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Cakewalk Sonar Home 6 XL

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Comments to date: 2. Page 1 of 1. Average Rating:
danileo 10:45am on Tuesday, April 13th, 2010 
Excellent but confusing at first I got this software for my birthday in January - last year.
fuzzylinux 8:30am on Wednesday, March 24th, 2010 
SONAR Home Studio 4 XL - not entirely happy Generally good tool but has some annoying habits, e.g. freezing and crashing. Excellent but confusing at first I got this software for my birthday in January - last year.

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Table of Contents

I. Introduction..... 2 II. SD2 Overview..... 2 III. Basic Features..... 2
A. Kits..... 2 B. Patterns..... 2 C. Programs..... 3
IV. Controls.... 3 V. Instrument Pads.... 3 SD2 System Requirements.... 3

I. Introduction

Hello and welcome to this series of tutorials on working with MIDI drum loops! My name is Russ Cannizzo and Im the founder of GrooveMonkee.com. Since 2003, Ive personally been involved with the recording, playing, editing and programming of over 11,000 MIDI loops. If you want to learn how to use MIDI drums in your projects, I hope that youll find these tutorials beneficial. MIDI is a very powerful tool used by professionals around the globe. For example, Phil Collins use d programmed, not live drums, on the hit song Sussudio! (Modern Drummer, March 1997, p. 66) Youd be surprised to know how many top songs use MIDI drums! In this tutorial Im going to give you a brief overview of Session Drummer 2 (often referred to as SD2). Ill cover its basic features, controls and the instrument pads. In future tutorials I plan to cover the following: basic operations, using SD2 with Groove Monkee loops, using SD2 with Groove Monkee and EZPlayer and finally, advanced operations with drum maps.

II. SD2 Overview

Session Drummer 2 is a PC compatible virtual drum machine (VSTi Virtual Studio Technology) that comes with drum kits and MIDI grooves. It is not Mac compatible at this time. VST instruments like SD2 can be used in programs like Sonar, Home Studio XL, Reaper, Cubase, Acid Pro, etc. to play MIDI loops. It is GM compatible so it works well with Groove Monkee GM mapped loops. GM stands for General MIDI the industry standard for mapping drum sounds. SD2s system requirements are listed at the end of this tutorial. Session Drummer 2 is included with Cakewalk SONAR Producer Edition (versions 6 and 7) and SONAR Home Studio 6 XL. It is also available directly from Cakewalk for $79.00 (www.cakewalk.com).

III. Basic Features

A. Kits
Session Drum has 4 kits: Groovy, Groovy with Brushes, Tight kit and Tight Room kit. The Tight Room kit is processed to sound live so it is a good choice for those not familiar with the art of processing drum sounds. 1. Toms - the Groovy kits have three toms but they are set up to trigger any tom notes your midi files send. This is an improvement on many drum modules out there because some modules play no sound unless the correct notes are played. Note: the tight kits are a better choice for use with Groove Monkee because they have more toms and the mapping scheme fits our loops better. Ill explain this in more detail in the tutorial on using drum maps. In that tutorial well create a drum map to use with the Groovy kits. 2. Hi-Hats the tight kits have an extra hi-hat sound. It is the closed hat played on the edge for a more driving sound. This sound is mapped to MIDI note 22. You can make your own SD2 kits or instrument presets if you have the raw sound samples and know how to make.sfz files. Making SD2 kits is beyond the scope of this document but information is available on the Internet if you search for sfz files. Kudos to Cakewalk for using an open format like sfz! There are sfz drum kits and instruments available for download right now and there will likely be more in the future. The ability to use raw samples (.wav. aif, etc.) to make your own kits means that youll get a lot of use from SD2.

B. Patterns

SD2 comes with a nice but rather small set of MIDI grooves covering rock, DnB, shuffles, jazz and more. SD2 uses an old school system of presets to audition grooves. Up to eight patterns can be stored in each preset. You audition the grooves by pressing buttons labeled with letters A through H. Ill cover this in greater detail in the tutorial on basic operations.

C. Programs

SD2 programs are essentially presets that allow you to load a kit and patterns in one operation. This is better than importing one groove at a time but not nearly as efficient as using a MIDI file browser like the one integrated into EZdrummer.

IV. Controls

SD2 features a nice 8-channel mixer. If youre new to MIDI you should know that this is a great feature to have. It allows you to process each instrument group individually. For instance, you can add more reverb to the snare than the rest of the kit. Or you could apply filters and EQ to each instrument separately. The possibilities are limitless. Ill return to this feature in future tutorials. For now be aware of this functionality and do some experimenting on your own! The controls are split into two sections: A. Master controls for the entire mix: volume, width, panning and tuning. B. Instrument level controls include all of the above plus mute and solo. Example: You can use the instrument pitch control to raise the pitch of the snare to emulate a smaller snare. Or tune the entire mix up a bit to mimic the sound of a break beat sped up from the original tempo.

V. Instrument Pads

SD2 has 10 instrument pads. But unlike many other virtual drum modules, SD2s pads can each trigger more than one instrument. With just 8 of its pads, SD2 covers an entire GM drum set including a full set of cymbals: two crashes, a ride, a splash and a china cymbal. Not bad! SD2 also includes a tambourine and a cowbell on pads 9 and 10. The cowbell is good to have if youre into Latin and fusion styles. You can mix and match the various kit pieces and save your own kits too. For example, if you like the Groovy snare you can use it with the Tight kit and have a kit with a full array of tom sounds. In addition, you can load individual samples into the individual SD2 pads. SD2 will import samples in the following formats: nd.wav, aif, aiff, ogg and sfz. For example, you can load a 2 kick into the tambourine pad and mix two kick drums together. Note: In this case, youd have to trigger the pad using the traditional tambourine note at MIDI number 54. There doesnt appear to be a way to remap the pads at this time. Ill show you a work around using drum maps in another tutorial. Bottom line: if you have it and you need drum loops and sounds, start using it! Cakewalk is giving it away for free with Sonar and Home Studio XL. It sounds better than youd expect and it is a useful tool for song writing and jamming. Since it is GM compatible, you can use it with our 10,000 plus MIDI grooves! In the next tutorial Ill show you how to: 1. Load and set up SD2 2. Load kits, programs and patterns 3. Drag and drop patterns into your sequencer

SD2 System Requirements

VSTi compatible host (PC only) OS: Windows XP/Vista/Vista x64 Processor: Intel Pentium 4 1.3 GHz, or AMD Athlon XP 1500+ or higher Memory: 256 MB Hard disk space: 600 MB Graphics: 1024 x 768, 16-bit color

 

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