18 – A 12-Way Filter FX Combi

This is a 12-Way Filter FX Combinator patch (with Shaper – and an Envelope for the ECF-42) which is best used as an Insert Effect anywhere you need it to filter audio. It’s a tightly compact little bugger.

This is a 12-Way Filter FX Combinator patch (with Shaper – and an Envelope for the ECF-42) which is best used as an Insert Effect anywhere you need it to filter audio. It’s a  tightly compact little bugger. It took me quite a bit of time to work out the proper programming in the Combinator’s Mod Matrix, because some of the Rotaries and Buttons, as well as the Mod Wheel, have dual functionality, depending which filter you are using. This is why I’m going to provide a little explanation from the vantage point of looking at each device that the combinator is controlling and explaining how those devices are controlled. I think that’s the best approach to show how this Combinator functions.

If you’re itching to get your hands on the Combinator, then go here: 12-way-filter-fx. It’s a zip file that contains the FX Combinator I’m outlining below. For safety sake, please read through so that you understand how this thing operates. Don’t want to open up any black holes in the universe or anything.

A 12-way Filtering FX Combinator system. Deceptively simple looking.
A 12-way Filtering FX Combinator system. Deceptively simple looking.

First, A brief background. When I posted a video on YouTube showing how to create a selectable Thor Filter, the focus was on creating a way to route audio through Thor and use Thor’s global Filter 3 slot and be able to switch between all 4 Thor Filters on the fly. This way you could control most of Thor’s parameters from within a single Combinator. That’s great for getting the most out of Thor’s 4 filters. But then Hydlide gave the following comment on his site, The Sound of Reason:

it’s an awesome technique. I sometimes use thor just being an audio processor only because it is the only device that can change filters (all of them) on the fly. In Reason 3 the malstrom was always my default audio input/output source since it didn’t need that much programming and such (just jack the audio signals inside the rear and you are done). However the nice thing with thor is that whole programming part. I can remember I also did a similar setup using filter slot 1. However, that one even becomes more tricky since filter 3 is a global filter (eg: does not need a gate to trigger), with filter 1 you need that same setup with the step sequencer for a gate to retrigger. But it does add that shaper thingy in between. However, in addition, it does add something having the step sequencer running anyways, and use the curve of the step sequencer to retrigger something else (eg: Shaper drive, filter changes etc…).

So two things I got from this comment:

  1. Thor is the only device that can change filters on the fly. [OK, let’s add more filters that we can change on the fly]
  2. That shaper thingy in between. [hmmm. yes indeed. Let’s add that shaper thingy]

So there was my mission. To create a Combinator that could change more than just the Thor filters on the fly, but could also allow you to select a few other filters (namely the ECF-42 and the Malstrom A/B Filters). And also let’s utilize the “Shaper Thingy” in between (since both Thor and the Malstrom have “Shaper Thingies” let’s definitely have the ability to change both and adjust the amount of both).

Oh and hey, while we’re at it, let’s try our hand at squeezing in the ability to utilize the Envelope of one of the filters. And the ability to change filter modes on one of the other filters. Essentially, we’re going for ultimate controllability and in the end you’ll have a 12-way Adjustable filter using a single Combinator. Think you can’t do all of this in a single Combinator. Wrong!

It’s actually deceptively simple to route into a Combinator. And it’s really light-weight on your CPU. The really tricky part in putting this all together is programming the Modulation section of the Combinator. Here’s how it breaks down:

There are three main devices that can be used as filters: Thor (4 filters), ECF-42 (1 Filter with 3 Modes), and the Malstrom (2 Filters: A&B which work globally, and these with 5 variable modes). So 4 Thor Filters + 3 ECF Filter Modes + 5 Malstrom Filter Modes = 12-way adjustable Filter FX. Here are the parameter settings for each of the 3 different devices:

Thor Filter

Rotary 1: Cycles through all of Thor’s 4 filters: Low Pass Ladder, State Variable (on High Pass mode), Comb Filter (+ mode), and Formant Filter.

Rotary 2: Adjusts the full range of the Filter Frequency

Rotary 3: Adjusts the full range of the Filter Resonance

Rotary 4: Adjusts Thor’s Shaper thingy Amount (termed the drive in Thor).

Button 1: When pressed, the Thor filter becomes active. When not lit, Audio routed to Thor is muted.

Button 4: When pressed, Thor’s Shaper Thingy is enabled.

Mod Wheel: Acts as a Shaper selection for the different Thor Shaper waves. When recording using this combinator, I would highly suggest just setting this and forgetting it — in other words, program the automation for the mod wheel in the Reason/Record sequencer, but don’t automate any changes with the Mod wheel. When you adjust the shaper modes using the mod wheel in this way, you’ll hear an audible click which is nasty and you won’t want it saved along with your recording. So set up a shaper wave and then forget about it.

ECF-42 (Envelope Controlled Filter)

Rotary 1: Cycles through the 3 ECF Filter modes: BP-12, LP-12, and LP-24

Rotary 2: Adjusts the full range of the Filter Frequency

Rotary 3: Adjusts the full range of the Filter Resonance

Rotary 4: Adjusts the Filter Envelope Amount

Button 2: When pressed, the ECF-42 filter becomes active. When not lit, Audio routed to the ECF-42 is muted.

Button 4: Activates the Envelope when lit. The Envelope is off by default. Actually, what’s happening is the Matrix inside the Combinator is used as a gate CV to control the Filter frequency of the envelope. Since it is routed through the CV in/out of one of the Thor devices, this button acts as a trim knob control for the free-running Gate CV from the Matrix into the ECF CV Gate in. This makes things instantaneous when switching the Envelope button on / off.

Mod Wheel: Acts as the Velocity setting for the Envelope amount in the ECF Filter. Of course, it won’t do anything unless you have the Envelope enabled (button 4).

Malstrom’s separate A/B Filter processor

Rotary 1: Cycles through the Malstrom’s A/B Filter modes:LP-12, BP-12, Comb+, Comb-, AM

Rotary 2: Adjusts the full range of the Filter Frequency

Rotary 3: Adjusts the full range of the Filter Resonance

Rotary 4: Rotary 4: Adjusts the Malstrom’s Shaper thingy Amount.

Button 3: When pressed, the Malstrom filter becomes active. When not lit, Audio routed to the Malstrom is muted.

Button 4: When pressed, Malstrom’s Shaper Thingy is enabled.

Mod Wheel: Acts as a Shaper selection for the different Malstrom Shaper waves. When recording using this combinator, I would highly suggest just setting this and forgetting it — in other words, program the automation for the mod wheel in the Reason/Record sequencer, but don’t automate any changes with the Mod wheel. When you adjust the shaper modes using the mod wheel in this way, you’ll hear an audible click which is nasty and you won’t want it saved along with your recording. So set up a shaper wave and then forget about it.

A few other notes:

  • There is no “bypass” option for the filters. In other words, if you turn off buttons 1, 2, and 3, then you won’t hear any audio coming out of the combinator (even though audio is going INTO the combinator). So, to get around this, bypass the Combinator. This way, you will still hear audio going through the Combinator.
  • If you press play or record while the Thor filter is enabled (Button 1 is lit), Thor will not sound. You need to actually engage this button after playing or recording is initiated. Not sure if there is a workaround for this, but let me know if there is and I can update the patch.
  • Since each Filter has its own dedicated Line Mixer associated with it, and the first three buttons simply turn the master level on or off (0 at a minimum and 100 at maximum for the respective buttons), then having more than one filter on simultaneously will effectively duplicate the audio and combine the filtered audio together. This wasn’t really intended when I put this Combinator together. Usually, I would think you would want one of the filters on at any given time, and not have them both on in unison. But I’m not stopping you from using it in this way. You might get some interesting effects by enabling both the Thor and the Malstrom Filter, and then using the Shaper for both at the same time.
  • Further to the point above, if you want to stack filters on top of each other in your audio chain, it’s pretty easy to do. Just put as many copies of this combinator on top of each other and you have an instant stack of adjustable filters in series as an insert effect.
  • The Pitch/Bend wheel is open if you want to program it to do something above and beyond what the Combinator already does. Not sure what else you could possibly pack in here, but hey, go for it!

So I hope you enjoy this little venture into packing everything but the kitchen sink into a Combinator. Please let me know if you find this useful and if you have any great solutions or better ways to improve on this patch please let me know. Also, if you have a question or want to see me write about something in Reason or Record, please speak up. I take requests too. Until next time, good luck in all your Musical pursuits!

10 – Creative ReDrums (Part 2)

In part 1 of our Redrum tutorials, I showed you a few ways you can improve the drum kits in your arsenal by using Thor’s filters, and some M Class Mastering devices. In this tutorial, I’m going to work in reverse and show you how to use the Redrum as a gate CV device to trigger a series of 10 Thors, which act as the drum sounds.

Creative Redrums (Part 2)

In part 1 of our Redrum tutorials, I showed you a few ways you can improve the drum kits in your arsenal by using Thor’s filters, and some M Class Mastering devices. In this tutorial, I’m going to work in reverse and show you how to use the Redrum as a gate CV device to trigger a series of 10 Thors, which act as the drum sounds. This is where things can get pretty interesting, as you can gain complete control over the drum sounds by creating them from scratch using Thor’s Oscillators and Filters. Then, we’ll try to use a technique laid out by Matt Piper in which all the drums are filtered through a Vocoder. This is yet another way to get some beef and boom out of the drums. So let’s work some creative Redrum magic.

The project file contains an .rns file with a single Combinator which outlines a complete drum kit with vocoder filtering, Mastering, and a few extra effects thrown in. Download the Project Files here: creative-redrums-2.

The Basic Setup

  1. Create a Combinator, and inside create a 14:2 Mixer. Then holding Shift down, create in order a Redrum, Spider CV Merger/Splitter, and Thor Synth.
  2. Right-click over the Redrum Pattern section and select “Randomize Pattern” just to quickly add a pattern. For this tutorial, the Redrum is used as a sequencer, and nothing more. You’ll be able to change the Resolution of the Pattern, number of steps, and use the Mute/Solo functions, but samples are not necessary.
  3. Next, Create a Bass Drum sound in Thor. Here’s an example of one way you could go about doing this (see the screenshot below). In the Sequencer section, change the Run Mode to 1-shot, and reduce the steps down to 2. Then in the Modulation Bus Routing Section (MBRS), enter the following:

    CV In1: 100 > Filt1 In

    The Front Panel of Thor with our Analog Bass Drum Sound
    The Front Panel of Thor with our Analog Bass Drum Sound
  4. Now let’s flip the rack around to the back and make our routing connections. First, connect the Left and Right Audio Outputs (1 and 2) from Thor into the Left and Right Audio Inputs on Channel 1 on the Mixer. Then connect the Gate Out on Channel 1 of the Redrum into the Split A input. Send one split output to the CV 1 In on Thor, and send another split to the Gate in (Trig) CV input on the Thor Step Sequencer (at the bottom of Thor).

    Routings on the Back of the rack
    Routings on the Back of the rack
  5. Press Play, and if you will hear the Bass Drum playing. If you don’t hear anything, be sure to check the Pattern in the Redrum and make sure there are some Bass Drum parts in the Pattern Sequencer.
  6. Still on the back of the rack, select the Spider Merger/Splitter and Thor together by shift+clicking on both devices. Right-click and select “Duplicate Devices and Tracks.” Then connect the Left and Right Audio Outputs (1 and 2) from the second Thor into the Left and Right Audio Inputs on Channel 2 on the Mixer. And connect the Gate Out CV from the Redrum second channel into Split A on the Spider CV Merger/Splitter.
  7. Flip the rack around to the front and create a new drum sound in Thor, maybe another Bass Drum or Snare. Repeat this process until you have all 10 Redrum channels filled up. Congratulations! You’ve just created a complete drum kit.

Vocoder Filtering

This trick was shown in Matt Piper’s great Youtube video where he set up a Vocoder to filter his drums. To see the video, visit his tutorial here: propellerhead-record-reason-vocoding-with-drums

  1. Once you have your drum kit set up, go to the back of the rack, and select the Mixer. Hold Shift down, and create a BV512 Vocoder, Thor, and a Spider Audio Merger/Splitter.
  2. Move the Left and Right Audio input cables on the Combinator (From Devices) to the Left and Right Carrier Input on the Vocoder. Then connect the Left and Right Carrier Output from the Vocoder to the Left and Right Audio input on the Combinator (From Devices).
  3. Route The 1 Mono/Left and 2 Right Outputs from the Thor device to two Left Merge channels on the Spider Audio Merger/Splitter. Connect the Merged output from those two cables to the Modulator Input on the Vocoder. With our routing set up, flip around to the front of the rack.

    Vocoder Routing setup
    Vocoder Routing setup
  4. On the front panel of the Vocoder, set the Band Count to 4 Bands (I also found the 8 and 16 bands work well, depending what kind of sound you are looking for). Move the Shift knob to around -24, and Decay to around 80.
  5. In Thor’s global top panel, set the Polyphony to 1, Release Polyphony to 0, and Key Mode to mono Retrig. In the Voice section, add a Noise Oscillator in Slot 1, set the Noise Wave to Color, and Noise Mod to around 36. Then turn on “1” to send the Oscillator to Filter 1 slot (which is on Bypass by the way). Turn off everything else except the Filter and Amp Envelope. In the Step Sequencer section, set the Run Mode to Repeat.

    The front panel settings for the Vocoder and Thor Modulator
    The front panel settings for the Vocoder and Thor Modulator

That’s really all there is to it. Not too complex, just time consuming to create all your drum sounds in the various Thor devices. But it’s very rewarding when you have your own custom drum kit set up just the way you want.

Where do you go from here?

  • You can try the same setup with a stack of Subtractors or Malstrom devices, or any combination of Subs, Mals and Thors to create your custom drum kits.
  • You can add a reverb and a delay to your drums. Also, for an instant doubling effect, you can modulate a button on the combinator to switch from 1-2 steps in all the Thors at once. This doubles up the drum beats (see below for this setup in my own Electro Drum kit).
  • Try going into the Thor which is used as the Vocoder’s Modulator, and switch the Oscillator 1 Noise wave from Color to Static, and then set the Noise mod dial to around 30 or so. You’ll create some very interesting glitch effects.
  • As you can see I’ve added a few effects here and there. There’s two phasers tied to the Hi Hats, for example. In this same way, you can chain some effects into the drums individually. Try adding some scream or even vocoding the drums separately. However, if you do, you’ll have to realize that the more effects, the more CPU intensive this gets. As it is, I only saw 2 bars on my CPU meter. Not too bad. Definitely less intensive than the last kit I put together.

Electro Drums Combinator Controls

Pitch Bend: Unassigned.

Mod Wheel: This controls the Band Count on the Vocoder from 4 bands (no modulation) to FFT (512) when pushed all the way up.

Rotary 1: Voc Filter – This controls the Noise Mod from the Vocoder’s Modulation Oscillator. This can be used to shape the sound of the Drum Filtering through the Vocoder.

Rotary 2: Shift – This controls the Shift parameter on the Vocoder. Again, this can be used to sculpt the sound of the Drum’s Vocoder Filter.

Rotary 3: Pattern Seq. – This knob is used to switch between all 31 patterns in the Redrum. You can assign any patterns you like in the redrum and it will be tied to this knob. In this way, when you’re playing the drums, you can switch on the fly. In my drum kit, I threw in a bunch of random patterns so that you can hear something playing no matter where the knob is set. Note that if the knob is turned fully left, an empty pattern plays (essentially turning the Pattern Sequencer off and silencing all the drums). This is good if you need an empty spot in your song.

Rotary 4: Master Level – This controls the master level of the Submixer, so that you can adjust the drum level globally.

Button 1: Doubler – This doubles all the drum beats via the Thor Step Sequencers. When on, the steps are set to 2, which will play two beats anytime the drum is triggered. When off, only one drum beat will occur when the drum is triggered.

Button 2: Alt Filter – This quickly switches the filters used to modulate the Vocoder, as well as adding a Scream and Reverb effect to the drums. I wanted to make this drum template as versatile as I could, so I thought why not add a completely different sound in the Combinator for some fun. It gives the drum sounds a completely different and more electronic (less organic) sound.

Button 3: Master Bypass – This button controls the Mastering (M Class) devices, as well as the Vocoder filter. If you don’t want to add any mastering or Vocoder Filter to the drums, turn this button on. The Drum sounds are then completely dry (or as they originally sound via the Thors). Leave it off if you want the drums compressed, EQ’d and Vocoded.

Button 4: HH FX – I added some Phaser FX to the High Hats just to give them a different feel. You’ll just have to try it out and see if you like it. I thought it was a cool sound, so I kept it in there as an option for you.

So let me know what you think of this setup, and if you have any other ideas or have some great tips for drum creativity, please feel free to share your comments.

Good Luck!

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’s “From Devices” ins to the Audio Inputs of the Compressor. Then connect the Audio Outputs from the Maximizer to the “From Devices” 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’s flip the rack around and start working on applying settings to the front of the devices. First, click the “Enable Pattern Section” 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 “On.” To do this, set up a one step long pattern in the sequencer. Turn Button 1 on (so it’s 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’t 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 – Formant Filter – 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 “Duplicate Devices and Tracks.” 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 “Alternate Pattern” 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’s 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’s 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’t 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!

3 – Filtering Audio through Thor

In this project I’m going to demonstrate a few ways you can use Thor’s filters, FX (Delay and Chorus), and LFOs creatively by routing any of your audio sources through Thor. This can be a great way to punch up some drums or create new innovative sounds from any of the synths. So let’s start our exploration.

In this project I’m going to demonstrate a few ways you can use Thor’s filters, FX (Delay and Chorus), and LFOs creatively by routing any of your audio sources through Thor. This can be a great way to punch up some drums from a Redrum, or to create some new innovative sounds from any of the synths. Furthermore, you’re not limited to using only 1 filter. You can connect your audio through a series of Thor devices to gain access to more than 1 filter at a time. So let’s start our exploration.

Basic Audio Filtering through Thor:

  1. Open Reason. In the rack create a Combinator and inside the Combinator create a Thor, initialize the patch, and then create a Redrum underneath. Add a drum kit and create a simple pattern with a kick, high hat and a few other drums. Don’t make it too complex. Use about 4 or 5 drum samples to create the pattern.
  2. With all the hard work done, now we’ll do some routing. Flip the rack around and route the Left and Right audio output from the Redrum into the “Audio In 1” and “Audio in 2” on the Thor.
  3. Basic cable routing to pipe audio through Thor
    Basic cable routing to pipe audio through Thor
  4. Flip the rack back around, show the Programmer for Thor, and uncheck all the little green lights in the “note” section (the section that is dark and not light brown). Also, turn the analog osc.1 off, and bypass the Ladder Filter (Filter 1). Then turn off the routing between Osc.1 and Filter 1 (the little red “1” light). In the top device section, set Polyphony and Release Poliphony to “0” and turn off both trigger lights (Midi and Step Seq). The point is that you don’t need any of that mumbo jumbo.
  5. Add a Filter into the third Filter slot of Thor. A Low Pass Ladder or Comb filter works well with Drums, but you can use any filter you like.
  6. At this point, most people will press play and think that they should be hearing something. But we’re not finished yet. We need to reroute the default Thor audio signal. Here’s how to do that: In the MBRS (short for “Modulation Bus Routing Section”) of Thor, in the first row on the left, click on the “Source” and select the bottom-most option “Audio Input > 1” then set the “Amount” column to “100.” Click the “Destination” column and select “Filter 3 > Left In.” On a new row, do the same thing, but for Audio Input 2 as a source and “Filter 3 > Right In” as the destination.
  7. The MBRS at the bottom of Thor
    The MBRS at the bottom of Thor
  8. Now press play. You’ll hear the drum pattern, which is routed through Filter 3 in Thor, then to the Chorus and Delay section, and back out to the mixer.
  9. Optionally, you can use the FX (Delay and Chorus), or route the LFO2 to affect any of the parameters in Filter 3 or the FX. One thing I like to do is turn on both the Delay and Chorus. Then in the MBRS section, program the two FX Dry/Wet parameters to the two Rotaries. If you use amounts of +100 for both, then turn the actual Dry/Wet knobs on the FX all the way down, you create a controllable Delay and Chorus effect via the Rotaries. I also use the Mod wheel to control the Filter 3 Frequency or Resonance or both. That way, it’s all controllable. If you want to push it further, you can assign the LFO2 to affect the Frequency or Resonance via one of the Thor buttons. This all gives you a great degree of control over affecting the sound. Download the example file (at the bottom of this post) to see these routings.
The front of Thor, with all routings for the FX and LFO2
The front of Thor, with all routings for the FX and LFO2

First, here’s an example of the original sound:
[ti_audio media=”177″ repeat=”1″]

Second, here’s an example with the audio filtered through Thor (remember, you can adjust the filter to taste):
[ti_audio media=”175″ repeat=”1″]

As an aside, if you’re using Record and have an audio track, you can still route your audio through Thor, by cabling the direct output of the audio track to the Thor inputs 1 + 2 as shown below.

Routing an audio track in Record through Thor
Routing an audio track in Record through Thor

Audio Filtering through a Series of Thor Filters:

By now, you will have noticed that plugging audio through Thor gives you access to the global section (the parts of Thor that are light brown). What if you want the use of more than one filter. Let’s say you want your audio path to move this way: Audio Device > Formant > Comb > Low Pass Ladder? Well, it’s really quite simple. Follow the above directions to set up your first Thor, and then build upon that as follows:

  1. Flip the Rack around. Right-click over Thor and select “Duplicate Devices and Tracks.” Do this one more time. You should now have 3 Thor devices.
  2. Move the “Audio In” cables from the first Thor to the bottom-most Thor’s “Audio Ins” and then cable the “Audio Outs” from that bottom-most Thor into the Thor above’s “Audio Ins.” Finally, cable the “Audio Outs” from the middle Thor to the “Audio Ins” of the top-most Thor.
  3. Flip the rack around again to see the front. Then switch the bottom-most Filter 3 to “Formant” and top-most Filter 3 to “Low Pass Ladder.”
  4. Press Play and adjust the three filters to taste. It might help to bypass the filters on the top two Thors. Adjust the bottom filter, then turn the middle filter on, adjust it, and then finally turn the top Thor filter on and adjust it. That’s all there is to it. 3 filters affecting one sound source.
Routing Thor filters in series to affect a sound source
Routing Thor filters in series to affect a sound source

Example of the Filters in Series:
[ti_audio media=”178″ repeat=”1″]

Audio Filtering separate Drums through Thor:

All of the above is fine and dandy, but what if you don’t want all the Drums filtered the same way. Let’s say, for example, you want the Bass Drum to be filtered by a Low Pass Ladder filter and the High Hat to be filtered through a High Pass in a State Variable filter. Well, without getting too complicated, here’s what you do:

  1. Follow the steps to create a Basic Thor Filter above.
  2. Create a Line Mixer 6:2 and move it to the top of the Devices in the Combinator.
  3. Flip the Rack around, and delete the audio output cables from the Redrum.
  4. Duplicate the Thor device (so you now have two Thor devices under the Line Mixer.
  5. Move the Audio Outputs from the first Thor into the Master Audio Outputs of the Line Mixer.
  6. Cable the Bass Drum Audio Outputs from the Redrum to the first Thor’s Audio Inputs 1 + 2
  7. Cable the High Hat Drum Audio Outputs from the Redrum to the second Thor’s Audio Inputs 1 + 2
  8. Cable the Audio Outputs from the two Thors into Channels 1 & 2 on the Line Mixer.
  9. Routing two separate filters to control the Bass and High Hat Drums
    Routing two separate filters to control the Bass and High Hat Drums
  10. Cable the other Drums into the free channels on the Line Mixer.
  11. Routing all the drums to the Line Mixer
    Routing all the drums to the Line Mixer
  12. Flip the Rack around again to the front, and then insert the Filters of your choice into the Filter 3 slots of both Thors. Adjust them to taste in order to affect the Bass and High Hat Drums

Example of separately filtered Drums (with a little delay on the High Hat):
[ti_audio media=”176″ repeat=”1″]

Some Final Thoughts:

Finally, just because you filter one sound through the Global section of Thor, this doesn’t mean you can’t use the Thor to generate a sound of its own. This way, you end up merging two sounds together in a kind of layering. If you want to see how this is done, look at the “Synth+Filter – Droid Chatter” Combinator in the example files. You can do some pretty interesting things this way. Additionally, you can take one sound source, split it into two different Thor filters and then route them to two separate channels in the mixer, or back into one channel if you like. A wealth of options and possibilities, for sure. 

Example of a Synth Arp + Thor with an Analog Oscillator, both generating sound. The Synth Arp is being filtered through Thor while Thor is generating a sound of it’s own. This creates a layered effect:
[ti_audio media=”179″ repeat=”1″]

So as you can see, routing audio through Thor is not difficult, but most people miss the step about the Modulation Bus Routing Section. If you remember to reroute the audio signal, you’re golden. That’s it in a nutshell. nothing fancy.

I mainly use Thor’s comb or Low Pass Ladder filter to affect drums and then put it all in a combinator. But that’s just one way you can use Thor.  Are there any other ways you Route your audio through Thor? Do you have some creative ideas that I haven’t covered here? Please share them. I’m curious to see how people are using Thor to affect external sources.

Download the Example Files