Contributed by Joe Kenny

This document is intended to sum up the steps to recording a mono track of audio, in this case speech, with Sonar7. In order for the steps in this document to be affective, the following is taken for granted;

1 You have successfully plugged in a sound source, in this case a microphone,
2 The signal from the mic is passing in to the computer's sound card correctly either via a mixing desk, or in some cases direct to the audio interface.

SETTING UP THE SOFTWARE IN PREP FOR RECORDING

  • Firstly, launch Sonar from either your desk top or start menu. You may have to wait about 10–20 seconds for Sonar to load fully.
  • Now either load your own template, or choose Normal by opening File menu → New, then select Normal.
  • Wait for this template to load fully. You should now be looking at the Track View of Sonar, if necessary maximise it by pressing Alt+hyphen key followed by X.
  • Go to the track on which you wish to record your audio. Give it a name to avoid later confusion, e.g. Speech 1. You need to set this track up to record from the input of your sound card;
  • First, move across the track strip, by either the arrow keys or the mouse, until you reach the record or arm button, by pressing enter on it you will enable that track for recording. The colour should change from Green to Red also.
  • Move further along the track strip until you reach the Input selection box. Here you configure the track strip to listen to one of your sound card's Inputs.
  • Assuming you have a two channel stereo sound card, these should appear as;
    • Left Input
    • Right Input
    • Stereo Input.

    For the purposes of this guide we shall assume that the Mic is plugged into the Left Input of your sound card. So select this from the list within the Input selection box. Now set the output (which may already be selected by default) this should be called, something like, „outputs 1 and 2“ (however, this does depend on the name of your soundcard.

  • Once you've set up the track, it is a good idea to save the project. Pressing Control+S will bring you to the „Save As“ dialog box, this is where you give your project a name and tell Sonar where to save it. Remember you only need to do this once, from that point on, when you press Control+S, usually after every important stage of your recording, Sonar will simply carry out a fresh save in the backround and update the saved file.
  • You now need to ask your reader to speak into the mic to check the sound level of your signal. While they do this you need to keep an eye on the meter next to the „name“ box in Sonar. The meter will be able to read you the sound levels coming into the audio interface. You are aiming for this to be between  –10 and –3dB. adjust the Input/Gain on either your mixing desk or perhaps on the audio interface itself until you achieve the desired meter reading within Sonar. At this time it is possible to hear what will be recorded by turning on Imput Monitoring. This button should be situated beside the Record button on the track strip. This will allow you to listen for any distortion or Glitching due to the input level being set too high.Depending on your studio configuration, Input Monitoring may induce Feedback so use headphones if possible throughout the recording process.

RECORDING

You are now ready to record. When your reader is ready command Sonar to record by pressing the „R“ key. To stop recording use „space bar“ ( you can continue from the same point by pressing „R“ again). Should you begin recording and your reader makes an error, it is possible to go back to the point immediatley before and begin recording from there. First you need to find the point of error and keep note of the time at which it happened e.g. 00:07:08:05 (0hr 7mins 8 secs, 5 frames). You can find this information (Known as the Now Time) either onscreen or by pressing the F5 key. If you are using the F5 key function this will display the time at which you are currently at, allowing you to enter earlier times to check for the error. Ideally you want a point just before the error which will be easy for your reader to continue from e.g. the end of a paragraph. Simply start to play the previously recorded audio about a sentence or two from the mistake, then at your pre-determined point press R for record. Provided the reader continues in the same reading style as before and, times it just right, Sonar will overwrite the old mistake with the new recording semelessly. You can undo and repeat this as many times as it takes to get a satisfactory result. This preceedure, known as a Drop-In, may take a bit of practise to perfect but will save so much time afterwards as there will be vary little editing to do to the project.

When you've finished recording don't forget to, first unarm the track or take the track out of Record Ready, by either using the key command or arrowing along to the Record button and pressing enter on it, and more importantly do a Save! This ensures whatever happens from here on in, your project is safe.