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Reason the Ultimate Guide 2010

Reason the Ultimate Guide 2010

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REASON: THE ULTIMAT E GUlDE

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Foreword

There's been a seismic shift in music technology throughout the last decade that's seen the pro-quality studio transformed from a room-full of expensive hardware to a laptop-full of affordable software. Since it's initial. release in 2000, Propellerhead's Reason has been at the forefront of this revolution, offering all the flexibility, power and convenience of software in a virtual rack-based system that even the most old-school of producers would feel right at home with. It's without doubt one of the most popular music-making applications in the world, boasting plenty of big-name fans and a thriving online user community

Whether you use Reason on ItS own. In conjunction with Propellerhead Record, or ReWired into a 'traditional' DAW like Logic, Cubase, Live or Pro Tools, the Ultimate Guide will sharpen your skills, feed your creativity and give you plenty of new concepts and ideas to draw on. Comprising tutorials, tips and techniques taken from the pages of Computer Music magazine and Computer Music Specials, and Including a DVD packed with ReFills, REX loops, videos and tutorial files, it's an indispensable resource for Reason users of all ability levels and musical tastes. Get stuck inl

Ronan Macdonald Editor

REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUIOE ! 3

PROPEL ER

AD REASON:

Essentials

10_ NN19

The simplest of Reason's sample players

12_NN .. XT

The comprehensively featured sampler

14_REDRUM

Create pattern-based grooves with this step sequencer-style drum machine

16_THE MATRIX AND SPIDERS

Our guide to Reason's pattern generator and routing system

18_ SUBTRACTOR

An old-school analogue-style polvsvnth

2.0_DRREX

Reason's unique REX file-compatible loop player

22~ MALSTROM

The amazing granular synthesizer

24:_ COMBINATOR

Cornbine Reasons instrurnents and effects into unique d'evices of your own creation

26_MIXER 14:2 AND EFFECTS

An introduction to Reason's rnixing devices

30_ MCLASS EFFECTS

Master Reason's rnastering suite

34 THOR

Become a semi-modUlar maestro

4O_RPG8

Create complex and intricate patterns

44_SEQUENCER

Improve your workflow with Reason's compositional tools

51_ REGROOVE

Make your tracks sound as if thevve been performed, not programmed

4 ! REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE

Projects

SSMAK.E A FUNKY HOUSE -TRACK IN REASON

Create a no-skoot funky house tune with our complete lO·page step-by-step tutorial

68_ STUDIO SESSION

Our second complete project shows you

how to put together another complete track, using everything that Reason has to offer

78_ THE GREAT MIXING DEBATE

Can Reason's mix eng ine really compete with the likes of Pro Tools? We put the two head-to-head

HE ULTIMATE GUIDE

Masterclasses and expert advice 90_ CREATIVE ROUTING

One of Reason's most powerful features is its fiexible signal routing system We show you how to use it

96 MAKE

-YOUR

OWN REFILLS

Can't find a ReFill to suit your needs? Why not roil your own! You can even release your new sounds into the wider world, if you so choose, ..

•• ~ • ••

REFILL --~ ,. --Til ( ~ ~ .... ,. _~-

98 _ CREATING REX FILES

- Create your own REX fiiles with the demo version of ReCycle 2.1. Propeller head's powerful loop chopping tool, on the coverdisc

102_Q&A

Got a question about Reason7 We may well have the

answer_

106_ Q&A FOCUS

Eight sound desig n classics for you to try, including a trance arpeggiator, a Giorgio Moroder bassline and a dubstep beat

115_ REASON TIPS

A selection of tips and tricks to help you get the most out of Reason. Miss them at your peril!

120_RECORD

Get to grips with Propellerhead's awesome new audio recording system for rruskans

~

record

. Take advantage of our special offer and get Computer Music delivered to your door

REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE I 5

> on the disc / dvd contents

>Full contents of your 4.3GB disc

REASON.

e _imate

¥D

ReFiHs and REX loops from a host of top sample producers, videos from Ask Video and Propellerhead, demo software, tutorial files and more

Propellerhead demo software

REASON 4(PC/MAC)

In case, for some, er, reason, you don't actuauv own Reason, here's the demo! Save, export and various other features are disabled, and it quits atter each 20 minute session. It'll gel you through the tutorials in the Ultimate Guide, thouqh, if you work quickly!

S stem requirements

C P4 CPU, 512MB RAM, Windows XP SP 2 or later

ac G4 CPU, 512MB RAM, OS X 10.4 or later

RECYCLE 2 (PC/MAC)

The original beat-slicing software makes cutting' up and exporting even the mas! intricate breakbeats and loops a piece of cake. The demo version only works with the included audio files, and is save-disabled.

System requirements

C JOOMHz CPU, 12BMB RAM, Windows 2000 or later

ac GJ CPU, 128MB RAM, OS X 10.2.8 or later

RECORD (PC/MAC)

Propellernead's recenttv-rsteasedau-tn-one recording and mixing system Record is the perfect companion to Reason. In demo

mode, you can save your projects, but you won't be a ble to load them again until you buy the full version.

System requirel!1~nt5

P4 CPU, 1GB RAM, Windows XP SP 2 or later Mac Intel CPU, 1GB RAM, OS X 10.4 or later

6 I REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUiDE

dvd contents Ion the disc <

ReFills and Rex files from these outstanding sound libraries

9VAudioBig Bad Bass Guitar (Time+Space)

Get your groove on with 33 bass lleks and loops in REX format.

9VAudioPop Rock Guitars (Time+Space)

30 REX guitar loops, including inlros, verses, choruses, pre-choruses, bridges and ends,

D&B4The Headz (Digital Redux)

Oi rty beats, basslines and svnthseverything you need 10 create your own DnS stormer!

ElectroTech (Digital Redux)

Drum loops, bass sou nds, FX, pads and svnths in classic 80s e I eel ro stvl e.

Hacienda House (Digital Redux)

Relive the halcyon days of UK dance with this collection of vintage-style house loops and patches.

Hip Hop Hotness (Digital Redux)

Siammin' hip-hop beats and a selection 01 funky Instrument patches.

Properly Chilled (Digital Redux) ,

Cool your boots with these laid-back grooves and atmospheric sounds.

Premier Beats and Hip Hop Instruments (Equipped Music)

Authenticjazz- and funk-style samples with an organic oldskoolntp-nop vlbe,

Slo'motion Tokyo (Equipped . Music)

Awesome ambient chords,soundscapes and loops abound in this amazing Eastern odyssey.

Smokers Relight Deux (Equipped Music)

Licks, beats and samples, perfect for chilled hlp-hop.jazzv house and ltquld DnB.

Infinite Element (loopmasters)

A crazy selection of Combinator patches to get your creative juices flowing.

PureDnB (Loop masters) Synth patches, samples and loops built with that futuristic DnB sound in mind.

Minimal Techno (Sample Magic)

G I itchy, minimal techno beats in REX formal.

Brazil. ChiUout (Zero-G)

Chili the funk out with this library of bllssfu I Brazilian instrumental loops.

Distorted Dancefloors (Zero-G)

Di tty svnth sounds for your programming pleasure, plus beats and bass loops.

Satin Grooves (Zero-G)

Embrace your sensitive side with this soulful selection of downtempo

co n str u ct ion kits.

Progressive House (Sample Magic)

Get your prog groove on with

th ese crazy sy nth beals and grooves, in REX format.

Tech Funk Breaks (2 parts) (Sample Magic)

Dirty breakbeat sounds and beats aplenty with this collection of twisted REX loops.

Videos by Ask Video and Propellerhead

ASK Video

l;li_'~1*l'I.

Reason's control voltage routi n g

feat u res have pi e nty of p otentl a I fo r vi ntaq e-stvie s vnth

seq u encl n g. It's not the ea s i est aspect of the software to get to grips with, but this video will give you a flying start.

'i.,OI.tUlI

REX loops are great for quickly getting some groove Into you r tracks, and this Video guide to Reason's Dr. Rex player will help you get the most out of yours.

lij.llilm

A blte-slzed guide to Thor's powerful built-in step sequencer.

IUM'Iid

Create a crowd-pleaslnq ertect using the combination of a modulated filter and Reason's reverb effects.

Propellerhead

Claude Von Stroke lntervle

Techno artist Claude waxes Ivrical on his personal approach to Reason, and breaks down his track Who's

.A fraid of Detroit.

Creating RealistiC Bassllne

How to make authentic bass guitar pa rts u si ng P ropslterhea d's Reaso n EI ectric Bass Re Fi II.

how subtracter can be used to create truly insane svnth sounds.

Getting Started With Reaso

Essential v iew in g for com p u ter music novices, this video shows you how to get up and ru nning with Reason and take your first steps on the path to music production mastery.

Reason for Keyboard Player

Reason is an incredible sound source for the mobile musicians, and this video is chock full 01 invaluable tips for g etti n g t he most exp ress ive performances possible.

Reason Seq Ollntr

Dave Spoon lnterviev,

Reason 4's sequencer can be intimidating for the beginner,

Electro bad-bov Spoon reveals some of but this handy guide will quickly

hi s tavou ri te R ease n tricks, a nd shows d em y stlfv it.

Reason Seq 02 Recordln

Recording MIDI notes and automation in Reason made easy.

Reason Seq 03 Edltm

Packed with advanced arrangement Ii ps, Ih i 5 tutor ia I will have yo u putting arrangements together faster than ever.

Tutorial Files

All the samples, patches and projects you need to follow the tutorials in Reason: The Ultimate Guide can be found in the Tutorial Files folder.

REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE. ! 7

Reason is packed with virtual svnths, samplers, effects and other devices with which to compose, arrang;e and mix your tracks. Familiarity with these musical tools will help you to get the most out of the

software. so this section walks you through each of them in turn. The

first set of tutorials was put together using Reason 3, so some things may look a bit different in Reason 4.

CONTENTS

10 NN19 SAMPLE PLAYER

12_NN-XT SAMPLE PLAYER 14_REDRUM DRUM MACHINE

16 MATRIX AND SPIDERS

18_SUBTRACTOR SYNTHESISER 20 DRREX LOOP PLAYER 22_MALSTROM SYNTHESISER 24_COMBINATOR

26_MIXER 14;2 AND EFFECTS 30_MCLASS EFFECTS 34_THOR SYNTHESISER 4O_RPG-8 ARPEGGIATOR 44_SEQU ENCER 51_REGROOVE MIXER

REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE I 9

PATCH BROWSER BUTTON Load whole patches, where samples are already organised across multiple keyzones

KEYZON E EDITOR

Shows the root note of loaded samples, Change the position and pitch of samples across the keyboard

FILTER SECTION

Globally filter the whole patch and set the filter type and filter envelope shape

NN19 sample player

> This Is the simplest of Reason's sample

, players, A huge library of NN19 patches comes w.lth the application, Including multlsampl.ed real .Instruments, sound effects and all sorts of weird and wonderful noises, Because It's simpler than its big brother, the NN·XT, this Is the module of choice for very quickly auditioning a sound in your arrangement,

Once a sample is loaded into it, the NN19 behaves I ike a synth, but with the sample as the 'oscillator', Your sample/samples can be

su bjected to traditional subtractive synthesis

processes like modulation, filter.ing and envelope shaping.

Although samplers are great at recreating re,al instruments, they're also ideal for radical sound design applications and creating strange atmospheres and noises within your music. In our track we've gone from one extreme to the other. On the one hand, we've played parts that are sympathetic to the instruments that have been sampled, to create a realistic orchestral sound; and on the other, we've flown in some esoteric noises to spice up some of our breaks and transttlons.

Loading samples

With the NN19 you can either load a single WAV/AIFF sample or a full sampler patch. Loading a single WAVIAIFF will transpose the' audio across the keyboard by speeding up or .slowing down the playback,

The N N 19 pate h format ha 5 Ih e exten s lo n .smp. As wen as referencing. the audio flies, it also contalns all parameter settings and keyzone information. REX files. although usually deployed in Dr. Rex, can also be opened by the NN19, as complete patches, with the slices auto-mapped chromatically across the

keyboa rd, or as i ndivid ua I s I ices (sel e ct a RE X file in the sample browser as if it were a folder and the individual slices are displayed).

The NN19 can play samples back at hi.gh rates and varying bit depths. To play back at bit depths higher than 16·bit. the Use High Resolution Samples option must be selected in the General section of t he Preferences d i a log.

Emulating real instruments with NN19

1

> The first thing to do is add a Mixer 14:2 from the Create menu, which will appear in the rack and automatically

co nnect ltse I f to au d i a inte rta ce outputs 1 and 2 in the Hardware lntertace, Each new instrument you call up will then be connected to the next available channel.

10 ! REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE

2

> Select NN19 in the Create menu. The

sampler will appear bel' ow the mixer, connect automatically to the stereo inputs of Mixer channel t, and create its own sequencer track, called NN19. We're going to use several NN19 samplers to create a very un-dancev un-loopv, tilmic, orchestra I intra to au r piece.

3

> We're looking for an atmospheric, soft

piano sound, so Click the patch browser,look in the Reason Sound Bank in the NN19 patches folder and select Grilnd Plano Soft.smp. This is a good example of a well rnultlsampled sound, with many samples mapped across the whole keyboard in srnallkevzones,

nn19 sample player / essentials <

Emulating real instruments with NN19 (continued)

4

> The piano sounds good, but a liltle too

b ri g ht. des plte the 'soft's wltti x, To soften up the sound, we need to remove som e 01 the hig'h Ire q u enc y conten t. TI"1 e quickest way to do this is to use the NN19's filter. Br'inging the Freq control down by

h a If gives the rig htk i nd of atmosphe reo

5

> Now connect an RV7000 Advanced Reverb to the mixer. as shown -thls way. any tutu re so un ds can al so be 5e n t to 1 h e sa me effect. A Ha II s ettln g prov id es appropriate ambience for the orchestral nature of our lntro. We need the hiqhest qua lity reve rb here. becau se we' II rea II y nea r In e sou nds tai Ii n g off to si Ie nee.

6

> Now irs time to dive in and play

something. To write this intro, we turn off the click in the transport bar. set the seq uen cer to record" nd pl"yfre estv Ie. I n the grid editor, we can then make dynamic adjustments and note corrections. or

c opy/pa ste sectlo ns.

7

> After the atmospheric piano it's

time to get a bit 'Spielberg:' and

bring ,in some string-s, From theReasen Sound Bank, choose the OrchStrlngPad. smp patch. Alt.hough not the most

authe n tic stri ng sou nd. th is pate h has a good dynarnlc and serves our purpose well enough,

8

> P.lay the string part alongside Ihe

piano, It might take a few runs to get the timing right between the two, but again, the grid editor will come to the rescue and paris can be nudged mto position to create an orqanlc feel, We also send the strtnqs 10 the same reverb as the piano, which helps bind them sonlcatlv

9

> Using a single woodwind instrument

in a strin g bed ca n rea lIy hel p set up a sense of space, Once again. the clarinet is sent to our hall reverb, whichhelps pick out the high frequencies. The trick to creating realism with samples is to try and playa part that's s ym p at h etlc to th e qualities of the sampled instrument - soIn this case. set the polyphony to l!

1 0 > For sheer cheese and ET lactor. we'lI go for a ben-tree silmPle. next. This is a single sample rather than an NN19 patch. To help it out. we put the NN19 through an

RV·7 reverb effect. a cut-down version of the RV7000 we have on our auxiliary.

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lHlrrliHnrnnnlJ:Tnlf

1

> Some depth is needed towards the

end ollhe lntro, so weuse a 'bowed double bass to play some longer, deep notes in two places. Using bass minimally h el ps m a x i mise th e effect wh en it h its. and using plenty of reverb creates a

su rpr isl n 9 Iy bass y feel. co nsideri n g th e lack of low frequencies present.

12 > Reason has some great little nuggets

t u c ked away in its .Ii bra ry. T he I itt,1 e shakunachi figure is from Other Samples/ Chords·Phrases·Pads_stabs.lt's got lts

own RV·7 and forms the linking sound to the point where the track changes for the first time. em

REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE I 11

NN-XTsample player

> As with NN19, NNcXT enables you to load

, samples, create multisample :patches and

manipulate them with synth·style controls. However, beyond that, It's a much, much more powerful Instrument, with plenty of 'professional' sampling features presented in Its huge editor.

layered sounds can be created by stacking sa mples on the same keys. The range of each layer can then be set using the graphical keyzone editor, which enables group manipulation; and N N·19's synthesis parameters can also be set independently for each kevzone.

It's possible to create patches that play within specific velocity parameters, build velocity-switched key maps, and set up velocity

crossfading betweenkevzones. Ultimately, this means that you can set different velocity ranges (the strength with which you strike the keys) to trigger different samples, with velocity crossfading creating smooth sounding transitions between samples, rather than a sudden, abrupt change to the sound when a specified velocity threshold is reached.

NN·XT features eight stereo output pairs, to which you can freely route your key zones. Using these outputs, you can send specific parts of your patch, or individual sa mples, out to their own effects chains.

NN·XT's patch format extension is ,5Xt, and in addition to WAV and AIF formats, it can also open REX, N N19 and SoundFont files.

Solo and Automap

The Solo Sample function enables you to pla,y the currently selected sample over the w'l'1ol'e keyboard, ternporarllv muting all other samples and disabling velocity switching. This is a very handy tool for checking how far from the root note you ca n ta stetu lIy stray wh i I e sett ing up you rkevzo nes,

The Automap function (Auto map Zones in the Edit menu) automatically maps a set of samples a cross th e keyboard, selli n g key zones accord i n 9 to the root note of ea ch on e_ The zones will be displayed, from the top of the screen to the bottom, from lowest note to

hi g h est note.

Building an NN-XT instrument

1

> NN-XT is the big brother of NN19, able

to stack sounds up and irnplernent clever velocity crossfading and key switching. In this case, we're using it for a co uple of pi zz: ca to ba ss ru ns in the

a rchest ra lint ro of our track.

12 I REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE

2

> Just to complete the surreal Six Feet

Under/Desperate Housewives vibe,

we put in our little pizz bass runs where there are qa ps in th e clarl net part Hopefully, we've made Reason show a side of its character that's rarely seen with this introduction passage.

3

> Staying with the NN·XT but jumping

forward to bar 73 of our song, we want to create a morphing, rising sound effect to bring in the arpeggio and handclaps that are gOing to follow (we'll get to those later). The starting point is a new NN·XT and a patch called Nazca in the Textures and Musical FX section of the R.eason Sound Bank's NN·XT llbrarv,

'j .i ....... Jb!'I!!iiiI'._-

. • ... _ .. ~ ....... 0.. • • •

:. NN-XT ~ ." - .

4

> The rising Nazca sample takes a

long time to reach its loudest section.

Play it in roughly where you think it should go. then loop tne appropriate section of the track and nudge it into the perfect positi 0 n,

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7

> We want to automate a, change in the delay time oflhe DDL·110 create some pi tch rnorph i nqettects, To do th is. we need to create a dedicated OOL-l track in the sequencer: in Reason 3. select Sequencer Track from the Create menu; In Reason 4. right·click the DOl·l and

sel e ct Create Ita ck for .... the n move on to step 10 of this walkthrough .

.•..•. ("i,.,Q.,~ !lIcit All CO"IrQHers

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1 0 ,> Next. we cal.1 up Ihecontroller lane for Riser Delay. In Reason 3. the blue

bu Ito n seven icons in from the I e ft in the sequencer window opens the controller

lanes. The Show Controllers In Track button next to It opens a dialog in which autcmatable parameters can be chosen, Select Delay Time (ms).ln Reason 4, simply select the parameter from the Au.tomatlon menu on the tool bar.

nnxt sample player / essentials <

5

> The sample 'itself tsn't dramatic

enough to make an exiling transition. solet's perform some effects trickery, Call up a UN"15 Unison effect as an insert between tne NN-XT and the mixer. The Unison effect simulates multiple sound sources. creating a thick stereo effect.

LI

0011

~1~,.r:JI

'ir'V _'I:::!::!

.... - .. 1-0.-- ....

8

> Any sequencer track. mixer channel

and device ce n be na med by double-cllcklnq its scribble strip. Irs good practice to doth is to everyth In gin yo u r Rack and seq uen cer, beca use before yo u know it. you: won't remember just what 'EQ 8' is doing. or which 'beat is coming from 'Redrums'l

--- '

1

> With the drawing resolution set to 1/64. use the line tool to make the delay time change from lms to nearly 25 over two bars." and back again over about three ba rs, T hi s c rea te s a s lowe d down tape effect followed bva mad rising effect that disappears into nothing,

6

> Insert a DOL-1 between the Unison

and the mixer, so that the whole signal is going through the delay line. That a I on e Is qui te effective. but we wa n t 10 take it a step further and create a dynam i c effect to a uqment the r lsl ng nature of the sample.

9

> To automate the delay time of the

ODL·1. we need to mute the newly made sequencer track to the device in question, Clicking the device icon in the seq uen cer t rack list calls up a men u of all the devices in the project. Select Riser delay.

12

> Our delay eventually becomes so

short that the end of the effect sounds a little dry. so insert a new DOL·11ast in the chain. just to give the whole sequence a bit of ext ra space, Th e end resu It is a psyched eli c vi ntag e delay effect em,

REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE I 13

SAMPLE BROWSER Load and audition individual samples

Our WIll~lele geascn eroject Is In tho' ll,IIorial"~ EsserItim {Qf<j'er

PATTERN LENGTH SELECTOR

SHUFFLE SELECTOR SWitches shuffle on and off. The shuffle amount is set in the transport bar

Redrum drum machine

> Redrum Is a pattern-based, step

, ,sequencer-slyled.rummac,hlne reminiscent of the old Roland TR-808/909 but with, as you'd expect, a lot more power under the hood. It comprises ten audio channels, Into which you can load any samples you like (the Idea being to use drum sounds, of course) at any sample rate or bit depth (WAV, AIFF, SoundFont and REX file slices). Once you've created your drum kit, It's saved as a Redrum patch (.drp). This contains aU the settings and file-path references to the the samples used.

It's possible to create patterns up to 64 steps in length, and there are three dvnam ic levels that can be switched between on the row of

steps at the bottom of the module. As the pattern runs, you'll see each step light up in tu rn. To program patterns, simply select a channel - the kick drum. say- and click the step buttons at every pain! in the bar that you want the sounded loaded into that channel to trigger. Then, select a nother channel - the snare drum. say - and do the same again. Repeat until you have a drum part you like!

There are four banks of eight patterns per Redrum module. Pattern changes can be automated in the Pattern Select lane 01 the Redru m track in the sequencer. Pattern information loads as part of each Reason song, but patterns can be moved arou nd us; ng the Cut. Copy and Paste Pattern commands.

DynamIcs and sends

When the medium dynamic 15 selected" use the Shift key to enter hard notes without having to move the Dynamic switch. If you need greater dynamic control than the three levels provided by the pattern sequencer. record the pattern to a sequencer track and adjust the velocities in the sequence edit window.

The Send 1 and 2 outputs round the back of Redrum send individual drums off to their own effects - automate the sends to create dubbed·out delay spins and reverb splashes.

Grooving with Redrum

1

> Let's go to the point in our song where

a groove first appears: bar 49, We're going to use the Redrum drum machine to get things underway. It's patched to the mixer automatically when it's called up from the Create menu.

14 I REASON: THE ULTIMATE. GUIDE

.. _

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2

> Whole kits can be auditioned quickly

USing the patch browser. It's a good idea to put in some kind of beat first and then flick through some patches until you hear the basics of what you need, In this case, we're going for Oublab SrushKltt.

I nd iv i dual samples can be ch a nged in the sample browser for each drum Channel,

3

> By selecting a channel with the Select

button. the steps for that drum can be entered in the step seq uen cer at th e bottom. Needless to say, everything you do here will always run in perfect sync

wit h the re 51 of you r I rack

4

> Our drums are .sounding way too

clea n, sol et's I nsert a screa rn 4 So u n d Destruction Unit between Redrum and the mixer. The Scream 4 can add gentle warmth and colour, or destroy your sound with analogue-style distortion or digital bit-crushing. The Body section Is well

wo rth m uck I n g a rou nd with for ra d ic al lone shaping.

7

> At bar 65, a new drum sound comes in, from a second Redrum machine. In the final mix, send 1 of this Redrum is connected toa OOL-' delay unit, connected 10 a second mixer, while send 2 qoes to a channel on the second mixer in oreer to a ccess a n effect co n nected to it

redrum drum machine / essentials <

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5

> Redrum has two auxiliary sends on each of its drum channels. We want to create some reverb splashes on the odd drum hit. We can use the RV70000n

au x il la ry 1 of th e mixer by can n ecti ng Send 1 of Redrurn to the Chaining AUK Send 1 input of our mlxer. Now the 51 knob on the Redrum behaves 'like Send 1 on the mixer .

6

> By opening the controller lane of the Redru m t ra ck in the seq uen cer window, we can call up the Drum 3 Send 1 parameter. Draw in the automation as shown and Redrum will send the snare drum off to the RV7000 for some little hits 01 reverb, which helps keep things interesting.

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8

> The drum pattern: ttselfcouldn't be simpler: kicks on 1 and 3, snares on 2 and 4 and hats on eighth'notes. At bar 73, a haridclap comes in, which is sent out to the DDL,l from Send 1. Parts of this drum sound are eventually sent out to the FX2 COmbinator effect. which makes the swirly, phase-type sound.

9

> Eventually we'll use this Recrum to provide a few cymbal hits, which come from drum channel m and are also sent out to the delay unit and the swirly FX2 Combinator. These additions are easily made once the Redrum pattern

tia s bee n c-op ied: to a seq u ence r track ,. with the 'Redrum unit used simply as a sound source.

1 0 > A third Redrum is used ln a

Com b in ator to create t'h e dirty part that comes In at bar 93. We use a. Spider to split the Redrum's output into two. Each

Signal goes to its own Scream 4 effect, and each Scream 4 returns to its own channel of a Line Mixer 6:2.

1

> Here you can see the Redrum pattern and the settings on both Scream 4 units. One is much dirtier than the other. so the two sounds need to be blended carefully. Be cautious When blending

so u n ds retu rni ng, fro m d I tlerent processors, because differing processing latency can cause phase problems.

12 > Th. e k.k. k drum isn't breaking through the filth of the Scream 4s, so to remedy this, we create a COMP,01 compress or, ta ke a new kick d ru m out of

Redrum output 4, and insert the compressor between the Redrum and channel 3 of the line mixer. This kick is undistorted and punchy, and can be blended into the rest of the souno.em

REASON; THE ULTIMATE GUIDE I 15

Our (Omplet~ Rea5Qn proJect 15, In the 'TUIcriIIFlIoIIReaIon ~rCl[d_e:r

Matrix and Spiders

> The Matrix Is a pattern generator with an

, identli:::al pattern selet;:tion process to

Redrum. It doesn't make any sounds of Its own, but spits out Note CV, Gate CV and Curve CV data for cenneetlon to another sound module, such as the Subtractor.

Gate CV (with real analogue svnths, CV stands for 'control voltage') is like a note-on comma no, equivalent to a key being struck. It doesn't speclfv which key it is, but simply initiates all the processes that occur when any key is struck. Gale CV also carries a level value equiva lent to the velocity with which a key is struck under MIDI.

Note CV tells the synth which note should be

Signal routing with the Spider Audio

> Step By,

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> The Spider Audio Merger & Splitter is an essent i a 11001 for crea ti ng com p lex ro uti n9 sit u ations, Th isis the setu p for FX2:, one of our Combinator effects, The output of the reverb goes to the input of the Spider Audio Splitter matrix

16 I REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUICE

played when the Gate CVis received Matrix is rnonophontc, and the note information is entered graphically in its pattern editor window.

Curve CV is a general CV parameter that can be routed to any CV input. Typically this would be filter or resonance levels, but could also be pitch, delay ti me or envelope amount. Really interesting results can be obtained by irreverent, ex peri mental patching!

As the name would suggest, a web of CV data can be merged or pa ralieled into d uplicates using the Spider CV Merger & Splitter. The Curve CV could be split into three parts and sent to three different desti nations. There's also an inverse output on each of the two splitters.

2

> The first output of the Spider Audio is then connected to channel l of a Line Mixer 6,2,

RESOLUTION SELECTOR

The patterns can pi ay In different tempo 'resolutions' relative to the master tempo

Finally, the Spider Audio can eilherbe used as a rn lcro mixer to create unified sends, or split an audio signal up into multiple streams to send to different effects. These harmless looking devices actually pack huge potential for modular mayhem!

Pro tip

Create lied' notes ina M atrlx pattern (notes longer than each step) by holding down the Shin key when entering gate values,

3

> The second output of the Spider

Audio is connected to a DDL"1 delay unit, a PH·90 phaser and, ultimately, channel 2 of the Line Mixer. The Merger side of the Spider can act like a tour-channel mlcro-mlxsr;

matrix a nd spiders / essentials <

Control routing with the Spider CV

1

> Spider CV does the same job lor CV

data. Th isis the An i1log Seq Combinator, which kicks in at bar 73 01 our song. The CUrve CV Out Irom the Matrix pattern sequencer is connected to the input 01 the Spider CV Split B, and one 01 the Spilt B outputs Is connected to the Pan CV In on channel, 1 of the line mixer.

2

> One of the four CV outs of a Spider CV splitter is called INV, It's a reverse polarity version of the other three outputs. Here weVe connected the INV output of Split B to the Pan CV In of channel 2 of the Line Mixer. The pan controls 01 channels 1 and 2 on the Line Mixer should now move in opposite directions to each other.

3

> Patch another output from Split B to

the input of Split A. Send three of the outputs of Split A to three different

pa ra meters 0 I the S untractor svn tho The Spid er CVi s en a b ling Ii ve different parameters to be modulated by the one CV output from the Matrix.

The Matrix pattern sequencer

1

> We're stili with the Analog Seq

Cornbmator, which pipes up at bar 73 of our song. The Matrix pattern sequencer is play,ing a very Simple two-note sequence in even 16th-notes over a, 16-step pattern. You' can see how only the Ii rst two notes of the seq uence are different. and hawaii the note lengths and vel ocltl es a re the sa m e,

4

> ThisIs the Matrix pattern from the

Low Arp Combinator. which comes in at ba r 93. The cu rve is rou ted to the fi I te rs of the svnths in the Combinator, The

so u nd .beg ins with a descen din g to ne that settles Into a, low drone, and each element 01 the sound requires a different treatment. Pattern 1 creates a smooth filter sweep.

2

> The Curve pattern runs in sync with the n ole p aile rn, The heigh ts of the re d ba rs represent til e va I u E of the CV output for Ihat step in the sequence.

3

> Here you can see the CV data from the

Matrix a rnvi ng at the ba ck of th e Subtracter svnth, having been split into three by the Spider CV. One goes to the OSC Pitch, but notice how the adjacent knob ensures very low sensitivity and therefore a very small varlatlon in pitch. The other two goto Filter 1 Frequency and Resonance.

5

> Pattern 2 maK.es the filters perform

more percusslvel y, and needs to kick in after the initial. descending pari of the so u nd .. so a n a utom ated patte rn chan ge is required,

6

> To make this change, the Matrix has

ow n track in th e seque n cer, Create a series of clips in the' Pattern Lane, and set each one to the required pattern using the drop-down menu that pops up when the top-left corner 01 a clip is clicked:. Your changes w.ill happen searnlesslv, bang on thebeat.cm

REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE I 17

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-----0- .111

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CONTROLLER SECTION Set pltchbend range and mod wheel destlnatlcn pa ra meters here

Subtractor synthesiser

> Rea.son's Subtractor is a model of an

, .analogue polysynth, It uses subtractive

synthesis to create a huge variety of sounds from. seme essentially quite simple sonic building blocks.

At its heart are two oscillators that generate the basic waveforms determining the fundamental character of the sound. Each oscillator has 32 waveforms. The first fou rare the standard saw, square, sine and triangle waves; the rest are more com plex waves suited to the emulation of certain acoustic sounds. When combined with Subtractors noise generator, phase offset and frequency modulation options, all these elements are

capable of creating highly complex waveforms,

The filters are for getting rid of certain frequency areas of the sound, (hence the word 'subtractive'), just .Iike an EQ. There are two filter sections, with a choice of five types of filter in Filter 1 (low-pass 24dB/oct, low-pass 12dB/oct, band-pass 12dB/oct. high-pass 12dB/oct and notch), and a low-pass 12dB/oct in Fi Iter 2.

J ustlike the oscillators, the filters becomes far more sophisticated when the two are combined. Their behaviour is best illustrated by the gra phs in the Reason operation manual.

The LFO (low frequency oscillator) and mod, filter and amp envelopes complete the set of synthesis tools available. Routing the mod

Our complete Re;<gcn p:roJect 15 In tile MorIaI fllos/ltouon ~I!;rcrder

wheel or key velocity to different parameters is easy because there's a dedicated knob for each one of them.

Like everything else In Reason, there's real fun to be had in patching Subtractor CV data all over the place. Hit the Tab key to see the back of Subtracter a nd go wild with those cables!

Legato tip

Use the Legalo control with a monophonic sound and you'll hear the pitch change, but the envelopes won't re-triqqer,

Creating synth sounds with Subtractor

1

> subtracter first appears in our song

at bar 49, playing the dubby sub-bass part when the beat first tomes in. It's essentially a sin e wave to ne, but th e

extra harmonic content comes from slighlly detuning the second OSCillator and mashing up the sound with the Melass compressor.

18 I REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE

2

> This second bass sound appears at

bar 65, when the drum sound changes. Using a simple triangle wave mixed with a heavilv detuned waveform 13(ao organ-type waver.thts monophonic sound fills out the bass but adds a 101 of characterful higher frequencies too.

3

> This is the controller data written into

the square bass sequencer track. It controls theOecay parameter of the Subtracter's filter envelope. The higher the value, the longer the filters take to close down, making the sound brighter for longer.

subtractor synthesiser / essentials <

4

> SUbtra.ctor is used for the sequenced 16ths that come in at bar 63. It lives within a Combinator and is run from a Matrix pattern sequencer. The subtractor patch is called Analogue Seq and is a simple sawtooth wave sound.

7

> This is the complete Analog Seq

patch. including the splitting and ro u ti ng of th e eUl've e.v 0 u tput of the Matrix. which moves Ihe subtracter's

pi tch and Ii lters, an d au tomates the pa n controls on the Line Mixer. A detailed CV description appears in our Matrix walkthrough (see ,016).

1 0 > ThlsIs the combin.atorthat plays the ridiculous bendy lead sound that comes in after the big break at bar 117. Three Subtractors are layered 10 play

simultaneously. The most important aspect 01 this patch Is how each 01 the three 50 u n ds resp on ds to th e mod wh eel. where the rn 05t i ntere sfin 9 so u n ds and

Ii Ilere fleets cccu r;

5

> Here's how tile Combinator

instrument is built up around the Subtracter, Firstly, the Not.e ev and Gate ev outputs of the Matrix are connected to the corresponding CV inputs on the Subtracter. sending it note and t,lming information.

8

> The note information for this sound

comes from a Matrix pattern

seq uen cer, rathe r th a n fro m notes 0 n a sequencer track. We want this sound to fade in underneath the rising sound effect at bar 73. 50 the best thing to do is leave the pattern running and automate the level in the main mixer. The lop lane

sh own he re rep re se nts the level 0 n the Analog Seq mixer channel.

.

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~ -

d=~

~~-~

I!l--' !!:~_"..,.!:.._,w ~~ ....

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6

> The Subtracter signal is sent to aD-II

distortion unit, then split into two wilh a Spider Audio Splitter. One slqnallssent to the Line miMer, the other goes to a DDL-1 delay. an ECF-42 tilter. and then to the Line Mixer. Channels 1 and 2 are then panned lelt and right

9

> To complete this sound. some filter

au tornati a n is re qu ired. g ivi n g it sorn e movement and dvnarnlcs across those 30 or so bars. ,Rotary 1 on the Combinator control panel is routed to the Filter Frequency on the Subtracter, The sequencer is set to Overdub and we record our Rolary 1 movements. The filters still respond to the CV info from

the Matrix.

1

> Ea.ch Subtracter goes to its own channel of the Line MiKer. The send an d ret u rn effec t you see he re is responsible for the reverseetfects that

ha ppen at th e end 01 the Ii rst phrase of th e bendv lead sound. The send is connected 108 DDL·l delay and then to an RV7000 set to a reverse reverb. and retu rn ed,

12

> The Rotary 1 controller is assiqned to the Li ne M lxe r Send lor eac hoI th e

th ree Su btractor ch a nn els in Ih e Modulation routing window. and the automati on is w ri tie n into the a ppropr i ate con tro II er I~ ne 01 the be n dy lea d sequencer track. The delay time on the DOL"l can then be flue-tuned to make

su re that th e reve rse swe II na ppen sat just the r.ight point. em

REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE I 19

Dr.Rex loop player

> Dr.Rex is a specialist sample playerthat

, takes its unusual name from the file

format generated by Propellerhead's beat slicing program, ReCycle. It's a brlltia.nt solution to an old problem: how dovou change the tempo of a. track when audio loopsarebeing used?

Once a REX file is loaded into Dr. Rex, it will happi Iy adj ust its tempo along with the master tempo of the track, without changing pitch or losing any punch. Dr.Rex also has svnth-stvle LFO. filter and envelope parameters. enabling you to manipulate the sound further.

Let's take a brief tour of the science behind a REX loop. ReCycle takes a drum loop (or any

Loop slicing with Dr. Rex

> Step By,

type of sound that has rhythmic transients) and slices it up. It has some groovy functions for stretching each slice and applying cool EQ and dynamic effects. too (see p98 for more).

Most lrnportantlv.it organises the loop into a sarnpler-stvle keygroup, with the slices laid out chromatically. going up the keyboard. To accompany this, a MIDI file is generated with notes positioned to reflect the exact position of each slice withi n the length of the loop. Both this MIDI file and the sampler patch are combi ned into the REX file formal

R EX files can be opened in Reason using either Dr.Rex, or the NN19 or NN"XT sample players. If you've ever used a ny older sample

libra ries cornplled with Groove Control. you should already be familiar with this very flexi.ble, powerful sampler patch and MIDI file combination.

Ready to REX

With a REX file loaded, set the left/right locators in the sequencer a few bars apart. Create a track for the Dr. Rex and hit the To Track button. The slices will appear in position in the grid editor, wh e re they can be q uantlsed or moved arou nd to create fills or variations on the original beat.

1

> The conga part that comes in at bar

65 is a REX loop played by a Dr.Rex loop player. The 120bpm conga loop comes from the enormous Or,Rex library in the Reason Factory Soundbank. This exact loop Is Congas_02b_120.

20 I REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE

2

> We want to transfer the Dr.Rex pattern

to a sequencer track so that we can have ths part coming in and out whenever we want. The first thing to do is set the left and ri gh t locators to deli n e the a rea wh ere you want th€ pattern to be

3

> Once the locators are in place, hit the

To Track button above the Dr.Rex display window. If you started with a two-bar loop. a set of two·bar blocks will appear between the left. and right locators. convententlv pre-qroupad by R€ason for easy repositioning.

4

> Later in the song. at bar 137. the same

conga pa Item ret urns. b ut th e sou nd i 5 ve ry d iffe rent. Con nect the D r.Rex player to a 0-11 distortion unit set to really mangle the sound. In order to keep it bypass e d 10 r the Ii rst pa rt of the son g. automate the B~pass controi

7

> Dr.Rex also provides a subtle bass and

handclap loop that creeps in from bar 77 (Hsel7 _BoxedJ25_eLAB.rx2l. This loop is further mangled ,by in,serling ~ CFlOl chorus/tlanqer and a COMp·1

co rnpresso r, The com pres sor settl ngs

~re extre me to make tneba ss el e m e nts of the loop as loud as the handclaps. and the whole sound is beginning to get r;llcely ctstorted

1 0 > The last showing 10,r Dr.Rex in our sonqIs a 'kick·a5s, Chemical

Bmt hers-s tyl e g move (Chm03_Blockrock~125_eLAB,rx2),

Insert a PEQ·2 EQ between this third Dr_Hex and Ihe rnlxer, Give it a boost at around 50Hz and 3kHz to help the loop cut through a bit

d rrex loop player / essentials <

0.. ~ ~ r I' I" I"

~ III 111'11.111,1

~~

5

> Because a sequencer track doesn't

automatically get created for an effects unit in Reason 3 we have to create ~ new sequencer track and route It to the distortion unit using the sequencer track's Device menu. In Reason 4, riqht-ctick the distortion unlt In the Rack and select Create Track for ....

8

> Once again, the clap Joop information

is tran ster red to a seq ue n cer tra ck by setting the left/right locators and hitting the To Track button. The filter on the Dr.,Rex is set quite low, so that the loop isn't that not i ceeb Ie w hen it Ii rs t beg ins,

6

> The controller tsne we need is called

Enabled. Automation data entered here will move the little Bvpass/On/Off switch at the top left comer 01 the 0·11_ Controller information here 'is either 0.,1 or Enabled 2. Here, the change from Bypass to On occurs just before bar 20_

9

> Here you can see the automatlon data

for the Dr. Rex filter, which gradually opens between bars 85and 97, and again lor a two-bar period' a bit later, You can crea te thi 5 by record i ng the fader movements with the sequencer in Overdub mode,

-

_'-_ ....

- ....

_ ..

,_100 -

--

--

.... -

- ..

--

1

> Again, we transfer the pattern to its

ow n seque nee r track so that we can play with the posit to n i ng and ti ne -tu ne the stops and starts. The Chemical beat. actually comes in at bar 117 with the bendy lead sound,

12 > To make the most 01 the one-bar stop at bar 136, we automate the filter ,Frequency, Resonance and envelope as Shown. Note that the resonance increases

as the Ii Iter treou e nc y d ecrea ses, wh lch gene rates th e fat low freq u e ric i es that characterise the drop.em

REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE I 21

Malstrom synthesiser

> While Subtractor represents the

traditional side of synthesis, Malstrom balances out the ph:ture with a very unusual Instrument that utilises a highly modular routln.g matrix. Its method of sound production Is a hybrid of two synthesis methods: granular and wavetable.

Granular synthesis works by taking slices of sound only tens of mi II iseconds long and stringing them together. By mixing different slices (or grai.ns) and playing with the order of sequences or the length of time between slices. a sense of natural movement can be created within the sound. a bit like how we perceive films as natural movement, even though they're actually a series of static slices. This is a

powerful (but non-user-friend Iy) method of

producing. interesting waveforms.

Wavetable synthesis is a more straightforward way of replaying sampled waveforms and com bini ng them additively to create the illusion of a changing sound (something that was popularised in the now-legendary PPG Wave and Waldorf Wave hardware svnths),

Graintable synthesis is the Malstrom approach. A grainlable makes a soundwave that changes over time. The changes can be sped up and slowed down without affecting the pitch of the generated note. Confused' The best way to get a handle on it is to playa round with the unique Motion and Index controls in the Oscillator sections of the synth, and see what you can come up with.

Modularityness

Just how Ilexi'blels Malstrom? Check out this list of options;

• t-Shot modulation plays the waveform once. m a ki ng; it an envelop e gene rato r,

• The sta rt poi nl of the g fa i n ta bl es can be easily modulated.

o Onboard are two (pannable) multi mode filters, a filter envelope and a waveshaper for

d i stortl on and e nh a n cement efte cis.

o You have a choice of which OSCillators use wh lch Ii I ters, a nd a lso Wh€1 her the Iii ters are in sen as or pa rallel,

• External sounds can be routed through Malstrom's flll€rs and snaper,

o And all that's not to mention the other 'usual' svnth, modulation and controller options

Sound in motion with Malstrom

1

> The lirsttime we hear Malstrom in a ct ion In ou r track Is over th e

sub -bass y groove atte r Ih e arches Ira I intra Isengatd is a mix 01 voice and strl ng" Iyp e tones th at crea te an

atrn asp h eri c an d su sta i ned pad sou nd subtly distorted by the Shaper, which is set to Sa tu rate.

22 I REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE

2

> To add further spcokiness 10 the sound. we insert a CF-1D1 Chorus/Flanger between the Malstrom and tne mixer This introduces even more motion to the sound and helps bring out the higher harmonics more,

3

> Here's the grid editor showing the pad pari that comes in at bar 53. I t's I eft unquantlsed in the interests of relaining an 0 rga n lc feel.

4

> Malstrom is also responsible for the

perc u ss ively Iii tered low drone that beg ins with a descen din g swoop at ba r 92. The sound is made by two Malstroms in a Combinator patch. The original idea was to have two different sounds. but we ended up liking the same patch twice.

pa n ned ha rd left a nd rig hi.

6

> Fi rst, set the Ii lters d ifferentl yon ea ch

Malstrom. which nlcelv w.idens the stereo effect. H Iter B is more ope non the left-hand side and Filter A is more open on the right.

8

> The Matrix 'uses two different patterns to articulate the Malstrom filters (see the Spider/Matrix section, p16). Using the Modulation Router in the Programmer panel 01 the Combinator, route Rotary 1 to the Reso nance of Fi Iter B on t he to p Malstrom and the Resonance of Filter A on the bottom one.

malstrbm synthesiser / essentials <

5

> Here's the drone note laid out in the seq ue ncer, It sou nds go ad b ut get s boring after a bar or two. and clearly nee ds so meki ndottu rth er arti cu latl on.

7

> External to the Combinator instrument is a Matrix pattern generator and a Spider CV. The Curve CV output of the Matrix is split and sent to the filters 01 each Malstrom. The toggle switches next to the CV inputs at the back of the Malstroms route the CV to either or both of the filters.

9

> Here you can see the automation for the Rotary 1 controller. Although the filter.s are bouncing away with the CV data from the Matrix, adding this extra movement to tne Resonance helps bring the sound to the front when there's not much else going in the track.em

Thl.is therack we used to "ut together ou r flnlshed track. (Old someone use the word 'm on.IeO)

REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE I 2.3

profei:t 1.5 II'l tile' TIIIGrIo'fI_ E5i:llentiiLllrQf(ler

Combinator

>1 t's possible to put together some fairly

hair-raising. instrument and effect combinations In Reason. However, up until Reason 3. the only way to transfer your creations between songs was to copy and paste them. The lntreduetlen of the Combinator, though, solved this particular problem big time.

The Combi nator is I ike a I ittle Reason Rack within a Rack. In it, you can patch any number of devices together in whatever way you like. This combination can then be saved as a patch and recalled at the click of a button.

You can have 20 Su btractors all plavl ng together at the same time. Or 20 Malstroms, or ten of each ... or whatever you like!

The kev-rnapplnq section of the Programmer

Building complex devices with the Combinator

> Step By,

1

> Here's the internal patching of the

Bendy Lead Comblnator instrument that comes in at bar 117. The three Subtractors connect to their own channel of a Line Mixer 6:2, the DOL·l and RV7000 are set up as send/return effects, and the Line Mix.er's output connects to From Devices in the Combinator's master panel.

24 I REASON: THE ULTIMATE. GUIDE

PATCH BROWSER 5 ave a nd loa d your co m bl natlO ns here

panel canbe used to create keyboard and velocity splits between all included instruments.

These Instruments can also be combined with effects units and Matrix pattern sequencers, a II modulating different parameters. Because of the inlernal patching of a Combinator unit it's also possible to input external audio, so you can create

mu Iti·effects units, especially with a feW Spider Audio modules to fling sounds off to multiple destinations.

All the devices within the Combinator can be modulated externally as usual, but the Combinator's own four rotary controls and four buttons can be assigned to more than one parameter of any, or all, of the modules withini!. One knob can control several parameters on

several devices, and can move each parameter by a different relative amount. This complex control routing is well demonstrated by the MClass Mastering Suite Combi, where Rotary 3 controls the Threshold and Ratio of the MClass compressor and is th us labelled 'Compression' 10 reflect its overall control of the two main compression parameters.

Colourful Combinators

You can create your own skins for your Combinator by selecting Select Backdrop.,. from Edlt»ComblnatoI.

2

> Subtracter rs patch is called

A II squa re. Bol h OSCillators are set 10 square waves and detunes by len cents, The mod wheel hits the Phase, FM and filler Frequency parameters.

3

> Subtracter 2'5 patch is called GltEm! Lead .. one osclllator is set to a standard sawtooth wave, the second uses waveform 6, which has <I softer, plane-like sound. The €nv€lopes of thls sound

retr i 9 ge r wi th ever y kevst ro ke,

II' ""~·'1··r..~1· ;-;°1,"":"°1" ···~'I'" "f'

._,,~ _ .•. ~ .. _,~H' _.'~'" ... '(:' ...... t? ...

,.u__ o~ ~ 0-. ~ ___

4

> Subtracter 3'5 patch is called Rave Lead. Two sawtooth waves are

pi teh ed seven se mi to nes (a fifth) epa rt, and a fair bit of noise Is mixed Into the signal. Again the mod wheel hits the Phase.FM and filter Frequencies so that the sound really screams when It opens up.

7

> Here's how the Combinator's Rotary!

controller is routed 10 the auxiliary sends of Line Mixer channels 1, 2 and 3. The MiniMal( parameter limits enable detailed multiple parameter control. A whole turn of a rota ry eo ntrolle r, for exarnpte, could change one parameter from tto 12'7. and another from 55 to 75.

~-,,- ... - .. s ", - ,
'; ~ ":> r=

,- ::::,::~ .. ::= !!'~~~- :11:::;::=: :::
- -~I '=:<:~c .~. :t;. -':.~-.!~. *
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• ,- • •
...:~:::~ ~ 00: " ~~~ ._,. '~!"'~;
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.. - .. _ .
:,;,- --- • •
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c;:;;;;:~,_:;:;
- =-= ... .n
. 5

> Here's the MIDI pattern in the

sequencer for the Bendy Lead pari.

Bec a use the melody does n't beg i n on beat 1 of the bar, the timing carl be contustnp when the part is played with no backing at a II, butt hi 5 al ways has a d ra m atlc effect when the beat kicks bac·k tn,

combinator / essentials <

6

> Opening the mod wheel controller

lane in the Bendy Lead sequencer track 'shows the extreme mod wheel moves we played In. We subsequently copy the best two bars of lead along with the mod wheel data that accompanies it.

8

> Next we make the Rotary 1 move that sends some of the sound to the reverse reverb effect in bar 11'8 in real time, witl1 the sequencer sella overdub. If you mess up the performance. you can always re draw il in Ih e controlle r la n e alter the event. To get h Ig her res ofutlon, set the

g rid to 1/64.

9

> Here's the patching lor the Huge Lead

sound that begins with sparse low notes and ends up playing the main lead line at the end of the song. The Subtracter audio is split; one split goes straight to the mixer. the other to a DDL·1 and

PEQ'2 arid then to the mixer. The RV7000 is a sendlretu rn effect. and th e whol e Line Mixer output goes through a Seream 4.

~; .2 .. 1 ..... I ,._. I :: .~T ._ ;';;:"lliJ

-_ -'~! • c---'!-: .::

•. : I I I • - . ~ . ::::. .;;

"It ......... hl... r.", •• -== ~ - ~

1iiiI_ _ _.... -. ... t.-.I_ ~~_

10> The Huge Lead sound actuallv appears near the start of the song. playing the soft .. sonar-style 'pips'. To ac hieve th is softer so u n d earl ier in the

song. the filter had to be automated. The routlnq can be seen in the Modulat'ion Routing window in the Combinator's Programmer panel.

1

> Here are those three 'pips' at bar 61. Sometimes a small sound can do a lot. The reverb here creates a hug e a mou nt of sp ace, b u I toh ea r it proper Iy you need a very minimal sound - just enouqh to set off th e reve rb,

12

> Here are the much biqqer-soundmq hits at bar 89. Note that the filter has opened up with the automation data in the Rotary I controller lane.ern

REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE I 2.5

Mixer 14:2 and effects

> Reason's modular nature comes up

. trumps once again When It comes to

mixIng, The possibilities for sound creation are awesome, butlevels need to be controlled and sounds need to bepanned,EQ'd and effected In order to create a finished mix with a good, polished sound,

The Reason mixer boasts a modest but functional 14 stereo inputs. Each channel has a basic treble and bass EQ. a mute. a solo and a pan pot. There are four stereo auxiliary sends, which can be pre or post-fader, and four stereo auxiliary returns over in the master section.

Of course. sooner or later vou'reqolnq to

need more channels, and Reason's mixers can be bussed together. The master outputs from the second mixer connect to the Chaining Master inputs on the firsl. If you wish. the auxiliary outputs from the second mixer can also connecllo the Chaining Aux inputs on the first mixer. This way, any effects connected to the first mixer can be accessed from the second one as well.

An efficient effects setup usually involves sending to an effects unit from the rmxers auxiliary sends and returning the effected signal to either auxiliary returns or input cha nnels. Of course. this processed signal

26 / REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE

RV7000 REVERB EFFECT

Our complete Ii!~n "",Je<;t I.," ue TutorIoI FlleoIReooon ~"h:Jljjl!f'

can be sent off to another effects un it. or even back to Itself. The possibilities are end less, and all mixer parameters can of course be aulomated in the sequencer.

Pro tips

The desk EQ was updated In Reason 2..5. Make sure the switch at the back of the mixer is set to Improved for the best sound. Set it to Compatible If you want any really old R€ason song 5 to play bac k with th€ or! 9 in a I 50 U n d.

mixer 14:2 and effects / essentials <

Creative mixing and effects

1

> This is the most basic effects. setup

possible. Set up an RV7000 reverb as a senczretu rn effect so that it can be accessed' by every channel 01 the mixing desk. This way, instruments can share one reve rb, and CPU cycles can be saved.

4

> Create a ODt-l d.elay and connect

its inputs to the Combinator's To Devices. This means that the signal arriving' at Combllnput is now sent straight 10 that DDL-l. Consequently. evervth in 9 e:1 s el n t he effects cha i n will be delayed by the time set on this first DDL-1 unit.

7

> Createa new DDL·' and connect it to

the second pair of the Spider's

sp I ltter outpu ts. Th i 5 is a complete duplicate of the delay/reverb connected to Line Mix.er input 1. so we' need to do something radical wlth It.

2

> Here are the RV7000 connections for

the top mixer. Note how the AUK 3

out P uts of the bottom m i xer are en a in ed to the top one. Thls enables both mixers to access whatever effect ends up connected to the Aux 3 output of the top one.

3

> We're going to set up Combinator effect FX2 from scratch. Connect Ihe AUK.3 send from the mixer to Combi Input. Connect Comb! Output to a mixer cha n nel, Create a lin e Mixer 6; 2 an d connect lts output to From Devices (whlch is routed to Combl Output).

5

> Create an RV7000 reverb. Make a connection from the output of the DDL-1 to the inputs of the new RV7000. Set the delay's MI)I to about SO/SO so that the reverb works immediately, followed by more reverberat io n of the de la yed s ig nal lor a big sound!

8

> Create a PH·90 phaser and connect

the outputs 01 the second DDL·1 to its inputs. A phaser works by creating a very short delay and slowly modulating the delay ti me, thu s ca U sl ng the Ireque n cy content to change over time.

6

> Create a Spider Audio Merger &

Splitter. Connect the outputs of the RV7000 to the Spider's splitter inputs. and the first pair of splitter outputs to the inputs of Line Mixer 6:2 channel t, Now we can hear the output 01 the delay/reverb combination lor the first time. but why stop there when wecan keep ad di ng effects?

9

> Connect the outputs of the PH·90 to

the inputs of Line Mixer channel 2. The result is a mix of a delay/reverb and a delayed and phased delay/reverb. and the overall effect is a swirly wash of sound that helps create an atmospheric bed in

th e backq ro un d.

REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE I 27

> essentials / mixer 142 and effects

1 0 > Now we're going to set up Combinator FXI. C reate aline Mixer 6;2 and connect it up as we did wi;th FX2earlier, This means multiple sound sources can be

b I ended before bei ng sen t to th e Ccrnbinator's output, You could use 11 big mixer if you wanted to.

11

> Create a Spider Audio and patch the Combinator's To .Devlces 10 the Spider's splitter inputs. Everything

I ha t 11 rrlves 11 t I he Com b inator's 11 uc io inputs now gets routed straighl to the Spider Audio, ready for distribution within the Combina'tor.

13 > To create more colour, we'U alter the lone 01 this delayed signal by running it through an EQ. Patch the outputs of the DDL·' delay to the Inputs of a newly

created PEQ·2 parametric EQ. Then patch the outputs of the PEQ-2 to the inputs of Line Mixer Channel l,

14> PatchthesecondsplitlromtheSpider to the inputs 01 a newly created DDL-l. Th is will form the othe r sid e 01 the stereo del ay setup. T h es e del ay signals C1I n be

pa n ned hard lell and rig ht or 11 uto-pa n ned to create dramatic stereo effects.

16 > Patch the third set of splits from the Spider to the inputs of 11 newly created D·ll distortion unit. Irs always good to throw some sonic chaos into the

mix, and what better way to start than with some distortion?

17 > Let'.saddsomesonicmovementtoour d is to rtedsou nd. Pale h the outpu Is of the D·lllothe inputs of a new CF·101 chorus/flanqer, Then connect this to the

input 01 Line Mixer chanflel3 50 it can be blended ln with the delay effects.

28 I REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE

12 > This effect is going to require two delay units. First. Create a DDL·l and patch the Ii rs t set of au tp u Is fro m th e Spi der spl ilter to its In puts,

15 >. pa. ten the out.pu. t. 01 the. new DDL-1 to the input 01 another PEQ·1. which in

I u rn shou Id be patched to the i nput of line Mixer channel 2. Now both sides of

the delay setup can have different EQ cu rves, T hi 5 will lu rtner e nh a nee th e stereo effect

18 > Create an ECF"42 lilter. Make a mono

.. connection from the auxiliary send 01 the Line Mixer to the ECF·42 input and back to the line mixer return. We want to

modulate the ECF·42 by patching the filter envelope modulation output of the Subtracter; which is plavlnq the sound that's going through this whole ettects setup, to the Env Gatelflput 01 the ECF-42.

mixer 14:2 and effects / essentials <

..

:. 11II1I1II1I!11I!IIIHlIIIIIIIIII

1 9 > To demonstrate the BV512 vocoder

. let's use it to effect the Chemical Beat

loop from the third Dr.Rex player. A

vo co der p roce sses the sign a I go I ng

through it (the carrier) by using a source sound (the modulator) -the latter Imposes lts character on the former

22 > Patch Auxiliary send 4 from mixer2 to the Modulator Input. Any sound that an ive 5 'h ere makes th e vo co de r respon d to its rhythmic and tonal qualities. It does

t hi 5 by crea ti ng a n envelope follower for eac h freq ue n cy ba nd (see ste p 26).

25 > Once the loop is fed ln to the ModUlator Input of the vccoder,

yo u'll see the graph lc display 5 how the

res ponse in ea ch of the freque ncy ba nds, In fact. you, could almost use the vocoders

display as a spectrum analyser.

20> To illustr.ate this, w. e'll use a subtractor set to a sIring patch (Solina Strings). A sustained pad means there's always a

so u n d tfavelli ng th ro ugh th I' vocode r for

the modulator to modulate.

21

> Make a mono connection from the

Subtracter output to the vocoder's Carrier Input. and from the Carrier Output to a rnlxer input. Now the normal output of the svnth travels throuqh the vcccder like it would any other effects unit. but you worrth ea r a nylhl ng u nli I yo u send a si.gn;;l to the Modulalorlnput.

23 > Now It's time to send the Chemical .Beat to the vocoder with the AUII 4 sen d. Rememb e r, th is is th e tr i 9 gersou nd I h at affects the sign at gol ng th ro ugh th e vo coder. You ca n al so use a 5 pj de, A ud io

10 take a spirt from an audio sou rce, but an auxiliary send: can be automated!

C IJ m'&f2I~
.fb 32 UND_
.,0 1& nIlD--
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.;pj EDUUllER __
.. , "'OeDDER --
-~ I
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CARRIER 26> The vocoder's response is set here. FFl" is the most accurate and detailed and would be great for making the string pad 'talk', by using a vocal sample as Ihe

modulator, for example. This is very processor I ntensl ve and ca u s es a bit of latency. Equally lnterestlnqeftects can be achieved at a lower resolutions.

24 > This is .. the MIDI part .. lor the SUbtr. a. ctor strl ng sou nc that w ill be t rave II i n g

th roug h 1 he vocoder, It's on Iy a bor i 11 g string pad, but the sound needs to be

reasonably constant and smooth for the full effect 10 be heard, (Try USing a vocal sample as the mooutator In FFT mode for class ic voco der ertects.)

27 > Lastly. tweak the sound 10 perfection using the envelope Attack and ,DecaV parameters. These offer line control over the rhythmic response of the vocoder to

th I' b rea kbeat, a nd have a hug I' ette ct on the groove. em

REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE I 29

MCLASS STEREO IMAGER

Aimed squarely at

the mastering process but useful for other tasks too

MClass effects

> One of ~he bi.ggest new additions to

, Reason in version 1 was the MClaS5 Mastering Suite. This contains four stereo effects units that can be called up .Indlvldually or In a specially·made Combinator designed to sit between the mixer output and the Hardware Device.

The M Class EQ provides a low frequency cut at 30Hz, usefu I for removi ng unwanted sub-bass rumble that hinders claritv in a fina I mix, it also boasts two fully parametric bands, and high and low shelving bands, each of which can be independently activated.

The M Class Stereo I mager uses some weird phase mojo to widen the stereo image so that it

Mastering with MClass effects

> Step By,

~I~-- ~~
I c- o ~ tJ, Q i>
~-
D ~ 0
co
-.
I~ Eo; ~~-------: ,jLrt
. ~-- -_- _:a
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I~·'~"'_""'''''''
1~·~,c..,., __ H e •
11t-"-·,c::c:!I!!I~' -. - .' ., 1

> This is the MClass Mastering Suite

Combi n ator p reset. It co m p rises a II the MClass modules patched in a typical mastering setup. Broad, 'instant control is available with the rotary controls and buttons at the top 01 the Combinator.

30 I REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE

almost appears to come from outside the speakers. You can split the highand low frequencies at a selectable crossover point, then widen or narrow either band as you see fit. Typically, you might widen the tops and narrow the bass to tighten it up a bit.

The MClass Com pressor is a stereo compressor with a sldechaln input for duckl ng or trequencv-sensltlve compression. It's designed to put punchy and musical compression over your whole mix.

Finally, the M Class Max i mlzer offers a different style of compression, knocking out the highest peaks in the signal without anyone noticing too much. This enables you to make the

THE MCLASS MASTERING SUITE COMBINATOR

This dedicated Combinator preset Is conllgured to work with all of the M Class effects

PROGRAM MER PANEL

Here's where the Combinator's controllers can be routed to several of the mastering suite's pa ramelers 51 m u Ita neously

Our CQI1'Il;:Ilel~ Reasen proJect Is In tne _lfI __

Es$enti;J1t foldet"

main output level higher before dig;ital clipping occurs. making a louder CD or mix file.

Pro tips

You can use either side 01 a stereo processor as an independent mono processor - the settings will be the same for both sides, though.

Although the stereo widening effect can sou nd I u n ky, it"1I ca u se havoci f you wa n t to cut a vinyl version of your mix.

Have a go at using the Gain Redwctlon (V outp u t from the M Class co m pre 550 r as an envelope follower,

2

> As we've already seen, the signal

is routed to the d ev ices in th e Combinator from To Devices, the MClass units are connected serially, and the output of the Maxlrnlzer returns to From Devices.

3

> When an MClass Combinator is created betwee n a mixer and th e Hardware Device, the cables are automatically connected from the main mixer outputs 10 the rna in audio inputs on the hardwa rs I n Ie ria ceo

mclass effects / essentials <

Masteri ng wit h Me lass effects (conti n ued)

II I I

4

> Using the pre-defined Combinator

cont ro II e rs, we ca n get a bask compression and EQ setup in no time. The Rotaries centro: Loudnes.s Curve, EQ Boost Freq, Compression and Master Gain. The buttons are Stereo Imager On, EQ Boost On, COmpressor On and Punch.

.. .,_,. ,

5

> You can enable the LoCut to

de-rumble the mix, and make some fairly subtle lifts at around 700Hz and 10 Ie Hz to give a little spa rkle, It's a good idea 10 bang out a quick CD (see step 12) and check the mix out on some different systems, or alongside other music .. This should give you a clue about whether to ad d top end or rc II off the bass.

7

> A subtle 2,1 compression Rallo with moderate Attack and Releas:e will add some body and punch to the louder sections of the .song without creating unwanted pumpil1g effects. This compressor ls also capable of some orastlc results, and is good for use on individual instruments.

1 0 > Another way ofgetljng more playback muscle from your computer is to ramp up the buffer size. We ended up with a massive 16,384 samples buffer size and,

consequently, a latency of 371m5! This doesn't matter when you're Just playing a song back, thouqh, as we are in this case.

8

> On the Maximizer, make sure 4ms Look Ahead is turned on. This improves performance but adds latency, which isn't a problem as we're in the final staqe of production. Soft clip removes

an y ad d tra nsle nts - ex peri me n t wi thh ow 'hard it can work before you hear deterioration in. the sound.

QRl'f.![A.~ER

~ ~ .-~- -- ----~ ~~ ~

1

> ne High Quality Interpolation

options can now be activated on Reaso n's devi ces wh e reve r pas 5 ib Ie to get I h e smoothest. chu n'ki est so u nd. Yo u should now have enouqh CPU muscle to cope with it

6

> There are hours of fun to be had!

pi avl ng. a rou nd with the Stereo Imager. When sense prevails, add a small amount of widening in the hig'h band. We've used the X-Over Freq knob to set the high band as 500Hz and upwards.

---- ----m';t-=

.- ............ -- ]fI

..._,J,.,..

C~~ 5nciwlll'lnI'f'Invlrlllltt'fOtll'J'I'D !=!I~~~,.IJ"IiiIU!oI1!III

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ac.n~riI

70>< "'"

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,.,,,

aulJ"_~.~.~

!HOM

u. • ..,.~ CI'IiW'ItI'I.liIY,"'_'IIIIIii",_~t ...... 1illlllt1

9

> If your computer 'is beginning to

stru gg le at th is poi nt, yo u may hear some unsettling clicking or scraping noises during the denser parts 01 the song. Increase the CPU Usage Limit in the Preferences page to 95%. II you activate th e hi g h P e rto rrna nee para meters (see step 11) you may need yet more muscle.

r" R ...... n _ E<!l, e,u,. e N ...

~ =!..._~. Opeot_

~ ilN: 1'l:MM CJo:s,e

12

:Save ~'Vi:,M ••.

Song I "fI)C'm.9Uon.~. "'bll.;'~_ ... _II Stlf-C"","ln Sonl "9"_'

> Now that the song is playing back at

lull power, all that remains is to select Export Song As AudIo File from th e .Fi le menu, set th e desl red file lorm a t (16-oiI/44.1 AIFF or WAV to burn to COl, and yo u,'re a II don e I em'

REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE I 31

hor sy thesiser

This huge semi-modular instrument is the jewel in Reason's synthesis crown. Here's how you can get the most out of it

> With Its wealth of sample players, .it's easy , to view Reason as a one-stop sampling shop. Indeed, many are content to load up their favourite sample set and knock out a tune using Just Red.fum and a multlsampled NN·XT patch. So powerful are these Instruments that Reason's role as a true sound design studio is often overlooked.

While the earliest versions of Reason may have seemed lacking in the synthesis department. v3 upped the ante with Malstrom and the Combinator device. which Offered a clever way to contain mu ltlple layered and effected instruments. Even so, seasoned synthesists often continued to dismiss Reason in favour of the flexibility of dedicated modular

34 I REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUID.E

synths. All of that changed. however. with Reason 4 and the astounding new svntheslser that it brought to the Propetlerhead party.

Billed as a 'polysoni.c' synth, Thor teatu res six oscillator types, including FM, phase modulation and noise. along with the obligatory analog ue a,nd a wavetabte oscillator fashioned afler the lamed PPG Wave. These oscillators ca n be sen! through up to three filter modules. Filter modu Ie slots can house one of the four available IHler modules. incl uding. naturally, a state vartabte filter, a comb filter and aformanl filter. The Moog-style 'ladder' filter is also represented.

As with any svnth worth its circuitry. Thor features envelope generators and LFOs. alonp

with a selection of effects processors. There's also a cool step sequencer that can be used to play note patterns or as a modulation source. Since Thor is a modular synth, you'd expect a flexi.ble modulation path. and Propellerhead have delivered exactly that. in the form 01 a fully trtckeo-out mod matrix.

Before you start Ihls tutorial. lam i liarlse yourself with Ihe basics of Thor, as we're going to cover its more advanced functions. We'll use the mod matrix. plumb the depths of the wavetable OSCillator and explore the bui 11-1 n sequencer. We'll also explain the complexities 01 Thor's signal routing and look at some of the most interesting modules. You'll soon be well on your way to rnooutar mastery ...

thor synthesiser / essentials <

Signal routing

1

:> By now, you've probably had a good

play with Thor's preset patches. If not, you should. as they give a good idea of what's possible. if not precisely how It

can be accomplished. They certainly show off the instrument's flexlbllltv. When YOU're done. load the CMBasic patch from the DVD.

3

> Note the illuminated' arrow buttons in between the modules. These show the selected signal path. Let's insert a Low Pass Ladder Filter module in the empty Filter 1 slot Give the Freq and Res knobs a twist. Filter 1 flows into the Shaper and then into the Amp. Click the left arrow beneath the Shaper, and the right arrow above Filter 2 to redirect the signal.

5

> Tha t's a n ice 50 u nd. te t's have a little more tun with our patch. Insert a Multi OscHiator into the third oscillator slot and click on the 3 button just to the 'left 01 Filter 2. Next. click. on Ihe right arrow under the Shaper module Oscs 1 and 2 are now going through Filter t while Osc 3 is routed to Filter 2. Use the sliders in th.e Mixer section to adjust the osc levels.

2

> Playa few notes on your keyboard

controller or from Reason's sequencer.

The sound is pretty basic. ccnslstlnq of a si ng Ie pu tse wave oscillator. Lei's d ropl n an at h er oscl II ator, CI ick the arrow in th e upper-left corner 01 the Osc 2 slot. and select another Analog oscillator Route the signal into the empty Filler 1 slot by clicking the 2 button as shown here.

4

> As you may have notrced.there's no

chanqein the sound. That's because we merely changed the routing, but didn't run the signal j,l1rough any active modules. We can do that by clicking the arrow in the Filte r 2. s lot and chocs i ng. a module from the list of available options. Select the Formant Filter. Playa few notes While moving the little dot around the XfY pad.

6

> There are lots more routing

possi b il iti es ,. in cl udi ng co pi 0 us modulation options. For now. let's have a look at the way our oscillators can be made to interact. See the sliders and arrow b u tto ns a long thelett 5i de Of each oscillator? These can be used to cause one ascii! ator to mod u I ate aneth e r, Gi ve th e topmost one a nudge to hear how It affects 111 e sou nd,

Semi-detached

Thor Is described by Its ereators asa 'polvsonic~synthesizer,ln reference to Its multiple oscillator and filter types, and .Its seml·modular nature.

What exactly Is meant by the term 'seml-modular't M.ost synthesizers are hardWired. The number of components are predetermined by tbe manufacturer, as Is the signal patll. There are usually a. couple, of oscillators. a filter and some en.velo,pes on offer, along, wnh a few ancillary bits and pieces. Conversely. When a .syntheslzer Is described as 'modular', It refers 1.0 the fact that the Instrument's various components are somewhat Interchangeable and f'reely patchable. A fully modular Instrument enables the user to choose the number of; say, oscillators or filters to be used In a given patch. Old·school analogue modulars were freely configurable. A framework was provided, Into whlchthe.syntheslsl would Install any modules they liked. The selected modules could then. be patched In any way the user liked. I' you wanl.ed 12 oscillators, It wasn't a problem (assuming you could afford them), and If you needed the filter to come before theYCA, that was entlre.ly your call.

A semi·modular Instrument lies somewhere between aha.rdwlred synthesizer and a fully modular one. While the signal path might be entirely flexible, there's usually a limitation In the number of avallabl.e slots or modules. Some semi·modular mstruments have a fixed number of components. but give freedom in routing. Others, like Thor, have a fixed number of module slots on hand. but. enable tile user some freedom In chOOsing what sort of module should occupy a. given stot, For .Instance, Thor allows for no more than three oscillators In a gl.ven patch, but the user decides which of Dle six oscillator types to use. The filters are similarly definable, and tile signal; path Itself Is almost wholly determined by the user.

The great majorilyof synthesizers out there ha.ve II lixed .5'lgnal path like that 0' Sublr.octor .. Amodular Instrument frees y-oufrom Ihese!ihackl.es,but Introduces some com.plexlly

REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE I 35

> essentials / thor synthesiser

I nto the matrix

1

> Much of Thor's power comes from its massive modulation matrix, This comprehensive routing system enables you to ass'ign virtually any parameter to a modulation source. Though it looks a bit overwhelming' at flrst glance. irs really not too difficult to get your head around. Load up the CMMat'ril( patch from YOLlr DVD.

4

> t.ers bump the Delay slider up a Hille, to around 160ms, The Attack and Release segments should be all the way down" and the Decay segment should be set to about 160ms, too. You can, of

co u rse, use whatever val ues you Ii ke; au rs are only for demo purposes,

7

> Each modulation path has a modulation amount asscclatec with lt, which can beslther positive or negative, By dragging to the right or left on the Amount parameter, you adjust the strength with which your mod

sou rce a Heels yo u r sel ected des tj natl 0 n. In our case, a neqatlve value would be best. Try a lull -100,

36 / REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE

lFOI MC<I tinv ~-
." • IlIU I'I'IH • (j4n:ntG ~~I'? ..
" .. (lilllill'O !i'JNe. • n.IIII"C !ornc n .. oiI: 'r'.
'" r~OO·l ~
e • tl "
flloll ... DI ..... ~ Mod Env Loop Olu.J f
" .. , .
",IUt,~~O" F' "'"
......... : 1-= F'
: Ii ': WlUUO ..... IOUJ" .. D R Flit.'
",
o~,. ~~ ~
- & -~ 0
'0- "'. ....N ...
QIoboI E.,. 2

> Have a play with the patch. If you

completed the tutorial on the previous pa qe, yo u'll no te that it's pretty much the same patch, but with a lew twea'ks to the

e nve lopes to length e n th e release ti me. Let's adjust the Mod Envelope for lise in the matnx. Activate the Loop function to cycle through the envelope points,

\tcf(,ll ~ 0><1 0<<2 0><3

5

> Now, take a look at the mod matrix. As

you ca n see, there a re three possi bl e modulation paths from which to choose. Some offer one source and one destination, along with a scale source, wh II e oth e r S otte r multiple scal es or desttnstlons. Cllc,k the arrow in the

very first slot and select ModEnv from the menu.

8

> Play and hold a note or two. You should clearly 'hear the ettect of the Mod Envelope on the cutoff frequency of Filter 1. While hcldinq a note, have a play with the DADR Sliders of the Mod Envelope. Old timers might recognise this envelope as being somewhat similar to

t na t of Ih e ra re and' wond ert ut VCS3,

3

> N'ow, click the Gate Trig button to

ensure that our MIDI note triggers the envelope. You can also tempo-sync this envejope to the host if you lI'ke. The Mod Envelope is a variation on the classic 4-stage ADSR envelope, only this one lacKs sustain, replacing It with a Delay segment Just before the Attack.

6

> NoW, follow the horizontal row direct.ly

to t'h e r1 g ht a nd locate th e Dest column. Click the arrow associated with that slot to reveal the drop-down menu of modulation destlnatlons, You'll find a category for Filter I, and a sub-menu. with Flltl Freq among the opt 10 ns. T'h I si S tn e one we want to use, Select it.

9

> Look at the Scale parameter. Thls is a sort of modulation source for the modulatlon amount.In 3 tvpicalexarnpte, you might assign the mod wheel to control LFO depth, We're going to select lFO 1 as the Scale modulator and set the second Amount to 72 - this determines how much the selected Scale source will affect the rno d so LJ rce.

Steps in time

Today's electronic music is i ntl mately associated with and inextricable from the

seq u encer, R eas on itse If is posses se d' of a powerful and flexible sequencer, Even the DAW you ReWire it into was probably the evolutionary product of a M.IDI sequencer, Sequencers are everywhere, Drum machines have them, computers come bundled with them and many svnthsnave simple versions onboard in the form of arpeggiators, So why did Propellerhead deem lt necessary to Include a built-in sequencer module in their sernl-rnodular svntheslser?

To understand: that, you must re-evaluate your idea of what a sequencer does, For most of us, the sequencer is nothing more than a device that plays back <I' preprogrammed; series of notes, However, the first sequencers came about as

thor synthesiser / essentials <

accessories to modular svntheslsers, They weren't designed merely to play notes, but to act as modulation sources, When they did play notes, they weren't always tied to a strictly quantised tempo. It was only after that such associations were attributed to them, For instance, though many musicians would

insist on using it to play

eighth"notes back with robotic, clockwork precision, the timing of M.oog's famous 960 sequencer module could be determined by the position of the knobs in its third row, Addltlonallv, while most users were content to trigger notes, some intrepid experimenters used it as a user-definable lFO or multistage envelope generator,

Thor's step sequencer representsa return to the days when sequencers (lIke the 0 n e pictured) did far more than Just 'rlgg er notes

It's this sort of power that Propellerhead likely had in mind when they blessed Thor with a dedicated sequencer module, The adventurous among you will findil ani nvaluable resource for cr.afti.ng complex timbres, You can, lor example, use it to add sparkle and life to a thick pad, or to subtly shade a rhythmic patch, The possibilities are endless, And yeah, if you really want to, you can use il to trigger notes",

In sequence

1

> Thor's sequencer is a. nod 10 the

a na'log u e seq uencers of t he past It packs a '101 of power beneath a deceptively s imp 'Ie i nterf ace. Let's ta ke a look under the hood, Start by loading a sequencer-ready patch we've made called CMSeq_ Playa few notes on your MIDI controller .. Simple and effective.

4

> Now.adlust the knobs until you have a

note pattern yo u I ike, We've c re ated a simple patternin the key of A. Hit Run to hear your sequence in action. That's much better. Now, use the 'Edit knob to select Velocity fa red Iti ng and twea k the k 110 bs 10 alter the velocity level of each note.

Th at's cool, bu t we can get mo re c reat i ve.

2

> Tie Thor into the sequencer by clicking on the Step Seq button in the Trigger section at the lop of the GUt. Now, look to the bottom of the instrument interface, There you'll lind the thin sliver of seq uen cer co ntrols, Use the logg I 10 switch at th eleft to select Repeat mode, and c lick the Ru n bu tton. As you can hear, I he

seq lien cer is now trig ge r;j ng16 th- note s.

5

> Use the Edit. knob to select Curve 110r

editing, Now, use the knobs to create a pattern for the curve, then return 10 the modulation matrix 10 assign this curve to a destination. You'll lind the Sequencer among the list of available modulation

so II rces, Se lect Curve 1 as a sou rce and asslpn it to Filter 1 Freq, with art Amount of78

3

> Currently, all of the notes in the

seq uen ce are exactly I he sa me le nglh, pitch, etc, We need to change that, Use the Edit knob to select Note_ As you can. see, the notes are all C3, and all of them are being triggered, Steps are triggered (or notl depending on the status of the button sunder each knob in. the seq wen ce. Deactivate a few of them, as we have here,

6

> We've elected to crank the mod

Amollntup alll'he way, and to create an ot:h e r patte rn usl ng the se q uencer's Curve 2 a s a mod sou rce for the fi lte r's Resonance parameter. Finally. we've

ed lted the seq uen cer's Gate times, and used that to modulate Oscillator 1'5 Pulse Width parameter, You can hear the results In the patch called CM;5eq2_

REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE I 37

> essentials / thor synthesiser

Riding the waves

While the majority 01 modern synths are based on analogue or sarnple-plavback methods, traditional wavetable synthesis is making something of a comeback, The term 'wavetable' is often used to describe any method of synthesis that uses sampled waveforms, but purists would argue that the term should be assigned only to instruments that draw upon the legacy of Wolfgang Palm's legendary PPG Wave synthesizers.

The PPG Wave was a high·end hybrid instrument that was released over 25 years ago. It combined digitally scanned wavetabres and analogue fitters and envelopes to produce sounds that were either harsh and grating or gentle and shimmering. With not-so-subtle aliasing and 8·bit sample resolution, it was fu II of character. That character was loved by musicians ranging from Tangerine Dream and

Peter Gabriel to Depeche Mode and uitravox.

So what was all Ihe fuss about? At the time, synthesis technology was based on Simplistic analogue waveforrns.Jlke

square, sawtooth and sine waves. WhHe these were II ne up to a potnt, after more than a decade of use, analogue sounds were beginning 10 pall. The PPG's wavetable oscillators were far more versatile, consisting of a series 01 digitally sampled, single·cycle waves. Such a series of waveforms was called a 'wavetable', and the instrument contained a number of such

plug'ln. Th(lr's Wavelable (lsdllal(lr (lwes Its .insplrati(ln to lI1e legendary PPG Wave synthesizers (lfthe early 19805

wavetables, each wilh its own unique catalogue of waveforms all stru ng in a row. This enabled Ihe oscillators to draw upon a vast number of waves, and Ihe position of the wavetable itself cou Id be modulated lor complex sounds that chanqed over time.

II's this dynamism that's often assoclated with wavetable synthesis. Thor draws upon the PPG for inspiration, but with its seml-rnodular Signal path, it offers elot more power.

The Wavetable oscillator

1

> Let's take a look at the power thai Hes beneath the surface of the Wavelable oscillator. Load up the CMBasic patch from Ihe DVD. Clic:k on the arrow at the top·1 eft co me r of osc 1, an d se lect Wavetable Osc from the list of options. In the centre of the module Is a window in which you. can select from the wavetables on offer. Select PPG 0 Harm 1·8 ..

'.J WalJetable Oeoc , • . \

o· , 1·

, 1·

KB-I) DU SEiIIl TUNE

~::

lUlE SE.LECl

~

. I't'- • X-FADE

... POSI~.~ .

'If" ''_'. Os.c 1 P05:O .

... _

2

> Play and hold: a note, While turning the

Position knob -vou ca n clearly h ea r the waveforms changing smoothly. Click the X·Fade button and turn the Position knob again. Now the waveforms shift abruptly from one to another. This is a famous PPG sound. Leave the Position knob all the way down.

:FIII"2 •

Snaper D ....

Amp •

~ er .. ~;;;;;;;;;;;;=

• ••••••

4

> Next, we'll turn to the modulation

matrix to asslqn our Mod Envelope to Osd Pos. Selthe rnodulanon amount pretty high. Why not a fulll00? Did vou remember to activate the Mod Env's Gat.e Trigger? You should hear the wavetable position being swept by the envelope.

38 I REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE

5

> For a more modern sound, activate X-Fade to smooth out the transition between waves. Let's beef up the sound with another wavetable OSCillator. Don't forget to route it through Fllterl's slot. This time, select the PPG 27 Formant wavetable, and assign LFO 1 to modulate il with a sine wave. Use a slow LFO Rate, and deactlvate the Tempo Syn("

3

> As you might guess, each wavetable,

with its wide variety of included waveforms" provides a wealth of sounds from which to choose .. However •. the real joy of wavetable synthesis lies in how these wavetables can be modulated. Let's create a classic wavetabte sweep, using the Mod Envelope .. Set a short Attack, medium Decay and a iengthyReTease in the Mod Envelope ..

6

> The classic PPG signal path included

an analogue low-pass filter We can easi Iy recreate I ha t w.i th Thor's La de er Filter. Drop one in and use the Filter Envelope to mod u I ate th e cutoff

Freq u encv Fin ish off yo u r sou nd with some echoes, courtesy of Thor's built-in delay. Awesome.

thor synthesiser / essentials <

More modulation

1

> Let's have some more tun with the

many modulation options on offer. We can start with the patch we completed in the last section. which we've named CMPPGPad.lfyou're starting anew.load it up and playa, chord to get a feel for how it sounds. Insert a Comb FHter Into the Filter 2 slot.

4

> Next, turn up the Comb Filter's Env knob. This is hard-wired to the Filter Envelope, which will now sweep through the Comb Filter's frequency. Play and hold a note to hear the effect, In the matrix, assiq n th e Fi Iter Envelope to mod u I ate Osc 3'5 frequency as wel" using only a small amount of positive modulation -1.6 should suffice.

7

> Returning to the matrix, assign lFO 2 to an empty Source slot and patch it through to the Delay module's Time parameter by selecting DelTime from the Ii 51 otav ai la b Ie mo d d estl n at ions. Give th e modulation Amount a healthy shove, and adjusllFO 2's parameters to taste. We prefer a slow Rate for this one.

2

> It's only fitting that we should use an

FM-based oscillator when exploring Thor's rno d u I at] 0 nab il it i es, 5i nee FM ltse If is based on modulation. Insert an FM Pair Oscinto the Osc3slotand route it

t h rou gh the Com b Fiite r. Click the a now just above the Comb Filter to route the signal to Ihe Amp.

3

> That's a great sound. FMsynthesis is

ideal for creating bell-like timbres" as is obvious from its default tone. Reduce the Octave of the FM Pair osc tc z, Now, set the Carrier parameter to 3 and playa note or two. While you're at it, reduce the Freq of the Comb Filter to 130H~

5

> Thai is one weird sound. It might be a

little heavy, Ih au g h, sore du ce the level of Oscillator 3 in the Mixer5ection. We Just want a lillie chaos under the surface, so a setting of around ·20dB ouqh t to don ice Iy. Playa nd hold a ch 0 rd. That rea Ily Is beeutnu I. The F M osdua to r adds just the right amount of interest.

8

> Can you hear how the delay time

sh ltts and moves, a Iteri n g Ih e p ,leh with it? For a spookier sound, disable the Delay's Tempo Sync. Let's go even further. USing the matrix, assiqn the Filter Envelope to modulate the Delay's Feedbac,k parameter. Set the Amount pretty high, but be careful of too much feedbacK You might want to adjust the overall volume to protect your ears.

6

> Though often overlooked, the ability

to modulate the parameters of a delay processor is a powerful feature.

Propel I ern ead h ave a ppl i ed thei r considerable effects routing expertise to Thor's Delay module. So as not to confuse ourselves, let's reduce the Delay module's built-In mod parameters. Set the Rate and Amount knobs ali the way down.

9

> Thor offers plenty more possibilities,

so experiment and have fun with it.

We've finished off our patch (CMSeekingChaos) by adding a Comb Filter and modulating' it with the sequencer Maximum modulation mayhem - give it a listen. em

REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE I 39

PATTERN SECTION

Enables you to manually decide which notes of the arpeggio will p lilY by switch ing on and off the ste ps in you r seq ue n ce

RPG-8 arpeggiator

> Arpegglatofs have a reputation for being

quite daunting. We blame this on vintage gear. You see, with all the nostalgic out'pQurings you hear about how great the classic synths were (you'd be forgiven for thinking that they used to give you a grease-down and a Shiatsu every time you switched them on - and then cleaned up the mess afterwards), the truth is, the only good thing about them was their sound. They sounded phenomenal ••• really phenomenal. But as we all know, the best soft synths are getting close.

Now, we won't bore you with our shopping. list of complaints about vintage synthesizers (and especially not their unreliability. their weight. their size. their lack. of automation or their price lags), but one thing they really didn't do was encourage you to use their arpegglators. Unfriendly interfaces, no editing, Ii mited controls and no tempo-sync? No thanks!

But perhaps we're confusing the issue. What

40 I REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUID.E

is an arpeggiator, anyway? Well, simply put, irs a device for generating musical patterns. aka arpeggi.os. These are essentially looped musical riffs. based around the notes of a chord played in an evenly-timed' sequence rather than simultaneously. Arpeggios can be lead riffs. basslines or fills - irs all about the repetitive loop.

With that in mind, you can probably th ink of quite a few tracks that have arpeggios sprinkled liberally throughout them. Almost anything by Duran Duran is a good place to start (more about that later). and countless

t ra n ce tra cks featu re fa st, evo Iv i n g pa ttern s that sound very clever until you realise they were created by feeding an arpeggiator a simple chord and transposing it up or down every couple of ba rs,

In our opinion, tnts particular example just serves to high light the joys of arpeggia.tors rather well. The common theme throughout many of the techniques we're about to snow you

is that they can make I ive performances a real possibility for non-musicians .. and enable non-musical producers to generate much more complex and intricate patterns and riffs than they would otherwise be able to. And by feeding them the same notes as you r other track elements. you can be confident everything will be In key ~ it can be fun trying to make a track entirely from arpeggios" in fact

So, arpeggios are pretty versatile things, pretty powerful. pretty useful and, now. pretty accessible to anybody with Reason 4. RPG-8 is one of the most stunnlnqlv useable, powerful and frIendly arpegg,iators we've ever seen, and. it can be applied to any sound source in the Reason rack. If you've read the manual. you know all this already, so here we'll just take a very quick walk through the basic use of RPG-8, before moving on to some practical examples of ways in which you can use it to enhance your tracks. fill in sonic gaps. or generate inspirational tunes from scratch

rpg-8 arpeggiator / essentials <

1

> We wan! to start with a svnth.so we

g a for the bea utv th at is Tho r,

Patch ·wi se, i t's up to you. bu I tra d iti on a II y you want something quite percussive and punchy. with a short release time. You can go fo r slig htl y longer releases. but these work better with slower arpeggios.

> To generate something from RPG·8

we need 10 send it some notes. so either create a clip in the RPG·8 track and draw one long C note in over a bar, or record one manually using your MIDI kevbc a rd. Lisle n ca re 1 ully to t hat. an d then playa simple Chord' (try C. E, G) and loop play ba c k over on e bar,

2

> Now we need to insert an RPG·a., which will automatically be wired up to the Thor svnth, Even 50. take a moment to have I:oo'k around the back at the

co n nectlons on 0 fler. Thev' re pretty extensive. 50 we su ggest you rea d p313 01 the Reason 4 manual untll it sinks m. ..

~. I,
I
I~
-
;;
-,
::
-I .
- 4

> Now we have a simple arpeggio

co m in 9 th ro ug h. It au d ibly restarts every time the loop restarts and RPG·8 detects a triggered chord, and this is because we only have three notes being played over one 4/4 bar. Try adding a

10 u rth n ate (A) an d i 1"111 cop perfectly.

5

> Go throuqh all the controls and

ex peri me nt to see what I hey ca n do. paying particular attention to the ways they can interact (check the tips on the next page). When you have somethlnq you·re pleased with. create a new Clip, transpose the notes down. join the two cl ips an d exte nd the loop to two bars.

6

> N_ow we jus.t nee.d to check out the

hidden options. Invoked by right"clicking the main, front panel of the RPG"B. Make a mental note 01 these, and try the Notes to Track function now - lt makes a clip of your arpegglated notes.

Duran halle all madearpdasslcs

Famous arpeggios

The easiest way to learn how t.o mak.e eHectlve use of arpeggios In your music Is to have a good Iislen t.O what other people ha.ve done In the past, But where should you start? Well. how about something ntce and simple - remember a little track from way back called Blue Monday? It had a pretty famous bassllne -a rather nifty example of an a rpeggl.o. This one might have beenpla,yed manually, but this Is exactly the kind of thing arpeggios are great for. A similar example can be found on every Blur fan's CD shelf In the form of BoY5 & Girls.

For another, slightly more bubbling example, look no further tha.n, Radio Gaga by Queen. This really was generated by an arpegglator - that of the legendary ,Roland Jupiter 8. And speaking of the Jupiter 8, another classic arpeggio, and arguably one of the most nenetlc ever released, Is the flurry of notes running' throughout Duran Duran's Rio (it's prominent In the two-bar drops prec.edlng each chorus, but audible throughout If you listen closely enough). Some accounts suggest It WaS In fact created on the Jupiter 4, but whatever the truth, it oorlalnl.y wasn't the only Duran Duran tra.ck to use fat.arpegglos t.o fill out the mid-range where conventional rock music would ha.ve gultarspla.ylng chord's. Save.A Prayer and Hungry Like The Wolf are just two of the more well-known examples.

So, as you can .. see, ar'pegglos are as musl.caUy powerful. as they are versatile. and the,guys behInd these classics certalnl,y didn't have anything IIkeRPG·8 at their flngertlps.What are you waltln,g for?

REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE I 41

> essentials / rpg-8 arpeggiator

RPG-8 arpeggiator tips

1 The Gate Length control on RPG-8 is great, but sometimes you want to vary each n.otelndependently so that, for example, the higher notes are shorter than the .Iower notes, Or maybe you want to just control the length of aach note in a loop separately, In this case, you're best off using the Arpeggio Notes To Tfa(:k function to create a cUp,

2 Want 10 (:reate thicker and more In.terestlng arpeggios? T.ry c.opylng an entire tra(:k (eg, synth, arpegglator and MIDI, dips, ideally locked together in a Combinator), then transposing one of the RPG-Bs either up or down. You can add even more exdtement by altering the range of the arpeggio on one of the (:hannels.

3 To add an interesting delay effe(:t, use the la.yerlng technique from Ihe lasl tip, setting the Gate Length very short on both, then use the Slide control on the ReGroove Mixer to delay one of the channels. Try panning the two channels left and right slightly fora cool stereo effect,

Alt.erthe octave range In real time lor added emphasis

4 A great way to a(:cen.t dlff.erenl parts

of a track Is to alter the arpeggio octave range In real time. So, for example, you could use the one-octave

mode tor your intra and drops,the two-octave mode for verses, the three-octave mode for your bridge and the four-octave mode for the choruses.

5 Spice up your riffs by simply disengaging the Single Note Repeat button, then overlapping notes occaSionally to generate nursts of arpeggiO (with .Single Note Repeat disengaged, arpeggios are only played when multiple notes are sounded). Alternatively, throw a few held notes ove.r your riff in places for a similar type of effed.

6 Try engaging Hold so that the arpeggio continues even after all key.s are released - this is great for live

42 I RE.ASON: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE

performance and idea building, And if you hold one note of the previous arpeggio down, and send some more notes to the RPG·8, It will add these new notes to the existing arpeggio, making you sound like a skilled musidan!

Don't be afraid to tum off sync mode occasion ally

7 'If you want to add a bit of emphasis to an arpeggl.o, you can. modulate the Rate . . In real time. For rhythmic changes, leave it in Sync mode, or for more crazy effects, try putting it in Free mode and sweeping Hertz Instead. This works really well fo.r breakdown effects, and sweeps In short drops.

8 The arpeggiator enables you to add swing, but if you're desperate to get a

. bit ofpreclslon groove template action

Into your otherwise robotic arpeggios, you'U need to make use of the trled-and-tested Arpeggio Note.s To Track function, then assign a ReGroove Mixer channel to the app.roprlate Instrument track,

9 For a lessen in w.riting simple backing tracks. listen to Blur's Girls/it Boys. AU you need Is a basic one-octave arpeggio to start with, then simply keep changing the root note you feed Into RPG-8. Moving up or down in steps of one, two, three, five and seven semllones Is never a bad move lnpopmuslc,

l' 0 To get the most out of .Insert modes 4-2 and 3-1, you need to . get the hang of using the right

The Inserl and Octave buttons work 10!lelher

Octave range. For example, While holding, down one note, using the tWo-octav'e ran.ge with 3-1 won't make any change, whereas the 4-.2 Insert mode will produce a nice variation on the basic arpeg.gio. Practise your own combinations to find out what's possible.

11 Arpeggiators are designed to

be messed around and experiment.ed with, so try feeding RPG-B some random stuff. For example, experiment

with sending each of the MIDI clips In a project to an arpeggiator, Including percussion parts and even Dr.REX toeps.

The former might well lit Into your trac.k,

but It's fair to say the latter Is more likely

to generate new ideas, rather than make immediate musical sense.

12 One of the great thln.gs about RPG-8Is that, being tempo-

. .syncable, It offers afantastlc way

to actually play live electronlc basslines, like that in New Order's Blue Monday, In fa(:l, you can even emulate thesynth-melsters of old and pla.y live arpegglated bassllnes and melodies vourself. with just minimal te(:hni(:al skill.

Appl.y :rhylhmic panning lolempo·syn.ced.arpegglos

13 The effect of tempo,synced arpeggios on a tra(:k can be

. enhanced by addlng~ rhythmk

panning. You can set this movement to any tempo you want, but try running It somewhere between quarter·notes and the adual tempo of your arpeggio. For anything faster than quarter-notes,

you'll usually want to reduce the furthest panned positions.

1.4. R .. ead the arpegglalor desc:rlptlons ,In the Reason. 4 manual very t'ho.roughly indeed, paVing particular attention to the parts describing aach function. As you read, try eachbutton out In cOfljunctlon with the others. It's a lot of fun, and within about half an hour you'll have a complete understanding of what's what In this brilliantly designed device. em

> essentials / reason sequencer

Reason sequence

Reason's sequencer comes with all the tools you need to maximise your workflow. Here's how to use the ones introduced in v4 ...

> Th.e fourth. Incarnation of Reason brought

with It new toys galore, and with such delightful devices as Thor. the ReGroove MIxer and the RPG-8 arpeggiator t.o play with, it was all too easy to overlook the changes that .Propellerhead made to the sequencer. Yet, once you got down to business, there was simply no geU;ng past the fact that this was something very different indeed ...

Or it certainly appeared so. In fact, some Reason lovers werelelt scratching their heads over the changes, tearful that they were expected to learn an entirely new compositional environment. Fortunately, trus simply wasn't the case. While the cosmetics were indeed given a make-over and many new functions were put in

TOOLBAR

Select. pencil and eraser tools. along With a razor for splitting clips, and magnify and grab tools for zooming in and scrolling

"Rookies and veterans

benefited from the

improvements made

under the hood"

place. a lot was carried over from the earlier versions, too. UII! mately, Reason veterans had no trouble at all applying their accumu lated skills to the new interface. and both rookies and veterans alike benefited from the vast

SNAP

Activate snap by clicking the magnet button. This will ensure that your edits always adhere to the snap value. which IS set via the drop- down menu

improvements made under the hood.

Here we'll be taking a, close look at some of Reason·s most recently added sequential goodies. We·1I show you how to go beyond the basics, h urlling head long into the murky waters of multiple time signatures. advanced autornetlon and a' whole lot more. We·1I careen across multiple lanes. veer Into vector-based automation curves and give you the lowdown on the Dub and New Alt buttons.

More than that. we·1I show you how you use all of these tools to create the optimal creative environment for your compositions. If you're still using. a pre-4 version of Reason, this tutorial - amongst others in this Ultimate Guide- might well finally convince you to upgrade ...

SEQUENCER TRACK

This one IS for the NN·XT sampler. Edeh deVice In Redson 4 gets one t r de k, but eac h of th ose trae ks can co nta i n se parate I a n es

AUTOMATION LANE

Automation lanes coexist with the Notes t.ane In a device's track They can be copied and freely moved about. and used fa r other tr ac ks and devices

44 I REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE

AUTOMATION CLIP

BIts of your sequence are called clips ThiS one shows the automation action for our device's Amp Envelope Attack

reason sequencer / essentials <

Tracking tricks

1

> Let's have a play with some of Reason

4's recording functions. We've prepared a simple Rack for you to use. or yo u ca n sta rt from scratch, us In g th e metronome to keep your rhythm. Our project is called CMR4SQ.'rsn and can be found on the DVD. itreatures a lew devices and some simple beats programmed into a Redrum device.

4

> II you're using our sequence patterns,

then play them through a couple of limes to get a feel for them, while al the same time jamming along with your Subtracter bass patch. When you feel you h ave a patte rn th at wo rks, go ati ea d and record it but don't stop playback when you're done.

~'~ ,1""'''1'''" iI" u " 'U ,D "



- . -


, c-I 2

> Click the Play button in the Transport

to hear the patterns in action. As you can hear, there's a basic rhythm and a simple eighth·note sequence playing. Down in the Transport, click the Loop On/Off button to activate looped

pi ayback and reco rd I n g. Set the left marker to tn e sta rt of 111 e song a nd the right to bar S.

3

> If you choose to record to the metronome. activate the Click in the Transport bar. Re<lson 4 introduces a count-to function. which is actlvateo with the Pre button. Switch it on. We're going to record a bassllne using. the first Subtractor s ynth estzer I n our ra ck. C I lckon Its i co n to assign il to your MI.DI controller;

--

N.", Alumat.l .... T;,_k.

r. I. • •

[~]

1

5

> Now,let's assume you're not the

virtu oso musician you obviously are, Maybe you wan! to try a few alternate taxes and chaos e the be st. Th at's w:h ere the New Alt function comes in. This is one of the two new buttons you'll find tied to

t ~ e Re~ord b utto n In th e T ra ns port CI lck it to add a new alternative take. It'll automatlcallv create a new lane and mute theold one.

I

6

> Altsmatlve takes can 'be piled on

without missing a beat orlosinq the flow of your performance. The new take exists on a new lane, and thai new lane is bundled into the Subtractor Track. ThtsIs <I great workflow feature that can be applied to more than just notes. We lik.e our first attempt best so we delete the previous one by clicking theX in that lane.

7

> Oops! Now we can'! hear any of

our takes! That's because the nrst one is still muted. Select that clip and unrnute it by pressing M on your keyboard or riqht-clickinp it and selecting Unmllte (Ups.

8

> Now that you've got your head around alternate takes, let's take a look at the New Dub function. We'U use Redrum for this one. Expand Redrum and deactivate Enable Pattern Selection so

t hat the patte rns don't pi ay alan g with the sequencer. Record a simple kick

d ru m pa tte rn on the Red ru rn track,

Once again, leave the sequencer cycling in record mode.

9

> While the sequencer is still cycling, click the New Dub button in the

Ira nsport. A new Jane will be created. but the original kick pattern will still be heard. Layer a cymbal pattern over it and. without stopping the sequencer, cllck the New Dub button yet again to add another drum sound and lane to the sequence. Name the new lanes and save the lot.

REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE I 45

> essentials / reason sequencer

Down for the count

It was, apparentl.y, very Intense. A pitched battle was fought by two opposing camps at Propellerhead HQ: those who carried the standard of the pre-ccunt metronome, and

those who thought it was a frivolous addition. When the smoke cleared and the wounded (pride) had been attended to, victory was dearly held by

those in favour of allowing Reason users to avail

themselves of thepre·emptory tlck·tock that readies us for the Big Performance.

Nonetheless, we're inclined to reflect on those many years spent making do with an extra bar or two of emptiness that invariably confused: the drummer, confounded our ReWire host and inevitably fell to the Cut command. YeUhatUttle bit of emptiness often came in handy. How many Urnes were we prompted: by that barren bit of blandness to concoct an interesting musical f.lourish to the intro? How many times did It Inspire us to add a bit of extraneous atmosphere before the beat kicked In?

Don't get us wrong. We're grateful for the pre-count added with Reaso.n 4. II's always good to have the option, and users have bemoan.ed Its absence from day one. We can, of course, still use Reason's editing tools to lnsert a few empty bars before the tape rolls, should we wish to, which many of us stili do.

Clip art II

1

> Now that we have a few bars of

Redrurn's pattern Al in place. let's add a second pattern. This one will: be A2. At Ihe to p of the sequ ence r interface is a drop-down menu labelled Pattern. Currently it says A1. Click on it to select A2 and draw a new clip into Redrurn's Pattern Select track, beginning at bar 9.

46 I REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE

Clip art

1

> Let's take a closer look at Reason's

clips. We'll continue Using the current sequence to do so. If you didn·t do the last section, open up the project called CMR4SQpt2. which can be found on the DVD. Clips enable us to move bits of music or automation around and determine

wh ich b its are h ea rd.

2

> First off. Pattern clips. which enable

pattern-be sed dev ices $ ucn a $ Redrum and Matrix. to be arranged with ease. 5 elect t he Red ru m track, ri g I'l t -cf ck and choose Create Pattern Lane from the list of available options. You should see that lane added to the Redrum track.

~ •• ::2 .== ~::g _I L-~": .. _~ _£ .," :~~ c. a ....••••••••••••••••

I c:=:=::::J-: _. ~

--: _.. ~

.~ -------- ~----

r~.!.-- ~

-----------------

3

> Set the left marker to barS. and the rig ht m a rke r to ba r 7. Select the penc II tool and click and drag across that area in the Pattern Select lane of your Redrurn

t ra ck. Maki ng sure tn e Red ru rn's Ena III e Patte rn Section bu tton is I it. pl ay th Eo looped seT e ctlo n, Red ru rn's parte m At will now play during that section. The name of the pattern rs shown at the upper-left 01 the clip.

4

> That's very COol. but what about the

drum parts we recorded previously?

Fortunately. any device w,ith a Pattern

Se teet track will keep qui et du rin g th e sections 01 a son gin wh lch no Pattern clip i,s present, a ss u mi ng that sa id devi ce i sn't triggered by MIDI (which ours is). Drag the right locator back to the start and play the song:. Perfectl

2

> You may recall. converting your device's patterns into notes in the sequencer via the menus in Reason 3. To do this in v4. select the Pattern Select track and right·click to access the menu. Choose Convert Pattern to Noles anda new Lane will be created with all of the notes from the patterns on it. The Pattern track will be muted.

3

> Create a Pattern Select track for the

Matrix sequencer and move the Subtracter clip to bar S. Paste a copy of the same clip after it. Extend the first half of the Redrurn clip to match. To increase the length of a clip. graD the handle at the right edge and drag. You can copy this and paste the copy to follow Ihis one.

reason sequencer / essentials <

Tempo control

Understanding time signatures

~t":' "·1:-: :1- '~I- '-,- -I ~ -1- "!-:- -!- -! _. I

~- - - - - - - - - -.

tl,:_ .:. _ .:_ .:. .; _ .~ _ _ ..:. .:.

~ ,. ........ ~ __ • __ ~ ._..a.l_

1

> Up until Reason 4, we longed for the

ability to change tempo and time signature in our projects. Reason 4 enables us to alter tempo in real, time or by meticulously drawing in changes. Open the project CMA4SQpU from the DVD.

For the non-musicians among you, we should take a moment to explain the meaning of that mysterious, slashed f,raction called a 'time signature' (also known as 'meter signature'). The bettern numeral In a time signature represents the beallo be counted. The top number det.ermines the number of those beats within a single bar, So, in 3/4 time, YOU'd. have three quarter-note beats per bar; In 7/8 time, there would be seven eighth-note beats in each bar, Got it? .For obvious reasons, the tour-to-the-neer 4/4 meter has earned the name 'common time' and is sornethnesrepresented by the letter 'C' en the staff.

As well as tempo changes, Reason 4 also introduced the powerful but rather esoteric ability to switch t.lme signatUres mid-stream. It's a snap to modulate from a rockln' 4/4 to a stately 3/4 waltz at the drop of a hi-hilt-like triplets, waltzes are based on mUltiples of three, and some people get them confused. However,ln 3/4 time,there are three quarter-note beats per bar. A triplet has three beats per note - ie, a quarter-note triplet sounds threll:! beats over the length of a quarter-note, A triplet can be played In anytime signature.

P"ttun 5<>1« I

b;jj Iii'\

2

> Currently. our track is playing at a

rather predictable 120bpm, You can enter and edit tempo changes using the pencil. to ol"b ut for the p u rpose s of t hi S exercise, let's do it in real time. To create a Tempo track, simply Alt+Cllck the Tempo. display in the Transport.

3

> A Tempo. Lane is created in the Transport track area. With the Transport track selected. engage recording and use the Tempo display to increase the tempo over the course 01 ei.ght or nine bars. When you get to around bar 13, stop recording, As you can see. a clip has been created that will play 'back your tempo changes.

4

> Rewlnd a bit and replay your chanqes.

Double-ctick the Tempo Jane to see what it looks like under the microscope. As you can see, it's dead easy to fine-tune te m po chan ges u 5i ng the s tanca rd ed itl ng 100 Is. Here. we're nudging ours a bit using the pencil tool.

Time signature changes

1

> Time signature changes are an

important element of many musical forms. and canhelp and drama and interest to your tracks, Fire up the project on the OVD called CMA45Qpt4.

2

> Put the left locator at bar 13 and

Alt+ CHc k t'h e TI me Signature dis pi ay in the Transport section, to create a Time Signature lane in the Transport track, Note the Time Signature menu at the top ot the sequencer. Select 514 and draw a clip Into the Time Signature lane. Stretch it out to bar ts,

3

> Lo.adup anofherRedr.um. thi~ time.

usrnq House Kit 03. Since we re usrnq the 5/4 time signature" set the number of Steps to 10 and program a pattern. Create a Pattern Sel eel I a ne in th e new Red rum track and draw a Patte rn clip between bars 13 and 19. Listen to ours en tne DVD - CMA4SQpt,4b,

REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE I 47

> essentials / reason sequencer

Wavesequencing

Automation

Way ba.ck In 1990, Korg, with the help of some ex-Sequential Circuits boffins, created the now-legendary Wavestatlon synth. This br.llllant bit of kit offered up advanced vector synthesis, stunning effects and a great collection of built-in sampled and sy.nlhesised waveforms. Best of all, II presented a newtechnoiogy called wavesequencing, Which enabled different wa.veforms to be linked together sequentially. This wavesequence. could then be triggered from a note-on message. Theresulls were breathtaking, producing everything from slow, evolving timbres to quirky rhythms. It took thesynlh world by storm, and soon wavesequences

were everywhere.

Whll.e Reason doesn't have a dedicated wavesequencing synlhe,sizer, a Clever programmer can. do a.pretly convincing job of It by using carefull.y crafted autom.atlon clips 1.0 modulate the wa·veform selection of a' synth. EVen the simple Subtractor has more than 30 different wavefo.rms from Which to choose, and you can modulate wave selection of the mi.ghty Thor's Wavetable oscillator. The only trOUble Is that you won't be able to see the changes taking place, so you'll have to use your ears and a, Whole lot of patience to fine-tune the automation for the desired results. Trust us, though, It'll be worth the effort When you hear it in action!

1

> Automation in Reason 4 is handled in

device lanes, Once again, open up the project CMR4SQ"p14.rns. II you recall, we have a lew devices installed, along with a few Note and Pattern dips. We've vet to do any automation.

2

> In the Inspector, click the Subtractor 2 icon to assign it to your MIDI

co ntrolter Hit Reeo rd In th e tra nsporta nd h ave a, p lay with th e Ii Iter's Freq s Ii der as

I he trac k cycles. As yo u ca n see, yo ur performance is recorded onto a new lane, under Lane 1 (which would be the Note lane, had we not been using the Matrix to drive our Subtracter).

Automation (continued)

1"'-.

4

> Double-cllck tne Filter Freq Clip 10 see the automation In detail. Our performance has been recorded as a series of nodes and lines, which can be moved around, erased and otherwise manipulated as we see lit. Grab hold of a few of the nodes and set them up in a sort 01 zig·zag pattern.

3

> Now, let's do it again, only this time

w Ilh a bit 01 Ii Ite r Resonan ce actio n. When you've done that, a new lane will be created for the Subtracter's Resonance parameter, along with a cup that contains your automated moves. Note that these new la nes can be deactivated at th e cI lck 01 a button, Thev can also be dragged around In the project.

_"Oi.tJ .....

I =~

_J;II.r..tI_"11f1111

-a._) .... 1IiIiIiIiI _(lllLf1lliiiu.l1)llll :::'~}"i_'_'

1

> Play the looped section ct the project

back to hear the effect of our chanqes.

Now, use the pencil 1001 to draw new nodes into the Filter Res clip, Vector-based au to mat ion is one of I he most powerful and creative new leatures introduced in Reason 4, enabling a. much deeper level of parameter control than we had In prev 10 us version 5.

48 I REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE

2

> Right'click the Subtractor I track and

choose Parameter Aut.omatlon Irom the llst, A w.indow pops up, in wh.ich you ca n c ho ose the pa ra meter to be automated. By deselecting the Show Freq uent o.nly box. we ca n acce 55 Ih e svntn's less obvious parameters. We want 0sc2 Octave.

3

> You should now 'have a. lane dedicated

to t'he new parameter. Click and drag the automation clip you created lor Subtracter 2'5 Resonance into subtracter 1'5 new I a ne, These para meters are not fully compatible, 50 the clip will appear striped In red, To resolve this, riqht- click It and choose AdJu.sl Allen Clips 10 lane.

reason sequencer / essentials <

Moving pictures

._ , , , ~ _. I

_~ I _~ ... ~ .~. -: ~ .Iii:l ., ==- 21-. ~

._" -. - .. ~::: - _ -- -, .. ~ - .. ':"

-'1-. :."":. ~ ........ ~ .......

~",-~ :..-;:..~~-:- -~ .. -

1

> As cool <IS our multiple parameter

automation lanes are, there are times when it isn't convenient to have your parameter data disassociated from <I device's Note I a ne. Luck II y, R easo n Is smart e noug h to know wh at sort of parameters should alwavs be linked

to a given instrument. Load up the CMR4SQ..pl4 project once again.

.- .- .- - -

2

> Expand Subtracter 1 so that you can see its interlace. Click on the icon in the track associated with this synth to assign your MIDI controller to it. Play the looped selection whi'le gMng your keyboard's mod wheel a waggle. When you like what you hear, click Record. The mod wheel movements are recorded to the Note lane lor that track. rather than to anew lane.

3

> Double-click the Note clip lor the

Subtracter, and take a look inside. As well as your notes, you'll see their velocities, along with your mod wheel performance. You can edit them Just as votrd expect. but il you move the Note

cI i p, th e velocity an d mod wh eel automation data will go right along with It.

Assume the position

Colourful tracks

1

> Reason 4's clips replaced the old

'groups'. which were created by selecting: a prerecorded group 01 notes. So" anything you could do with groups can now be crone with clips. Load up the project CMR4SQ..pt5.

3

> With the Subtracter 2 clip selected. the

Pos display reads 7, I, 1. O. The clip's length is also given just to the right. Click tile up/down arrows to move the clip's posi tlon by wh atever inc re me n tis

sel e cted In the display.

2

> In this project we have no Matr,jx_ Our

second suntractornas a, Note clip associated with it instead. We've recorded this in cycle mode, but we only like this section of it We can dlck and drag It, and use the snap tunctron to move.it, or we can use the Pos displa,y in the sequencer. It shows up when a clip is selected'.

The unlfl.catlon of parameter automation, notes and patterns in a. single, multi-layered track creates <I very smooth over<lli workflow. Even so, things can get cluttered pretty quickly, especially If you use a lot of automation .. It might be wise to develop some organisational h<lbits. Reason enables you to name cUps and set their colours. You could designate the same colour to, say,. aU filter cutoff tracks, so that you can find them ala glance. By doing so repeatedl.y and across all your projects, you'll begin to associate that particular colour With that specltlcparameter. Thiswlll allow you to take In the shape ota project at a glance.

Whether you're using Alt Ta.kes, the New Dub function, or simply piling up individual.lanes tor each of Redrum's ch<lnnels, things can start stacking up pretty quickly •. Fortunately,lt's easy to ,merge all Note lanes associated with a given track. For example, sa.y you have a bass guitar track that's been built up using multiple New Dub passes. It might have two, three, or even more L<lnes, eilch 01 which you like for a different section of the song (or even the same section). Once you're committed to thIs particular selection of clips, you can consolidate the lot by selecting them and choosing Merge Note Lanes on Ttacksfrom the Edit menu. Tldy.em

Merging traffic

, , ~ .. ,- ,"

4

> Select this clip. along with the first one

In the Subtrador 1 traCk. by Shlfl+clicking them. Now. il you adjust the Position. the two clips will move relative to ea c h other, with th e Ii rst eli pass um i ng the position specified in the p.os display. To align the two selected clips with the Pes value. click the = button 10 the right of it.

REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE I 49

regroove mixer / essentials <

GROOVE CHANNEL SELECTOR Assign a note ta ne to a ReGroove Mixer channel here

SLIDE

Moves the whole groove forwards or backwards in time. while Shuffle applies a general shuffle to the groove. Independent of the Global Shuffle

SHOW BUTTON Reveals or hides the ReGroove Mixer

ReGroove mixer

When you want your tracks to sound like they've been performed rather than programmed, the ReGroove mixer is the tool for the job ...

> Groove - that's the name of the game

when It tomes to making people shake their booty, or a,t least tap their feet when they hear a song (or change the station Ifit just ain't happening). In the early days of drum machines, groove was an impossibility -16th·notes were what you were stuck with, quantlsed to perfection, and to total sterility. Then came the 'shuHI.e' feature, which let you add a bit of swing to your programmed beats, but sopredidably as lobe unhuman·soundlng, to say the least. Is It any wonder that sampled beats lifted from funky vinyl retards became aU the rage? That

human feel we call the groove ls food for the soul- muslc hUllgers for It.

So when 'groove quantise'technology came out a few years back, we entered a new era, I n Reason, it went something nke this, open a REX fil.e in Dr. Rex.. copy its notes to a track, select the notes in the sequencer, and choose Get User Groove. which then became a menu item in the Quantization menu. You Could apply that User Groove to other sequenced events by simply quantlslnq them to the groove template.

Things are now much simpler - more detailed but easier, fun'kier and more fun. Reason 4

introduced a new set of tools that enable you to non-destructtvelv, and very flexi.bly, apply grooves - multiples of them - from 'groove patches', mixing themin to varying degrees using the amazing ReG reeve Mixer. You ca n even pull your own grooves out from existing R EX files and save them to your personal groove library.

In this tutorial. we'll look at ali aspects 01 finding your ReGroove as we weave together drum and guitar loops along with our own Redrum pattern and make them work together like the hardest working software studlo in show business - get down'

REASON: TH.E ULTIMAT.E GUIDE I 51

> essentials / regroove mixer

Giving drum and guitar loops the ReGroove treatment

1

> Launch Reason and Create a 14:2

Mixer. Drop in a Dr.Rex Loop Player.

Th e Dr. Rex s hou I d a uta rnetica lIy be patcned to the mixer. which Is patched to the Hardware Device up top. H not. press the Tab key and patch them together.

ow ........ TIP

>Copying events to tracks

When you. copy note events from a Dr.Rex or a Redrum device. they'll automatically appear in whatever sequencer track you currently have selected. Which may not be the one you want Reason will put as many copies of the notes as will 1m the

s pace bet ween th e Left and RI g ht markers in the tlmehne as well. so be su re to set the markers and select the correct track before clicking the To Track button.

vv ....

IP

>Helpful shortcuts

W hen us in g any of R ease n's controls that use up/down arrows to change numeric values. you can also click/drag up or down with your mouse to gel there faster. Want more precision in the Transport's LED-style controls (tempo. time signature. etc)?

Dou ble-cl lck the contra I and

type In the exact value you want Warlt to 200m ,in and out of the timeline in the sequencer, Use the G and' H keys (just like Cubase), or. If you. have a mouse with a

scroll-w heel, Ctrt+Shlft-l-S croll wi II do the trick.

52 I REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE

2

> The Dr,Rex player added to your

pro i ect loads the d efa u It loop automatically. so if it already has the loop Hhp65_FoSho_136_Chrnc.rx2 loaded. you're all set. Otherwise. click the Browse Loop button. and navigate to that loop in the Factory SOund Bank in the

Dr.Rex Drum Loops tctdsr;

3

> Set the loop markers to bars 1·4. then click the Dr,Rex's To Track button to

t ra nsfe r the loop to th e note ta ne. Click Loop OnlOff In the Transport. and, stow the Tempo down to 100bpm so we can rea'lly make out the groove as we work on It Let's also change the name of the Dr.Rex device to Drum Loop,

L -------------

4

> Open the ReGroove Mixer (using the

button to the right of the Transport), Note that it has eight faders - multiply that by four using Channel Banks A-D on Ihe left. Note. too, that all the faders are turned up all the way: this gives you maximum groove amount. which you can tone down to taste.

5

~~ ~I~

"""" .,..,."

1......, ~I ....,."

- 'I"1l:D:Il

~ .....,..,

--

-

"""'" . ...,."

- ......

-~

...,.

~::e.:-

~~DtJllllPl' ~L..I~. .,_

.~...,._ ..........

> In ReGroove Mixer channel AI. click

the Browse Groove Patch (folder icon) button to select a groove, Load ReGroove Palches/DrummerMntage Soul·RnB/Hercules.gr-ov in the .Reason Factory Sound Bank. Nothing sounds dlffe rent yet. as we need: to II ss Ig n a note lane to use our chosen groove.

> In Drum Loop's note lane, click the Select Groove drop' down list. Here you'lI see th at yo u .h ave the ab i I ity to route this lane to anvot the 3.2 ReGroove Mixer channels _ select At You should immediately hear a big difference in how the groove sounds, moving from a very quanti sed kind of thing to something thai moves _ though maybe too rnuchl

7

_,'I:'M~,IJI

'-cI""", •• :r

}-

--,,~'liliz: ~

> Pressthe.Edil button on channel Al of

the ReGroove Mixer to see the Groove SettIngs ln the Tool Window. Here you can change the various ways in which the

5el e cted groove interacts wi th th e events in your note lane Ceg. adjust the amount of impact the groove has on the timing· 01 your notes. Change the Tlmlnglmpacl from 125% 10100% to tone it down a bit.

regroove mixer / essentials <

8

> Lowering the slider in the Al ReGroove M ixe r cha n n.el dec reases the avera II amount that the groove is applied 10 our note events. Play with different amounts, weighing it against the parameters in the Tool Window. Try setting the tader at 90%.

11

> Back in the Tool Window's Groove

Settings,lry adjusting the Note length Impact. This setting has little or no effect on drum loops, but for instruments with sustain, tt can shorten notes to match til e Ie n gth of th e notes In your groove template. Try 45% and hear how it tightens things up even more and gives the guitar part a bit more of that 'chlcken-ptcktn" sound.

9

> Still in Ih.e Al Channel, press the

Pre-Align button. This moves the events into a straight in-memory grid 'before ap p l.vi n g the g '0 ove to it _ so rt of un-grooving it before ReGrooving. Next. turn the Shuffle knob to 54% to swing the whole beat a bit more. Toggling the ON button in All€ts you. hear th€ loop with and without the ReGroove - vive

I'a, difference!

1 0 > Let's add some new elements. Create a Dr. Rex and name it Guitar loop. Choose Dr.Rex Instrument loops/Guitar Loops/Wah Wah 085bpm/

Gt_Wah~E7 _ 01_085bpm,rx2 from the Factory Sound Bank. Copy the notes to a traCk, and listen to how It sou nds with the drums. Assign its note lane to ReGroove Mixer chan nel A 1: th e diHerence is subtle but striking.

12

> Before we move on to the next set of

steps, Iry out some other ReGroove patches. Be aware that any custom Groove Settings go away when you change grooves. To avoid this, you could retr i eve a ReGroove patch in cna n n el A2 and route your two note lanes over to A2. Notice how not ali grooves sound good with eve ry beat.

>Getting the groove into pattern devices

Palter n-orten tated dey ices - th e Redrurn. Matrix and RPG-8 - are not ReG ro oveab: e un less you co py their notes into their respective note lanes In the sequencer. Once you do that, you lose the ability to select patterns on the fly, but you gain the ability to transform the notes into an individual performance. Additionally, we can assign different parts (hi·hats and

s n a re ina u r case) to d iffere nt note lanes, and give each lane a different groove mojo. We'll Took at how to do that on the next page ..

13

> We're going to supplement ?ur :beat With some drum proqrarnrmnqm Redrum. Create a Rectum with Ihe default Disco Kit RDK kit. Select the hi-nat Channel (8) and sweep your mouse across the step buttons to make a tsth-note hat pattern. Click Enable Pattern Section to turn it off, which prepares thlnqs for the' next step.

14> Right-click the Redrum and select

. Copy Pattern To nof ek. This copies all Ihe 16th-notes to the note lane, disconnecting it from the .Redrum pattern

and making the pattern into a sequence of events. Lab el th e note lane HI Hat.

15 > Back ln the Redrurn. select Pattern 2

. (or eras.e I'he hi-hat pattern we .used in

the last step). Select the snare drum (Channel 2) and program in a backbeat-

n ales on beats 2 and 4. Repeal step 14 to copy the patte rn to a t ra ck.a nd notl ce that it automatically creates a second note

I a ne for U5 in the Redru m seq uen cer Ira ck,

REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE 153

> essentials / regroove mixer

Giving drum and guitar loops the ReGroove treatment (continued)

16 > Let's copy the groove in the ReGroove Mixer's channel A1 to A2., right,click A.1 and choose Copy Channellrom the context menu. Then right-click A2 and'

choose Paste Channellrom the context menu. Now we have a place 10 introduce va ri atro ns 0 n a groove, so to soea k ..

1 9 > Now we're going to extract a groove from a REX loop and use it in the ReGroove Mixer, Create another Dr.Rex player, make sure Irs patched' to In e m a In

mixer and open the ,REX loop Dr_Rex Drum Loops/Abstract fllpHopl Tth07 J6thFunkJOO_eLAB.rIl2.

Rig ht-ct ick the Dr, R ex a nd copy i Is note 5 to the track,

22 > To save this new groove for use in othe r Reason. proi ects, cl lck the Save Groove Patch button in the Tool Window. Our ve rslon is on the disk, named Funky

groov·e_grov, If vcu're using the demo vers ion of Reaso n, yo u won't a ctu a II y be able 10 save lt, but il you're using the full version, it will be retrievable at any time.

54 I REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUiDE

17 > Lersasslgn. the Redru.m's. hi-hatn.o.le lane to At and its Snare lane to A2_

You might want to label each note lane with its respective instrument name, and

cha nge th e colou r of the cI i p for cia ritv,

18 > The snare now has its own ReGroove Mixer channel, A2. Move A2's sllder back up to 100%, tum the 5huHleback to 50%, and, experiment with the Slide knob.

This moves all. events forwards or backwards in time, Move the Slide knob to 18 ticks and listen to how fat and laid'-back I 'he back beat sou nd s.

20 >. In the ReGr.oove Mixer, s.eleCI chsrmel A3 by cI i C ki rlg its Edit b utto n . .I n I he note lane lor the clip we just created, right·c!ick Ihe clip itself, and choose Get

Groove From Clip from the right"click menu, You should see the default name User 1 show up as the name of the groove in channel A3.

21

> We don't want the actual beat we've

b ro u g hI i n, just i Is groove, so delete the Dr,Rex and asslqn the hi-hats in the Redrum track to Al. our new lifted groove, wh lch loosen 5 th i ng 5 up.

23 > Our fina I two steps Will.Ii.ven. up the guitar track, Right-click the Gult a r Loop seq ue n cer t ra ck a nd ch 005 e DupltCllte Tr .. cks a nd Devlees, This

copies and pastes a new Dr.Rex, complete wllh d u pi lcated seq u e ncer t rack. It's not pa tch edi nt 0 the mixer, tho ugh, so do th at. Now pan the original Dr.Rex to the left and I he new copy 10 Ih e rig ht,

24> So lari! sounds I. he same, centrally panned. So copy the ReGroove channel At and paste it into slot A4, Assign Guitar Loop Copy to A4, Here's

the fun part: click the Ed!t button in A4, andin the Tool Window, adjust the Random Timing slider to 21 ticks for a double-tracked, 'human-sounding guitar part' ReGroove Miller.rns is our ftrushed project.

We get up-close and personal. with Ernst NathorstBoos, CEO of Propellerhead Software, and find out how ReGroove came into being

How did ReGroove come about?

ENS: I think our fascination with the groove stems from when we first created ReCycle!, which is, among other things, the application you use If you want to impose the tIming of one recording onto another, So we have been in the groove since 1994, so to speak. When we decided to redesign the sequencer in Reason, it was natural for us to also address the issue of grooving and quantising, Reason has always had the cool feature that you could tweak the amount of shuffle on a number of devices simultaneously, in real time. So bastcallv, what we did was throw all our experience of feel, timing and grooving into the pot and addressed lots of usabtlltvissues that no one else had lookecat,

Timing, feel and groove Is one of the most intuition-related parts of music production, and still most applications address il through an interlace that looks more like a tax form than anything else. We wanted to get the musicality and the experimental sid.e back into the concept of tweaking feel. Also, since we have an extremely precise sequencer engine with ultra-high resolution, Reason lends itself to precise timing adjustments.

Who was Involved In creating .ReGroove? ENS: The functions in Reason are mathematical algorithms - I don't know how to better describe it. A team 01 people was involved- me and Mats Karlaf on the product management side, Peter Jubel, our D5P alchemist, on the audio analysis algorithms, and the whole Reason programming team, headed by Erik Agsjo, to make it all work. Our content department, lead by Kristoffer Wallman, was involved in the templates. I was more involved in the details than I usually am these days; I had a finger in a bit of everything. But no, I can't program at all.

How did you create the groove patches?

ENS: The timing templates that are included were created by a special DSP-based application that we created specifically for the purpose. It is similar to ReCycle!,. but. er, d'ifferen!. When you

WIltI·~EmllhIIIlGUSIht IoHd lhMeIuIhot"'"'*l· ... lo ~"''-b

then apply the templates to the music, inside Reason, it's a question of interpolating between the information in the template and the info in the track.

The DSP app is part of an internal toolkit ano development environment that we have for all our sig:nal processing development. This Is where Thor was born too. It's similar to ReCycle! in where we look at the transients and stuff. For some of the timing templates we had the greatest session players we could' find in, and recorded them with mics specifically to get as much precision out of them as possible.

Why not automate the ReGroove Mixer? ENB: Automation is a tricky subject.

I mpJementing it taxes the functionality in ways that it takes some time to describe - sorry if I don't go into detail. au r feeli ng was that it was very important to allow people to have control of the liming of different parts (instruments on different lanes), and that different sections of a song might need completely different grooves (again using clips, lanes and. tracks to organise this) but not that it was necessary to provide continuous control of things like the amount

of groove over time. You want to switch grooves - use completely new templates from a certain point, for example - but not necessarily make continuous changes, as automation implies. Again, it taxes the functionality and we think it will take a long time before the

possibilities we have today are exhausted, even without automatton.

How do you see the ReGroove leaturebeing used the most?

ENB: The obvious is beat makers, creating hip-hop and R&B tracks. If we had only put in the shuffle, sllde and random features in this

reai-t: me environ ment, that would have made a g.reat difference to those users. We went one step further and Included groove templates integrated with all that other control, which really makes it killer. But timing and feel adjustments are part of any musical style, really:

I have used the ReGroove Mixer with Reason Drum Kits, for rock and pop drum tracks, and it really shines in that context too.

Any tips or special. techniques you'd like to share with us?

ENS: The greatest improvementi n the ReGroove Mixer is usability - being able to tweak It in real I.imeand in a musical way.

One of my favourite tricks is to explore the difference between timing adjustments and sound adjustments. If you have layered sounds, slidlnq them :by really small amounts has a tlmbral effect rather than a playing effect. A simple example is a hand clap that dubs a snare. When you start sliding the clap around, and apply 'random' tott by very small amounts, the souncscape changes, opens up.em

REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE / 55

NOVEMBER ISSUE

ON SALE NOWI

In this section. we have two complete projects for you to work through. The first is a nu-skool funky house tune. which we'll produce from start to finish. and the

second sees us writing and arranging a movie theme-style track, before mixing it in Reason and Pro Tools to put some commonly held beliefs to the test...

CONTENTS

58 MAKE A FUNKY HOUSE TRACK IN REASON 58_STUDIO SESSION

78_THEGREAT MIXING DEBATE

REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE 157

a

oUJse

In the-MiliU!a ThKkJn Rej!l$Ql'trtltd'e.r,a:s.is,ltle screershcr 01 the rdllarrc!f.i!!)t!!mMl!.1'IID!N1"II On pp-24~a.Somi! II)ops iill1tJ,l'rumihil;s..j'Iret;l~fl rP"Oll1lhe Funky Houle G~olrw:l'r,Un'lCV HOU$l!G~2 s.ampreUbrarles.,'Ellu:l are Irll::ludeG here couttes .... of sam~E! Ma-gk: and llme+5pao!.

We show you how to create a complete nu-skool funky house tune, from initial idea all the way through to arranging and the final mix

> Reason is without doubt one of the most

. popular music applications in the world. A

large part 01 that 'popularity Is down to the fact that it's been designed as a totally self·contained productlon environment, capable 01 creating thoroughlyprolessional tracks on a relatively modest MlIc or PC, without the need lor any other softWare.

Even today, th.ough, <II most a decade after the release of version 1, many users of 'cpen-ended' DAWs (such as Logic, Cubase, Pro Tools and Sonar) see Reason as a limited' and limiting application, pri.marily because of Its complete 'lack of third-party plug-in support, and the fact that it doesn't offer recording or linear playback of audio (without the addition of its recently-released. sister app, Record). So used have we become 10 the incredible power of today's music software that we lorget that

when VST technology was stl II. in its infancy, without a powerful enough hardware

platform avallatile to really take advantage

of it. Reason had already put a near-complete studio in the hands of anvbcdv with a mto-ranqe com outer.

58 ! REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE

So, sure, Reason might not feature as vast a range 01 sounds a nd processing options as the competition, but what II does offer IS almost flawless stability, vast track counts (thanks to its impressively low CPU usage), a gre.a! selection of very capablelnstru ments and eflects, as well

"We'll use over 100

-----

Reason 4 devices

and more tracks than

you could shake a

drumstick at"

as an Intuitive and fun signal routing system that's still yet to be bettered by any other DAW. Plus, of course, its 'limited' natu re keeps you focused and on track, with no time wasted trawling through long lists of plug".ins or

getting sidetracked by an endless array of choices and options.

And: It's this last point that we're focusing on In ttus tutorial. We're taking a conventional Idea - specifically, the classic funky house track - and putting a new tw,ist on it. making the most of tile creative tools that Reason gives us and deriving inspiration from its 'limitations'.

During the course of the following walkthroughs, we'll use well over 100 Reason 4 devices and more tracks of arrangement than you could shake a drumstick at, so we certainly won't be approaching things in a linear fashion. Rather. we'U be looking at the key techniques involved" how we ca me up with them and why they're useful In generallerms beyond this particular project

We like to think that our track takes the classic funky house format and enhances it with the latest dance music production tech niques, while showing you how to squeeze every rast drop out of Propellerhead's amazing DAW. The next nine pages should give you plenty of food lor thought and bring a bit of Inspiration to your music, so let's gel nu-skcol funky!

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1

> Our first step is to go through a selection of sounds. tracks and loops that we like. We want a broad range of source material that will tit the kind. of track we're making. so we make a list:

kl c'k. snare. 'h i· hat. a few percu ssive loop s, a crash, a crash thai will sound' good reversed, and some musical samples.

make a funky house track in reason / project <

I

2

> All of our chosen files are in a folder on

the DVD, including a selection 01 loops and some one-sbotsouncs. With the loops, we've included both the WAV files and tile REX2 files. So, if you don't own ReCycle (which you realty shoutd, il voure a Rea s on userl), or are al rea dy up to speed with that software" you can skip the next three steps.

3

> We load all our WAV loops into ReCycle and start slicing them down to the Iinest detail_ Some of the loops

have lots of fast effects, glitches and delays in them, and even parts in which pre·delay makes one sound fall slightly ahead of another. In each case, we need to add a slice, so that when we come to quantlse and tlqhten our groove .• we have complete control.

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5

> It's always worth trimming ReCycle files to the shortest possible length. Th is makes Ilavigati n 9 the 51 i ces that much easier when USing them in a track. Just be careful not to trim them too much, tho ug h. If a two-ba r looph as one coo I soundin the second hall and aile messy sound in the first half, maybe save the second hall in case you need to use one or more of the bette r 51 i ees.

4

> The only slightly contuslnc flle with

regards to slicing is our bass guitar loop. In this case, we need to exercise a, little jud'gmellt, as it contains a slide, which cou Id affect Ih e groove with its tl min g (le, it slides down over a specific length of lime, defined by its specific tempo). We opt to 0 III Y sl ice at tn e sill rt of the d lstl net notes, but iif you like, you can try additional manual snces.

6

> Once all the files are ready, we load' them into a series of D r.REX players, wh ten enable us to tu ne i nd iv.i d u a I sl ice s quickly and easily. You could, 01 course, load them into NN-XT samplers and

au to- map Ih e m across the key bo a rd. bu I the 0 n Iy I i me we really Ii n d tha t p reterabl e is with 'muslcalloops, where we might want to create a playable patch from a sillgle note.

While noise 1$ brilliant 'or c;rlliltlng 'rI~r' effucts, especlallv If .It's flltered/compressed

Bring the noise

As a quick listen to our track will reveal, we've used a number of white noise-based effects throughout, Now, while we have made all 01 these ourselves, they aren't the ,kind of things you want to have to create every single time you start a ,new project. Even If you create a Comblnat.orpatch for repeat usage, you ,51111 have to add the MIDI infotmation, panning, etc. every time you use It.

Instead, when we come up with a cool effect, we make sure that we bounce It down as audio for use later on - perhaps even at a lew different tempos If we'Ve added. any rhythmic effects, such as delays" panning or sldechaln ducking.

In this track" we've used two such effects: on.e of whiCh we'll edit here to show you how It's done, and' the otherpre-made,

The former Is just an eight-bar burst of white 'noise, that we place 'In a sampler and sweep with the samp'ler'slow-,pass fllte.r (with some sldechaln ducking, sourced. f,rom the kick drum channel, to make It pump rhythmically). We also sen.d some of the signal to our two bus effects (delay and reverb). When we've done that, we bounce the sound dow.n for use In other projects (at a range of standard tempos, .Includlng any delay and reverb tails),

The second effect 15 even slmpl.er, as It's something we made In advance for another projecLlt'S a nl.celyphased white noise sample, using BPM-synced panning swept between qUarter-notes and 64th-notes, creating a ripping effect that sounds great on top of almost. anything. AU we do Isset.lhe start point, pl.ay It over eight bars and add some additional stereo widening to highlight the effect.

REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE I 59

> project / make a funky house track in reason

~OD of the peres

1

> With our loops tcaded.Jt's time to start

buildin9' a groove. The kick drum comes first. though. and we're going to use ReDrum lor our in d ivld u a lh Its. as It gives us a good range of controls suitable for drums. We load our Slamzkick into a ReDrum and' tune it down a lew tones. A good way to give any track weight is to start with tow-frequency sounds.

4

> We already know which ReCYcled

parts we're go.in9' to use, but for a track like this, you should aim to have ten to 20 of them when you start out, and expect to actually use less than half. We start with au r percuss ive pa rts, a gai n

a pp Iyi ng Shuffle an d Slide as we go. We listen to each in turn. gettin9' them as tight as possible with just our main kick drum

pi ay I ng u nd ernea t h.

>Fulllength groove

Tweaking the lengths and' envelopes of your drums is one of the most effe ctl ve t'h i nqs yo u ca n do to get your groove roiling along nicely. Having healthy variation in terms of note lengths and sound's is crtnca I too, so it's wo rth bearl n gin mind that ReDrum alone isn't

us u a II y the best choice for mod e r:n, lunky grooves_ You need a sampler or Dr.R EX p la,yer that en a bl e s yo u to modify envelopes carefully, and control the lengths othllsusinq MIDI note length info. If you're trying to recreate the sound' of an old drum machine. though. then these typ e s 01 twea ks will ta ke away from the authenticity. making ReDrum the better choice.

60 I REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE

2

> We put the Slamz kick on every beat,

then put our lighter Compressedbeat kick on a new channel for use in the intra. We also place a little skip note (with plenty of groove quantise, but more on that tater) before each Cornpressedbeat hit. We want to use th e ski pbevond just the Int ro, though, so we make a clip containing. just this, minus the main Cornpressedbeat kicks, for .1 a.ye ri ng over th e 5 ta rnz ki ck.

3

> FinaH)(, we put our hi-hat samPle. on

another ch anne I. play; n g from a separate instance of ReDrum. We pitch it down somewhat to keep things weighty and full. although once we have our other elements playing. we'll need' to properly tune anything with an audible tone, ,including our hi-hats and any other

tonal percussion.

Nil Skoal Funk.rIU (ltiU:k)

5

> We add our Slap Bass loop next This

need's 10 be done early on. as while the little beeps and blips of our other loops

ca n eas i I Y be retun e d, bass loop 5 - especially those with slides in them, like OUfS ~ can't be effectively shifted very far Irom thelr original pitch. That said. we want our track as deep and phat as possible. so we transpose the loop down by two sernttones.

6

> Our bassline is running and our loops

a re sou nd i ng tig ht, so we begi n trvi ng au t va ri au s d'iffe rent co m bi natio n s of parts. Listening out for complimentary sounds, we thin each loop out as much as possible. For a start. we remove the kick drums Irom all loops that have them. as

t hi s really lets t he other so u nds breath e.

7

> We go through all of our notes and

sound's and start shortening them.

In the case of the REX loops, we can do this with the MIDI clip note events. tweaking the Dr.REX envelopes to get them to sit propertv With our ReDrum sounds. thcuqh, it's just a case of tweaking the note Length parameters.

8

> Some of our loops contain tonal

sounds, which need to be put in key wit h ea eh oth era nd the ba ssll ne. ,Id ea II y on Iy one 01 til ese m uslca Ih its shou Id ever play at a time, as things can get messy otherwise. Look in the MIDI clips, preview any musical sounds and' use the Dr.REX co n trois to tun e the i nd iv i dual elements.

make a funky house track in reason / project <

Music to our ears

/

=

1

> With loops, you'll often find similar

sounds playing throughout. some of which just sound cleaner, tighter, more pleasing to the ear or otherwise more appropriate than others, You should go through and move the MIDI notes for any Inferior events to only trigger the better on es i nstea d.

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4

> A bi! of variation is needed during the

breakdown, and for that we turn to an RPG8/Thor combination, We playa, few notes to see what works on the track, then draw in some long notes to make the rtff play, Wecan now tweak the arpeqqio, setting. the Gate length and Octave range until it sounds just right,

Coogle

7

Last but not least. we need: some kind 01 vocal, In honour of the style, we elect to use the term 'Nu-skool funky

h a use' as a lyric. We need to get the words vccallsed somehow, so we head lor an

on Ii ne speech s ynth es is reso u rce _ Jus t Goagle 'speech synthesis' and YOU'll gel

pi e nty of hits.

2

> 0 u r bass Ii nei s cu rre ntly ba sed a n a

slap bass loop, but we want something a little phatter, We load up the Thor svnth, find a g,ood sub bass patch and create a simple bassline playing the same note

ave r two octaves. It's just to beef thi ngs up, not lor the tone, so we roll off the top end with an MClass EQ and apply a little boost to Ih e lowe st Ire qu encles,

3

> Nowwe just need a lead sound, and a

qu ick browse of some Thor pate he s yields the Basslc R.ound preset, We lap out a tu nky rep eat rhyth m 0" 0 ne note, then shift each one over by one 16th"note eve ry ba r; Th is creates a s u bile cha ng e in th e groove th a t add s pie n tv 011 ntere st.

5

> If we want to applv a bit of swing. we

need to get the notes in MIDllorm by right-clicking the RPG8 and select Arpeggio Notes to Track, Now, whether or not to apply swing to this part is up to you, but rf you do, use the Amount slider to soften it. as arpeggios often sound better with a straighter groove,

6

> II's effects time now, 50 we use a

ReDrum and an NN-19 to load up a reverse cymbal [which we carefully lineup at the end of eight. bars), a crash cymbal and some white noise, which we can use lor little builds by sweeping the cutoff on a, low-pass fi Iter,

P WEp .... IP

l

>Speakup

8

> We pick a site, download the words we want and load them into a ReDrum, Then it's just a matter of coming up with a pattern for them. In addition, we put the word 'house' every other beat. and leave the length long enough to get the Sibilance at the end of the word. turning it into something like an offbeat hl- hat.

One thing 10 watch out lor with speech synthesis engines is the pacinq and tone. Sometimes words will be rushed or unclear when spoken in a sentence, in which case irs often worth getti ng it to sa y the words Individually (in the case of the former) or together (:in the case of th e la tter), Or yo u cou Id try putting the words Indifferent phrases, It can be very tricky to get synthesised vocals right. but you'll get th e resul IS you're alter wi th <I,

I i ttl e perseveran ce,

REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE I 61

> project / make a funky house track in reason

1

> One the best features added with

'Rea s on 4 is the Re Groove mixer,

which brings amazingly flexible groove quantlsation to the application. We've used the famous MPC 57% swing' selling on almost everything 'in this track. which is why we were so keen to chop the loops up into all of thei r can sti tu ent pa rts, we a Iso make sure that Pre A:lign is engaged on most of the channels

4

> To get around this, make a copy of the

part in question, moveit to a new track, then right-dick the Select Groove box lor the original channel and choose Commit To Groove, applying the changes visually. Now we can tell exactly what the quantisation has done to the ootes. This will ollen indude pushing more than one note onto the same nearest 16th-note, which we don't want.

7

> Now we come to the next critical

ldtcsvncrasv of 'Reason: the way in which it handles channel delay. Opening, up the ReGroove mixer displays a control called Slide. Very misleadingly named, thi s is 1 n fact a chan net de I ay / pre- de I ay

co ntrol, m easu red in t leks (rc the r th a n the more standard milliseconds) that's applied to a nvt hi ng in that ReGroove ch ann el,

62 / REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE

2

> There are times when we might wan! a

looser feel. so it's always worth tlicking Pre Align off from time to time, to see if it makes th i ng S50U n d better. Fo r SIr ictly rhythmic material, and 'REX loops in particular, Pre Align really tightens things up; but as good as 'ReGroove Is, It does ha,ve a few idiosyncrasies of which you need to be aware.

5

> Th.e solution? Bring the copy of the

original clip back onto the channel, transpose evervthlnq within it up by an octave (out of range of the original. notes), layer it precisely on top of the ReGrooved clip and select Join Clips. Now you can see exactly where th e notes we re originally end where they've been moved to. This carl also be a useful reference for helping to see what makes grooves work,

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8

> Most sequencers with this feature

implement It per track, but R.eason offers It per 'ReG roove ch a nne I, so we nee d to make sure that every channel we want to apply pre-delay (forward-pushing percussion elements) or d'elay (some hi-hats, effects and laid-back melodic elements) has it's own ReGroove channel.

U 1111110 IflrrllDDIDI HII[lU I~ HH

3

> First, as you adjust the 'ReGroove

parameters, you near the sound change but don't see the actual notes move. Sometimes you might want the click or crackle in, a glitchy loop, say, to remain unquanttsed, but 'ReGroove dcesn't let yo u pick and c he ose betwe e n what gets quantised and what doesn't,

III!!!!III

=

6

> Listen ba ck and w he reve r yo u can

hear that something's been lost or damaged by the quantisattcn, use the orlg i na I pi acerne nts Iyin g above a 5 a correction template. By doing this, you'll qu ick Iy get u sed to the way 'Reason's quantise engine adjusts things, which will also give you dues as to the level of sensitivity you. need when 'ReCycling.

, ""1l1f~ft 01'11' •• ; rOY U"' ~ h.~ffI .. g>o> ~ S""S""m •. ~r"" r: S S'II. Shum •.. i""" flI SSS Shulfl •• ~ "'" L S"",5hultllcG'''''

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9

> The only thing that remains is to check

wh et her a ny of Ih e pa rts sou n d better wit h s Ii g htl y differen I qua nti se setti ng s (similar, but not exactly the same). You might want a bongo or conga line to

h ~ve a d iHere nt lee I to t,h e rest of th e percussion, for example, as they're meant to sound looser and more natural. Some melodic parts also work well with slightly different quantise to the res! of the track.

make a funky house track in reason / project <

Mixing tips and tricks

MASTER OF THE UNIVERSE

One 01 our key techniques In Reason Is putting effects. on the master OUl;put for building. up breakdowns. We place a line Mixer 6:2 unit aher the effects on the main output and mix back In some of the dry s'lgnal from our key lead parts. so that they CUi completely through the mix. The effeclsand mixer are, placed bet.ween our two mastering suite Combinators (see Mastering the finished miitfor more Inlo).

LOW OVERHEADS

We tak.e full adVantage of Reason's very low CPU usage. Send effects have their .specific use·s, 01 course, but wllh Reason. you can go ,p.retty crazy with Inserts. So II you have Ihe :power, don't be afraid 1.0 add some gentle compression, EQ, spreading or any other effects you like to every channel.

BACK TO BASICS

It's easy to overlnek Reason~s Mixer EQ, asilis very basic, but even If you end up using an MClass EQ later on, II's 51111 worth applying a, bit. of quick top-end .boost to help a eertatn sound pop out onhe mix. The only thing to 'keep In mind is that the Bass EQ doesn't handle boost very well, .so should only really be used for cutting excessive bottom end.

IN THE RED

Reason's mixer handles overdrlven slgna'is quite well -beller than many other DAWs,ln fact - 50 don't shy away from pushi'ng somethlnglnlo the red if you think It genulnel.y sounds good. Of ceurse, we're not suggesting that you push everything over the top, but II' you loo'k at our project.. some. things are driven far harder than others. because we like them better that way.

EVERYTHING IN ITS PLACE

Always be aware of (he order in Which you place effects, as It can make a huge difference to the sound. For example, compressors tend to wor,k best after delay.s and reverbs, as they raise the perceived leVel. But don't let the slgnal.s from your effects swamp thlngstoo

For breakdowns and bu lidS, consider· putt.lng additional: effeds on your master output to really give you r tracks some' elltra. sonic slap

much -If you can trim off some of the bass on your reverb, do it.

DAISY CHAINS

One oUhe besl ways t.o take control. of a delay 1510 create a customised Combinator eHects chain. At the front Is a Spider Splitter, at the end a slx-"channel mixer. The Spider sends a dry sl.gnal to the mixer and another to a. dela.y, set fully wet. Afterthat, add anEQ and perhaps a compreSSOt, then put the wet signal Into a second channel on the mixer.

RELOADED

If you plan to automate an EQ with sweeps at a certain point in your track,but have delicate EQ settings for the rest of it, simply use another instance of the device. The same goes for any effect,. really. It's fareasl.er to have two devices doing separate things than try to keep trac,k of automation of lots of parameters en the same effect

DOUBLE TAKE

Some DAWs have a button or menu ent,ry for .automatlcally duplicallng a channel. 'No suoh IUKury exlstsCln ,R;eason, un:lortunately:

Instead, you have two options .ilyou want to double upa sign.al. The Simplest is to use a Spider Splitter. which is ideal for sidechaln ducking sources. But U you'.re doubling a tra.ckand pitch-shifting It down an. octave to fallen it, turn Ihe channel Into a. Combinator pat.ch and copy the MIDI cUp.

There are two opUons forduplleaUngtl;aw: using a The Stereo .Ima.ger Is a. great effecl~ but be

Spider Splitter. as above, or making a, Comblna:torpatch very ca refu I with It, as It can take the punch

SPREAD YOUR WINGS

Using .ahuge nu mber of Insert effects Is,,'1 a problem. thanks to Rea.son's extremel\, econornlcal CPU us~e

(Jut of 'Indlv'ldua.lsounds. The bott.om endis a big part of this. but even top-hea.yY sounds can fadelnlo the background wilh too much widening, so only appl.y large amounts of spread to sounds fhalare either punchy to begin wIth or don't need t.o be.

SAVING FOR A RAINY DAY

Always save any patches you createReDrum kits, CombinatDr patches, etcmaking them available for use lal.er on. When you're 'In the flow' ,It pays nol to get hung up by re·lnvenlln.g the wheel every slng'l:e lime you make a. new track. Just be sure to modify any patch a little each time you use i.t.

DELAYS EXPECTED

Most bl.g·soundlng synth patches In the Thor synth have pi'enly of added effects, ,but while this might make them sound great, in m.ost cases ItJu5tmesses up the sound. especially when It's put into a busy track featuring lOiS of other delays. An exceptIon to this Is our hep Lead .• but on that channel, we'Ve stili kept the ohboard delay turned low.

SLAPPING AND POPPING

U'svery hard to get an electric bass guitar to sound as ;phat as a sub-bass synth, especially wlthout high-end plug-ins that synthesise lowerfrequencles.lnst;ead, we keep that low-end tree lor a layered synth bass and apply some mid-range boost to the powerful, distinctive twang ollhe bass guitar.

GOING SOLO

One downside 01 Reason's multi-mixer system ISlhat so'ioing channels ona given

REASON: THE ULTIMATE. GUICE ! 6.3

> project / make a funky house track in reason

mbler only solos channels on that mixer - all other mixers remain unseleed, However, on the plus side, solo.lng different types of part In turn -like ,lead el.ements - while the other mixers play can give rise to cool, stl'lpped·back arrangement ideas.

GAINING GROUND

R.eilson's14:2 mixer doesn't feature any input gain controls on Its channel strips, but you can add an additional device that features a. gain pet (such as a. compressor) to an,y channel that needs a bit of extra, boost. If you set all of the othe r co ntro 15 to just 'let the sIgnal pass through unaffeded. you"ve made yourself a simple gain, control. Not onl,y that, but you can also use It for volume automation fa.des, as it enables you to set the overall level at the mlxdown stage u~lngthe volume faders, without your automation overriding any chan.ges.

RESONANCE STRUCTURES

We use an ECF-42 Envelope Controlled Filter on. our main slap bassllne as a wa·y of introducing It In the breakdown. For maximum effect, try raising the R.esonance a Ii ttl.e. creating a tasty burst as the filte r eresses the lead frequencies In your sound.

HARD AND FAST RULES

The MClass Compressor is certainly a versatile beast. so make sure you set It up correctly for the task at hand. You wan.t much harder and faster settings when usIng It on Individual sounds than you do when using It on your full mix, for example.

MAXIMUM EFFECT

When you 'need 1.0 raise the level of comp.ressed delay and reverb effects, you want II to bea fast process that crea.tes the minImum of disruption. For this reason, we prefer to use the Maximizer Instead of the Compressor,as It's usually just a case of raising one control UhelnpuC Gain), rather than messing around wIth the Threshold and Ratio knobs.

TRIGGER HAPPY

If you have lots of kick drum·trlggered dUcking' en elem.entslhat run t:hrough a drum'free breakdown, 'slmply creat.e a copy

Red·udng the low-end on hlghe.rml>!elemenl$Is Important. buttoo much .... m remove your tune~s weight

64 I REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE

Mut:es and solos are o.nJy applied pe,..M b",r. which ean. be a pa·ln but. does have Jts creatiVe uses

of your drum track and route It to the .same sldechaln Input (via a .Splder Merger) to .keep the ducking goIng throughout.

LEFT. RI.GHT AND CENTRE

When sldechalnlng, consider using a Send to the sldechaln Input ona Compressor (or a SpIder Sp'litter, as we have on some etements), rat.her than a single direct Input. That way. you can use mUiliplesidechain sourceslhroughout the track.

GETTHEEDGE

A good way to enhance the lop end of a sound - and one that's qulle specific 1.0 Reason - is to place an Envelope Controlled Fllt.er on the channel to be brightened, open the culoff fully, then. raise the resonance. The wa·y the filter's designed. meanslhe resonance catches some upper-mid frequencies,. giving the sound a sharper edge.

COMBINED EARNINGS

Some of Reason's devices don't enable you to save presets, but similar sounds frequently require similar settings. You can save huge amounts of time In the future by going through your project when you've finished the mlxdown and creating Combinator patches of the more useful configurations, which will be saved complete with component device seUln.gs .Intact~

KEEPING TABS

label, label, label. If you donlt remember 1.0 name at lea.st the last effect In ea.ch chain before the ml,x.er, you'll really struggle to set I.evels and assign Send values to anything. Without the devices for visual reference on the same mixer channel as the volume fader,. It's a nightmare, so label everything!

TWO'S COMPANY

Reason doesn't feature a stereo delay, but you can create your own using a Combinator and two DDl·l dela,ys .• Simply send the left signal from y'our source Into one and the right Signal into the, other, followed by some EQ (analogue delays lose top end as Ihe.y repeat, and too much low end can swamp the track), a Maximizer to raise the level ollhe quieter delays and some steree wldenln,g.

FEELING LOW

As a rute of thumb, Ideally you'll use EQ to chop out all low frequencies that aren't Integral. to the sound of every channel In your mix. We use an Melass EQ to do this. and to ensure that we don:'t overdo .II, when we lWeak the amount of cut, we reduce It until we can hear the sound losing weight - even with everything else In - then dial it. back up slightly above this setting.

TOPPING UP

Reason doesn't feature an exciter, which is a useful.processor for adding a little sheen and brightness. We can get similar results, though, by applying a.Uttle shel.vlng boost to the very hlghesUrequencles with the MClass EQ. or even the Mixer 14:2'5 treble EQ. Another way to adda bit of edge 15 to split t;hesignal with a Spider SpUtter, send one dry signal to a line Mixer 6:2 and another through a distortion unit, then mix a touch of the latter Into another channel of the 6:2.

With so man.y channelS on the go al once, you might need to reset your levels when It comes to the UnaJ mix

START FROM THE BEGINNING

W.hen we've finished writing our track and are ready to mix It, we always reset our levels. This Is partiCUlarly Important In Reason, which has very shorl·throwmlxer faders, so you can easily find yourself running out of headroom. For this reason, try to Ikeepthe levels as low as possible at first,. then raise them as needed.

OUTSIDE THE BOX

Reason doesn't support third-party plUg-Ins, but thanks to ReWire. external effects can easily be used alongside your Reason proJects •. SImply run ReWire's output channels Inl.o the mix.er of a ReW.lre hostDAW and apply your effects there.

DOWNGRADE

If you don't plan to do much In the wa.y of masl.erlng yourself, you should check out your final mix as an MP]. MPl compression tlghlens up the bass end and. adds a liHle extra top·end definition, lust as mastering w.llI- so this can give you a rough idea of how it will sound mastered,

make a funky house track in reason / project <

Mastering the finished mix

1

> The first link in our mastering chain is

Reason's Default Mastering Suite, This sits right after our main rntxer output. We have a gentle 'smile" curve on the MClass Equalizer, giving a small boost to the pleasing upper and lower frequencies. We rna ke su re to d lsa b Ie th e l.Q ·Cut, though. as while it's great for tidying up loose i nstru rnents, el eet ro n lc clu b m u s lc need s th ose I req u enele 5 below 30 H Z.

2

> Next. we use a little stereo widening on the upper Ire q u encles a nd some narrowing on everything below around the 1kHz mark This keeps the low-end good and punchy, which widening can affect. For I he sa m e reaso n, we avo: d too much spread on the main output, as you need some elements kept very central in order to create a rich stereo field,

3

> Finally, we apply some gentle

compression with moderate Attack and Release times, !ollowed by some pretty firm limiting from Reason's Maximizer. Crucially, we have all of this app Ii ed rl gh t fro m th e sta rt, as It wi u affect the wa,y the d iffere nt sou nds co m e together and it'simportant to know that it wo rk s as you prog ress,

4

> Withom initial mastering units in

pia ce, the mai n 0 utput effects we

di sc ussed earl i er go Into th e cna in We don't want them before the first mastering chain, as we're about to add another. and if we place 100 much compression and limitiing after all the effect rolls, things will start qettinq pretty flat and messy.

5

> Now we place an addlticnal microMix Line Mixer into the chain. Into Channel 1 goes our main output signal (post master effects), Into Channel Z goes the Aux 3 send Signal from the main mixer. Flnallv, we add another Default Mastering Suite after everything. which will serve as our rea I 'p ha tten i n9' rn a sterl ng ri g,

6

> We don't need any EQ adjustments at this stage, as we've already tweaked the frequencies, but a t.iny bit more gentle spreading and narrowing enables us to tweak the final combined mix. Then its a case of some more compression, ron owed by as much limiting from the Maximizer as we' think it can handle without squeezing the lil·e out of things. and we're done!

Mastering in Reason

Since the introduction of the Melass Mastering Suite, Reason has been louted as a complete studio solution, from oom.posll.lon to mastering. But there are a lew things to consider, as normally some of these processes are handled separately.

First of all, there's the question 01 When to add mastering devices. It's often. worth having some kind of p.rocesslng, however mild, en your master output. while you're wf'ltlng and arranging •. That said, this can vary, depending on your working method and even your DAW •. If you ha.velols of stern compression on each channel of your mixer, you might actually find It better to leave the master output dry during the creation process, Or you might want to Just put a 1.lmlt.er on your master output. with the threshold set at OdB 1.0 stop anything going Into the recl.lt pays to get to know the tools you use and their .Idlosyncrasles, and the only way to do that Is to try things In many different ways.

Back In our Reason proJe.cl, once we've appll.ed basic mastering poUsh from the start, we can leave It alone until the track Is finlshed,then apply final mastering. But why not simply push the original mastering devices a bit harder'? Experience has taught us that If you push a limiter very hard, It can start to damage the sound. That can be great on an individual channel. If that,~ what you're after, but you don't want It on your complete mlx, It also enables you to have different timing settings for both, 50 that the first can be gentle and smooth, pulling the mix together, while the second can be used to really phatten the traCk.

There are two other things to keep In mind. FlrsUy,m.ost mastering en.glneers wliliell you they don't IIk.e to receive final mlxdown.s that are too loud. The accepted wisdom is that peaking al around -GdB gives the best balance of sufll.clent signal and enough dynamic. range. For Reason users this means making sure that the main output going inlo Ihe first mastering sult.e is not too slrong.

A.nd linally,. because you're used 10 hearing your track. wllh the mastering plug· Ins actlve,lt ca.nbe all too easy to forget to render ,an unmastered mlxdown, too, as even many underground I.abels wUl want to get your track m.3st.ered,andyou can't :really do much for a mix that's alreadY bee.n squashed. So" alway.s be sure, to bypass the mast.ering

sui I.e at the end and render a separate mix without n.

REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE I 65

> project / make a funky house track in reason

Anatomy of a. nu-skool funky house arrangement

1 Even though Reason enabl es you _ to add controll etS IIkepltthbend to MIDI note dips, In most situations, it's better to create a sepa rate Ian e, as this makes It easier 10 keep ttack 01 and use the

a utomatlo n in other section s,

2 We'lle used white noise sweeps 10 add eKdle.ment to our builds and lUi In a lewga,ps. Another constant white noise burst wllh somerhVlhmfc panning Is used 10 lilt the ttade up In places. The kev Is a' balance belween generaUng excitemenl and contrast, so do n't

I ust leave It In eonsta niIV.

3we don'l useanv snare rolls ormore conventional breakd,own, 1<lcks. Inslead, We automate the DrylWet mlK 01 a delav unit OnOur maslerchannel. By' raising the -Feedback and wei mlx, we create a huge bulld·up. wllh more welghl,lunk and Impacl than an,v drum roU.

4lJUlld.Ups can sound a lillie empty when evervlhln,g kicks back I n.la rgelv due to the

I ncreaslng high Irequen "les generated bV the build, To smooth over Ihe gap, we use so me controUed delavs,openl,ng up the feedback so Ihal some of th e

sou nds tall 011 I nto the neK! section.

5Adding big delav builds has one u nwanled s,ide-effect: Ihe bass lrequencles can very qulcklV swamp the track.sc vou need 10 use II In eonlunetlon wilh some

kl nd 01 bass-cutting 1'1 ug-In_ At the peak 01 our build, th Is has rem,ovedmuch of the bass, but we sweep some back I n lor the last coup Ie 01 beats.

6We use mlKer automation to m ute the wh ite noise build comp Ielelv for the one beal where Ihe word 'house' Is spoken, right al Ihe end 01 the various drops and builds. We also drop oul anv other sou nds that land at the same pia ce In Ihe a "angemenl.

7!~::~: ::s:':':::~::~I~~ng

Irack far 100 light, so i nslead We use an MClass Equalizer with the bass

s heilli ng lurned fuliV down and the EQ band enable bullon set to engagejusl as the track drops,

8we use a few vari,alion"on the IU n ky kick drum, One ollhem Is I ust ski pplng kicks la,yered, over th e main one; another Is a straight kick on ea ell. beat; and a noth er Is a

comb inati.on of the ski ps a nd the four-Io-the-Iloor kl.cks In one clip, lor use In the Inlro and breakdown.

9 Our Intro Is the siandard 32 bars lound In mosl club tracks. We build up the track with some percussive parts lor Impact and Inleresl when the OJ mixes IIln,bul when the basslines dro p, We 511"11' Ihlngs back to hlghllghl the groove.

1 0 Our Carnival drums track is quite a lull and ear·catchlng

element .. so we""ve the full version lor the lntro, cutro and peak 01 uie lrack I n the second half of Ihe main body afle r the breakdown. Everywher'e elset we use a more strlpped-bac;k version" which leaves space In our alreadV busy-groove.

11' We keep Inlerest In our lead

_ ,elemenl by seltlng the pllchbend range tol2"then sweeping It UP an octave and back, leav'lng some of th e sounds of the sweeps In from time to time. We do Ihlsln. rnal tlmeand make no edits. 10 keep th.e vlbe raW - We a lso use constant low-pa.sslliler sweeps, Iweald ng Ihe reso nance .. loo.

12We salle our extra funky

sh ullle element and, Ihe lriangle loop lor the Inlroand outro, They'"reboth very full and would detract from the drJvlng,1 nslste nt groove of Ihe rest of the lrack..

13 We usea reversed crash

. cvmbal and a heavllv delayed

era sh cym bal ,at Ihe end and beginning 0' every elght:bars respectively. The reverse cymbal Is limed 10 slide Into th e Ilrsl beat 01 Ihe nexl bar. and th e delavs are Iweaked 10 continue <rver th.e next e.lg'ht bars Wi thout swam ping them.

140urflrst milln section 'Is quite concise, We have a small build" aneight·bar drop, then another short sectlon.leadin g Inlo th emaln breakdown_ With qulle simple funkv tracks, you don·t want Ihem going on for ages -il'sbelterto lealle people wanting more, With 'deeper' cl ub rnuste.h Dweve'r, you ca n ror::k a groove for n ion IE! or tenmi n utes.

15we use reat-nme tweaking of the auxiliary sends to add

I nterest to some 01 the parts Ihrougho ut, partteu larly the melodic elements. Wealso employ It In the breakdowns tolend excitement and welg nt, bul ou r buss eHects all have a very wide stereo spread and so me bass cut, so IhaUhey don1 overpower Ihetrack..

160ne ollhe slde-eftects 01 delay rolls Is thai, as you la ke Ihe bass oul and the roll builds.

som e of the lead elements that you might wanl poking Ihrough themlx can get lost, So. use Ihe send system 10 raise the lead al the top ollhe brea k (lor more I nfo, see Mixing lips and Irlcks on Ihe preVious pagel.

17weuse extensive colour

. _ cod I ng, especially Whe n flrsl setting up the parts. Once we get furlher Into the arra ngeme nt process we aren't sorellg'lous aboulll, but II .makes II easy to read the different sections of the Irack and see at a glanc,,", Whl.ch pa rts have lIarlali ons.

181nthesameWaythalweusea . delay on the master output 10 create Ihe bu ild, we add a lillie more space and size USing a reverb unll on th e master outpu I b us with plenty of stereo Widening. As with the delay and the EQbass sweep, we

66 I REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE

sweep the track back a 1I1t1e before slamming It ,back In COmpletely.

19 Our ,main section is in two parts, We keep III nterest! ng by cons.lanlly modulating the lead, a nd In Ihe second hall we add a number otthepercusslve elements Ihat we'd been saving 10 r the drops and inlro prev.iously_

2 O· Half way Ihroughour main section, we have an

e Ight,bar d tOP to break thl n gs up

a nd give Ihe track anothe r chance 10 build_In til. Is wav, We gel a nolher big burst olex.cllementto help whip up the, crowd once more belorethe track Ilnally runs out,

21onecooltr.lckweuselna

_ . _ number 01 places Is tosetlhe pllchbend range on a melodic par! 1012 semltenes, then sweep It oller Ihe course of elghl bars. In SOme cases, we sweep jltrom lully down to fully up (coverln,g two octalles). or from Ihe Original position 10 'UIIV up (on e octave)_

2 2 The outro 15 a fairly quick.

. no-n onsense affair. We slowl'y roll off Ihe bass on the sub. as In our drop previously, and emplov a combination ollilters and dropped elements to ease Into the outre. A.I the end, we use some sweeps and olher delayed effects to create a tailihat fades out nalurally_

2 3 One of oUrmostconslst.enl

_ musical elements I,s Musical Loop, which fealures throu ghout.lt comes In as part of the bull d,ls

rei nlrod U ced very qui ck]y 0 nee Ihe bass line klc ks in, Is se nd-mod u laled throu gho ut the track, then II nally plays oullrom Ihe end 01 the breakdown all the way 10 the end of the tra ck..lt can th us be thought of as Ihe Irack's 'musical glue'.

24 We've spilt our vocals across . two channels, enabl i ng usia filter them in separately and Introduce them IndlVlduallv_ consequen IIYt one ts a much more delayed affair. u sed for emphasis. while the other (lhe word 'house'l becomes pari ollhe groolle Itselfthe sibilance actually beco mes an on-beat hi-hat SOu n d.

2 5ourbreakdown Is dominated by a vagu ely dlscorda nl and heallily-elfecled arpeggio. Th is builds throughout, wllh a healthV dose 01 filter sweeping (both

hlgh- and low-pass), added effects

a nd eVe n som.e pltch·bend Ing.lt's

I nlrod u cedi n Ihe elg ht ba rs before the drop 10 acl a s the anchor lor that sectlon, then unleashed at the very peak oUhe d rep,

2 6. We don'l Inlroduce our main kick drum pro perly until ba r 17. Pri or to Ihat. we Use the much

Ilg hter, fu nky kkk. Th Is gives OJs

so melhlng to latch onlo .1 ghllrom the start, but also keeps Ihe energy up and gives a little bit more excitemenl and progression dUring the first 32 bars, before things get going with the bassllne.em

make a funky house track in reason I project <

I I I II II I I III!

REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE J 67

ST

We're on a mission to produce a release-quality track solely with.inReason. Join us as we take you through. the entire process, from creation to final mixdown

> Once upon a time, everyone who made

music In t'helr own studio would aspire to owning a hardware rack containing perhaps an Akai .51000, maybe a couple of Roland JV·I080s, a. Proteus, a D4,maybe a

Ba ssStati on, and some effects, such as an SPX90 or two. Each one of these modules would cost nearly as much as a computer would today. How did we survive?!

With the turn of the millennium came Reason. a virtual MI DI rack in our computers - a rack with as many toys lnrt as we needed, including, a basic sequencer, 10 create virtually any slyle of music to a very high standard, There have been constant improvements over the years, and

Ii nally, with version 4, the big user issues with

68 ! REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE

sound quality and the sequencer were fully addressed, leaving us with a standalone music production tool capable of producing anything we can dream up,

Reason is still not attempting to compete with audio recording systems -it's all virtual, and you're empowered to bring samples inas you need to, but when it comes 10 making tweakable and complex sonic creations in a neat little rack, Reason rules,

Since version 3, the MClass series of

mastering effects has provided users with a fine degree of control over the final output of Reason, as well as elements within it. and the new improved sonic engine of version 4 should offer results that stand up ag'ainst anything else

on offer in this highly competitive marketplace.

Reason is often associated with obviously synthetic dance music, but its Orkester library and comprehensive set of sampler patches provide users with alilhe tools they need. to create every kind of atmosphere and style. In this tutorial we're going to take you through the creation of a complete theme tune-style track using the Reason sou ndbank. Our 60s-inspired spy theme will utilise Reason's distortion, compression. EQ and reverb. Then we'll rnorph it Into a more modern-soundlnq version using a few familiar tricks, and finally, we'll fuse the whole lot together in a 60s-meets·Noughties mash-up. Think Austin Powers meets Timo Mass and you're on the right track.

Setting up the reverbs

> tep

1

> To kick thlnqs off, we need a mixer, 50 Create a Mixer 14,2, It will automatically connect to the hardware interface above it. Next. connect two RV7000 reverbs to Aux Send/Return 1 and2,

studio session I project <

2

> Set up the reverb on Aux 1 to create the ki nd 01 natu rat-sou nd i ng ea rl y reflections you would hear if you were in a lively room or studio, perhaps with a wooden trcor and plaster walls - more like your bathroom than vour lounge, Mix is set 100% Wet, as the dry signals will have their own mixer channels.

3

> The second reverb is along plate. The

idea is to create a very retro, early 60s so un d lor the Ii rst pa rt of th e track, Plate reverbs, a Ion g with 5 prin gs, we re very popular back then and had a, lot more

cha racte r th a n th e dig i ta I reverbs that came after them.

I.!ifellke drums and percussion

The Tool Window

1

> The NN-XT is Reason's advanced

sampler, and is capable of hosting many diffe~ent sounds and easily controllable kevqroups simultaneously, The Jazz kit w perc, patch is practically a one-stop shop lor drums and additional percussion for our whole track, You can tune the percussion and drums to suit the track by changing the Root key,

- -".--
. .-'
~
~

~- - - ,_
-l
._~
~
r.;--
~ 3

> To get a lifelike feel, we play the ride

cymbal in on the keyboard, rather then drawing onto the grid with the pencil tool. OUf part is straightforward eighth notes, which will hopefully create some g.ood top-end €nergy without any actual drums beinq 'hit. W€ record a standard, spacious bongo pattern alcnqslde it.

Reason 4's Tool. Window ho.sts a fully stocked arsenal. of weaponry to help achieve high·energy, expressive results. Even something as simple a.s a ride cymbal. playing eighths can really gel you lapping your foOl If It has a. bll of humanity about It, and a well recorded sample Is only the first step to a realistic virtual performance.

When you're programmIng somethIng that's meant to sound real, lislen t.o some recordings, or ~ even better ~ the live Instrument Itself as a reference, The key qualities of the sound will Jump out at you and make your programming. easier.

The Note Velocity secllon has Scale and Random parameters, which enable you to Introduce just the right amount of chaos Into what would otherwise be expressionless patterns, In the case of our ride cymbal, the timing is left as natural as possible, and the velocity .is set so that the 'In between' or grace notes are as subtle as they would be with a real stick on areal cymbal. This gives the Impression of fours, which also leaves room fo.r the part to become more Intense later on when Ihe grace notes get louder and the eighth-note feel comes through again,

Some of the too.ls here will work with tempo and automation Information too.

2

> For the introduction we have planned

for our song, it's important that the

rl de cy mbal in pa rticu 1<1 r do e 5 n 't sou n d ro bot ic. TI1 ere h as to be a big diffe renee 'between soft and medium hits To get the dynamic. control needed to make the samples sound more natural, we max out the Level knob in the Velocity section,

4

> Here's the Tools lab of the Tool WindOw., in which the Note Velocity controls can be found. Our ride is still not dynamic enough, so we select every other hit and boost it 'by 20, then lower the whole tot by 75% a couple of times until a n atu ra I fe e I is ac hleved,

REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE I 69

> project / studio session

You can decide, ''''''oreha nd how rohotl( you want your track to sound

How and when toquantise

You can have Reason quantlse notes automatically as they're played In If you need to. Thl,s Is don,e by actl,vatlng the Quantize Noles During R,ecordlng button on the transport before you start recording. The Quanlizesetllngsln the horizontal loolbar at, the top will then apply to whatever you play In. (Make sure the resolution 15 set correctly or some not,es will' end up on top of each other.) This method will put, notes squarely on the grid, which could cause your track to sound 1,00 robotic.

For a better feel, play In the notes unquantlsed, then use the Quantize tools to nudge them, In the rl,ght direction. Once your recording 15 done, open the clip and select, the notes you want to tighten up. You have the option 01 percentage quantlsln,g towards thevalue determined by the pop-up menu, plus there's a Random factor, to prevent Illairobotic: effecl.

If you've used a, shuffle lee I In any of the pattern seq,uencers and you Wish to match your recorded parts, use the shuffl'e option In the Quantize window. The master shuffle centrolts on the ReGroove Mixer, whl'ch we'Ulook at onp74.

Sometimes It's better to scroll through your part and manually move the worst offending notes by hand 10 help IIdy up unacceptame IIams. Alternatively, you can just select key notes, such as those t,hat land on beat one of the bar, and quantlse those" which certainly makes It easlert,o cut your clips and move them around.

The point Is, don't assume that everything must be smack on the grid to have power - the most natural sounding, groovy music 15 anything but preelse. Reason Includes a library of groove templates to help you achieve different types olleel" so be sure to have a play with them.

70 I REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE

1

> B~ss duties are, goi~g to be covered With a sampled upriqht double bass from the NN'XT_ The actual double bass pa ten doesn'tsou no rig ht, t houg h - th is EBG Thumb patch sounds more lifelike.

e speci a Hy wh e n we a p ply 0 U r two reverbs.

2

> For the main riff of the song, we play something reminiscent of Mr Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. a theme from the original Casino Royale. It's syncopated and groovy (babvl), and once again is played unquanttsed in pursuit of a natural feel A few little fills are added, which can be moved to the correct places later on.

-~ -.-.-.-----~

3

> The Combinator lsa housing device designed to contain multiple modules, enabling you to create highly complex modular machines. II can then be collapsed down to avoid clogging up your ra ck, The basi s of thi 5 Co m bi na to r setup is a muted guitar sound,

4

> The muted gu.itar sample is much too cl e a non its own, even with reverb applied. so we run it through a Scream 4. Reason's distortion unit. with a mild:

Overdrtve setting and a few adjustments to the Body controls.lts output then feeds an Melass EQ,.in order to brighten the high mids and: tops,

QC []

1111_f lid

> We're going to create il picked guitar

pa rt ide nti ce I to Ihe ba 55 pa rt. R at her than drag' and drop the bass clip into

the 5 eq u ence r. th e part is re played unquantised, so it's nice and loose with the bass. making the whole thing sound' like it's being played by real people.

6

> Listening 10 the ride. bongos. bass

and muted: guitar together. it ail

sou n ds very vibey, but a :1 itt Ie to 0 I Dose. so it's time for some judicious quantlslnq, m ovi n g note events 11 e a rer to the grid: ltnes. Fully qUilntising everyt'hing would be a mistake. t'hough.

studio session I project <

Tasty piano

1

> We create a new Combinator module

for our piano sound, which is going 10 be a key flavour in the track. Along. with brass instruments and guitar. piano is one of the hardest sounds to program convincingly with samples, but this is a simple part, more about the sound tnan anything else.

prWFR~IP >Improve and edit

> The NN·XTis plugged intoan RV-7

reverb module to give the impression of the piano being miked upin a room ~ we don·t want a close. dry sound In the old days. this mic would have been EQed on the way 10 tape. Here. the output of the reverb teeds a, PEQ"2 EQ module. which

al so recreate s a vi ntag e m ic 50 u n d.

Co un tless 51 ud io days ca n be lost by players agonising over their solos and doi ng ta ke after ta ke, followed by laborious edltlno, Sequencer users. however. know that they can gel Iheirideas down and correct them later. It's good practise to just Jump In and let the fTr51 thing that enters your head come out. Even llit's only the first or secc nd time yo u've hea rd the track, your mind will. work quickly and you'll probably come up with your best ideas. As long as you commit to the performance. you can 50 rt out the fin er d eta i Isla ter,

> Back in the da,y, this would have been

compressed and recorded to tape, so 'here we route the EQ to a COMp·01 and give it the savage limiting treatment. In turn, it allqoes to a Scream 4 module. whe re very seve reo ove rsaturated ta pe com pression is wo un din to create a grainy. vlntaqe vlbe.

j 6

> ThlsIs such a great piano sound that it

warrants a solo. Without further ado, let's put the track into record mode and: perform one, We stay largely on a single note until the Chord change and then let it go allover the shop. as you can see.

Ent hu si a srn wi n 5 ove race u racy a ny day!

4

> Does this piano part look familiar? The

main theme is played in the left hand to create the unison ensemble of plano, bas sand g u i ta r, The compress ion rea Ily brings out the reverb and, together with the ride and bongos. makes the whole thing sound much more exciting.

5

> Now we have a more complete drum

pattern and a well established riff, The track is in C" 50 a modulation to F is the satisfying and obvious thing to do, Rather than complete a C, F., C, G, F, C cycle. though. a 0'. G~. D. G figure makes for a more quirky and psychedelic end to each sectton, We record a piano part doinga basic triad and root note in the bass, This can be built on later with other sounds.

P WEI" If..

>Happyaccidents

1 7

The equally inspiring and irritating Brian Eno once said, "Honour your mistake as your hidden mtentlon". Don't write something, off autcrnatlcanv just because you didn't intend to do it. Great things come from accidents and cock-ups. For example. moving. a dip to the wrong place or to the wrong. track will often throw up a unlquesounding twist that you would: never have thought of. The maxim also applies to worK you're not sure about, Sit on it for a while or just listen a few times. and it might grow on you.

> Amore Significant break 'between

sections is needed. so let's try repealing: the Dl, G~, D, G figure a few times, Beea use the se clio n is not 100% quanttsed. the C Chord overlaps with the O~ each time the pattern loops. This Isn't the intention. but it makes the beginning chord much juicier!

REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUICE I 71

> project / studio session

Flute takes the lead

1

> Finding a sound that's inlereslingand

expressive enough to be the lead can be to ug h. In th is cas e, the MTron Flutes paten on the NN'XT comes up trumps - it's a highly textured, grainy flute sound, reminiscent of Bullit, or the 70s Black M~gic chocolate adverts. We treat this sound with the same signill path as the piano and put it right up front in the mix.

>Mighty MeUotron

,LIl till

The Mellolron is widely regarded as the II rs t eve r sam pi er: It's an

i ncre d i ble keybo ard crossed wit h a rnultiple tape playback machine. Each key has its own playback head and loop of tape, which became infamous for causing the most terrible tangles wnen the tape loops were moved to produce a change of sound. American Harry Charnberlln had to hook up with the British Bradley brothers to make a reliable machine we would eve ntua lIy recoq n lse as th e MeHotron Perhaps Its finest hour was the flute/recorder intro to The Beatles' Strilwberry Fields. Todav's samplers - such as Reason's NN'XT - are tar more practical, though.1

> Now we add the main lop 'line for our

trac k. A p lay in g m i sta ke resu Its in some odd semi tone intervals. but after a few listen si t s ta rts to grow on us, so we decide to keep lt, We include little dusters of small notes arounc the main part to

em ul ate little ru ns uoa n d down the s C~ I e, giving a more authentic leel.

3

> For a second pass with the flute, we

add a low octave double - played rather than copied - under the second hall of the theme to give it something a bit different as the track develops. The top line needs a bit more body, as irs now competing with the bass and muted guitar, as well as the piano.

>Play it like it's real

As usual, a bit of background knowledge 01 an instrument can

hel p yo u create ve tv real i s Ii c results when using samples to emulate it Studying a real vibes player reveals that there's more' to it than just banging away with your mallets. Sometimes more than one mallet is held in each hand, and notes a re often dam ped by ha no .as well as by a damper pedal. These techniques seem to be essential for creating clarity of sound. We've used a sustain pedal to kill the sustain [ust before the final d.

72 I REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE

4

> Another staple Of the groovy 60s

ensemble was the vibraphone, an overgrown glockenspiel where the 'keys' are poslttoned above resonant tubes with s'lowly spinning discs at each of their openings. This gives a low frequency

os ci II a tion to the tonal ban dwldth - kin d of Iii ke an LF 0 cont roHin g a Iii te r!

> For the vibes part, we simply use a

one-octave descen ding 5 ca I e, pi aved by two notes at an octave interval and ending up on the minor third of the root. lt's the sound of the vibes that makes it interesting, and this gives a real change 01 mood When we alter the key of the track for the first time.

5

6

> We want to add some more texture to

the vibes part over the key change to F, so a. high flute section is loaded into a Combinator based on the same signal processing as the muted guitar and the piano. There's nothing else happening in the high notes at that point so we won't be cluttering anything up.

7

> Using the high flutes, we play a 'third

above' harmony to the descending

v ib e s pa rt, a go od two octaves above Ih e vibes themselves, These notes are not quanti sed and are played in by hand. like all the other parts. Tne high flutes don't need to be toud to help create subtle harmonic texture.

studio session I project <

Orchestra ti on

1

> We've now got the flute line twice"

followed by a key change with the spacey vibes and then a return to the main key with a wonky piano 5010. We want to bring the main !.lute theme back again, but bi gg er and better. Fren ch ho rns create a great sense 01 space - they're often

reco rd e d by poi ntl ng the m i cs at I he back wall of the studio.

prWFR~IP >Introducing "I the band I

The key to good orchestral ion is 10 make sure everything has a place, m usi cally and s on lea Ily. It ca n be great fun coming up with endless harmonies and countermetodles but il you're not careful you'll end up with a swampy mess! Remember that there shouldn't be action in all places at once or you'll lose dvnarnlcs when you run out of instruments to add, and can't make what you already have any louder.

Try to create excitement and energy mu s lcallv (rat h er t ha n sonlcallv) first, and: then add the minimum possible amount of

in stru rnents - wh e re there's

spa ce for them - to create th e desi red effect.

2

> The NN·){T 'horns patch is sent neat to our mixer wilh the 'house' reverbs

epp Ii ed, which gives ex aclly th e rig ht sense 01 space, We playa simple tour-note, descending' line in the second half of the theme thai becomes a rhvthrnic pulse until the end of the section. This will be augmenledby further brass later on.

J

3

> We want to add another lexture to the

bass and piano theme. An episode of The Avenger5 comes to mind, reminding us of the harpslchord, which is often used to surreal effect in this type of music. Again, the piano Combinator is copied, pasted and adjusted:. A different reverb setting seems to suit the sound better, though, as does a longer Release on the compressor to prevent pumping.

6

> The next lob is to start 'joining the dots'. There are some nice little gaps in the main flute theme that start becoming noticeable by the third time round. We think these spaces will be great 10 r so me excl Ii n gbrass stabs an d fig ures. The ubiquitous NN·){T plays a simple brass section paten, but hammering the sound through a Scream 4 module really helps bring it to life.

J L11J_ 1 LJ

4

> This time we copy and paste the piano riff so th at the ha rps ie h ord si ts exa ct lv with it - there's enough looseness trcm everything else. Tonally ii's ideal, because it won't clog things up with low

Irequ e ncles a nd wi II just a dd extra cut to the piano rifl- as well as giving, that Addsms Family wonkiness!

5

> Playing with the harpsichord sound

over the Dl, G~, D, G figure yields a simple little line that helps make a lot more of t he ex isli ng pia no eh ords, It's s ti II not really a top line -that will come laterbut it does help articulate the chord in a more interesting way

P WEI" IF'

l

D

>Nailing the brass sound

U D ~ II Q g

7

> Here's a good example of the dirty low brass working against those French hom stabs around bar 86. The octave root notes add power, but the

di scordant Ii atte n edlilth is the note I ha t creates tne energy This Ilattened fifth is the in terva I that Bernstei n used a II over West Side Story,

Getting a convincing; brass section with samples has always been

tr Ic kyo Bra ss a rra n gers wi II te II you how things are done in sections: tenor sax, baritone sax and trumpet go well, lor example. Using shorter notes lends to stop the samples reveal i ng' the mselves as su ch, but if you need longer notes it's essential to get into arte rtou en co ntrol of filtering, pitch and volume to emulate the sort 01 expression

bra 55 i nstru me n ts are ca pa'ble at. Unlike a plucked, lnstrument.a blown note can be modulated in many wa'Ys until I! ends.

REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE I 73

> project / studio session

p~w RTIP

>Audio headroom

If vou're maxing Cal most overloading the output meters) on one mixer and then ask it to snare its main. output bus with another maxeo-out mixer. you're going to overload' the master output. Mild overload mea ns Ih at In e 5 ig na I wi II start squaring off ue, transients will be' distorted and, the sound becomes soft), wh ich, oddl v, ca n. sound OK. When you overdo it. though, you'll experience clipping, followed by audible distortion, The 501 uti 0 n is to ta ke the master fa de rs of each mixer down at least 5dB (100 to BO·ish), For a driven analogue sound, use the Combinator preset Default Master.lng 5ulte.cmb to compress and limit the mix.

1!'"11!!!.;L.._ ~ --- -

.1::::hi:If> • :'"'.~

3

> For the second p ha se of 0 u r tra ck,

we're goin.g to take a tum for the modem, We start by digging up a Reason classic: the Redmm drum macnlne. W~'II use its pattern sequencer to generate a pattern that willkick a bit of erse, as well

a 5 lock into the retro bea ts weesta'blished' in the f rst hall of the track.

>Oon't be a slave to the grid

If you could look at the grooviest beats in the world split out into their component parts and laid out on a matrix editor, you'd see that the notes very seldom land smack-on the mathematically

a cc urate 9 ri d. What creates lee I and groove is the push and pull of each beat relative to the others, This is what makes it hard to program a good groove by

enteri ng even Is directly into a grid, and also why it's difficult to loop some beats. Play yo u rbeats with a kevb oard 0 r pa ds to get a better feel, and then do some quanttslnq to get the groove un de r cont rot

74 / REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE

1

> With 14 channels of the Reason Mixer

nearly full, we're clearly going to need more room for the second half of the

t ra cK. Un II k.e with ot h er DAW app I i ca tion 5, we can't just make the mixer biggeranother one has to be created, but it doesn't have to plug into a remaining tree track on the first mixer.

2

> A glimpse around the back of the rack shows th at the Rei! son Mixer ha s Chaining Master and Aux connections, Th e se en a bl e severs I m Ixe rs lobe ea 5i Iy cascaded, and each mixer to share the same auxiliary effects. This means you can separate mixers Into cateqortes to make organising your session a b.i.t easier,

...

-

::;*::.=::=

-

4

> Selecting the Redrurn track in. the

sequencer window enables us to play the sounds in each Redrum channel on au rkevboa rd wh i I e browsi ng throu g h the Redrum kits in the Factory Sound Bank. This makes it easy to find a kit with the right Character. Individual sounds can be auditioned the same way,

5

> We decide on. a simple pattern, then

transfer it to a sequencer track as note inlorrnatlcn. With Reason 4 we can create extra note Janes within a track, so individual sounds or parts can have lanes of their own. We create three lanes for the k i c«, snare an d hats.

6

> Having created these lanes, we can allocate the three sounds to three channels on. the ReGroove Mi.xer, This will enable U5 to mess with the relative timings 01 the kick, snare and hats, and recreate the urgent feel' 01 the loosely played beats that appear earlier in the track.

7

> Each of the three lanes in the Redrurn en a nne lis rou ted to its own chan nel on the ReGroove Mixer. We've moved the snare and hats back relative to the kick drum (so that they play fractionally early). ReGroove is a highly useful tool that enables US to match the grooves perfectly.

studio session I project <

Rhythm and bass

1

> Here's Reason's flagship synth, Thor. 1.I's a semi-modular with a choice 01

os clll ators an d Ii lters, a cornprehe n sive mod ul a non a rray. a 16- step sequ ence rand au d io in p ut, it covers a lot of ba ses, Let's use the default patch to create a tarnlllar pu lsi ng bass Ii g U reo

3

> While this firs! set 01 automation creates a brutal rhythmic pulse, sending another set of automation to the same filter create 5 u nderly i ng rises and tells in the base level of the VCF. This allows further articulation, and a softening or ha rden In g 0 I the rhyth m. You C1I n see here how all the 'peaks' have been selected for editing.

6

> Our plan is to break things down again before bringing the main flute theme back for a final blast. The vibes return for 11 spa cev chord c ha nge to F, an d we fi nd 11 loop on the Dr.Rex module that gives a

d ifferen t II avo u r to the heavy, bas lc bea t coming from Redrum. We then send

t heses' ices as notes to a sequ e nee r trac k (bars 116-129).

2

> This type 01 rhythmic figure mvolves

more than just making a sound and playi ng the keys. A note needs to su sta in while the filters modulate to create the rhythm, and because the rhythm is in sixes, it makes copying and pasting

repea ted pa Items a bit 01 a pa i n. The scrssnshot above shows the automation for Rotary Controll. whic.h controls VCF3.

P WFR~IP l >Careful with

the bass

Ironically, the biggest mistake made with bass is ... adding too much bass! Bass instruments are one th i ng, and bass treq uencle 5 <Ire a nether, A good bass sou nd has a bal a need: 5 st 01 low freq uen c les that help to sonlcallv fill out the bottom end 01 the frequency

pi ctu re, but it also has e no ugh upper harrncnlc intormatlon to

co nvev th emu sl cality of the note, so you can stili hear It doingl!s Job on. small speakers. Unless you're intentionally going lor an <III-out wcofer-tn-the-boot sub-shaker, It's usually a good: idea to filter out evervthinq below 40Hz and add a bit 01 distortion to bring out the

hi g her ha rrnon lcs.

~ - : ... ~

~

I r-'J:::;!.- : -=::III, : r-~_ mm::.

:.._ ._ .:_ -' :. :. ~ 010..-

'""""'" NN-.x.T~' ---,.".

~ - & .... ~

4

> Now that the pulse bass part is happening, we need a simple bass to underpin the main beat, We'll use Thor again"In this Combinator setup, with chorus, reverb and d i sto rti 0 n to h el p give it goodlow-mid 'poke'. We're not making use 01 the RPG-a here

> In this Combinator, the Rotary 1

co n trol is ro uted to Thor's m odu la Ii on wheel, which in turn is routed to vcn Here you can see the VCF1 automation slowly ramping up over 16 bars to keep

th e energy bul Idi ng s ubtlv, des pi te the tact that there's not much else going on in the Ira ck at I his poi nt.

5

P WEp .... lF'

>Managing subs

7

> To complete the alternate flavour of

t his last brea kdown section, we use a Subtracter synth to create a gentle sub-bass sound for a bit of <I dubby feel. Th is patch is ba sed 0 nasi ig'h tly d etu n ed pair 01 sine wave OSCillators and 'has enough low frequency energy to make our speaker cones extremely mobile!

Ex ces 5 lve su b -bass freq u encles ca n occu r u nexp e cted Iy w hen sou n d 5 mix to geth er, A s ubby ba 55 0 nits own mlgl1t be fine, but throw In that 808 kick and your speakers can really suffer, This also happens with ace u stlc bass and oru m re cord i n g5. Watching for excessive cone movement of the speaker is a good way todetect rogue low frequencies; even betteris a spectrum analyser. Carefully

a pplled hi gh -pass fi I ters at steep (36d B/oct) 510 pes should chop olt the lowest of "he lows. Usin.g a subwoorer as part of your

m 0 nltori n g setu p :h 1"1 ps gi ve yo u the lu II pi cture if you're wo rki n g on small monitors.

REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE I 75

> project / studio session

Stringing it along

n~.;;u -- ~li~n tu~~~N~~~~~

~-

rcu_ =-r::II n~ .. , r,

_. ~ t •• __ .J' .. "'I'" I - _" - - -- .... - ... ~.. .

fBIIIIIB

1

> After the last breakdown, we want to

bring back the main flute theme with a vengeance, so lt's goin.g to need some extra welly .. We create a new Combinator based on the piano sound. and load up the NN'XT with Strings Ailirom the Or.kester Sound Bank. which we can give the

ram i Ha r Fe ve rb, E Q, co m pression and distortion treatment

2

> We replay the flute part using the new

string sound. with the part positioned two octaves higher. We want the part to

s u st a in, bu I after exoer imen tat ion it doesn't sound right, so instead we go for a double of the flute with no fluttery extras. In fact, 'it sounds 50 good that we put it earlier in the song, at the point where the flute plays the theme for the second: time.

3

> Here's a good orchestration trick, To

thicken up Ihetlute theme we play in a 'th i rd a bove' type ha rmonv pa rt. b wI th e n take it below the pitch of the original flute theme. This creates a very warm. thick texture and uses up an unoccupied space in the orchestral picture. This part has its own lane within the string track.

Orchestral percussion

1

Now it's time for some drama, We load up a new NN'XT with a bank 01 orchestral percussion. including castanets and, most importantly, timpani. These samples have a lovely ambience about them. and adding' some of our two resident reverbs puts Ihe soundsin a perfect s pace fa r some we'll· pi aced '11 Its and fills with which to ramp up the energy.

mmaa a co 1JDCCCIO

LIDI_Ullld.l_U_1

We want to add a bit of ttavour to the ~ lntro of the track - a little moment tor our imaginary percussionist with a pair of cowbells, Things like this have to be played unquantlsed trorn the :keyboard or pad s, H av i ng played. it in .. t ~.e pa rt d oesrrt sound right until the velocity is taken right d.own to between 20 and30

Sharing effects to create a retro vibe

You will have noticed that many of our :instrument Combinators share the same set of modules. NN-XT,. reverb, EQ, compression and di.stortion. This helps to create a homogenous feel throUghout the track. It's also easy to set up a signal path on an auxiliary that selected sounds can be sent through, but having the tweakabillty to fine-tune the various elements within each Comblls a real bonus and Is easily achievable thanks to Reason's low CPU usage.

Using similar tonal shapes on key parts of the track creates the illusion of an ensemble recording, where an orchestra Is recorded with justa few mlcs ln a distinctive acoustic

76 I REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE

space. With a retro piece like this, we can over-exaggerate the simulated vintage qualities of mics, EQs and recordlna media. Although many vintage high-end mles and amps were of superior quality to their modern counterparts, the whole process of recording, overdubbing and mastering often resulted :111 the crunchy sound that characterises this period. (Many audiophiles could Identify a bit of music from a Gerry Anderson series within seconds, purely from the tone and style.)

To emulate til is effect, you have to envisage the Instruments In a studio space, taking .. into account the posifioning

We re co rd a Iy pica I cl uster of t imps doing a simple G and C figure to underpin the bassllne - a bit like Captain Scarlet. Every now and again we'll really dig In to the tlmps (bar 163) so that they poke out, Inspired by Paul McCartney·s classic Live And Let Die theme. The trick with tlrnps is not to overdo It!

of the mics and what the signa'i path to tape would have consisted of. Then you have to experiment with their modern plug-in counterparts to try to create the illusion. For that reason, our Comblnators contain the sound source, foll.owed by reverb, fhen EQ. to emulate the sound of an old mic :in the worn with the instrument The compressor then narrows the dynamic range and adds a. bit of punch to the sound, and the final distortion module attempts to recreate the recording. mastering and reproduction artefacts. This process Is great for breathing new life into old samples.

,

studio session I project <

Taking the lead

1

> Coming in at bar 129 is the

Combinator patch to end all Combinator patches! Based on the Juicer II patch from t'he Factory Sound Bank. we have a Subtracter, six de la vs. a

co m presso r, a ph aser, two S pi de r Sp I ltte rs and two sub-mtxers topped off with a linal com press a r, The rnvth m i c de lay s are 111 e key to this essentially simple sound,

4

> In bar 123. between the two

vibraphone phrases, is one of those spots where there's not much happening. A listen to Blue Monday provides a little inspiration and we decide to nick the idea 01 a choir sound. A two-note chord does the trick - we'll show you how to give It the automated EQ treatment when we get to the rnixinq section. which begins over the page,

2

> Using this sound, we playa simple lead part that holds on to the last note. We use the Combinator's Rotary 1 controller, whlch is mapped to the Subtracter's filter cutoff. to program eutornaticn at bar 139, This cuts the Iilter off sharply. as il the sound Iinishes as normal, and then slowly opens it again to take us into the final section.

3

> We increase the pitchbelld Range on Ihe subtracter to 'its maximum of 2 octaves, then U5e automation to take

the pitch, of theheld note ali the way down while the f Iter is opening, Try taking it further by automating the oscillator luning and filter Resonanc€

at the same time.

5

> Having used the strings earlier in the

song to back up the theme. we find ourselves again looking for something new 10 add to the part for Its last big moment. This Therernln-ljke Thor patch sounds great doubling the flute, adding a 50s sel-f flavour.

6

> A bit of play.ing around reveals that the Therernln sound will also help reinforce a bit of a dead spot in the piano soloat bar 6l. We use iI tojoin I:he piano in a simple, descending figure that leads

nice Iy 10 the cho rd cha n ge ba ck to c. This also serves to foreshadow the Therernln's re-entrv on the big theme at the end.

7

> We construct the ending of the track by repeating. the Q!, G!. D, G figure three times" but this time with the added flavour of the pulse bass sound inverting' the chords and playing a bit of a melody. This gives the chord changes a lot more weight and makes the ending all the more satisfying,

8

> The pulsing VCFautomation is

proving to be too much of a

d i stracn 0 n th ro u.g ho ut til is end sectio n, so we mute the first lot of automation. and calm the secondary automation right down, leaving just a hint 01 Ihe original pulse remainmq,

9

> This same automation eventually creates the flnal swell as the end chord sustains. We also make sure the Eko lead blooms at this point, and bring 'in the French horns lor a final, appearance

playl ng an E (th e majo r th I rd of the root key C), just to change the mood for the final mornents.cm

REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE I 77

to our ml){ proI:ll.lOi!:d w~t.ti ,iii pro !1(!!tUIJ,. and Q:UI'Rea:sol'Klflly:rnII:.I:. Can vou hear ·£20K'5 'WOnl'Iof-cllrl·i!I'!nC!'7'

I

> As we enter the mixing phase of our

Reason Studl.o Session, we're goIng to take the opportunity to touch on' an. Issue that's always been a subject of debate between dedicated Reason-only 'producers and those who use Reason to augment anotherDAW setup, To wit: can a mix produced entirely within Reason really measure up to one produced using a higher-end application?

Or, to put it another way: Is It possible to produce a release-quality track entirely within Reason?

Opi nion on the subject is fiercelY divided.

Some users complain that Reason has a clearly identifiable sound, while others rightly point out that that's not necessarily absd thlnq. Some lament its lack of support for third-party plug-ins, While others appreciate the benefits of its all-ln-one nature. And with so many other factors intluenctnq the release-ability 01 your

fi rushed mixes, It all leaves many Reason users wondering if they should invest in another DAW for mixing their Reason tracks, or if their dissatisfaction with their current mixes might be down to other thlnqs.,

7B I REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE

I

And we've all heard stories about some acclaimed: producers ~ Liam Howlett being probably the most well-Cited example - having produced albums "entirely with Reason", but as pros are also renowned for being very guarded when it comes to revealing their studio tricks, we tend to take that kind of information with an extremely liberal pinch of salt.

Experimental mixing

So, just for fun, we decided to carry out a controlled experiment. the results of which should lay this subject to rest ~ at least In our own minds! Here's the deal: first., we're going to mix the track we created in the first part of this Studio Session (see p68), using just our Reason 4 setup. We'll take you step-by-step through the process in a four-page tutorial.

When that's finished, we're going to mix the same track agai n. this time using the creme de 101 creme of mixing rigs: a state-or-the-art Pro Tools system with the Iinest D/Aand AID converters money can buy, and a pile of top quality outboard processors and plug-ins. The difference in price between the Reason setup

Now that our song is tracked, it's ti me for a mixing session

with a difference _

and the Pro Tools rig could buy you a tidy Jaguar XKR or put down a deposit on your first home, but it's resu Its we're Interested In. We'll compare the two mixes and find out if Ihe sonic capabilities of Reason 4 are up to the mark, and if this ever-evolving software studio stalwa rtis capable of knocking out release-quality sounds that can make you a hit without having to sell one of your kidneys.

To keep the experiment fair, we'll control several variables. The mixing environment. monttorlnq setup and mix engineer wm remain constant. We'll. be mixing the same track in both setups, working with the source material we created' on pp68-n using the Reason Factory Sound Bank. Our 'artistic' objectives will be the same for each mix, so at the end. we'll be drawing our conclusions based purely on the sound quality of the results.

Our test rnlx-meister is Steve Evans. a Bath-based artist/producer. Steve is a fanatical Pro Tools diehard. and with nothing, to lose or gain from the experiment, it will. be interesting to see what he makes 01 the mixing experience within Reason.

the great mixing debate I project <

Mixing with Reason

REASON SETUP

Propellerhead Reason 4 Apple Mac Pro Digidesign 192 I/O

Prism ADA8 I/O

Spendor SA500 monitors KRK V7000 monitors KRK RPIOS subwoofer Denon domestic hi-fi

Mackie Big Knob monitor controller

One of the criticisms made about the earlier versions of Reason concerned their sound. Some people said it was a little dull or woolly, and that you could recognise a Reason track from a mile away because of it. Reason 4 booted all those old ideas into touch with its improved audio engine and sequencer.

One popular myth states that if a piece of software employs 32· or 64·bit floating poi nt processing, it's im possible to overload. Whilst such high·resolution formats have benefits, they don't guarantee to combat your own malpractice with gain structure and EQ.

Get into the habit of adding compression and EQ modules after your Reason devices, and ensure that the signal stays at its optimum level

,In the mixing ring: how will Reason4'smixlng eng lne stand up to the mlghty'Pro Tool.? We'll.eel

~

throughout the chain (le, as loud as it can be without the loudest parts overtoadlnq an input or output meter anywhere in the cha in). The Reason mixer only offers abroad top and bottom EQ for 'topping and, tailing' the sound, so your tonal shaping has to be done prior to the mixer. The MClass EQ is excellent for this, and the smaller EQ modules are great for more simple filtering.

Reason has a tun-spec M I 01 sequencer and you can use a hardware controller to get hands-on - although we aren't using one for our Reason mix here. We are using a great mon itori ng setup anc gre(ll I/O, which won't improve Reason itself, but will enable us 10 accu rately hear what's going on.

The quality ofthe AID conversion won't be an Issue with elthe,ot our mixes today - we're using the acclaimed Prism ADA8 for both

Our produce" Sieve Evans keeps his MacProin a

s epa rate room for no IS<! Isolation· standa rd practice in pro studios

Mixing is ...

B,ALANCE AND PANNIN,G

Try to find a good a,verage level and position In, the stereo picture forea.ch element of the track -mostlmpo.rtilntly, the vocal, or whatever's playing the top line,

FINDIN.G A COMPROMISE

Your mix needs to sound good on a Variety of systems, A proper bass·heavy mix might rock on a big set of monitors, but could sound dull or even distorted on normal speakers. The trick Is to flick. between systems, Sort out bottom·end shapes on the big ones, If you have 'em, and balance on the small ones, Check out how It sounds In the car. too.

BEIN.GRUTHLESS

Just because you made It doesn't mean It's best tor your mix, 50 identify and remove any unnec-essary mater.lal.lt's easy to over·egg the pudding When left to your own devices. Get an Informed second opinion - .bounclng ideas Is usually helpful.

SOUND SHAPING

Every.sound does ajob In the mix, so give each one the correct tr'eatmenlfor lis role. Knaw your genre - have you really listened and studied? If so, you'liknowwhelher your vocal should be super·compressed and dry, or warm and dynamic with a dash 01 plate reverb. Mayheyaur drums shauldhe roamy; maybe they should be distorted. Whatever the treatment, keep each element In Its own territory, or yaur mil( will he a mess.

LOW END TROUBLESHOOTING

lithe cones on your small monitors are bwrsting out of the cabinets when the hassllne comes In, the chanc-es are It's either too loud or It needs filterIng to remove very low freqwencles. Just Hkevery high frequencies, these extl'emes can't he heard, yet they steal energy fl'om your mix, or dlstraet fram the music. You need the speakers 10 be working efficiently .

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REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE I 79

Get the part right

> We're acaJstomed to hearing many

different types of drum sounds these days. from ambient vintage Jazz kits to hyper-.stYIIsed, close-mlked, sample-replaced, in-your-face superklts that could never be replicated In any natural elJ¥lronment, ConsequenUy,lfs fair to say th9t th.e dynamics and feel of the parts, and the behaviour of the Individual samples, play a bigger part In convincing us there's a human performance happening than the sound of the kit Itself does. Getting, these aspects right should be your p.rlorlty when working on the drums in a mix.

The more la.yers of dynamic samples you have available, the better. A snare drum hit hard sounds nothing like a snare drum tickled softly, and a loud snare sound at low volume is an instant giveaway. The NN·XT enables velocity cmssfading within zones, and a fairly convincing effect can be created with just three or four dynamically representative samples in one carefully edited zone.

Dynarnlcs and. compression

The key to dynamics is to let compression do the work of bringing the sounds through in the mix. For example, if your ride cymbals are heavily accented on fours. with ghost notes on the eights In between, don't increase the velocity of the eights, just pump the compression a bit more until they begin to come forward in the mix. Compression is part and parcel of any recorded drum sound and you shouldn't be afraid to use it. .As we've been attempting to create a natural ambience around the sound before It hits the compressor, we're aiming for a result more like that of a compressed microphone in a real space.

Try experimenting with two compressors, the first to 'i nvisibly' limit the loudest of the transients, and the second to wind in a fair bit of

Drum effects

> Step By,

Getting VOIIrproQrammed drums to sound like they'Ve boon plaved by a rea.lperson can bea t!icky.buslne5$

squeeze. Tty medium attack. times, like lOms, and longer release times of 200-300ms, or use very quick attack times 01 trns, and fast release times of lOOms or less, and you'll get an idea of the d ltterent p 0551 biliti e s,

Another variation is to duplicate the signal from theki! with a. Spider module, so you have two identical drum channels on the mixer. Inser! an aggressive compressor over one of the splits, leave the other uncompressed, and blend the two together on the mixer. This can help deliver punch While preserving 'natura lness', The two drum signals could go to a Une Mixer, and the blended output could be finished off with an MClass Maximizer lor super- posh results.

EO

When taking on the tasks described, you shou Id use the best modules available (ie, an RV7000 reverb, and an MClass Compressor/Maximizer).

The same applies when it comes to EQ. The MClas5 EQ offers total control, including a low cut at 30Hz for unwanted sub removal,

As a general rule, it's better to get a good drum balance with your samples !.Iat and then apply EQ over the whole drum sound. That way, when you brighten up your snare, for example, the cymbals and top end 01 the kick will come up with tt, and won't be left sounding dull in comparison. EQlng individual kit elements can have the effect of fragmenting the sound. Obviously certain samples wi II need attention and that's that, but if you have a good set of

sou nds, global EQ and compression

will sound more wholesome, as well as saving on CPU cycles.

II you're an 80s drum sound frea k then ignore all of this advice and get the gated reverb out! Remember: there are no rules. If you like lt, have it.

1

> Our Jarz Kit w Perc patch sounds

unnatural, even with a touch of the two reve rbs we have set up 0 n the mixer Auxes, We'll apply another smaller reverb to emulate the very fast early reflections created when a drum Is hit loudly in a space, especially as these drums need to appear at the rear of our soundstage.

80 I REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE

2

> Distortion really helps create the right

vlbe, Scream 4 offers a variety of distortion types. We're using Tape, which delivers soft clipplnq-stvle distortion and a touch of compression. to mlrnlc the behaviour of hot levels coming back from analogue tape. Use theP2 knob to increase the compression amount.

3

> Because our kit is at the rear of the

soundstage, we don't want its

co m po nent pa rts ha rd pa n ned to d iffe rent po s i ti on s between t he speake rs. A II th e elements need to be back and centre, with the high 10m to the left, and th€ bongos and shakers harder to the right. The zone pan control is at the bottom right of the NN·XT editor

the great mixing debate I project <

Sound shaping

- - - - - -

F i", r~l.

1

> The vibes are disappearing into the

mix and aren't sounding half as spooky as we want them to. We'll wield some serious compression to bring those lovely soft tails up to the level 01 the sharp transient 'hits, Applying a good 20dB of gain reduction with the Melas5

Co m p re sse r ach i eves the des i red effect.

2

> To pull the notes out of the double

bass a bit more, we set our faithful Scream 410 Tape, bringing out the upper harmonics of the sound. The Body section emulates resonant eflects and, with the help of an. envelope follower, can create surprisinqlv natural cabinet-type resonance, which particularly suits a double bass.

4

> In the previous step, you can see that th e Rotary! contra lie r 0 nih e Combinator is routed to the Damage Control of Scream 4. We create an autornatton lane in the piano Combinator's device track in the sequencer; then it's a question of drawing in a lew nodes where the pia no chords happen. The change in sound lsn' really no tlcea bl e. but is someh ow better!

Delay effects in rnlxlng

Although the type oftrack we're constructing here requires a lot of reverbs, there are other, equally effective wa.ys of creating, space in a mix. Whereas reverb can often clog things up a bit, some simple delays can work wonders. We've already heard the dramatic effect that a 16ms delay on one side of a stereo signal can have,: in fact, simple delay is one of the fundamental building blocks of nearly all tlme-based studio effects.,

When used sparingly, especially 'if they're sympathetic to the tempo of the music, a few repeats can give a big sense of space without the density of a. reverb, Tempo-based delays are great for crisp pop productions and dry·soundlng urban styles. The repeats. can beEQed and treated with phasers or chorus type effects for a more stylised sound.

Using a panned repeat can be an

5

> Our next Job is to crispen. up that

murky breakbeat coming from the

Dr. Rex module. We insert t-he Metass Equalizer and straight away a shelvlnq boost of 5dB at 5kHz brightens thin.gs up considerably. A further, more focused push at 5kHl gives the desired cut, which is exag ge rated by a ge ntl e ro lI·off down at the bottom end.

i

o DAMMlf:

3

"'> There's a whole lot 01 distortion on the

main piano, This sounds great for the single"note bassline and the solo, but it gets a bit much when the piano plays its chord seq uence I n the brea ks, The Damage Control needs to be backed off lor these moments.

6

> The breakbeat Is still not big enough,

somehow, so we're going to go Wide, We position a DOL·" delay module to interrupt one side of the stereo output of the Dr.Rex. We set the delay fully Wet, and a tlnv Dela.y Time of 16ms is enough to create a dramatic stereo effect if you want to ta ke It tu rthe r, try in trod uc in g a cou pi e of PH·9 0 ph asersi nto the eq uatio n,

A suilably retro·looking virtual verslo.n of the' .E"ventlde H3000 would be very welcome in Reason

interesting way to create space. Set up a delay effect as an auxiliary and pan a mono return away from the signal that you're sending to It. Repeats like this help sounds to sit well in a, mix,

You have to be careful with long delay effects. They need to be used subtly, and In suitable places, or they soon get tiresome. At the right time they can have a really dramatic effect, but don't overdO it!

One single repeat of BOrns on a vocal and you have instant Elvis: 30ms and it's Gary Numan.

Clusters of' short delays panned around the stereo picture can work wonders for percussion and drums. This will take a bit of perseverance In Reason, though, as one thing It stili lacks Is an advanced delay/pltchshlHer similar to the old Eventide H3000. (How about It, Propellerhead?)

r

REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE I 81

> project / the great mixing debate

More dynamics

1

> At this stage of the process,

everything is sounding there or thereacouts.Jrs pretty dear what needs to be done, especially when fHcklng between big and small monitors. The piano needs to be softer at the start. 50 we create an automatton I~ne In. the Mixer device track and draw in a gradual fade-up,

>M'atch the controller to the instrument

Th e control opt] ons ava na bte to us (co ntrol wheels, ve I ocitv, attertouch, sustain and expression p eda 15) can t ra nstorrn the playability of samples, but only if the ri ght co ntrolle rs a re used sympathetically. With brass. the sound is constantly modulated for the I ength of the breath and then has no sustain or decay.

A plucked string has a natural decay, so no volume changes can occur during the sustain period,

but vi b rato ca n be i nt rod uced. Aitertouch adjusting the volume on a piano sound would be very odd!

"'OW-~TIP

>Automation, controllers

and performance

Generally speaking, a bit 01 time spent setting up your controllers pro perlv a t the sta rt of p rcdu ct i 0 11 leads to better performances and a lot 01 time saved endlessly drawing in nodes and nudging them around while one bar loops for hours. The interaction between ve I ocity

lnto rrn atlon, plave d a tte rtou ch and a modulation wh€€1 with a bit of pitchbend can be very intuitive, and create natural, highly complex tonal changes that would be impossible to draw in manually,

82 I REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE

.......

2

> Now that the piano is at the right level with the drums. we make a new automation lane to deal with the flute level. It needs to 'be lower tne first time round. louder for the lirst part 01 the second round. and then duck when

the octaves come in. Small monitors

are gen era lIy b etter for ach i evi n g the right balance.

4

> Let's route the Rotary 1 control, in the

choir Combinator to the Freq control of the second pa ra m et ric ba n d of the MClass EQ. Now the frequency can be automated. and these rhythmic steps help the chair sound to develop. It sounds a lot more i nte re s tin g, even ave r j U st two ba rs,

6

> The decay of the horns needs to be

very gradual as the sound fades to almost not.hing, so we create a separate automation lane to further control the cutoff Frequency of the NN·XT. We close the fiI ter grad ua Ily so t na t theh 0 rns match the decay of t.he pulse bass and the Ekolead.

3

> We want to give the choir sound some

kind of movement, but we don't fancy a chorus or tlanqe-tvpe sound, EQ is often ove (I ookeo a s a more ere ali ve too I. and the MClass EQ ls rnuslcal-soundlnq enough to use as a resonant filter. which we sweep through the harmonics at the choir sound.

5

> We wan!to stop the track ending on a

minor chord, so we add a long French horn note designed to emerge from the

Ii Itered swell 01 the ba ss, We set the attertouch to modulate the level and the filter frequency on the NN·XT, and then man ua Ily ad j u $t the reco rded a fte rtoucn using automation nodes,

7

> The last snare from the beat box going

into the break is ripe for a long reverb tail, We've added a. clap on top of the snare in the second part of the song'. sent, via the Chained Auxes from Redrurn, to our house reverbs At bar 139 we've automated the Decay time of the plate reverb to max out for four bars, elongating the clap. and providing a huge reverb for the Ekolead to do its filtering.

the great mixing debate I project <

Mastering the track

1

> The MClass Mastering Combinator is

one of the most quietly powerful 10015 in. Reason's box. Not only are the component prOCe5S0rS of very high quality, but the Combinator's ability to add ress m u I ti pi e para meters on diffe rent units simultaneously makes il highly tweakable, Open the Combinator's Programmer to study the internal controller routing .

II

-

. '. D

. ,.

-

.. ... -·m~'T$:m

v SI '·b"-,~·,~ ~:J,. ,

"' ""'j"~' .liii. .,~ .;iii, !J: '~"'"

4

> In order to g.et a loud-sounding track

without digital, clipping, we set the MClass Maximizer as a L.ook Ahead Limiter, giving it maximum power lor

n icel v remov i ng th every f as t, sp i k y peaks. Th is enabl e s 111 e gen erall eve I to co me up. 50H Cllp applies simulated tape compression, which you: can drive to taste.

Yes, master

In the world of manufacturIng CDs and pressing' vinyl, that mysterious creature known as the mastering engineer does a lot more than compress and EQ the mix. He also writes all the Red Book PQ subcodes, Inserts ISRC codes and carries out many other impressive·soundlng, acronym-based activities that enable the factory to get It right, and the artist to get his/her royalties,

A mastering engineer will ensure the shortest and highest quality route from your mix to the master. For example, the best way to master a 48kHz, 24-bit ,Reason track Would be to play It out at 48kHz!24·blt from a Prism digitaHo·analogue converter, through any ana'iogue processing straight Into the 44·.1'kHz/16·bil digital recorder, where the CD master Is made, or to the cutting lathe for vinyl, thereby eliminating the need to do any sample rat.e conversion or bit depth

2

> We kick in the 30H~ La Cut filter to

remove unwanted iow-rrequencv energy fro m t he output, then boost th e bas s bva bout ld B at arou nd 120Hz 10 r extra warmth 2dB at 2.5kHz helps with the mid-range excitement factor, and a I.SdB shelvl n g bo ost at 11 kHz sweetens the very top.

3

"'> The Stereo Imager doesn't really add

much on t hi s occasl 0 n. Tn ere's plenty of Wide stereo action going on, and the bass doesn't benefit from being narrowed, 50 we bypass this one. A mild 1.5'1 compression Ratlo with a medium Attack and Adapt Rel.ease activated gives the

I fa ck a Ii ttle more presence witho ut making it sound choked.

• •

5

> And there we 'have it. The linal

remaining task is to create a smooth ending. The bass pulse sound dies to a'

su b by rumble but still h as a n au d ib Ie stop. so we write ,in a main fader fade as automation in Ihe sequencer, to give us the perfect endlnq,

truncation/dithering/noise shaping. Good mastering engineers and their specialist equipment are expensive ..• they can't make a crap mix sound good, though!

Sonically; a masterIng engineer has to ensure that the trac'k. will sound great when it's p'layed alongside other released material. This means balancing theEQ. removing problematic bottom and top end, and judiciously compressing and limiting. If you intend to do a vinyl pressing, bear in mind that the bassler your track, the more room it's going to need between grooves on the vinyl, whl.ch reduces the amount of time available on one side oflhe record ~ especially if you want to cut at 45rpm, which sounds better.

The mastering engineer will try to strike a balance between IIml.tlng the track and oVerllmitlng, so it can be cut loud while maintaining the dvnarnlcs. You must do the

6

> Here's alook at the sequencer

showlnq the whole arrancernent, The end marker is set just after the main fade. Now we can go to the ,Export Song As Audio Pile ... option in the File menu and render our finished audio tile, Remember to set It to dither down il you're going from 24"bit to 16-bit.

When mastering, you need to consider your Intended medium. and make any necessary adjustments

same with your DiY mastering efforts. If you over-compress, a loud bit won't jump out as a loud bit, and a. drop·down won't have the desired effect.

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REASON: THE ULTiMATE GUICE I 83

> project / the great mixing debate

Getting the Pro Tools mix down

PRO SETUP

Apple Mac Pro Digidesign Pro Tools HD Digidesign 192 I/O

Prism ADA8 I/O

Spendor SA500 monitors KRK V7000 monitors KRK RP10S subwoofer Denon domestic hi-fi

Mackie Big Knob monitor controller Mackie MCU Pro controller

2x DBX 165A vintage compressors Audioease Altiverb

URS dynamics and EQ plug-ins Waves Imager pl'ug-in

Waves L3 Multimaximizer plug-in

Before we begin laying down our Pro Tools mix, let's be absolutely clear about one thing: Pro Tool's is a very different type of application to Reason. It has a wealth of features. including complex audio management functions. latency management, hardware insert delay compensation, multiple hardware I/O and bussing management... and the list goes on. Pro Tools dominates the protesslonal audio world'. and is available at many price points and with its own hardware. It's a beast 01 a system and we're not attempting to make a comparison between the two packages. In fact .. with the use of ReWire technology. Reason is a valuable resource to many Pro Tools users seeking instant sonic gratificat.i.on. (ReWire enables you to br.ing Reason device outputs up your DAW channels -

Secret weapons

Well-recorded vocals and instrument

Knowledge of gain structur

Making critical comparisons WI

..

A good monitor setu

listening In different environment

84 I REASON; THE ULTIMATE GUIDE

We'll: be usln!l' the M~ckle Contr,ol UnIversal Prol'or lola I, h anes-en mlKconlrol

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The modern advantage

OVer the years, the mixing process has evolved with technology, and today ;It's almost Indistinguishable from the recording or creatlonfprogrammlng processes,

tet's compare this with the traditional method of mixing that was, In plaee20 years ago. In the 80s, material was recorded onto tape, then -along with additional sounds from outboard FX and sequencers -fed Intoa mixer, and a mix was created, po.sslbly automated (if you were in a Very posh stUdio), and recorded onto a stereo mastering machine. Once you left tile stud 1.0, that mix was gone, and If you needed to recreate it you'd have to go back to the same stUdio With your recall sheets and attempt to 'return the whole studio to the Identkalstate, Believe it or not, you could get quite close!

To even aHemptto emulatet.he curt ent

ie. straight into Pro Tools - and ~Tget Reason·s devices as if you were targeting soft synths or devices within your own DAWJ

What we are trying 10 determi ne here is whether the Reason son ic engine is ballsy. big. bright and spacious enough to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with music created on Ihe most high·end system out there.

Many producers mix 'in the box', This means

style of mixing would have ,required you to leave the song on the desk until you'd mixed It. E.ffectl.vely this would gl,ve you what was known as a ~board mIX', and Interestingly,lt would often be the case that these miKes, created at the same time as the recordings, would be more raw and exciting than the mixes painstakingly built at a later date. (As they used to S<lY, 'release the demo!'.) In theory" the studio would then need to be locked up and Ie" In Its current state forever, so If you ever wanted to tweak the mbc:, you could pop back In, make- your adjustment. and ;prlnt It off:

Crea.ting musk in Reason or any other DAW enables this entire process to occur naturally, because the mix develops while you' wo~kand Informs furtherc'reatlve deciSions as you go, while still ,providing the opportunity to return, at any point to any sta.ge In Its development.

,

that all mixing and processing occurs within the software, and the 'sound' of the software (if there is such a thing) arrives at the speakers via some kind of digital·lo·analogue conversion. Logic users. for exa rnple, would cia lrn that Logic sounds different to Pro Toots, and the rnatns would support that claim. In this instance, we're using a Prism ADA8. widely acknowledged to be the best there is.

IMPORT

1 To start. Off, .. we e.x. port each element of our R.eason track as an audio file and Import them all into a new Pro Tools session. We need to ensure agood level at the Reason mixer before export, as this will make the most of the 24·bl.t sound engine (quiet sounds could suffer a little In detail). This Is done without the effects· we originally used from our two Reason 'house reverbs', as we'll recreate those later.

ORGANISE

2 The audio channelsl.n Pro Tools are organised Into groups (drums· and perc, basses, orchestra,lead sounds and effects). These can be groups purely for visual purposes, or groups that are sub-mixed to their own internal bus, possibly for shared treatment. Alternatlvely, they can be VCA groups, where the faders are linked for control purposes. These groups, different views, song position locators, selections and plug·in windows are all assigned to markers in the locator window, making navigation around the whole arrangement effortless.

SUBSTITUTE

3 We call up two instances of Audio Ease Altiverb 6, a convolution reverb that accurately reproduces the sound of actual rooms and classic audio equipment. We use an EMT 140 plate and a roomy setting called Allalresunporch. We use a hardware Insert for a pair of real DBX165A compressors, slaved together as our stereo mix bus compressor. This signal comes back into the digital domain via our Prism converter, and the mlx EQ Is handled by a. URS 7·band EQ based on a Neve model.

the great mixing debate / project <

BALANCE

4.BalanClng doesn't ta.ke iong as we're using our Reason mix as a reference, and there was a minimum of volume automation in the first place. We use the Mackie Control Universal Pro to quickly get the faders Into the right posllIon, then AlB the mixes until the starting positions for each sound. are right.

AUTOMATE

ST .. h .. e.v .. o.IU .. m.e .... :r.Jde. s.a.re ... re. c.ce.ated. ,a.s.ls. the automation of the reverb splash

Into the last section. The subUe difference In the sound of the various applications is causing some sounds to have a different flavour in the mix, and an exact match for certain moments is difficult to achieve.

MASTER

6~~::~!~~;:a::~~~:~~;~~~es

Inclusion on the Pro Tools version. The MCI.ass Maximizer Is replaced by the Waves L3 Ultramaximiser. The soft clipping functlcn of the DBX compressors and the multlband action of theLl enable the mix to be made quite a bit louder in Pro Tools than It was In R.eason without audible distortion occurring, or the dynamics 01 the track suffering too much,

EXPORT

7 Now the track Is bounced down internally, so the posh 110 doesn't matter quite as much now -Irs simply audio file against audio file.

Mixing requires ...

A reliable listening environment

,If your room Is boomy at a. particular frequency, you'll end up nstlnctlvel.y redUCing that frequencvin your mix so that the sound is well balanced In your room. This means your mix will be missing a certain amount of this frequenc.y. A tonally balanced room that~s not too live is ideal ~ and hard to lind!

Good monitors

If there are .problems with your mlx, good monitors will reveal U!em, A pair 01 crap hl·11 $peakers Is an asset In terms of hearing the mix In Its destination enVironment, but It wUI not reveal clicks and hlgh·end distortion, orlow·end Information. Get. a set of reputable studio monUors fo.r critical. listening.

Crap monitors

In. addition to your critical listening monUors,.yOu should teslyour mix on monitors that represent the systems your music Is likely to be played back on. Again, that pair of crap hi-fI speakers is valuable for re-creating the likely listening envlro.nment for your mix - even very small systems wl.th the 'bass boost' on can be a good reference lor comparing your mix to

the competition.

M. onltor S .. WJ.'tching and controL

Switching between monllors should be effortless and the volumes should be reasonably close In order to make useful. comparisons. otherwise. by the time you've gone round the back to unplug cables and turn your amp down, you'll have forgotten what you're listening for.

The right tools

EQs, dynamics processors, effects ... these are your biggest allies when mixing. Powerful and musicalEQs will give you tonal control, Compressors and IIml.ters are essential for keeping sounds In their place. Reverbs and delay.shelp create artificial space between the speakers, and chorus, phaser and tremolo effects help produce subll.e motion In sustained sounds. You need all of the above to create a half·decentmix.

REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE I 85

> project / the great mixing debate

5

So. with both mixes in the bag, it's time for the recKoning. What does mix producer Steve make of the resu Its? "The Pro Tools mix has the edge for me." he says. "but not by much. It's a little brighter, more open, a bit more 3D and has a lower extension in the bass, but... not bymuch!

"The law of dim i nishing returns comes into play here:' he notes. "To squeeze the very last drop of quality lrom a setup requires increasing effort and expenditu reo The difference can be very srnatl, In thls: nstance. a good mastering engineer could bring the Reason mix to sparKledom too - it would certainly be good enough to release. Some 'golden ears' might be able to tell

86 ! REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE

the difference, but who cares about thaI at 4am on Sunday morning?"

So, it looks liKe the answer to our original question is a resoundi ng: 'yes!'. Check out the two mixes for yourself, il you haven't already -they're in the Tutorial Flies folder on the CD - and see if you don't agree.

Now, just before we go ... we know we said we weren't gal ng to make any direct compa.risons between the two systems, but just out ·of cu riosily, we can't resist askinq Steve, as a selt-conressed Pro Tools diehard, how he'd rate the mixing process itself using each setup.Pro Tools wins on ergonomics, the ability to use rhlrd-cartv pluq-ins, its hardware inserts, its navigation - especially

locators, markers and views ~ and the sound of ilsinternal bussi ng, The Pro Tools system has the muscle, and so it should have at the price!" he admits franKly,

"Reason wins on the quality of the toys included - although a pltchshltter or complex delay would bea welcome addition, The abllltv to get a vibe quickly, its mobility, the lact that there's no hardware dependency, the excellent preview in place facility. and. of course. the price, make It a really competitive program, As an addltion to my usual system I couldn't do without it. When it comes to an 'in the box' music machine. Reason dumps on the pro rig from a very great height!" c:m

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01 m SIC

Masterclasses and expert advice

Here, we show you how to get the most out of Reason's endlessly flexible signal routing system, look at how you can make your own .ReFills with Reason,

explore REX file creation using Propellerhead's ReCycle, and answer a range of em readers' technical and musical questions

CONTENTS

90 CREATIVE ROUTING 96_MAKE YOUR OWN REFILLS 9B_CREATING REX FILES 102_Q&A

106_Q&A FOCUS

llS_REASON TIPS 120_PROPELLERHEAD RECORD

COMPUTER MUS1C I 89

Reason's 'sandbox' signal routing architecture makes it unique in the world of music software. In this tutorial, we'll show you how to use it to make your own devices

90 I REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE

> It's amazing that, even today, there's a fair

amount. of snobbery towards Reason on the part of apparently more powerful or long-established sequencer users. But there are certain aspects of Propeller head's amazing appllcatl.on that no other software can compete with - one of them being Its endlessly fle.Klble signal routing system.

I n days gone by, every bit of gear in the studio had to be connected with cables, be they audio. MIDI. (V {(ontrol Voltage) or whatever. This gave producers an inherent understanding of the way things cou Id be linked or combined. With the rise of the software DAW, such knowledge is no longer deemed necessary. and the unique creativity that came from experimenting with routing isn't as clearly evident in the music we hear today.

It's a bit like synthesisers. Hardware synlhs might be far easier to use in the short-term, but they can also be stifling. Just as the advent of

p.~W'I~ end C(lm~:llete aeeson !PfOJec.t5 CiHl, be '0I..I1'I(I lrI lI'IeTutorfa1; F'II!t!:iIfOkk!r

virtual modular synths expanded the possibilities of software-based sound design, Reason's hardware-emulating rack has made cable patching a fun (and, importantly, signal degradation-free) activity again.

Over the course of the next few pages. we hope to achieve two things. First. opening you up to the vas! potential that Reason offers for creative routing. and therefore get you into the habit of coming up with all-new and sometimes rnlnd-rneltlnq ways to route and modulate your signals. Second. we want to get you familiarised with some of the techniques that top producers use every day to streamline their workflow. All of Ihis can be facilitated or improved using Reasorfs routing system and other tools. The latter m igh! not sound very sexy, but the effect on your productions could be profound, as iff! help you to get your ideas down faster and harder than ever before.

Right, let's get routtnq ...

creative routing in reason I masterciass <

> Step by step

2

> First, Create a Line Mixer 6:2, followed

by the Reason svnth of your choicewe've gone for the suotractor. Then, right·click the synth and Create an RPG'8, which should automatically wire itself into the svnth, Record some held' notes on the RPG·8/synth track in the arrangement and play it back to gel your arpeggiated

5

> All three svnths should be playing same arpeggio, Next. alter the master tune or the individual oscillator tunings of the svntns, thus making either arpeqqlated chords or super-thick sound layers, with up to nine oscillators from a three-osclllator svnth patch!

Come together

One thing that always puzzles newcomers 1,0 music production ,is t.he murky world of groups and busses. Essentially, they can be thought of as the same thln,g" The term 'bus' Is reported to have come from the fact that there are various ways (or routes) in which signals moved around the Internal workings of a mixer. But why bother? Well, plenty of (ahem) reasons, in facI •••

Firstly, in times gone by, effeds boxes were expensive. Even top studios were IImit,ed to a few units, SO Ihe engineer would need a wa,y of applying the same effect to more than one channel. Enter the bus. By Inserting the effect on an auxiliary channel to which all other channels could be bussed, every pari of a track could be 'processed. It also resulted In a handy fader for contromng the level of the effect's output in the mix.

Another use of busses was combining multiple channels In meaningful groups. This enabled, for example, the mixing of many tracks using' just e,ight faders In four stereo pairs. Your percussion section could be on one pair of group faders, bass on another, guitars on Ihe next and so on.

Another method Involved sending mlxes out 1,0 an eight-track recorder, Which might not seem too relevant now, but tape can be subst,ltuted for anything else, Signals could be routed [n and out of your mixer, to and from different sources, A CD player or turntable could berouled through your mixer and out to aDAW, for example.

The application of groups and busses knows no bounds - but Reason's mixer doesn't featur·e groups, so you have to create your own usingsub·mixers.Reason's routIng flexibility offers ;man.y possibilities, but It's worth considering what you want to use the system for - and why.

If you're serious about getting themost out of Reason's mlxln.g facilities, get a detailed picture of an old eight-bus analogue desk and trY to creale something similar using Reason's mixers and Spider devices. Just going through this process will teach you an awful 101 about the sign<ll chain andhow it can be manipulated.

REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE I 91

Not only Is 'Reason a powerful beast In Its own rl ghl, It can, also be routed Into ma ny other D,AWs to utilise their featu re sets, 100

Getting ReWired

Let's not overl.ook the most Important bit 01 roullng technology thatPropellerhead have brought to the music 'industry, namely ReWire.

In times gone by, ,bits of electronic kit from different manufacturers refused to talk to each other most of the time, which is why MIDI was sucha Wonderful, game·changing Innovation,

Since then, many companies have begun 10 see the marketability of cross·compatibility, so we have things Ilk,e VST (although, plug·lns aren't universally compatible between Mac and PC). It's a measure of how clever an idea thlsls that most of the big DAWs have increasingly efficient

ReWire capablllties.

After all, wllh a selr-contalned program like Reason, you're often going to want to get audio out and Into another audio sequencer for mixing. To do this, you can either bounce down the stems or route them across in real time, almost as easily as you would a synth or aUdio track In your sequencer. In this way, you can effectively use Reason as a virtual Instrument.

In fact, ReWire has only one main drawb<lck (<lp<lrt from needing <I pretty stable and fast machine to wo.rk properly Inmost cases), and that's the potential confusion caused by Its Implementation. Should you stick to just the two main audio outputs, or fire In each channel Individually?

Well, our walkthrough, right. will ShoW you how to route all your Reason channels to another sequencer. And, needless to sa.y, for that to work seamlessly, you need to construct <I m<ltchlng ReWire template in the master sequencer Ihat'srecelvlng the audio.

92 I REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE

1

> As great as ReWire is for patching

Reason directly into your other DAW of enoree. it can be a very flddly business re-routinq all of your Reason channels

in de pendently. To get arou nd th i s, you ca n build a new default Reason template. Begin by starting a new project, containing 14 Spider Audio Merger &. Splitters and one Mixer 14:2.

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> 'Now, Silve the project. place it in

the Reason folder. then go to Reason's Preferences page, In the Default Song section, hit the Custom button and navigate your way to the new project you just created.

4

> Wheneveryou create a default project

of any kind, it's always a good idea to put a Zipped version of it in a general storage folder for safekeeping, Irs all too easy, when starting a new project. to accidentally overwrite the default by saving something else, but the Zip file is an untouchable, oriqinal-state backup,

5

> With that done, every time you start a new project. simply patch your

mixer's Main Output into Hardware Device 1 and 2, From there, you can route any new instruments to the Spider Merger & Splitter inputs (instead of the mixer) and thev'll feed directly into the corresponding mixer channel numbers as usual.

6

> When vou're ready to ReWire your

masterpiece out to another DAW. simply re-route Hardware Device Audlo Outs 1 and 2 to the first Merger &. Splitter, All your Reason elements will then be automatically sent to the Hardware Outs, and they'll appear on separate channels

in your ReWire master without the need to re-patch anything else!

creative routing in reason I masterciass <

> Step by step

> Next. Create a Spider Audio Merger &

. Splitter, followed by four DDL-1 delays.

Route the tour sets 01 outputs 01 the Splitter section of the Spider to each of the four DDL·l delays, then add a Line Mixer 6:2 and route the outputs 01 all the

DDL·ls to tour channels on it.

5

> Another cool trick ls to move the timings ot the delays apart by a few milliseconds (change the Unit from Step to MS). This can create a cool thickening effect when used subtly, or a chunky slapback when pushed a little harder

6

What Is the Matrl1C7 Well, It's 3 great unit lor program mlng Inst;lnt·,eca II aulom.allons,as well as other pattern·based effects

Matrix revelations

One thing we haven't touched upon yet is the rather marvellous and lar too often overloOked Matrix unlL

What are we doIng featur.lng the M.atrlx In a tutorial on routIng, you might be wondering? Well, It seunds tenuous at first but, being a purely (ontrolslgnal'generatlng device, the Matrix Is useless unless It's routed into something.

Apart from being a pedantic. literal truth, this Is also something ofa revelation, especlall,y when you flick around the 'back and realise the dazzlingarra,y of things you can control with the Matrix.

For example,lt can be used to operate things like filter sweeps. Imagine that.: being able to store a preset filter sweep. Ora drum roll. Or an oscillator's pitch.

And that's the key to Matrix: it can be applied 10 anything, And, sometimes the best results come from plugging It into things you wouldn't eVen think about if you were In your right mind.

AdmlnedlY,it can, be quite tricky to program, but by having presets ready to go, you'll have a sen'ing for every occasion. So, Instead of drawing ln endless, repetitive automatIon sweeps, simply load up your defaUlt Matrix template. Try to do that in any other sequencer!

Then. of course, you can throw the Spider units Into the mlx, and have a Matrix patch controlling a filter SWeep, a pitch bend, a volume (antral, an EQ and as many other things as you might want with one contro.1 message,

It's clear, then, that this decepUve.ly simple feature offers man.y more options .In certain areas than a .Iot of the larger and supposedly more powerful DAWs,

REASQN: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE I 93

There are outputs aplenty on the Thor Polysonlc Synthesize" which only adds 10 Its Immense powe, lor modulation

Thor than meets the eye ...

When Thor first came thunder.lng Into our lives, ,ali ears were on the quality of its presets, and how easy it was to combine those oscillators into beautiful semi·modular patches. And you can't blame the people, as while the emperor was far from nak.ed in this instance, people complimenting the quality of Reason.'s other sy.nths might have sometimes felt like they worshipped an old man in a G-string,

Now, though, wlt,h the benefit of experience, we can really start to app.reclale the sheer routing power of Thor, Almost anything can be routedtnto and out of it.

The key to its power comes from the modulation matrix at the bottom, which enables you 10 wire anything that. sends out audio or CV to everything that can receive such signals. And you needn't route these to a single destination - there's no limit 10 how many things you can route your LFO to, and, by the same token, there's also nothing to stop you sending multiple control signals to the same parameter. Sure, It might not always sound great, but It's nice to know that it's there.

And if all of that Isn't powerful enough, you can send these very same signals Ihrough Tho.r's dazzling selection of outputs. Flip around the back of Thor with its programming section open and you'll get a few Ideas for fancy rouling, but fo.r best results, alwa.ys have al'ookbehind the scenes of your favourite presets. And be sure to check online for more ldeas and the most complicated patches out there. TheJe are a lot of people in the Reason multl.verse with too much time on thelr hands and a, generous propensl.ty to share the fruits of their obsession with others!

94 I REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE

1

> Sidechaininq is yet another old-school

routing technique that Reason makes incredibly easy to implement Start a new project and Create a Redrum drum machine. Set it to play back a steady kick on every main beat (four to the floor) in the step sequencer, as shown,

3

> Program a sustained-note svnth part

and Create an MClass Compressor after It. NeKt wire the output of the 6:2 mixer to the Compressor's Sidechain In. The compressor will now be triggered by the kick drum, rather than the svnth Itself. What's more, you can tweak the timing with the compressor's Release control.

5

> As wlth other stenderd technlcues like this one, it's well worth saving the initial routing setup as part of your Default Song. When you want to apply this sldechalninp to more than one element, simply use a Spider Audio Merger & Splitter after the 6:2 output to

co py the so urce si g nal,

4

> The advantage of using this send

system is that il you have other elements you also want to use to trigger the sidechain ducking (it's particularly good for highlighting vocals without having to turn them up too loud), you simply send their signal from Send 1 to the 6;.2 mixer,

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6

> If you do keep this setup in your

default project. however, remember that it only works for tracks with a 4/4 kick pattern, To get the right effect with other rhy th rns, yo u need to use an ident lc a I copy of your kick drum channel Instead (remembering to include the beat sllentlv throughout any breaks, if needed),

creative routing in reason I masterclass <

Reason routing tips and tricks

SAVING UP

Reason's much·lauded loop machine Dr.Rex doesn,'t facilitate the sto.rlng of presets (or even th.e saving of specific commonly·used parameter setups), but you can use a Combinator as a work·Clround. Simply C'omblne a Dr.Rex and save the Combinator preset, Now you've automatically saved (he settings oUhe' Dr.Rex, too!

READY. SET, GO

Most DAWs feature channel strl,ppre.sets, and although R.ea$On doesn't, it actually offers something even more versatile. By sav.ing a co.mmonl'y used sequence of effeels (for bass or vocals, etc) as a Combinator patch, the whole thing Is available at. any time.

ALL TOGETHER NOW

When you're working with lots of Individual drums, you'.II. want 10 be able to set the levels separately; 'but you might also want to adjust the overa'llievel. of the section. so, create, a drum group using an addiUonalmixer and route all your drums to a single channel.

ONE PLUS ONE

Use a Spider Audio Splitter 1.0 create mad stereo effects from amono signal. Simply divide the signal, apply processing to one side (or use different processing on each), then route the two resulUn.g signals te either side of a stereo fader In your mixer.

THORMIDABLE

Have a look around the back of some of your synths to see what modulation options are available. for example, Thor I.et's you route CV signals into It to control things like filter cutoff. You can also iIIsslgn one modulator to multiple synths using a CV SpliUer.

TOTAL CONTROL

If you willnt ill crazy source of modulation mayhem, you can't go too far wrong with Ma'istrom and Its incredible array of LfOs. Using a Spider Splitter, you can send these to multiple parameters at once for seme hectic automated control.

TALENTED REMIX

The Mixer 14:2 enables you to control level and pan using CV signillls, so you can use Spider CV Splitters to control more than one

All of :R""so.n's synths and sa mple rs have a w""hh of modulation options to explore

Dr.Rex m'lght not :permlt you 1.0 save presets. and parameter setups. but with the help of the Co:>mblnator. thl. otherwise distresSing situation can be ea slly worked arou nd

at a tlme wlt.h the same s.lgnal.ln fact, us.lng chained SpllUers you can control an entire mixer using one signilll (although you probably wouldn't want to!).

MORE SAVING UP

It's all very well.sillving ill Combinator patch for every occasion, but If you're going to save alll.he effects comblnaUons that you Ihink might come In handy, It's v.ltal that. you organise them neatly. Label eac:h one clearly, iIInd make sure you place them in eillsy·to-find, senslbly·named folders.

SHUT THE GATE!

Some instruments, Uk.e Dr.Rex. spit out gate signals, which can be used to modulate anything that accepts that type of Information. So you could, for example, use

The Thor PolY5On lc SynthesiZer can even be patch ed back Into Itself; leadl ng to all manner of possl bilities

Dr.Rex to send out a gate signal. to another Instrument's Input at the very moment every slice Is triggered.

MARCH TO A DIFFERENT BEAT

Redrum outputs Gate signals on every chillnnel, so you can trigger oth.er parameters and use a. CV Merger to enable up to four Redrum sounds 10 control the same one - or more If you create a chain of Spiders.

COMBINED INCOME

The Spider Audio Merger can be used to combine the inputs of a number of different sounds Into one, which can then modulate t:he sldechaln Input on a compressor. thus avoIding the need for a sub·mixer.

PITCHING UP

A lot of modern electronic music uses pitch·bend sweeps, and these can be iIIpplied to multi1ple pillrts by sending the signa. from one synth to all of the others, using a Spider CV SpllUer or two If necessary. This Is also a good way to iIIudltlonkey changes.

INTERNAL EXAM

Explore Thor's Internal routing options and you'.!! discover a vast array of parameters that can be roul.ed to its external CV outputs. There are four in totilll, enillbling t.he .syncing of a range of controls slmut:laneously, In addition to the numerous other CV outputs!

PUNCHED OUT

Try routing higher tuned oscillators out of Thor and I,hrough Reason's effects devices, t.hen back In, with the lower ones staying dry and punchy. em

REASON: THE ULTiMATE GUIDE / 95

How to make your own Reason ReFills

The ReFill is Reason's proprietary bundle file format - think 01 it as like a Zip file containing patches, samples and project data, that can be 'read' by Reason's fi Ie browser without the need to unzip it. So, you can use the ReFill format to save all your favourite patches (or even your entire library) In

•• ~ • ••

REFILL

The ReFill file format en able.s the easypackl ng and transportat 10 n 01 you r Reason palches, samples. MIDI fi les and more

one readily transportable fi.le, for use in other studios and on other people's computers.

When it comes to passing projects around for remixing or collaboration, keeping all you r sounds together in one file does away with the headaches otherwise involved' in transferring your

> Step by step

work. And not only that. but any samples packed Into a ReFIll are tosstesslv compressed down to about 50% of their original size.

In this tutorial, we're only going to show you how to put together the most basic of ReFills, in order to get you on your way. Of course,if you're just passing sounds between friends or

ba nd mem bars, you don't have to consider anything other than the process of packing whatever needs distributing into a ReFill. If you're looking to release your sounds into the wider world, however, perhaps by selling ReFills online, there are a few things you might want to bear in mind ...

First of all. it's well worth downloading some (if not aID of the Iree ReFills available on Propetterhead's website (www.propellerheads.se) to see how other musicians package their materia I. One thing you'll notice is that every ReFill slots neatly into a certain category, beit deep house, electro or rock. Others are centred on a particular instrument, such as t'he electric bass, or groups 01 instruments, such as a string section. So, keeping your own ReFil'l thematic or genre·specific will greatly help potential downloaders.

Another element to consider is that every user has access to all of Reason's effects modules, so don't necessarily feel that you have to slather everything in effects, a s they ca n do tha t themselves if they want to. Also, your sounds should: be musically useful within the context 01 a potentia I track, rather than just standalone showcases of your programming skills.

II you're looking to create a ReFill for commercial use, then you'll obviously need to find a distributor with the means of selling on your sounds. We'd

"It would be a g009

idea to make sure

that your ReFills

contain sounds fo

all the instruments

in Reason"

recommend putting together a range 01 ReFills as a portfolio of your talents and submitting it on spec to your

distri butorts) of choice.

Of course, if you're going togo down this route, you need to make sure your collection is as comprehensive as possible. I t would be a good idea to make sure your ReFillS Include sounds for all of the instruments in Reason, as nothing's more annoying than opening your favourite svntneslser only to find that there a ren't any patches available for it in your newly-purchased ReFill.

ReFills are olte n arranged thematically or 9 rou pedaccordi n 9 to lnstru rnent

1

2

> Start off by creating a Mixer, followed

by an instrument of your choice.

We've gone for the Subtracter svnth. Reset the paten by right-clicking and selecting Initialize PatCh. It's always best to start from scratch in these circumstances, rather than adapting an exist i ng pres et.

96 I REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE

s..'ftI ,lilt; I louomWobtir'-:tJ1lI

WhH.. Ooc~

> Next, tweak to your heart's content,

until you've got a sound you're happy wlth. Remember that a patch Shouldn't use the whole frequency spectrum, but should fit roughly into a set category, such as bass, pad, lead and so on. Once you've got something nailed, save it in a place you'll remember. with an appropriate name.

3

> Create more patches, testing new

tones and instruments alongside your other sounds All YOLlr patches should complement each other within your chosen genre or style. We've made a lead sound with Malstrom and a pad sound with the Thor, to blend nicely with our bass-heavy Subtracter patch.

> Step by step

rrakc your own refills I masterclass <

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1

> Right. let's bundle our patches as a

ReFill. First, download and install the ReFill Packer appllcatlon lrom the Downloads section of the Propellerhead website: www.propellerheads.se. There are PaCkers for every version of Reason released thus far.

2

> There's some preparation to be done

before launching Ihe :ReFill Packer program. First. locate ReFill Packer's Template Folder. This will contain two items: ,'nfo.txt and Splash.jpg. Make a copy Of this folder and rename it - we've called ours eM ReFill.

4

> Next. open the Into.txt file in your

renamed folder in any text editor, and simply replace the tntormatlon inside the brackets (without removing the brackets themselves) with your ReFill name, year of creation, website (if you have one) and any comments you want to add. Then save the file without renaming it.

-.... _

~ ..

7

> Click the Output Folder icon. This tells

the program where you want your ReFill to end up. It's best to select the main Reason folder for this, as your ReFill will then appear alongside the Reason Factory Sound Bank and Orkester ReFills, as well as any other commercial or free ReFills you have installed.

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5

> Now you're ready to launch ReFill

Packer. Once it's up and running, you only need to specify a few details about which folder your patches, samples and files are located in.

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8

> All that remains is to hit Create ReFill

at the bottom of the Packer w.indow.

Any audio samples will' be compressed to roughly half their size, w·ithout degrading. which may take some time, but any patches or MIDI tiles will be ready almost instantly. When you next fire up Reason, your ReFill will be available for use.

..... P.jd,lj

....

3

> Put all your chosen patches, samples

and MIDI, files inside the renamed folder. preferably separated 'Into subfolders, so that ali subtracter patches, for example, are in a Subtractor folder. However, Propellerhead warn that the Info .. txt and Splash.jpg files should never be placed in a subfolder, as these are used for the naming and imaging of your ReFill.

-

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6

> Click the Input Folder icon at the top

right-hand corner of the window. This brings up a dialog for locallng the folder containing all your patches. Select your renamed folder end click Choose. ReFill Packer will display all the information you entered earlier.

9

> So, now what? Well, why not share

your sounds with the rest of the world by emailing Propellerhead and submitting your ReFill? Or, if you're not ready for that. let your friends remix some of your tracks. If you just give them the raw files, they may surprise you by combining things in ways you'd never have considered. em

REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE / 97

SLICE POI NT EDITI NG

This Is the area In which you draw, drag, mute and move the slice points Remember that cutting bass-heavy so u nds can res u It In a 'breath lng' sound on playback

~

];

fiTITIT1Tl

WAVEFORM SLIDERS

These control the vertical arid horizontal zoom levels of the waveform display

lnslde the loop

ReCycle was the original loop-chopping tool. Now at v2.1, it's still the only choice for slicing Reason-ready REX files. Here's how ...

Ir YI;lII,I hi;l'I/enl tried lIteC¥de before. you ean 1'K!W·ltlede:rnol's on till! OW1!r OVD

98 I REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE

> Remember when John Major was still PM and the coolest shoes were OMs? Excellent - then you won't struggle to cast your mind back 10 that dark time before Ihebirth of cornputer-based sample editing.

I n those prirnttive days, the only way to change Ihe tempo of a loop was 10 change Ihe playback speed (laking Ihe pitch with itl. timestretch it (taking the sound quality with it), or cnoptt up and replay the individual elements manua Ily (taking your patience and sanity with lt).

These days there are plenty 01 beat-slicing programs that chop I'oops. save the slices and, generate MIDI maps for you 10 play with until the cows are chilling in their crib. Bul despite the copvcats, there's sUI! only one ReCycle - an idea so good that It's barely changed since il was fIrst unveiled in 1994, as the 101 unch prod uct of a little Swedish company called Propellerhead.

ReCycle is as popular today as it was then. and is now well established as the benchmark

system forloop-sltclnc, Although originally designed to chop loops up for use In hardware samplers, ReCycle's main raison d'etre these days is undoubtedly the creation 01 REX2 liles, ready to be loaded into Reason's Dr. Rex and NN'XT sample players (as well as most other software samplers and DAWs). REX2 files, as you're no doubt aware, can have timestretching applied to them without Ihe side effect 01 pitchshifting, and vice versa, due to the fact that the slices within are individually moved closer to or further apa rt Iromeach other, rather than bein9 litera.lly stretched or compressed using a 'blanket' Ilmestretching algorithm.

Over Ihe next couple of pages, we'll run you through the techniques for generating ReCycle loops for use in Reason's Dr.Rex loop player.

As slrnple as the prtnclples are, creating wen-succo loops is snu a fine art that rewards practice and experimentation, This walkthrough will teach you everything you need to get going - after that, the rest is up 10 you.

> Step by step

1

> Th.e first and most important thing to

do before you start creating and editing loops for use In a track is get organised. Create a new folder for all the audio files you'll be using and make two sub-folders within that folder. Place all your untreated source audio in one sub-folder and leave the other for your completed loops.

4

> Now irs vital to start savtnq and not

stop until we've finished. Set the number of bars or 'beats In the top window. then go 10 the File menu and select Save, Choose a name that'll help you remember where the loop came from (vital when clearing samples later onl) and put it in the folder that you made in step 1.

7

> Now we have these main beat slice

paints in place, we can play around with different sections of the loop. Try moving the loop markers around and experiment wlt'h different loop points and lengths. tt's good to do this now because not all sequencers are as adept at handling loops as ReCycle.

inside the loop I masterclass <

q.

129 bpm

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Fi 42. - Tl'ildc 42.7.;111

~ 42. - Track ;U.S.all [J 4,2. - Tra.dc 4UO.al r !D 42. - Tr~,ac 4l.11.~11 ~ 42, - Tril.dl 42,ll,alr

42_" T.tafi_4J_.J_3 .I!._ ..

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2

> Now open ReCycie.lt should prompt

you to select an audio file to load, but il not, select Open from the FUe menu at the top of the screen. This is where all your good file housekeeping pays off, as you should have no problem locating the audio file you want from the newly created folder.

5

> Once you're sure you've gal

everything you need from the audio in your loop, you can tidy things up a little by cropping the ends off it. Making sure the LeI! and Right loop markers are correctly placed, go to the Process menu at the top of the screen and choose Crop Loop from the drop-down menu.

,_

8

> Set the Sensitivity slider to maximum

and have a I is ten. Lo ops wit h lots going on, poor timing or heavy reverb will have suspect cut points, and ReCycle can miss beats or chop kick drums in half by mistake, Real drums and old samples are us u a lIy worse tha n crisp m ad ern 0 r electronic beats in this regard.

> With the audio file displayed, raise the

sensitivity slider until it cuts at the main beats. Move the Left and! Right indicators at the bottom of the waveform to set the loop points, then use the zoom control at the bottom left to set the zoom level. and the slider at the bottom to show the correct part of the audio,

6

> Raise the Sensitivity unlil there's a

slice point at the start of each hit (you can check how each slice sounds by clicking on it within the waveform window), then click the padlock icon near the Sensitivity slider. Now click the top of each slice point that falls on a main beat. locking it in place,

9

> Now work carefully through the loop,

locking the points at the start of each clea r d ru rn 50 un d, I oweri ng the Sensitivity and playing each slice to check that you haven't lalled to lock any essential cut points or locked some that you shouldn't. To disable an unwanted slice paint, click the X icon and then the top of the relevant slice.

REASON:. THE ULTIMATE GUIDE I 99

> masterclass I inside the loop

> Step by step

1 0 > QUite often, a 'loud, constant noise can simply stop ReCycle noticing an important cui paint, which means you'll have to draw it In. Click the pencil icon

near the padlock icon. Now when we hold the icon over the loop window, a line will follow the cursor. When it's positioned correctly. click to create a slice point.

13 > Click the Preview toggle and try

'. experimenting with different tempo

settings and the other tools on otter. Note. though. that everything is exported as

part of th e Ii n ished R EX Ii le, so irs worth saving a clean version of each loop that you experiment with. You can even layer multiple versions for interesting effects.

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16 > Our Reason rack is empty, so to play back our loops we need to open a Dr.Rex loop player. To do this, go to the Create menu and select Dr. Rex. As this is

our first Instrument. It will automatically be routed to mixer channel t

100 I REASON: THE ULTIMATE GUICE

11

> The pencil tool is hard to judge, so

, when you've created the slice. select the main arrow icon. then click and hold the top of the new slice point. You can now drag it backwards and forwards, listening to check for the best cut point. This technique also works on any automatic slice points.

14> We save our fil'e one last time, then repeat the process for all our other

. . . loops. You can do them as you need them, but iI's always best for the creative flow if

you have everything you're likely to need ready to go. Sometimes irs even fun to just spend a while making loops for those rainy days .

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_ ..... f'~ ._

~~"fK!li!"r'I!aM~

QO'lUJilil .......

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~ ------------------~

0-0.11 ~ ...

17 >, To load our finished loop, click the button with the little folder icon - it's near the top left of the newly created Dr.Rex, This will open up the REX file

browser, enabling you to select. audition and load your chosen loop. Once again, you'll be glad you did your housekeeping In step t.

- .. - -

12 >. The nnal e. diti.ng. step is to lowerlhe Sensitivity to zero and check each loop slice one more time. We've missed one near the end so we need to draw It.

and we also have one we don't need, so we use the X tool Icon to disable it. Disabled slice paints can be recovered by ReCycle later but won't be used by our loop player,

15 > Now that we have all our loops sorted out. we're ready to take them for a spin, so load up Reason. If you're using the demo version and a demo song appears,

go to the File menu at the top of the screen and choose Close .. Then choose New to start a new track.

l' 8 > Since we went to 50 much trouble to edit our 100. ps.Jet's end by seeing how they sound together, To do this we open up a few more instances 01 Dr.Rex, We can

then try layering multiple loops to see which ones sound good together, and because we can. control the slices, we can get rid of any sounds that Clash, em

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