A-PRO Setup For Sonar (8 and 8.5)
I purchased the A300 Pro yesterday and wanted to write this set up guide to help people who may have had problems, and straighten something out.
The first thing i want to say is that you do NOT have to reprogram midi messages everytime you turn the controller off then on again. This was misleading in the anyone having luck with the A-PRO series key controllers? as it seems a member said it did. He said they have to be reprogrammed when the keyboard was RESET (by going into the options on the keyboard's lcd screen and selecting Factory Reset.) Obviously, if you do that then of course you have to reprogram everything. Hopefully i havn't read the post wrong, but i don't think i have because i don't have to reprogram the keyboard/daw/synth controls everytime the keyboard's been turned off.
Now that's cleared i want to say that i havn't used the A-PRO Editor because i havn't had to. So i can't help you there, sorry.
Now on to the guide... I'm using Sonar 8.5.3 PE, but i'm sure Sonar 8 has ACT so it should be exactly the same.
The first thing you need to do is install the drivers. They came with your keyboard, but if you've lost the CD (or whatever) you can download them here - http://www.cakewalk.com/support/controllers/default.aspx
. Download and install your driver (A-300/500/800 whichever keyboard you have), then download and install the control surface update. (The drivers and control surface update are on different pages.)
With that done, open up Sonar. Click options, then MIDI Devices. For the inputs, select A-PRO MIDI IN, A-PRO 1 and A-PRO 2. For the outputs select A-PRO MIDI out and A-PRO. Then click ok.
Next, click options, then controllers/surfaces. Click the yellow star to add a controller. Select A-PRO from the conrtoller/surface dropdown menu. Select A-PRO 2 for the midi input, and A-PRO for the MIDI output. Make sure ACT and WAI and both selected. When that's done click close.
You should be back on Sonar's main track page. In the top right corner, near the audio engine on and reset buttons, select A-PRO 1 from the dropdown menu. (If you used another controller before the A-PRO this will most probabaly say ACT controller. Click that and select A-PRO 1 instead).
On your A-PRO, press the ACT button, so it's lit, and press the back button (on the keyboard still) untill the LCD reads Control Map. Turn the Value knob all the way to the left to select control map 0 (Sonar ACT Map) and press the value knob to select it.
In Sonar, open the controller/surface properties page by clicking on the button immediatly left of the Audio Engine On button. If you used to use a generic controller before the A-PRO, then this screen usually has blue and green banks of knobs, sliders and buttons where you can use MIDI learn.
If you followed the above, then hopefully this screen should now look completly different. You should see the lcd screen, knobs, sliders, the pads etc... From the presets menu, select Tracks/FX/Synths/Utility 2. (I don't know why, but i find this works better than the default one, which doesn't seem to work at all for me...)
So, select Tracks/FX/Synths/Utility 2 and all the transport buttons on the A-PRO should now be working. You should also notice one of the B1-B4 buttons is lit. These tell Sonar what you want to control and you can choose from Tracks Effects Synth or Utility. If you select Tracks, then the first 8 knobs and sliders control the pan and volume (fader) of tracks 1-8. If you hold shift on the A-PRO, you can use the back and foward buttons (underneath the LCD screen) to have the first 8 knobs and sliders control the NEXT 8 tracks (shift and foward) Obviously if you hold shift and press the back button it selects the previous 8 tracks.
For example, say you have 24 tracks. By default the first 8 knobs and sliders on the A-PRO control the pan and volume of tracks 1 - 8. If you hold shift and press the foward button (both on the A-PRO) then those same knobs and sliders will now control tracks 9-16. Hold shift and press foward again, and they'll control tracks 17-24. Hold shift and press back and your back to controlling tracks 9-16 etc... etc...
Just a quick not about this... If you select Tracks (button 1) then the knobs and sliders will control the tracks knobs and sliders no matter what is in focus. Even if you have a soft synth in focus the knobs and sliders will still move the tracks pan and volume fader. To get around this, when you want to control a soft synth with the knobs and sliders, select Synth (by pressing B3 on your A-PRO. Now when you move the knobs and sliders, you're only controlling the synth in focus.
NOTE: You can still control the tracks pan and vloume in Synth mode by not having a synth in focus. (Clicking on any of the track names or numbers, basically.) But if a synth is 'in focus' (the last thing you clicked) then the first 8 knobs and sliders on the A-PRO control the synth.
Knob 9 and slider 9 always control the master bus' pan and volume no matter what screen is in focus, or, whichever option you choose (Tracks Effects Synth or Utility).
Now for the moment you've all (probabaly) been waiting for - controlling synths with your A-PRO...
On your A-PRO, select the Synth option (it's button 3, (or B3). Open up a soft synth. I'll use Rapture (Rapture LE works exactly the same). With rapture open, if you move the knobs, you'll notice they've automatically been mapped. These mappings might not be what you want though (wasn't for me anyway). It's simple enough though. Click the ACT button in Rapture to enable ACT. Move filter 1's cutoff, then filter 1's resonance, then filter 2's cutoff, then filter 2's resonance. On your A-PRO move knobs 1-4 inclusive, then click ACT again in Rapture to turn it off. The cutoff and resonance for both filters are now mapped to knobs 1-4. You can now map whatever you want by enabling ACT, moving a synth control on the screen, then moving the controll you'd like to use on the A-PRO, simple.
Now would be a good time to map your most used synths and save your settings. I don't know if you actually have to do this or not but i did it, just in case. Anyway... open up the controller/surface properties page (the button to the left of the Audio Engine On button in Sonar) and click the save button. If you want to see what control on the A-PRO is controlling which parameter on the soft synth, make sure the synth is 'in focus' by clicking on it, then open the controller/surface properties page. Press B3 to select Synth and it will say what they're doing underneath the knobs and sliders etc... In this same page (the controller/surface properties page), you can change what buttons A1-A8 do. Just click the small arrow to open the dropdown menu and choose whatever you like (you can literally choose anything you want that Sonar can do).
I mentioned that soft synth controlls automatically get mapped to the A-PRO's controlls. At the minute i don't know how to delete unwanted controlls. The only advice i can give is to use ACT. For example if knob 1 is controlling pitch, and you want it to control the filter's cutoff, just press act (on the soft synth), move the cutoff, move knob 1 and press act again and your done.
Well, that's about all i know at the minute. I'll end with a few things i noticed...
For some reason, the A-PRO switched the control map automatically from 0 to 19. I don't know why it did this, but it did. If you're using Sonar, you need to use control map 0 (Sonar ACT map). If you find the A-PRO's controlls stop working, select control map 0 on your A-PRO (By pressing the back button (on your A-PRO) untill it says Control Map. Then turn the Value knob all the way to the left to select Control Map 0 (Sonar ACT Map). Also, make sure the ACT button on your A-PRO is always lit.
I havn't used the A-PRO in Effect or Utility mode yet so can't help on that, and i havn't used any of the other presets yet either because i find the Tracks/FX/Synths/Utility 2 preset works best after you've mapped your synths.
If you have any problems following this guide let me know and i'll try my best to explain it better, but please bear with me because i only started using my A300PRO yesterday.
I hope this post wasn't unnecessarily long but i wanted it to be as indepth as possible for someone who's never used the keyboard (or ACT) before.
Thanks for your time.