Cakewalk Tutorial

SONAR 8.5 Explained®

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43 Videos | Length: 4hr 39min 10sec
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Getting Started

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    Tutorial 1

    Creating a Project


    Learn about the Quick Start dialog box, Sonar's file types, and how to create and save a new empty project.

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    Tutorial 2

    Audio & MIDI Setup


    See how to run the Wave Profiler and establish your audio sample rate and bit depth settings. Also see how to enable your external MIDI devices for use within Sonar.

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    Tutorial 3

    Track View


    Watch how the different Track View panes work, and how they can be resized and toggled.

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    Tutorial 4

    Track View Toolbars


    Explore the Track View toolbar buttons and learn how some of the basic tools work in Sonar.

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    Tutorial 5

    Track View Panes


    Discover the functionality and unique attributes of the different panes available in Track View.

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    Tutorial 6

    The Media Browser


    Learn how to set up and use the Media Browser to audition and load both audio and MIDI loops.

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    Tutorial 7

    Transport Commands


    See the different ways of setting up the transport bar, and learn some important keyboard shortcuts for basic navigation around your project.

Markers and Views

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    Tutorial 8

    NOW Time


    Watch some different ways of customizing Sonar's behavior for displaying and navigating the NOW time marker.

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    Tutorial 9



    Explore some of the different ways to create, edit, and navigate markers in Sonar.

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    Tutorial 10

    Docked Views


    Discover how to work with docked tabs, locked views, and different time ruler formats.


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    Tutorial 11

    Track Settings


    Learn what all the track controls do and how to customize their display.

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    Tutorial 12

    Basic Audio Recording


    See how to set up the project meter, key, and tempo signatures, as well as the metronome settings, as well as how to record on an audio track.

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    Tutorial 13

    Audio Quantizing using Audio Snap


    Watch how Sonar's Audio Snap Palette quantize function is used to correct the timing of a poorly performed audio recording.

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    Tutorial 14

    MIDI Record with Input Quantize


    Explore how to set up a software instrument track for recording with input quantize settings enabled.

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    Tutorial 15

    Loop Recording


    Discover how to set Sonar up for loop recording using either track layers, or multiple tracks.

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    Tutorial 16

    Auto-Punch Recording


    Learn how auto-punch recording can be used to replace one bar of a longer clip while loop mode is enabled.

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    Tutorial 17

    Comping with Track Layers


    See how the various controls and functions of track layer view are used to audition, edit, and consolidate multiple layers.

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    Tutorial 18

    Muting & Auditioning


    Watch the different ways to use the mute tool and free edit tool in conjunction with the audition command.

Moving and Zooming

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    Tutorial 19

    Snap to Grid


    Explore the different ways to set and use the snap to grid properties and snap offsets.

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    Tutorial 20



    Discover some useful keyboard, menu, and toolbar zooming shortcuts to aid in navigating your projects.

Step Recording

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    Tutorial 21

    Basic Step Recording


    Learn how to use the Step Record window as a means of non real-time MIDI note entry.

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    Tutorial 22

    Advanced Step Recording


    See how to create custom step recording patterns that automatically skip preset step locations.


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    Tutorial 23

    Editing Basics


    Watch how some of the different criteria for establishing selections can be used from various areas in Sonar.

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    Tutorial 24

    Editing in the Clips Pane


    Explore some different techniques for splitting and slipping clips in the Clips Pane.

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    Tutorial 25

    Linked Clips


    Discover how to create linked clips and see how various paste and drag & drop options effect the creation of overlapped clips.

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    Tutorial 26

    Working with Fades


    Learn how to create and edit fade-ins, fade-outs, and crossfades directly in the Clips Pane.

Piano Roll and Drum Grid Views

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    Tutorial 27

    The Piano Roll View (PRV)


    See some of the different ways to call up the Piano Roll View, show multiple tracks, and filter the data being viewed.

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    Tutorial 28

    PRV Note Editing


    Watch how to select, edit, and create MIDI notes and their accompanying velocities with both the Draw and Select tools in the Piano Roll View.

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    Tutorial 29

    PRV Controller Editing


    Explore how to create and edit MIDI continuous controller events in the Piano Roll View and from the Insert menu

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    Tutorial 30

    Mouse Actions in PRV


    Discover how the middle mouse button is used with the different modifier keys for various note editing functions.

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    Tutorial 31

    Inline Piano Roll View


    Learn how to use the Inline Piano Roll to edit notes and/or controllers for a single track directly in Track View.

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    Tutorial 32

    The Drum Grid Pane


    See how to take advantage of Sonar's drum mapping and drum grid pane for comprehensive control over MIDI drum sounds.

Loops and Grooves

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    Tutorial 33

    Loop Construction View


    Watch how to use the Loop Construction View to create groove clips that can follow project tempo and pitch.

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    Tutorial 34

    Creating Groove Clips


    Explore how to quickly convert an audio clip to a groove clip, and have it follow project pitch and tempo changes.

Mixing and Exporting

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    Tutorial 35

    Console View


    Discover Sonar's Console View and various ways to customize which elements are shown and hidden as you prepare to mix.

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    Tutorial 36

    Working with Real Time FX


    Learn about Sonar's real-time FX plug-ins as we look at the Cakewalk's amp simulator and compressor.

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    Tutorial 37

    Clip Based FX


    See how to apply both realtime and offline FX processing on a per clip basis.

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    Tutorial 38

    Stereo Busses


    Watch how stereo busses are used both as send destinations and as a means of creating sub groups.

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    Tutorial 39

    Recording Automation


    Explore how to enable/disable automation for track controls, soft synths, and plug-ins and how to record mouse movements of knobs, sliders, and other controls.

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    Tutorial 40

    Creating & Editing Automation Envelopes


    Discover how to use either the Select or Envelope Tool to create and edit track and clip envelopes for various plug-in and track parameters.

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    Tutorial 41

    The Envelope Draw Tool


    Learn how to draw preset shapes with the envelope draw tool and use offset mode to offset your envelopes from a user defined parameter position. Also see how to create snapshot automation.

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    Tutorial 42

    Mix Tips


    See a couple of workflow routines in action that are useful for preparing a final mix.

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    Tutorial 43

    Bouncing & Exporting


    Watch how to bounce sub-mixes back into Sonar, as well as how to export your mix for publishing to the internet or burning to an audio CD. Also, a few final tips are given.

Presented by DAW superman Eli Krantzberg, this collection is the best way to get started with Cakewalk SONAR 8.5. If you're overwhelmed with Sonar 8.5's features and functions, this series was made for you. Learn SONAR 8.5 right the first time, or discover new things about it you never knew.

Eli starts with the basics such as window and toolbar overviews, then gets down and dirty with in-depth videos showing you how to use markers, setup and record audio & MIDI, moving and zooming around the windows and editing Audio & MIDI.

But Eli doesn't stop there... He then shows you how to step record, use loops and groove clips as well as Sonar's powerful mixer to mix your project with FX's and automation. You're then shown how to export your masterpiece for the internet and CD. If you use Sonar 8.5 you owe it to yourself to learn it inside & out...


- not reviewed

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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