Helpful ReplyFriday's Tip of the Week #167: Behold! Dual Mono Becomes Stereo!

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pwalpwal
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Re: SONAR X August: 31 Days of Tips 2017/04/01 17:37:08 (permalink)
like an audio condom

just a sec

Anderton
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Re: SONAR X August: 31 Days of Tips 2017/04/01 17:46:17 (permalink)
The protection concept brings up a good point. I mix and master at relatively low levels so it's not an issue for me, but I know it can be for others.
 
 
John
I do a little limiting on the master buss. I don't do much compression at all on the master buss or EQ. You have given us something to think about. 



Actually I almost never use compression, I should have been more general and said "dynamics." A multiband limiter is my processor of choice when I want a "hotter" master.

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jpetersen
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Re: SONAR X August: 31 Days of Tips 2017/04/02 09:17:51 (permalink)
From bitter experience I have learned it throws my track levels balance out.
 
I now do understand why (bring guitar solo up, everything else gets limited back),
but my selection of commercial reference songs do not do this.
 
So do commercial recordings somehow bring something forward without just raising individual levels?
Anderton
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Re: SONAR X August: 31 Days of Tips 2017/04/07 21:51:55 (permalink)
Week 140: SONAR’s Incognito Lo-Fi Plug-In
 
“Incognito” means “having one’s identity concealed, as under an assumed name, especially to avoid notice or formal attention.” And it’s important we get our terms straight before embarking on this week’s tip, because SONAR’s wicked nasty lo-fi processor is definitely avoiding notice by calling itself “Sonitus Modulator.” Oh yes, it may say “Hey, I’m just a flanger/chorus/phaser/auto-panner/tremolo, nothing to see here” as it sits innocently in your FX rack. But tear away its deceptively friendly façade, and there lurks a rude distortion processor that can produce deliciously lo-fi sounds suitable for industrial, hardcore techno, and electro-industrial…or if you’re just having a nostalgic Throbbing Gristle moment. This particular effect does nasty things to drums, voice, percussion, and bass; it sounds somewhere between a broken speaker, and a defective mixer that gargles rocks.
 
Referring to the screen shot below, duplicate the settings as shown: Choose the Flanger mode, and then slam the Rate, Phase, Depth, Delay, and Cross Mix faders fully to the left. Move Mix fully to the right. The disturbance in the Force happens when you move the Feedback slider from 60 (mildly indisposed) to 100 (seriously twisted). You’ll likely need to lower the Output control as you increase the Feedback amount. 
 

 
I’ve found this effect not only works when it's at full strength, but can also be pretty cool if you do parallel processing with the Mix control. You can take this further by processing the nasty signal - send it to a bus and mix the processed signal in with the original, non-perverted signal (you can also do parallel processing with an Aux track, or by copying the original track and processing the copy).
 
Of course to be a true Friday’s Tip of the Week, we need a “but wait…there’s more!” moment and this one does not disappoint. Here are some other ways to pervert the sound… 
  • With stereo signals, vary the Cross Mix fader. As you move it more to the right, the center will start to drop out, making the distortion more brittle and less overwhelming. Note that this is pretty useless with mono signals, as the sound goes away the further you move the Cross Mix fader toward the right.
  • Experiment with giving the EQ mode and frequency controls some love. The High Cut mode can muffle the distortion into oblivion as you lower the frequency below around 4 kHz, while Low Cut adds a wah-like effect whose resonance depends on the Feedback setting…although varying Cross Mix with stereo signals can also do some fun stuff.
  • Oh, and the EQ mode and frequency controls are automatable. Don’t say you weren’t warned. 
Yes, we like sonic purity and wonderful sounds. But if you’re looking for some dirt, you’ll find this lo-fi processor can really give your audio a spanking.

The first 3 books in "The Musician's Guide to Home Recording" series are available from Hal Leonard and http://www.reverb.com. Listen to my music on http://www.YouTube.com/thecraiganderton, and visit http://www.craiganderton.com. Thanks!
...wicked
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Re: SONAR X August: 31 Days of Tips 2017/04/08 04:04:03 (permalink)
Yeah that modulator plug does not disappoint. 

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Piotr
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Re: SONAR X August: 31 Days of Tips 2017/04/09 00:30:07 (permalink)
Excellent tip. Thank you Craig :) Kind of interesting saturator :) Those old Sonar plugins surprise me with their possibilities  :) Thanks to you we can discover them again :)

Regards,
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Ripwolf
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Re: SONAR X August: 31 Days of Tips 2017/04/09 15:37:54 (permalink)
Perfect timing Craig. Just recorded a vocal that needs a little nastiness added to it. Gonna give this a shot. Thanks!
 

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Re: SONAR X August: 31 Days of Tips 2017/04/10 17:28:44 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby pentimentosound 2017/04/10 17:39:08
"somewhere between a broken speaker, and a defective mixer that gargles rocks" is definitely the best sonic description I've heard in some time. You missed out on a (likely depressing and poorly paid) career in music journalism!

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Anderton
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Re: SONAR X August: 31 Days of Tips 2017/04/15 00:46:23 (permalink)
Week 141: The Humanized MIDI Hi-Hat
 
What with the various MIDI spec advances and the revamped SONAR PRV that streamlines MIDI controller editing, there’s been increased discussion in the forums lately of how to make MIDI tracks more human-sounding. As far as I’m concerned there are a lot of options, but let’s deal with this a piece at a time by starting with the Step Sequencer. Yes, the Step Sequencer—that bastion of über-quantized, electro-friendly beats. But it doesn’t have to be that way...at least it doesn’t have to be that way in SONAR, as we’ll show with a 16th note hi-hat part.
 
If you enter a string of successive 16th notes and simply play them back, I take pity on anyone listening. So, let’s turn that hi-hat part into something more humanized. My model for a 16th-note humanized hi-hat part is what Tony Williams did on Miles Davis’s “In a Silent Way.” No, it’s not EDM...but if you do EDM, you need to know about this hi-hat part. So check out the following video (if you’re the impatient type, start at 01:30).
 

 
Adjust dynamics. Note that the first 16th note of each beat is accented the most, with the third note of each beat accented less, but more so than the second and fourth notes. Also note that this isn’t a rigid change—there are some variations, but the most consistent element is that first beat.
 

 
Now let’s mess with the dynamics some more. Right-click on a row to bring up the Velocity Multiplier. This compresses velocity with values under 1 and expands velocity with values over 1. Here I’ve expanded the velocity by 20%, and because that raises the overall level, trimmed back the Velocity control just a bit by -4.
 
It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing. Some people think the purpose of swing is to create extreme shuffle beats. Well that’s one application, but with something like a 16th hi-hat pattern, even a small amount of swing—in this case, a value of 53—adds a variation that makes the part swing and come alive. A little swing goes a long way in this context, but it’s all you need.
 
Push it, baby! Now let’s “push” the beat a bit, which is ideal for EDM because it adds a sense of urgency yet doesn’t interfere with that rock-solid “four on the floor” kick. Here, an offset value of -4.2 ahead of the beat does the job. However, if you really want to get into it, you can get more detailed than a global amount of offset: Select Time Offset from the drop-down menu, and you can add individual offsets for each note if you want.
 
To prove to yourself what kind of difference this makes, lay in a closed hi-hat part with straight 16th notes and then make the kind of tweaks shown in the screen shot. The difference is not just night and day—it's a winter night and summer day in Alaska.
 
But wait—there’s more! Yes, there always is...isn’t there?
 
Hopefully you can modulate the hi-hat’s decay time a bit to make it more or less closed, and therefore add even more dynamics. Or, start off with a lowpass filter all the way up at the beginning of the beat, then close it down ever so slightly over the course of the beat. And then you can convert the Step Sequence to a PRV-editable clip while retaining the humanized elements you’ve programmed in...but that’s another story, for another time. Happy hi-hat!

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Anonymungus!
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Re: SONAR X August: 31 Days of Tips 2017/04/15 03:42:05 (permalink)
Good stuff Craig, a tip like this may cause me to use the Step Sequencer.  

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Re: SONAR X August: 31 Days of Tips 2017/04/15 05:06:11 (permalink)
I'll be covering more Step Sequencer coolness in a future issue of the re-launched eZine. The Probability parameter is aces with complementary percussion parts!

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Re: SONAR X August: 31 Days of Tips 2017/04/15 07:03:53 (permalink)
The step sequencer has been one of my best friends for a long time now.
I've often found it difficult to lay down a good high hat feel. This is a great tip.

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konradh
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Re: SONAR X August: 31 Days of Tips 2017/04/15 20:15:09 (permalink)
Excellent advice, Craig.  I have stumbled onto a couple of these tricks over the years, mostly by dumb luck.  For example, I usually set velocity for four 1/16 note hi-hats to something like this: 95-70-80-70, or something similar.  A greater variance would probably work for others.  (Yes, I know I am rigidly OCD.)  I was very interested to see the mention a shuffle of 53, which is the number I found works well for me when I don't want to lose the straight feel but also don't want to sound like a gang of robots.
 
I don't normally push parts but now I am very curious to try that, especially in an intense chorus that needs to step up.
 
Thanks for the great advice.  This tips column alone is a good argument for buying Sonar instead of another DAW.  (I hope the Gibson CEO will remember that at bonus time.)

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Zargg
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Re: SONAR X August: 31 Days of Tips 2017/04/15 21:34:36 (permalink)
Hi. If nothing else, this tip made me open the Step Sequencer for the first time in many years. 
Managed to make a (in my mind) a pretty cool groove in this weird looking interface 
Might even open it again 
All the best.

Ken Nilsen
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synkrotron
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Re: SONAR X August: 31 Days of Tips 2017/04/15 23:39:42 (permalink)
Yep, some excellent tips there Craig. I use step sequencer a lot in my work, because of the genre I concentrate on. I have never bothered with swing so I really need to give this a go for sure.

Thanks

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Russ.15
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Re: SONAR X August: 31 Days of Tips 2017/04/16 02:21:18 (permalink)
Craig, just curious: What's your go-to drum plugin? AD2? Session Drummer?

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Re: SONAR X August: 31 Days of Tips 2017/04/16 03:30:04 (permalink)
I really love the step sequencer... Until suddenly you have both PRV and SS parts in one drum track (and clips are linked) that's when it really falls apart and gets really confusing for me.
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Re: SONAR X August: 31 Days of Tips 2017/04/16 07:17:53 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby RSMCGUITAR 2017/04/16 08:36:21
I have another trick for getting those velocities, that I find a little more flexible and intuitive, using AD2 (I've been meaning to make a fuller post, but just saw your heading), I am also crazy about this function in AD2 (if only it had swing)
1. create straight hats

2. open AD2, select 'Beats', and press record. Press play from the transport bar in Sonar (not Step Seq, as you don't want a loop).
NOTE:pic below is before the recording of the new beat

3. Save the new beat, and set the length to one bar (or more)

4. Adjust the velocity centre, max and minimum, and the accents of 8ths and 16ths until it feels right. Then click and drag the header to the track in Sonar

5. Right click the Midi clip and select 'Convert Midi Clip to step sequencer'. Open Step Sequencer and adjust swings etc, til it feels goooooood.

 
"Shaft!"
 
 
Only really works fully if you are using AD2's kits. but it feels a little slicker and intuitive to get the dynamics right. Shame theirs no swing in AD2 though
 
 
 
 

 
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Re: SONAR X August: 31 Days of Tips 2017/04/16 08:23:11 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby FCCfirstclass 2017/04/22 12:32:43
Wow, I had all the tools and never thought to use them that way! Good stuff!
RSMCGUITAR
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Re: SONAR X August: 31 Days of Tips 2017/04/16 08:37:23 (permalink)
Kamikaze
Only really works fully if you are using AD2's kits. but it feels a little slicker and intuitive to get the dynamics right. Shame theirs no swing in AD2 though


Isn't that what the Timing knob is for?
Kamikaze
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Re: SONAR X August: 31 Days of Tips 2017/04/16 08:55:43 (permalink)
Timing and Velocity are in the Random box. So it just randomizing the hits a little to make them feel more natural.I'm not sure if it's a true random, as you can see the pattern change in AD2, and it always seems the same. If you set it to a two bar pattern, bar one gets affected the same way as when you set to a one bar pattern. I can't make out the logic of the random function. I add a touch and if I like it I keep it, if I don't, I don't.
 
Swing is usually positive and negative option.

 
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Re: SONAR X August: 31 Days of Tips 2017/04/16 10:33:31 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby Kamikaze 2017/04/16 12:01:53
Thanks a lot for these posts, Scott (Kamikaze)!
Learned a lot 
All the best.

Ken Nilsen
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Re: SONAR X August: 31 Days of Tips 2017/04/16 16:17:59 (permalink)
Indeed, thank you!
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Re: SONAR X August: 31 Days of Tips 2017/04/16 18:13:40 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby Zargg 2017/04/16 19:28:27
RSMCGUITAR
Indeed, thank you!


+1!! Very helpful, and truly in the spirit of "But wait - there's more!!"

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Re: SONAR X August: 31 Days of Tips 2017/04/16 20:32:22 (permalink)
Thanks for the tips Anderton and Kamikaze.
 
Here's a related video from Bobby Owsinski. He uses Pro Tools, but his techniques are applicable to any DAW with a grid/piano roll.
 
https://youtu.be/inAKkLqs0x0
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Re: SONAR X August: 31 Days of Tips 2017/04/17 10:34:51 (permalink)
togo
Thanks for the tips Anderton and Kamikaze.
 
Here's a related video from Bobby Owsinski. He uses Pro Tools, but his techniques are applicable to any DAW with a grid/piano roll.
 
https://youtu.be/inAKkLqs0x0


I'm getting a blocked video message  

Ken Nilsen
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Re: SONAR X August: 31 Days of Tips 2017/04/17 17:14:49 (permalink)
If you are using AD2, one thing I've found essential with some of the kits is to play with the mixer and effects a bit.  Some of the kits are preconfigured with the hihat direct mic cranked up and bone dry combined with a snare with a ton of reverb on it.  Sounds really mechanical and unnatural no matter how much you play with velocity and even with a real drummer playing on a MIDI kit.  On top of that, the room and overhead mixes tend to be pretty unnatural with pieces missing or panned weird.  I like to turn off reverb/delay completely in AD2, pull the hihat track level down (or just mute it), and play with the overhead/room mixes each soloed to get the outputs individually sounding as close as possible to a real miced drum kit.  
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Re: SONAR X August: 31 Days of Tips 2017/04/17 17:52:57 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby SF_Green 2017/04/18 06:20:15
Zargg
togo
Thanks for the tips Anderton and Kamikaze.
 
Here's a related video from Bobby Owsinski. He uses Pro Tools, but his techniques are applicable to any DAW with a grid/piano roll.
 
https://youtu.be/inAKkLqs0x0


I'm getting a blocked video message  




Just my luck. It wasn't blocked yesterday because I reviewed it before posting the link.
 
Here are the tips from the video.
  1. Clone the programmed MIDI hi-hat track
  2. Nudge duplicate track about 2 milliseconds
  3. Add an automation lane and draw in random volume (+/- a few dB)
  4. Add EQ and automate mid-band gain AND mid-band frequency the same way
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Re: SONAR X August: 31 Days of Tips 2017/04/18 03:43:39 (permalink)
togo
Zargg
togo
Thanks for the tips Anderton and Kamikaze.
 
Here's a related video from Bobby Owsinski. He uses Pro Tools, but his techniques are applicable to any DAW with a grid/piano roll.
 
https://youtu.be/inAKkLqs0x0


I'm getting a blocked video message  




Just my luck. It wasn't blocked yesterday because I reviewed it before posting the link.
 
Here are the tips from the video.
  1. Clone the programmed MIDI hi-hat track
  2. Nudge duplicate track about 2 milliseconds
  3. Add an automation lane and draw in random volume (+/- a few dB)
  4. Add EQ and automate mid-band gain AND mid-band frequency the same way


I managed to catch it when you first posted. His samples were really static, unlike those in AD2. I thought his use of EQ was a good way to imitate the small variations in hits, creating subtle tonal changes.

 
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Re: SONAR X August: 31 Days of Tips 2017/04/18 06:21:49 (permalink)
Zargg
togo
Thanks for the tips Anderton and Kamikaze.
 
Here's a related video from Bobby Owsinski. He uses Pro Tools, but his techniques are applicable to any DAW with a grid/piano roll.
 
https://youtu.be/inAKkLqs0x0


I'm getting a blocked video message  




Strange.  I was able to get there yesterday and again today.  Are you blocking cookies or scripts?

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Cubase Pro 10.0.5, SonarPt-2017.10 (x64), Reason10.2, Live 10.0.5 Suite, Wavelab Elements 9.5.40, Komplete10Ult, POD Farm2.5, Omnisphere2.5, BFD3, Alesis QS7.1, Arturia BeatStep Pro, POD HD500, Alesis ControlPad, ARP Omni, many things with strings. GrSltz My Studio
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