In the first Part of this series, I showed you how to punch up your factory soundbank drums, and in the second, I showed you how you can create your own synth drum kit and trigger each drum via the Redrum device. In this Tutorial, I’m going to show you a few other innovative things you can do with a Redrum device and a little imagination. First, we’ll build upon the drum kit we created in Part 2, and then branch out to show how you can chain your drums together and layer them to give a richer thicker sound. Finally, I’ll point out a few other quick and easy tricks, just to get your inspiration flowing.
You can download the project files here: creative-redrums-3 The file contains two rns files with each of the Combinator setups outlined below.
Expanding on the “Electro Drums Combinator”
If you haven’t already, read Part 2 in the Redrum tutorials. After you’ve done that, you can start by downloading the Combinator I created or you can start with a Combinator that you’ve created yourself, because I know you want to stamp your name on your own sounds right?
- If you’ve done everything according to spec, you’ll have a pretty expansive drum kit which is filtered through a Vocoder. Now we’re going to change a few of the routings and Combinator mod matrix settings in order to put a new spin on that drum setup.
- Open up the Combinator and create a 6:2 Line Mixer at the top of the stack. Reroute the Vocoder Carrier outputs to the second channel of the Line Mixer. This is going to be our “Wet” signal. At the same time, connect the Left and Right Audio Out cables from the Line Mixer, and feed them into the Compressor’s Left and Right Audio inputs. Then connect the Left and Right Audio outputs from the Maximizer into the Left and Right Audio inputs on the Combinator (From Devices). So the signal path goes from the dry signal through the Vocoder, then into the Main Line Mixer, then into the Mastering devices, and finally out of the Combinator.
- Next, we’re going to add a “Dry” drum submix which can in turn be mixed in with the wet submix. To do this and also to have full control, we’ll need to create a whole new secondary mix. The easiest way to do this is to duplicate the 14:2 Drum Submixer, and holding Shift down, create 10 Audio Merger/Splitters underneath. Flip the rack around and connect each of the Synth Drum outputs (the Thors) into the Splitter inputs. Then use one split to go to the Wet Drum Submix channels, and a second split to go to the Dry submix channels. This is a bit of a process but it’s an important one as you’ll see in a minute.
- Now route the entire “Dry” Submix (Left and Right outputs) to the first channel in the main Line Mixer (Left and Right inputs). Flip the rack around and click the “Show Programmer” button on the Combinator. In the Modulation Matrix, remove the “Master Level” settings we previously mapped to Rotary 4. Instead, select the “Main Line Mixer” on the left, and enter the following settings:
Rotary 4 > Channel 1 Level: 0 / 127
- Now when Rotary 4 is fully left, the signal is fully wet. When the Rotary is fully right, the dry signal is mixed in with the wet signal. Furthermore, if you want to fine-tune the levels of either the Wet or the Dry drums individually, you can set that up using the levels on either submixer, giving you total control over both your wet and dry drums’ attenuation. If you want to automate the process, create a sequencer track for both the Dry and Wet Submixer and go ahead and automate the levels to your heart’s content.
Note: In the Combinator I created inside the Project files, I also added an “Instant Glitch” and “Bass Boost” button which can be used to give the drums a completely new feel. I wouldn’t use them together, but separately they can open up a whole new way to play this patch. Also, there’s some other modifications I made to the original drums. I added a Vocoder Bypass switch on button 4, so if you are bypassing the Vocoder, there’s no need to mix in the dry signal, as the signal is already completely dry. So if bypassing the Vocoder, keep Rotary 4 fully left. Otherwise you’ll be doubling the dry signal which may not be desired. And lastly, I mapped Rotary 1 to the Stereo Width, so turn it fully left to create a pseudo-mono effect, and fully right to widen up the stereo field.
Chaining 2 or More Redrums Together
Another thing you can do with Redrums that can amplify and expand your drum programming is to Layer your drums by chaining them together. Whether you use Redrum patches for your drum sounds, or create a sample-based drum kit and have the Redrums trigger the synths, you can still create layered drum Combinators very easily. Here’s one method to do this.
- First create a Combinator and holding Shift down, create the following devices in sequence: M Class Compressor, M Class Equilizer, M Class Stereo Imager, M Class Maximizer, RV 7000 Reverb, 14:2 Line Mixer, 3 Redrums, and 2 DDL-1 Delay units.
- Flip to the back of the rack, and Connect the Left and Right Mixer outputs to the Compressor’s Left and Right Inputs. Then chain the Compressor to the Equilizer to the Stereo Imager to the Maximizer to the RV 7000 and then out to the Left and Right Combinator inputs (From Devices). That essentially sets up the Drum Mastering.
- Connect the Left and Right Outputs from the first Redrum to the first channel on the Mixer. Connect the second Redrum’s Left and Right Output through the first DDL-1 unit and then to the second channnel on the Mixer. Connect the third Redrum’s Left and Right Outputs through the second DDL-1 unit and then to the third channel on the Mixer. This sets up our Redrum Audio channels.
- Lastly, send the Gate Out CV for the first Redrum’s first channel to the Gate In CV on the second Redrum’s first channel. Then send the Gate Out CV on the Second Redrum’s first channel to the Gate In CV on the third Redrum’s first channel. Repeat this process for all 10 Redrums’ channels. This way, the first Redrum acts as the “Master” Gate triggering the other two “Slave” Redrums in Parallel (actually this is in series, but the effect is that all three Redrums trigger at exactly the same time, which is why we’ve inserted a Delay unit between the last two Redrums and the Mixer).
- Flip the rack around to the front. Bypass all the M Class devices as well as the Reverb and Delay devices for now. Add patches into the three Redrum devices so that you have different drum kits in all three. Then disable the pattern section on the two Redrum Slaves (last two Redrums). Add a pattern into the Redrum Master (the first Redrum — simply select the device, and click Ctrl+R to get a random pattern entered). Then press the Play button and you’ll hear all three Drum kits working the same pattern at the same time. This is your basic setup.
- Next, turn On the Delay units and enter some step sequence that sounds good for the second and third drum kits. This is a matter of taste, but if you look at my Combinator file, you’ll see I have the second Redrum’s delay set to 3 steps and the third Redrum set to 6 steps. I also adjusted the levels and Panning of all three drum kits in the Mixer so that it didn’t shatter my speakers and start giving me that beautifully annoying red clip light (Note that I also added a Scream 4 unit between the third drum kit and its associated Delay line. That’s because the drums from the third drum kit sounded a little lacking). By delaying two of the three drum kits you end up with a much fuller sound. However, this can be a bit of overkill as well. If you like, try tuning the Dry/Wet knobs on the delays so that the delay is a little more subtle. Again, it’s all a matter of personal taste.
- Finally, adjust your Compression, EQ, Stereo Imaging, and Maximizing using the M Class Devices. What’s more, you should experiment by using separate M-Class devices for each of the Redrum kits and adjust them independantly. In this way, you can have a greater degree of control over the final sound. In fact, if you want to go all out, you should create four sets of M Class devices; 1 for each of the drum kits, and one for an overall mixdown of the three drums together. This can help to really bring the drum mixes together.
The whole idea here is to choose drum kits that work well together and don’t clash. They should compliment each other. Some ways to ensure they are complimentary is to choose drum patches in the same or similar vein (all Dub kits or all Electronic kits). Another way is to EQ each drum kit so that it has its own place in terms of frequency. A third way is to pan them and mix their stereo width so that they also have their own space within the stereo field. This, of course is beyond the scope of the tutorial, but it’s all a matter of your own personal taste. Keep experimenting!
If you look at the Combinator Mod Matrix, you’ll see that I’ve mapped the second rotary to the pitch of all 30 drums in the 3 Redrum devices. This is a great way to quickly change the pitch of all the drums in the Combinator. The downside is that since you use 10 routings per device in the Mod Matrix, you lose the ability to map anything else from the Redrum devices to the Combinator. So I’ve opted to show you how to map the pitch to the rotary instead of mapping the pattern sequencer to a Rotary control. However, if you want to automate the Pattern Sequencer from the first Redrum, simply create a sequencer track for the Redrum, then automate your patterns directly in Reason or Record’s main sequencer. A few more clicks, but it’s still fairly easy to program.
Where do you go from here?
This is definitely not the end-all-be-all when it comes to the Redrum. There’s a lot more you can explore, such as mapping some of the other parameters to the Rotaries, for example the drum level knobs, or the main Resolution knob. You can also automate pretty much every element of the Redrums in the main Sequencer. In addition, you can layer your own synth sounds on top of each other to create some pretty massive synth drum kits. Hopefully this at least gives you a few new ideas when it comes to programming your drums. I know after 3 tutorials on the subject I’m done working on the Redrum for a while. Time to get back to working on some synths again.
So do you find these setups useful? Do you have any setups that you’d like to share? I’d love to hear about them. Feel free to comment and let me know. And thanks for taking the time to read these tutorials. Your feedback and comments are very much appreciated.