5 out of 5 by from Great instructional video for Sonar. It's great to be able to quickly review all that the powerful Sonar program has to offer. Eli does a great job of covering the essentials.
Date published: 2017-08-29
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Recommended! Expertly explained. Repeats and highlights important info.
Date published: 2017-04-08