Homebase for Sonar users

I was a Cakewalk user, and then Sonar, dating back to the Windows 3.1 days when it was purely Midi. When I finally moved to Cubase I kept Cakewalk installed for quite a while as a safety net. This was in the 32 bit days, but I never had any problems with Cakewalk plugins not running well in Cubase.

There was a learning curve to be sure, but it was actually pretty easy for me to get going and be productive again. A lot of the basic recording and mixing stuff is pretty obvious in both environments, and the manual is well written for those “how do I do X?” moments (which I encounter no matter what software I use).

I’ve been through PT, Cakewalk / CW Pro Audio / Sonar, Logic, Nuendo, Cubase and I think a couple of others. I work in Windows (and thus got kicked to the curb when Apple bought Logic) and have found Cubase to be everything I need as well as being much, much more stable than Sonar ever was. Of course, no software is perfect so that latter statement varies from user to user depending on your environment. That said, there isn’t anything I had in Sonar but found lacking in Cubase, so hopefully those making the transition will have a good experience as well.

Depending on how you’re planning to use the click, the easiest way to adjust its volume is by just clicking the side of the Activate Metronome button (to the bottom right). You can adjust the Audio Click level on the second tab.

For studio use, the Control Room feature gives you advanced control over the metronome sounds sent to each set of headphones/monitors. I don’t have much experience with it so I can’t help you much.

PROJECT INFO SETTINGS:
I embed a lot of information in my Standard MIDI Files such as Title, Date of composition, Copyright info, original artist info, etc… I am wondering exactly how to accomplish this in Cubase. I see something like a SysEx Editor that exposes some of these but wondered if there was an easier way to do this.

GM SMF LYRIC HANDLING:
My SMF Library files have a melody and lyrics always on TRACK 4 (per the GM standard). I have been having a very hard time trying to understand how to work with lyrics and melody track in Cubase using the SCORE EDITOR. SONAR had a dedicated LYRICS window that was linked to a selected track. When I copy and paste the lyrics into the SCORE EDITOR I get very mixed results. Sometimes only partial lyrics are placed and some are in the wrong positions.

You can use the list editor for this: http://a.pomf.cat/snztjk.png

You can also insert text directly into notes using the piano roll’s info line. I don’t know if these show up in Karaoke machines, but they do show up in some MIDI players. http://a.pomf.cat/uihrep.png

Note that these SMF features are considered archaic and are rarely used, so most modern DAWs didn’t waste time trying to make this stuff easy to access/use. Actually Cubase’s implementation of this stuff might be the easiest to use outside of Sonar.

GENERAL NAVIGATION AND CUSTOMIZATION:
I am getting more comfortable with this and have sort of tried working on a color scheme that matches my SONR layout to feel somewhat familiar. SONAR gave us a lot of detailed options for color customizations. This is limited somewhat in Cubase by only allowing a base HUE setting in the 9.5 COLOR SCHEMES settings that lock you into a certain range of colors.

Color customization has recently been altered and the current method is still a work in progress. The current limitations are there to help you pick an usable color, where all interface elements are easily visible. Customization should become deeper and more flexible in future versions.

I work as a developer using Microsoft’s Visual Studio. The fonts and colors customization has a massive amount of options. And that’s neat and groovy for those who don’t mind a multicolored environment that looks like Mardi Gras threw up.

As for myself, I prefer a simple scheme with black text, blue comments and very little else. I’m able to understand code without the training wheels, so all the flashy colors are distractions that work against readability.

I mention this because it’s an absolute nightmare to accomplish this. I have to step through a gazillion options, one at a time, and it’s tedious beyond belief. I’m sure the MS devs can’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t want their code to show up in glorious technicolor, so they made simplicity extremely hard to achieve.

I offer this as a cautionary tale. Power and flexibility is great but as you guys work on this, please don’t flexibility me to death.

Right now the answer is I’d say around half work. There may be more that are unlocked in the future.

So the ones that for sure DON’T work are any of them that are DXis like TTS-1 and the Sonitus FX, since Cubase doesn’t do DXi. There is a DXi to VST adapter out there if you really need that. Also any of the ones that are 32-bit only don’t work like Dropzone and RXP since Cubase has no 32-64 bit bridge, you’d have to get something like jBridge. Also none of the pro channel modules work, nor can they since they are customized. Have to have a non-PC version for them to work.

Past that, some work, some say “Cakewalk only” and some can be fixed.

In the “can be fixed category” there is the Overloud stuff (TH2, Breverb, REmatrix) the AAS stuff (Strum, Ultra analog and such), and TruePianos. All those companies have offers where you send them proof of your Sonar ownership, they’ll give you unlocked version.

In the “works” category is most of the older Cakewalk plugins like Boost11, Channel Tools, LP-64, PX64, VX64, and so on. Bifilter also works, as does the new LP EQ and LP MB. Rapture Pro also works fine, if you have it. So does CA-2A.

Right now the biggest one that doesn’t work is probably the Adaptive Limiter. Cakewalk could fix that, and maybe they will, but for now it doesn’t work. Also none of the Nomad Factory plugins work, they all complain about needing to be in Cakewalk.

All in all it isn’t too bad, particularly if you go and get some of the 3rd party ones unlocked. Plus Cubase Pro at least comes with highly competent replacements for most stuff. You won’t at all miss Cakewalk’s old convolution reverb when you have REVerence, and Halion Sonic SE is a competent replacement to TTS-1 and so on.

Looking at the versions comparison table I see that Cubase Artist would be the best bet for me, a home studio Sonar Platinum user (in the UK).
But when I follow through to ‘Buy’ the cost is £282 as there is no crossgrade option. Is that correct?

Hello,
Not sure if this is the best way/place to ask this question, but here goes:
I’m a very long-time Sonar user, and am considering the Cubase leap. Orchestral composer, high track counts, etc. Notation/score view very important to me. I expect to download trial ASAP. In the meantime, I have heard that Cubase score view/editor has some scrolling limitations that could be a show-stopper for me. In particular, another Sonar user stated the following on the Sonar forums in re: Cubase:

‘You can’t select a passage longer then the view. It doesn’t continue scrolling to the right when you reach the edge. You have to go out of score view and use another view. There goes my workflow. They told me you can switch to page view. True, but then you only have one instrument. But I need all the instruments, as I frequently copy/paste to hear a passage on various intruments”

As I interpret this, it sounds as if you can’t view/scroll/playback multiple tracks in the score editor (ie., an orchestral score) on a continuous linear basis throughout the length of a project. Is that correct?

Many thanks for any help!

Doesn’t look like they offer a crossgrade to Artist that I can find. However Cubase Pro is a superset of Artist, and with the crossgrade costs less. So I’d probably go that route rather than buying Artist for full retail.

I’d definitely take Pro over Artist. You’d be downgrading from Sonar Platinum if you didn’t. I learned the hard way that if I have a full feature set that I don’t use, I’m better off than having a more limited feature set that I wish could do more.

Plugin stuff.

TTS-1/Hyper Canvas is based on the Roland SC-88Pro Sound Canvas sound set from 1996. Halion Sonic SE should replace this really well.

Halion Sonic SE uses a mix of select instruments from the following sources:

Yamaha MU-100 (1997, General MIDI soundset)
Motif Classic (2001, all of the sounds are included in Cubase Pro)
Motif XS (2007)
Motif XF (2010, Cubase Pro only)

I think most of the instruments in Halion Sonic SE sound a lot better than their TTS-1 counterparts. The only weak points to me are the chromatic percussion and the oboe.

Sonitus FX

These are really old (from around 1999?). Cubase’s stock plugins don’t have all of their features in some cases, but they should sound better.

Dropzone and RXP

The Sampler Track and Groove Agent SE 4 are definitely a lot better.

Adaptive Limiter

Cubase’s new Maximizer can emulate the Adaptive Limiter’s different modes by using the Recovery and Mix knobs. The freeware Limiter No.6 is also worth taking a look at and may work better on some material.

Nomad Factory plugins

The Blue Tubes series is quite infamous, and a lot of people hate them with a passion. The dynamics processors in particular don’t really sound anything like vintage hardware.

For the easy color/warmth that these plugins were supposed to provide, you can use either Magneto or Quadrafuzz v2 in single band mode (“SB”). And of course there’s also the Tube Compressor. All of these plugins give you much more control over the saturation/distortion than Blue Tubes.

Ya I’m not losing any sleep over the lost plugins, just trying to help give people a list of what doesn’t work (I have Cubase 9.5 and Sonar Platinum, I just switched over). Realistically people will have no issue.

Adaptive Limiter is really the main one people might miss because it is a very nice transparent limiter with a good interface. Surprisingly good for an included plugin. We Platinum owners were quite pleasantly surprised when it got released as something of that caliber is often going to be an extra charge.

I doubt many will care about TTS-1, the only reason someone might is that stuff from the GM days was far more often than not composed for a SoundCanvas and thus the balance and timbre Roland chose sounds right. That said, TTS-1 is not the most competent implementation of that and if it really matters, one would probably get SoundCanvas VA which is a bang on accurate implementation.

I think most Platinum owners probably own at least a few 3rd party plugins, and probably more than a few, so between that, the plugins that do carry over, and all the stuff Cubase comes with, I doubt anyone is going to be in a hard place.

For me Soundcanvas VA is like roland at its best. And i looked at sonar but still ok with Cubase 95 and how its running with Groove Agent 4 and Halion. Though i sample everything to them. I use synths to fill them. Cubase and Wavelab are still the toys to do so.

Although the post hasn’t been approved yet, I asked this in another thread. I’ll ask here as this thread seems more appropriate.

  1. Is there anything in Cubase that replicates Sonar’s Big Time?
  2. Is there anything in Cubase that replicates Sonar’s Navigator view?

Hi. I would try to multi-select the midi objects then press enter to open them at once. Not the same at all but that gets the closest. Then there is a button at top of the midi editor editor to select which midi track you are active on (roughly top middle).
But the main determining factor depends on how your midi parts are organized in the arranger.
I would also advise to turn of the preference setting
Prefs-Editors-Open Editor commands open Editors in a Window (this isn’t the default). Using the ‘Lower Zone’ editor (the default) too small for big midi editing.
Hopefully that is roughly helpful.

No. All selected midi parts are visible in Score Edit view, without limitation. You would use the transport controls to navigate. That person must have been misinformed.

Thanks Ed, it was a good idea to provide this sub-forum. As someone who made the Sonar-to-Cubase transition in April 2016 and is very happy with Cubase I offer the following observations:

  • The Cubase interface is close enough to Sonar to feel familiar, however there are enough differences that one needs to make a commitment of time, say 2 to 7 days, of intense learning depending on how deep you need to go.

  • The Steinberg and third party Cubase learning videos on YouTube are fantastic.

  • There are two different instruction manuals for Cubase: on-line and PDF. Neither seems as useful as the Sonar instructions so consider using the videos first but be ready to slog through the manuals for the details.

  • The Cubase forum is VERY DIFFERENT to the Sonar Forum. The Cubase forum is very useful but it is not a chatroom. People tend to “get in get out”. There doesn’t seem to be the same level of personal discussion or jokes, and there is no competition for who has used Cubase longer :wink: but there are plenty of other users who are willing to help so it is a very good forum.

Greetings all! I’ve moved into Cubase and am coming up to speed. I’m sure I’ll be asking questions. Generally speaking I get how things work But clearly things are differently located or implemented in Cubase than Sonar. I like what I’m experiencing in this unplanned transition.

Hi all - as a Sonar user I am glad to find this thread. Just popping in as an introduction.

I had an eLicenser USB stick laying around idle from a previous Arturia purchase, and it is working nicely with the Cubase 9.5 demo.
I’m getting more familiar with the application every day, there are certainly many features in it!

I had some exposure to remote collaboration with the Rocket Network and am looking forward to working with VST Connect once I get up to speed with the DAW.

Yes

I am trying the evaluation version of Cubase Pro 9.5 and will probably end up buying it. It has a number of features that I like that Sonar doesn’t have. I have been studying the manual and watching video tutorials which helps a lot. I also downloaded the sample project and have been playing around with it. One thing I noticed about it was that it starts with measure -1. So far I can’t find mention of this feature anywhere in the manual or the videos I have watched. I was wondering if someone could tell me how to set this up in my own projects.

Thanks…

Select Project -> Project Setup, you can then set a custom Bar Offset.

If you want it to start at -1, set the Bar Offset to 2.