Cakewalk Tutorial

SONAR X1 Explained®

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45 Videos | Length: 4hr 47min 2sec
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Getting Started

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    Tutorial 1

    Start Me Up


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

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    Tutorial 2

    Creating A Project


    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.

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    Tutorial 3



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

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    Tutorial 4

    Browser Overview


    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.

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    Tutorial 5

    The Transport Module & NOW Time


    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.

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    Tutorial 6

    Transport & NOW Time Shortcuts


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

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    Tutorial 7

    Working with Instruments & the Browser


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

Basic Recording

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    Tutorial 8

    Audio Record Setup


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

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    Tutorial 9

    Recording Audio


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

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    Tutorial 10

    Soft Synth Setup & Recording


    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

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    Tutorial 11

    The Track Pane


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

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    Tutorial 12

    Track Pane View Settings


    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.

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    Tutorial 13

    Track Inspector Controls


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

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    Tutorial 14

    Track & Clip Properties Inspectors


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

Quantizing and Groove Clips

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    Tutorial 15

    Intro to AudioSnap


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

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    Tutorial 16

    Quantizing MIDI


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

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    Tutorial 17

    Groove Clips


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


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    Tutorial 18

    Editing Basics


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

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    Tutorial 19

    Cut Copy Paste & Split


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

Advanced Editing

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    Tutorial 20

    Zim Zam Zoom


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

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    Tutorial 21

    Basic Tools Overview


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

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    Tutorial 22

    Snap to Grid


    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

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    Tutorial 23

    Input Quantize


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

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    Tutorial 24



    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.

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    Tutorial 25

    Loop Recording


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

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    Tutorial 26

    Track Layers & Take Management


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

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    Tutorial 27

    Punch Recording


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

Workflow Techniques

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    Tutorial 28

    Solo & Mute


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

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    Tutorial 29

    The Navigator Pane


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

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    Tutorial 30

    Multidock & Screensets


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

Working with MIDI

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    Tutorial 31

    Piano Roll View Display


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

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    Tutorial 32

    PRV Note Editing


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

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    Tutorial 33

    Working with Controllers


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

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    Tutorial 34

    Working with Staff View


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

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    Tutorial 35

    Basic Step Recording


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

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    Tutorial 36

    Advanced Step Record Mode


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

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    Tutorial 37

    Tempo Meter & Key Changes


    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

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    Tutorial 38

    Real Time Effects


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

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    Tutorial 39

    Pro Channel


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

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    Tutorial 40

    Clip Based Effects


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

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    Tutorial 41



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

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    Tutorial 42

    Sub Groups


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

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    Tutorial 43

    Automation 101


    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.

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    Tutorial 44

    Working with Automation Envelopes


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

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    Tutorial 45

    Final Tips & Export


    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.

Presented by DAW master Eli Krantzberg, this collection of in-depth video tutorials is the best way to get going with Cakewalk SONAR X1. If you're feeling intimidated by SONAR X1's vast features and functions, fear not, this series was made for you.

Eli starts with the basics such as creating your first session, window and toolbar overviews, then goes deep showing you how to setup and record audio & MIDI, using virtual instruments, moving and zooming around the windows and editing Audio & MIDI.

Eli then goes even further and shows you advanced recording and editing features and functions as well as workflow techniques to get the most out of SONAR X1. You're then shown how to export your full mix and share it with the world. If you're new to Sonar X1, there is no better place to start... Get SONAR X1 Explained today.


- 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.

Products by Eli

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    AAS Chromaphone Explained

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    AAS Strum GS-2 Explained

    In this FREE series commissioned by Applied Acoustic Systems, Eli Krantzberg covers the expansive performance library of electric and acoustic guitar strumming inside and out, and shows you how to make Strum GS-2 your new favorite session guitarist!

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    AirEQ Explained

    Eli Krantzberg returns with an in-depth series on the amazing AirEQ by Eiosis, which was designed with a vision of achieving musical, technical and sonic excellence in equalization. This just might become your to go-to EQ!

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    Alchemy 2 Explained

    Logic Pro X 10.2 integrated Alchemy 2, one of the most powerful virtual instruments ever made. In this three-hour video training tutorial series, Eli Krantzberg teaches you how to become a Alchemy wizard and unleash all of its power on your music!

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    Apogee Maestro 2 Explained

    Maestro 2 is Apogee's flexible and powerful OS X Mixer software solution that's included with all Apogee interfaces. Studio master Eli Krantzberg shows you everything you need to know about Maestro 2, as well as how to get the best performance out of your Apogee interface and improve your workflow.

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