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Using the Cakewalk Sonar AudioSnap Feature
Written by Scott R. Garrigus - © 2006, Cengage Learning. Reprinted with Permission.
This article is an excerpt from the following books: The Cakewalk SONAR Power! Book Series

Expanding on the power provided by the previously mentioned time-based altering features, SONAR includes additional audio manipulation in the form of AudioSnap. A set of tools, AudioSnap changes the timing of audio data in a variety of ways. This includes changing tempo, groove, quantizing, and more.

Instead of rehashing the basic AudioSnap information included in the SONAR Userís Guide, I will walk you through a number of practical uses. As such, I advise that you first read the AudioSnap section of the Userís Guide before reading the rest of this chapter. In addition, take a good look at the AudioSnap palette picture on page 131 of the Guide because Iíll be referring to that quite often.

AudioSnap Preparation
To get started with AudioSnap, there are a number of things you can do to set up your working environment to make the process easier. First, make the AudioSnap palette visible by choosing Process > AudioSnap Palette (or pressing Shift+A).

I like to position the AudioSnap palette at the bottom of the SONAR workspace and line up the bottom of the Track view with the top of the palette. That way I have complete access to the Track view and palette at the same time. You, however, might like to have the Track view fill the entire workspace. In that case, you can adjust the opacity of the palette so you can see through it but still access its functions. Right-click the title bar of the palette and choose Set Opacity.

Set up Snap to Grid
By default the Track view Snap to Grid is set up to snap to Musical Time and whole notes. Here are the snap settings I like to use while working with AudioSnap:

1. In the Track view, press Shift+N to open the Snap to Grid dialog box.
2. Keep the Musical Time option activated.
3. In the Standard Duration list, choose Sixteenth. If youíre working with lower note values in your music, choose that value instead.
4. In the Landmarks list, activate the Audio Transients option.
5. Change the Mode option to Move To.
6. Change the Magnetic Strength option to Off.
7. Keep the Snap to Audio Zero Crossings option activated.

Set the Default Stretch
AudioSnap provides a number of different options for stretching audio. Some provide better quality than others, but also take up more processing power so they are only available when bouncing or exporting audio. You can set up the default stretching options by clicking the AudioSnap Options button in the palette to open the AudioSnap Options dialog box.

In the Default Stretch Algorithm section, choose options for Online and Offline Rendering. Online represents the sound you hear during playback of a project in real-time. If you are working with percussion material, choose the Percussion setting; otherwise, choose the Groove-Clip setting. For Offline Rendering, Iíve found the iZotope Radius Mix setting sounds quite nice, but this may be different depending on the material you are processing. The Offline Rendering option is used when you use the Bounce to Clip(s), Bounce to Track(s), and Export Audio features to create a permanent change to your processed audio.

Align the Time Ruler
One of the most common scenarios for using AudioSnap is when working with a live performance recording. In this case, when you import the audio, the beats will more than likely not line up with the measure lines in the Track view Time Ruler. Lining up the measure lines makes working with your data and composing additional music (with the live performance track as a reference) much easier.

* Find more great AudioSnap information in The Cakewalk SONAR Power! Book Series. You'll learn how to align the Time Ruler using three different methods, how to slip-stretch a clip, how to Quantize and Groove Quantize audio, how to quantize multiple audio clips using the AudioSnap Pool, how to extract a groove and replace an audio instrument (such as a snare drum in a percussion groove), and more.

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