Join Garrick Chow for an in-depth discussion in this video Export options, part of Learning SONAR X2.
Garrick: Once you're satisfied with your mix or even if you just want to review your mix at another location, you most likely want to save it as a single file. So you can play it for others or burn it to a CD or use it as a sound track for a video or any number of things that you might want to do with it once you have the project done and it's been exported as a single file. Or alternately, maybe you want to export the individual tracks as independent files so they can be imported into another Digital Audio Workstation. But whatever the case, you'll go to File > Export >Audio, that pops up the Export Audio window. I'll start by choosing the location to save my exported file, let's just go with the Desktop in this case.
Next, you want to name your file. Maybe this is the first of a couple of rough mixes I'm going to be exporting. I'll just call this BreakdownMode_rough01. Next, you want to choose the format you want to export. As you can see here, Sonar can export your files in lots of different formats. The default export setting is to save your project as a WAV file. WAVs are uncompressed, high-quality audio files that can be read on both Macs and PCs. Another common file is the AIF file, which is also an uncompressed high quality file. But some PCs can't read them without additional software, so WAV is probably the better choice if you need a high quality file.
WAVs and AIFs tend to have large file sizes, though. Now you can also export your song in a variety of other formats like MP3, which is a compressed format you're most likely familiar with. MP3s are nice when you're not concerned with the highest quality audio and instead want a smaller file size for your file that still sounds good that you can maybe attach to an e-mail if necessary. MP3s can also be played on pretty much any computer or portable digital music players, these days. Generally though, if you're going for the best quality regardless of file size, WAVs are going to be the way to go since they're the most crossed platform compatible. You probably won't select any of the other formats you see here, unless someone specifically requests one from you.
And some of these do require special plugins to be played on some computers. Now also, if you have a SoundCloud account you can choose to export a FLAC, WAV or MP3 file and then have it automatically uploaded to your account. In case you're not aware, SoundCloud is a free service for sharing music and other audio files with others. If you choose one of these options, Sonar will export your file and then prompt you to log into your account to upload the file. I'm just going to keep WAV selected for this example. Now, under Bounce Settings, you have some other options. Exporting your project is also referred to as Bouncing. Now by default, you export the entire mix as a single file, in this case, a WAV file.
But you can also choose to export your tracks, buses, or main outputs as individual files. So, for example, maybe if I'm asked to also export a mix of just the drum tracks, in that case, I would have to cancel out of this window. Let me just copy this name first. I'll hit Cancel and just hide my multi-dock. And I'll select the three drum tracks by holding down Shift. Then I'll choose File > Export > Audio again. And when I choose Tracks, notice those three tracks here appear under Source Buses/Tracks.
So if I exported with these settings, I would get three individual WAV files. Exported individual files are sometimes referred to as stems. But in this case, I do want to export the entire mix. Let me just go back here and paste in my file name again. Now here under the Channel format, if you want you can export the Stereo mix or bounce it down to Mono. If needed, you can also choose Split Mono to export two individual files for the left and right channels. I'll leave it set to Stereo. Next, we have Sample Rate and Bit Depth. For most purposes, you can go with a Sample Rate of 441 and a Bit Depth of 16. Those are the settings for CD Audio Quality.
Increasing the Sample Rate and Bit Depth will produce larger files. But if you want higher quality, you can increase the Bit Depth or the Sample Rate. Now, you do have some presets here you can choose from. So, for example, if you wanted to export a mix without any of the effects applied, you could choose Entire Mix-No FX. I won't bother doing that, though. Can actually just delete that right out of there. Now if you are exporting your entire mix, you'll generally want to keep everything else here checked. That way, your exported file should sound exactly as it currently sounds in Sonar. But one option you might want to uncheck is Fast Bounce.
Fast Bounce will process your file as quickly as your computer hardware will allow, so you won't be able to listen to it since it will process faster than real time. If you do uncheck that option, it'll be able to process in real time, in which case you can check Audible Bounce and you'll be able to listen to the mix as it's exported. And that can be useful if you want to check it for errors. So for example, if you're sending a file to someone and you want to make sure it sounds the way it's supposed to and that you didn't forget to unmute a track or something like that, you can turn on Audible Bounce so you can listen as it exports. But I'll keep Fast Bounce checked for now. So, once you're ready, you can click Export. I'm going to make sure I'm saving to my desktop.
And you could see now that it's mixing down the audio. And what it's done, I can hide Sonar for a moment. Here's the file sitting on my desktop. You can see it's a WAV file. And if I needed to export any other formats or versions of this mix, I could go back to Sonar and re-export with new settings. So that's how to export or bounce your mix down to a single file from 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