SCWS08—Using SonicCell with Digital Performer™

SCWS08—Using SonicCell with Digital Performer™
Expandable Synthesizer Module
and Audio Interface
Using SonicCell with Digital Performer
© 2008 Roland Corporation U.S.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without the
written permission of Roland Corporation U.S.
Digital Performer™ is a trademark of Mark of the Unicorn, Inc.
Mark of the Unicorn, Inc. is not associated or affiliated with Roland in any manner.
About the Workshop Booklets
Roland’s SonicCell is designed for modern musicians. Using USB, It adds a
huge set of sounds to your digital audio workstation (or “DAW”) without
adding to your computer’s workload. It’s also an audio interface that can get
signals from mics, instruments, or other devices to DAW tracks for recording.
SonicCell’s Editor software allows you to program SonicCell from within your
DAW. Onstage, its compact size also makes SonicCell the ideal companion
for a laptop DAW, letting you perform and sing along with recorded tracks.
Or use it to play back sequences and audio files from a USB memory stick.
Each SonicCell Workshop booklet focuses on one SonicCell topic, and is
intended as a companion to the SonicCell Owner’s Manual. This booklet
requires SonicCell O.S. Version 1.11 or higher. You can download the latest
SonicCell O.S. for free from
About This Booklet
This booklet explains using SonicCell with Mark of the Unicorn’s Digital
Performer. We’ll discuss sequencing MIDI tracks in Performer using SonicCell’s
synth sounds. We’ll also talk about using SonicCell as as an audio interface
for recording live audio and SonicCell sounds as audio tracks in Performer.
Understanding the Symbols in This Booklet
Throughout this booklet, you’ll come across information that deserves
special attention—that’s the reason it’s labeled with one of the following
A note is something that adds information about the topic at hand.
A tip offers suggestions for using the feature being discussed.
Warnings contain important information that can help you avoid
possible damage to your equipment, your data, or yourself.
Configuring Performer to Work with SonicCell
Setting Up Performer for SonicCell Audio
Set SonicCell to the sampling rate you want to use. (You can change it
later—see the Using SonicCell with a DAW Workshop booklet.)
If you launch Performer with no outputs selected, a dialog appears in
which you click OK to open the Configure Hardware Driver window.
If Performer’s already running, click the Control Panel’s Hardware...
button to open the window, or select Configure Hardware Driver
from the Setup menu’s Configure Audio System submenu.
We’ll assume you’ve installed and know how to operate Performer—
otherwise, consult the documentation in its Help menu. We’ll also assume
you’ve read the Using SonicCell with a DAW and Using SonicCell as an Audio
Interface Workshop booklets, that SonicCell and your computer are hooked
up and turned on, and that you’re listening through SonicCell.
In the Configure Hardware Driver window, select Roland SonicCell
[SonicCell’s current sampling rate].
A new instrument track is created.
In addition, a small window header appears.
Click OK.
Creating a SonicCell Editor Track
Open the project you want to work on, or create a new one.
Go to the Project menu, and select Add Track > Instrument Track >
Roland SonicCell Editor AU (stereo).
Close the window header by clicking its Close triangle.
Click and hold on the instrument track’s OUTPUT popup—shown
circled in red in the picture above—and then select New Stereo
Bundle > Roland SonicCell [SonicCell’s current sample rate] 1-2.
Once you’ve created a bundle in a Performer project, you can re-use it
for other tracks by selecting it from their OUTPUT popups.
Performer exchanges data with SonicCell, and the Editor opens.
To close the Editor, click its Close triangle. To reopen it at any time,
double-click “SonicCell Editor AU-1” in the track’s TRACK NAME area.
Changes you make to SonicCell using the Editor affect SonicCell’s
current performance, or—if you’re in Patch mode—its current patch.
Using the SonicCell Editor
Part-selection area
To select a patch by:
Patch-selection area
• memory location—click the PATCH NAME parameter’s popup
arrow to reveal SonicCell’s patches organized by their memory
• category—click the CATEGORY parameter’s popup arrow to
reveal SonicCell’s patches divided into categories.
Mode-selection buttons
You can select performances stored in SonicCell using the PERFORM
NAME popup located above the part-selection area.
Digging Deeper
The SonicCell Editor lets you change the current performance’s sounds in a
range of ways. The mode-selection buttons to the left of the Editor window
determine the parameters you see and can edit at any given time. They’re
divided into the following sections:
• SYSTEM—The buttons in this area allow you to set SonicCell’s global
You’ll find detailed instructions for using the SonicCell Editor in its manual,
which you can display by clicking the Help button in the SonicCell Editor
window. What follows here are some quick instructions to get you started.
Everything you set up in the SonicCell Editor is automatically saved
in your Performer project. When you reload the project, the Editor
automatically sets up the current performance in SonicCell to match.
Selecting a Patch for a Part
You choose each patch you want to use in Performer by selecting it for the
part that a Performer MIDI track is configured to play. Here’s how:
Click the part’s number in the PARTS area of the Editor window.
Select a patch for the part using the controls in the patch-selection
area, circled in red above.
behavior, and also get quick access to its input effect, a handy thing
when you’re recording live audio through SonicCell.
• PERFORM EFFECTS—These buttons edit the performance’s effect setup.
• PERFORM—These parameters allow you to control the way each part
plays its patch, and lets you add effects to the patch.
• PERFORM PATCH—These parameters allow you to dig right inside a
part’s patch in order to edit it down to its most basic characteristics.
Before using the PERFORM PATCH buttons, be sure to select the part
that plays the patch you want to edit. You do this by clicking the part’s
number in the part-selection area at the top of the window.
Sequencing with SonicCell Patches
In this section, we’ll assume
• you’re using SonicCell in Performance mode—using SonicCell’s PRST 01
Seq: Template performance to start with.
Recording Audio from SonicCell in Performer
If you haven’t yet read the Using SonicCell as an Audio Interface
Workshop booklet, read it now before proceeding. SonicCell offers lots
of audio-interface options you’ll want to know about.
• you’ve connected a MIDI controller to SonicCell’s MIDI IN jack—and turned
on SonicCell’s USB-MIDI THRU System parameter.
Open the project you want to work on, or create a new one.
In the Tracks window, locate the already-existing track you want to
record, or create a new MIDI track by going to the Project menu and
selecting Add Track > MIDI Track.
Click on the track’s OUTPUT popup—circled in red here—and select
the MIDI channel for the SonicCell part whose patch you want to
Here’s we’ve selected the MIDI channel for Part 1 in SonicCell.
If you haven’t yet selected a patch on SonicCell to play from this track,
use the SonicCell Editor to assign the desired patch to the part you
want to use. Once you’ve done that, return to the MIDI track you’ve
been setting up.
Selecting Audio to Record
Open the project you want to work on, or create a new one.
In the Tracks window, locate the already-existing track you want
to record, or create a new one by going to the Project menu and
selecting Add Track > Mono Audio Track. (We’ll talk about stereo
audio tracks in a moment.)
Click on the track’s INPUT popup, shown here circled in red.
The first time you select a SonicCell input,
choose the desired input from the New
Mono Bundle submenu.
You can record in stereo from SonicCell
by using a stereo Performer track, and by
creating a new stereo bundle.
Here, we’ve selected
SonicCell’s Neutrik input.
When you play your controller now, you should hear the desired
patch play in SonicCell.
Click and hold on the track’s OUTPUT area to show the OUTPUT
popup menu.
Record your SonicCell track as you would any other Performer
track—when you play it back, you’ll hear its SonicCell patch play.
Select the same stereo SonicCell stereo bundle you created when
you set up your Editor track on Page 3 in this booklet.
Repeat Steps 2-5 for other SonicCell tracks you want to sequence.
At this point, your track is sequenced, and you’ll hear it each time you
play your project, including when you edit the track. However, the
sound is still coming from SonicCell itself—it hasn’t yet been recorded
as an audio track in Performer. We’ll get to that in the next section.
Once you’ve configured the track’s input and output, its REC (Record)
and MON (Monitor) buttons become available.
• When you want to record live audio as a Performer audio track, you can use
Turn Off Software Monitoring
either of two methods:
In the track you’re recording, make sure the MON
button is turned off.
• If you need to hear your SonicCell synth tracks as you record—send
your live audio through SonicCell’s input effect, and then set the
TO COM parameter on the In/Out Routing screen to Input FX.
Mon button off
As we noted in the Using SonicCell with a DAW
Workshop booklet, you do have the option of
listening through Performer if you want to hear
its effects as you record. However, since you
may encounter latency doing this, we recommend
listening directly through SonicCell.
• If you don’t need to hear SonicCell synth tracks as you record—
mute them in Performer by clicking their ENA buttons to unlight
them, or mute their parts in the SonicCell Editor.
Mon button on
If you do decide to listen through Performer, you can hear your live
input by turning on the track’s MON button.
Before Recording: SonicCell Audio-Recording Strategy
Since SonicCell can simultaneously be the source of synth sounds and your
live audio, a little thought needs to be given to making sure you’re only
recording exactly what you intend to record on any given track.
When you want, for example, to record a single SonicCell synth sound on its
own track, you don’t want another synth sound or live audio to find its way
onto the track. Likewise, if you’re recording a vocal or other live audio, you
don’t want your synths recorded on that same track. Here’s what to do.
If you experience problems recording or playing back audio, Performer’s
built-in owner’s manual can provide insights that can help you solve your
problem. See Chapter 25, “Computer Resources and Strategies.” In addition,
raising the Audio Buffer size in SonicCell’s control panel may also help,
though it may also increase latency if you’re working with soft synths in
The End
We hope you’ve found this workshop helpful. Keep an eye out for other
SonicCell Workshop booklets available for downloading at www.RolandUS.
• When you want to record a single synth track as a Performer audio track
• mute any other SonicCell synth tracks you have in the song by
temporarily turning off their blue dots in the ENA (for “Enable”)
column of the Tracks window, or mute their parts in the
SonicCell Editor.
• If you’ve connected a mic, instrument, or other device to one of
SonicCell’s inputs, disconnect it until you’re ready to record its
audio onto a Performer track.
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