Sonar Live backing tracks

Author
WadeHampton
New Member
  • Total Posts : 7
  • Reward points : 0
  • Joined: 2010/02/24 11:15:03
  • Status: offline
2010/02/24 20:54:29 (permalink)

Sonar Live backing tracks

Greetings all!  I have researched this thing to death but I thought I'd give everyone here a shot with an answer.  I am in a country/rock band.  We lost our bass player and can't find anyone to play.  We started experimenting with using Sonar as a backing track tool.  I have an OLD system with 256 meg of RAM running Sonar 2.2.  We are using a MOTU 828 interface.  This works great out of an open Sonar project.  I have not tried the playlist tool since we have only tried one tune at a time.
 
Now I'm looking for a new system.  I would like to have a laptop to take to live gigs.  I would also like to use Sonar or Live or something to output up to 8 possible backing tracks which would include bass, background vocals, chorus vocals, keys, some sort of percussion loop/click, and whatever else we come up with.  We typically play 4 sets that last about an hour or more.  Roughly 50 songs at most.
 
Here are my questions:
1.  Can Sonar 8.5 do this?
2.  If so should I use the playlist feature or load each hour long set into its own project?
3.  What type of hard drive and processor should I be looking at for the best performance and reliability? (I know the more RAM I have the better)
 
Those are my main questions at this point.  We would be using the system for backing tracks only.  Our sound guy would like each track on individual channels to aid in live mixing, so probably won't be using plug ins.  I have looked at Logic's Mainstage and like that idea quite a bit, but the Apple stuff is pretty darned expensive.
 
I've really enjoyed this forum so far.  Thanks for your help!
 
#1

21 Replies Related Threads

    papa2005
    Gold Member
    • Total Posts : 3250
    • Reward points : 0
    • Joined: 2009/08/01 16:43:11
    • Location: Southeastern, US
    • Status: offline
    Re:Sonar Live backing tracks 2010/02/24 22:18:04 (permalink)
    Yes, it will work. Just make sure you have a rock-solid laptop and experiment with it extensively before taking it "on the road"...Another option would be a rack-mount PC.

    As for Playlist vs. hour long sets...What if you decide to change things around? Whatcha gonn do then?

    Regards,
    Papa

    CLICK HERE for a link to support for SONAR 8.5

    CLICK HERE to view a list of video tutorials...
     
    CLICK HERE for a link to Getting Started with Session Drummer 3...
    #2
    FastBikerBoy
    Platinum Member
    • Total Posts : 9502
    • Reward points : 0
    • Joined: 2008/01/25 16:15:36
    • Location: Watton, Norfolk, UK
    • Status: offline
    Re:Sonar Live backing tracks 2010/02/25 02:09:45 (permalink)
    I use Sonar with playlists as my fall back for providing backing tracks for my live solo act. I've never had to use it 'for real' yet. I have a Roland Sonic Cell for that and I use it only for MIDI files no audio.

    I have however under the above limitations rehearsed with it on several occasions and never let me down yet.

    Sonar 8.3.1 PE on a Toshiba Satellite T6400 @ 2.00 Ghz, 3 GB RAM with Windows 7 x32. If that's of any use. The only thing I couldn't get working was the Start/Stop via MIDI for some reason.
    #3
    WadeHampton
    New Member
    • Total Posts : 7
    • Reward points : 0
    • Joined: 2010/02/24 11:15:03
    • Status: offline
    Re:Sonar Live backing tracks 2010/02/25 08:55:04 (permalink)
    Thanks Guys.  I see your point papa2005.  Changing the order would be a pain without the playlist feature.  I just want to be sure this idea would work before investing the money.  So, does the playlist close each previous project before opening a new one?  That would be ideal.
    #4
    papa2005
    Gold Member
    • Total Posts : 3250
    • Reward points : 0
    • Joined: 2009/08/01 16:43:11
    • Location: Southeastern, US
    • Status: offline
    Re:Sonar Live backing tracks 2010/02/25 09:03:33 (permalink)
    From the Help Files:

    The Play List view lets you create, edit, and save a play list (or set) of up to 999SONAR projects. Once you’ve created the list, you can play back the entire sequence automatically. You can even program the list to pause between songs for a fixed amount of time or to wait for a keystroke before proceeding.

    Play lists can be saved for future use. Play list files have the extension .set.

    I've never used it so I don't exactly how it works, but it looks pretty flexible for what you're considering....


    Regards,
    Papa

    CLICK HERE for a link to support for SONAR 8.5

    CLICK HERE to view a list of video tutorials...
     
    CLICK HERE for a link to Getting Started with Session Drummer 3...
    #5
    FastBikerBoy
    Platinum Member
    • Total Posts : 9502
    • Reward points : 0
    • Joined: 2008/01/25 16:15:36
    • Location: Watton, Norfolk, UK
    • Status: offline
    Re:Sonar Live backing tracks 2010/02/25 09:06:56 (permalink)
    You set up a playlist with the songs you wish to play back. It then starts working it's way through the list, loading files up in advance as needed. It's that simple.

    As papa2005 has said you can put set time waits in, wait for keypresses or wizz through them how you wish. Best bet is just to have a play around with it and see how it works best for you.
    #6
    WadeHampton
    New Member
    • Total Posts : 7
    • Reward points : 0
    • Joined: 2010/02/24 11:15:03
    • Status: offline
    Re:Sonar Live backing tracks 2010/02/25 10:01:31 (permalink)
    Thanks guys.  I played around a little with the playlist last night.  My  projects were a little too big to make it work so I'm going to eliminate all the extra tracks and get it down to wave files running no plug-ins tonight.  I'm assuming that a newer faster computer with more than 256 meg of RAM will work much better LOL.  I'm planning on at least 4 gig minimum on my next computer.
    #7
    papa2005
    Gold Member
    • Total Posts : 3250
    • Reward points : 0
    • Joined: 2009/08/01 16:43:11
    • Location: Southeastern, US
    • Status: offline
    Re:Sonar Live backing tracks 2010/02/25 10:08:33 (permalink)
    *LOL* With only 256MB RAM you're lucky you can get SONAR to even open! *LOL*

    Regards,
    Papa

    CLICK HERE for a link to support for SONAR 8.5

    CLICK HERE to view a list of video tutorials...
     
    CLICK HERE for a link to Getting Started with Session Drummer 3...
    #8
    msr
    Bronze Member
    • Total Posts : 250
    • Reward points : 0
    • Joined: 2007/02/20 10:01:07
    • Status: offline
    Re:Sonar Live backing tracks 2010/02/25 11:53:33 (permalink)
    Just to add my 2 cents in.  I'm in a 2 man band.  We play a lot of different covers and I have backing tracks sequenced for all of the tunes we do just to cover the drum parts and other instruments we aren't playing.  However, I am running MIDI files and never run Sonar live, only in the studio.  Since I use a Motif ES keboard, I dump my MIDI data into the keyboard's sequencer and run it that way.  I did for a while run a laptop with Sonar for backing tracks, but that always made me nervous since you never know when a computer is going to lock up or go crazy on you.  Just a stuck note in Sonar or a stoppage of the audio engine can be quite embarrasing during a gig.  The long and short of it is, you can certainly do what you are asking.  However, I would suggest a dedicated lap top and a rock solid interface that have both been thoroughly tested before you go to a gig. 

    msr

    Equipment: 2.66 GHz Dual Core Pentium D, 2GB SDRAM, 160GB SATA2 HD, 250GB SATA2 HD, Win 7 Pro, Sonar X2 Producer, Focusrite Saffire Pro 40 
    #9
    cliffsp8
    Bronze Member
    • Total Posts : 287
    • Reward points : 0
    • Joined: 2003/11/06 17:54:36
    • Location: Sunny Yorkshire
    • Status: offline
    Re:Sonar Live backing tracks 2010/02/25 12:37:14 (permalink)
    Last weekend I used Sonar to provide backing tracks for 10 songs - about 40 minutes.

    I needed to use the lyrics view for cues, and although the playlist will open the lyrics view, it gets mixed up with which song is showing the top most lyrics so I found it unuseable.

    So plan B was to put them in sequence in one project. I put markers at the start and end of each song, and put text in the lyrics to denote the starts and ends as well, so that I could step through easily from one song to the next.

    One thing that was really important to me was that I did not want to be seen messing with a computer, so I used a midi footswitch to transmit start/stop, go to next marker, and go to previous marker, all set up with ACT.

    This worked really well, except I needed it to stop automatically at end of each song. AFAIK there is no way to embed transport control events in to the event list, so it needed a work around. I added a new midi track and put pause events at each stop position and sent it to a midi out which was merged back with the footswitch midi using a merge box.

    Since there were some unused audio ins and outs, i put them to good use by feeding an aux from the external mixer into Sonar and set up a couple of busses for reverb and echo . These came out separately from the backing tracks and fed two unused inputs in the mixer and were used to effect the live vocals.

    This worked really well in rehearsals and I was encouraged enough to add a further midi track to automate changes to my POD settings at the start of each song, and where necessary during a song.

    On the night I was able to have complete hands off, closed the lid of the laptop, had an extension screen with the lyrics/cues in a stage monitor type box next to the real stage monitors, and the footswitch in front of it. Tap the 'start' switch, the count in track plays to the stage monitors, POD receives its set up midi commands, song plays and stops at the end. Tap the 'go to next marker' switch, lyrics/cue indicates which song is cued up. Repeat etc, or tap through/back to the start of the song you want to do next.

    Whatever you choose to use I recommend that you run it through with all the equipment you intend to use as it is almost certain that something will not be as you expect, and you don't want to be fixing it on the night.

    By the way I used an M-audio fw1814 with a buffer of 256. There is no noticeable latency in the reverb/echo effects so long as you set them up as sends ie 100% effect only. Midi merge and midi footswitches are Phillip Rees devices that hadn't seen any use for about 8 years, and I was pleased to put them to good use.

    The gig went well and  the audience were not aware of how it was being done.

    HTH

    Cliff

    *edit* the laptop is an old Toshiba Satellite P4 with a 7200 HD fitted, it ran with CPU usage less than 10%, and disk use less than 5%




    post edited by cliffsp8 - 2010/02/25 12:42:00
    #10
    WadeHampton
    New Member
    • Total Posts : 7
    • Reward points : 0
    • Joined: 2010/02/24 11:15:03
    • Status: offline
    Re:Sonar Live backing tracks 2010/02/25 12:58:11 (permalink)
    Thanks for all the responses.  Papa, is it bad that I used to think 256 meg was all I would ever need?  LOL.  I remember when that was huge.  Anyway, I'm off to look at laptops this afternoon or tomorrow.  Hopefully I'll find a good deal.  Then it's on to upgrade to Sonar 8.5.
    #11
    papa2005
    Gold Member
    • Total Posts : 3250
    • Reward points : 0
    • Joined: 2009/08/01 16:43:11
    • Location: Southeastern, US
    • Status: offline
    Re:Sonar Live backing tracks 2010/02/25 15:09:32 (permalink)
    Wade,

    There was a time when many of us "not-so-computer-saavy folk" thought 256MB was plenty of RAM! *LOL* Only after I began digging into DAW work did I discover how wrong I was! *LOL*

    Regards,
    Papa

    CLICK HERE for a link to support for SONAR 8.5

    CLICK HERE to view a list of video tutorials...
     
    CLICK HERE for a link to Getting Started with Session Drummer 3...
    #12
    pbognar
    Silver Member
    • Total Posts : 635
    • Reward points : 0
    • Joined: 2005/10/03 16:22:03
    • Status: offline
    Re:Sonar Live backing tracks 2010/02/26 18:40:59 (permalink)
    FastBikerBoy


    I use Sonar with playlists as my fall back for providing backing tracks for my live solo act. I've never had to use it 'for real' yet. I have a Roland Sonic Cell for that and I use it only for MIDI files no audio.

    I have however under the above limitations rehearsed with it on several occasions and never let me down yet.

    Sonar 8.3.1 PE on a Toshiba Satellite T6400 @ 2.00 Ghz, 3 GB RAM with Windows 7 x32. If that's of any use. The only thing I couldn't get working was the Start/Stop via MIDI for some reason.


    I thought this was the whole idea behind Sonic Cell - create your stuff using Sonic Cell as your interface and sound module with Sonar, create a playlist with SC play list editor, dump everything onto a jump drive and let SC do the play back on the gig...

    Unfortunately, there are only stereo outs on the SC, and I'm not sure you could have it play back MIDI and audio in the same song.  It would be nice if it had at least 4 outputs and a click track output.

    The other thing is that with Sonar 8.5.2, you'd be able to use MIDI to control the Matrix View, to allow for some variation when playing live.

    I've heard that the Fantom G and Sonar play well together.  It's my understanding that the Fantom G could be used as a audio and MIDI interface to Sonar.  When your stuff is done, you could dump it from Sonar into the Fantom G sequencer, and with MIDI controlled RPS, you'd have some live flexibility.

    The only problem is that the Fantom G isn't a cheap solution - however, I would trust it more in a live situation than a computer running Sonar.
    #13
    FastBikerBoy
    Platinum Member
    • Total Posts : 9502
    • Reward points : 0
    • Joined: 2008/01/25 16:15:36
    • Location: Watton, Norfolk, UK
    • Status: offline
    Re:Sonar Live backing tracks 2010/02/27 04:05:23 (permalink)
    pbognar


    FastBikerBoy


    I use Sonar with playlists as my fall back for providing backing tracks for my live solo act. I've never had to use it 'for real' yet. I have a Roland Sonic Cell for that and I use it only for MIDI files no audio.

    I have however under the above limitations rehearsed with it on several occasions and never let me down yet.

    Sonar 8.3.1 PE on a Toshiba Satellite T6400 @ 2.00 Ghz, 3 GB RAM with Windows 7 x32. If that's of any use. The only thing I couldn't get working was the Start/Stop via MIDI for some reason.


    I thought this was the whole idea behind Sonic Cell - create your stuff using Sonic Cell as your interface and sound module with Sonar, create a playlist with SC play list editor, dump everything onto a jump drive and let SC do the play back on the gig...

    Unfortunately, there are only stereo outs on the SC, and I'm not sure you could have it play back MIDI and audio in the same song.  It would be nice if it had at least 4 outputs and a click track output.

    The other thing is that with Sonar 8.5.2, you'd be able to use MIDI to control the Matrix View, to allow for some variation when playing live.

    I've heard that the Fantom G and Sonar play well together.  It's my understanding that the Fantom G could be used as a audio and MIDI interface to Sonar.  When your stuff is done, you could dump it from Sonar into the Fantom G sequencer, and with MIDI controlled RPS, you'd have some live flexibility.

    The only problem is that the Fantom G isn't a cheap solution - however, I would trust it more in a live situation than a computer running Sonar.


    Yep, that is the whole idea of the Sonic Cell and it works great, but I think you are correct you can't mix audio and MIDI playback in the same track.

    You can have MIDI files and Audio in the same playlists, and I think you can use MIDI to play the synth section of the sonic cell while playing back both audio or MIDI but I've no call for that so never tried.

    I use it standalone for MIDI file playback (with Audio for between sets) and it sends all my patch changes via MIDI to both my Boss GT-6 (guitar pedal) and vocal processors. For that it's fantastic no more tap dancing on effects pedals for me. The only pedal I press is the stop/start which is attached to the GT-6 and again sends control via MIDI.

    I use Sonar (in the live situation) purely as a backup for if the SOnic Cell were to give up the ghost.


    #14
    Sixfinger
    Bronze Member
    • Total Posts : 473
    • Reward points : 0
    • Joined: 2007/09/22 07:55:26
    • Location: Branson MO
    • Status: offline
    Re:Sonar Live backing tracks 2010/02/27 11:48:19 (permalink)

    This worked really well, except I needed it to stop automatically at end of each song. AFAIK there is no way to embed transport control events in to the event list, so it needed a work around. I added a new midi track and put pause events at each stop position and sent it to a midi out which was merged back with the footswitch midi using a merge box.


    Cliff

    ---------------------------
     
    I am not familiar with pause events, could you expound on that please.



    Sonar X3c, ADK Computer -Intel - Penryn Quad Core Q9400 Processor, Windows 7 Home premium 64, RME Fireface UFX, Grace 101 Pre's, A-800 Pro, assorted mics, Strats ,Les Pauls, Mesa Boogies
    #15
    lorneyb2
    Silver Member
    • Total Posts : 1665
    • Reward points : 0
    • Joined: 2007/04/26 04:02:10
    • Location: Saskatchewan, Canada
    • Status: offline
    Re:Sonar Live backing tracks 2010/02/27 13:38:05 (permalink)
    I do a 1 man band program with backing tracks I've done on Sonar.  I get the mix done, export to audio onto an Ipod and away I go. No set up problems, no extra equipment, just my sound system, my saxes, and my Ipod and away I go.  I will duplicate the list onto my laptop just for a backup.
     I used to use the laptop and sound module but had a number of bad experiences with static zaps that would require a whole system reboot.
    #16
    liv4ree
    Silver Member
    • Total Posts : 695
    • Reward points : 0
    • Joined: 2008/09/09 18:34:19
    • Location: N.H.
    • Status: offline
    Re:Sonar Live backing tracks 2010/02/27 15:00:55 (permalink)
    I have a question about backing tracks. I'm getting ready to do some backing tracks for about 15 songs. My plan is to put them on my ipod and use my ipod docking station to plug into my P.A.
    I have read that when doing the backing tracks, click only should be panned hard right, and the backing tracks should be panned hard left. My question is: is it ok to put the music and the click track  in the right channel for my monitor?
    Thanks in advance

    www.firesidetrio.com

      XP Pro
    Quad Core Intel QX 6600 2.4 Ghz 
    4 Gigs Patriot Ram
    Gigabyte P35
    Motu 896HD
    Sonar 8.5 PE
    Mackie Control Pro
    #17
    papa2005
    Gold Member
    • Total Posts : 3250
    • Reward points : 0
    • Joined: 2009/08/01 16:43:11
    • Location: Southeastern, US
    • Status: offline
    Re:Sonar Live backing tracks 2010/02/27 15:25:52 (permalink)
    Why would you need a click track? Are you not using drums or percussion in your backing tracks?

    As for feeding the click to monitors, it really depends on how  directional your monitor system is and how close you are the the nearest members of the audience. Why go to the trouble of creating backing tracks if you're going to sum them to mono?
     
    In a live situation it's quite acceptable to have a "stick-verbal count" leading into the intro (or the first bar of a song that has no intro.

    Regards,
    Papa

    CLICK HERE for a link to support for SONAR 8.5

    CLICK HERE to view a list of video tutorials...
     
    CLICK HERE for a link to Getting Started with Session Drummer 3...
    #18
    cliffsp8
    Bronze Member
    • Total Posts : 287
    • Reward points : 0
    • Joined: 2003/11/06 17:54:36
    • Location: Sunny Yorkshire
    • Status: offline
    Re:Sonar Live backing tracks 2010/02/27 15:48:46 (permalink)
    Sixfinger



    This worked really well, except I needed it to stop automatically at end of each song. AFAIK there is no way to embed transport control events in to the event list, so it needed a work around. I added a new midi track and put pause events at each stop position and sent it to a midi out which was merged back with the footswitch midi using a merge box.


    Cliff

    ---------------------------
     
    I am not familiar with pause events, could you expound on that please.



    You can set it up with ACT. Choose a note-on event (say C2) and configure ACT to respond to it with "Transport Pause". Whenever Sonar sees a C2 coming in on the midi channel assigned to the ACT controller it will pause the transport. btw pause stops the transport and keeps the "Now Time" at the time it stops rather than returning to the start, and this feature was subject of a lot of heat on this forum until it was added into one of the recent versions Sonar.

    In the configuration I described above, there would be a C2 in the midi track which was sent out of a separate midi i/o at the time I wanted the project to pause. This midi output is merged, using an external midi merge box, with the midi coming from the ACT  controller box before it goes into the midi input assigned to the ACT controller.

    ACT is very powerful as it allows almost all Sonar commands to be remotely run using a midi device.
    #19
    FastBikerBoy
    Platinum Member
    • Total Posts : 9502
    • Reward points : 0
    • Joined: 2008/01/25 16:15:36
    • Location: Watton, Norfolk, UK
    • Status: offline
    Re:Sonar Live backing tracks 2010/02/27 16:02:19 (permalink)
    I have read that when doing the backing tracks, click only should be panned hard right, and the backing tracks should be panned hard left. My question is: is it ok to put the music and the click track  in the right channel for my monitor?


    I'm with papa on this. Why not just monitor the whole mix? I use sticks or occasionally a ride bell for intros if that's the issue. With a bit of practice you can get a click in then play solo for several bars before backing comes in and stay in time. I do it all the time as part of my solo act. Stairway to Heaven being a classic example. Black Sabbath's paranoid is another.

    If you really need a click then the set up will depend on your PA/mixer. It's conceivably possible for me to do that using my peavey powered mixer. The right channel can be assigned as a monitoring system if I wish but I use it as a mixer and take a mix out to my PA power amp in stereo and use a separate monitor mix out to powered monitors. Works a treat.
    #20
    liv4ree
    Silver Member
    • Total Posts : 695
    • Reward points : 0
    • Joined: 2008/09/09 18:34:19
    • Location: N.H.
    • Status: offline
    Re:Sonar Live backing tracks 2010/02/27 16:35:53 (permalink)
    Thanks Papa, and FBB. This is why I asked the question. I just didn't ask it in the way I was thinking it. I figured if having the backing tracks in the monitor was ok, then I don't need a click track. I'm not going to have drums in my backing tracks. tambourine, shakers, maybe arim shot or two, some synth/strings way in the back.
    I'm doing mostly originals, a few Johnny Cash tunes, Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley (I'm still a guy really goes over well :)
    Thanks for your answers and help.

    www.firesidetrio.com

      XP Pro
    Quad Core Intel QX 6600 2.4 Ghz 
    4 Gigs Patriot Ram
    Gigabyte P35
    Motu 896HD
    Sonar 8.5 PE
    Mackie Control Pro
    #21
    ...wicked
    Platinum Member
    • Total Posts : 6601
    • Reward points : 0
    • Joined: 2003/12/18 01:00:56
    • Location: Seattle
    • Status: offline
    Re:Sonar Live backing tracks 2010/02/27 17:28:11 (permalink)
    I exported my stems to Live and used that for backing tracks for a while.

    If I had to do it again, I'd prolly do one of the following:

    Option 1
    iPod. Put the click L and backing tracks R. L goes to drummer's headphones R goes to house. Easy, compact, and bulletproof.

    Option 2
    Mainstage. Looks awesome and fun, and hey, Nine Inch Nails uses it.

    ===========
    The Fog People
    ===========

    Intel Q6600
    8GB RAM
    ASUS P5B Plus
    Roland OctaCapture
    Win7/64   

    SONAR X3    
    billions VSTs, some of which work    


    #22
    Jump to:
    © 2014 APG vNext Commercial Version 4.6