Echodile Deluxe

Here’s an interesting patch that I submitted to the productspecialist@propellerheads.se email in response to their first video in the “Reason Sound Design” series, a new series put out by the Propellerheads to help us all learn a little more about the Combinators inside the Factory Sound Bank, and allow the user community to submit their patches. I love it when they launch a new series!

Here’s an interesting patch that I submitted to the productspecialist@propellerheads.se email in response to their first video in the “Reason Sound Design” series, a new series put out by the Propellerheads to help us all learn a little more about the Combinators inside the Factory Sound Bank, and allow the user community to submit their patches. I love it when they launch a new series!

Here’s the original video in case you’ve been living under a rock and don’t know about this new series:

So without further ado, I give you my humble take on this type of technique. . .

The 4-Way X-Fade Echodile Deluxe

Download the .reason file (example) and Combinator patch here in zip file format: echodile-deluxe.

4-Way Crossfade Echodile Deluxe
4-Way X-Fade Echodile Deluxe

First, here’s a video to showcase what the Echodile Deluxe sounds like:

An explanation of the Controls:

Pitch Bend: This is connected to the Echo Envelope.

Mod Wheel: Connected to the Delay R Offset

Rotary 1: This rotary crossfades between 4 different Alligator Patterns, and is really the heart of the whole thing. It allows you to blend any two of the four Alligators together using a single Rotary. Ed Bauman came up with the idea of using the Thor’s Shaper set to a Sine wave to fade between four different Mixer Channels. If you want to know more about this little trick, I wrote about it here. So in the interest of full disclosure, I wanted you to know this was not my own idea. A good artist mimics, a great artist steals. According to Picasso anyway.

Note: In order to have all four Alligators Crossfade properly, you will need to either press the “Run All Pattern Devices” button on the Combinator, or press “Play” on the Transport first. Otherwise, the CV-based Thors’ step sequencers won’t start running, and that’s necessary to let the signal pass through them.

You’re also not tied to using these 4 Patterns. You can, of course, change them around to your liking, or else load completely new Alligator Patches into each of the 4 Alligators. In this way, you can really make this device “your own.”

Rotary 2: Echo Feedback. Simple enough. Mix / Max values are 0 / 72

Rotary 3: Shift. Allows you to use the Shift knob of all four Alligators at the same time.

Rotary 4: Delay Time. I ran out of Programmer assignments for the Echo unit, so I had to route this through the P-Pongy Thor’s Rotary 1 and send that into the Delay Time CV on the Echo. So you won’t see the delay move visually on the Echo.

Button 1: Freq. Shifter. The LFO from each Alligator is split out to all three filter frequency bands on the respective Alligators. This way you get some further Filter modulation if you want it. Turns it on or off.

Button 2: Smear. I love this little button. It cranks up the LFO in the Echo to give it a really nice gritty electro quality. Sweetness to my ears.

Button 3: Pingy-Pongy. Turns the Ping Pong of the echo on, but also wobbles both the Ping Pong Panning as well as the Feedback Offset R knob, based on the settings in the Pulveriser.

Button 4: Delay Time Sync. Turns on the sync.

Hope you guys have fun with it! ūüėČ

68 – All about the Alligator (Part 1)

In this tutorial I’m going to talk about the new Alligator device in Reason 6. I think no other device has mystified so many since the RPG-8, and a lot of people have reluctance to really dive into it, thinking it’s mainly built for electronic musicians. Truth is that it’s a very easy device to work with, and it has applications for all kinds of instruments and all kinds of genres. So don’t be intimidated by all the knobs and levers. It’s a veritable evil laboratory, but getting it under control is easier than you think, and that’s the focus here.

In this tutorial I’m going to talk about the new Alligator device in Reason 6. I think no other device has mystified so many since the RPG-8, and a lot of people have reluctance to really dive into it, thinking it’s mainly built for electronic musicians. Truth is that it’s a very easy device to work with, and it has applications for all kinds of instruments and all kinds of genres. So don’t be intimidated by all the knobs and levers. It’s a veritable evil laboratory, but getting it under control is easier than you think, and that’s the focus here.

You can download the project files here: alligator-techniques. They contain a .reason file with all the techniques described below, as well as the separate combinators. You will of course need Reason 6 in order to load and use any of the files.

Introduction to the Alligator

The Alligator is billed as a “Triple Filtered Gate” and that’s exactly what it is. However, it’s quite a bit more. It contains 64 patterns that can be manipulated, it has a few built in effects (Drive, Phaser, and Delay), it has 9 LFO’s that can be used to affect the filters, and the Panning capabilities allow you to create some movement in the stereo field. That’s not even taking a look at what you can do with the CV connections on the back of the device.

To start, let’s take a look at the various sections of the Alligator. When I’m starting off creating a patch for this device, I usually first load up a sound I want affected. So if it’s a Bass or a Synth or a Drum sound, all of these sounds will require a different approach to the Alligator. In other words, the sound I feed into it coupled with what I want to do to that sound in my head, will decide how I proceed with the device.

Following is an explanation of the parameters you will find on the front panel of the Alligator device.

The Alligator front panel with legend and explanation of the device functions.
The Alligator front panel with legend and explanation of the device functions.

And following is an explanation of the inputs and outputs found on the back panel of the Alligator device.

The back of the Alligator device with an explanation of the CV and Audio inputs and outputs.
The back of the Alligator device with an explanation of the CV and Audio inputs and outputs.

And here’s the quick introduction video to show you the main components of the Alligator:

Technique #1: Creating a Dry / Wet Knob for the Alligator

Since the Alligator does not have a Dry / Wet knob, we have to go about getting a little creative. This means wrapping the device inside a Combinator. Once there, you can use the Dry Level Knob and program its direction to be inverse to the individual Band level knobs. Set that up on a rotary in the Combinator and you have an instant Dry / Wet control for our Mister Alligator.

Technique #2: Keeping your Gates Open

You’ll notice that the Alligator by default uses a pattern to open/close the gates. You can turn them off or turn the pattern on, but what if you want to keep the gates open all the time. The easy solution is to do the following:

  1. Set the Alligator pattern to #60
  2. Flip to the back of the Alligator and send the Gate 1 CV output to Gate 3 CV input (both on the same Alligator device)
  3. Send Gate 2 CV output to Gate 1 CV input (both on the same Alligator device)
  4. Send Gate 3 CV output to Gate 2 CV input (both on the same Alligator device)

If you flip back to the front of the Alligator you will see all the gates are permanently on. This means that you can still use the LFO, Frequency, Resonance, all the Effects (Drive, Phaser, Delay), and Mixer controls to affect the sound, but you bypass the Gate section of the Alligator. It’s always on.

Just note one thing when you do this: You want to keep the Amp Envelope Decay set to full (fully right). If you lower the Amp Envelope Decay knob, the gate will fade out (even though it is completely open). If this happens, you’ll have to first move the decay knob all the way right, and then reset the CV on the back of the Alligator (unplug all 3 CV connections, and plug them back in again).

Alternately, you can send a one step tied curve pattern in a Matrix split 3 ways through a Spider and then sent to all 3 gate inputs, but this means creating additional devices when it can all be accomplished with a single Alligator.

This video will show you how to set up the above 2 Techniques:

Technique #3: Creating your own Patterns to Control the Gates

You’re not limited to the 64 patterns that are built into the Alligator (though you can definitely have a lot of fun with so many different patterns). You can easily use 3 Thors or 3 Matrix Curves/Gate CV to control all 3 gates in a single Alligator. To do this, first turn off the pattern section in the Alligator (the big “ON” button at the top of the Pattern section). Once you do this, you’ll need to create your Thors or Matrixes and flip to the back of the rack. Send the CV from the Step Sequencers into the 3 Gate CV inputs and then start all of the pattern devices up (this is easier to do if everything is Combined in a Combinator. That way when you press the “Run all Pattern Devices” or press “Play” on the Transport, the Step Sequencers start gating the Alligator. Dead simple my friends!

Best of all, this means you can create any kind of gate of any length you can imagine (See my “Matrix” series of tutorials #48-51 or Thor sequencing ideas #60-62 for ways in which you can extend the length of your patterns).

Technique #4: Stealing the Patterns to sequence other Reason Device Parameters

Forgetting about the Alligator’s intended purpose for a second, you can use its built-in patterns to affect any other parameter in any of Reason’s devices (just about). In this way I got pretty excited to see that you can use the Alligator as an “already pre-configured Matrix with double the amount of patterns” — yeah that’s pretty exciting for a nerdy nerd like me. It means I don’t have to tediously program two matrixes filled with patterns (though truth be told, if you’ve read article #3 in my 101 Creative Projects category, you already have a huge array of Matrixes from which you can copy/paste into any of your projects, right?).

In any event, to get the ball rolling, pick a pattern you like. Then flip to the back of the Alligator and disconnect the audio cables. You’re only using the pattern section here to trigger something else in Reason. And since you have 3 gates, this means you can modulate three other parameters from a single Alligator device (or how about using a spider to combine the three gates and sending the merged output to control a single parameter). I think you get the picture. This is a very quick and easy way to control things via CV.

One idea is to use the Gates in the Alligator to play the Kong drum designer. Send the three gates of an alligator into 3 drum pad CV inputs on the back of Kong, and then you can set up some pad groups in Kong so that you get even more variation. Finally, set up a Matrix curve to control the “Shift” knob via one of the CV inputs in a Combinator, and you have instant “Groove” for your drums, without ever using the ReGroove. It’s a nice alternate way to get some drums going quickly in your tracks. For the full feature on how this is done, see the video below.

Tip #1: Tuning your Filters

This concept was provided by Peff when he was doing his tutoring session in Las Vegas. And I really do hope that he doesn’t mind me providing the tip here. But in the attempt at full disclosure he needs full credit on this one.

Tuning filters is not a concept I was all that familiar with, but armed with this knowledge, it actually makes perfect sense, and has applications that reach out much farther than just the Alligator. But that could be a whole tutorial in and of itself. For our purposes, tuning the Alligator filters is a way to produce a more even sound coming out of the device. The idea is that you pick a frequency as your “Base” and then set the other filters up so that they are multiples of this “Base” frequency. So if you set up the LP Filter on the low end to be 200 Hz, then the BP Filter could be set up to 400 Hz and the HP Filter could be set to 800 Hz, which should produce a “cleaner” tone than if the filters were out of sync or out of tune.

Now while this is a handy technique, I should also say that going for a sound where the filters are more out of tune is perfectly valid. This is not a practice that should be set in stone. It’s more a technique that you should understand and get acquainted with and add into your arsenal of knowledge. But don’t be afraid to venture outside this technique.

You’ll also notice that it’s not always possible to get a precise multiple of a specific Filter Frequency. But generally, the closer you are to a multiple, the more “in tune” the filters should be with each other.

Tip #2: Taming the Dreaded Pops & Clicks

One thing that still bothers me to this day is how quirky the envelopes and LFO can be in the Alligator. Under certain settings, you can hear noticeable pops and clicks which are most definitely unwanted. Here are a few ways to deal with this if you find it happening to you.

First, it’s important to note what’s causing the pops and clicks in the first place. More often than not, it’s a result of a short Attack Time in the Amp Envelope coupled with a slow-running LFO with a sharp edge (think the Pulse or stepped Waveforms). The lack of a lag feature (which is available in the Pulveriser) means that you can’t smooth out the LFO. And when it’s running too slow, and the attack time is short, this is usually a recipe for disaster. Here are a few hints to get you out of this jam. Note that all of these methods will change the sound of the gated effect, but there’s really no way around this that I’ve found.

  • Use a smooth LFO, such as the Sine Wave or even the Triangle Wave. Stay away from the Stepped, Ramp, or Pulse waves.
  • Adjust the Amp Envelope’s Attack time to be slower (turn the knob more to the right). Times that are above 25 or 30 work well.
  • Don’t use the LFO at all. Ensure that all the LFO knobs for the bands you are using are all pointing due west! This means the LFO does not affect the bands whatsoever.

So there are a few tips and tricks for you to get acquainted with the Alligator. Give it a whirl on any kind of audio just to get a feel for it, and have some fun gating your audio. Until next time, happy Reasoning!

66 – The ECHO Echo echo. . .

Today let’s take a nice little look into the world of The Echo. New to Reason 6, this is one of 3 new effects which were much anticipated by the User Community (Do we all remember posts with subject lines reading “We need better effects in Reason”? I do).

Today let’s take a nice little look into the world of The Echo. New to Reason 6, this is one of 3 new effects which were much anticipated by the User Community (Do we all remember posts with subject lines reading “We need better effects in Reason”? I do).

You can download the project files here:¬†Echo-Techniques. There are some Combinators and a .reason file showcasing the examples found below. In the .reason file, I’ve used mutes to silence all the tracks. To listen to a track, unmute it. I hope you find some of these tricks useful.

Also don’t forget that my latest Refill, Pureffects, is available with 1,250 effect patches designed specifically with Reason 6 in mind. There’s 200 Echo patches alone, and about 30 or so Echo Combinators with all kinds of interesting routing ideas. For example, ever thought about setting up Kong to “Play” the various “Delay Times” via your pads? Since there are 16 “synched” times in The Echo delay, they are perfect for mapping to the Kong pads. Yup. It’s in there. Read More about the ReFill.

Overview of The Echo

The Echo brings some nice new features into Reason. It’s an Echo / Delay device that can also phlange things around, and purports a new Algorithm to the Echo that you won’t find inside the RV7000. As with all Reason devices, it doesn’t replace anything, but instead adds something new into Reason. So it’s not meant to be a replacement for the DDL-1 or the RV7000 Echo algorithm. They all have their place inside Reason.

One of the nice things I like about the Echo is the “Keep Pitch” button. Essentially, this will keep the pitch as you adjust the Delay Time, so that you don’t get those insane squelches that you get if you were to change the Delay Time in Thor or the DDL-1 devices. This is unique to The Echo.

Another unique offering is the way in which you can control The Echo. There are 3 ways to control it:

  1. Normal: Allows you to use The Echo as an insert or send device in any situation. The Dry / Wet knob determines the amount of Echo produced. This mode is probably the one you will be most familiar with, as it’s the way most effects are set up in Reason.
  2. Triggered: Allows you to Trigger The Echo via the Trigger button or by sending CV to the back of The Echo device. The only thing to remember with this mode is that Any Audio being processed through The Echo will not sound unless the Triggering is enabled. Something that can be a little confusing at first. Honestly, I would have preferred if the Audio was sent through the device dry when not triggered, so that you could still hear the unprocessed audio, and then triggering allowed you to hear The audio processed through The Echo, but I’ll show you a way around that later.
  3. Roll: This is a really nice option when you want to play a stuttering effect on the Audio. The Roll Feature will boost both the Feedback and “Wet” signal as the Roll lever is moved to the right. When this lever is all the way right, both Feedback and the Wet signal = 100%. Fully left, and both Feedback and the Wet signal are 0%. This makes it very useful as a “Freeze” or “Beat Repeat” function.

And of course you have the Color, Modulation, Ping-Pong mode, Offsets for Delay and Feedback, and Ducking. I’m not going to go into all of these features because the manual does a pretty good job of explaining them. Instead, I’m going to show you a few practical ways you can use them in your compositions.

Trick #1: Echoing Slices in a Loop via Parallel Processing

This idea uses 2 instances of the same loop to parallel process the drum beats. One will be the original unprocessed Loop, and the other will have a few slices of the same Loop run through The Echo. It’s a very simple process, but it can be a lot of fun when you’re spicing up your loops.

Start by creating a 6:2 Mixer inside a Combinator. Then create a Dr. OctoRex Loop player and initialize the device. Open up the lower section of the Dr. OctoRex and load up one of your favorite loops into slot 1. Now Duplicate the Dr. OctoRex Loop player. Flip around to the back panel (Tab), and connect the second Dr. OctoRex to Channel 2 (the first Dr. OctoRex should be connected to Channel 1). Flip back to the front, and select the Second Dr. OctoRex. Right-click and select Effects > The Echo. This will automatically connect The Echo as an insert device between the second Dr. OctoRex and the 6:2 Mixer. Perfect.

Now for the important part. Flip to the back of the Rack, and move the output of the second Dr. OctoRex from the Left / Right output to the 1/2 output instead.

Parallel Processing specific Slices in a Dr. OctoRex with The Echo
Parallel Processing specific Slices in a Dr. OctoRex with The Echo (back of the Rack)

And now comes the fun part. Set both Dr. OctoRex devices to “Select Slice By Midi.” This allows you to see the slice focus as the loops are running. On the first Dr. OctoRex, select the “Slice Edit Mode” button and select the word “Level” in the Loop display area (not the “Level” knob). In the second Dr. OctoRex, select the “Slice Edit Mode” button and select the word “Out” in the Loop display area (not the “Out” knob).

Find a few key slices as the loop is played (Bass Drum is a pretty good choice in most cases), and in the second Dr. OctoRex, pencil in a quarter of the way up over these key slices. You should be hearing The Echo affecting those slices. In essence, the slices you select to be output from 1/2 (a quarter of the way up in the display) will be processed through The Echo. The reason it’s a parallel process is that the original loop is still playing simultaneously. If you don’t want the slices processed in a parallel way, go to the first Dr. OctoRex and reduce the level completely on the same slices you just sent to the Echo. You can introduce a little of the original signal back in by raising this level for the first Dr. OctoRex loop slices, or you can reduce/raise the levels in different ways to add a little variation and groove. It’s a very versatile method.

If you really want to start tweaking things, try transposing the second Dr. OctoRex loop by a few semitones or a whole Octave. If it sounds good, go with it. And when you’re done, save your creation in a Combinator.

Parallel Processing Specific Slices in a Dr. OctoRex Loop with The Echo
Parallel Processing Specific Slices in a Dr. OctoRex Loop with The Echo (Slice Edit Mode)

Trick #2: Using a Matrix to Trigger Echoes

This idea is very basic but shows you how to use the Trigger Mode of The Echo. The idea is to use a Spider Audio to split the signal of a Dr. OctoRex Loop, and have one split going into a Mixer Channel, and another Split processed by The Echo and then sent to another Mixer Channel. Then take a Matrix Pattern Sequencer, and send the Curve CV from the Matrix into The Echo’s Trigger CV input on the back of the device. On the front panel, Set The Echo to “Triggered” mode, and set the Matrix to “Curve” mode. Start the Main Sequencer by pressing the “Play” button,¬† and start drawing in some steps in the Matrix curve. The steps should be draw in at full level, and you don’t need a lot of them. Start by drawing in one or two on a few key beats. You’ll start to hear how The Echo is affecting the loop, so draw in your steps by letting your ears decide where they should go.

Here’s a video that showcases how to set up the above 2 tricks. Don’t worry, it’s really not as hard as it sounds. Once you understand the concepts, you can really have some fun with these methods.

Trick #3: The Echo’s Feedback Loop

Using the built-in Feedback loop of The Echo is something that hasn’t been talked about very much since Reason 6 was released a few days ago, but I’ll bet this will be one area that will get a lot of attention in the coming weeks and months. If not, then it should. The Feedback Loop is one helluva tremendous feature. And it’s really simple to implement with a lot of possibility. The only thing I would advise when you start fiddling with the Feedback loop is to reduce the Feedback of the Echo down to zero before you start connecting devices to it. Also make sure there is no feedback offset either. Keep that knob centered at zero (0). Otherwise you can really destroy your ears if Feedback is set very high and you accidentally connect a Scream to it, for instance.

No doubt someone will eventually do this. And for that poor soul I guarantee it will end up being the last time they do it.

So now that you know the rules of the road, here’s how you set it up:

Load up a sound device, like your favorite Thor, Malstrom, Subtractor, or any Audio Track if you prefer.

Create an Echo device underneath the sound source device (or you can place it inside the Audio/Mix Channel’s “Insert Effects” section). Turn the Feedback knob down to zero. I also turn the Delay Time down to zero as well, but this isn’t necessary.

Hold your Shift Key down and under The Echo device insert your favorite Effect device from the “Effects” subfolder (to make it interesting, select a Pulveriser).

Flip to the back of the rack and connect the Pulveriser’s audio outputs to The Echo Feedback Loop audio inputs (Breakout Input). Then connect The Echo Feedback Loop audio outputs (Breakout Output) to the Pulveriser’s audio inputs.

The basic setup is complete. Now you can flip to the front of the rack and slowly raise The Echo’s feedback knob. I would probably set the knob to somewhere around 20. Then start to play with the parameters on the Pulveriser. Don’t go crazy. Just slowly introduce a few things such as some dirt, filtering and dry/wet blend. If you don’t hear anything too exciting, keep experimenting by turning up the feedback a little more, then increase the dirt and perhaps the squash settings. Try out the various filters.

You’ll start to hear how it all affects the feedback inside The Echo. And believe me, there are hours of fun found just in creating weird feedback loops. I created a lot of different feedback loops inside my Pureffects refill for Reason 6. I even fed a second Echo device through the feedback loop in one patch, and an RV7000 in another patch. Though when you feed delay effects through the Feedback Loop, you really need to mind your manners. As you can imagine, piling delays upon delays can be a recipe for disaster. Though with the right settings, you can produce some phenomenal results. It goes without saying, but I’ll say it again and again: Experiment! Experiment! Experiment!

Here’s the Video for setting up a Feedback Loop in The Echo:

Trick #4: The Zipper Effect

Here’s a little trick to create an off-the-wall sound with The LFO feature of The Echo. I personally like it for a very rapid delay which sounds somewhat like a zipper. So I’m calling it the zipper effect. It’s also very simple to set up.

The "Zipper" effect in The Echo
The "Zipper" effect in The Echo

Here’s a short video on how this is set up:

Trick #5: Automating the Roll feature in The Echo with an LFO

This is another one of those simple ideas that can produce some nice results. Try automating the Roll in The Echo with an LFO. Any LFO will do. You can even use the Pulveriser’s Tremor feature (essentially an LFO) to control your Rolls.

A Subtractor LFO connected to The Echo's Roll CV Input
A Subtractor LFO connected to The Echo's Roll CV Input

Here’s a short video on how this is set up:

Bonus Trick #6: Processing a Kong Snare Drum through The Echo

Much like Trick #1, where the Slices are independently sent out to The Echo, you can also set up a Kong Drum Kit, and send specific drums out to The Echo for processing. This video shows how you can set up a Snare Drum to be processed by a Pulveriser and an Echo, while all the other drums are sent out Dry. Once you understand these concepts, there’s no end to how you can process things with The Echo, as well as other effects devices in Reason. Have fun with it!


And here’s a really nice tutorial that Selig put together on parallel processing and sidechaining with The Echo, which I just found the other day. Really nice method to parallel process using nothing more than a single Echo. Sweet.


I hope that opens up some new ideas for those of you using The Echo. Any other ideas, please share them here. Until next time, have a blast with your new Reason 6 upgrade.

 

Auto Glitcher Effect

This is a Combinator which can be used to apply some Glitchy fun to any audio source you throw at it. It uses a Scream Distortion unit, 3 delays, and 2 Phasers which are controlled by some Malstrom Curves.

Download the Combinator: Auto-Glitcher

Description: This is a Combinator which can be used to apply some Glitchy fun to any audio source you throw at it. It uses a Scream Distortion unit, 3 delays, and 2 Phasers which are controlled by some Malstrom Curves.

 

 Here’s the complete rundown of the Combinator controls:

Pitch Bend: Unassigned

Mod Wheel: Affects the Rate of the Modulation curve which is tied to the Scream Damage Type. Raising the Mod Wheel makes Damage Type switching faster. Lowering the Mod Wheel makes Damage Type switching slower.

Rotary 1: Don’t Touch!: This Rotary is tied to the Damage Type of the Scream, but is controlled by the Malstrom Mod A Curve, and so does not need to be moved.

Rotary 2: Don’t Touch!: Like the previous Rotary, this one is tied to the Body Type of the scream, and is controlled by the Mod B Curve of the Malstrom, so it does not need to be moved.

Rotary 3: Damage: This controls the amount of Scream Distortion Damage applied to the sound source. Turned fully right, and you’re applying about 50% of damage to the signal (64). Turned fully left, and you’re applying very little damage (10).

Rotary 4: Wave: This controls the Malstrom Wave type (Modulation A Curve) which affects the Damage Type selection on the Scream. You can scroll through all 32 different wave forms in real time.

Button 1: Synch Off / On: This turns on the Synch on the Malstrom’s Mod A Curve (which controls the Scream Damage Type switching). When pushed in, Synch is on. When the button is off, the Synch is off.

Button 2: Body Off / On: This turns on the Body section of the Scream. When pushed in, the Body section is on, when the button is off, the Body section is turned off.

Button 3: Multi / Single Delay: This turns on the Multi-tap delay. When the Button is left off, the last delay in the sequence is the only one on (providing a simple delay to your sound source. When turned on, you have a full-on Multi-tap delay assault, with two Phasers in the mix as well.

Button 4: Damage Off / On: This turns the Damage on or off. When the button is left off, the Scream is bypassed, and when the button is on, the Scream unit is left on. It’s worthwhile to note that if you turn off the Damage, The Mod Wheel, and all the Rotaries will do nothing to your sound. The nice thing about Button 2, 3, and 4 is that you can minimize or maximize the amount of Glitch that is applied to the sound. For example, if you want to hear only a single or multiple delay, just turn leave button 4 off. If you want only the damage with no multi-tap, just turn off button 3. And finally, if you want the damage without the body section, just turn off Button 2. In this way, you can control what effects you want applied to your sound.

Other Notes: Feel free to change any of the Malstrom Mod Curves to curves that you like. Of course, for the Mod A curve on the Malstrom controlling the damage type of the scream, you don’t need to change this curve manually. You can change this using Rotary 4 (Wave). Or, if you want, you can also map any of the Curves to the “Wave” Rotary and have them move in unison together (or flip the min/max settings to change things up a bit). Alternately, you can program Rotary 1 to affect both the Damage and Body Types on the Scream, which could free up a Rotary for you. However, it would also mean that the Body type and Damage type would be using the same curve to control both those parameters.

Let me know if you find this patch useful and if you have any other suggestions for ways it can be made better? Or if you have some suggestions for other ways to get some glitchy fun out of Reason.

13 – Glitch Boxes

In this project, I’m going to create a few Glitch Boxes, and show you some techniques to get a little more glitch out of Reason. Though Reason isn’t built to be a glitch plugin, there are several ways you can connect things up to get some glitch mayhem from the devices.

In this project, I’m going to create a few Glitch Boxes, and show you some techniques to get a little more glitch out of Reason. Though Reason isn’t built to be a glitch plugin, there are several ways you can connect things up to get some glitch mayhem from the devices. When you then combine them all, you can have yourself a field day playing around with the knobs, wheels and buttons and work them into your own compositions.

So here I’m going to provide 3 different Glitch Boxes (incidentally they are color-coded just for fun), and go over some of the techniques that I think make them unique. Before I start, let me point out that I’m not going to go through the process of creating the Combinators from start to finish. Rather, I’m going to use the technique I outlined in the “Creative Redrum” tutorial series, where I added 10 synths and used gate triggering from the redrum to play these synths. The synths are the main glitch sounds, and these can be anything you like. The point is how you can use those sounds inside the combinator, and how you can add stylistic effects to get more out of them.

So let’s start our glitch journey in Reason.

The¬†file for this tutorial can be found here:¬†Glitch Boxes. The zip file contains 3 Combinators inside an .RNS file, each of which is attached to a mixer. To hear one of the combinators, just mute the other ones on the mixer. They weren’t designed to be played together, however, this was the easiest way to provide them to you all at once. Feel free to save them as Combinator patches and/or use them as templates where you can add in your own sounds into each of the 10 different synths in each of the Combinators. Also, don’t forget that you’re not only getting access to 3 patches, but you’re getting access to 30 synth glitch sounds as well. Enjoy!

Glitch Box 1 (Blue РThors)

This Glitch Box uses 10¬†Thors to generate 10 different Glitch sounds, which are triggered by the Redrum Sequencer. The Redrum in turn has 32 patterns which are 64 steps each for a maximum Glitch mayhem. The interesting part of this patch is the way the Auto-sequencer is setup. By pressing the fourth button on the Combinator, the Auto-Sequencer kicks in and takes control to provide a very random output. It’s very easy to set this up. You just need to create a few Matrixes, and then send the Curve (or Note or Gate) CV into the Combinator CV inputs to control the overall playback of the Combi, or else any one of the Rotaries or Pitch/Mod wheels.

 

The rest of the Combinator patch is similar to the Creative Redrums 2 and Creative Redrums 3 tutorials, so I’m not going to delve into that right now. Please¬†feel free to read through¬†those tutorial in order to get familiar with the methods used to put together these patches.¬†

Here is a rundown of how this¬†Combinator’s Rotaries and Buttons work:

Pitch Wheel: This raises or lowers the pitch of the 10 Glitch sounds at once by +/- 7 semitones.

Mod Wheel:  This dampens the sound of the Higher pitched Glitch sounds, essentially making things a little less sibilant.

Rotary 1:  Vocoder Filter РThis Rotary affects the Thor Vocoder Modulation Filter. Use this knob to change the affect the filter has on the Vocoder. Basically, use this knob to dial in a sound filtering that appeals to you.

Rotary 2:¬†Shift – This Rotary is used to raise or lower the “Shift” parameter of the Vocoder. Again, you’ll have to experiment with this knob to see what sounds best for you. You can also use it to create some interesting sweeps.

Rotary 3:  Pattern Sequencer РThis knob allows you to select from 32 different Glitch patterns (all with 64 steps each). If you want to turn the patterns off, you can by turing the Rotary completely left (at zero). This turns off the patterns entirely so no sound signal will get generated.

Rotary 4:¬†¬†Master Level – This is the Main Mixer’s master level. It allows you to fine-tune the volume of the overall mix.

Button 1:  Doubler РThis essentially doubles the Glitch sounds. Beware, it can add a ton of beats. But if you mute a few of the glitch sounds on the Mixer or Redrum devices, you can have some fun using this button to thicken up and beef up your beats by automatically doubling them.

Button 2:  Alternate Filter РThis adds a different filtered sound to the Glitch Box. It can be used to extend the Box to a whole new range of sounds. Experiment to see what you can do with this filter.

Button 3:  Master Bypass РThis Button will bypass the Vocoder FX as well as the Mastering devices. If you want a very raw sound, this is the button to press.

Button 4:  Auto-Sequence РThis button applies a random auto-sequenced element to the Glitch box. It not only acts as the note/gate CV for the Combinator, but also randomizes the first two Rotaries (the Vocoder Filter and Vocoder Shift parameters).

Glitch Box 2 (Red РMalstroms)

This Glitch Box uses 10 Malstroms to generate 10 different Glitch sounds, which are triggered by the Redrum Sequencer. The Redrum in turn has 32 patterns which are 64 steps each for a maximum Glitch mayhem. The interesting part of this patch is the way in which there are multiple Delay and Phaser units attached to the audio signal at the end. This creates a multi-tap delay effect which can be applied selectively.

Multi-Tap Delay setup (with Phasers)
Multi-Tap Delay setup (with Phasers)

Here is a rundown of how the Combinator Rotaries and Buttons work:

Pitch Wheel: This raises or lowers the pitch of the 10 Glitch sounds at once by +/- 7 semitones.

Mod Wheel:  This completely changes the type of sounds produced by the Glitch devices. Each Malstrom device was programmed to generate something totally wacky and off-the-wall when the Mod Wheel was used. So here is the result. Have at it!

Rotary 1:  Vocoder Filter РThis Rotary affects the Thor Vocoder Modulation Filter. Use this knob to change the affect the filter has on the Vocoder. Basically, use this knob to dial in a sound filtering that appeals to you.

Rotary 2:¬†Shift – This Rotary is used to raise or lower the “Shift” parameter of the Vocoder. Again, you’ll have to experiment with this knob to see what sounds best for you. You can also use it to create some interesting sweeps.

Rotary 3:  Pattern Sequencer РThis knob allows you to select from 32 different Glitch patterns (all with 64 steps each). If you want to turn the patterns off, you can by turing the Rotary completely left (at zero). This turns off the patterns entirely so no sound signal will get generated.

Rotary 4:¬†¬†Multi-Tap Delay – This adds some multi-tap delay effect to the glitch sounds. The Rotary acts as a dry/wet knob, so turning it fully left turns the delay off (dry), and turning it fully right turns it fully on (wet). Be careful as it’s easy to overdo it, and sometimes if other parameters are turned on (like Booster), the delay can get pretty loud. Though I’ve tried to limit the loudness of the delays with a Maximizer device. Just be careful not to overuse. ūüėČ

Button 1:  Filter Type A/B РThis changes the Thor Vocoder Modulation Filter from a simple Noise Oscillator to a different type of Noise Oscillator, and then adds in a Mixed sine Wavetable Oscillator into the mix. Try it out to change the sound entirely.

Button 2:  Bands 4/32 РThis switches the Vocoder Band count from 4 (not pressed) to 32 (pressed in). Use this to keep the sound thin with 4 bands, or thicken it up with 32 bands.

Button 3:  Hold РThis triggers the Hold button on the Vocoder. This can add some interesting unpredictible outcomes if pressed every so often. Or create a stutter effect by programming it to hold every bar, beat, or at random throughout your track.

Button 4:  Booster РThis adds some emphasis and warmth to the sound via a Scream device.

Glitch Box 3 (Green РSubtractors)

This Glitch Box uses 10 Subtractors to generate 10 different Glitch sounds, which are triggered by the Redrum Sequencer, just like the other Glitch Boxes above. There’s 32 patterns which are 64 steps long, again like the other Boxes. There are a few¬†interesting things happening in this patch, which I’ll go through one at a time.

First, there are Scream Distortion units attached to each of the 10 sounds. The Screams are randomly sequenced to switch using the Matrix “FX Sequencer.” The Curve CV is cabled from this matrix to Rotary 4, which in turn is set to program all the Scream units to various degrees.

Second, there are¬†two Digital Delay units attached to each of the glitch sounds. One unit is set up for the left, and the other for the right. Then they are merged together and sent back to the mixer. By changing the steps associated with each of these devices, you can set up some very complex delay patterns, which in turn enhances the “Glitch” element for each of the sounds.

The anatomy of a single Subtractor Glitch sound with Scream and Left/Right Delay FX
The anatomy of a single Subtractor Glitch sound with Scream and Left/Right Delay FX

Third, Auto-Sequencing is set up so that there is an even more random element added to the box. Here, a matrix is set up for each Rotary as well as the Mod Wheel.

Auto-Sequencing the Mod Wheel and first 3 Rotaries. The fourth is controlled by the Matrix FX Sequencer.
Auto-Sequencing the Mod Wheel and first 3 Rotaries. The fourth is controlled by the Matrix FX Sequencer.
The 4 Matrixes controlling the Mod Wheel, Pattern, Delay, and Scream Damage
The 4 Matrixes controlling the Mod Wheel, Pattern, Delay, and Scream Damage

Fourth, there are a few other effects added into the Mix. If you’ve read some of the other articles, you’ll no doubt be familiar with ways in which the audio can be routed through Thor, and thereby use Thor’s filters on the audio signal chain. So I’ve added an alternate filter using this method. In addition, there are two Reverbs set up at the end of the signal chain in order to add a bit of room where¬†the glitch sounds can feel at home.

Routing the Audio through a Thor Filter, as well as the 2 Reverbs
Routing the Audio through a Thor Filter, as well as the 2 Reverbs

Fifth, and finally, The P1 and P2 parameters on the Scream devices are controlled via CV by a Thor device. The setup is that LFO1 controls P1, and LFO2 controls P2. So if you want to control these two parameters on every Scream device simultaneously, all you have to do is make changes to the LFO1 and 2 parameters in the Thor “P1 & P2 CV”¬†device. This can help add some further Glitchy fun with the sound (especially when the Damage Type keeps changing randomly).

Here is a rundown of how the Combinator Rotaries and Buttons work:

Pitch Wheel: This raises or lowers the pitch of the 10 Glitch sounds at once by +/- 4 semitones.

Mod Wheel:¬†¬†This affects a few of the Glitch sounds, but not too much. It’s pretty much unassigned.

Rotary 1:  Drum Pattern РThis knob allows you to select from 32 different Glitch patterns (all with 64 steps each). If you want to turn the patterns off, you can by turing the Rotary completely left (at zero). This turns off the patterns entirely so no sound signal will get generated.

Rotary 2:  Delay Dry/Wet РThis Rotary allows you to apply Delay to the Glitch sounds in a very random way (depending on how the steps are set up in each of your DDL devices. I can only recommend that you play around with the settings in these units, especially varying the steps on each unit). The Rotary acts as a dry/wet knob, so turning it fully left turns the delay off (dry), and turning it fully right turns it fully on (wet).

Rotary 3:¬†¬†Damage Dry/Wet – This works the same way as the delay does (Dry/Wet), but this time the Scream’s damage knob is affected for all the Scream units. Be careful not to go too far overboard as you can end up making the sound pretty loud. I tried to limit it already a little bit by cutting off the amount of damage that can be applied, but it can still cause pretty loud signals. So just use it cautiously and always be on the lookout for your levels and clipping.

Rotary 4:¬†¬†Glitch Hi <-> Lo – This essentially will turn off the amount of randomness applied to the Scream devices “Damage Type.” The way the Screams are set up, the matrix controls the damage type and randomly shifts from one type to another using CV to control this knob. If you keep it fully left, the Screams are at their most random; receiving switching cues from the matrix. When the knob is turned fully right, the damage type will not change at all and will stay fixed. So this Rotary controls how much randomness is applied to the Scream Damage Type, or rather how much switching between Damage Types will take place.

Button 1:  Spring Verb РThis applies a spring reverb to the entire mix. Feel free to change the RV 7000 patch to anything that you feel suits this sound.

Button 2:  Tight Verb РThis applies a tight reverb to the entire mix. Feel free to change the RV 7000 patch to anything that you feel suits this sound.

Button 3:¬†¬†Comb Filter – This adds a comb filter to the entire mix to quickly change the Glitch sound. Feel free to change this in the Thor “Filter” device, if you like. It’s in the “Filter 3” slot.

Button 4:  Auto Sequence РThis button applies a random auto-sequenced element to the Glitch box. It randomizes the Mod Wheel, and first 3 Rotaries (Drum Pattern, Delay, and Damage).

I hope this article provides a few new ways you can add to your Glitch fun in Reason. There’s probably a million different ways you can add Glitch into your tracks. I know Ed from EditEd4TV fame has just come up with a beat repeater that is quite amazing and interesting to look at. Visit the PUF (Propellerhead User Forum) for more information. And if you have any other ideas for ways in which you can make Glitch come to life in reason, please let me know. I’m always interested to hear about your techniques. Don’t be shy. Share them! And until my next installment, have fun in Reason and Record.

Cheers.

9 – Creative ReDrums (Part 1)

I decided to try out some Redrum creativity by taking a standard Redrum patch from the Factory Sound Bank and punching it up. At the same time, I tried to get creative with the Filtering and Routings. A new way to use your Redrum device.

I often get asked and see on the Props forum many complaints that the supplied drum kits are lacking in depth and sound flat. Often this takes the form of slams against the props for providing lacklustre drum kits in the Factory Soundbank. Truth is, the¬†drum sounds can be expanded upon, and if you’re willing to take some time, they can be made to sound much deeper and more¬†punchy. It’s all in what you do with them.¬†The power is all there in front of you, and with the Redrum there’s a lot of flexibility.¬†¬†

With this in mind, I decided to try out some Redrum creativity and put together a flexible drum kit that takes a basic kit from the props and turns it into something unique . There’s two things I want to accomplish with this tutorial: First: Create a Drum Kit that is more expansive sounding, and Second: Find some creative ways in which the Redrum can be used. So let’s see how far we can take it.¬†¬†

Before jumping in let me first say that this template is fairly massive. It contains a lot of Thor filters, and as such it can be a little expensive on CPU. If you find it taxing your CPU, you can scale it down (see my notes in the “Where do you go from here” section below), or you can bounce it to an audio track to be put into a Dr. Rex device or as a separate audio track entirely. Second, there’s two main ways I find can bolster the sound of your drums: Compression/Mastering, and Filtering the drums, so those methods will be explored below.¬†¬†

Download the Project files here: creative-redrums. The project files contain two Combinators inside an rns file. The first Combinator¬†is the Original untouched kit put through the same Matrix sequencing. The second Combinator is the Drums we’re going to create below. Mute/unmute the channels in the mixer to listen to how they sound compared to one another.¬†¬†

  1. As with all great Reason patches, let’s start by creating a Combinator. Inside the Combinator, create in order, an M Class Compressor, M Class Equilizer, M Class Stereo Imager, M Class Maximizer, 14:2 Mixer, Redrum Drum Machine, Thor Synth, DDL-1, and¬†Spider Audio Merger/Splitter. Then hold Shift down¬†and create¬†a Matrix Pattern Sequencer.
  2. Flip the Rack around and let’s start working on our Routings. First, move the Cables from the Combinator‚Äôs ‚ÄúFrom Devices‚ÄĚ ins to the Audio Inputs of the Compressor. Then connect the Audio Outputs from the Maximizer to the ‚ÄúFrom Devices‚ÄĚ inputs on the Combinator. This sets up the main mastering for the Redrum.

    The Mastering setup on the back of the rack
    The Mastering setup on the back of the rack
  3. Next, move the DDL 1 Left and Right input cables to the Left and Right Channel 1 on the 14:2 Mixer. At the same time, disconnect the Chaining Aux cables from the 14:2 Mixer. Also, connect the Left output from Channel 1 on the Redrum to the Audio In 1 on the Thor. Then connect the Right output from Channel 1 on the Redrum to the Left input on the DDL-1.
  4. Next, move the Left and Right Audio Inputs from Channel 2 on the Mixer to two Left Audio Inputs on the Merger side of the Spider. Then route a cable from the Left Merged Output to Audio In 2 on Thor. With this setup, you’ll have no delay on the¬†Left audio channel for the drum, while the Right Channel goes through the delay device.
  5. Moving to our CV routing, plumb a CV cable from the Gate CV output of the Matrix to the Gate In on Channel 1 on the Redrum. And plumb a CV cable from the CV 1 Output on the Thor to the Pitch CV In on Channel 1 of the Redrum. Also cable the Note CV output from the Matrix to the CV 1 Input on the Thor, and the Curve CV output from the Matrix to the CV 2 Input on Thor. If this is all starting to get confusing for you, check out the routings in the Combinator file download, or else check out the image below.

    The routings for the Thor Filter, Delay, and Matrix Sequencer
    The routings for the Thor Filter, Delay, and Matrix Sequencer.
  6. Next, let‚Äôs flip the rack around and start working on applying settings to the front of the devices. First, click the ‚ÄúEnable Pattern Section‚ÄĚ button on the Redrum so that the pattern is disabled. Click the browse button and load a patch (drum kit) into Redrum. I used the Chemical Kit 7 from the Factory Soundbank (under Redrum Drum Kits > Chemical Kits). Now you have a basis from which to work.
  7. In Thor, we’re going to use multiple filters which will be applied to the Bass Drum (Channel 1 on the Redrum). So the first thing to do is to ensure that the Bass Drum Left and Right channels are routed into Filter 1 and Filter 2. In the Mod Matrix, apply the following settings:

    Audio In1: 100 > Filt1 In  

    Audio In2: 100 > Filt2 In  

    This setup means that the Left (dry) Channel goes through Filter 1, while the Right (delay) Channel goes through Filter 2, and then both are sent in Stereo to be output to the Submixer. 

  8. Next, since Thor is not free running, like the Subtractor, we need to use the step sequencer to keep Thor ‚ÄúOn.‚ÄĚ To do this, set up a one step long pattern in the sequencer. Turn Button 1 on (so it‚Äôs Red) on the top panel of Thor. Then add the following setting into the Mod Matrix:

    Button1: 100 > S. Trig  

    To be honest, since everything will be triggered when you hit the play button, you probably don‚Äôt need to setup the above (step 8). But it will ensure that Thor remains on and is running, which will ensure you can use the filters in the Voice section of Thor (the first two filter slots), as well as the Global filter section (Third Filter slot).¬†¬†If I’m wrong, please feel free to correct me.

  9. Add a Low Pass Filter into Filter slot 1, and a Formant Filter into Filter slot 2. Route both the filters parallel into the Amp section of Thor. Turn off any Oscillators and Oscillator routings, as well as the Mod Envelope and Global Envelope sections. And Then add the rest of the MBRS settings as follows:

    CV In1: 100 > CV Out1 (sends the Note CV data from the Matrix to the CV Pitch in on the Redrum Channel — yes you can send the CV cable directly from the Matrix to the Pitch In on the Redrum, but If you set it up this way, you can then use the Note CV to affect other parameters in Thor, if you wish).¬†¬†

    CV In2: -75 > Filt1 Freq (sends the Curve CV data from the Matrix to the Filter 1 Frequency).  

    CV In2: 75 > LFO 1 Rate (sends the Curve CV data from the Matrix to the LFO 1 Rate).  

    LFO1: -46 > Filt2 Y (sends the LFO 1 to the Filter 2 ‚Äď Formant Filter ‚Äď Y Parameter).¬†¬†

    Here’s the image which shows the front of the Thor Device and the Filter settings:  

    Thor settings for the main Bass Drum Filtering
    Thor settings for the main Bass Drum Filtering
  10. Next, on the DDL-1, select 4 Steps, and in the Matrix, create a Random pattern. Alternately, you can build your pattern as you play the sequence. The Matrix will trigger the Drum’s Channel 1 gate, and play the pattern you enter. So it can be much easier to build up a drum pattern as you play. Also, as you play, adjust the filter settings in Thor until you come up with your own unique brand of Drums. At the same time, flip the rack and adjust the Pitch In Trim knob on the Redrum Channel 1 to taste.
  11. Now comes the tedious part. Select the Thor, DDL-1, Spider Audio Merger/Splitter, and Matrix. Then right-click and select ‚ÄúDuplicate Devices and Tracks.‚ÄĚ Once duplicated, flip the rack around to the back of the devices, and set up the routings into the second Channel of the Redrum and Submix (along with the CV routings, etc.). Do this for each Channel of the Redrum.
  12. Once everything is routed properly, you can start to work on filtering each individual drum channel. Try out different Thor filters, as well as different Matrix patterns (right-clicking and using ‚ÄúAlternate Pattern‚ÄĚ works well here, along with shifting the patterns left or right). Also try alternating some of the delay routings from left and right (by reversing the audio inputs on the back of the Thor. Finally, try out different delay steps for each of the delays. There‚Äôs lots you can do to fine tune this type of setup.

Combinator Mod Matrix

Going into all the modulations in the Combinator is pretty intense, so instead I’ll let you download the project files and see what’s going on. But a few words about how the Rotaries/Buttons work:  

The Pitch Bend moves all the drum pitches up or down. This can be fun to play with while performing with the drums. The downside is that when the Pitch Bend is static center, so are all the drum pitches. But you can always automate it so that it stays in a non-static, non-centered position.  

The Mod Wheel is tied to a basic drum Reverb which also affects all the drums equally. If you don’t like this Reverb, you can use your own. This way you can apply a little or a lot of Reverb to the overall mix. And then of course there’s nothing saying you can’t add a Reverb or other FX as Send FX on the Submixer. This was a last-minute thought.  

Rotary 1-3: Applies Compression, EQ, and Maximizer Gain to the overall mix. In this way you can master the drums to your liking.  

Rotary 4: Affects the Delay Levels for all drums at once. You can go from no delay (at the far left) to a pretty heavy delay (on the far right).  

Buttons 1-3: Turns on/off the delays for the Bass Drums (1), Snare Drums (2), and High Hats (3).  

Button 4: Turns on/off the Ride by muting it on Channel 10 of the Submixer.  

Where do you go from here?

  • Add different variations and drum patterns (fills and rolls) in the Matrix pattern sections. Then create sequencer tracks for all the Matrixes. In this way you can play the patterns for each of the drums in their own separate tracks on the sequencer, and they are all pattern-based. This makes creating several variations very easy not only to explore, but also to apply in your song.
  • If things are a little too chaotic having all 10 drums running at once, simply mute some of them in the Drum Submixer, so let‚Äôs say you have a Bass Drum, Snare, and Hi Hat instead of an all-on cacophony of drums.
  • At the same time, if the CPU load is a little too much, try minimizing the number of filters used, and instead run each drum channel through only one filter, instead of two. Or delete the drums you aren‚Äôt using, along with their associated Thor/Delay/Splitter/Matrix.
  • Once you have this template built (and you already have mine done for you), you can add different drum kits into Redrum, and adjust settings for your filters, mastering, etc. One thing that helps is to work on the drums in a build-them-up-as-you-go way. So first do the Bass Drum, then mute the bass drum and go on to the Snare, then unmute and see if they work together. Once they do, move on to the next drum.

And no more than a few days after I posted this article, Matt Piper posted a great little youtube tutorial on how to process your drums through a BV512 Vocoder. You have to check it out. It sounds awesome. Great inspiration for those that want another way to beef up your drum kits: propellerhead-record-reason-vocoding-with-drums

So let me know what you think of this setup. Do you know of some great methods for getting more out of the drum sounds provided in the Factory Soundbank? Do you have any creative drumming techniques. Please feel free to share them. I’d love to see what can be done to boost the supplied drums and learn some new creative ways to ReDrum the kits. Good luck in your Reason projects!