Propellerhead Software
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Old 2004-04-16, 08:01
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Brainstorming ideas

In general, suggestions I have for future versions fall into either of two categories:
1) Loop synchronization improvement
2) External control improvement
The reason for my interest is because I think Reason should focus on becoming more of a live instrument, rather than simply an emulator of mechanical modes of music synthesis. Some of the following ideas, I know, would require much time and development before implementation. So I do not expect Propellerhead to consider many of them for an upcoming release. Another disclaimer: it might be better for some ideas to be added to an existing device, and for other ideas, a new device might be more appropriate. I hope these ideas can be incorporated in a way as to not convolute the currently very clean user interface.
I hope my ideas are clear enough!

1. Looping features:
A. Individual slices in DrRex and NN19 can be set to various loop settings (BW - FW), but the length of the loop (start and stop location) should be definable. True, it is available in NN-XT, but the other two are better for setting up drum kit type instruments.
B. Furthermore there should be a function for automatic loop synchronization to tempo. Thus there could be a choice between utilizing time-stretch scaling, pitch scaling, or loop start/stop snap to grid.

2. Sample morph portamento: when a keyboard is laid out with different samples on multiple keys, switching from one key to the next would transition much like regular portamento, but morph between them.

3 Provide the option of time stretch (not just sample slice) for samples synchronization with the tempo.

4. Option of instantaneous switching between patterns on the Matrix, and Redrum, such that as soon as the user clicks, the new pattern begins play at the aligned beat. (How it works right now is it waits until the end of 16 or 8 steps and then goes to the 1st step of the chosen pattern) This means pattern sequencers become more like live instruments.

5. NEW MODULE: The Keyboard interface. (for keyboard splits and much more...) It might be tricky to briefly explain what it does, but I?ll try. Visually, it is a keyboard that represents the MIDI keyboard that is physically attached to the computer. What it does is it functions to organize samples, patterns, and analog sounds all on one piano keyboard. This would greatly benefit the performer, with a quick method of layout avoiding all the complex intricacies of midi mapping, splitting ...etc.
How you could accomplish this:
Introduce a new type of routing cable specifically for this module. The module could have a few cable slots labeled ?1, 2, 3, 4, 5?. Each could be attached to the various modules (NN-XT, Subtractor, Matrix...), and then regions for 1-5 defined on the keyboard. (I say 5 regions so the cabling doesn?t get too messy!!)
The way a device responds to this keyboard module would be dependent on how it?s set on the device. One mode would be equivalent mapping (A1 = A1, G#3 = G#3) For the Matrix, there would be another option: mapping the patterns to keys.
Of course, only one of the modules could be used at one time. But many could be set up so the user has a variety of layout at his disposal for a performance.
Another possibility could be to allow multiple keyboard modules in a series (joined and stacked on top of each other.) This would allow a performer to switch between the different layouts by changing the position of a slider (controller data or velocity data). It could be assignable to the individual 5 regions, or to the individual key, or the same for the entire keyboard layout. Transition between the sounds could utilize sound morphing, crossfade, or just sudden transition.

6. Audio in. I?ve heard the debate, and I?m undecided in terms of audio recording. However I do think it would be very helpful for live performers to at least have an audio-in without the recording feature. This would make the vocoder and effects more useful for many instances.

7. Recording ability on more than one track at a time. Right now, it seems rather limiting to be able to perform many instruments at once with sliders and the computer keyboard... but not be able to record that performance.

8. One controller should be able to be mapped to multiple functions.

9. NEW DEVICE: Arpeggiator: I?m not sure what to say besides, just to emulate a top of the line arp circuit. (much debate already)

10. NEW DEVICE: Matrix II A pattern sequencer that, unlike matrix, records incoming MIDI notes. This would allow someone to quickly perform a groove to be repeated and still be able to utilize the benefits of the matrix. Polyphonic, CV controller. Could be viewed on a screen much like the Matrix, but with a higher note accuracy. Quantization functions could be available. Copy and paste ability from the sequencer could also be available.

11. Allow the Matrix (and the proposed MIDI pattern sequencer) to be used, so that the note progression you program can be mapped to a piano keyboard. In other words, not just switching between patterns 1-8 ABCD, but patterns becoming samples that can be triggered by the piano keyboard. With this feature it would assume that various synchronization options be added.

12. Groove quantize for sequencer (and proposed Matrix II): not just established grooves but user-defined grooves based upon redrum loops or sequencer data. Maybe even use realtime Matrix output for quantization recording.

13. One last thing: Count - in for sequencer recording.

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