Join Garrick Chow for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating FX chains, part of Up and Running with SONAR X2.
Garrick: Previously we saw how to add individual effects plug ins to tracks in your Sonar project. Now when you add multiple effects to a track or clip, the effect is cumulative. Not only does the combination of effects create a particular sound but also the order in which the effects are applied. After you've been working with Sonar for a while, you may find that you frequently use the same combination of effects in each of your projects. Maybe you have come up with particular combination of EQ, compression and reverb that you like to apply to drums, for example. Or maybe you just want to be able easily control several aspects of multiple effects on the same track. In those cases, you'll probably want to take advantage of effects chains.
Effects chains allow you to manage groups of plug-ins as a single unit or entity. Let's take a look at how this works. So I'm still working with the breakdown mode 01 project from the previous movie. Let's add some effects to the snare track for this example. So to add an effects chain you can add right click on the Effects Bin of the track. Now again if you don't see the Effects Bin, come up here to this menu. Open up your Track Control Manager. And check Effects for Audio Tracks, if you're working with an audio track, or for MIDI, if you're working with a MIDI track and so on. So then right click on the Effects Bin of the track you want to work with, but this time instead of choosing Audio Effects to add a single effect, choose the Effects Chain that opens the Effects Chain window.
In this way you'll add and manage individual effects that you want to combine together. To add an effect, right click in the bottom pane of the window and this is the way you choose Audio Effects. So with this example let's start with an 'EQ'. I would select this one here and as usual selecting that effect opens our effects setting window. Let's just close that for now and you can see its name now appears here at the bottom of the Effects Chain window. Let's right click and add another one. This time let's choose a compressor. Again we'll close that window, and let's add one more.
Now you can also add effects by opening up the browser, find the effect that you want, and just dragging it in. And again, we'll close that. Now press b to close the browser. Alright, so now we have three plugins comprising our Effects Chain. Now, as I previously mentioned, the order of effects matters. So you may want to experiment by changing the order of your effects, and that's easy to do simply by dragging them around down here. Now, each plug in has it's own power button, so you can temporarily disable them. If you want to delete a plug in from the chain, just right click it and choose Delete.
Now the entire chain has its own power button up here, so you can disable the whole thing temporarily. You'll also find some other controls here in the main chain window as well. If you want you can double-click the name to rename the chain. Maybe I'll call mine Drum Preset A. And on either side of the window we have input and output faders. These determine how much of the track's signal pass through the Effects Chain and how much of it comes out. Basically determining how much of the cumulative effects are being applied to the track. Now, what we was was currently a blank area which takes up most of the space here in this window.
This is really what makes the Effects Chain a cool tool. This area is used to set up a customized control area where you can easily access the aspects of each plug-in that you adjust the most frequently. Let me show you what I mean. I'm going to right-click in the blank area. And in this case I'm going to choose Learn Knob. That puts the chain into learning mode. What that means is whatever control or whichever effect I next touch is going to be learned. So, for example I'll open the Compressor Effect and I'll just move say the Level Knob here. Doesn't really matter where I move it to, just going to move it. I'll just move this out of the way for the moment.
And we're going to come back to the chain window, right click, and uncheck Learn Knob. And I get this message telling me that one parameter was touched during learn. And am I sure I want to assign that parameter to the control? I'll say, yes. And now I have a knob here that controls the output of the compressor. You can see, as I turn it, it's also turning in the compressor down here. >> So, this means I can adjust that output without having to open the Compressor Effect window every single time. And you can do the same thing with buttons. Let's Right Click in here again and choose Learn Button.
And I'll open up the EQ this time. Maybe I just want to have a button to turn the EQ on and off. So I can just click that. Right click in here. Choose Learn button again. Say yes. And now I have a button that says enabled. You can see that's turning the EQ on and off, right from here. So this really is a quick and convenient way to be able to adjust the parameters that you use most frequently in your effects. You can have up to six knobs and six buttons in each Effects Chain.
Now another way to add knobs and buttons is to right-click and choose Add Knob or Add Button. Let's go with Add Knob. Now this let's you manually set up what a knob or button controls. At the top give your control a name. Let's just call this one say, Input Gain. Next choose one of the six positions. For the knob or the button. This is set to position two because I already have one knob here in position one. I'll just leave it set to position two. Next, choose the destination, meaning this is where you select which aspect of which effect you want this knob to adjust. Clicking this menu shows all the effects in the chain, so there's my reverb, my compressor And the EQ.
And when you select one you can browse through all the different controls that are available for that particular effect. So maybe in this case, I'll chose the eq1 gain. Now if necessary, you can limit the knob to only just between a certain range. For example if you know for a particular parameter you will never go down to zero. Maybe want to set it to say. 20%. So I click OK. Here's my new knob. Now, if I open up the EQ, you can see there, by dragging that all the way down.
It's not going all the way down to the very bottom. It's stopping at about 20% down from the bottom. If I drag it all the way up, so the other way, you can see it goes all the way to the top there. And as always you can double-click knobs to set them back to the center. Now if you need to edit a knob or a button just right-click it and choose Edit Control. Notice also that you can assign up to four parameters for each control. So you could come up with all kinds of interesting combinations of parameters, to be controlled all by one dial. Just select the parameters you want to control again, from the menu.
For example you could set it so that increasing compression, also increases the output gain of the compressor. I'll just cancel that for now. So that's how to create, and customize an Effects Chain. Now, if you do come up with a combination you want to save for use on other tracks, or on other projects, you can save your chain as a preset. Just close these for a moment. Now, one way to do so is to first open up the browser. Just press B on my keyboard and then navigate to the location, where you want to save your preset. The location where Sonar's pre-installed presets are located are found under Plugins, Audio Effects.
And down here at the bottom, we'll find the Effects Chain folder. All you need to do is drag your preset from the Effects menu on your track into that. Or to any other folder where you want to save it. And in the future you can just drag it out to apply the same combination effects to other tracks. I'll just drag that to the base. And by the way, you might also want to check out some of these built in Effects Chain presets. Just browse though. You can see there's quite a few of them to effect the sound of your instruments.
So if I wanted to apply one of these guitar effects maybe to the guitar track, I could just drag it right in. And this is also a good way to discover individual plug ins. Just by dragging in an Effects Chain, that opens up its properties here, and you can see what it's made of. So I can see this has the classic phaser, a modulator, and the TH2 producer 64. Now, if you happen to like a particular effect, but don't want to use it in a chain.
You can just right click the Chain and choose Extract Effects Chain Plugins. That breaks the chain into the individual effects that comprise it, and you can delete the ones that you don't want. Other than that, Effects Chains work like individual effects. You can drag them from one track to another, either here or in the Console View. Let's switch over to the Console View here. Scroll up. So if I wanted to apply my drum preset chain that I created to, say, the, hi hat. Click and drag it over to move it. Or if I hold Control, I can copy it over.
Once again, you can turn the entire chain on or off with the power toggle buttons. And you can delete the entire chain by right clicking it, and choosing Delete. You can also delete changes by selecting it and hitting delete on your keyboard. Okay, so that's how to work with Effects Chains in Sonar.
- Setting up audio inputs and outputs
- Creating a new project
- Importing audio
- Recording real instruments
- Looping audio
- Connecting to MIDI devices
- Creating groove clips
- Editing tracks
- Creating FX Chains
- Creating sends and busses
- Automating parameters