JSonar Tutorial

Welcome to the JSonar tutorial!

We hope that this short book will help you to get started with JSonar and Sonar. It will not answer all your questions, but in conjunction with JSonar FAQ, articles, guides and Cakewalk Sonar's built-in help, it will get you well beyond the beginner level. Enjoy!

What Can you Do with JSonar?

JSonar allows any visually impaired musician, whether beginner or expert, record, edit, compose and engineer musical projects with the help of Cakewalk Sonar music recording software and the JAWS screen reader.

Please explore the rest of this tutorial to find out about system requirements, features supported and tips on setting up your computer for use with Cakewalk Sonar.


Throughout the existence of the JSonar project many people have helped us in various ways to keep the project going: by donating money, translating scripts and documentation into other languages, contributing code, finding bugs or encouraging the project in other ways. The following list is therefore not exhaustive by any means.

Software and hardware Requirements

In order to use JSonar, you will need the following:

Installing JSonar

Installing JSonar Using the Installer

The self-extracting installer is designed to automatically copy and compile the Jsonar scripts and the HSC sets to the appropriate directory on your system, as well as to make entries in the Windows registry that are required in order to have the scripts run properly.  To use the self-extracting installer, simply click on the executable file and follow the prompts.

If you are installing JSonar using the executable installer, here are some tips just encase you get stuck:

Installing JSonar Manually

This section describes the steps for manually installing JSonar. Please note that this method of installation is only recommended for those who are confident in their computer skills and for whatever reason really need to install JSonar this way. Do not attempt this installation if you do not know what you are doing, and even so, read through these steps before you get started. If for some reason the automatic installer isn't working for you, please contact the JSonar team or somebody on the JSonar list who can assist you with this type of installation, or read through this section until you understand and are confident with every step described below. For ease of use and better understanding, the manual installation process has been broken down into sections corresponding to individual tasks that you must perform.
Now for the steps:

Opening the Required Windows

Copying the Scripts

Installing Other JSonar Supported Languages

If you want to use JSonar in another language other than English, do the following. However, if you will be using the English copy, skip to the next section.

Installing the Accessibility Mode Registry Keys

In the JSonar folder, navigate to the „regkeys“ folder and select (press enter on) the file that matches your edition of Sonar; for example, if you are using Sonar8 Producer Edition, the file you want to open is „Sonar Producer 8.0 accessibility mode.reg.“ When the registry prompt appears, answer „Yes“ and then „OK.“ Once this is done go up 1 level to the main JSonar folder.

Registering the JSonar Control Surface Plug-in DLL

Registering the Plug-in From the Run Prompt

C:\Windows\Sys­tem32\RegSVR32­.exe „C:\Documents and Settings\User­Name\Applicati­on Data\Freedom Scientific\JAW­S\Version#\Set­tings\Language­Prefix\JSonar­.dll“

C:\Windows\Sys­tem32\RegSVR32­.exe „C:\Users\User­Name\AppData\Ro­aming\Freedom Scientific\JAW­S\Version#\Set­tings\Language­Prefix\JSonar­.dll“

Registering the Plug-in Using Notepad

@C:\Windows\Sys­tem32\Regsvr32­.exe JSonar.dll

Compiling the Scripts

Now that the scripts are copied, the registry keys installed and the JSonar Control Surface DLL registered, the last step that remains is to compile the scripts! To do this, perform the following steps:

Final Notes and Comments

Congratulations! You now have successfully installed the JSonar scripts! Before you get started, go over these notes and comments to make sure you finish everything right and perform some next crucial steps…

Configuring JSonar

Please follow these steps to configure JSonar for optimal performance and interoperability with the Sonar software.

  1. *** This step is essential ***
    Use Control+JAWSKey+R to start the „Setup Wizard“, which enables the Sonar JAWS control surface plugin. You need only do this once, unless JSonar complains that the surface is not installed at a later time.
  2. In order to run JSonar optimally in Sonar, it is necessary to configure Sonar toolbars in the following way. In order for some information to be read or commands to function, certain toolbars must be enabled in Sonar while others have to be disabled. The visibility of toolbars can be toggled in the Toolbars dialog under the View menu. Some toolbar names are self explanatory, but notes have been included where this is not the case.
    1. Standard (checked): „new“, „open“, „print“ etc.
    2. Loop/Auto Shuttle (checked): looping, punching, set loop to selection etc.
    3. Markers (checked): insert, delete and move between markers.
    4. Metronome (checked): , audio metronome, MIDI metronome, set metronome options etc.
    5. Position (checked): Now time etc.
    6. Record (checked): autopunch, recording options etc.
    7. Playback State (checked): mute/solo/arm/input echo for all tracks etc.
    8. Controllers/Sur­faces  (checked): control surface monitoring, ACT Learn mode etc.
    9. Select (checked): From and Through times.
    1. Sync (unchecked).
    2. Tempo (checked).
    3. Transport (checked).
    4. Transport (Large) (unchecked).
    5. View (unchecked).
    6. Automation (checked): Envelope/Offset mode etc.
    7. AudioSnap (Doesn't matter).
    8. Event Inspector (unchecked).
    9. User1 (unchecked): user configurable toolbar.
    10. User2 (unchecked): user configurable toolbar.
    11. User3 (unchecked): user-configurable toolbar.
    • Allow Wrap  (unchecked).
  3. To improve Sonar's respon­siveness with JSonar, it is absolutely necessary to turn off X-ray feature; go to Options->General and uncheck the checkbox that says"Enable X-Ray". Failure to do so can make many of your plug-ins work incorrectly. 

Supported Features

Supported Sonar Features

JSonar supports the following features of Sonar:

See „Tips and Tricks“ section to learn how to use some of these features

Plug-in Support

Plug-in support via Hot Spot Clicker

Starting from JSonar5 we are using the Hot Spot Clicker software to provide support for many of the third-party plug-ins and software synthesizers. In fact, in order to use some of the built-in Sonar plug-ins, such as Session Drummer2 and the Sonitus suite of effects, you will have to install the Hot Spot Clicker program. Otherwise, you will not be able to use these plug-ins because they are not natively accessible. To help you out, the JSonar installer will copy all the Hot Spot Clicker sets that support Sonar's built-in plug-ins. Please note: if you installed the JSonar scripts manually, you will have to copy all the necessary HSC sets on your own.

The following are the steps to get started with Hot Spot Clicker:

  1. Visit Hot Spot Clicker web site to read about the program, to download the installer and Hot Spot Clicker settings for supported plug-ins. It is advised that you download the latest version of both the Hot Spot Clicker and the sets, unless specifically discouraged by JSonar developers.
  2. Install the Hot Spot Clicker application by using the provided installer.
  3. After you have carried out all the necessary steps for installing Hot Spot Clicker (also known as HSC) and made sure that it is installed properly, run Sonar at least once in order to initialize support for HSC within JSonar.
  4. Press INSERT+CTRL+R to run „Runtime Setup Wizard“; JSonar will import all Hot Spot Clicker sets found in the default folder.

To import Hot Spot Clicker sets manually or import new sets, do the following:

  1. Open Sonar and after the project screen comes up, press CTRL+ALT+SHIF­T+F1 twice.
  2. Scroll down to the list item that says „ImportHot Spot Preset“ and choose OK.
  3. Select „Import All“ to import all presets or select a particular preset you want to import from the list and press OK.

Please read Hot Spot Clicker documentation for more information on the features and operation of this software.

Using JSonar with Braille

It is possible to operate many features of JSonar using Braille display where, In essence, your Braille display becomes a control surface. The following operations are currently possible:

Braille display modes

There are two Braille display modes in JSonar: “Strip Display” and “Time Display”, denoted by letters “ST” and “TI” on the very left side of the Braille line.
The “Strip Display” mode displays parameters for the current strip, strip type/name, play/stop/record, start or end of the project, plus and minus for moving between either markers or bars,, and “now”/“from”/­“through” times.
The “Time Display” mode displays the “now” time in both hour/minute/second and measure/beat/tick formats. The time values are updated in real time as the project plays. In this mode you can also move between measures (bars) using previous and next line commands on your Braille display.

To switch between two modes, either:

Explanation of the layout of the Braille strip

In order to efficiently use the space available on the Braille display, we decided to denote all supported parameters with a single letter, as follows:

Please note: for controls such as mute, solo, arm etc, lower-case letters represent the “off” status, while upper-case letters, i.e. with dot 7, represent the “on” status.

Performing actions with Braille display

While in “Strip Display” mode: to move between strips (tracks or buses), use up and down keys of your particular Braille display. In the case of Freedom Scientific displays, use whiz wheels to move up or down. You can display the name of a current strip by pressing the routing button right above the strip number. You can also toggle any of the strip parameters above by pressing routing buttons on your Braille display that are located right above the parameter of interest. For example:

While in “Time Display” mode: to move to previous or next measure, use up and down arrows on your Braille display. The time display will show two time values–first, the Now time in hour/minute/second format and second, the Now time in measure/beat/tick format. The values will change as the project is playing.


When working with large projects, it may be necessary to put Braille display in „sleep mode“ to save more computer power for your plug-ins and multiple tracks. To do this, simply toggle off „Use Braille“ option under „Sonar settings“ in „JAWS Verbosity“ dialog (INSERT+V).

Known Accessibility Issues

Sonar Issues

JSonar Issues

Tips and Tricks

Here are some initial suggestions to help you along the way.

For more tips and tricks on using the Sonar software itself, see Sonar Tips and Tricks from Cakewalk.

JSonar Revision History

Revision History

The following is a summary of the changes in each revision. Note that there are most certainly other minor, less noteworthy changes, fixes, etc. not included here for brevity.

Key: new = new feature, bug = bug fix or work around, change = change in functionality.







5.0 beta 1