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How to make a gated filter sweep - Reason Sound Design

2012-02-23 at 15:56

In this installment of the Reason Sound Design series I show you how to do a gated filter sweep in this Reason Sound Design video. This effect is great for transitions and it's very playable once you've set up the Combinator controls!

You can download the patches shown in the video here:

Don't forget to send in your own take on the gated filter sweep to and we might feature it in the next video!


Comments (3)

James Bernard

James Bernard Product Specialist SmallAs the Propellerhead Product Specialist, James Bernard is constantly travelling the globe to spread the Propellerhead message. Tradeshows, Producers Conferences and in-store demos are just some of the events where you may find him doing his thing. He's also a well-known face on the Propellerhead website where numerous educational videos featuring James can be found, and we have now decided to give him a page of his own - the one you're looking at right now!

James' free ReFills

ReGroove Booster
Multiband Toolbox
Modular Madness
Weird and Wonderful

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52 Reason / Record Tips - Week 52: Thor's Modulation Bus and Step Sequencer

2011-04-15 at 00:00

It's hard to believe it's been 52 Tips already but now we've all got the Reason/Record chops to prove it! For those of you who have been with me since week one, I'm so proud you came all this way with me. For those of you just coming into the series, boy do you have more goodies to find in our past episodes!

In this final week's Tip I'm going to show you around Thor's final sections: The Modulation Bus and Step Sequencer. With these sections under your belt you'll have completed my multi-week "Synth School" series and hopefully be able to approach custom synth sound design with a whole new bag of tricks.

Now there's nothing else to do but to get out there, use this knowledge, and start making more music than ever before!!!

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52 Reason / Record Tips - Week 51: Thor Filters, Shaper, Envelope, LFO, and Mod Matrix

2011-04-02 at 00:00

With a solid foundation of synth theory and even Thor's fundamentals under your belt, this week we'll be diving deeper into the filter types in Thor - looking at the State Variable Filter, the Comb Filter, and the Formant Filter. You'll also learn about the self-oscillator included with some of these filters. From there we'll move through Thor's semi-modular signal path to see how you can tap into the sound-bending power of the shaper, the mod envelope, and the Modulation Matrix.

As with all of these Synth School videos, the knowledge in here builds heavily off of previous tutorials so if you're jumping in to this one first I can highly recommend looking at past weeks to get a better understanding of the advanced concepts we're covering here.

Also: Don't forget to get your cap and gown measurements to the principal's office because graduation from Synth School is next week!

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52 Reason / Record Tips - Week 50: Thor's Multi-Osc, Noise Osc, and Filters

2011-03-22 at 14:34

If you've made it this far into Synth School without dropping out or changing your major to something less technical, then congratulations. You're nearly ready for graduation day.

Today we'll be picking up where we left off with Thor's oscillator types, namely the multi-oscillator and the noise oscillator. There's a lot to these simple looking modules! From there we'll move over and take a look at the filter sections in Thor and I'll introduce you to the semi-modular routing buttons which help move signals through Thor.


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52 Reason / Record Tips - Week 49: Thor Oscillator Types

2011-03-11 at 17:49

Synth School enters its final and most advanced device starting this week. Strap in and get ready because we're about to tackle the Thor Polysonic Synthesizer. Thor is called "polysonic" because it offers a smorgasbord of various oscillator types, filter types, and signal routing options.

This week we'll be focusing on the first major oscillator types in Thor. Each oscillator has a specific synth technology behind it and each one has a particular sound that will be suitable for different uses. If you've found yourself relying on presets for Thor or if you tend to go straight to the analog oscillator because it's familiar to you, you'll definitely want to get to know these other oscillators. They'll expand your sonic palette and ramp up your sound design chops.

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52 Reason / Record Tips - Week 48: Malström Filters, Shaper, Mods

2011-03-11 at 17:47

You understand the basics of synthesis and have mastered the Subtractor, you've learned about the Malström's unique "graintable sythesis" technique, and now all you need to know to master the Malström is to understand its special filters, shaper, and mods.

To those who have been following along since week one of Synth School, you'll see that I'm picking up the pace a little bit now that you've built a foundation of knowledge. Believe me, we'll need this pace starting next week when we tackle the Thor synthesizer!

But rest assured, by the time we're done you'll know every synth's capabilities, strengths, and routings. And most importantly, you'll be able to think of a sound you want to create, know which synth will get you that sound, and set about making it with skill.

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52 Reason / Record Tips - Week 47: Malström Graintable Synthesis

2011-02-10 at 18:16

If you think of last three weeks of Synth School as primary school, then this week we're graduating up to Middle School. Don't worry, though... there's no detention or pop quizzes. This week we'll move onto the Malström Graintable Synthesizer which was introduced in Reason version 2.0.

I think you'll be surprised with how comfortable you are switching to a new synth. You'll be applying a lot of what you've learned already, like ADSR envelopes, oscillator pitch controls, etc. You'll also be seeing new controls and knobs that come with the graintable synthesis territory, like Shift and Motion.


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52 Reason / Record Tips - Week 46: Subtractor LFOs and Mods

2011-02-02 at 22:06

After watching the first two Synth School videos you've probably realized that the entirety of synthesizer sound design is simply about taking a basic sound wave and reshaping it with basic tools like filters, amp envelopes, phase, other oscillators mixed in, etc.  This week we'll look at the final piece of the Subtractor puzzle:  LFOs and Performance Modifiers.  When you're done this video you will have everything you need to start creating some seriously unique Subtractor patches.  More importantly, you'll be ready to tackle the more complicated Malstrom Graintable synthesizer.

Next week I think you'll be surprised with how much you already know about it having built a strong foundation in a fundamental synth like Subtractor.

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52 Reason / Record Tips - Week 45: Subtractor Filters and Envelopes

2011-01-27 at 16:10

In the second installment of my "Synth School" series I'll be staying on the Subtractor synth but looking at the Filter sections, Amp Envelope, Filter Envelope, and Mod Envelope sections. The masters of synth production are masters of these tools. Something as simple as a Low Pass filter when paired with the right chord progression can lift the entire club crowd into a frenzy. The proper Amp Envelope can bring out the vibe in your song. These are powerful tools to conveying and even evoking strong emotion from what sometimes are rather sterile starting melodies or chords.

As always, I encourage you to play around with them on your own to get a feel for how they behave and interact with each other but today I'll walk you through each slider and button and show you a little of my own experimentation.



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52 Reason / Record Tips - Week 44: Synth School with the Subtractor

2011-01-20 at 22:52

As electronic music producers, we rely on synths as our bread and butter sounds for leads, bass lines, effects, textures, and so on. Knowing that, how crazy is it that so many of us don't REALLY know how to use them?! I mean, it's not our fault in some ways. The presets we get from the factory soundbank and ReFills are very good. Usually one of those with a couple random knob adjustments get us off and going just fine.

But imagine the power you'd have if you could sculpt a sound and control a sound with precise knowledge of what you're doing and the effect it will have. Imagine if you had your own folder of custom patches that you created; your own stash of secret sauce that nobody else has. Imagine if you could think of a sound you'd like to create and to know instantly how to do it.

I'm going to embark on a multi-week exploration of synthesis theory to do just that for you. This week we're starting with the most basic synth there is - the Subtractor. But don't let its simplicity fool you. It's capable of some amazing sounds.


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ReGroove Booster

JB ReGroove Booster

This refill contains 66 new patches for one of the exciting new features of Reason version 4, the ReGroove Mixer. The ReGroove Mixer is a great tool for making the feel of your songs less rigid and cold, which can often be the case when using quantization on any sequencer. Many of these ReGroove patches contain not just timing/shuffle feel, but also Note Velocity and Note Length variations. These patches can be applied to any track in your sequences, try them on bass or keyboard parts... or even the whole song... you may be pleasantly surprised by the results.

A few things to know when using the ReGroove Mixer:

  • To load any patches into the ReGroove Mixer, press the ReGroove Mixer icon (lower right hand side of the transport) and the press the folder icon of the desired Channel location (ex. A1).
  • Make sure the Channel you are using is enabled (ON is illuminated at the top of the channel). If you would like to adjust the Timing, Velocity or Note Length Impact, make sure the EDIT button is on in the Channel you wish edit. Press F8 to bring up the Tool window, and then select Groove at the top of the Tool Window.
  • ReGroove can only be used with notes that are recorded into clips on a sequencer track, not pattern devices (ReDrum, Matrix, RPG-8). If you would like to try out any ReGroove patches on parts that exist in a pattern device, you must use the copy pattern to track function to get the pattern converted to notes.
  • In order to hear any Note Velocity changes when using ReGroove with a Dr. Rex loop player, you must first enable velocity to modify the Amp by turning the AMP knob clockwise (look under the VELOCITY section on the left of the module... near the Mod Wheel).
  • Remember that you can create your own ReGroove patches as well from any sequenced material in a song (I suggest limiting it to 4 bars at the most). This includes any MIDI data that is created when you load a .rx2 file into a Dr. Rex Loop Player and press the TO TRACK button.

The R eGroove Tutorial .rns file is a song which has some tracks for you to test out the groove patches that are included in this refill. Try different ReGroove patches on the tracks and you will get an idea of how power ReGroove mixer really is!

In all my travel and presentations I have found that the ReGroove Mixer seems to be one of the most under-used features in Reason version 4, and I hope that after trying out some of these new patches you are inspired to use it more in your productions.

JB Vol.4 - ReGroove Booster
(Available as a free download to all registered Reason version 4 users.)

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Multiband Toolbox

Jb Multibandtoolbox

The third installment of the James Bernard Free ReFill series focuses on an interesting concept: Multi-Band processing using the Combinator.

The Multi-Band Toolbox ReFill uses the Combinator as an effects device and does not contain any "sound" patches at all. It is meant to be used to process either the entire mix of a song by loading one of the patches into the Combinator Mastering Device at the top of the Reason Rack, or as an insert effect after a device that you would like to process.

The Multi-Band Toolbox gives you the capability to do Multi-Band compression and limiting (4 and 8 band versions) but also includes ways of using it for other things like effects and sound design. The real power and beauty of this Refill is revealed when you open up the patch (by pressing the Show Devices button) and tweak the parameters for each band's device individually.

J B Vol.3 - Multi-Band Toolbox

Update from James Bernard:

"After creating the initial Multiband Toolbox refill some users has commented that using some of the mastering patches "changed" the timbre or sound of the mix. After doing some testing on my own and discussing it with the head DSP guru at Propellerhead Software I came to a conclusion. I did it incorrectly.

Apparently the BV-512 does not use Phase Linear filters, and because I used it to do all the band splits it could change the timbre of the audio even if no effects or additional proccesing is applied. So.. I was told that using the M-Class Stereo Imager (which DOES use Phase Linear filters!) I could do the band splits and not have any change in timbre.

It's not as easy to do the band splitting using Stereo Imagers, but the hard work was worth it. I decided that the only patches that really needed this special attention were the Mastering patches, let's be don't need Phase Linear filters on a mutilband bit crusher, you are already intending to alter the timbre if you use that patch. This update contains new Mastering Patches using the Stereo Imagers to do the splits, as well as a 4 band and 8 band template for you to experiment with as well."

JB Vol.3 - Multi-Band Toolbox (Mastering tools update)

The update comes with updated combinator patches from the mastering tools section of the Multiband Toolbox.

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Modular Madness


The second installment of the James Bernard Free ReFill series is here. This ReFill is called Modular Madness, and rightly so. The ReFill consists of a collection of heavily processed synth and drum loops that have escaped the Propellerhead labs. The loops were created using Reason in a modular approach, which you can hear from the results.

The ReFill also contains two drum kits for Redrum in the same style.

If you are looking for something to spice up the holiday season, download Modular Madness today and help yourself to a tweaked out Christmas. Your family will love it!

J B Vol.2 - Modular Madness

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Weird and Wonderful

Weirdandwonderful Cu

The first installation of the James Bernard Free Refill Series has arrived: Song Starters Volume 1 - Weird and Wonderful. The concept behind this Refill is to make it possible to compose/perform an entire song based on just one Combinator Patch, and show the power of Reason 3.0. Factory Soundbank is the only source for samples/patches, and in many cases new patches were created from scratch.

The name says it all - download Weird and Wonderful yourself and get playing (free to all registered users of Reason 3.0)!

Song Starters Volume 1 - Weird and Wonderful

Weird and Wonderful Demo mp3s


Alone in a Rainforest


In a Dub Stylee


FX Music


Old Techre

Weird and Wonderful patch list

The Weird folder:
Circuit Overload [Run]
Fun Drums Tune [Run]
FX Music [Run]
I Got Mad Hits [Run]
IDM Dancehall [Run]
Influx Breaks [Run]
Malice [Run]
Music for Commercials [Run]
Stretched Drums and FM [Run]
True IDM [Run]
What the !##! [Run]
The Wonderful folder:
Alone... in a Rainforest [Run]
Ambient Mastermind [Run]
Halcyon Days [Run]
InnaDubStylee [Run]
Old Techre [Run]
Pensive Orchestra [Run]
Subtractor Symphony [Run]
The Muse [Run]
Vindaloo Stark [Run]

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James Video Reason

Whether you need an introductory tutorial that covers installation or a more detailed introduction to the BV512 vocoder, there's a James Bernard video for you. Have a look in the video section.

Curious about James' music? Why not download his live set from the Producers Seminar in Stockholm? If you want the full story about the seminar, it can be found at the Producer's Conference web site.