Video: SONAR X2 – Transitioning From SONAR X1 (and earlier)

Like many of you, we’re all fired up about the release of SONAR X2. And we’re pretty sure you’d like to know more about the core features, behaviours, and other day-to-day workflow operations that we’ve changed in X2 from X1 and older versions of SONAR.

Below is a layout of those changes as well as a down and dirty, off the cuff, low production value video which demonstrates these changes in depth which is available for immediate viewing on YouTube (and also right from the player below).


Auto Zoom is a new feature that automatically zooms onto the active track. Simply click on a track in SONAR X2 and it will expand while the other track(s) collapses. To turn on Auto Zoom go to the Track View’s View menu and select Track Auto Zoom.

Timeline Zoom is also improved in X2 as it is now much smoother than it was in X1, has a new mouse icon, locks to the point of scrolling, and also allows for timeline scroll by grabbing the timeline and moving the mouse left and right.

Smart Tool Selection

Selecting with the Smart Tool is in the Track View is now left-click for range selection and right-click for lasso selection. The cool thing about this change is that range selection can now be made on automation, which is huge when copying and pasting (which now works between buses and any track). And the cool thing about the new right-click lasso functionality is that lassoing can now be started from on a clip, which is immensely helpful when editing in tight quarters.


Snap just feels right in X2. It has a much more granular level structure than before and is now called Intensity (used to be Magnetic Strength). Intensity has a new tester in Preferences which lets you actually get a feel for what each snap intensity level feels like before closing the Preferences window and returning to SONAR.


Editing has seen some changes in X2 with all new clips. Clips of all kinds now have a header which displays the clip’s name, time-stretch percentage, and Groove Clip transpose value. The header is also where you grab a clip now to move it while the body is entirely for range selecting.

Additionally, there’s a new box in the top right corner of MIDI clips that allow you to launch that clip in any of SONAR’s MIDI editors (Piano Roll View, Staff View, Step Sequencer, and Event List).

Aim Assist

Aim Assist has also been tweaked in X2, is now on by default, works in the Piano Roll View, and also becomes locked to the edge of a clip when the clip is being moved. This really helps when lining up a clip to other clips (or various other landmarks) on other tracks.


There are two kinds of lanes in SONAR X2; take lanes and automation lanes. Take lanes replace the old layers feature and make recording and dealing with multiple takes much easier. Each lane now has its own record button as well as a notes section and edit filter.

Automation lanes are new in X2 and allow individual envelopes to live inside its own lane.


Automation not only now has lanes but the automation engine has also been totally overhauled with much more accurate rendering, real-time envelope preview when writing automation, and on-the-fly Read and Write enable/ disable.

Not only that but the Smart Tool now freehand draws automation by Alt + left-clicking and now line-draws by Alt + Shit + left-clicking. And there were the old issues of copying and pasting automation to/ from instrument tracks and buses which have all been cleaned up.

Piano Roll View

Editing MIDI in the Piano Roll View is a lot quicker now in X2. The Smart Tool now ‘paints’ notes with a left-click + drag gesture. This means you can insert and determine the length of a note with a single gesture rather than multiple gestures, which was the case before. Notes also have rounded edges in X2 which makes it easier to define where notes start and stop when they are very close together.

And perhaps my favorite enhancement, the PRV’s virtual keyboard now responds to MIDI input and ‘lights up’ based on incoming MIDI notes.

Down in the controller lanes the Smart Tool now draws by default while line-drawing is now a simple Shift + click.

Purchase your upgrade to SONAR X2 today or download the SONAR X2 Producer Free Trial.