How to Mix & Edit on a Cakewalk Sonar LE


One reason for the popularity of Cakewalk's SONAR software comes from the distribution of SONAR LE through other manufacturer's hardware packages. While not as full-featured as regular versions, SONAR LE is still complete and has all you need to create fairly complex projects. Though limited in track size and some other features, you're still allotted 32 audio tracks and 64 MIDI tracks, well beyond the needs of most home users.

Things You'll Need

  • SONAR project file with several tracks of recorded audio and/or MIDI
  • Select console view to access faders. Click "Views" on the toolbar and "Console" from the drop-down window. Use the faders to create a rough mix of your recorded tracks. This will give you an indication of what edits are needed, as they can be performed in different ways.

  • Use fader automation and automated mute to edit without erasing parts of your tracks. On the track to be edited, click the "W" at the base of the fader to enable automation-write for the track. Right-click the "M" button and select "Switch to Automated Mute." Play your project and use the mouse to adjust the fader or click the mute button to remove unwanted performance material. Click the "W" again to exit write mode for that track. Repeat as needed for the rest of your tracks.

  • Switch back to track view by way of the "Views" option on the toolbar. You will see the mute and volume information you just entered as nodes and lines overlaying the tracks that you altered. You can click and drag the envelope to fine-tune the mute or volume-change information. Use the magnifying glass tools in the bottom right corner to adjust the size of the track display for more precise editing.

  • Select console view again and add EQ and effects to your audio tracks by way of the sections at the top of each track. Click the "+" to add an effect from the drop-down menus. Click the button on the left of the EQ section to activate, then click the arrow on the right to open the EQ editor.

  • Continue editing and adjusting volume, EQ and effects until your project sounds like you want it. Save multiple versions of your file to try to compare different approaches to mixes. SONAR LE saves audio files separately from project data, so saving multiple versions of the same project is economical with hard disk space.

Tips & Warnings

  • Your version of SONAR LE may have different methods for choosing the procedures listed, but the functions themselves are included. The user manual is included on the CD with your copy of SONAR LE, and the help files are a great resource.
  • Failing to save changes and overwriting without backup are two common ways to lose data. Save early and often, and make safety copies of your files.

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