Artist stories

The Making of a Summer Hit

Posted June 11, 2014, 12:52 p.m.

In the summer of 2012 you couldn't go anywhere in Sweden without hearing the song "Dansa Pausa" by Panetoz. Peaking number one in Sweden and selling 4x platinum, the song was the soundtrack of the summer for many.

The man behind the music is producer Sergio Elgueta, or Memo Crescendo as he's also known. An avid Reason user, Memo sat down in his home studio to show us how he made "Dansa Pausa" from scratch in Reason.

Posted June 11, 2014, 12:52 p.m.

Artist stories

Think Inside the Box with Kool Kojak

Posted Feb. 13, 2014, 6:53 p.m.

Before he was Kool Kojak, Allan Grigg and his brother built their own drum set out of tape and pvc pipes and created their own recordings using their boombox. It was the start of a lifelong quest to make the hip hop sounds that inspired him from childhood. His tenacity led him to New York where he interned at legendary hip hop studios, saved for years to get his prized MPC drum machine, and made musical friendships that would lead to number one hit songs around the world.

Kool Kojak's success is no fluke. He works hard but he plays hard, not afraid to push himself into experimentation and find his own sound. His reputation and credits have led him to work with artists like Flo Rida, Nicki Minaj, Britney Spears, Ke$ha, and many many more.

Posted Feb. 13, 2014, 6:53 p.m.


Welcome McDSP to the Reason rack!

Posted Jan. 16, 2014, 3:56 p.m.

McDSP Rack Extensions

Pro Tools users will surely know the name McDSP.  They've been producing plugins for Native and HD systems that are some of the most respected and desired out there. And when you hear them it's easy to see why. McDSP's attention to fidelity and sonic character is second to none. Now the legendary McDSP sound joins the Reason rack with three new Rack Extensions. We spoke with Colin McDowell, the McD in McDSP, to learn about what brought him over to Reason and what he's got in the works.

McDSP has been known for making high quality plugins for Pro Tools systems. What was it about the Rack Extension format that interested you to expand McDSP’s devices into the Reason Rack?

We've been excited about the Rack Extensions format for a while. The Rack Extension plug-in format is very cool - a hardware based user interface design coupled with the amazing power of today's host computers. Dang sorry we did not get it done sooner.

Our entire code base had to be re-written for Avid's AAX spec, so we made sure all the cool things we'd do in Pro Tools could be used on other platforms as well. The Moo Tube, C670, and FRG-4RE are the first products to leverage our new code base in this way, and we're just getting started!

Given your varied collection of EQ, Dynamics, Specialty FX, and Mastering Tools how did you decide which devices would be your first Rack Extensions?

Compressors are like potato chips.   Folks always want more.  The modules from the 6030 Ultimate Compressor plug-in are very popular in Pro Tools, and they seemed like a good fit for the Reason customers.   Additionally we felt if we could make some of our more complicated algorithms work on Reason, that would be a good measure of what we could do going forward.   And let me tell you, it measured up really well...!!

The Moo Tube, the C670, and the FR 4RE come from dynamics modules in the McDSP Ultimate Compressor bundle.  Can you tell us a little bit about them, how they differ, and why they stood out to you guys as the ones to port?

We selected modules from the 6030 with lots of character and utility. The Moo Tube is a highly stylized version of tube based compressors, the C670 is an ultra-vintage multi-stage compression topology, and the FRG-4RE is a feed-forward reactive gain (FRG) design. All three have a variety of music production uses, sound great, and are easy to operate.

McDSP Mootube

The Moo Tube is the most gentle of the three compressors we've released. Its great for vocals, bass, a bit of fader riding. It also has a nice tube character to help you milk your tracks as much as possible.

McDSP C670

The C670 is the old guy in the group - classic gear modeling at this best. But the C670 is flexible in its own right and can handle a wide range of material - from an orchestra to a rock band.


The FRG-4RE (aka 'The Frog') is the true 'utility compressor' in the group. It can be a good touch-up compressor, crush tracks into submission, and many things in between.

McDSP’s heritage clearly comes from the shared love of vintage hardware that we all have. The look of McDSP plugins aim to resemble real hardware in their own right. How is it to see your hardware inside a virtual rack such as Reason, now able to cable together and interact with other "hardware."

Seeing McDSP plug-ins in the Reason virtual rack is mighty cool.  The 3D modeling techniques required to bring a Rack Extension plug-in to life have enabled us to step up our own graphic designs and create really good looking plug-ins for the Reason platform.  The way users interact with the plug-ins in Reason is closer to the 'hardware experience' than any other DAW.   Good stuff for those of us afflicted with 'gear lust'!

We say the Rack Extension platform allows for devices to be "full citizens of the Reason rack." Most notably that means Rack Extensions are able to include CV routing between devices that isn’t possible on any other platform. Can you tell us how you’re using CV on the McDSP devices?

McDSP Rack Extension compressor plug-ins provide CV output of the gain reduction signal to other devices in 'the rack'.   Such a signal could be useful for modulating a filter frequency, the input threshold on some other level dependent device, or adjusting the output level of another device.  Reason folks tend to experiment - I bet they'll come up with some pretty cool uses.

Looking forward, what excites you about the Rack Extension format and McDSP’s future presence in the Reason Rack?

The folks at Propellerhead did a good job with their SDK and appear to be on the cusp of improving it even more.   We're excited to bring more of our Pro Tools plug-ins heritage to Reason, and develop new products for Reason customers.

Looking forward we've got a great product road map and are looking forward to delivering more Rack Extensions plug-ins in 2014 and beyond!

Posted Jan. 16, 2014, 3:56 p.m.

Artist stories

Muttonheads' Snow White Track by Track

Posted Jan. 16, 2014, 3:28 p.m.

He makes it look easy and in some sense it is but Jérôme Tissot, better known as Muttonheads, is a master of infectious hooks and banging club synth sounds. Don't take our word for it, he's got the #1 hits to prove the point. In this special artist interview from France, Muttonheads walks us through his custom mastering suite and his latest hit "Snow White" track by track to see just how it works. His studio is built around his Reason rack and Muttonheads uses it to great effect indeed!

Posted Jan. 16, 2014, 3:28 p.m.

Artist stories

KOAN Sound on Sound Design

Posted Nov. 4, 2013, 2:20 p.m.


We caught up with music production duo KOAN Sound to learn a bit more about how they use Reason in their music. Little that we know that they'd reveal some truly amazing tips for designing synths and bass lines. Read on to find out how they create those gut-wrenching bass sounds and mind-bending effects!

Could you tell us a little bit about how you guys approach sound design in Reason?
We use Reason mainly for creating synths and basslines. The Malström synth is used for pretty much every bass sound, and we normally use the different saw and square wave variations. By themselves they're very chunky waveforms so they provide a great basis for an endless number of sounds. Most of our bass sounds are made by first making a long bass note and giving it some movement so we can later resample it in interesting ways. To get the movement we tend to go crazy with automation and effects until we get a dynamic but clean sound. For example we'll add an EQ before a Scream 4 in the chain of effects because when you automate the EQ frequency and gain, it combines with the distortion to create really cool movement. Then we'll usually export and resample the sound.

We resample a lot in Reason with the NN-19. It's an easy way to get a bass sounding really techy. For example when we have a sound we like in the NN-19, we'll duplicate it then apply different effects to each one, dedicating one to the low end and the other for highs and mids. For example we might add a bandpass filter to one of them and slightly detune it in the sampler so when the bandpass is automated it sweeps through the frequencies and phases them which sounds pretty nice. We could then export this again and repeat if needs be. Also, the notch filter on the NN-19 is awesome and we use it often to give bass more movement.

The Scream 4 distortion is probably our favourite thing about Reason. It's such a versatile tool and can completely mangle sounds whilst keeping them relatively clean. We've used it to process snares too. The loud, metallic snares in 'Meanwhile, In The Future' were made by putting live snare samples through the Scream 4. It created these huge exaggerated tails which didn't sound overly distorted.

Any specific sound design tips you got that really helped you out?
Best thing we learnt was to think about sounds in three parts: lows, middles and highs. This helps with the overall mix of the track because you can then add and remove frequencies so it comes together like a jigsaw. But it's also incredibly helpful when thinking about bass sounds. Splitting bass into multiple parts and treating each part differently with filters and effects can create very sonically pleasing sounds.

Do you have any favorite sound or patch or do you create everything from scratch?
For our more melodic tracks we often use the Hall Strings from the NN-XT. When low pass filtered and with some reverb they can provide a very deep and warm layer to the track. Even when we've used live recordings of violins, like in our Sanctuary EP, we layered them with these Reason strings to thicken out the mix.

Posted Nov. 4, 2013, 2:20 p.m.