Posted June 20, 2018, 6:50 a.m.
Drum ‘N’ Bass is a dance music subgenres that evolved from the tangled web of the UK’s underground rave scene in the 1980s and ‘90s, with roots in the broader genre of Breakbeat. Drum & Bass combines heavy synthesized bass lines with vocal samples from soul and reggae records to create an bold, energetic, and supremely danceable wall of sound. In this article and accompanying video, artist and producer Protostar will show you how to record a DnB track in Reason 10.
The defining element of Drum & Bass is its signature rhythm: it starts with the kick drum on beat 1, a snare hit on beat 2, a syncopated kick just after beat 3 on the “and,” and a final snare on beat 4. This core one-two-and-four pattern forms the heart of the groove and is almost never deviated from. Finally, it needs to be fast—tempos usually range between 160 and 180 BPM.
Load a drum loop into Dr. Octo Rex (anything with “DnB” in the name should suffice) and use the beatmaking tools in Reason 10 to make it your own. Hit the “Copy Loop to Track” button to create a MIDI track from your loop, or create your own pattern in Drum Sequencer—and use it to trigger dance sounds from Umpf Club Drums, one-shot samples from ReDrum, synthesized and acoustic drums from Kong, or all of the above. Attack and decay controls come in handy for fine-tuning stacked kicks and snares: try using just the attack from one sound, the body of another, and the decay tail of a third. Then sprinkle in a variety of loops, extra hits, and dub-like reverb and delay to keep the rhythm interesting.
The addition of a pounding synth bass serves a melodic role, and is what sets DnB apart from other dance genres. Sine and Triangle waves are great for a nice round bottom, squares and saw waves add edgy harmonics, and the right wavetable or granular patch can really get things sounding nasty. All of this is possible with Europa and Thor’s multiple oscillators, but stacking several synths in a Combinator will create a thick, complex sound. Flip the rack around and experiment with patching various filters and envelopes to the Synchronous Effects Modulator and Pulsar Dual LFO devices to give the bass some movement.
Now it’s time to add some extra flavor with samples. Samples are a staple of DnB (typically vocal phrases lifted from old soul and reggae records), and serve to break up the monotony of a constantly pounding beat. Load samples into Dr. Octo Rex or record your own, then slice them up or stretch the possibilities with the Grain Sample Manipulator. Almost any other sound can be added to the mix to give it character—soft dreamy pads, sampled keyboards, erratic zaps and sweeps, or just plain old noise.
Now that you’ve learned how to make a Drum & Bass track in Reason 10, it’s time to “break” it down for yourself!
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Posted June 13, 2018, 4:56 p.m.
In my mind there’s nothing more exciting in electronic music than the drums. Powerful and driving, understated and rhythmic – there’s a world of possibilities at your fingertips with beats, and with our latest Rack Extension device Umpf Club Drums, we want to get you there as soon as possible. I want to drag beat-making in Reason kicking and screaming into the 21st century, with arguably our most essential update to drum production and specifically electronic music in some time.
Parallel compression, dynamic processing and the best drum-hits in the business at the flick of a switch are central to the workflow in Umpf Club Drums, where dialing in a professional-grade beat is quick and easy. Great sounding results and visual feedback with both our dynamic compression display and waveform editors have been designed to highlight creative decisions and quickly get to what’s making your beats pop.
Where Umpf really comes into its own is by allowing you to keep your creating juices flowing without leaving the device. That elusive state of ‘flow’ is a balance of the excitement of creativity, and results which are useable and unique to you. Part of the thinking behind this device is equally balancing those two requirements in a way that makes creating drums in Reason extremely fun.
In combination with the Drum Sequencer (which comes free of purchase with Umpf), you can seamlessly tweak your beats and choice of sounds; dynamically tweaking rhythms and sound processing as you go for the perfect blend. Then inject variation and modulation using the mod-matrix for evolving and unpredictable fills and textures. If none of the 750 drum hits float your boat, drop in your own per slot or go wild and drop in any audio sample you desire for a great way to manipulate audio, triggered by both the sequencer and the mod-matrix.
"My hope is that this new device will unlock new ways of creating music for you in Reason and providing your tracks with endless groove."
The most important goal behind this device was to get you, the music maker, to a Grade-A sounding result in Reason in as short a time as possible. Focusing on what sounds good, what’s exciting and contemporary, guiding you with 100 default kits and Drum Sequencer patches to mix and match as you wish. My hope is that this new device will unlock new ways of creating music for you in Reason and providing your tracks with endless groove.
Posted June 13, 2018, 9:24 a.m.
Over the last decade, the popularity of “lofi” hip-hop has exploded thanks to producers like Nujabes and J Dilla. Lofi hip-hop is all about soft, introspective instrumentals—and Reason 10 has everything you need to lay down the perfect vibe. In this tutorial, producer MG the Future will show you how to make lofi hip hop beats in Reason 10.
Lofi hip-hop revolves around a chill, relaxed beat with a loose swing—often sampled from vintage funk and soul recordings to retain the human element of the performance. Reason 10 is packed with classic hip-hop and vintage break beat loops to get you started. Just select your favorite sample from the Browser and drag it into the Sequencer window. Adjust the BPM using the tempo controller to dial in the perfect downtempo pace, and use Reason’s built-in time stretching and compression capabilities to sync your sample to a loopable 4 or 8-bar clip.
Chop and screw samples using Dr. Octo Rex to create unique grooves by altering individual beat, or play a fresh new beat by triggering sample slices using Reason’s iconic Kong drum machine. Connect Kong to the built-in Pattern Sequencer or new Drum Sequencer Rack Extension and select from dozens of preset drum patterns for instant inspiration, or create your own patterns using advanced 16-step sequencers.
Reason 10 has a near-limitless supply of sampled keyboards and synthesizers to create rich chords and unique lofi textures. Lay down smooth bass lines, soft synth pads, and simple leads with sampled instruments using ID8 or NN-XT. Experiment with colorful keys in Radical Piano, gentle bells in Klang, or the worldly sounds of Pangea for the perfect multi-cultural aesthetic. Build beautiful, lush chords in seconds by pairing any instrument with Reason’s Scales & Chords—simply select the key of your song and play a single note on your keyboard to create rich, full chords perfect for lofi hip-hop.
It’s not called lofi for nothing, and Reason 10 is loaded with the perfect processors for adding vintage vibe. Use Audiomatic Retro Transformer to instantly add grainy goodness to your tracks. With options like radio, VHS, vinyl and more, Retro Transformer is perfect for adding an instant lofi effect. Top it all off with Scream 4 to add harmonic saturation modeled after tubes, tape and analog circuitry, and you’ve got yourself a certified head-bobber.
Now that you know the basics of how to make lofi beats in Reason 10, it’s time to make the boomin’ and bappin’ happen!
Download MG the Future Lofi Combinator patch!
Start your free trial of Reason 10 today.
Posted May 15, 2018, 8:25 a.m.
Reason and hip hop have a long history together. In fact, DIY and indie hip hop producers were some of Reason’s earliest adopters, thanks to its intuitive interface, fast and creative workflow, and wealth of sound libraries built right into the platform. In this tutorial, we’ll explore the basics of hip hop beatmaking and show you how to make a hip hop beat in Reason 10.
From crisp modern trap beats to low-fi instrumentals, it pays to take a look at some of the sounds and techniques that have historically defined the genre. All genres are identifiable by their signature rhythms: EDM’s steady, pulsing kicks, the trademark swing of jazz, and funk’s heavy syncopation. With hip hop, the groove itself provides the foundation for everything—the kick and snare hold down a solid pocket, while the hi-hats, claps, and other percussion make the groove bounce and sway with swung subdivisions and expressive accents. There are multiple techniques you can use to create the groove, but we’ll start with sampling.
Ever since producers started lifting drum loops from records, samples have dominated the genre and can make a great foundation for a groove or chorus hook. Reason 10 is packed with powerful sampling tools—choose a sample from the included sound libraries or record your own, then chop, screw, and warp them with Dr. Octo Rex and the Grain Sample Manipulator. To learn more, check out our recent blog post “How To Chop Samples in Reason 10.”
Drum machines are another staple of hip hop production, especially the booming kick and snappy analog sounds of the Roland TR-808. Bass is an equally crucial element—whether it’s a funky synth, a sampled Motown groove, or even a pitch-shifted 808 kick, a good bassline is what really makes a track bump. Reason 10 is packed with powerful bass synths and easy-to-use drum machines modeled after some of the most legendary hardware units in history, giving you a wealth of creative options at your fingertips.
Although most of the raw power in hip hop comes from the rhythm section, a memorable melody can add the right hook to elevate any track. After all, who could forget the laid-back synth leads on “Gin and Juice?” Where would A Tribe Called Quest be without those tasty sax samples? And what better way to add some R&B flavor than with a silky electric piano? Even if you're not a pro on the keyboard, Reason makes it easy with the Scales & Chords Player.
Reason puts all the tools and sounds you need to make a great beat right at your fingertips. Check out this video above to learn!
Now that you've had a primer on how to make a hip hop beat in Reason 10, it’s time to and let your creativity flow!
Start your free trial of Reason 10 today.
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Posted April 17, 2018, 2:53 p.m.
Layers Wave Edition comes supercharged with the nostalgic, funk-induced sounds of Vaporwave - In this brief tutorial we will show you how to make the most of these kitsch and classic 80s inspired presets to create the much loved sound of Vaporwave in Reason.
This is what we're making today:
Download the Reason song file and get started making Vaporwave with Layers Wave Edition!
Step 1. Create an harmonic bed
Central to the Vaporwave sound is a dense textural bed created from either the down-sampling effect of the original music, tape noise or aliasing of audio recordings. Layers Wave Edition has a trusty folder of Texture presets ideal for dense harmonic to build you instrumental on top of.
I’ve selected the patch ‘Inside A Rainbow’ which modulates gracefully over 9 bars adding so intriguing background noise.
Notice the heavy use of Flanger across all three four layers, heavy effects processing especially with era specific processing such as Chorus, Flanger and Phasers taken to the extreme are a hallmark of the vaporwave sound.
Step 2. Lockdown a funky bassline
Don’t be afraid to get extra funky on this one, as with a lot of 80s electronic music that Vaporwave samples, we want to incorporate a generous amount of vibrato.
For this sound I’ve chosen the Ultimate Peaks Bass patch which at its core uses a DX-7 style sound that couldn’t be more recognisable when it comes to Retro, Synth or Vaporwave inspired music.
Vaporwave is notorious for its abuse of distortion, tape-generated or otherwise, so I’ve gone full throttle on the fuzz distortion layer to really give it a crunchy character.
Step 3. Deep pads are a must
Synthetic bell sounds are a hallmark of the period and we’ve chosen the huge bell pad as the harmonic bass in the track. A repeating chord figure in C-minor is traditional Vaporwave territory – again don’t be afraid to go to town with the flanging and distortion here as it brings out the right character of the pads.
Step 4. Build a syncopated Rhythm.
The Sequencer & Arpeggio presets are ideal for driving syncopated rhythms, a definitive drive of Vaporwave rhythmic structure.
The trig sequencer pattern of DataMiner pushes the rhythm along, compliments the bass and harmony without overriding the general feel of the track.
Step 6. Go full cheese with your melodies
I’ve combined the talents of Titanium Piano, Chiptune MW and Gigawave to add trills, lead melody and synthetic texture to the topline here. Three different timbral bases and MIDI programming using velocity variation works really well here to add depth and movement to your melody – cheesy or not!
Now that you’ve learned to how to make Vaporwave with Layers Wave Edition, get Layers Wave Edition here and try it free for 30 days!