Need Sonar 5.0 PE + hardware gear set-up assistance, please

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Need Sonar 5.0 PE + hardware gear set-up assistance, please

Postby Dansation » Sun Jun 25, 2006 4:17 am

Hi,
I recently acquired the following and would like assistance in ensuring my set-up is correct for running my studio.
1. Sonar 5.0 PE installed on an HP Media Center PC m7170n (computer specs are: Intel Pentium D Processor 830 3.00 GHz, 250GB Hard Drive, 2GB PC2-4200 DDR2 SDRAM, Real-Tek High Definition Audio (Standard)
2. Yamaha PSR-510 Keyboard with Midi-in/out
3. TASCAM FW 1804 Audio-Midi Interface
4. USB Midisport 2x2 Midiman

I have the USB midiman (Item 4 above) but I am not planning to use it (not really sure why I had it) -- rather, I am running a midi in and out direct from the Yamaha keyboard direct to the out and in midi's at the back of the TASCAM FW 1804. Also a 15 foot Firewire cable connects from the TASCAM FW jack to the HP Computer's FW Jack. Supposedly this FW cable will carry both audio and midi information to and from the computer back to the TASCAM.

My questions are as follows:
1. What other gear or hook-ups do I need to record vocals and electric guitar, drums, etc. I have acoustic (with pick-up) and electric guitars, a full electronic Roland V-Drums drumset with Roland's Percussion Sound Module TD-20, Sennheisser 421 microphones for vocals with cords to patch into the TASCAM 1804. I, however, have never recorded since the days of the 8 channel 4 track cassette AudioTechnica (early/mid 80s)?

2. Oh, I also have a JBL M644 Noise Gate and a Lexicon Super Prime Time Digital Delay Processor -- are these even of any use in the input or output process any more with digital recording? If so, where do I insert them? If anyone is familiar with the Lexicon Super Prime Time, is it still state of the art-ish for what it does? I never used it all that much back in the 80's for various reasons so it is essentially brand new.

3. Is the use of 15 foot Firewire cable okay or too long for consistency? How about for midi cable lengths?

4. I feel like I need all the effects like reverb in outboard processors like in the 80's...is this now all done in Sonar 5.0 or do I still use them as before as an effect added before sending through the TASCAM to the computer for Sonar 5.0 to record?

Thanks in advance for any input/assistance! Once I know I am set up correctly with hardware and cables, then I will re-group to attempt to wade through how to tell Sonar 5.0 what it is attached to and to figure out how to record/playback something simple, initially. I think I am already getting a headache :)

DR
Dansation
 
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Re: Need Sonar 5.0 PE + hardware gear set-up assistance, please

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Postby andychap » Sun Jun 25, 2006 6:45 am

It looks like you have everything you need to set yourself up with a nice digital audio worksation. Everything is connected correctly so far so you should have no problems with that.

The other gear you have can be connected directly to the tascam interface via the mic/line inputs so that you can record straight into Sonar.

Just think of Sonar as a glorified multi track recorder but instead of 8 tracks you have unlimited tracks and the ability to edit those tracks in all sorts of ways.

As for the hardware effects you already own, they can be connected via the inserts on inputs 1-4. Whether you need them in this day of software effects is down to personal taste. There are some good effects included with Sonar and many others which can be bought or even downloaded for free. Try both software and hardware methods and decide which sounds best. The thing to remember with software is that the result you get is not permanent and can be removed or altered time after time. I always record clean and add effects, non destructively, afterwards.

The length of the firewire cable should be fine and it will enable you to move your interface away from your computer so you can't hear it buzzing away in the background on vocal and acoustic guitar takes.

I think Midi leads are alright upto about 10 meters before you start to get data loss.

Keep hold of the midisport, you have 2 ins and four outs on the tascam interface but you never know one day you might want to hook something else up and the midisport is a reliable way to do it.

You have a set up that a lot of people (including me) would die for. You should have no problems with Sonar, it will detect and setup your tascam interface to run with optimal performance with very little effort .

Once you are set up I recommend the tutorials at the beginning of the manual as the best way to start. Even if you know a lot of the stuff contained in them it always serves as a reminder and there might just be be something you find important.

I look forward to hearing some of you work when you get up and running :D
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Postby Dansation » Mon Jun 26, 2006 7:17 am

Thanks for the support/assistance, Andy!

I will try a bit this week in my spare time to see if I can get something to record that I can actually see on Sonar. Then there is the matter of playback but I am assuming that Sonar will send this data back out from the computer throught the stereo output of the TASCAM which I will plug directly into my line inputs of a couple powered monitor speakers that I have in my studio space. Does that sound right or will it need to play back to my Yamaha keyboard? And can I change voices is the Sonar file so that, for example, a live feed guitar part that I record in Sonar 5.0 PE on a particular track can be sent back out with a new voice like a saxophone or a strings?

This is all so new that I will likely get lost in it all once I really start to learn a bit about all the things this digital technology provides at our fingertips.

DR
Dansation
 
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Postby andychap » Tue Jul 04, 2006 10:50 am

Yep you got the gist of it all.

The audio will be routed to your tascam where you can monitor it.

If you want to utilise the sounds of the Yamaha Keyboard then connect it via midi to the tascam and choose the keyboard as your midi out in Sonar. To make things a little better you can import and instrument definition file which will give you all the banks and patches for your keyboard. You can find a list if Inf def files here, I would think the PSR 540 file would be the closest one for you.(it might be worth doing an internet search to see if any one has the eaxact file). Instructions for installing the ins def file are a bit long winded but laid out easily in the help topics.
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Postby HDB » Sun Jul 09, 2006 12:14 pm

One other thing you may consider eventually is to add another dedicated audio hard drive. Depending on how many tracks you will eventually pile on, it may work fine as is, but you may get to a point where it just won't take any more without dropouts or clicks, etc.

If one hard drive is trying to read and write audio while it also has to run OS and program chores, something's going to give, eventually.This will basically split up the chores so the OS hard drive runs the OS and program while the audio hard drive only has to read and write audio.

Also, you may want to turn off a lot of the garbage that Windows (and perhaps other programs) defaults to run automatically, even though you don't need them. They just waste processor power and may interrupt the writing process. Below are some informative links:

http://www.musicxp.net/
http://www.tweakxp.com/performance_tweaks.aspx
http://mywebpages.comcast.net/SupportCD/OptimizeXP.html
http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/Mar02/a ... an0302.asp

You can probably gain a bit of performance doing a lot of these things. A second hard drive will definitely be better.
No need to jump into all of this at once, if even at all. For your purposes, your computer may possibly run fine as is. It depends on your needs...no two computers will be set up exactly the same, so nobody can tell you exactly how to do it. If yours runs fine if you're only recording, say, eight tracks...and that's all you ever plan to do...why futz with it much? But, some of these tweaks probably should be done anyway, depending on what you need and don't. Just experiment a bit.

As usual, Andy was right on with the rest of it :D

HDB
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