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Producing Music with Reason

Supplemental Documentation

Written by Peff
Layout by Blank

Copyright 2002, Kurt Kurasaki. All rights reserved.

This document may not be copied, in whole or in part, without written consent.


Reason is a registered trademark of Propellerhead Software.

M-Audio is a registered trademark of M-Audio, Inc.
Ableton is a registered trademark of Ableton AG.

Other trademark references in this documentation are the property of their respective owners.
2 Table of Contents 21 Unison Mode Emulation
22 Nested Multiple Subtractors
3 Foreword 22 Atmospheric Pads
3 Music Theory in Reason 23 Special Effects
3 A (Really Basic) Introduction to Music Theory 23 Doubling Effect
4 The Note 24 Ping Pong Delay
4 Note Pitch 24 Multi-Tap Delay
4 The White Keys 25 Distortion Stack
5 The Black Keys 25 Compressor with Side-Chain
6 Octaves, Semitones, Cents and Steps 26 Reverb Delay Compensation
6 Scales, Chords, and Melody 26 Resampling Phrases
7 Notation and Sequencers 27 Song Mastering Configuration
8 Beats and Tempo 27 Reason EQ
9 Measures
9 Time Signatures 28 Matrix Pattern Sequencer
10 Quarter Notes 28 Mixer Gating
11 Fractional Note Durations 29 Tempo Synchronized LFO
11 Triplets 29 Auto Panning Mixer
12 Rests 30 Rotational Panning
12 Sequencer Resolution and Quantization 30 Matrix Controlled Panned Delay
13 Dynamics 31 Synchronized Filter Sweeps
13 Crescendo 31 Pattern Controlled Filters
13 Further Study
32 Wire and ReWire
14 Programming Subtractor Synthesizer Patches 32 Multi-Channel Audio Cards
14 Getting Started 33 External Mixing
14 Types of Sounds 33 Audio Interface Bus
15 Analog Bass 34 ReWire
15 Synth Pad 34 Host and Slave
16 Filter Sweep 35 ReBirth Input Machine
16 Synth Stab 35 ReWire Slave Mode
17 Lead 36 ReWire Bus
17 Synth Hi-Hat 36 ReWire Information Online
18 Synth Bass Drum
18 FM Bell Tone 37 Addendum
19 Sound Effect 37 Monitor Placement
19 Patch Creation Advice 37 Monitors vs. Headphones
38 Testing the Mix on Different Systems
20 Subtractor Synthesizer Effects 38 Ambient Noise
20 Subtractor Modulating a Chorus/Flanger 39 Sound Card DSP
20 Subharmonic Generator 39 Organize ReFills
21 Envelope Modulation of Both Oscillators 39 Organize Songs in a Project Folder
39 Backing Up Files

2 Producing Music with Reason

Supplemental Documentation
Foreword Music Theory in Reason
The video content of this tutorial demonstrates practical A (Really Basic) Introduction to Music Theory
techniques of using Reason, however there are many other
facets overlooked in the main content. This supplemental Reason is a musical instrument. Although its software, all of
documentation attempts to cover other aspects of the the functions of Reason are based on traditional music
application. standards. Familiarity with music terminology is important, in
order to understand how to use Reason.
The first section takes a step backwards from the tutorial,
and users who are completely new to music are encouraged People with basic music literacy will find this section
to become familiar with the basic music terminology outlined redundant, as it aims to introduce traditional music theory to
in the section Music Theory in Reason. This is by no means those with little or no music training.
a thorough tutorial in music theory, but it provides the new
user with the fundamentals. Keep in mind that the following introduction to music theory
is not complete, however it covers the basics of music theory
The subsequent sections describe more esoteric aspects of and how traditional music terms relate to the features of
Reason such as programming synthesizer patches and Reason.
creative use of the signal processing devices, and tips for
setting up your music workstation. These are intended for
people who are looking for ways to expand their familiarity
with Reasons limitless potential.

Producing Music with Reason 3

Supplemental Documentation
The Note The White Keys
The most basic element of music is called a note. A If you look carefully at the keyboard, you will notice a
complete work of music is comprised of many notes repeating order of the keys. This pattern is a repetition of 7
arranged together to play over a span of time. An analogy of basic whole notes represented by the white keys on the
understanding music notes is to think of them as letters in piano keyboard divided with a group of 2 black keys then
the alphabet. Letters are joined together in a series to make another group of 3 black keys. The 7 whole notes are
words, sentences, paragraphs, and epic works of literature. designated with letters A, B, C, D, E, F, and G. On a piano
Within the conventions set by traditional music, notes have the layout is typically mapped from the middle note called
three basic characteristics: pitch, duration, and loudness. Middle C (C3).

Note Pitch The common reference to notes starts with C and proceeds
as follows:
The first aspect of a note is pitch. The easiest way of
understanding note pitch is to think of Reason as a keyboard
instrument like a piano or keyboard synthesizer.

Each of the keys represents a different note pitch. The keys

are arranged in groups of white keys and black keys, and
range from low frequencies on the left to high frequencies on
the right. When the words up or higher are used in the
context of pitch, you should think of it as going right on the
keyboard. The opposite applies to the words down or
lower, and you can think of it as going to the left along the

4 Producing Music with Reason

Supplemental Documentation
The Black Keys These same keys are referred to pitches lower than an
The term sharp indicates a higher pitch or tuning, and black adjacent whole note by calling it flat. The key C# is lower
keys are named by adding the word sharp to the note than D so it is also called D-flat.
designation. The black key above C is called C-sharp, and
is musically written with a pound sign, C#. All of the black The illustration shows how the same keys are named as flats
keys can be named as sharps higher than the root keys. of whole notes. D-flat, E-flat, G-flat, A-flat, B-flat.

Producing Music with Reason 5

Supplemental Documentation
Octaves, Semitones, Cents and Steps Scales, Chords and Melody
There are other units for measuring the pitch intervals. Users There are a few other musical terms that you should know:
should be familiar with these terms because most of the scale, chord, and melody. We will not go into great detail
devices in Reason have settings based on these pitch about these terms, however we encourage that you learn
interval units. more about these musical concepts.

When the pattern of whole notes repeats again at C, this A scale is a set of consecutive note pitches on the keyboard.
interval of keys is called an octave. Think of the oct as the The series of 8 whole note pitches C,D,E,F,G,A,B,C is called
Latin root for "eight". And when you reach the eighth whole a major scale. The series of 12 semitones (white keys and
note, you have gone up one octave. black keys) going from C to C is called a chromatic scale.

In the physics of sound going up one octave is the equivalent Three or more notes with different pitches played
of doubling the sound frequency, and going down one simultaneously is called a chord. Chords create the
octave is equal to half the original frequency. A common framework of a composition because they outline the
frequency for tuning is called A-440 which is the note pitch harmonies and changes in mood of the song. When the word
A having a frequency of 440 Hertz, or cycles per second. harmonize is used, it usually means that a note pitch fits in
Going up an octave would be the note A with a frequency of as one of several notes within a chord.
880 Hertz, and going down one octave would be 220 Hertz.
A melody is where several notes are played consecutively in
A semitone is the interval between two keys on the time. Typically, a melody is a harmony of the chord
keyboard. Going up from C to C-sharp is a semitone. Going progression or within the harmonic scale of the chord
up from E to F is a semitone, and going up one octave is 12 progression.
semitones because there are twelve notes in the octave.

Semitones are also divided into smaller units called cents

and one semitone is the equivalent of 100 cents. On most of
the devices in reason, there is a fine tune or cents
adjustment that ranges from 50 to 50. There are 1200
cents in an octave.

A semitone is also known as a half-step in traditional music

terms. There is also a whole step which is the equivalent of
2 semitones. For example, the interval between C and D is a
whole step, and the interval between D and E is a whole
step, but the interval between E and F is a half-step.

6 Producing Music with Reason

Supplemental Documentation
Notation and Sequencers A music score is a page full of staffs with each group
assigned to a different instrument. An orchestral score would
In traditional music, notes are transcribed on sheet music,
have staffs for different instruments like violins, cellos, oboes,
also referred to as notation. On the sheet music you see a
flutes, trumpets, etc. Much like a music score, a sequence
series of 5 lines called a staff, and the circles on the staff
has tracks assigned to different instruments. In the Reason
indicate the note pitches. A musician reads the notes from
sequencers Arrange Mode, you can see an overview of the
left to right playing each of the notes as the song progresses,
different parts of the music score.
and the left to right order is another standard which applies
to the beginning and end of a piece.

Electronic music does not typically use notation. Instead,

computer musicians use a sequencer to transcribe note
information. The transcription of the notes in a sequencer is
called a sequence. This is sometimes referred to as a MIDI
sequence because of the established standard called
MIDI. MIDI is an acronym meaning Music Instrument
Digital Interface.

Producing Music with Reason 7

Supplemental Documentation
Instead of using the staff system of traditional music, Beats and Tempo
sequencers use a grid system referred to as a piano roll.
The second property of a musical note is the duration. There
On Reasons sequencer, you can view the piano roll by is a very specific measurement system for dividing time
entering Edit Mode then enabling the Show Key Lane durations in music, and the fundamental element is called a
button. beat. The speed of a song is gauged in units called Beats
Per Minute, or BPM. This measurement is formally called the
tempo of a song.

In traditional music, a device called a

metronome is used to help musicians
keep time with the desired tempo while
playing music. In keeping with tradition,
Reason includes a metronome feature that
can be enabled with the Click button on
the transport bar.

There are two distinct tones with one slightly louder or

accented than the others. The accented tone occurs once
On the left side, note pitches are indicated by a vertical piano every four clicks. This marks the first step of a four count.
keyboard. Somewhat similar to a staff, horizontal lines Count along with the clicks starting with the accented click:
extending from the keyboard represent the note pitches, and 1,2,3,4 1,2,3,4 1,2,3,4
each group of octaves is marked with C-note indicators
starting at the bottom with C-2, C-1, C0, C1, C2, C3., etc. The tempo setting controls the
Notes are indicated with colored blocks on the grid instead rate of repetition. Increasing the
of circular marks. tempo will speed up the
occurrence of the metronome
Sequencing is easier to work with, especially for people who clicks and decreasing it will
cannot sight read notation. Its a very logical method for slowdown the clicks.
looking at events that occur in time.

8 Producing Music with Reason

Supplemental Documentation
Measures Time Signatures
So youre still counting 1,2,3,4. The time span of this four Music does not always work on counts of four, however this
count is called a measure. On a sheet of music, measures four count is the most common time signature called four-
are indicated with a vertical bar that divides the staffs, and four. 4/4 Time is also known as common time, and on a
measures are sometimes referred to as bars. sheet of music it is written as:

On the Reason sequencer, you can see measures gauged

out along the top ruler. Each of the numbered steps is one

A numeric counter on the Reason Transport also indicates

the song position as the sequence plays. So each time four The numerator of a time signature indicates the number of
beats occurs, the music has advanced one measure. beats in a measure and the denominator indicates the type of
note assigned to a beat. So in 4/4 time, one beat has a
duration of a quarter (1/4) note.

Because it is the most common time signature, if 4/4 is not

indicated on sheet music, the time signature is automatically
assumed to be 4/4. Likewise in Reason, the default time
signature settings of a song is 4/4 time. Right below the
tempo setting, you will see the settings for the time signature.

Another common time signature is three-four where there

are three beats in a measure. On the Reason Transport, you
can change the time signature settings.

Change the numerator to 3 and you will hear the metronome

count 1,2,3 1,2,3.
Each click represents one beat and each measure in 3/4
time has 3 quarter notes.

Producing Music with Reason 9

Supplemental Documentation
Quarter Notes In the Reason sequencer, note durations are indicated by
block lengths on the grid. In this illustration, the top ruler
The most fundamental unit of duration is the quarter note
indicates the measure number of the song, and the vertical
named because it is the general equivalent of a beat when
grid divisions indicate fractional note durations.
using the 4/4 time signature. A note with duration of 4 beats
is a whole note, and a note with duration of 2 beats is a
half note. Another way of looking at this is that a quarter
note is th the duration of a measure; a half note is half the
duration of the measure or 2 beats; and a whole note is the
whole duration of the measure of four beats.

If you have a note that is 3beats long, its called a dotted

half note. Traditional music indicates this type of note by
drawing a half note with a dot next to it. The dot means to
add one half the duration of the note. Half of a half note = a
quarter note. So a half note of 2 beats + a quarter note of
one beat totals a duration of 3 beats.

Another way of joining note durations is called a tie. On

traditional sheet music, you would see a half note and a
quarter note drawn next to each other with a curved line
below or above the two notes. This indicates the durations
are tied together into a 3 beat note.

10 Producing Music with Reason

Supplemental Documentation
Fractional Note Durations Triplets
Start counting along with the metronome 1,2,3,4. Now There is another note duration called a triplet which is used
between each count say and; and 1, and, 2, and, 3, and, 4, with 1/8th, 1/16th, and 32nd notes. A triplet is a group of three
and,.. notes played in the time associated with only two notes. For
example, a series of 1/8th note triplets are played in the time
The half beats between 1, 2, 3, 4 are eighth notes (1/8th). span of two 1/8th notes. In standard 4/4 time that is one
Note durations can also be divided into smaller units as beat. In the course of a measure you can have 4 sets of
follows: 1/8th note triplets and the duration of each triplet note is
actually 1/12th of a measure rather than 1/8th.
Quarter note = 1 beat
1/8th note = 1/2 beat Several Reason features use the triplet convention, indicated
1/16th note = 1/4 beat with a note duration and the letter T. For example on the
1/32nd note = 1/8 beat sequencers Resolution setting, there are settings for 1/8 T
1/64th note = 1/16 beat which is 12 divisions per measure; 1/16 T which is 24
You can also apply the dotted nomenclature to alter divisions per measure, and 1/32 T which is 48 divisions per
durations of notes. measure.
For example, a dotted quarter note would be a quarter note
+1/2 a quarter note or a 1/8th note, i.e. a total of 1.5 beats.

Another way of looking at note durations is this:

There are 4 quarter notes in a measure

There are 8 1/8th notes in a measure
There are 16 1/16th notes in a measure
There are 32 1/32nd notes in a measure

Because of this fractional division system, the ReDrum

module and Matrix pattern sequencer interfaces are divided
into factors of 16 steps.

Producing Music with Reason 11

Supplemental Documentation
Rests Sequencer Resolution and Quantization
The opposite of a note is called a rest. During a rest, Properly transcribed sheet music accounts for every beat in a
nothing is played. A piece of sheet music is marked with one measure. There are precisely 4 beats of notes and rests
of several different rest symbols that indicate the duration of written between each bar of a measure. A MIDI sequence
the rest. Rests in a MIDI sequence are easier to understand: doesnt necessarily conform to the standards of sheet music,
when there is a rest between notes, there is simply no note but a couple of features of the Reason sequencer can help
data. you conform to timing: The Snap to Grid feature and the
Quantize feature.
Rests uses the same measurement units as note durations,
so there are whole rests, half rests, quarter note rests, eighth The snap to grid feature works with the sequencer resolution
note rests, 1/16th rests, etc. feature. From the pull down menu on the sequencer tool bar,
select the resolution. Then enable the Snap to Grid button.
When working in Arrange mode, its usually best to work with
the Resolution set to Bar so that you can move groups of
events around in sections of measures. In Arrange mode, its
easier to work in fractional resolutions like 1/16th notes so
that you can draw in or move note data to precise measure

The quantize function works by adjusting sequencer note

events to fit precisely on a grid. If there are notes that do not
fall exactly on 16th notes, by selecting them and applying
1/16th note quantization will move them to the nearest
1/16th note grid position. This is a popular feature for
cleaning up the timing of MIDI data recorded from a
keyboard controller.

To Quantize, select a note or group of note events. When the

notes are selected, you will see the events darkened with a
small square handle. Select the desired quantization like
1/16th notes, then click on the Quantize button. You can
also partially quantize events by selecting a different
percentage setting from the menu to the right of the button.

12 Producing Music with Reason

Supplemental Documentation
Dynamics Crescendo
The third aspect of notes is called dynamics which refers to Here you can see how the note dynamics gradually increase
the loudness or softness of the note. Traditional music from very low velocities to high values. This corresponds to
notation on sheet music prompts the musician to play louder an increase in loudness that gradually increases from
or softer with symbols, but in a sequence, each instance of a Pianissimo to Fortissimo. The gradual increase is called a
note contains MIDI velocity information to indicate the Crescendo. The opposite of a crescendo is called a
dynamics of that note. Diminuendo (Decrescendo is also widely accepted)
where the dynamics go from loud to soft.
The traditional music terms for dynamic levels is as follows:

pianissimo - play very softly

piano - play softly
mezzo piano - play moderately softly
mezzo forte - play moderately loudly
forte - play loudly
fortissimo - play very loudly

The range of dynamics on MIDI Note data is numeric from 0

(Rest) to 127 (fortissimo), and in the Reason sequencer,
velocity data is represented on the velocity lane in bar
graph form right below the piano roll key lane. In the key lane,
the color of the blocks corresponds to the color of the bars
on the velocity graph. Further Study
For those interested in learning more about the basics of
music, there are many resources available that will help you
understand musical structures. Many topics have been
omitted from this brief introduction to music theory. Subjects
like harmonic scales, and chord progressions, arrangement,
etc. can help develop your compositional skills. Several of
these sources can be found if you search for the topic
Music Theory on the internet, at a bookstore or music store.

Producing Music with Reason 13

Supplemental Documentation
Programming Subtractor
Synthesizer Patches
Synthesis is a unique concept because you are literally Getting Started
creating a sound from electrical impulses. Unlike traditional
When creating Subtractor patches, you should have a
instruments, a synthesized sound does not require
keyboard controller connected and routed to the synth
mechanical action like bowing, blowing, strumming, plucking,
module. Creating the sound and tweaking the parameters
or striking to induce a sound. In the contemporary age of
requires the trial and error approach, and the process is
Propellerheads Reason and other virtual electronic
easier if you have a keyboard to trigger notes.
instruments, even the concept of electronic circuits like
oscillators are not required. Synthesis has been reduced to
If you dont have a keyboard, you can program a loop into the
the mathematical principles of the circuits being emulated in
sequencer or use a Matrix pattern sequencer to play a
melody while you adjust the parameters. However, by using
the same melodic pattern to create a patch, the sound will be
This section is intended to help guide you with some
tailored for that particular pattern and may not be useful in
practical tips for creating your own Subtractor patches. If you
other situations.
grasp these concepts, you can apply the same methods to
other Reason instruments including the NN-19, NN-XT, and
Malstrm. Type of Sound
There are two categories of synthesized sounds. Some
One benefit of programming sounds is that on occasion you synthesizers emulate acoustic instruments and voices, while
may encounter a happy accident. Youre tweaking the other synthesizers produce uniquely electronic sounds. This
parameters and you play a really catchy musical riff. Youre tutorial will stick to what the Subtractor synthesizer does
suddenly inspired to compose a complete work based on best, making electronic sounds.
this discovery. Some people call these flashes of brilliance or
genius. Regardless of how you view the happy accident, it In terms of the Subtractor Synthesizers capabilities, the most
can be a great source of new ideas. common categories of sounds are Bass, Pads, Sweeps,
Stabs, Leads, Percussion, FM bell tones, and Effects.

There are examples patches of each of these categories. The

parameters indicated in the chart should be set from an
Initialized Subtractor patch. To become familiar with the
parameters, you should play notes into the Subtractor as you
set the parameters. This will help illustrate how the parameter
affects the output from the Subtractor.

14 Producing Music with Reason

Supplemental Documentation
Analog Bass Synth Pad

Patch Analog Bass Patch PAD

Mode Filter Attack Mode Legato Filter Attack 107
Portamento Envelope Decay 52 Portamento Envelope Decay 115
Polyphony 1 Sustain 12 Polyphony Sustain 104
Osc 1 Phase Release 62 Osc 1 Phase 52 Release 95
Mode Amt 52 Mode - Amt 24
Waveform Sawtooth Mod Attack Waveform Invert ON
Oct 3 Envelope Decay Oct Mod Attack
Semitone Sustain Semitone Envelope Decay
Cent Release Cent -6 Sustain
Kbd. Track Amt Kbd. Track Release
Osc 2 Enable ON Invert Osc 2 Enable ON Amt
Phase Destination Phase 78 Destination
Mode LFO 1 Waveform Mode - LFO 1 Waveform
Waveform Square Rate Waveform Rate
Oct 2 Amount Oct Amount
Semitone Destination Semitone Destination
Cent LFO 2 Dest Cent 6 LFO 2 Dest Phas
Kbd. Track Rate Kbd. Track Rate 66
Ring Mod Amount Ring Mod Amount 42
Noise Enable Kbd Track Noise Enable Kbd Track
Decay Delay Decay Delay
Color Velocity Amp Color Velocity Amp 38
Level FM Level FM
FM Mod Env. FM Mod Env.
Mix 58 Phase Mix Phase
Filter 1 Freq 28 Filter Freq 2 Filter 1 Freq 69 Filter Freq 2
Res 32 F Env. Amt 0 Res 91 F Env. Amt 0
Type LP 12 F Env. Decay Type F Env. Decay
Kbd Track 63 Mix Kbd Track 73 Mix
Filter 2 Enable Amp Env A Filter 2 Enable ON Amp Env A
Link Mod Filter 1 Freq Link Mod Filter 1 Freq
Freq Filter 1 Res Freq 62 Filter 1 Res
Res LFO 1 Amt Res 23 LFO 1 Amt
Amp Attack 0 Phase Amp Attack 27 Phase
Envelope Decay 91 FM Envelope Decay 100 FM
Sustain 34 Bend Range Sustain 105 Bend Range
Release 59 External Source Release 69 External Source
Level Mod Filter 1 Freq Level Mod Filter 1 Freq
LFO 1 Amt LFO 1 Amt
Amp Amp

Producing Music with Reason 15

Supplemental Documentation
Filter Sweep Synth Stab

Patch Sweep Patch Stab

Mode Legato Filter Attack 89 Mode Filter Attack
Portamento Envelope Decay 115 Portamento Envelope Decay 47
Polyphony Sustain 45 Polyphony Sustain 65
Osc 1 Phase 52 Release 95 Osc 1 Phase 40 Release 61
Mode - Amt 83 Mode - Amt 70
Waveform Mod Attack Waveform Mod Attack
Oct Envelope Decay 103 Oct Envelope Decay
Semitone Sustain Semitone Sustain
Cent -6 Release Cent -6 Release
Kbd. Track Amt 51 Kbd. Track Amt 22
Osc 2 Enable ON Invert Osc 2 Enable ON Invert
Phase Destination Phas Phase 90 Destination
Mode - LFO 1 Waveform Mode - LFO 1 Waveform
Waveform Rate 48 Waveform Rate 84
Oct Amount 44 Oct Amount
Semitone Destination Phas Semitone Destination
Cent 5 LFO 2 Dest Cent 6 LFO 2 Dest
Kbd. Track Rate Kbd. Track Rate
Ring Mod Amount Ring Mod Amount 69
Noise Enable Kbd Track Noise Enable Kbd Track
Decay Delay Decay Delay
Color Velocity Amp 22 Color Velocity Amp 47
Level FM Level FM
FM Mod Env. FM Mod Env. 14
Mix 64 Phase Mix 92 Phase
Filter 1 Freq 16 Filter Freq 2 Filter 1 Freq 69 Filter Freq 2
Res 73 F Env. Amt 0 Res 16 F Env. Amt 18
Type BP 12 F Env. Decay Type F Env. Decay
Kbd Track Mix Kbd Track 92 Mix
Filter 2 Enable ON Amp Env A Filter 2 Enable ON Amp Env A
Link Mod Filter 1 Freq Link Mod Filter 1 Freq 0
Freq 94 Filter 1 Res Freq 97 Filter 1 Res
Res 0 LFO 1 Amt Res 45 LFO 1 Amt 55
Amp Attack 75 Phase Amp Attack Phase
Envelope Decay 100 FM Envelope Decay 0 FM
Sustain 105 Bend Range Sustain 127 Bend Range 2
Release 99 External Source Release 32 External Source
Level Mod Filter 1 Freq Level Mod Filter 1 Freq
Long Envelope duration. Hold down LFO 1 Amt Use Bend wheel and Mod wheel LFO 1 Amt
chords to hear the sweep. Amp when playing chords Old school Amp
FM funk stab. FM

16 Producing Music with Reason

Supplemental Documentation
Lead Synth Hi-Hat

Patch EazyLead Patch ClosedHat

Mode Legato Filter Attack 65 Mode Filter Attack
Portamento 65 Envelope Decay 66 Portamento Envelope Decay 42
Polyphony 1 Sustain 97 Polyphony 2 Sustain
Osc 1 Phase Release 64 Osc 1 Phase Release 0
Mode Amt 56 Mode Amt 44
Waveform Mod Attack Waveform Sine Mod Attack
Oct Envelope Decay 64 Oct 5 Envelope Decay
Semitone Sustain Semitone Sustain
Cent 3 Release Cent Release
Kbd. Track Amt 9 Kbd. Track Amt
Osc 2 Enable ON Invert Osc 2 Enable Invert
Phase Destination Osc2 Phase Destination
Mode LFO 1 Waveform Mode LFO 1 Waveform
Waveform Rate Waveform Rate
Oct 5 Amount Oct Amount
Semitone 7 Destination Semitone Destination
Cent -3 LFO 2 Dest Cent LFO 2 Dest
Kbd. Track Rate Kbd. Track Rate
Ring Mod Amount Ring Mod Amount
Noise Enable Kbd Track Noise Enable ON Kbd Track
Decay Delay Decay 102 Delay
Color Velocity Amp Color 0 Velocity Amp 43
Level FM Level 127 FM
FM Mod Env. FM Mod Env.
Mix 38 Phase Mix 93 Phase
Filter 1 Freq 54 Filter Freq 2 Filter 1 Freq 68 Filter Freq 2
Res 69 F Env. Amt 0 Res 26 F Env. Amt 6
Type F Env. Decay Type BP 12 F Env. Decay 53
Kbd Track 83 Mix Kbd Track Mix
Filter 2 Enable ON Amp Env A Filter 2 Enable Amp Env A
Link ON Mod Filter 1 Freq Link Mod Filter 1 Freq
Freq 0 Filter 1 Res Freq Filter 1 Res
Res LFO 1 Amt Res LFO 1 Amt
Amp Attack Phase Amp Attack Phase
Envelope Decay FM Envelope Decay 12 FM
Sustain 111 Bend Range Sustain 0 Bend Range
Release 57 External Source Release 20 External Source
Level Mod Filter 1 Freq Level 120 Mod Filter 1 Freq
Play notes legato, or tie sequenced LFO 1 Amt Tap at different velocity to hear LFO 1 Amt
events to hear portamento slide Amp dynamic Amp
effect. FM FM

Producing Music with Reason 17

Supplemental Documentation
Synth Bass Drum FM Bell Tone

Patch BassDrum Patch FM Bell

Mode Filter Attack Mode Filter Attack
Portamento 4 Envelope Decay 50 Portamento Envelope Decay
Polyphony Sustain Polyphony 4 Sustain 22
Osc 1 Phase Release Osc 1 Phase Release
Mode Amt 34 Mode Amt 6
Waveform Sine Mod Attack 10 Waveform Sine Mod Attack
Oct 2 Envelope Decay 38 Oct 5 Envelope Decay 69
Semitone Sustain Semitone Sustain
Cent Release Cent Release 61
Kbd. Track OFF Amt 56 Kbd. Track Amt 6
Osc 2 Enable Invert Osc 2 Enable ON Invert
Phase Destination Phase Destination Osc2
Mode LFO 1 Waveform Mode LFO 1 Waveform
Waveform Rate Waveform Sine Rate
Oct Amount Oct 5 Amount
Semitone Destination Semitone 8 Destination
Cent LFO 2 Dest Cent LFO 2 Dest
Kbd. Track Rate Kbd. Track Rate
Ring Mod Amount Ring Mod Amount
Noise Enable ON Kbd Track Noise Enable Kbd Track
Decay Delay Decay Delay
Color Velocity Amp 47 Color Velocity Amp 41
Level 42 FM Level FM
FM Mod Env. FM 47 Mod Env.
Mix 25 Phase Mix 0 Phase
Filter 1 Freq 24 Filter Freq 2 Filter 1 Freq 90 Filter Freq 2
Res 26 F Env. Amt 63 Res 42 F Env. Amt 0
Type LP 24 F Env. Decay 2 Type F Env. Decay
Kbd Track Mix Kbd Track Mix
Filter 2 Enable ON Amp Env A Filter 2 Enable Amp Env A
Link Mod Filter 1 Freq Link Mod Filter 1 Freq
Freq 95 Filter 1 Res Freq Filter 1 Res
Res LFO 1 Amt Res LFO 1 Amt
Amp Attack Phase Amp Attack Phase
Envelope Decay 67 FM Envelope Decay 75 FM
Sustain 59 Bend Range Sustain 53 Bend Range
Release 53 External Source Release 73 External Source
Level 121 Mod Filter 1 Freq Level Mod Filter 1 Freq
Play at different velocity and hold LFO 1 Amt LFO 1 Amt
for different durations to hear Amp Amp
dynamic changes. FM FM

18 Producing Music with Reason

Supplemental Documentation
Sound Effect Patch Creation Advice
For efficiencys sake, decide on the type of sound you want.
Patch High Swoosh One synthesizer patch cannot be a great bass sound, a great
Mode Filter Attack 101
pad, a great mono lead, and a great effect sound all at the
Portamento Decay 105
Polyphony 1 Mod Sustain same time.
Osc 1 Phase Envelope Release 105
Mode Amt 77 When creating a synth patch, think about these three
Waveform Invert ON aspects: the initial tone source, the timbre, and the dynamic
Oct Attack behavior.
Semitone Decay
Cent Sustain
Kbd. Track Release The initial tone source is the oscillator on a Subtractor, or a
Osc 2 Enable Amt sample loaded in the NN-samplers, or a Malstrm graintable.
Phase Destination If youre trying to create an analog synthesizer tone, then the
Mode LFO 1 Waveform 86 Subtractor or Malstrm synthesizers should be more than
Waveform Rate
adequate. If you want an acoustic instrument like a piano or
Oct Amount 14
Semitone Destination FFrq guitar, then you should start with sampled tone sources from
Cent LFO 2 Dest a guitar or piano.
Kbd. Track Rate The timbre is the brightness or darkness of the sound.
Ring Mod Amount Darker tones require more filtering of the high frequencies.
Noise Enable ON Kbd Track
Opening a Low Pass filter or using a High Pass filter to
Decay Delay
Color Velocity Amp
emphasize the high frequency range can create brighter
Level FM tones. Using a high filter resonance can add a hollow feel
FM Mod Env. to the tone. In most cases, the timbre changes over time from
Mix 127 Phase the initial attack of the note to the release. Using the filter
Filter 1 Freq 127 Filter Freq 2 envelope to modulate the filter change is one way to do this.
Res 43 F Env. Amt 0
Dynamics are contoured with the AMP envelope. When
Type HP 12 F Env. Decay
Kbd Track Mix creating a sound with a short duration like percussion, the
Filter 2 Enable ON Amp Env A envelope should have zero attack and short decay. Long
Link Mod Filter 1 Freq slow string and pad sound should have a moderate attack
Freq 86 Filter 1 Res and long release time. Brassy and stab sounds should have a
Res 93 LFO 1 Amt
short attack, and quick decay with a short release time.
Amp Attack Phase
Envelope Decay FM
Sustain Bend Range This is the basic architecture of sound creation, but
Release 81 External Source what differentiates patches is modulation. Envelope
Level Mod Filter 1 Freq modulation and LFO modulation of various parameters
Long effect. Use a sustained note. LFO 1 Amt through the duration of the sound are what create
unique synthetic tones rather than plain oscillators and
filter sounds.

Producing Music with Reason 19

Supplemental Documentation
Subtractor Synthesizer Effects
Subtractor Modulating a Chorus/Flanger Subharmonic Generator
Using the Subtractor in conjunction with an effect insert is an A Subharmonic generator adds bass to a tone without
easy yet powerful way to expand the sound palette. This tip is having to use an equalizer. This effect can be used to add a
one example of how the Subtractor envelopes can modulate little more bass to a kick drum sample. This is achieved by
Chorus/Flanger parameters for a real-time dynamically using a sinewave set to a specific frequency and is triggered
changing effect. by the kick drum CV output from a ReDrum.
Connect the Audio Output to the Left Channel Audio Create a Subtractor synthesizer module and a ReDrum
Input of a Chorus/Flanger Module.
Load a ReDrum patch and program a pattern. Use
From the Subtractor, route the Mod Env CV Output to ReDrum Channel 1 for the Kick drum sample.
the CF-101 Delay CV input
Connect ReDrum Channel 1 Gate CV output to the
Set the Subtractor Modulation Envelope parameters to Gate CV input on the Subtractor
A:108, D:75, S:73, R:81
Set the Subtractor Polyphony: 1
Set the Chorus Delay: 0, Feedback: -39, Mod Amount:
Osc1 Waveform: Sine, Oct: 0, Semi: 4, Cent: -50, Kbd.
0, Send Mode: On
Track: Off;
Each time a note is triggered, the envelope is generated and Mod Env. A:0, D:85, S:66, R:84, Amt: 39
overlapping envelope curves create a lush flanging effect that
follows the notes. For optimum effect, use a pad or sweep Amp Env. A:16, D:95, S:94, R:64, Velocity F.Env: 0,
patch with a long release. Level: 127

Example File: Sub01-MCF.rns Each time the Kick Drum is played, this Subtractor will add
nice low frequency fullness to the kick. Adjust the Pitch to
match the tuning of your track, and use the mixer EQ to cut
the high frequency artifacts.
Example File: Sub02-SHG.rns

20 Producing Music with Reason

Supplemental Documentation
Envelope Modulation of Both Oscillators Unison Mode Emulation
The Subtractors Modulation Envelope can only be routed to Unison mode is a monophonic effect, and when enabled,
either Osc 1 pitch or Osc 2 pitch from the destination one note simultaneously plays all six or eight voices of a
selector. This simple cabling scheme will allow you to polyphonic synthesizer. The result is that massive ripping
modulate the pitch of both oscillators at the same time. monophonic lead sound.
Cable the Mod Env. CV output to the OSC CV input on Start with a riff in the sequencer playing a monophonic
the back of the Subtractor module. Subtractor lead patch. If the pattern is created using the
Matrix, use the Copy Pattern to Track feature in the
Use the CV trim knob (next to the OSC CV input) to
Edit Menu and move the MIDI sequence to the
adjust the amount of modulation desired.
Subtractor sequencer track.
The pitch modulation curve affects both oscillators, and the Select the Subtractor Sequence in the track list and
envelope modulation destination setting can be assigned to select the Duplicate Track in the Edit Menu.
another parameter like the second filter. The Mod Env. CV
output does not respond to the inverse envelope setting. Increase the Subtractor polyphony to six, and then
compensate for the increased output levels by
Example File: Sub03-DOM.rns decreasing the Level setting.
The Unison Mode effect also works great for achieving a
heavier bass line, but this effect is only monophonic. There
should always be one sequencer track per voice of
polyphony. For polyphonic synthesizer parts, the multiple
Subtractor technique is suggested.
Example File: Sub04-UME.rns

Producing Music with Reason 21

Supplemental Documentation
Nested Multiple Subtractors
The Multiple-Subtractor configuration can be modified by The fifth sequencer track assigned to the ECF will trigger the
creating a sub mixer dedicated to the Subtractor outputs and envelope as the sequence plays. Instead of making level and
adding an ECF-42 Envelope Controlled Filter to the Master filter parameter changes on all four Subtractors, you only
Out of the sub mixer. The Output from the ECF-42 is need to change the parameters on the ECF-42.
connected to a stereo input on the main mixer. Example File: Sub05-NMS.rns
Start with a preexisting Subtractor and sequence track
Atmospheric Pads
Duplicate the Subtractor and track so that you have four
copies Pad sounds are enhanced by Inserting effects between
Subtractors audio output and the Mixer Input. Inserting a
Assign the sequencer tracks to each of the duplicate
chorus effect will add stereo width to the monaural
Subtractor devices
Subtractor output.
Create a new Mixer module and label it Subtractor Mix
Click on the Subtractor to select it for editing
Connect the Audio outputs of the Subtractors to
channels 1 through 4 of Subtractor Mix Select CF-101 Chorus/Flanger from the Create Menu.
The Chorus module is automatically inserted into the
Pan the 4 channels to different settings from right to left audio chain
Create an ECF-42 filter module Tab to the rear of the rack and connect the CF-101
Connect the ECF-42 Outputs to an input channel on the Audio Output Right to the Right Input of the Mixer
song mixer channel

Connect Subtractor Mix master outputs to the ECF-42 Insert two RV-7 Reverb Modules between the Chorus
inputs Audio Outputs and the Mixer Inputs.

Use the tool tips to find the Subtractor Envelope Filter Connect the CF-101 Output R to a RV-7 input Left and
settings, then set the ECF envelope settings to the CF-101 Output L to the other RV-7 Input Left
same settings. Including the Env. Amount. Connect on RV-7 output Left to the Mixer input Left and
Find the Filter Freq and Resonance settings and set the Other RV-7 output Left to the Mixer Input Right
these on the ECF-42 Adjust Dry/Wet settings on both RV-7 modules to 46
Duplicate another sequencer track and assign it to the This dedicated signal processing group will add a rich stereo
ECF-42 dimension to the original monophonic output of the
On each of the Subtractors, Set the Filter Freq settings Subtractor patch. The combination of the Chorus and Reverb
to 127 and Resonance to zero and Filter Envelope create the spacious stereo effect. The next section will look
Amount to zero. at more ways to use combinations of the signal processing
devices together.
Example File: Sub06-ASP.rns

22 Producing Music with Reason

Supplemental Documentation
Special Effects
As you may have already discovered, there are almost Doubling Effect
limitless possibilities in terms of routing different signal
This is a really basic stereo enhancement effect. The
processing devices together in reason. Another aspect of
slight shift in time creates a small phase variance, which
using Reason is creatively connecting the various devices in
creates a stereo field.
unique sound processing configurations.
Create a DDL-1 on an Aux Bus on the mixer.
The special effects outlined in this section will illustrate ways Change the name to Delay L
of combining various signal processors. There are examples
Create another DDL-1 and Change the name to
files with the configurations already created, but its
Delay R
recommended that you create them on your own starting
from an empty Reason device rack. Connect Delay L Right output to Delay L Left Input
Connect Delay L Left Output to the Mixer Aux
Return R Input
Set both DDL-1 Units setting to MS and both
Feedback Settings to zero
Set Delay L time to 3 MS and Delay R time to 4 MS
When a mono signal is sent to this effect, the very short
delay creates a noticeable stereo field. Try using
different delay settings and even a bit of feedback.
Example File: SFX01-Doubling.rns

Producing Music with Reason 23

Supplemental Documentation
Ping Pong Delay Multi-Tap Delay
A Ping-Pong delay creates long stereo echoes. The signals A multi-tap delay uses several delay modules and the delayed
are panned to the left and right at different intervals so that outputs or taps are panned to different locations in the
one delayed signal sounds from one speaker then the other stereo field. The result is a lush stereo echo effect.
and back and forth until the feedback decay diminishes.
Create a new Mixer and label it Send Splitter
Create two DDL-1 modules and a Mixer
Connect an Aux Send from the Song Mixer to the Input
Label one DDL called Delay L and the other called Channel 1 of Send Splitter
Delay R. Label the Mixer, Delay Mix
Set all of the Aux Send settings to 100.
Important: Set Delay Mix Channel 2 level to 70
Create 6 DDL-1 Digital delay devices
Connect the Aux Send from a mixer to the Channel 1
Connect the Left inputs to the Aux Send 1,2,3,4 and
Input of Delay Mix
Master Left and Master Right Outputs of Send Splitter.
Connect the Delay L Left Output to the Mixer Aux
The outputs of the array of DDL-1 Digital Delay devices
Return Left
now need to be mixed together to a stereo return signal.
Connect the Delay L Right output to the Left input of
Create another Mixer device and label it DDL Mix
Delay R.
Connect the outputs of each of the delays to input
Connect the Left Output of Delay R to the Mixer Aux
channels 1 through 6.
Return Right
From DDL Mix Mixer, connect the Master Left and
Connect Delay R Right output to Delay Mix input
Master Right Outputs back to the Aux return of your
channel 2
song Mixer.
Set the Feedback on Delay L and Delay R to zero.
Set the Delay Modules to 1 step, 2 steps, 3 steps, 4
When a signal is sent down the Aux bus to the Ping-Pong steps, 5 steps, and 6 steps.
delay configuration, the echo first appears on the left, then Set all Feedback settings to Zero
three beats later, it appears on the right.
On the DDL Mix Mixer, set each of the 6 inputs to
Delay feedback is controlled by the Delay Mix channel 2 different pan settings: Channel 1: -63; Channel 2: -32;
fader. Be very careful with this setting. Increasing the level Channel 3: -16; Channel 4: 16; Channel 5: 32; and
too high will induce a feedback loop in Reason, which Channel 6: 63.
creates a terrible noise. Try to keep it below 70.
When an effect signal is send through your song mixer to the
Example File: SFX02-PingPong.rns
Multi-Tap delay array, the echoes will be heard at different
time intervals and at different pan positions creating an
interesting motion effect to the source sound.
Example File: SFX03-Multitap.rns

24 Producing Music with Reason

Supplemental Documentation
Distortion Stack Compressor with Side-Chain
The Foldback Distortion effect is a very clean and fairly The Comp-01 Compressor device does not have a
straightforward effect, which is fine for some applications, dedicated Side-Chain input, but a similar effect is achieved
but sometimes, a more dirty and unpredictable distortion is with a simple rewiring scheme. The compressor is a stereo
desired. device and the amount of dynamic change is dependant on
both input signals. A frequency dependant compressor
Start with a Subtractor lead riff sequenced from a Matrix effect can be created using the side-chain concept. The
Create three D-11 Distortion Modules common use of this configuration is de-essing, but it has a
number of useful applications like ducking snare hits from a
Connect the Subtractor Audio Output to Dist 1 Input L
sample loop.
Connect the output from Dist 1 to the Input of Dist 2
Create the following: Comp-01 Compressor, a CF-101
Connect the output from Dist 2 to the input of Dist 3 Chorus/Flanger, and a PEQ-2 Parametric Equalizer.
Connect the output from Dist 3 to a mixer input channel Connect the CF-101 Output Left to the PEQ-2 Input L
Create a NN19 Sampler Module Set the LFO to Connect the CF-101 Output Right to the Comp-01 In R
Random Curve
Set the CF-101 to Bypass to split the Input signal.
Connect the LFO modulation output to the Dist 1 Route the PEQ-2 Output Right to the Comp-01 Input L
Amount CV input
The Signal being processed should be connected to the
Duplicate the NN19 and Connect the LFO output to CF-101 Input L, and the signal output is at the Comp-01
Dist 2 Amount CV Input Out R
Duplicate a third NN19 and repeat the connection to Set the Comp-01 Ratio to 90, Threshold to 72, Attack
Dist 3 to 0, and Release to 19
Set the Amount to 30 on all three D-11 modules Set the PEQ-2 gain set to 127
Set the Foldback on Dist 1: 91 Dist 2: 54 Dist 3: 24 The Frequency and Q settings are used to select the desired
Set the LFO Rate on NN19: 115 NN19 copy: 46 NN19 frequency when the compression effect is triggered.
Copy 2: 84 The Left input is used for the side-chain signal and the
processed signal is routed through the Right Input and
This effect uses a variety of modules to create a more Output. To create a stereo version of this configuration, split
interesting distortion effect by using the Random LFO waves the output signal from the PEQ-2 using another CF-101 set
from the NN19 to modulate the distortion modules. If you to bypass. Use the copy device/paste device feature to
compare this to using a single static D-11 module, you can duplicate the Comp-01 then route the split PEQ-1 signal to
hear the results are a lot more gritty. the Right inputs of both Comp-01 modules.
The NN19 is used in this case because it uses fewer CPU
resources than a Subtractor would. Set the polyphony to 1 Example File: SFX05-SideChainComp.rns
and enable the Low Bandwidth button to conserve
processing power.
Example File: SFX04-DistortionStack.rns

Producing Music with Reason 25

Supplemental Documentation
Reverb Delay Compensation Resampling Phrases
The RV-7 does not have a reverb pre-delay setting. Using a Once you have a phrase or complete track, you can use
pair of DDL-1 digital delays and a second Mixer device can sampled portions of the track as sources of sound effects.
compensate this. The principle is to offset the Mixdown audio Rendering single measures to audio files then loading them
using the delays. This technique is only practical when back into a sampler or ReDrum, these sampled sections can
tweaking the final mix of a Reason Song. be used for interesting transition effects.
Create a new mixer device and two DDL-1 Digital Delay Set the Loop Locators to the beginning of a Phrase for
Line devices. 1 Measure
Rename the Delay devices as Offset L and Offset R, Render the loop to Audio File. 16bit/44.1Khz stereo
and rename the new mixer as Offset Mixer.
Create an NN-19 and a Matrix Sequencer
Connect the Offset Mixer Master Out Left and Right to
Load the Audio Sample into the NN-19.
the Hardware Interface Inputs 1 and 2.
Disable the filter on NN-19 and Set the polyphony to 1
From the main mixer, cable the Master Out-Left into the
Offset L Delay Input Left, and the Master Out-Right to Draw Tied gates at steps 1-3, 5-7, 9-10, 12, 14-15.
the Offset R Delay Input Left. Draw normal gate events at steps 4, 8, 11, 13 and 16
The Left outputs of both Delays are then connected to
This resampled phrase from the original song loop acts as a
the Chaining Master inputs of the Offset Mixer.
sample hit. The sample perfectly matches the song, so no
Reroute the Reverb Outputs from the Main Mixer Aux tuning is required.
Returns to the Offset Mixer Aux Returns
Example File: SFX07-ResamplePhrase.rns
Set the Aux Return to on the Offset Mixer to the same
setting as the Return on the Main Mixer. A similar technique can be applied for use in Live situations.
For both Delays, set units to MS, Feedback to 0, pan Render measures or complete phrases to audio files and
to 0, Dry/Wet Balance to 127 and Delay Time to 70ms. load them into an NN19 sampler. Map each of the sampled
phrases to its own key. Program patterns that play each
If the reverb is using the Hall algorithm, the reverb output will phrase. You can then trigger arrangement changes from the
be heard simultaneously with the mix. Decreasing the delay pattern selector.
time on both units will increase the delay time between the
reverb output and the mix, so if a 30ms delay is desired, set
the Delay time to 40ms.
Example File: SFX06-ReverbDelayComp.rns

26 Producing Music with Reason

Supplemental Documentation
Song Mastering Configuration Reason EQ
After completing a Reason Song, a desired process is to The Bass and Treble Equalizers on Reasons Mixer is usually
maximize the output levels and do a final EQ to balance out referred to as Shelf equalizers, because they boost and cut
the levels. frequencies below 80 Hz and above 12kHz.
Click on the Hardware Interface The PEQ-2 module is known as a Parametric equalizer
because it modifies ranges of frequencies based on three
Create a PEQ-2 and a Comp-01 controls, the gain, the center frequency and the bandwidth or
Connect the PEQ outputs to the Comp-01 Inputs Q.
Connect the Mixer Master outputs to the PEQ-2 Inputs Quite often, only subtle use of Equalization is necessary.
However finding the right frequency usually requires some
Connect the Comp-01 outputs to the Hardware
trial and error. Its best to set the gain to maximum or
interface Inputs 1 and 2
minimum and set the bandwidth to a minimum amount. Then
The Equalizer settings are arbitrary, but its adjust the center frequency until you find the precise range
recommended that you start with these initial you want to effect. Once you find the right center frequency,
compressor settings: adjust the bandwidth. Finally reduce the gain to the desired
Ratio: 41 Threshold: 81 Attack: 15 Release: 88 amount.
The amount of EQ will vary depending on mixdown, and You will find the below chart useful in finding the settings for
ideally you should not require any final equalization. If the mix isolating the frequency range you want to alter. The PEQ-2
seems bass heavy then a moderate boost of the mids and setting column will help you find the specific center
highs using PEQ settings will help balance the final levels. frequency you want to change.
Consult the table on this page to help you identify frequency
ranges of the PEQ-2. Frequency Range Notes Pitch EQ setting
The Compression settings will also vary. Subtle use of the High G8 (127) 12,543.85 Hz Mixer Treb (12Khz)
compressor helps control the output levels, the effect should 22,000 Hz - 8,000 Hz C8 (120) 8,372.02 Hz PEQ-2 Freq 114
not have a pumping sound on the overall mix. High Mids B7 (119) 7,902.13 Hz PEQ-2 Freq 113
8,000 Hz - 2,000 Hz C6 (96) 2,093.00 Hz PEQ-2 Freq 86
Example File: SFX08-MasterConfig.rns Mids B5 (95) 1,975.53 Hz PEQ-2 Freq 85
2,000 Hz - 500 Hz C4 (72) 523.25 Hz PEQ-2 Freq 58
Low Mids B3 (71) 493.88 Hz PEQ-2 Freq 57
500 Hz -100 Hz G#1 (44) 103.83 Hz PEQ-2 Freq 25
Bass G1 (43) 97.99 Hz PEQ-2 Freq 23
100 Hz - 20 Hz E-1 (16) 20.60 Hz Mixer Bass (80Hz)

Producing Music with Reason 27

Supplemental Documentation
Matrix Pattern Sequencer
The Matrix Pattern Sequencer is primarily used to create Mixer Gating
repetitive musical phrases. However, the matrix can be used
to control a variety of different devices in unique ways that Gate is a term which refers to a dynamics effect where you
can lead to some fantastic effects. The following examples mute and/or un-mute an audio signal. In the realm of
illustrate the usefulness of the Matrix. Once you understand hardware, the typical use of a Gate is to automatically mute
the principles of each example, you can incorporate these Noisy input signals, but there is no noise in the digital realm
techniques in your own productions. of Reason, and Noise Gates are not necessary. The principle
of gating can be applied using a Matrix module that controls
a mixer channel. The principle is that the Matrix Curve
controls the Mixer fader level so that you can make gate
patterns based on the curve settings.
Create a Matrix Pattern Sequencer near the Mixer
Connect the Curve CV to a Mixer Channel Level CV In
Switch the Matrix into Curve Mode
Draw in a straight line across the segments. Use the
Matrix keyboard shortcut to the line tool by holding
down the [Shift] key and clicking on the segments.
Change some of the segments to Zero.
Set the Mixer Fader to 0
Now play the sequence and the Mixer Channel will open
and close based on the Pattern created on the Matrix.
You can create more of a pulsing effect by setting the
Resolution to 1/32nd notes and setting the pattern steps to
32. The curve segments are shorter in duration so the effect
is quite rapid.
Example File: MFX01-MixerGating.rns

28 Producing Music with Reason

Supplemental Documentation
Tempo Synchronized LFO Switch to the sequencer selection tool and select the
On Reason 2.0, there are Tempo Sync LFOs on each rack four pattern change events and copy/paste them for
device, however you cannot control the phase. With the the duration of the sequence.
Matrix Tempo Synchronized LFO, you can have the curve The matrix is now set to generate a triangle wave that is
start at the max level or the minimum level or at the zero synchronized with the tempo. The following examples are a
crossing. With Reason 1.0.1 there is no LFO synchronization few ways to use this device in a reason track:
and this configuration can be used to add this feature to your
track. Example File: MFX02-TempoSyncLFO.rns

Create a Matrix and switch to Curve Mode. Auto Panning Mixer

Select Pattern A1, Set the resolution to 1/128th notes A very useful configuration for the tempo synchronized LFO
and steps to 32 matrix pattern sequencer is to connect the device to a Mixer
Hit Tab to flip to the rack view and switch the Matrix input channel to synchronize panning with the tempo of a
Curve to Bipolar Mode. track.
Copy Pattern A1 and paste it to Patterns A2, A3 and Start with the Tempo Sync LFO Matrix configuration and
A4. sequence
Switch back to pattern A1. Connect the Curve CV output of the matrix to a Mixer
Hold down the shift key and draw a line from segment 1 Channel 1 Pan CV Input
to segment 32 starting at the zero crossing up to the Set the Pan CV sensitivity setting to 127.
max point.
Now when the sequence is playing, the Matrix Curve will
Select pattern A2 and draw a line from the maximum modulate the panning of the Mixer channel.
back to the zero crossing
Example File: MFX03-SynchroPan.rns
On pattern A3 draw a line from the zero crossing to the
minimum level
Switch to pattern A4 and draw a line from the minimum
to the zero crossing
Switch to Edit mode on the Sequencer and view the
pattern lane.
Set the Sequencer Resolution to 1/4 note and enable
the Snap to Grid Feature.
Enable the Pencil tool. Draw in a Pattern Change event
for A1 at 1.1.1. Draw in A2 at 1.1.2; A3 at 1.1.3 and A4
at 1.1.4.

Producing Music with Reason 29

Supplemental Documentation
Rotational Panning Matrix Controlled Panned Delay
This is a variation of the Auto Panning Mixer, which uses Several of the effects devices also have CV Modulation
several Matrix Pattern Sequencers to simulate the effect of a inputs and the Matrix can be used to create synchronized
sound source that rotates around the stereo field. effects as well. The Panning technique is easily applied to a
DDL-1 Digital Delay Line to create panned echoes.
Start with the Auto Pan Mixer Configuration (p. 29)
Connect the Curve CV output from the Matrix to the Pan
Duplicate the Tempo Sync LFO matrix
input on the DDL-1
Connect the Duplicate Matrix to the Fader Level of Mixer
Set the Pan sensitivity to 127
Channel 1
Adjust the Mixer 1 sensitivity to 48 When the sequence plays, the delay outputs will be panned
from left to right over the course of a measure. This is a
Duplicate the Matrix sequencer track and assign it to the handy effect for creating interesting textural layers that fill up
Duplicate Matrix the stereo field.
Enter Edit mode on the Sequencer and select the Example File: MFX05-DelayPanning.rns
Duplicate Matrix Track
Change the pattern sequence and start with pattern A2
at 1.1.1, A3 at 1.1.2, A4 at 1.1.3, and A1 at 1.1.4
Copy these pattern changes for the duration of the track
The duplicate LFO curve creates the effect of a sound
getting louder and softer with the illusion that it moves
towards and away.
As the sequence plays, the sound starts close at the center
pan location then pans to the left. As the sound pans, the
levels decrease until it reaches the most distant point, which
is back to center pan. Then as the source pans to the left, the
level increases, giving the illusion that the sound is moving
back towards the listener.
For a more interesting effect, a Reverb module can be added
on the Aux 1 bus, and a third duplicate matrix connected to
the Reverb to modulate the Decay setting. This LFO curve is
set to decrease the reverb decay setting when the sound
appears close to the listener and longer when the sound is
most distant from the listener.
Example File: MFX04-RotationPan.rns

30 Producing Music with Reason

Supplemental Documentation
Synchronized Filter Sweeps Pattern Controlled Filters
One of the more obvious uses of the tempo synchronized The concept of a pattern-controlled filter is a method of
LFO is to modulate a filter sweep. Even though several of the triggering filter envelopes using rhythmic gate patterns from a
sound modules have LFO sections, these do not synchronize Matrix. A gate message from the Matrix triggers the ECF
with the song. Using the Matrix to modulate parameters Envelope Controlled Filter module to open and close the
solves this problem easily. filter, creating a unique textural filtering effect.
Cable the Matrix Curve CV output to the Filter Create an ECF-42 Envelope Controlled Filter module.
Frequency input of a sound module.
Connect the outputs to a mixer input channel.
Adjust the input sensitivity to change the amount of filter
Create a Matrix Pattern Sequencer
frequency modulation.
Connect the ECF Curve CV to the ECF Freq CV and
A sensitivity setting of zero means there is no modulation the Matrix Gate CV to the ECF Env. Gate.
from the incoming CV signal.
Set the ECF-42 to Freq: 45, Res: 63, Env.Amt: 92, A:0,
Example File: MFX06-SyncroFilterSweep.rns D:76, S:25, R:97
Program Gate events on steps 1, 3, 11 and 16
Program Tied Gate events from steps 6 to 8 and steps
14 to 15
Connect a Dr.REX player to the ECF and load a loop.
Click the To Track button on the Dr.REX
When you run the sequence the drum loop is processed
through the ECF and the pattern is determined by the gate
settings on the Matrix. This is a powerful way of creating
rhythmic filtering effects regardless of the source sound
module. Try using it with synth pads or ReDrum Loops.
Example File: MFX07-PCF.rns

Producing Music with Reason 31

Supplemental Documentation
Wire and ReWire
Reason is a completely self-contained music production Multi-Channel Audio Cards
system, meaning no other software or hardware is required. If you have a project studio with a hardware mixer, some
Reason adequately meets the needs of demanding users, outboard effects, and a multi-channel audio card, then you
but two features provide powerful expansion possibilities may want to explore the possibilities of using Reason with
beyond the application, the Reason Hardware Interface and your outboard gear. Before proceeding, you should set the
ReWire. Reason Audio preferences.

This section describes how Reason can be incorporated into

a hardware studio set-up, and how Reason interfaces
applications that support Propellerhead Softwares ReWire

Configure the Reason Audio Preferences for multi-

channel output.
Open the Reason Preferences, and switch to Audio
Click on the Channels button.
Activate all channel groups, and then click OK

When the extra audio channels are enabled, green lamps on

the hardware interface indicate the active inputs. These
correspond to the outputs on multi-channel audio card. The
audio output preferences are now enabled, and we can
proceed with connecting the interface to your studio.
32 Producing Music with Reason
Supplemental Documentation
External Mixing In Reason: Connect Device audio outputs directly to the
Reason Hardware Interface Audio Inputs.
Most studios have the mixer and effects already wired up
with devices connected to the mixer input channels. Instead Now Reason can play directly into the studio with direct
of using hardware synthesizers and drum machines, we will access to the effects processing and EQ on your mixing
connect the software devices into the mixer. console.
Level and limited pan automation can be programmed as
controller changes on the sequencer tracks. You are limited
to the number of audio outputs on your interface device. If
your interface has 8 outputs, you can have 4 stereo pairs or
8 mono signals. The next example provides more flexibility
with mixer inputs.
Example File: RHI01-CableDirect.rns

Audio Interface Bus

If you have some outboard effects processing, you may want
to use that special reverb or stomp box with your Reason
song. Using your multi-channel audio interface, extend the
mixer bus from Reason to your hardware rig. If you have
mixer automation sequenced, the level, pan, EQ and aux
send automation can still be used. Aux return and master
fader automation will not properly work in this setup.

In your studio: Turn down input faders or mute the input

channels. Inserting cables can cause audio spikes that
may damage your monitors. (You may forget this since
it doesnt occur in Reason).
Wire the Multi-Channel Audio interface outputs directly
to mixer channel inputs, or through a patchbay, then into
the mixer channel inputs.
Raise the faders to unity gain or 0db and/or un-mute the
Producing Music with Reason 33
Supplemental Documentation
In the Studio: Connect the Audio Interface outputs 1 ReWire is featured in many popular sequencing applications,
and 2 to mixer input channels. Pan the inputs hard left however not all software supports the ReWire standard (yet).
and right and raise both channel faders to unity gain. Consult your softwares documentation for compatibility.
Disconnect the sends from the hardware mixer and
connect them to your audio interface outputs 3, 4, 5 Host and Slave
and/or 6. If the hardware mixer has bus inputs, or if your There are two sides of a ReWire configuration. One
patchbay is configured for effect inserts, connect application is the ReWire Host, and the other is the
outputs 3 through 6 to these input points. ReWire Slave. The host application must launch before the
slave application, and conversely, the slave must quit before
Your hardware effects are probably connected to the the host application. In some instances, the host application
effects busses on your mixer, if not, wire the effects must have the ReWire channels enabled before the slave
outputs to the effect returns on your mixer. application is launched.
In Reason, Connect a Mixer Master Out to Hardware
Interface channels 1 and 2. Once a successful ReWire connection is established,
transport and tempo settings are synchronized, and sample
Connect Mixer Aux Sends to Audio Inputs 3 through 6.
accurate audio streams from the slave application to the
The Mixer 14:2 device in the Reason Rack now sends effect host. Although tempo and transport control are shared
signals directly into hardware signal processing devices. The between the two applications, audio only runs in one
hardware mixer combines the return signals with the dry direction.
Reason signals.
Rendering audio files becomes the task of the host
Example File: RHI02-AudioBus.rns application. If Reason hosts a connection to ReBirth, then
export to audio file is disabled in ReBirth. If Reason is the
ReWire Slave application, then audio export features are disabled in
Reason. To export an audio clip from the slave application,
ReWire is the interfacing standard created by Propellerhead
solo the ReWire audio inputs of the host application mixer,
Software to allow synchronization and audio data routing
then render the audio file.
between different software applications. With ReWire,
Reason audio signals can connect to inputs of other audio

When two applications are connected via ReWire, the tempo

settings are locked together. If you change the tempo on
Reason, the tempo change is matched on the other
application. This also applies for transport and loop settings,
so you can press play on either application to start playback
on both applications.

34 Producing Music with Reason

Supplemental Documentation
ReBirth Input Machine ReWire Slave Mode
The ReBirth Input Device uses ReWire to interface When Reason is used in ReWire slave mode, the host
Propellerheads ReBirth RB-338 with Reason. For ReBirth application handles audio processing tasks. Ableton Live
enthusiasts, this is a fantastic way to further develop ReBirth works well as a host application with Reason, and this
songs. In this example, Reason is the host application and example demonstrates how establish a ReWire connection
must be launched before ReBirth. between the two applications.
Launch Reason Launch Ableton Live
Start with a new Song File and Create a Mixer module In Live: Click on the Session Chooser to access the
Session View
Create a ReBirth Input Machine
On Track 1, Select the Input Device Menu and select
Connect the Mix outputs to an input channel on a mixer.
Insert the ReBirth CD-ROM into the drive
Set The Input Channel item to 01/02: Mix L, Mix R
Launch ReBirth, and open a ReBirth Song File
Activate the Monitor/Arm Recording Button on Track 1
When the ReWire connection is set, the ReBirth Input
Launch Reason
Machine will indicate activity. As the ReBirth Song File
plays, the level meters will indicate signals received. When the applications are connected, the Reason hardware
interface indicates ReWire Slave Mode

The stereo output signal

from Reason is connected to
an input Track in Live.
Because tempo and audio
perfectly synchronized, you
can render phrase groups
from a Reason song into a
Live Session and use Lives
arrangement and DSP
features and external VST

Example File: REW02-ReasonLive.rns

Example File: REW02-ReasonLive.als
With ReBirth audio signals connected to Reason, its easy to
add effects and inserts. Add some effects to the mixer Aux
Bus, and route the individual 303 audio signals to different
mixer channels. Also, Try the more intricate effect
combinations like the distortion stack or panning effects.
Example File: REW01-ReBirthInput.rns
Example File: REW01-ReBirthInput.rbs
Producing Music with Reason 35
Supplemental Documentation
ReWire Bus Reasons Aux Send Bus is routed to Lives Send Tracks,
where the signals are processed by plug-ins. The Send
This example is similar to the Audio Interface Bus
Tracks and the Reason Master Output signals are combined
mentioned before. Instead of using external hardware signal
on Lives Master Track.
processors, software plug-ins process the aux bus signals,
and the signals are mixed in the host application.

Launch Ableton Live

In Session view, set the Input Device to Reason for
Tracks 1 through 5
Set the Track 1 Input Channel to 01/02: Mix L, Mix R
Set Track 2 Input Channel to 03: Channel 3; Track 3
Input Channel to 04: Channel 4; Track 4 Input
Channel to 05: Channel 5; and Track 5 Input Channel
to 06: Channel 6
Example file: REW03-ReasonAuxLive.rns
Set the Output Channel to Sends Only on Tracks 2
Example file: REW03-ReasonAuxLive.als
through 5
Insert two new Send tracks for a total of 4 Send tracks
and add effects on each of the Send tracks.
ReWire Information Online
Activate the Monitor/Arm Recording settings on Tracks
1 through 5 For more information about Reason and ReWire, consult the
Propellerheads website. The website has a complete list
Set Track 2 Send 1 Level to 0db; set Track 3 Send 2 ReWire compliant applications, and it has tutorial pages that
Level to 0db; set Track 4 Send 3 Level to 0db; and set describe procedures to connect Reason with various
Track 5 Send 4 Level to 0db. sequencing applications.
Launch Reason
Product info: http://www.propellerheads.se/rewire
Connect Mixer Master Outputs to Inputs 1 and 2.
Using ReWire: http://www.propellerheads.se/rewirehelp
Connect Mixer Aux Sends to Audio Inputs 3 through 6.

36 Producing Music with Reason

Supplemental Documentation
Monitor Placement
When setting up your music workstation, one of the first Hard surfaces reflect sounds, and the reflections can cause
things you should contend with is the placement of your you to mix your track differently. You should keep your
monitor speakers. The general recommendation for Near monitors at least 60 centimeters away from walls, floors, or
Field Monitors (NFM) is that you place the speakers at a ceilings. If you are working with limited space, this may not
distance apart that is equal to the distance from your be possible.
listening position. This is the equilateral triangle rule
because the position of the two monitors and the listening To test your set up with Reason, use the test tone song file
position form the 3 corners of an equilateral triangle. included in the Test Tone Refill located in the Reason Files
directory on the CD-ROM. When the tones play back
Different manufacturers have different specifications, but as a panned center, they should be perceived in the location of
general rule, placing your monitors like this will ensure a the phantom image directly in front of you. Pan the test tone
certain degree of accuracy of the imaging between the left around and listen to the positioning of the sound in your
and the right speakers. When the monitors are positioned stereo field to become acquainted with the width and stereo
like this, the phantom image of a sound panned to center will separation of your near field monitor placement.
be perceived as coming from a point between the speakers.
Ideally you should place your NFMs to either side of your
computer screen with enough distance so that the magnets
do not affect the color guns of your computer screen. Many
near-field monitors on the market are magnetically shielded,
allowing you to place them in close proximity to a CRT
computer monitor.

Monitors vs. Headphones

There are two main differences in the sound of headphones
vs. the sound of monitors. Headphones usually have less
bass response than any loudspeaker or monitor system. The
other difference is that headphones are binaural which
means that the sound from each speaker is only heard by
one ear. Monitors are stereophonic/biphonic, which means
both ears hear the sound from both speakers. When it
comes to mixdown, the differences of both these aspects are
important issues.

Producing Music with Reason 37

Supplemental Documentation
Listening to Stereo Audio through headphones is called Theres an idea where final mixdowns should be tested on
Binaural sound. This means there are two sound sources, really poor quality speakers and even in mono. You never
each isolated and heard by one ear. This is different from know where the music may be played. When your track is
Biphonic or Stereo sound where the sound from two sources converted to Mono for AM radio, elevator PA systems or
like your near field monitors is heard by both ears. The slight Internet streaming media, the quality will change and certain
timing difference between the each ear and each monitor parts could disappear from the mixdown.
creates a stereo field.
Ambient Noise
Mixing through stereo headphones may easier because the
listening environment is closed, unaffected by outside Most computers are noisy. Typically, they have at least one
variables such as phase cancellation and room reflections. fan that generates a specific pitch and a hard drive which
However, these acoustic phenomena should be addressed generates another pitch. After prolonged exposure to these
because many listeners use stereophonic speaker systems. sounds, your brain may mask out these frequencies and you
do not notice them, but this poses a problem if you are
Headphones do not have good bass response. Low mixing a track because you will lose perspective on these
frequency signals in the mix may go unheard through frequencies in your mix.
headphones, and when the mix is played through a
subwoofer, it will sound bass-heavy. This may be a difficult task for people who do not have
space, but it is highly recommended that you try to do
Headphones are not necessarily worse for doing final mixes, something about minimizing your exposure to fan and hard
but the mixdown should sound good in every listening drive noise on your workstation. A bit of sagely advice is to
situation from the car stereo, the ear buds on your portable Keep your computer as far away from your workstation as
MP3 player, to the mono AM radio station in the elevator. possible without having to ride an elevator to change the
You never know where the final song may be heard, and the CD!
trick is to make sure it translates well to every system.
There are also ways to modify your computer to minimize the
noise, but simply keeping it out of direct line of sight from
Testing the Mix on Different Systems
your sitting position will reduce the amount of sound pollution
Not everyone has the same listening environment, and a induced by fans and hard drives.
mixdown will sound different at your workstation as opposed
to your car or through a club PA system. Once a rough mix
has been created, burn a copy to CD. Take this CD and play
it on different systems to get an idea how it will sound when
others listen to it. You might discover that there is far too
much bass in the mix when you play it on your car stereo
system, or the mix might need some compression to balance
the mix levels so you can hear everything when youre driving
around with the windows down.

38 Producing Music with Reason

Supplemental Documentation
Sound Card DSP In the Project folder, you should create other subdirectories
Some sound cards have some audio processing features like like Samples, REX Loops or Subtractor Patches, where
Reverb and 3D surround enhancement built into the control you save audio sample files, ReCycle (REX) loop files, and
software. These features should be disabled when you are various patches that you create for your song.
working on a song or mixing down a track. These features do
not exist on every system. Signal Processing effects on your Keep all the samples as separate files localized with the RNS
audio card controls may make your track sound better, file in the same directory. Creating an organized directory
however these enhancements do not exist on every system structure before you start a song project is also
and your track will not sound as good on systems that do not recommended if you are planning to construct ReFills. If you
have these features. find that you need to modify the audio sample in your NN19
patch or on a ReDrum, you can quickly access it with your
Make sure to disable Soundblaster audio enhancements editor. Once the sample has been modified, you can reload
before you begin working on your track. Once the track is the song and the modified sample will be accessed.
complete, you can always switch these features back on to
see how much it changes the audio quality. Backing up Files
Matthias is a talented Reason user from Germany, who is
Organize ReFills fairly new to producing music with Reason. He co-produced
Create a folder and label it ReFills. Before moving the a really nice drumnbass track that generated some interest
Reason Factory Soundbank.rfl, launch Reason and open the from a record label. The record label eventually offered a deal
Preferences from the Edit menu. Select the Sound for this track created with Reason. With Murphys Law in full
Locations pull down item and click on a folder icon. Choose effect, there was a horrible hard drive crash, and the data for
your ReFills folder, and then close Reason. Move any the Reason song was lost. Neither Matthias nor his partner
ReFills, including the Factory Soundbank.rfl into the ReFills had backup copies. A lot of time and work went into the
folder. Launch Reason again, and it will find the Factory song, then poof it was gone. Back up your files! And do it
Soundbank in the new location. Filing ReFills in a unique often!
location minimizes clutter in the application folder.
There are several ways you can back up your Reason song
project folder. Ideally, you should make backups to CD-ROM,
Organize Songs in a Project Folder a removable media drive, or a secondary hard drive. Another
In Chapter 3 we recommended that you create project way to back up files is to upload them to a remote server.
folders where you save copies of your Reason Song file as Some Reason songs have a small file size you can even
you develop them. Along with your Reason Song files, you save them to a floppy disk.
should save duplicate copies of any audio sample files that
you use in your song. You could have a gold single in that file, or even a Grammy
award winning Reason song. Back it up!

Producing Music with Reason 39

Supplemental Documentation