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In-depth Feature:  Cakewalk Sonar 3
Rob G writes: .

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MIDI Groove Clips
One of the great features of Sonar has always been its support for ACID-style groove clips - audio clips with their pitch and tempo specified that may be time-stretched on the fly to match the project tempo, and transposed to match the project's pitch and pitch changes. Sonar 3.0 adds to this support for MIDI groove clips that can similarly be rolled out to create repetitions and follow the pitch changes in the project.

Bundled Software
Included with Sonar 3.0 are a set of DirectX instruments and effects and MIDI plug-ins that make the sequencer an out-of-the-box production environment.

For effects, all versions include a set of 25 basic plug-ins (EQ's, amp simulations, choruses, flangers, delays, gates, expanders, limiters, etc.) from Cakewalk - all of which are well-implemented and automatable from the sequencer.

For DXi instruments, Cyclone, DreamStation and Edirol VSC are all still packaged. Cyclone provides a loop-based phrase sampler, DreamStation a well-implemented, if limited, polyphonic analog-modeled synth, and Edirol VSC a solid SoundCanvas sound module.

New instruments include LiveSynth - a SoundFont compatible module, and the powerful VSampler, described below.

Lexicon Pantheon Reverb

Lexicon Pantheon - beats the Panths off other reverbs
The Producer Edition of Sonar 3.0 ships with the Lexicon Pantheon reverb. Lexicon have an excellent reputation as providers of high-quality studio reverb units, and their software implementation is no disappointment. As might be expected, the interface is simple but powerful - overall the plug-in delivers the classic Lexicon sound within a reasonable CPU load. For the Studio Edition, the more limited Lexicon LE is provided - still putting Lexicon's famous sound within reach.


The Sonitus suite

For the producer edition, the Sonitus:fx suite is also supplied. These excellent effects have been enhanced for use with Sonar - all supporting DirectX automation and well-integrated with the environment. Supplied effects are:

fx:compressor - a variable knee compressor capable of both hard and soft knee compression, featuring both normal and vintage-style compression effects.

fx:delay - an advanced, temp-synced stereo delay with fine control over delay settings, feedback, crossfeed between right and left channels, and an incorporated filter to allow adjusting delay signal characteristics over time.

fx:equalizer - a 6-band parametric EQ with five filter types (low pass, high pass, peak/dip, shelving low and shelving high), individually selectable for each band, with a visual filter graph displaying the frequency curve for the current settings - editable by simple click-and-drag movements.

fx:gate - a dynamic gate with side-chain filtering and lookahead, supporting high pass and low pass chain filters for "frequency conscious" gating.

fx:modulator - a generic modulation plug-in capable of flange, phase, ensemble, and tremelo effects - again incorporating a built-in EQ to filter out unwanted high-end or low-end frequencies from the signal.

fx:multiband - a 5-band variable-knee compressor, again with normal and vintage style compression, with each band having individual control over threshold, ratio, knee, type, gain, etc. A grid display shows the combined effect of all bands, and allows visually editing one or more bands together.

fx:phase - a phase shifter and phase delay allowing arbitrarily adjusting the phase of a sound. Useful for stereo enhancements, inverted phase situations, vocal removal, matrix processing, etc.

fx:reverb - a high-quality reverb with high- and low-end frequency cutoff, room size, echo diffusion, high-frequency damping, early reflections and more. Again, many parameters can be edited through graphical representations.

fx:surround - a surround sound processor capable of enhancing stereo signals with encoded surround center channel information for spatial positioning. Panning can be achieved using a mouse or game port joystick.

fx:wahwah - a wahwah emulator modelling guitar stomp boxes with definable high and low frequencies, and manual, triggered or auto wah.

All the sonitus:fx effects are extremely high-quality, with consistent interfaces and preset management and all are available for use in other programs capable of using DirectX plug-ins.

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