How to Use the Sonar LE

Written by scott shpak
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How to Use the Sonar LE
SONAR LE is a quick and easy way to turn your computer into a recording studio. (Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

SONAR is a digital audio workstation (DAW) program made by Cakewalk and distributed by Roland. Noted for its user-friendliness and easy operation, it is nevertheless a full-featured DAW that is considered one of the big players. Part of its popularity stems from an aggressive distribution of SONAR LE with the hardware of Cakewalk's vendor-partners. While fewer in features than the equivalent retail version, SONAR LE has everything needed to get started with digital recording and sufficient tracks and add-ons to get you established.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Computer with sound card or digital interface
  • Musical instrument digital interface (optional)
  • Assorted audio and MIDI cables as needed for your instruments

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  1. 1

    Install the software on your computer using the SONAR LE installation disk that came with your audio hardware. Follow the on-screen instructions. Installation steps may vary, depending on your version of SONAR LE and operating system.

  2. 2

    Set up your audio card. Select "Options" from the toolbar and click on "Audio" on the drop-down menu. Select "Playback Timing Master" and "Record Timing Master" from the selections presented in the appropriate boxes. Click the "Wave Profiler" box to start a test of your chosen audio equipment.

  3. 3

    Set up MIDI if you intend to record and sequence MIDI data. Select "Options" from the toolbar and click on "MIDI Devices" on the drop-down menu. MIDI input and output options for your computer will be listed. Click to highlight the options you wish to use. Both audio and MIDI setups need to be done only once or after changes to your hardware.

  4. 4

    Connect your audio to the sound card or interface input. Given that SONAR LE is bundled with a variety of such devices, you may have specific information how to connect your hardware. Check your documentation .

  5. 5

    Connect a microphone or instrument to your input device. Press the grey circle in the middle of a track header at the left side of your display. The circle will turn red and, on an audio track, the meter will become active. On a MIDI track, the circle will turn red. This puts the track into "armed" status.

  6. 6

    Press the grey circle on the transport control at the top of the screen to start recording. Continue recording until you have all tracks needed to complete your project. Mixing is most easily accomplished in console view, which can be accessed by "Views" on the toolbar, then clicking "Console" on the drop-down menu.

Tips and warnings

  • Like any advanced DAW, SONAR LE offers a variety of methods to approach recording. These methods will be influenced greatly by the hardware that SONAR LE accompanied. Read documentation specific to your equipment for detailed advice on how to get the most from your equipment.

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