It should come as a surprise to no one that there are plenty of geeks at Propellerhead Software. So to take some load off, we organized a game night at PropellerHQ. Some dinner, a couple of beers and more video games than you could shake a stick at—including rarities like Japanese Sega Saturn imports, original Game & Watch games and an Atari 2600! Here are the pictures to prove it.
It was the the year 2002. The British Empire lay in ruins, Linkin Park won MTVs Video Music Award for Best Rock Video and George W Bush was two years into his first term as the President of the United States. These were grim years… At Propellerhead Software, we were hard at work trying to come up with something to break the doom and gloom. Something to bring a little Christmas spirit to Reason racks all over the world.
After much consideration, we launched a simple Xmas music competition. Each Reason user could compose eight bars of Christmas music at 120 bpm. We also handed out a rex loop of sleigh-bellish jingle jangle (actually, it was Ernst’s weird leg-or-arm-mounted jingly contraption that we recorded for Dan’s 1999 xmas app – ReXmas) that was optional to use in the Christmas composition.
When the loops had been submitted, the users could vote for the top loops, some fancy prizes were handed out… and there was much rejoicing.
But the best was yet to come: taking all the 176 xmas loops and splicing them together into a hellish 47 minute musical marathon that we shared with the users and that we have enjoyed here at the office around xmas time ever since.
And now we think it’s time to share this holiday spirit gem with all of you again. Enjoy!
In the spirit of the holiday season, I have put together a free ReFill as a gift for all you Radical Piano and Radical Keys owners out there!
Stuff your stocking with a handful of exclusive Combinator patches that show just how far you can take these Radical Instruments when you layer them with everything from synths to samples. Perfect for getting inspired when you can finally sit down and make some music during the holidays. Listen to how it sounds in the SoundCloud player and, most of all, enjoy!
I have a digital drum kit that sends MIDI, but making sure sent notes trigger the right drum pads in Kong is a bit tricky. Hitting the floor tom triggers the snare drum, the snare drum triggers the crash, and so on. This can temporarily be solved by using the right-hand drum assignment buttons in Kong, but such changes are not persistent when changing patches. Ideally, remapping of incoming notes would happen behind the scenes so that Kong receives the proper notes to begin with. This would also enable us to load entire drum kit patches in Kong without losing the remapping.
Thanks to Thor and Combinator (and most of all to Leo who came up with this solution) I now have a general purpose Reason patch that does exactly this, and I thought I’d share it to anyone who might have the same problem. Keep reading if you want to know how it works in detail, or just download the patch right away:
It is called Millenium MPS-100 because that’s the name of my drum kit but of course it applies to any kit, although you might have to edit the mapping. However, such change is trivial and you will only have to do it once. Here’s how it works:
Inside the Combinator is a Kong and ten Thors, one for each drum. This includes open and closed hi-hat as well as the hi-hat pedal itself as three separate drums. Each Thor has a cable going from its CV1 output to the Gate In input on the corresponding Kong pad. The modulation matrix in Thor has one entry with the source Voice Key > Velocity, amount 100 and destination CV Output > 1. This will send any incoming notes to the CV output that is routed to Kong.
All ten Thors are set up this way, with the only difference being that they are routed to different Kong pads. Now, playing a drum will trigger a pad, but you will discover that in fact all the routed pads are played at the same time for all the drums. The last step in making this patch work is to make it only trigger a pad if one specific drum/note is played. This is done using the programmer section of the Combinator:
As seen in the image, the Thors have been appropriately named for easy reference. Each unit is then selected in the list on the left side, and its key narrowed down from the initial range over many notes to just one single note, by dragging the left and right handles right beneath the keyboard. This single note is then moved to the note coming from the drum kit. The easiest way to figure out what notes the drum kit is sending is to simply press record in Reason, hit each drum once in some order that is easy to remember, then look at the recorded notes in the sequencer.
Mission accomplished! The drum kit will now play the correct notes regardless of its initial configuration, and this patch can be saved and reused whenever you would normally use a Kong. I’ve seen people resort to additional MIDI software to do something like this at a system level, which just seems overkill. If your drum kit has no way to alter the MIDI out data, which is the case for most lower-end kits, this is the perfect solution. Once again, the power and versatility of Thor saves the day.
On a last note (no pun intended): If more people are doing this, a collaborative ReFill could be built and maintained with remapped Kong patches for various drum kits. Feel free to start a thread in the user forum and share your own configurations.
We recently got our hands on the new Editors Keys for Reason so of course I had to try it out! I’ve been using Reason for a long time so many of the shortcuts are programmed somewhere deep in my muscle memory but I actually still found the keyboard useful.
As a laptop user, it was great having the numpad for sequencer control. Thanks to the visual guide I quickly learned how much I’ve been missing by not having access to quick buttons for play, record, alt takes and sequencer navigation. It was also really useful to have clear labels on the F-keys. I always mix up Spectrum EQ and Recording Meter otherwise.
The keyboard is actually an official Apple keyboard so it’s well built and works the way you’d expect. This particular one had the UK keyboard layout, which I’m generally comfortable with, but I wouldn’t mind having one with Å Ä Ö.
If you’re a Reason power user that needs a bit of a workflow boost, do check it out.