Tutorials

How to Make a Drum n Bass Track in Reason

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!

Start your free trial of Reason 10 today.

Follow Protostar on Facebook, Twitter, Twitch, YouTube, Soundcloud.

Tutorials

How to Record Retrowave with Reason 10

Posted June 17, 2018, 2:06 p.m.

With influences ranging from 1970s and '80s film soundtracks to artists like Tangerine Dream, Vangelis, and John Carpenter, Retrowave is a genre of driving, synth-based music that has surged in popularity thanks to retro-inspired shows and movies like Stranger Things and Blade Runner 2049. In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to record a Retrowave track in Reason 10 using a palette of lush synthesizers, punchy drum machines, and spacey effects.

The foundation of Retrowave starts with a classic arpeggiated synth track. Retrowave relies on the iconic sounds of popular '70s and '80s keyboards—so open up Reason’s browser and try out some analog subtractive synths and early-digital FM devices. Once you've dialed up a patch you like, plug it into the RPG-8 Monophonic Arpeggiator at 80-150 BPM to create the robotic pulse that will form the backbone of your track. Select an Up, Down, or Up+Down pattern and try out some chords until you find the right groove.

Now that you have a solid bassline or chord progression looping on the arpeggiator, take advantage of ReDrum’s authentic drum machine interface to program a simple, minimal and driving beat. Look for an electronic kit with a punchy kick and snare and tunable toms for the occasional tom fill. For a modern, danceable sound, sidechain the kick to one or more synths.

Now we’re ready to flesh out the song by layering sounds and arranging tracks. You can double your chord progression with a lush pad, program a dreamy synth drone with filter-sweeping automation, or add some soaring leads with a portamento synth or live guitar through the “lead” setting on the Softube Amp. To bring a more epic sound to your synth leads, add a healthy dose of delay or chorus.

Once you have the structure of your song laid out, it's time to fine-tune the mix and add a glossy sheen of effects. For an iconic 80’s sound, thicken up your synths with the CF-101 chorus and throw some gated reverb from the RV7000 on the drums. If things are sounding a little robotic, modulating filters with the Synchronous Effects Modulator can give your synths some extra life.  Finally, try the “Tape” or “VHS” settings on the Audiomatic Retro Transformer for an authentic lo-fi filter before rounding everything out with Reason's MClass Mastering Suite.

Now that you know how to record a Retrowave track in Reason 10, it’s time to create your own sci-fi dreamscape! Start your free trial of Reason 10 today.

Tutorials

How to Make Lofi Hip-Hop Beats in Reason 10

Posted June 13, 2018, 9:24 a.m.

Over the last decade, the popularity of “lofi” hip-hop has exploded thanks to producers like Nujabes and J Dilla. Lofi hip-hop is all about soft, introspective instrumentals—and Reason 10 has everything you need to lay down the perfect vibe. In this tutorial, producer MG the Future will show you how to make lofi hip hop beats in Reason 10.

Lofi hip-hop revolves around a chill, relaxed beat with a loose swing—often sampled from vintage funk and soul recordings to retain the human element of the performance. Reason 10 is packed with classic hip-hop and vintage break beat loops to get you started. Just select your favorite sample from the Browser and drag it into the Sequencer window. Adjust the BPM using the tempo controller to dial in the perfect downtempo pace, and use Reason’s built-in time stretching and compression capabilities to sync your sample to a loopable 4 or 8-bar clip.

Chop and screw samples using Dr. Octo Rex to create unique grooves by altering individual beat, or play a fresh new beat by triggering sample slices using Reason’s iconic Kong drum machine. Connect Kong to the built-in Pattern Sequencer or new Drum Sequencer Rack Extension and select from dozens of preset drum patterns for instant inspiration, or create your own patterns using advanced 16-step sequencers.

Reason 10 has a near-limitless supply of sampled keyboards and synthesizers to create rich chords and unique lofi textures. Lay down smooth bass lines, soft synth pads, and simple leads with sampled instruments using ID8 or NN-XT. Experiment with colorful keys in Radical Piano, gentle bells in Klang, or the worldly sounds of Pangea for the perfect multi-cultural aesthetic. Build beautiful, lush chords in seconds by pairing any instrument with Reason’s Scales & Chords—simply select the key of your song and play a single note on your keyboard to create rich, full chords perfect for lofi hip-hop.

It’s not called lofi for nothing, and Reason 10 is loaded with the perfect processors for adding vintage vibe. Use Audiomatic Retro Transformer to instantly add grainy goodness to your tracks. With options like radio, VHS, vinyl and more, Retro Transformer is perfect for adding an instant lofi effect. Top it all off with Scream 4 to add harmonic saturation modeled after tubes, tape and analog circuitry, and you’ve got yourself a certified head-bobber.

Now that you know the basics of how to make lofi beats in Reason 10, it’s time to make the boomin’ and bappin’ happen!
 

Download
   Download MG the Future Lofi Combinator patch!
 

Start your free trial of Reason 10 today.

Tutorials

How to Record Vocals in Reason 10

Posted May 22, 2018, 8 a.m.

Reason 10 is known for its robust collection of synthesizers, drum machines, and loops—but it also offers a powerful toolset for vocal production. With advanced features like time and pitch-correction, step sequencing, and a built-in sampler, Reason 10 offers a full-fledged vocal production suite. In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to record vocals in Reason 10.

Vocals are arguably the most important part of any song, which is why Reason 10 was designed to make recording vocals quick and easy. Watch this video tutorial with Stefan Guy to learn how to:
 

  • Connect an audio interface and easily route mic signals
  • Properly set sample rate and buffer size for minimal latency
  • Create a well-balanced headphone mix
  • Accurately set microphone levels
  • Monitor levels on multiple channels using advanced metering
  • Use the precount function to improve your workflow
  • Create the perfect take using the comping feature
     

And that’s only the beginning—with Reason 10 you can adjust the time and pitch of your track after you record using advanced editing features like Pitch Edit and Time Stretch. You can even mix and master your vocal recordings in Reason 10 with acclaimed signal processors modeled after classic British consoles.

Now that you know how to record vocals in Reason 10, it’s time to start singing!

Start your free trial of Reason 10 today!

 

Tutorials

How to Make Trap/Hip Hop Beats in Reason 10

Posted May 15, 2018, 8:25 a.m.

Reason and hip hop have a long history together. In fact, DIY and indie hip hop producers were some of Reason’s earliest adopters, thanks to its intuitive interface, fast and creative workflow, and wealth of sound libraries built right into the platform. In this tutorial, we’ll explore the basics of hip hop beatmaking and show you how to make a hip hop beat in Reason 10.

From crisp modern trap beats to low-fi instrumentals, it pays to take a look at some of the sounds and techniques that have historically defined the genre. All genres are identifiable by their signature rhythms: EDM’s steady, pulsing kicks, the trademark swing of jazz, and funk’s heavy syncopation. With hip hop, the groove itself provides the foundation for everything—the kick and snare hold down a solid pocket, while the hi-hats, claps, and other percussion make the groove bounce and sway with swung subdivisions and expressive accents. There are multiple techniques you can use to create the groove, but we’ll start with sampling.

Ever since producers started lifting drum loops from records, samples have dominated the genre and can make a great foundation for a groove or chorus hook. Reason 10 is packed with powerful sampling tools—choose a sample from the included sound libraries or record your own, then chop, screw, and warp them with Dr. Octo Rex and the Grain Sample Manipulator. To learn more, check out our recent blog post “How To Chop Samples in Reason 10.”

Drum machines are another staple of hip hop production, especially the booming kick and snappy analog sounds of the Roland TR-808. Bass is an equally crucial element—whether it’s a funky synth, a sampled Motown groove, or even a pitch-shifted 808 kick, a good bassline is what really makes a track bump. Reason 10 is packed with powerful bass synths and easy-to-use drum machines modeled after some of the most legendary hardware units in history, giving you a wealth of creative options at your fingertips.

Although most of the raw power in hip hop comes from the rhythm section, a memorable melody can add the right hook to elevate any track. After all, who could forget the laid-back synth leads on “Gin and Juice?” Where would A Tribe Called Quest be without those tasty sax samples? And what better way to add some R&B flavor than with a silky electric piano? Even if you're not a pro on the keyboard, Reason makes it easy with the Scales & Chords Player.

Reason puts all the tools and sounds you need to make a great beat right at your fingertips. Check out this video above to learn!

Now that you've had a primer on how to make a hip hop beat in Reason 10, it’s time to  and let your creativity flow!

Start your free trial of Reason 10 today.

Follow Kato on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Soundcloud.