Even more on the Reason's Sound Quality thingy
A few weeks ago I and an engineer friend made some simple tests on Reason's sound quality issues. We especially wanted to see if there is any sound colorization within Reason. So we started by preparing various loops and one shot samples of any sort. We triggered them with various Reason instruments (NNXT, NN19 and ReDrum) and exported them to wave.
Then we spectrum analyze both the source and result wave files with the quite complicated spectrum analyzer of Izotope Ozone. When we compared the result graphics we saw that there is almost no difference. I mean, there is %99,99 no difference between the graphics. The remaining difference was mostly about +/-0.001db at no specific place in the spectrum. So this means to us that there is no colorization or muddiness or any such problems with the audio engine.
Beside this we realized one interesting thing that might be considered as a problem: There was always a noise around -96db in the silent parts of the exported waves. Even when there is no sound was playing at all. This noise was becoming slightly louder if we added more and more devices (FX or instruments) up to -90db when there was about 50 devices. Theorically there shouldn't be no noise, just plain silence when there is nothing playing. We didn't go more in this, though, because it wasn't that important for us when considered the hardware devices we were using in the studio like Roland JV1080, Korg Triton, etc with always have much more noise in their audio outputs. Perhaps it is related with one of the FX processors in Reason...
Anyway, I'm happy to know that there is no serious problem with Reason in the sound quality department. I think that the usual "Reason does not sound fat/bright/clean" threats are the result of the quite simple FX processors that come with Reason. Ok, there are quite working tricks to make some cool and fat FX's by chaining them. But Reason is not fat "out of the box".
As a result you can always try the following tricks to help your sound:
- Use double reverb in series for your master "send" reverb. Use the first one as the early reflection part by setting the size very short like "-45" and use the second one as the long tail, setting the algoritm to Hall and keeping the size above "0". Keep the dry/wet setting of the first one as "pure wet (+64)" and use the dry/wet setting of the second one for the balance between the early reflections and the long tail. This is very essential trick for realistic reverb effects with debth. Think of the Waves Truverb!
- Use double chorus in parallel with different delay and rate settings for Left and Right channels. This makes a huge difference, really!
- Try setting up some interesting delay effects: Forexample if you want a pingpong delay with some modulation on the delay part: First connect a chorus device to one of the effect send outputs of the mixer. Keep the chorus in "only wet" state and attach a different delay device for each left and right outputs of the chorus. Connect one of the two delay outputs to left fx return and connect the other one to right effect return. Now you have independent delays for the left and right channels even with some modulation affect that is achieved by the "only wet" chorus effect before the delays.
- Try returning master effects to mixer via a mixer channel instead of the fx return inputs in the mixer. This way you can create fx feedbacks or you can add the other three master effects to the wet part of the master effect you connected to the mixer channel. Forexample you can add master reverb to the echoes of the master delay.
- And use compressors and parametric EQs to maintain a brighter, cleaner, more in control sound from any instruments.
Anyway you can use too many tricks that can be achieved in a real hardware studio in Reason by creative chaining of mixer and effects and other devices.
BTW, I'm not yet an owner of Reason but I'm definitely very excited about it! I everyday check this forum and this website for anything new. What I wait for is that, I wanted Reason to be just enough to be able to achieve the unique sound I'm into, alone without no help outside. I want Reason to have more special FX devices like lofi processors, surround panner, amp simulator, etc. Ok, you can always use rewire but this sort of usage is not for me. Because rewire kills the simplicity and completeness keywords that Reason is about.
Anyway, I don't complain and just wait. But I wanted you know that if Reason is not that complete yet, it does not engrave most of the negative feedback we see everyday in this forum. I personally am satisfied that Reason's sound is top quality right now, if not as special as everyone need.