Sure, the title of this video reads like classic click-bait but in this case I actually stand by its claim! There are two knobs in Reason's mixer that far too often get overlooked by people knew to mixing. Unsurprisingly, these knobs are seldom overlooked by professional mix engineers and once you learn to use them, you'll start using them just as much in everything you do.
The High Pass and Low Pass Filter in Reason's main mixer helps you achieve something called "frequency slotting," which is just jargon for this result: Your instruments won't be fighting each other for the same space in your mix. In this tutorial, Ryan shows us how to get clarity and definition out of your mix by mindfully considering the important frequencies for each instrument in your music.
I touched on this before in my earlier article about creating a Shimmer reverb, but I want to talk about it more now - routing an effects return to its own mix channel.
Normally when adding a send effect to the Reason rack, you'd route the signal from the FX send at the back of the Master Section to the input of the effects unit, and then from the output of the effects unit to the FX return at the back of the Master Section, as shown below.
Instead, let's route the output of the send effect to its own mixer channel - like this:
Why would we do this? By routing the return from the effects device to its own channel, we're effectively isolating it, and now we can do all sorts of creative stuff with it. Here's a snippet of a hang drum with a touch of chorus, delay, & reverb.
Now I've routed the same piece through a long reverb, the outputs of which are routed to their own mixer channel. This mixer track is panned 100% to the right. This gives the reverb an interesting character of its own, but also makes the pre-effect signal stand out against the background.
Here's the same thing again, but now I've added an Audiomatic Retro Transformer as an insert effect on the mixer channel and some automation, panning the mixer channel slowly from right to left and back again.
Having the effect return on its own channel in the mixer also enables setting up a feedback loop, whereby the output of the effects unit is returned to the input to be processed again. You can achieve this by activating the send that's routed to the effect that's feeding the mixer channel. Be careful with this option, and be ready with the fader if you try it, because things can get out of control very quickly!
Isolating the effect return on its own track will also enable you to use the channel strip's EQ and dynamics processing on the effect return, and you can view the return in the spectrum analyser.
Using the various bounce options availble for mixer channels, you can even render the effect return without the original signal. Here I've added some sequenced gating and filters as further insert effects and then renderned just the effect return channel in the mixer by itself, and then added a beat.
I've used a reverb in this article, mostly because it's an effect with a long tail that makes demonstration easy - but any effect is fair game. Give it a try!
EQ is probably the most important tool to make sure your mix sounds good. But how do you know where to cut or boost? What frequencies are important? In this video I'll let you in on four EQ tips for a better mix. Learn basic EQ usage, what frequencies matter in a kick drum and more!
In these Reason Tips videos Mattias gives you some valuable pointers on mixing vocals. Since vocals are often what carries the track, it's important to get them sitting right in the mix! Learn how what frequencies to pay attention to, how to make a de-esser in Reason's mixer, about doubling, compression and parallel processing to make sure your vocals sound great!
In this Reason Sound Design video Propellerhead product specialist James Bernard give you some tried and tested engineering tips to help get your drums punching through your mix. It may seem redundant at first. After all, drums are punchy by their very nature so why do we need to MAKE them punchy if they already ARE punchy. The simple answer is that when you layer other instruments on top and everything starts fighting for the same sonic frequency space, your drums can get lost in the process.
James will show you through proper EQ, compression, and parallel processing how you can lift your drums back out of the mix and have them punching through your song exactly as you hope for.