Tech Tip:Simple Sonar 4 Secrets

Tweak Your Way To A Black Belt Sonar Experience
Reprinted from with the permission of the author and publisher Craig Anderton


It's time to teach Sonar some new tricks -- so grab your mouse, boot up your computer, and let's go.





If a Project uses a lot (and I mean a lot) of digital audio Clips, particularly Groove Clips, the program can bog down when moving/editing Clips. To fix this, increase Sonar's picture buffer cache size.


  • With Sonar closed, use Notepad to open the AUD.INI file (normally in the Program Files > Cakewalk > Sonar [version x] directory, or just use the Windows Search function).
  • Locate the [Aud] section. Underneath it is the PicCacheMB parameter. Set it to a high value, like 500.
  • Save the AUD.INI file.





You can trim clip lengths with single-sample accuracy -- very handy when using Sonar to create loops that must be an exact number of beats.


Right-clicking on any audio file gives you the opportunity to choose the Split Clips command


  • Right-click on the Clip and choose Split.??The Split Clips dialog box allows not only sample-accurate splitting, but repeated splitting.
  • Select Samples in the Time Format field.
  • Enter the length in samples in the Split at Time field.
  • Click on "OK." The Clip splits at the specified point.





If occasional CPU spikes shut down the audio engine, requiring you to click on the Engine icon to wake it up again, try this.


  • Open the AUD.INI file in Notepad (see the first tip).
  • Locate the [Wave] section.
  • Make sure the StopOnEmptyPlayQueue parameter is set to 0, not 1.





While using ReWire, switching between Sonar and the ReWire-compatible application can mute Sonar's outputs if the two programs' drivers are shared. A workaround is to shift the focus back to Sonar or initiate playback on the ReWire slave or master, but here's an easy fix.


  • Go to the Options > Audio > Advanced tab.
  • Locate the Playback and Recording section.
  • Uncheck Share Drivers with Other Programs.






You can audition multiple loops simultaneously in the Loop Explorer, but note two constraints:


  • The loops must all be in the same folder.
  • Unless the loops are "acidized" or Groove Clip loops, they'll need to be at the same tempo and key to play together.


Multiple file auditioning is particularly useful with samples from "construction kit" sample CDs (e.g., those that break loops down into individual parts), as you can hear how the parts work together.


  • Go View > Loop Explorer window.
  • Enable Auto-Preview so as soon as you select a loop you'll hear it play with the others.
  • Click on the first loop to select it.
  • Click on the Loop Explorer's Play button.
  • To add a loop, Ctrl-click on another loop in the Loop Explorer's list of files.
  • To de-select an already-selected loop, Ctrl-click on it again.


If you've selected loops you want to use, dragging the entire group over to the track view pane loads them into the project.





Slip-editing, where you drag a Clip's start or end to change length, is non-destructive. To remove the hidden audio permanently:


  • Select the clip.
  • Go Edit > Apply Trimming.


Note: Doing this with a Groove Clip will convert it back to a standard clip