Tutorial - Connecting Plug-ins with Groups in Cakewalk Sonar

Tutorial Description

This tutorial shows how to reuse the envelopes generated by our plugins with output parameters in Cakewalk Sonar using groups. Other techniques exist (using MIDI or Automation curves), but this one has the advantage of being simple and completely integrated into Sonar's workflow. It also lets you use plug-ins that do not support MIDI control as destinations.

This step by step tutorial has been created with Sonar X1, but it will work with previous versions of Sonar (starting with Sonar 6). This technique can also be applied to other host applications that have such parameter grouping capabilities.

In this example we are using the DP Meter Pro plugin (DPMP) in order to control the gain of a destination track, according to the envelope of an other track (source). You can of course use the same technique to perform other side chain tasks in Sonar with any of our plug-ins with output parameters.

Step By Step

01 - Insert the DPMP plug-in on the source track:

Step 01 - Insert the DPMP plug-in on the source track

02 - Insert the Gain Plug-in on the destination track:

Step 02 - Insert the Gain Plug-in on the destination track

03 - On the DPMP, open the preset settings window:

Step 03 - On the DPMP, open the preset settings window

04 - Enable automation output for the transformed envelope:

Step 04 - Enable automation output for the transformed envelope

05 - Open the Synth rack (in Sonar X1 it is now available in the browser):

Step 05 - Open the Synth rack (in Sonar X1 it is now available in the browser)

06 - Unfold the controls views:

Step 06 - Unfold the controls views

07 - Right Click on the controls view and select the transformed envelope output for the DPMP:

Step 07 - Right Click on the controls view and select the transformed envelope output for the DPMP

08 - Right click on the control and create a new group:

Step 08 - Right click on the control and create a new group

09 - We will call this group 'Gain Control':

Step 09 - We will call this group 'Gain Control'

10 - Do the same with the gain plug-in and assign the gain parameter to the same group:

Step 10 - Do the same with the gain plug-in and assign the gain parameter to the same group

11 - The gain parameter is now controlled by the output of the DPMP:

Step 11 - The gain parameter is now controlled by the output of the DPMP

12 - But at this stage the gain control varies from -60 to 60 dB:

We want to control this range (and typically apply a -60 to 0dB gain only). Sonar provides a way to change the range of the controls.

13 - Open the group manager:

Step 13 - Open the group manager

19 - Change the range for the gain plug-in:

Step 19 - Change the range for the gain plug-in

20 - Done! You can now tweak the DPMP parameters to control the gain response:

Step 20 - Done! You can now tweak the DPMP parameters to control the gain response

21 - Note:

You can also use the VST version of the plug-in. In this case, an extra step is required so that the plug-ins are declared as synths (for some reason Sonar support controls on synths only). Both plug-ins (source and destination) have to be considered as synths. This extra step has to be done before inserting the plug-ins.

21.1 - Open the plug-in manager and open the properties panel for the plug-in:

Step 21.1 - Open the plug-in manager and open the properties panel for the plug-in

21.2 - Check the 'synth' option - the plug-in will now show up in the menus as a synthesizer:

Step 21.2 - Check the 'synth' option - the plug-in will now show up in the menus as a synthesizer

Conclusion

You have learnt how to use the DP Meter Pro plugin (DPMP) with Sonar's groups in order to control the parameters of another plug-in. This technique can be used with many other plug-ins of ours (as source and destination), for many purposes, including side chain compression, ducking, voice over, etc. You can check out our other Tutorials to see example of tasks that you can automate thanks to this technique.

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