can't hear the metronome

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can't hear the metronome

Postby avila » Sat Apr 07, 2007 8:00 am

Dell 515o with Sigma tel C major audio card

Absolutely new to Cakewalk. Can get the Tutorial 1 to work and audio recording through a mike. However, I cannot get the metronome to work. Any ideas?


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Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2007 7:52 am

Re: can't hear the metronome

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Postby HDB » Sat Apr 07, 2007 2:10 pm


Not sure which version of Cakewalk, but I may be able to get you close.

The metronome is generally a MIDI note, like a side-stick.

Is Cakewalk set up to use your soundcard as MIDI?

"Options">"MIDI Devices">"Input Ports" and "Output Ports".
Make sure those are set, or set them to your card...if your card has MIDI sound capabilities. (Just because a card has MIDI I/O, it doesn't mean it generates or plays back MIDI tones. A lot of audio only cards have MIDI implementation for control functionality. Find out what your's is).

If your card doesn't show up, and it IS capable of MIDI sound, have you loaded all the latest drivers?

If it does show up, choose it for Port 1, MIDI output. ("Move selected device to top", if needed. That will make it Port 1). Hit "OK".

Open "Options">"Project". Click on the "Metronome" tab.

Under "General", check "Use MIDI note", and set whether you want it on recording, playback, etc.

Under "MIDI note", set it to "Port 1", which you have just set your card to previously, and "Channel 10", which is nearly always the MIDI drums channel.
You can set your "First Beat", and "Other Beats" to whatever drum sound you want, and set the velocities. It's probably defaulted to a side-stick, F#3. If you want it something else for either, you can change that. You might want to Google and print out a "General MIDI Drum (or "Percussion") Patch" list, anyway. That will show you what note is generally associated with which drum sound in nearly all General MIDI modules. (While you're at it, you may also want to Google "General MIDI Patch List", which should show you what instrument is generally associated with which patch number. AND, you may want to print out a "General MIDI Controllers" list, so you can easily learn that reverb is controller 91, Chorus is 93, volume is 7, pan is 10, etc. This will come in handy in the future when you start messing about in the "Event List Edit" to tweak things).

All of that should have set up the metronome, providing you have it set to a soundcard capable of outputting MIDI sound.

OK, so next, while you are in the Project Options area, there may be a couple of other things to be aware of.

Go to "Clock" If you are only working with MIDI, and have no audio recorded, leave the source set to "Internal". That runs everything from the card's internal clock, and will be best for MIDI only. Even while recording your FIRST audio track, leave it set to "Internal". However, AFTER you record ANY audio into the project, for the audio to play back properly, change the clock to "Audio". This follows the audio files' timing, and MIDI will follow along quite nicely. DON'T FORGET THIS! If you try to play back audio to "Internal", you'll likely end up with stuttering, drop-outs..or even a lock-up. Very important!

While you're in that area, may as well set "Ticks per quarter note" to it's possible highest setting. Just gives you more resolution that MAY give you a more realistic end-product...less stiff sounding and mechanical. Lower resolutions were meant primarily for older machines that couldn't process fast enough. With today's computers, no sense not taking advantage of the higher resolution. It also has the benefit of perhaps staggering out MIDI notes/messages so a lot of them don't fall on exactly the same clock tick, which could cause problems.

MIDI Sync and SMPTE/MTC are used if you have your computer SLAVED to something else, like another computer or tape deck that is acting as Master. MIDI sync is used if synced to another device running MIDI and/or audio, and running ONLY MIDI on this computer, not audio.
SMPTE/MTC is used for slaving this computer from a tape deck, etc. Still, it may cause problems if audio is trying to follow it, unless you have "Word Clock" capabilities...but that's a whole other chapter.

If you don't have it slaved to something, don't worry about the SMPTE or MIDI Sync stuff. You'll be using "Internal" and "Audio" sync.

MIDI Input tab? If you have anything MIDI externally connected, then you may have to futz with this. If not...don't worry about it. Just leave all the "Inputs" checked.

Same with the MIDI Out tab. MIDI Sync and MMC are for controlling external things with this computer. Nothing connected...don't worry about much about this, except the "Other Options". Check both the "Zero Controllers", and "Serachback" options, if available. The first resets things so you don't stop a tune, rewind, and possibly have a different reverb, chorus, etc that has changed during the tune playing what it was last set at when you stopped.
The Searchback will scan back to find the latest changes made prior to the position you are now at.

Hit OK. Hopefully, the metronome now plays like you want.

While I am here, and kinda bored anyway, I'll give you a couple of other tips if you are going to be doing a lot of MIDI stuff.

Patch changes and controller changes can drive people nutz! "Why is there an oboe where a trumpet should be?"

The very first thing one should do with a MIDI file is to leave (or create) at least one measure before the first note of any track in the file. (Just "Insert">"Time/Measures" at 1:01:000, 1 or more.)
Go to "View">"Sysex". In the toolbar, click on the "Open file" which shouild say "Load Bank". Hopefully, you'll see GM-, GS- and XG-Reset files there. Choose the appropriate one for your MIDI card. (GM is general, GS is generally associated with Roland and possibly some others, XG is associated generally with Yamaha and perhaps some others. GS and XG are expanded functionality versions of GM. Find out what your card is and load the appropriate one).

Now, you should see "Bank 0", with the file you loaded, and the port should be 1, which you made sure of earlier.
If it's not, click on the little round, white MIDI connector in the toolbar, and change it so.
Next to that is a green arrow with a yellow star? Click on that to "Autosend". Now, when the MIDI file starts, it will automatically send that sysex file to tell the card to reset itself to default. This is important because the card may have retained patch and controller settings from a previous file, and when you start to play back a different may get a heavily reverberated piano where you expected a dry synth bass, if the piano was on the same channel in one file that a synth bass is on this one. All kinds of weird things can happen, and if it does, this is usually the culprit. It's a good idea to do this to EVERY MIDI file.

Now that you have reset everything, there is more work to do. Now it's time to get cozy with your "Event List" editor. ("View">"Event List".)

Highlight the first track containing data in the "Track View". For consistency, that's where I usually put my Sysex message that I just created. (If you haven't already inserted a measure, do so now).
With the "Event List" opened, to only that 1st track (at the top it should say Track 1, not Multiple Tracks), make sure the red rectangle under Tracks (or TRK) is on the first entry.

On the toolbar, click on the yellow star. That just added an event that will be the same as the one that used to be first. We'll change it.

Under "Kind", click on the first entry "Note". "Kind Of Event" dialogue opens. In the second row, choose "Sysex Bank", then "OK". This just inserted the bank. We know that that is "Bank 0" because the first and only bank you created is always "0". So far, so good. (If you had another device, you would have to create a Bank 1, and set it up properly, and then insert it into a track that contains something set to that device.)

We don't want that set at the same time as the first note. Under the "MBT" heading, change the time to 1:01:000.

You have now just created and inserted a Sysex message into track 1 at the very beginning of the tune to reset everything before anything happens, automatically.

We're not done yet!

To gain complete control of your MIDI file, you should open each data-containing track and verify that patch/controller messages are there...or create them.

Since you are already working on Track 1, let's start there.
If there is nothing but Notes in that track, you may want to find out what instrument is playing and assigned to it. Look at the "Tracks View" and see if it says. If it says something like "Finger Bass", then you'll know what to set it to.
If there's not a patch change message in the Event List, click once on the first NOTE entry, and then the yellow star in the toolbar to "Insert Event". Choose "Patch Change">"OK".

Click on the right-most number (or it may contain the actual name of the patch...depending).
If it's just a number, this is where the General MIDI Instrument Patch Map may come in handy. Choose the number of the instrument you want to use.
It could be that you have choices about "Bank Select Method" and "Bank".
My Roland card just uses Normal for selection method, and I can choose GS Capitol Tones or GS variation banks) in Bank.
Conversely, I have to use "Controller 0" and whatever Soundfont bank I choose in the Audigy soundcard. You'll have to experiment yourself.

You may even want to back up the "Time" under HMSF a few frames. Just double-click on that entry, and it will bring up an up/down arrow box that you can click down on a few times to keep it from sending that data at the same time as the first MIDI note on that track. BUT, you want it close to the first MIDI note for future editing.

Maybe at this time you may also decide to add volume (controller 7), pan (controller 10), reverb (controller 91), chorus (controller 93), etc. Or maybe not.
If so, highlight your "Patch" and insert another event. Leave your actual patch change above the rest of any controllers, so double-click on the second "Patch" under "Kind", which will open up the Kind of event" box.

Under "MIDI", choose "Controller">"OK".

Directly to the right, enter the controller number (10=pan; 91=reverb, etc.) To the right of that is the amount. In everything except the pan, the higher the nimber, the stronger the effect. You can go from 0 for nothing, to 127 to full strength.
On the pan, 0 is fully left panned to come out the left speaker, 127 is fully right panned to come out the right, and 63-64 is straight down the middle to come out both equally. So say you want to pan it to about 10 o'clock, so it's kind of between full right with some still steered toward the center. 64 divided by 2 is 32. Enter that number. You get the idea.
Depending on how many messages you want to place between the patch change and the first note, adjust your time of the patch change to leave room for different event times between the patch and the first note. This keeps things from sending everything at once.

Once you do all this to every track, you'll have complete control, and fewer surprises.

You may also want to get familiar with the Piano Roll Editor.
Here, you can draw in controllers, like volume swells, continuous pan changes, modulation swells, pitch-bends, etc. You can also add, delete, move, shorten or lengthen notes.

You can get very expressive with this. Say you have a trumpet playing. A real trumpet player will start to run out of breath at the end of a very long note, or run of notes. At the end of a long, held out note, it may be cool to draw in a little modulation to make the saound kind of waver, drwa a very slight volume decrease toward the end, and draw a downward pitch-bend at the very end to make it sound like he just blew until he was blue in the face.

One thing to keep in mind when you draw in controllers is that you are generating a LOT of extra data to process. Cakewalk has some CAL routines that will do things like "Thin Controller Data" that will keep the same basic shape, but eject every nth event to keep from overloading things.
("Edit">"Run Cal")?

All of this may depend on what version of Cakewalk you have, but most versions probably have similar things in similar places. This is just the tip of the iceberg, but some very useful things to learn and know. Hopefully, all this long-winded tutorial answered your initial question, and will you (and others who may stumble across this) down the road.

Have fun!
Posts: 46
Joined: Sat Feb 07, 2004 12:19 am

can't hear the metronome

Postby avila » Sat Apr 07, 2007 5:43 pm


thanks for all the help. I have recently purchased Sonar Powere studio 660 that comes with Sonar 5. The current version I have is 5.2.

I have followed your advice and it seems that my sound card has midi because I get to hear a metronome now. However, I can only get it to work through the laptop speakers but not through the headphones. Do you know how I can direct it to the headphones?

I have another question regarding the metronome. In Project Options/Metronome there is an option for an audio metronome. What is this? Is it possible to make it work?

Well, I guess this is it for now.

Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2007 7:52 am

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