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Thread: Migrating from Sonar to Ableton (thinking about it anyway)

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    Migrating from Sonar to Ableton (thinking about it anyway)

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    Hi,

    I have been using cakewalk sonar for years and as most folks know, it has been discontinued so i was considering moving over to Ableton Live but i have some concerns.
    I guess the biggest concern i have is that Sonar (and all versions of Cakewalk) had a very convenient function called "instrument definitions" which would allow the program to recognize any hardware synths attached and be able to access it's banks and patches whenever needed. This means that whenever a song is loaded, the midi-attached devices are setup according to the parameters stored in the song. Including patch changes during the song. I have become very spoiled with this function and i am wondering if Ableton has a similar one.

    Thanks in advance
    anj

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    That is pretty standard on all DAWs. As long as they follow VSTi standard. You can automate pretty much anything. This is more of a MIDI function than just Ableton.

    I have Ableton, I really like it, but the full version is really expensive. Unless you are going to use in Live setting, and it is really great for that, I suggest sticking with something reasonably priced. I paid about $600, it has a lot of "packs" but after I started really getting into recording, I ended up by a lot of Wave plugins and hardly using Ableton's packs, EQ and compressor mainly.

    But if you are going to do more than just record (arrangement view is standard linear recording), then grab it with the Push controller and you can have a lot of fun and creativity. But if you are going to stay with conventional recording. Get a less expensive DAW and the money you save you can use for better plugins. Like a drum, vocals , orchestra and synth plugins.

    I don't know of any DAW that can't control and save MIDI automation and recall settings. To include patch sounds.
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    Thanks for the input DM. I use Sonar Producer 8.5 almost exclusively in a live setting. For recording purposes i have been using Sonar X3 and/or Cubase. As i mentioned in my previous post, i have become dependent on patch setup and patch change automation if for nothing else, the amount of time it saves between songs. I have lots of external hardware and it would be a major drain to have to set up each device manually every time i load a song.

    So if i read your response correctly, Ableton will automatically recognize the patch settings of any external hardware connected to it via midi? And then recall it whenever i load the song? You say pretty much any good DAW will do that but i can tell you that Sonar will not without the instrument definition files for each of the hardware synths attached. I have even had to make them from time to time when a new synth had not been around long enough for a def file. The def file for the Minimoog Voyager was a particular challenge

    If Ableton can do that then i am sold!

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    FYI... Bandlab picked up Sonar, so it's alive...

    BandLab Technologies x Cakewalk | Important Announcement

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    Quote Originally Posted by anj0712 View Post
    Thanks for the input DM. I use Sonar Producer 8.5 almost exclusively in a live setting. For recording purposes i have been using Sonar X3 and/or Cubase. As i mentioned in my previous post, i have become dependent on patch setup and patch change automation if for nothing else, the amount of time it saves between songs. I have lots of external hardware and it would be a major drain to have to set up each device manually every time i load a song.

    So if i read your response correctly, Ableton will automatically recognize the patch settings of any external hardware connected to it via midi? And then recall it whenever i load the song? You say pretty much any good DAW will do that but i can tell you that Sonar will not without the instrument definition files for each of the hardware synths attached. I have even had to make them from time to time when a new synth had not been around long enough for a def file. The def file for the Minimoog Voyager was a particular challenge

    If Ableton can do that then i am sold!
    OK, just so I am not misleading you. If I select, say a guitar amp sim, if I automated the sim in Ableton, then it picks it up. Same way with a Synth, I pick a patch, tweak it to my liking, automate pitch bend, play with various other setting, etc. When I bring up the project, everything was just like I left it.

    If you are using this live, and while I haven't done this in a live setting, just messing about. You have several different ways to mix. First, in a grid, you can select a set of sound/VSTis, called a scene. You ca set each scenes tempo at launch independent of the master tempo. You can mix and match clips (which can be sound loops or midi notes and a VSTi), you can set a focus on the controller of that channel and manipulate it live and record it while you are doing it in the arrangement view.

    In this regards, Ableton is really top stuff. I mean what you can do with this thing live is amazing. If you get some foot pedals, or if you play keyboard and can work a controller at the same time, it really opens up the potential. Then, Ableton is worth every cent they charge.

    One thing to note, Bitwig was founded by some of the guys who worked for Ableton. I've not used it and it has ony been out for a few years, but worth looking into.
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    I have not seen anything in Live that works just like a Sonar 'instrument definition'. So I doubt you will be able to have Live recognize/remember an entire instrument bank of patches for your external hardware synth like you can with VST programs and banks. But Live can send MIDI bank/program change messages contained in a clip to an external device.

    From the Live manual:
    Live can send MIDI bank/program change messages to external devices and plug-ins that support MIDI program change messages. According to the settings in these controls, launching a
    clip also sends its bank/program change message. If you are using Live to send MIDI to your synth, this means that each MIDI clip in your Live Set can play a different sound on your synth.
    Live offers messages for 128 banks with 128 sub-banks, each of which has 128 programs. Please see the documentation that came with your synthesizer to determine how many of these
    messages it can use. If you do not want your clip to send program or bank change messages, simply set the bank/program choosers to “---.“
    You can also use Live's External Instrument device to manage the routing of MIDI and audio with an external device:
    The External Instrument device is not an instrument itself, but rather a routing utility that allows you to easily integrate external (hardware) synthesizers, ReWire devices and multitimbral
    plugins into your projects. It sends MIDI out and returns audio.

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    thanks for the input folks. It looks like sending bank/patch change info to my external synths is what would work best for me. From what i have read so far... here and web reviews.... sounds like Ableton Live couldnt possibly be a bad investment.

    Thanks again

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