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 5, 2018, 9:26 a.m.
Andrew Huang is a Toronto-based music and video producer with a penchant for working within absurd, self-imposed limitations.
A versatile and prolific musician, he has released over 2,000 songs in a massive range of genres. He is perhaps best known for the strange feats of musicianship which have earned him over 1.3 million subscribers and 170 million views on his YouTube channel: He has rapped 300 words in a minute, and maybe you know him from his Glorious MIDI unicorn video?
In this video, Andrew tries our latest creation Europa by Reason (VST / AU plugin available for any DAW) and boldly sets out to "turn any sound into a WAY COOLER SOUND". Watch the video to learn more about our new wavetable synthesizer's powerful sonic possibilites and maybe learn a new trick or two?
Andrew also created 20 custom patches for Europa which you can download from the link below and load up in Europa (the patches are already included in the VST / AU version).
Download Andrew Huang's Europa patches!
Learn more about Europa by Reason and try it out directly in your browser!
Try Reason 10 free for 30 days!
Posted May 30, 2018, 2:02 p.m.
Today Propellerhead released our first VST/AU. We’ve been doing plugins for six years, and DAW instruments and effects since long before that, so what’s the big deal?
Well, this one works in Ableton Live, Apple Logic, Image Line FL Studio, Presonus Studio One, Cubase and many other DAWs (I hate that word. Can’t we just call them music making apps?!), not just in Reason. What does that mean?
First of all it means that all you loyal Reason users (thank you!) can use one of your favorite synths in any other DAW (naturally) that you also have installed. A free Europa by Reason license just got injected into your user account.
But secondly it means that those of you who have chosen some other music making app as your favorite, now finally can get some Reason goodness into your life. Europa is a killer beast of a synth. It sounds absolutely amazing, it’s mind-blowingly powerful and it’s straight forward to get around. There’s a demo version to try if you don’t believe us, but we really think you’ll find it’s true.
Some of you might wonder if there’s a longer thought behind this release and if it indicates a change in how we think about Reason, how much resources we put into it, if there’s a shift to how we think about updates etc? The answers is no. We can do multiple things at a time. We’ve created this VST/AU. We’re working on a mobile app. And we’re working on Reason just as always, adding features as I write this. Reason stays what it is. We already announced that there will be no paid update this year but we promise to bring you more of what you love anyway, as soon as we are able to.
The other thing you should note is that we also released Europa on the web today. From a futuristic and tech standpoint, that’s actually an even bigger deal than the VST/AU. What you are seeing there is an actual Rack Extension instrument running in a web browser. We didn’t recompile Europa or adapt it to the web to make this work, we made the web adapt to us. This is to a large extent possible thanks to some really exciting efforts by a very smart team at Google. And you can reap the benefits of their and our work right here.
So please enjoy Europa in whatever format you run it in. It really sounds equally amazing and inspiring in all its guises.
Happy music making!
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!
Posted April 17, 2018, 11:48 a.m.
In part 2 of his beat making videos, producer Justen Williams is back to share his music making process when he's got access to his full size AKAI controllers. Much like part one, which if you haven't seen it is worth the watch, Justen uses a keyboard controller and a pad controller to their fullest advantages.
We'll also see how he taps into the music community at Allihoopa to get some stems and samples for his beat. If you make music by clicking with your mouse and wonder what opportunities might await a switch to a controller based workflow, you'll definitely want to check this out.
Download Justen Williams' 808 bass patch for Europa here!
Reason Lite is available for free with the purchase of the following Akai hardware products:
• MPD218, MPD226, MPD232
• MPK225, MPK249, MPK261
• MPK mini mk2
• LPK25 Wireless, LPD8 Wireless
Current owners of these products can simply log in to their user account at http://www.akaipro.com to get their free Reason Lite license.
Watch part one in Justen Williams' AKAI beatmaking series!
For more information on Reason:
For more information on AKAI controllers: