Recording and sequencing
If you are into 70's style modular synths or if you simply like to play around with a analog style sequencer that can control virtually anything in the rack, take a close look at the Matrix.
The Matrix is an analog style sequencer with a maximum of 32 steps per pattern and is really the part of Reason to use for ReBirth style sequences. Just like ReDrum, Matrix has 32 patterns and each can be freely sized regardless of what time signature has been chosen in the sequencer. So for instance a simple 5 step pattern played back as 16th notes in a 4/4 song would only repeat itself at the original starting position every 5th bar. (No, we didn't use a calculator to work this out, keep reading and the answer will come later).
The Resolution selector allows playback of the pattern in a range between 1/2 notes to 1/128th notes. The playback resolution is of course completely independent of the sequencer, which means you can try out different resolution ideas while the sequencer is playing.
The Programming Interface
Matrix is best used with instruments in monophonic mode so think of it as a monophonic sequencer. The display shows the 32 steps and a little graphic keyboard on the left hand side will tell you what notes are being played. Work on different note combinations by simply moving the mouse over the main note display. A switch left of the graphical keyboard gives access to 5 octaves within the programming interface. Moving the mouse over the lower part of the display will allow instant change of velocity levels.
Once a good combination of notes has been selected, its time to work with the ties. Activate the tie switch under the octave selector and draw ties in the velocity lane, but remember, the sound source has to be in mono mode (probably mono legato mode) for this to be effective.
Patterns can also be moved up or down a semi tone or one step left or right. Just like ReBirth and ReDrum you also have the "Alter Pattern" option which will change the pattern but only by moving the chosen notes around. More dramatic changes are achieved by using the Randomize function.
Connections and Complex LFO's
That's almost it, but wait. Turn the Matrix around to have a look at the back. How does it all connect?
By connecting cv and gate outputs to the receiving device, Matrix activates and controls the pitch of each note. The third output "Curve" sends a CV signal which has been connected to the filter cutoff in our example. There is also a Bipolar and Unipolar switch?? Hmmmm.
Ok, lets turn the Matrix around again and look at the front panel one more time. Right of the logo is a display switch which select between Keys and Curve. Changing this to Curve does not affect the note and velocity programming but allows us to draw a CV curve freely with the mouse in the display window. Listening to the pattern it's clear that the filter is being opened by the curve. But maybe you want to close the filter as well?
You can of course use the Matrix to create complex LFO's for control of say reverb decay, oscillator modulation, panning etc. or even use it for exciting rhythmic synth control, impossible to achieve through conventional playing.
The Matrix is first of all about playing around and trying idea's without the confines of a complete sequencing environment. Use the Alter Pattern function plus work with the ties and magic will happen.
And once finished the pattern can be triggered from or dumped to the sequencer for further manipulation. Each pattern repetition is clearly marked in the sequencer by groups so it's easy to see when the five step pattern repeats on beat one. So there, no calculator.