Finally Understanding Levels and Clipping

Posted April 14, 2016, 2:42 p.m.

Over the years I've seen a lot of confusion out there about levels and clipping during mixing - but only recently I came to realise that the confusion was so deep that people were altering their mixes to avoid clipping that wasn't even really happening! Once and for all, I thought I'd lay out for people in highly technical terms, but hopefully still keeping it fun too, everything they need to know about digital audio and clipping so that they can finally realise how little they really need to know. If your the type of person who has found themselves worriedly watching the meters more than your listening to the sound, this tutorial will put your mind at rest and your concentration back to the fun part: making music.



New Rigs launched today

Posted Feb. 26, 2016, 3:20 p.m.

So glad to finally have the new version of the Rigs out the door!

Ever since we first launched the first series of Rigs a year ago we planned to keep these new and fresh, by adding new products every year. We wanted to help customers to find a good selection of Rack Extensions and Refills that would complement each other. We wanted to target them to different users - an acoustic, a synthetic and a "Outboard Rig to rule them all”. The Rigs have been hugely popular and a great success for participating companies. So, it’s with great joy that we now launch the second generation of these Rigs. 50% more products have been added to each Rig. The products in Rig 2 are some of the most well loved REs out there.

The Rigs also gave us an opportunity to crete Refills on a different level than we’ve been able to in the past. For the first time, we could create ReFills that uses more than one RE as we know precisely which REs and ReFills the user own. This creates opportunities for some really nice Combinators. Employing the best sound designers and mix engineers we could find to create tremendous presets - J Chris Griffin and Kevin Schröder have really done an amazing job. This is a great opportunity to glimpse over the shoulder of these professionals.

Outboard might not have been the best name as it wasn’t self-explanatory what it actually contained. So, we renamed it to Mix & Mastering Rig. The focus of the Mix & Mastering Rig as much on the tutorials on how to mix and master a song as on the included Rack Extensions and presets. The included video course combined with the presets makes it possible to drastically improve the sound of your songs.

And speaking of video tutorials, one aspects of the Rigs that we felt didn’t get enough attention were the video tutorials that AskVideo prepared for the each Rig. Each participating product gets one video on how the RE is actually working and one video of how it’s used in a song. The course is laid out so you gradually build up a song, so by the end of the course you’ll hear a finished song. In total, AskVideo produced 137 videos, that’s more than 8 hours of tutorials for the three Rigs!

For more information, check out the video below or go here!

/Mats Karlöf


Posted Feb. 26, 2016, 3:20 p.m.

Remix challenge! Win Rack Extensions by D16 Group!

Posted Feb. 25, 2016, 10:15 a.m.

We’ve teamed up with Allihoopa, Rack Extension maker D16 Group and sample library producers CAPSUN ProAudio who have dropped 10 inspiring loops to Allihoopa for you to work with! Each loop has been treated with D16’s Decimort 2 HIFI Bit-crusher and the Devastor 2 Multiband Distortion Rack Extensions so you’ll hear the cool things you can do with them!

How to enter the remix challenge:

Check out CAPSUN ProAudio's loops on Allihoopa and find one (or more!) that sparks your inspiration. Open it in Reason or Take and make some music with it! When you’re done, drop it back to Allihoopa so we can hear what you came up with!

We will listen to the remixes and pick one winner who will get the Decimort 2 and Devastor 2 Rack Extensions by D16 Group. The winner will be announced next Friday (March 4). Good luck and have fun!



Jay Pulman aka CAPSUN from CAPSUN ProAudio shares his thoughts on creating these loops:

As a fan of D16 Group's products and a long time Reason user I'm really excited to see Decimort 2 and Devastor 2 arrive as Rack Extensions. Coming from a hip-hop production background, a lot of my creative process is spent looking to add analogue style warmth and lo-fi re-sampling to my sounds. I collect old samplers, drum machines and toy synths but Decimort 2 is almost indistinguishable from the real thing when used at the right time in your signal chain and a whole lot quicker to set up! Instruments such as Rhodes keys, FM bells and acoustic instruments love the downgrading and aliasing that these classic sampler emulations can add and instantly give a nostalgic shimmer to digital sounds. Devastor 2 is a whole different beast that's perfect for distorting, enhancing and fattening up drums and bass lines or used more subtly to change the tone and timbre of a sound. My best tip is to try applying either Rack Extension to drum hits and slowly turn up the preamp gain to add weight and saturation - instant fatness.

Try out Decimort 2 and Devastor 2 for free in the Propellerhead shop!

Posted Feb. 25, 2016, 10:15 a.m.

Building a Shimmer Reverb

Posted Oct. 29, 2015, 9:33 a.m.

At its most basic, a shimmer reverb is a pitch-shifted reverb tail in a feedback loop. If you’ve listened to much U2 since the mid-80s, then you’ll have heard it. While it does work particularly well on guitars, it can also be used to great effect on other instruments. Brian Eno, who is generally credited with inventing the effect, had been using it on pianos long before it was popularised by U2’s Edge.

Here's a simple piece, played using a tweaked Radical Pianos preset, played through a shimmer reverb patch I created in Reason:

I built the shimmer effect in the Reason rack with an RV7000 Reverb and a Polar Dual Pitch Shifter. Hold down the shift key when you add these two devices to your rack though,  because we don't want to use the default routing here - we're going to do things a little differently.

Connect an FX Send from the Master Section to the input of the RV7000, but instead of sending the RV7000's output back to the FX Return on the Master Section, connect it to a Spider Audio Merger & Splitter. Send one pair of outputs from the Spider to the FX Return on the Master Section, and send another to the input of the Polar Pitch Shifter. Send the output from the Polar its own channel in the mixer.

RV7000 & Polar connections

Now that we've got the routing sorted out, let's start dialling in some settings. You're going to want a pretty evident reverb. I've used the Arena algorithm, and selected the largest size available. Crank up the diffusion to make everything as fuzzy as possible. Turn the decay *nearly* all the way up, but not quite. Do not be overly concerned with subtlety here, people. Really: go big or go bigger. If you want to start with a preset, then the EFX Kick Bomb patch is as good a place as any. Add a little pre-delay to stagger the beginning of the reverb tail.

For the Pitch shift part of the sound, set both shifters to a shift of a single octave (by all means experiment with different intervals, but an interval of an octave is your safest bet). Play with the feedback level of and delay of each shifter to suit. Dial back on the delay and feedback if you find things are sounding a little seasick. I've detuned the second shifter, panned it to one side, and delayed it slightly.

Because you're adding higher frequencies to the signal, then it doesn't hurt to engage the Polar's LPF - you can select the frequency to match your material.

The final step is feeding the pitch shifted reverb tail back on itself. This shifts the reverb tail in pitch again and again, making for the characteristic sound of the effect.

Because you have the pitch shifted reverb tail in its own mixer channel, you can feed it back through the reverb by activating  the same FX return that is connected to the reverb inputs.

Channel routing

In the screenshot here, I'm using FX Send 5 to send the Distant Piano instrument to my RV7000 reverb. The pitch-shifted reverb tail from the Polar is routed to the Shimmer Return channel in the mixer. This channel in turn has FX Send 5 activated, which feeds the pitch-shifted reverb tail back into the RV7000.

It's a good idea to lower the fader for this channel before you hit play! The channel fader can be used to blend the amount of pitch-shifted reverb against the normal reverb, and you can use the mixer channel's filters, EQ and compressor to control and reign in the signal and keep things under control

Here's the same piece without the shimmer effect:

Download the Reason song file

Download the attached Reason song file and try it out! Try your own material through the shimmer effect. Try different intervals of pitch shift. What's important to bear in mind is that the material you’re running through the effect has space to breathe, allowing the sound to develop and flex. If your material is too dense, you're going to end up with some kind of sparkly celestial soup.

Introducing Reason Rigs

Posted March 18, 2015, 11:59 a.m.

Propellerhead has teamed up with leading Rack Extension and ReFill developers to bring you Reason Rigs – massive hand-tailored bundles of the top instruments, effects and sample packs. At over 70% off, you can now expand your Reason rack at an unbeatable price. Check out the Rigs!

Posted March 18, 2015, 11:59 a.m.