Two Knobs That'll Change Your Mixing

Posted Feb. 3, 2016, 12:12 p.m.



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.

Try out Reason here:
http://propellerheads.se/tryreason

Posted Feb. 3, 2016, 12:12 p.m.

Dirty Reese Bass: Custom Patch Design

Posted Jan. 22, 2016, 3:32 p.m.

People have been requesting we show a method for creating currently trending version of a classic sound: the Reese Bass - namely, the "Dirty" Reese Bass, which is characterized by heavy distortion, compression, and filtration. When it comes to dirt, grit, and nasty sounds, Malström is a fantastic tool for the job. So in this tutorial I'll show you one of the many ways you can approach this type of sound, while thinking out loud along the way so you can gain some insight into custom patch creation in the Reason Rack.

/Ryan

Routing Effects Returns to Their Own Mix Channel

Posted Dec. 7, 2015, 12:40 p.m.

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!

- craig

Liquid Drum n' Bass: Super Neat Beat Cheat Sheet

Posted Nov. 19, 2015, 2:56 p.m.

Saying "Drum n' Bass" is practically as vague as saying Rock n' Roll. There's a world of difference between Jerry Lee Lewis and Gwar - even if they share some common heritage. Similarly, Liquid Drum n' Bass is a popular variant of the original Drum n' Bass styles coming out of the UK in the 90s. Liquid DnB fuses modern EDM production with the essence of classic DnB for an increasingly popular result.

Here, Ryan shows you how you can put together your own Liquid DnB drum sounds and perhaps most importantly, how you can tap into the Pro potential of Reason's mixer to get some seriously punchy drum sounds.

Polyrhythms

Posted Nov. 11, 2015, 1:57 p.m.

 

I own LOTS of hardware. I like hardware. But when you're programming patterns and loops in hardware, you generally find you're looking at a XOXOX style row of 16 triggers. If you stick to laying out triggers in groups of 16, it's fairly easy for things to get pretty stale and repetitive. I use a number of tricks to try and avoid this, and I wanted to see if they could be replicated in Reason. The first of these is using repeated patterns of differing lengths to create polyrhythms.

Let's start with a fairly simple pattern using the kick, clap and hihat:

The kick and clap here are playing a pattern that repeats itself every bar -  that is every 16 steps (where a step is a 16th note).

Let's add another voice to the pattern, but instead of a pattern that repeats every 16 steps, lets add a shorter pattern that begins again after only 6 steps. We can create a clip on the sequencer track that's just 6 steps (six 16th notes) long.

Hear how - even though it's at the same tempo - it slides out of sync with the original kick and clap pattern?

So now we have two patterns running alongside each other; one that's a bar long and one that's just a little under half a bar. It'll be three bars before these two patterns catch up with each other and start in sync again.

Now let's add another voice. This time I'm using a pattern that's 15 steps long.

Now my pattern won't start to repeat itself until after an entire 15 bars.

Let's add a last voice, this time using a pattern that repeats itself every eighteen steps.

Lay this on top of the original pattern, and now we have a lilting, rolling pattern that, while still being perfectly in time, is varied in such a way that it will only repeat itself after 45 bars!

Try creating polyrhythms yourself by building patterns for Kong or the ReDrum using clips that don't all start and end in the same place. Experiment with different lengths, and then go back and edit the parts if you want - perhaps you want to delete two voices that are triggered at the same time, for example.

And by all means, take the piece I've been using for an example here and add your ideas in Reason or Take. Here it is in its entirety - all 45 bars of it!

 

djanDownload a picture of the grid

By request, here's a picture of the grid for this pattern - I've coloured the different voices in using their clip colours, and added boxes at the beginning of the pattern to show where each clip starts and ends.

- craig

Posted Nov. 11, 2015, 1:57 p.m.

Make music together! Play a piece and build on it in a compatible app.
Learn more