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Sonar is like being on another planet...
Old 26th January 2009
  #1
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skiltrip's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Sonar is like being on another planet...

I've been a Pro Tools LE/MP user for about 7 or 8 years.

Lately I've been itching to just kind of see what else is out there DAW-wise, not because I hate Pro Tools, I love it, I'm just curious. I use Vegas Pro sometimes for video and I love the workflow, so I get curious as to what's going on with stuff like Sonar and Cubase.

So I downloaded the Sonar 8 demo, and I look at it, and it's like being on Mars. Like, NOTHING seems intuitive or makes any sense. Even simple stuff like I/O.

And it's not that anything other than Pro Tools just seems foreign to me. I've toyed around with Reaper a bit, and even though I think it's quite a bit awkward compared to Pro Tools, I could find my way around and get simple things done. And like I mentioned, I use Sony Vegas quite a bit and I like that workflow, and of course I find Sony Acid similarly easy to get around in.

Is it just me, or is Sonar just some alien DAW software that only makes sense if you've been using it from the start? I can't imagine anyone getting into recording and starting with this program.

Am I missing something?
Old 26th January 2009
  #2
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JoeyM's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I felt the same way - Sonars learning curve seems unnecisarily steep.

The Sonar people could help out though, make some basic -workflow- templates for users of other popular audio apps.

It's my understanding Sonar is real flexible and highly configurable but you'd never know it from the startup screen.
Old 26th January 2009
  #3
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theblue1's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I don't know -- but I also use Vegas for video and one of the reasons I thought it was so easy to get started with was because I thought it was so much like Sonar. heh


But, hey, I've been using Sonar/CW since '96 or so, so maybe I'm not the one to ask.

Is it routing that's giving you fits or... ?
Old 26th January 2009
  #4
Deleted 1a30a04
Guest
There are some Protools like bindkeys that you can use to make things
a little more familiar.

But, Sonar is one of the most inconsistent user-interfaces I've ever used. It
was one of the big reasons I went to Protools. While it has a lot of features,
each of the windows is like its own little world.

I also find that Protools is a lot more drivable from the keyboard ... in Sonar,
your transitioning between mouse and keyboard a lot..

jeff
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #5
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theblue1's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Well, there are preassigned shortcut keys for most common commands -- and you can set one up for any command, modify existing hotkeys, etc.

I'm not sure precisely what you mean by inconsistencies from window to window -- you may well be dead right -- I have to admit I almost never see any windows but the main view and the piano roll. (Maybe MIDI event list or marker lists and that sort of thing.) Now, I'm two versions back -- and they just redid the MIDI window, which was overdue.

So I'm probably not the guy to talk to on that one...

Then again, there really aren't all that many windows, anyhow, are there?

I'm looking at the view list and, aside from specific use utility windows, it looks like the main thing is Track View, Piano Roll, and Console (and maybe the score window, which, illiterate goon that I am, is all but Greek to me).


I will say that I don't care for the console view much but aside from the much needed ability to zoom the whole thing (as it is, you've got two choices for strip width and that's it -- again on 2006's v.6), I'm not sure what I'd really change -- I simply don't really appreciate console view and never have. It always seemed like a gimmick to me in a DAW. That said, there are a lot of other folks who feel differently, which is why these things are as customizable as they are.

BTW, does any DAW have a fully zoomable console view?

I have it in the back of my head that one of the more boutique-y DAWs does. The kind of thing where it's more or less continually zoomable, so you can see a whole bunch of faders at once but then still zoom in to get the details. (Samplitude, maybe?)

A userful alternative, it seems to me, would be a couple of zoom levels combined with an 'inspector/zoom' area in the console view that gives a close up view of the 'selected' track -- as the inspector/zoom strip does in Sonar's track view. (And, actually, that zoom strip is what means I almost never leave track view, anyhow.)
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #6
Deleted 37a7726
Guest
I made the switch last year to Sonar 7 from Protools HD/LE. Now using 8. Yes it is different, But amazingly powerful. I just had to spend the time & learn the key commands. The feature set & workflow fits me well. I'm using it on 3 systems. One is a dedicated 16 channel tracking rig, One is my mix system, the other is for low latency realtime virtual instruments. I do slave Live often as well when called for. I can honestly say i really enjoy using these setups. I use Lynx & TC audio interfaces. I'm not missing the Digi Hardware at all.
It was actually one feature that orginally pulled me into Sonar. Being able to slave the timeline/tempo to my Drum tracks. (audiosnap) .
It's usually the other way around, syncing the drum parts to the timeline like Beat Detective does. That and it works well with my SSL Duende =)
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #7
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B-San's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Sonar is the most intuitive DAW app for me, but then again, I've been using Cakewalk software since 1997...

I also use ProTools occasionally and find some things about it to be unecesarilly complicated... like some of the routing methods.. Also LE's lack of delay compensation can definitely make things suck...

Oh well - just thought I'd chime in to bring a little balance to the discussion...

Gotta run!

*ducks out of thread to avoid sniper fire from the evil empire*
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #8
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theblue1's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I'd like to make an informal -- and more than a little whimsical -- request to my fellow Sonar fanboiz to try to keep from rushing to the defense of our beloved mothership and let these strange aliens who don't get Sonar talk to us about what doesn't make sense to them.

I think it would be really good to get some insight into that, if only so we might help other DAW travelers who find themselves strangers in a strange land... We Sonarites... we like to think of ourselves as the good Samaritans of Outer Space...
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #9
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Corran's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I first used Cakewalk a long, long time ago. I knew nothing of audio recording or DAWs or how to do anything. A friend gave me a copy of Protools, Logic, Sonar, and Cubase. The only one I could figure out was Cakewalk.

Maybe it's just the way people look at things sometimes. I haven't used Protools since then but I'm sure I could figure it out now, but then, Cakewalk is just what I needed. Also, to me, most other DAWs I've seen or used look like Sonar.
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #10
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Ya gotta read Scott Garrigus's books on Sonar.... then you'll understand.
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #11
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4damind's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Yes, Sonar is a bit different but this is the same I would say about PT
But IMHO it's the only alternative to Cubase. I like the way Sonar handles freezing of tracks and the workflow is not very far away from known concepts found in other DAWs.

With such software you need more time to understand the workflow. Many are not self-explanatory and often needs some deeper look into the manual.
This is also true for Ableton Live, Reaper etc.
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #12
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
I couldn't stand Sonar, I had high expectations and it was like trying to play pick up sticks with my ass cheeks.....

I went to Logic just by stupid luck and I felt like someone made a software program for dummies like myself.....I still have Sonar but why put myself through that bull****???
Old 26th January 2009
  #13
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by skiltrip ➑️
I've been a Pro Tools LE/MP user for about 7 or 8 years.

Lately I've been itching to just kind of see what else is out there DAW-wise, not because I hate Pro Tools, I love it, I'm just curious. I use Vegas Pro sometimes for video and I love the workflow, so I get curious as to what's going on with stuff like Sonar and Cubase.

So I downloaded the Sonar 8 demo, and I look at it, and it's like being on Mars. Like, NOTHING seems intuitive or makes any sense. Even simple stuff like I/O.

And it's not that anything other than Pro Tools just seems foreign to me. I've toyed around with Reaper a bit, and even though I think it's quite a bit awkward compared to Pro Tools, I could find my way around and get simple things done. And like I mentioned, I use Sony Vegas quite a bit and I like that workflow, and of course I find Sony Acid similarly easy to get around in.

Is it just me, or is Sonar just some alien DAW software that only makes sense if you've been using it from the start? I can't imagine anyone getting into recording and starting with this program.

Am I missing something?

i think it's that way whenever you cross over.....i'm the opposite - a long term sonar user...love it....i want to get into PT so i got M powered 7 a couple years ago but compared to sonar...i can't stand to look at PT...it looks like windows 98 or something...the most gastly omission is dbfs meters on the tracks and busses....nasty.....i know PT 8 has them so i wanna upgrade and get into PT more...it does sound great and edits real well.....but i think sonar is worth the time for you....actually it doesn't matter as long as you ccan get your sound and get your work done timely!
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
  #14
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theblue1's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by chk027 ➑️
I couldn't stand Sonar, I had high expectations and it was like trying to play pick up sticks with my ass cheeks.....

I went to Logic just by stupid luck and I felt like someone made a software program for dummies like myself.....I still have Sonar but why put myself through that bull****???
I appreciate the emotional side of that... heh


Do you remember any of the stuff that drove you so crazy?

I'm not trying to argue in any way -- if something drives you crazy, something drives you crazy -- I'm just trying to get an insight into the whys and whats...

Because, you know, if one of my 3DW pals came to me and said, gee, I wanna record on my Windows machine, what should I use, I'd like to not sell him down the river just 'cause I liked the scenery. (Or something. I think you get the drift. heh )
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
  #15
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javahut's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I switched from Pro Tools 3 to Sonar over 3 years ago now. Yeah, there's some differences and basics you have to figure out between them. But basically, they're more similar than not. And Sonar did & does WAY more than my Pro Tools 3. I haven't regretted the switch once and Sonar is rock solid stable for me. IMHO, it's very intuitive to work with once you get a few of the basics down. Then you can go as deep as you want to in it... or not.
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
  #16
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theblue1's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
You know, javahut's post brings up an important point -- a lot of us who have worked fairly extensively with DAWs other than our 'own' may not have done so in a while.

I always think about this when someone says something about Sonar that might well have been true in Cakewalk Pro Audio days but hasn't been the case maybe this whole decade.

Similarly, up until the last year or two, my most recent experience with Cubase had been a cursory but painful experience (on a really meager machine) with Cubase LE from something like 1999.

Needless to say, I tried not to judge Cubase by that heh -- and when I recently worked with a 3DW pal in his studio, I was happy to note that his version of Cubase SX3 (already a ways back) seemed to be a powerful, modern program, completely unlike my prior experience with its lesser, older sibling.
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
  #17
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Old Goat's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 ➑️
You know, javahut's post brings up an important point -- a lot of us who have worked fairly extensively with DAWs other than our 'own' may not have done so in a while.

I always think about this when someone says something about Sonar that might well have been true in Cakewalk Pro Audio days but hasn't been the case maybe this whole decade.

Similarly, up until the last year or two, my most recent expience with Cubase had been a cursory but painful experience (on a really meager machine) with Cubase LE from something like 1999.

Needless to say, I tried not to judge Cubase by that heh -- and when I recently worked with a 3DW pal in his studio, I was happy to note that his version of Cubase SX3 (already a ways back) seemed to be a powerful, modern program, completely unlike my prior experience with its lesser, older sibling.
Good point. Live5 gave me a headache. It's newest incarnation might give me a bigger headache or not. Same with FL (Fruity Loops, when I tried it. Cubase and Acid didn't do anything for me). I started with Kristal (freeware). SONAR is the one I understand and can drive reasonably well. I learn a new and better way to do things every time I open it. That said, there's a reason they make fly rods and spear guns--different people like different things. (no analogy, BTW, just the most disparate fishing methods I could think of--I'm the fly rod guy)
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
  #18
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theblue1's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
You know one thing I've noticed... as a computer OG (first daily use of a PC, 1985) who has used countless thousands of softwares and as a guy who has designed a bunch of database, web, and other interfaces, I have a real nose for sussing the basic function of things.

I've been able to help some Mac-using friends primarily because I know Windows pretty well, the way things work behind the UI -- and knowing that inner functional structure helps me know what to look for on the Mac. (It's where to look for it that drives me nuts -- but it's usually something that the Mac user didn't even know existed, so I usually have to puzzle it out on my own.)

And because I have a moderately thorough understanding of the basic functionality of a modern DAW, it helps me suss out another DAW. (Though my peripheral experience is pretty much limited to what I could try for free, so Mackie Tracktion and Reaper. Traction took a sec, but Reaper was eminently straightforward to me when I was trying it six or eight months ago; of course, it's a whole different program by now... heh )
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
  #19
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by chk027 ➑️
I couldn't stand Sonar, I had high expectations and it was like trying to play pick up sticks with my ass cheeks.....

I went to Logic just by stupid luck and I felt like someone made a software program for dummies like myself.....I still have Sonar but why put myself through that bull****???
I have the total opposite feeling. I never picked up the manual in sonar and I had no problem figuring everything out. For me it is the most straight forward daw out there. For I/O just right click on the track and go to "properties" like any other windows program. Yet in Logic I'm finding myself picking up the manual just to do simple things like consolidate a track's audio clips to one file. In Sonar I would just select the track, right click and "bounce to clip." So simple. In Logic after 30 minutes of looking in the manual I still have no idea how to do it. Btw Sonar also sounds the best. Or at least it sounds the most 3d, natural, uncolored, raw. Logic 8 sounds 2d and smiley faced by comparison, cubase sounds dark and dull. And yes I have all 3 and have done significant testing using my barefoot mm27's and apogee converters.
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
  #20
Gear Head
 
MatsonMusicBox's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
hmmmmm .. My Pro Tools experience was very early on, so can't really compare directly, but SONAR, for the most part ... at least all the basic stuff ... seemed pretty intuitive to me and I caught on very quickly. I would say I'm highly productive with it at this point.

Having said that, thee are some things that drive me nuts, and yes, there are some annoying inconsistencies ... I suspect there are these kind of problems with most any DAW, and what one finds more or less annoying is likely based on personality, thinking patterns, and experience with similar tools. My guess is I might feel the same way if I suddenly switched to PT or Cubase or something ... until I got used to it!

SONAR is GREAT for midi recording/editing and integrating that with audio side by side ... rotten for notation .... pretty good for audio editing, great for included plug-ins and general plug-in (vst especially) compatability ... a little weird for setting up soft synths (though that improved in v8) - Powerful for routing - OK to Good on UI - and pretty good for overall project management.

Anyway ... my .02 ...
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
  #21
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
I think one of the hardest things about switching to any new system of doing things is dealing with the bias we bring in how we have done things before. I've been a long time Sonar user and I've been running the demo of Samplitude for a couple of weeks. At first I was wondering "WTF is this!?!" Invariably I found the main obstacle was my previous conditioning to do things a certain way in Sonar. Once I just stayed with it and figured it out, I realized it was simple. I think any new planet can feel like home if you just have a little patience and acclimate yourself to the differences.
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
  #22
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theblue1's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
[...] a little weird for setting up soft synths (though that improved in v8) [...]
Interesting... it was certainly tricky at times in the early part of the decade but I thought they'd straightened it out pretty well even by mid-decade -- seems like it was ok by the v.5-v.6 range, at any rate. Once they made it possible to set up a v-synth from the single dialog, it became as potentially simple as a click, once you'd selected a synth to set up.

Now, I have had a couple moments of confusion taking a track I'd set up for one v-synth and plugging a different one in once or twice. (I dunno why. I've had tracks that just didn't seem to want to take a new synth as an output, yet when I tried to duplicate the issue, no problems. I figure I missed...something.)

And deciding how to approach patches and parameter and patch changes in something like the multi-timbral v-synth TTS-1 (that comes with Pro and maybe Studio), which has its own control interface can bemuse one... which is the best way to approach it? I now set the patch from the track control area but use the parameter controls in the synth itself to control volume and pan, etc. I dunno. That seems awkward but it works for me.
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
  #23
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
I WANT to like Sonar, but it seems like it speaks its own language, very different from other DAW experiences I've had.

I'm a Mac/Logic guy, but I've picked up a very cheap custom built PC rig that could suffice as a VI instrument/midi/loop composition rig....I'm desperate to find some down and dirty PC software that isn't gonna take a lot of my time deciphering...This is just sort of satellite/supplemental rig...

I've no doubt that Sonar is as powerful as hell, and some of the included plugs are pretty cool...(Perfect Space, Vintage Channel) however, here was my experience in trying to create a simple little project with Reason via Rewire

1) After stripping down the arrange window to eliminate a lot of the flotsam and jetsom, I needed to create a master track to insert a master compression/limiter plug...the only way I was able to accomplish this was to create a bus, physically name it "MASTER" and re route the ins and outs. I've worked with a few other DAWs and everyone I can remember has the master bus already set up for you

2) Rewiring a REASON session seemed to go fairly smoothly, however, when I attempted bounce the entire session, my exported file only reflected the audio
track in my session, not my Rewire/Reason track (even though I had selected every option possible to include in my bounce in the export option window)

I'm sure most of this is pilot error, but the point is, I'm trying to eliminate as much
left brain as possible and focus on right....

Last edited by captain54; 27th January 2009 at 09:49 PM.. Reason: innaccurate statement
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
  #24
N88
Gear Maniac
 
N88's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
You've got your hemispheres crossed.
Unless you're trying to be less creative.

Personally, in terms of intuitiveness, virtually all computer landscapes feel a bit foreign.
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
  #25
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taturana's Avatar
 
12 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by captain54 ➑️
I WANT to like Sonar, but it seems like it speaks its own language, very different from other DAW experiences I've had.

I'm a Mac/Logic guy, but I've picked up a very cheap custom built PC rig that could suffice as a VI instrument/midi/loop composition rig....I'm desperate to find some down and dirty PC software that isn't gonna take a lot of my time deciphering...This is just sort of satellite/supplemental rig...

I've no doubt that Sonar is as powerful as hell, and some of the included plugs are pretty cool...(Perfect Space, Vintage Channel) however, here was my experience in trying to create a simple little project with Reason via Rewire

1) After stripping down the arrange window to eliminate a lot of the flotsam and jetsom, I needed to create a master track to insert a master compression/limiter plug...the only way I was able to accomplish this was to create a bus, physically name it "MASTER" and re route the ins and outs. I've worked with a few other DAWs and everyone I can remember has the master bus already set up for you

2) Rewiring a REASON session seemed to go fairly smoothly, however, when I attempted bounce the entire session, my exported file only reflected the audio
track in my session, not my Rewire/Reason track (even though I had selected every option possible to include in my bounce in the export option window)

I'm sure most of this is pilot error, but the point is, I'm trying to eliminate as much
right brain as possible and focus on left brain....
well... you do have to select all tracks you are mixing... ctrl-a (select all) will help in most situations.
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
  #26
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by N88 ➑️
You've got your hemispheres crossed.
Unless you're trying to be less creative.

Personally, in terms of intuitiveness, virtually all computer landscapes feel a bit foreign.
thanks for the heads up....duly noted and corrected
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
  #27
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by taturana ➑️
well... you do have to select all tracks you are mixing... ctrl-a (select all) will help in most situations.
I guess I'm thinking ProTools and Logic where you set the finish point hit "bounce" and your're done.
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
  #28
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B-San's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Thumbs up

Checking the 'fast bounce' option when using Re-wire is pure win...
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
  #29
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taturana's Avatar
 
12 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by captain54 ➑️
I guess I'm thinking ProTools and Logic where you set the finish point hit "bounce" and your're done.
ctrl-a will help you except where you have a huge delay/reverb tail or v-synth's with long release times... in that case do select the correct ending (after the clips end) and all tracks you want to mix...
Old 27th January 2009 | Show parent
  #30
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by taturana ➑️
ctrl-a will help you except where you have a huge delay/reverb tail or v-synth's with long release times... in that case do select the correct ending (after the clips end) and all tracks you want to mix...
thanks for clearing that up....very helpful
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