Echobode PDF Guide

Meet the Echobode Frequency Shifter Delay, a creative FX device capable of producing Chorus, Amplitude Modulation, Ring Modulation, Frequency Shifting, Phasing, Flanging, and straight up Echo Delay effects for any kind of sound you want to throw at it. It’s a truly unique Rack Extension that adds something entirely different to the Reason Rack, and fills in another missing piece to the stock Reason puzzle. Here, I’ve put together an 8-page PDF guide to cover the device, soup to nuts. And still for the same price as a cup of coffee.

Reason 101 Echobode PDF GuideMeet the Echobode Frequency Shifter Delay, a creative FX device capable of producing Chorus, Amplitude Modulation, Ring Modulation, Frequency Shifting, Phasing, Flanging, and straight up Echo Delay effects for any kind of sound you want to throw at it. It’s a truly unique Rack Extension that adds something entirely different to the Reason Rack, and fills in another missing piece to the stock Reason puzzle. Here, I’ve put together an 8-page PDF guide to cover the device, soup to nuts. And still for the same price as a cup of coffee.

Sonic Charge is the company behind this Rack Extension, and if this device is any indication, I’ll be giving tryouts to all REs that come from this company. If you haven’t tried out the Echobode yet, you should. Just listening to the patches that come with this RE is a treat. You not only get several Effect patches and Effect Combinators, but you get several choice Instruments (and even a Drum Kit) as well. If you already own it, then perhaps this PDF will inspire you to look at Echobode and see a few new ways it can be used.

Reason101 Echobode PDF Guide

If you are familiar with the book I wrote on the core devices in Reason, then you’ll already be familiar with the layout. There’s a bunch of samples on the book page which you can download to get an idea of how these PDFs are put together. Here’s an outline of what you’ll get in the 8-page Echobode PDF guide, specifically:

  • Complete coverage of the front of the Echobode device, with all controls explained.
  • Complete coverage of all the Audio & CV routing options found on the back of the Echobode.
  • Chart outlining the Target modulations available inside the Combinator, with their Min / Max values
  • Plenty of Tips & Tricks
  • 6 Tutorials:
    • Simple Harmonized Metallic Bells
    • Echobode Mono to Stereo Phasing
    • Multi-Band Spatial Effect
    • Echobode Chiptune Effect
    • Using the Sideband Outputs for a Spacey Juno Lead
    • Bass Drum Frequency Variations

And all of this for $1.99 USD.

Purchases can be made here:

Add to Cart

Also don’t forget that the book, which covers all core Reason Devices & 8 Rack Extensions is still available over here: http://www.reason101.net/products/reason101-visual-guide-to-the-reason-rack/

Any comments, ideas, suggestions, please feel free to ask below. All my best & happy Reasoning!

83 – Audiomatic Instant Switcher

With the advent of Reason 7, you get the Audiomatic Retro Transformer Rack Extension for free. This is like Instagram for photos, except it creates musical snapshots that can be applied to the whole mix or individual tracks. So I thought, why not create an FX combinator where you can select different Audiomatic presets using the Kong pads. The added benefit is that you can switch between them in real-time at any point you like using automation. I even added a bypass so that when an audiomatic preset is not selected, the original audio is passed through unaffected. Or, there’s a method to play it parallel with the original loop.

In this tutorial I’m going to go over how to create an 8-way Audiomatic Retro Transformer Switcher using the Pads in a Kong device. You can easily add all 16 on all Kong Pads and then switch between any of them using your Pad Controller or Key Controller. Or you can use a built-in randomizer. This is just one idea I came up with out of a discussion with Kurt Kurasaki on Facebook. So I thought I would share it with everyone.

With the advent of Reason 7, you get the Audiomatic Retro Transformer Rack Extension for free. This is like Instagram for photos, except it creates musical snapshots that can be applied to the whole mix or individual tracks. So I thought, why not create an FX combinator where you can select different Audiomatic presets using the Kong pads. The added benefit is that you can switch between them in real-time at any point you like using automation. I even added a bypass so that when an audiomatic preset is not selected, the original audio is passed through unaffected. Or, there’s a method to play it parallel with the original loop.

You can download the project files here: 8-way-audiomatic-kong-switcher. There’s 2 Combinator files included. One file with an audio bypass, and one without. It requires Reason 7.0, Audiomatic Retro Transformer and Directre.

The Audiomatic Retro Transformer Instantaneous Switcher

  1. Create a Dr. Octo Rex Loop Player. Click the Browse Patch folder icon and open the AC Guitar | Open Strums Key of A 90 bpm.drex patch. This provides a sound source for our Combinator FX setup.
  2. Hold down Shift and create a Combinator. Click the Show Programmer button.
  3. Inside the Combinator, create a Mixer 14:2. Reduce the Level Faders on Channels 1-8 all the way to 0. We’re going to control the volume of these Channels using Kong.
  4. Hold down Shift and create a Kong Drum Designer. Relabel pads 1-8 in the following way:

    Pad 1 = Spread

    Pad 2 = Radio

    Pad 3 = VHS

    Pad 4 = Vinyl

    Pad 5 = Tape

    Pad 6 = Hi-Fi

    Pad 7 = Bright

    Pad 8 = Bottom

  5. Hold down Shift and create a Directre Audio Router. Turn on all 8 Channels using the Enable buttons. We’ll use this to split the incoming audio out to 8 different Channels on Directre (note that you can also use another Mixer 14:2 for this task, instead of Directre).
  6. Hold down Shift and create 8 Audiomatic Retro Transformer devices. Label them the same way you labeled the first 8 Pads on Kong above. Then switch each device’s Preset to the corresponding label. In this case, we will have 8 Audiomatic devices, each with a different preset. The basic premise is to send audio splits from each Directre output into the Audiomatic, and then send that back out to the Main Mixer and then out of the Combinator.
  7. Hold down Shift and create a Thor device. Click the Show Programmer buttton. Name the Thor device “Sequencer.” On the Global panel, set the Pitch Bend range, Polyphony, and Release Polyphony to 0. Relabel Button 1 “Trig Step Seq” and disable both the MIDI & Step Seq buttons. In the Programmer panel, turn off Oscillator 1, disable routing Oscillator 1 from the Mixer to Filter 1 by deselecting the “1” button, bypass Filter 1, and turn off the Global Envelope. Rename Thor 1 “Bass Filter” and Thor 2 “Snare Filter” (see image at right). Enter the following into the first line of the Modulation Bus Routing System (MBRS):

    Button 1 : 100 > S. Trig [This allows you to enable the Run button on Thor’s Step Sequencer from Thor’s Button 1]

  8. Still inside the “Sequencer” Thor, set the Run Mode to Repeat, and the Direction to Random. Set the Octave Switch to 4. Create an 8-step sequence where each step is set to subsequent Note values from C1 to G1. Since these notes trigger Kong’s first 8 pads via the internal MIDI Pad assignments, we’re setting up Thor to trigger these Pads randomly.
  9. Still inside the “Sequencer” Thor device, switch the Edit rotary to “Gate Length” and set all 8 steps to 100%. This ensures that switching among Audiomatic presets is instantaneous, as it takes up the full length of the gate. Going from one to the other is a smooth transition.

    The front panel showing all the devices in the Audiomatic Retro Transformer Combinator patch.
    The front panel showing all the devices in the Audiomatic Retro Transformer Combinator patch.
  10. Tab to the back of the rack. Move the left / right Main Output cables from the Dr. Octo Rex to the left / right “Combi Output.” Create a new audio cable pair from the left / right Main output of Dr. Octo Rex to the left / right “Combi Input.” Create another audio cable pair from the Combinator’s left / right “To Devices” to the left / right “Main In” on Directre.

    The back of the rack showing the routings between the Dr. Octo Rex and the Combinator, as well as the routings for the Main Mixer.
    The back of the rack showing the routings between the Dr. Octo Rex and the Combinator, as well as the routings for the Main Mixer.
  11. Send Channels 1-8 left / right Direct Out from Directre into the 8 Audiomatic left / right inputs. Then send the left / right outputs of all 8 Audiomatic devices into the first 8 Channels on the Mixer 14:2.
  12. On Kong, send the first 8 Pad Gate Out CV cables to their respective Level CV In on the Mixer 14:2. However, set it up so that Pads 1-4 on Kong are going into Channels 5-8 on the Mixer, and Pads 5-8 on Kong are going into Channels 1-4 on the Mixer.
  13. Finally, on the “Sequencer” Thor device, send the Note & Gate/Velocity from Thor’s Step Sequencer into the Kong’s CV & Gate inputs. This sets up Kong to be sequenced from Thor.

    The back of the rack showing the routings between the Mixer, Kong, Directre and the Audiomatic devices.
    The back of the rack showing the routings between the Mixer, Kong, Directre and the Audiomatic devices.
  14. Tab to the front of the rack. On the Combinator, label Rotary 1 “Rate,” Button 1 “Rnd Sequence,” and Button 2 “Sync.” In the Programmer, select the “Sequencer” Thor device in the Key Mapping area, and enter the following in the Modulation Routing section:

    Rotary 1 > Synced Rate : 0 / 20 [Ensures you have access to the full rate of Thor’s sequencer via Rotary 1 on the Combinator]

    Rotary 1 > Free Rate : 1 / 2,500 [Ensures you have access to the full rate of Thor’s sequencer via Rotary 1 on the Combinator]

    Button 1 > Button 1 : 0 / 1 [Since Thor’s Button 1 sets the Sequencer in motion, this Button turns the Sequencer on when enabled]

    Button 2 > Synced : 0 / 1 [Syncs Thor’s Step Sequencer to the Rate to the Song Tempo when enabled]

  15. Set Rotary 1 on the Combinator to 72 (which equals a rate of 1/4 in the Sequencer). Then press Button 2 to set the Sequencer to Sync mode (even though it’s already set up like this by default, it engages the button to operate in Sync).

Press the Run button on the Dr. Octo Rex or press play on the Transport. This starts the Dr. Octo Rex guitar loop. You won’t hear anything though, because there’s no audio bypass. However, when you now press Button 1 on the Combinator, Thor’s Sequencer is set in motion. This, in turn, triggers the Kong Pads to play the first 8 pads randomly (and this, I should add, is wonderful for many different applications). However, you may want to play the Pads manually, or from your Pad Controller, without using the Thor sequencer. You can do this by creating a track for Kong and then going nuts on the first 8 pads. Since the audio is always going through all 8 Audiomatic devices, the switch from Pad to Pad is instantaneous. However, when no pad is pressed, you won’t hear anything. So let’s set up our Combinator so that if the Pads are not pressed, the original audio still passes through. The following explains how to set this up.

Setting up an Audio Bypass

  1. Continuing with our above tutorial, go inside the Combinator and select the Mixer 14:2. Hold Shift down, and create a Line Mixer 6:2, a Spider Audio Merger / Splitter, and a Thor. Name the Line Mixer “Bypass,” the Spider “Bypass Split,” and the Thor “Bypass Gate.”
  2. In the “Bypass Gate” Thor device, set the Pitch Bend Range to 0, the Polyphony & Release Polyphony to 0, and click the Show Programmer buttton. Turn off Oscillator 1, disable routing Oscillator 1 from the Mixer to Filter 1 by deselecting the “1” button, bypass Filter 1, and turn off all the Envelope (Gate Trig) buttons. Enter the following in the first 2 lines of the MBRS:

    Audio In1 : 100 > Audio Out1 : -100 > MIDI Gate

    Audio In2 : 100 > Audio Out2 : -100 > MIDI Gate

  3. The negative MIDI gate values in the MBRS mean that the original unprocessed sound will shine through when the keys are NOT played. They will also cut the sound when the keys ARE played. In this case, since you have the effects loaded on the keys, the FX signal will take over and you’ll hear the effects processing the sounds while those keys are played. Click the Show Programmer button again to fold up the “Bypass Gate” Thor device.
  4. Tab to the back of the rack, and Move the Directre’s left / right “Main In” audio cables to the “Bypass Split” Spider’s left / right Split Inputs. Send Split 1 left / right outputs on the “Bypass Split” Spider back into the Directre’s left / right “Main In.”  Then send a second Split from the “Bypass Split” (Split 2) left / right outputs into the “Bypass Gate” Thor device’s Audio In 1 / Audio In 2.
  5. On the “Bypass Gate” Thor device, send 1 / Left & 2 / Right Audio Outputs into the Channel 1 left / right inputs on the “Bypass” Line Mixer. Move the left / right Master Outputs from the Mixer 14:2 into the Master Outputs of the “Bypass” Line Mixer. Then create a new audio connection from the left / right Master Outputs of the Main Mixer 14:2 to the Channel 2 left / right inputs on the “Bypass” Line Mixer.
The back of the rack showing the routings for the Audio / FX  Bypass setup.
The back of the rack showing the routings for the Audio / FX Bypass setup.

Tab to the front of the rack. So far we’ve set up the routing for the bypass. As it stands now, if you press Run on the Dr. Octo Rex, you’ll hear the original loop. If you then press Button 1 on the Combinator, you’ll hear BOTH the original Loop and the Audiomatic Preset playing at once (in a Parallel manner). To set things up so that you don’t hear both at once do the following:

  1. Hold Shift and create a Spider CV Merger / Splitter at the bottom of the Combinator’s device stack. Tab to the back of the rack. Move the “Sequencer” Thor’s Gate / Velocity CV output from the Step Sequencer into the A Split 1 on the Spider CV Splitter. Then create a new CV cable from the “Sequencer” Thor Gate / Velocity CV output into the Spider CV Splitter’s A input. Send another Split (A Split 2) into the Combinator’s CV 1 Input. Change the CV Switch on Input 1 to Unipolar.
  2. Tab to the front of the rack, and in the Combinator, select the “Bypass” Line Mixer in the Key Mapping area. Enter the following in the Modulation Routing section:

    CV In 1 > Channel 1 Mute : 0 / 1

When you press Run on the Dr. Octo Rex, you’ll hear the original loop. If you now press Button 1 on the Combinator, the original loop is muted, and only the Audiomatic preset affecting the loop will be heard. Note that with this setup, you cannot play the pads individually via your Pad Controller. If you do, you will still hear the parallel processed configuration with both the Original and processed loop at the same time. However, this gives you two methods to control the Audiomatic switching effect.


That’s it for now. Hope you find this idea useful. Try your hand at creating a 16-way switcher if you like.

“Red” ReFill

This ReFill contains many different experimentations and uses for Etch Red, and showcases the many possibilities of using this device, both in your instruments and as effects. There are many examples of Dubstep Basses, Pad rhythms, Wide Chorusing effects, Vibrato & Tremolo effects, and Filter Frequency effects. There are also a few Rex loops included to show you some examples of how you can integrate the Dr. OctoRex with Etch Red. My hope is that I’ve provided you not only with a highly playable and fun Refill to use as is, but also with many different designs that you can open up and look inside to spark your own experimentation and curiosity. In this way, Red can become a springboard for your own ideas.

Reason101 Red ReFillRed is a ReFill based around the Etch Red Rack Extension from FXpansion. In order to use it you will need Reason 6.5+ and Etch Red. If you want to learn more about Etch Red, I’ve created this introductory Etch Red Tutorial that might help you along. You can also purchase Etch Red if you don’t already have it.

This ReFill contains many different experimentations and uses for Etch Red, and showcases the many possibilities of using this device, both in your instruments and as effects. There are many examples of Dubstep Basses, Pad rhythms, Wide Chorusing effects, Vibrato & Tremolo effects, and Filter Frequency effects. There are also a few Rex loops included to show you some examples of how you can integrate the Dr. OctoRex with Etch Red. My hope is that I’ve provided you not only with a highly playable and fun Refill to use as is, but also with many different designs that you can open up and look inside to spark your own experimentation and curiosity. In this way, Red can become a springboard for your own ideas.

What’s included in the ReFill?

  • 60 Effect Combinators
  • 40 Instrument Combinators
  • 120 Etch Red device patches
  • 10 Rex Loops

Purchasing

The Red ReFill cost is $15.00 USD. Purchasing is done through Paypal. After payment is made, you will be able to download your product.

Add to Cart

Demo Videos

Here is a video that outlines the instruments you’ll find in the ReFill:

Here is a video that outlines the instruments you’ll find in the ReFill:

69 – All about the Alligator (Part 2)

Let’s continue with the Alligator and find a few other tricks that it can perform. In the first part, I looked at how the Alligator works, and provided a few ideas for how to work with it. In this part, I’m going to get a little more practical and show a few new ideas you can incorporate into your tunes. Hopefully this will provide you with some new creative inspiration.

Let’s continue with the Alligator and find a few other tricks that it can perform. In the first part, I looked at how the Alligator works, and provided a few ideas for how to work with it. In this part, I’m going to get a little more practical and show a few new ideas you can incorporate into your tunes. Hopefully this will provide you with some new creative inspiration.

You can download the project files here: alligator-techniques-part2. 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 Alligator patches alone, and several Alligator-based Combinators with all kinds of interesting routing ideas. Read More about the ReFill.

So let’s continue where we left off last. . .

Technique #5: Using the Alligator Effects without the Gates or Filters

After I wrote the first tutorial, it occurred to me that you can use each part of the Alligator independantly. For example, you can use the Gates only, without the Filter and Effects section. Or you can use the Filter section only, while keeping the Gates continually open. And lastly, you can use the Effects or Mixer sections only, if that’s all you want to use (Drive, Phaser, Delay, Pan, Volume). The way to achieve it is as follows:

  1. Start with “Technique #2: Keeping your Gates Open.” To recap, you set the pattern to #60, and ensure the Amp Envelope Decay knob is set to 127 (fully right). Then flip to the back of the Alligator, and send Gate CV Output 1 to Gate CV Input 3, Gate CV Output 2 to Gate CV Input 1, and Gate CV Output 3 to Gate CV Input 2. This way all your gates are Fully open.
  2. Fully turn down the volume of the High and Band pass filters. Note: Alternately, you can move the main left/right output cables to the Low Pass Channel left/right outputs on the back of the Alligator. This way, the audio input into the Alligator is only passing through the Low Pass section of the Alligator. Note also that this doesn’t have to be the Low Pass Channel. This idea works with any of the Channels in the Alligator, since the effects and mixer sections are the same for all 3 Channels. The idea is to pick one Channel, and mute the other two.
  3. Turn off the filter section (green light) on the low pass filter.
  4. You might also want to reduce the volume of the low pass filter (I found a volume setting of 64 for the low pass volume combined with a volume setting of 100 for the master volume is equivalent to bypassing the Alligator — at least to my ears).

Now your signal is passing through the low pass Channel only, and with the Gate always open and the Filter section turned off, you can use the effects & mixer sections independently to affect your sound.

The Alligator Front Panel, showing the areas of importance when trying to use a single channel for effects and Mixer only; in this case, using the Low Pass Channel
The Alligator Front Panel, showing the areas of importance when trying to use a single channel for effects and Mixer only; in this case, using the Low Pass Channel

Technique #6: Using External Effects

As with all Reason devices, you can very easily set things up to use external Reason devices. In other words, you are not limited to using the Drive, Phaser, and Delay that’s already built into the Alligator device. If you wish to use an external effects device, such as an Echo, Scream, or even any of the Kong FX modules, you can easily set this up. Here’s how you go about it.

  1. Select the sound source device or Audio Channel and then add an Alligator so that it’s auto-routed.
  2. Determine if you want the external effect to be applied to all three Channels or just one of the Channels.
  3. If you want the effect applied to all three Channels, it’s super easy. Just select the Alligator and add your effect device (a Scream, for instance). The Scream is auto-routed after the Alligator and will be applied to the Gated signal from all three Channels.
  4. If, however, you want to have the effect applied to specific Channels, select the Alligator and add your effect device (a Scream, for instance). Then flip to the back of the device (Tab), and move the main left/right Alligator audio output cables to one of the three desired Channel output pair (High, Band, or Low Pass Channel).
  5. If you desire, you can do the same thing for the other two Channels by adding other effects and routing them in a similar way. This way, you could have a Chorus effect inserted into the High Pass Channel, a Scream inserted into the Band Pass Channel, and a Pulveriser inserted into the Low Pass Channel. Or you could have three different screams inserted into the three different Channels, and set the parameters/settings for all three Screams differently to get more variation.

The more you experiment with external devices, the more I’m sure you’ll find how versatile the Alligator is in processing your sounds. You might even wonder how you ever lived without this device.

The back of the rack, showing how to process the audio through single Alligator channels and external effects.
The back of the rack, showing how to process the audio through single Alligator channels and external effects.

Here’s the video showing you the above two techniques:

Technique #7: Gating Three different Audio signals across Three Different Gate Channels.

Here’s an interesting way to go about using the Alligator Effect device. How about taking three different sound sources and passing them through the three different Alligator Gate Channels, and then outputting them to three different Mixer Channels? Confused yet?

No, you can’t really do this with a single Alligator because the Alligator only has one pair of Inputs. However, you can create three Alligators, and then send your three audio sources into the three different Alligators (one audio source for each Alligator). Once this is done, you can send the separate channel outputs on to their own Mix Channel Inputs. The setup would look like this:

  • Audio Source 1 > Alligator “A” main left/right input > High Pass Channel left/right output > Mix Channel “A” left/right input
  • Audio Source 1 > Alligator “B” main left/right input > Band Pass Channel left/right output > Mix Channel “B” left/right input
  • Audio Source 1 > Alligator “C” main left/right input > Low Pass Channel left/right output > Mix Channel “C” left/right input

The nice thing about this setup is that you can choose to keep all three Alligators’ “Pattern” section the same, in which case the “Pattern” sounds sync nicely together between all three Alligators, or you can spice it up by setting up different parameters in each of the Alligator “Pattern” sections. For example, you could set Alligator “A” to have a resolution of 1/8, Alligator “B” to have a resolution of 1/16, and Alligator “C” to have a resolution of 1/32. And/or you can set all three Alligators to different patterns entirely. This way, you can attain some very intriguing and unique gate patterns going on, and all your friends will wonder how the hell you did it. Well, maybe not, but it’s something worth a try!

Showing different audio sources processed by different alligator channels to achieve an interesting result.
Showing different audio sources processed by different alligator channels to achieve an interesting result.

Technique #8: Oh Hell, let’s just dive off the cliff already!

You want something completely off the wall right? Well here goes. Since the Alligator contains separate outputs, you could theoretically “Nest” the Alligators one after the other. This creates a Double-Gate-Filter-FX Channel for any audio source passed through it. Here’s how this little trick works at it’s most simplest (note that you can create Triple- Quadruple- and so on, nested Channels up to the point where it probably just won’t sound good anymore and your CPU will have a heart attack and lie dead on the operation table). This technique goes down one nested level, and only highlights the “High Pass” Channel. Of course, there’s nothing stopping you from mixing/matching nested channels either. For example, a High Pass Channel goes into a Low Pass Channel, or a Low Pass Channel goes into a Band Pass Channel. Just be warned that you may need to write this out as a diagram on paper first before you lose yourself in Cables.

  • Audio Source > Alligator “A” main left/right input > High Pass Channel left/right output. . .
  • . . . Alligator “A” High Pass Channel left/right output > Alligator “B” main left/right input > High Pass Channel left/right output > Mix Channel left/right input

So now that you’ve set it up in this way, if all your Alligators are set to the exact same parameters, adding on these additional “nested” Alligators won’t produce a different sound. Where things get interesting is when you start changing the parameters so each of the Alligators are set with unique parameters. See the Project Files at the top of this tutorial for a Combinator that shows this type of setup.

Of course, if you want to use all three channels, you’ll need to create more Alligators, and each nested level will require a new Alligator. You’ll also need a Spider Audio Merger/Splitter to both split the Audio Source into the three channels, and then use the Merged side to merge them back again before going on to the Mix Channel input. As I said, this could get very tricky very quickly, and will probably be quite CPU-intensive. My advice would be to start off with one Channel and two levels (as the example shows above), then start setting up the parameters on both Alligators. See how that works out for you. Then build it up by moving to the next Channel (if you like), and so on.

Processing your audio source through multiple Alligator Channels. This shows the High Pass Channel in series. But you can do the same with other Alligator channels.
Processing your audio source through multiple Alligator Channels. This shows the High Pass Channel in series. But you can do the same with other Alligator channels.

Technique #9: Let’s Dial it Back a Bit. Adding Filter Movement

This technique is a little less freaky, and I’m going to end off with it so that you give your mind a chance to wrap around that last little technique. In this one, we’ll do something easy. We’ll take some Malstrom Curves and send them into the Alligator’s Frequency CV inputs to create some movement. Then, since there is only 2 Curve’s available with the Malstrom, we’ll steal the LFO CV output and send it into the third Filter Frequency CV input (all within the same Alligator). Sounds more complicated than it actually is. But here’s an image that shows the setup:

Showing the Malstrom's 2 Mod A/B waves and the Alligator's LFO to provide movement to the Alligator's 3 filters.
Showing the Malstrom's 2 Mod A/B waves and the Alligator's LFO to provide movement to the Alligator's 3 filters.

Those are all the ideas I have for the Alligator at the moment. I’m sure there’s many other interesting ways it can be used. If you have any other ideas, I’d love to hear them, so please don’t be shy and comment to let me know what you’ve come up with. I’m all ears. Until next time, go make some killer music. 🙂

63 – Effects Bypass Methods

This article is not so much a creative experience as it is a basic concept and educational tutorial about how to create bypasses for your effect Combinators. You can use a bypass to enable the sound travelling through the effects processor to play while the effects are turned off, and then allow the effect to affect the sound when they are turned on. In essence, it’s a way to build your Combinators so that they can be more flexible, and still allow sound to pass through; letting you decide when you want the effects built inside them to take hold of your sound.

This article is not so much a creative experience as it is a basic concept and educational tutorial about how to create bypasses for your effect Combinators. You can use a bypass to enable the sound travelling through the effects processor to play while the effects are turned off, and then allow the effect to affect the sound when they are turned on. In essence, it’s a way to build your Combinators so that they can be more flexible, and still allow sound to pass through; letting you decide when you want the effects built inside them to take hold of your sound.

This may be old hat for many of you reading here, but I’ve had a few requests for some explanations on how to split signals and create chained effects. So I thought I would put together a little piece on some different bypassing methods, since that’s vital to the core of creating multi-FX processors.

You can download the project files here: Bypass-examples. This contains a few examples of different methods you can use to Bypass effects inside a Combinator. The files are all done in Reason 5, though you can still use them if you have Reason 4 as well. This zip file also includes updated versions of the 3 Key FluX FX processors I created for a recent article. This updated version allows you to still hear the unprocessed audio signal going through the Combinator when keys are not pressed. Read on to see how I set that up.

Why would you need a bypass if the Combinator already has an Enable On/Off/Bypass switch, as well as an “Enable all Effects” button. The answer is simple. The Enable switch can click and pop if you automate it or use it while the sound is running. For this reason, I never ever under any circumstances use it. Well, okay, I do use it the odd time, but only in a situation where I’ll either keep it on, off, or bypassed the entire time the song or track is playing. I never automate it to change during a track or song. If you do, you can have undesired “pop” consequences.

As for the “Bypass all effects” and “Run Pattern Devices” buttons on the front of the Combinator, the main problem with those is the lack of automation ability. Since you can’t automate them, you’re limited in how you can use them or set them up inside your track. And why limit yourself to a bypass that can’t be automated? So while these buttons are good for previewing sounds, and getting things to run on and off while I’m creating patches or testing patches, they have very little practical use for me when I’m building a song.

So here are some of the methods I use to create an FX bypass.

The Basic Button-based Bypass (say that ten times fast).

This method is probably one of the easiest and simplest of all bypasses. It allows you to build one yourself using one of the programmable Combinator buttons. We’ll start with the premise that you have created a Combinator with a 6:2 Line Mixer, added a synth (I’ll use a Thor here, but any synth or sampler will do). Then I have a Matrix playing this Thor synth. Finally, I have a simple Scream distortion unit at the end of the chain, so that the Thor synth is running through a Scream algorithm to give it some bite. This is our effect unit. And this is what we’re going to bypass.

The initial device setup from the front panel in the Rack.
The initial device setup from the front panel in the Rack.
The initial device setup from the rear panel in the Rack.
The initial device setup from the rear panel in the Rack.

Now for the Bypass. Add a Spider audio merger/splitter between the Mixer and the Thor device. Flip the rack around (Tab) and connect the Thor left/right outputs into the Spider’s Splitter inputs. Then send one split pair out to the Line Mixer’s channel 2, and send another split pair output to the Scream input.

The back of the Rack, showing the routing which is split to 2 separate channels on the Line Mixer (using a Spider).
The back of the Rack, showing the routing which is split to 2 separate channels on the Line Mixer (using a Spider).

Next, flip back to the front of the Rack (Tab) and open up the Combinator programmer panel. Select the Line Mixer, and enter the following into the Modulation routing section:

Button 1 > Channel 1 Level : 100 / 0

Button 1 > Channel 2 Level : 0 / 100

This sets up Button 1 on the Combinator to switch between the two channels of the Line Mixer. If you play the sequence, you can bounce back between the FX-applied version of the sound (with the button disabled), and the bypassed (original unprocessed) version of the sound (with the button enabled). If you want to switch this around and have the bypassed version the default, just reverse the min/max amount values for Channels 1 & 2 in the Combinator’s Modulation Routing section, or else flip to the back of the rack and reverse the cable pairs going into Channels 1 & 2. That’s all there is to it.

The Button 1 setup on the Combinator, showing the Line Mixer settings and Modulation Routing.
The Button 1 setup on the Combinator, showing the Line Mixer settings and Modulation Routing.

Switching Between Three Values

This is all well and good, but there may be times that you want to switch between more than 2 parameters or channels. This can get a little more tricky, but is still relatively easy to work out. The trick involves creating a second 6:2 Line Mixer. I’ll show you what I mean below.

This idea came out of a user on the Reason forum who wanted a way to switch between Oscillator 1 and Oscillator 2, and then a Combo of both Oscillators together (1&2). I’ll use a different example here where I have a switch between 2 Scream algorithms (Scream 1 and Scream 2), and then another switch which bypasses both FX and gives you access to the original unprocessed sound. It’s the same type of idea, just implemented via FX instead of Oscillators. But if you want to read about the original question that was posted, here it is: https://www.propellerheads.se/forum/showthread.php?t=139636.

The way you do this is to first set up all the various parameters (or effects devices) to create the two different sounds. Working off the original “button-based” example above, we’ll add another Scream device below the first Scream unit (hold down Shift while you create the device, so that it’s not auto-routed). Send a new split pair from the original Spider, and have that going into the input on this “Scream 2” device.

Then create a new 6:2 Line Mixer beneath the first Line Mixer. Set up both line mixers with the following routings:

Line Mixer 1 (Main Mix):

Channel 1: Left / Right input from Line Mixer 2 (below)

Channel 2: Left / Right input from one split pair of the Spider Audio Splitter.

Note: The main left / right output goes into the “From Devices” input on the Combinator.

Line Mixer 2 (FX Mix):

Channel 1: Left / Right input from Scream 1

Channel 2: Left / Right input from Scream 2

Note: The main left / right output go into Channel 1 on Line Mixer 1 (Main Mix).

In the Combinator programmer, enter the following settings for the Modulation Routing:

Line Mixer 1 (Main Mix):

Button 2 > Channel 1 Level : 100 / 0

Button 2 > Channel 2 Level : 0 / 100

Line Mixer 2 (Main Mix):

Button 1 > Channel 1 Level : 100 / 0

Button 1 > Channel 2 Level : 0 / 100

The "Triple Switch" bypass routings on the back of the Rack. It's really not as hard as it looks.
The "Triple Switch" bypass routings on the back of the Rack. It's really not as hard as it looks.

Now enable Button 1 and disable Button 2. This means the new Scream 2 device will be sounding. Note: you will first need to press each of the buttons once to “initialize” their settings. Enter some different settings on this new Scream device until you like what you hear (or load up a patch from the Factory Sound Bank).

Yes, there is a much more compact way of creating this type of scenario. It involves setting up only 2 Screams in series and then using the Combinator Modulation Routing section to enable / disable each Scream device (enabling / disabling each 3 parts of the Scream unit). But for the sake of showing how bypassing works, I’m not going to do it that way here.

With this setup, Button 1 acts as a switch between the 2 effects, and Button 2 acts as the bypass switch between those 2 effects and the original unprocessed sound. Cool right?

Bypassing FX that are on your Keys

There is another kind of bypass method that works well if you have your effects set up on keys. A perfect example of this is the “Key FluX FX Processor” Combinator I created a few articles ago. In those project files, I created a few different Combinators that were controlled by pressing the keys on your keyboard, but I failed to integrate a bypass method, so that you didn’t hear the original unprocessed sound when the keys weren’t being pressed. Essentially, you only heard a sound when the keys were pressed. So here’s a method you can use to create a bypass to hear the original unprocessed sound anytime the effects are not being played.

This method boils down to one thing: allowing the unprocessed sound to be heard when keys are not pressed. In other words, we need a way to tell Reason that when the MIDI gate is NOT triggered, let the sound pass through. When the MIDI gate IS triggered, let the effects be heard. We already have the latter part of this process set up in the patches by default. So we simply need to create a method for the former to work. Here’s how it’s done.

You need 3 things when creating this kind of bypass: A 6:2 Line Mixer, a Thor, and a Spider Audio Merger/Splitter. Add those into the Combinator. Take the left / right cable pair “To Devices” going from the Combinator into the Spider Splitter Left / Right input. Then send one split pair into Thor’s Audio In 1 & 2, and another split pair going out to the effects chain (in my Key FluX FX Processor patches, these cables would go into the first FX chain Spider Audio Merger / Splitter — to split the signal out to all the various keyed FX).

Then send the Left / Right audio output from Thor into the first channel of the 6:2 Line Mixer (in the image below, this is labelled “Bypass.” This Line Mixer’s second channel’s left / right input is coming from the end of the audio signal chain after all the effects. In other words, you need to send the final signal post FX processing into the second channel. This is the end of the audio line after the effects. The Line Mixer becomes the switcher, just like in the first example above, however, we’ve added an automatic component into the mix by adding the Thor device.

The back of the rack showing the routing between the Line Mixer, Spider Audio Splitter, and Thor.
The back of the rack showing the routing between the Line Mixer, Spider Audio Splitter, and Thor.

So what is this Thor device doing to the audio. Before it can do anything, you need give it an explanation of what you want it to do to your audio (which is much easier than explaining the Theory of Relativity to a third grader). In the Modulation Bus Routing Section (MBRS), enter the following:

Audio In1 : 100 > Audio Out1 : -100 > MIDI Gate

Audio In2 : 100 > Audio Out2 : -100 > MIDI Gate

Thor's Modulation Bus Routing Section (MBRS) showing the negative MIDI gate scaling.
Thor's Modulation Bus Routing Section (MBRS) showing the negative MIDI gate scaling.

There you have it. The negative MIDI gate values mean that the original unprocessed sound will shine through when the keys are NOT played. They will also cut the sound when the keys ARE played. In this case, since you have the effects loaded on the keys, the FX signal will take over and you’ll hear the effects processing the sounds while those keys are played.

It’s important to note that negative values are possible in the MBRS and can sometimes be preferred over positive values. I say this because many beginners who are new to Reason may not be aware of how negative values can be beneficial. Case in point above. Also don’t forget you can program Mod Bus Amount and Scale values inside the Combinator’s Modulation Routing section (to switch values using a Rotary or Button). And last but not least, you can automate Amount/Scale value changes directly in the main sequencer. So you have lots of possibilities here.

Lastly, since not all keys have effects mapped to them, you need to do one last thing. You need to map the key range of the Thor Bypass device to the same range as the keys that have effects on them. If you don’t do this, anytime you press a key that doesn’t have an effect loaded on it, you won’t hear any sound. This is because we’ve told Thor to cut out the sound on non-mapped keys. So open up the programmer, and select the “Bypass” Thor device. In the Key Mapping section of the Combinator, enter the proper Lo and Hi Key Range (near the bottom in the image below).

Mapping the key range of the effects to the Thor Bypass device in the Combinator.
Mapping the key range of the effects to the Thor Bypass device in the Combinator.

Note: Since you can’t map non-contiguous regions (two separate regions with a space between the two), you need to ensure your effects are mapped to consecutive keys along the keyboard. You can’t, for example, have A1 and A2 mapped to 2 different effects without any effects mapped to the keys in between A1 and A2. This just won’t work correctly.

Pretty simple right? That’s all there is to it.

So do you have any other interesting ways of bypassing signals in Reason. I can think of a few other innovative ways to do it using CV as well. But this should at least get you started when you begin creating your own effects devices inside a Combinator. If you have any other ideas, please share them with the group. It’s always good to get more than just my own opinion on the matter. Especially since there are so many talented Reason users out there. Until next time, have fun playing inside Reason!

61 – Generative Ideas (pt. 2)

Continuing our story about creating some random generative musical ideas in Reason, I’m going to take the Random Sequencers we built previously and find some usefulness for them. So hold on to your hat. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Continuing our story about creating some random generative musical ideas in Reason, I’m going to take the Random Sequencers we built previously and find some usefulness for them. So hold on to your hat. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

You can download the project files here: Generative-Ideas-Part2. The files highlight the ideas I’m covering here. Note that some of the files work for Reason 4 and some work for Reason 5. C’est la vie.

Random Glitch Box

The Front panel settings on the "Glitch Box" Combinator
The Front panel settings on the "Glitch Box" Combinator

The first and probably best use I can find for these random generators is as a glitch box. Surprise surprise. This one really is a no-brainer. Just fire up the 128-step sequencer, duplicate the devices, and with a little reworking we have two separate randomizations: one for the notes and the other for the gate. Then load up a sample that spans the length of the keyboard, and this will be our “Grain Sample” which will be played via the sequencer Combinator. You can put the sample player inside the Combinator and just rewire the sound source CV / Gate inputs into your device of choice. Here, I’m going to use an NN19 for the sample.

 

The front of the Sampler glitch Box. It's almost like a Grain sampler, when you use the sequencer this way.
The front of the Sampler glitch Box. It's almost like a Grain sampler, when you use the sequencer this way.

 

The back of the Sampler. You could also randomize the "Sample Start Time" if you wanted to go further with this idea.
The back of the Sampler. You could also randomize the "Sample Start Time" if you wanted to go further with this idea.

 

Random FX

Remember that gargantuan “Key Flux FX Processor” I built oh so long ago? Well how about we fire up that bad boy and take it for the ride of its life. Using the same sequencer as above, we’ll plug it into the FX processor, and let it process any of your sounds. Just sit back and watch it cycle through all the various effects randomly. I think I could sit here for hours just listening to it doing its thing.

Crafting Some Useful Leads

Though this might not make any earth-shatteringly great lead tracks, you can make your sequencer more musical by implementing the following idea. First, take the 64-step sequencer, and change the notes around so that each of the four “Thor Sequencers” are 2-steps long. Then put the first two notes of your key (here we’ll use the key of C Major to keep it simple) into the first sequencer, the next two in the second sequencer, and so on. You will end up with this configuration:

Thor Sequencer 1: Step 1 = C3; Step 2 = D3

Thor Sequencer 2: Step 1 = E3; Step 2 = F3

Thor Sequencer 3: Step 1 = G3; Step 2 = A3

Thor Sequencer 4: Step 1 = B3; Step 2 = C4

Next, we’ll map the other steps so that we can add more of specific notes from the same key. In my patch I put more C, E, and G notes in the empty steps on the first Thor sequencer, and more of the D, F, A, B notes in the empty steps of the second Thor sequencer. I then added some sharps and flats into the third Thor sequencer, and additional suspended notes (and Octave shifts — i.e.: C4 notes) into the fourth Thor sequencer.

The steps in the first "Thor Step Sequencer" showing a C3-E3-G3-C4 pattern.
The steps in the first "Thor Step Sequencer" showing a C3-E3-G3-C4 pattern.

Finally, in the Combinator Modulation Routing section, I mapped the Sequencer > Step Length parameter of all four thors to Rotary 3 & 4, and Button 3 & 4 respectively. The min / max values on all were 2 / 16. This way, we can use the Rotaries and Buttons to add in further steps to increase the “weight” of them into the Random sequencer. For instance, if you turn up Rotary 1, you will introduce more C, E, and G notes. This has the effect of weighting those notes more than other notes in the key. In other words, the sequencer will “pick up” and “play” those notes more than the others.

The front of the Combinator, showing the Rotaries / Buttons. Note the Step Count is mapped to Rotary 3 to add more weight to C-E-G notes.
The front of the Combinator, showing the Rotaries / Buttons. Note the Step Count is mapped to Rotary 3 to add more weight to C-E-G notes.

Of course if the Combinator had more Rotary assignments, you could weight each key separately using 8 rotaries. But that’s just not the case. But if you look at my Kongtrol articles from a few weeks back, you could very easily build it using Kong (wink wink, nudge nudge).

The patch I built only uses 1 octave range, but there’s nothing stopping you from building this across multiple octaves, up to 128 steps, using my random sequencer here. Or you can use the Transpose feature to raise it to two octaves. Or you could use the RPG-8 to force octave switches, but then you’re going to be inputting values into the “Main Sequencer” in Reason, and I’m trying to stay away from doing that.

Modulation, Modulation, Modulation

Another interesting use of the random sequencer is when you start to get into modulation. With a random setup, you can use the CV output to modulate parameters on any of the Reason devices, even ones that don’t have a CV input (using the Combinator Rotaries as the CV pass-through). Included in the file is a “Mods” patch which show you how to create a random EQ generator and also use the same random sequence to affect some parameters to the Thor sound source directly (via CV1). The Thor’s CV1 is then mapped to the “Amp Pan” and “Osc 3 Position” parameters. Note that in order to get the EQ Frequency modulated, you need to send the random sequence CV to a Combinator rotary first. Then in the Combinator’s Modulation Routing section, you can map the rotary to affect the EQ Frequency. In the patch I’m providing, I set the Min / Max values to 600 / 100, which provided some nice movement to the sound.

The front of the Combinator showing the Thor sound source and EQ, Both of which are modulated with the Thor Random Step Sequencer.
The front of the Combinator showing the Thor sound source and EQ, Both of which are modulated with the Thor Random Step Sequencer.

 

The back panel showing the Note CV sent to the Spider and then sent to Rotary 1 and the Thor sound source CV 1 input.
The back panel showing the Note CV sent to the Spider and then sent to Rotary 1 and the Thor sound source CV 1 input.

 

The front panel of the Combinator with the Programmer displayed. Note that the EQ Parameter 1 Frequency is mapped to Rotary 1. This way a parameter without a CV input can be controlled via CV using the Rotary as a pass-through.
The front panel of the Combinator with the Programmer displayed. Note that the EQ Parameter 1 Frequency is mapped to Rotary 1. This way a parameter without a CV input can be controlled via CV using the Rotary as a pass-through.

In a nutshell, if you open this patch, you can press play on the transport, which starts the sound. No modulation is affecting the EQ, Pan, or Osc 3 Position parameters yet. In order to turn on these modulations, press button 1 (Run / Reset). You will then hear the modulations taking effect. To select the amount of modulation applied, use Rotary 1. To affect the Synced Rate of the modulations, use Rotary 2.

Note: in this kind of setup, I only used the “Note CV” value from the random sequencer. The gate CV value was not needed or used. I also removed the CV visualization DDL-1 devices, so that the patch would be accessible for both Reason 4 and Reason 5 users. Note also that the CV values are inverted through the Spider so that Rotary 1 will gain more modulation when turned to the right. If the signal wasn’t inverted, turning the Rotary to the right would produce less modulation, which is counter-intuitive in my book.

Where do you go from here?

These are just a few ideas I had when I was playing around with the Random Sequencer I created. As I went from having the first initial “problem,” I ended up with several interesting sequencer patches and ideas. This just proves that if you have a single thought or problem, and you can solve it, you can end up going in a lot of different directions which lead to even more ideas and creative projects. So I guess my point is this. Find as many “problems” as you can, and then work toward solving them. Because that just might be the creative spark you need to start an imaginative wildfire.

One other place you could take this is to build an entire “generative” song, in which all parts of it are randomized. In this case, if you used the Thor sequencer here, you would end up with a song that is never the same way twice, and one which bypasses the Main Reason sequencer entirely. As a creative project, that would be quite an undertaking. But if you want creative ideas, there they are.

Another creative “generative” idea is to blend multiple LFOs together, so that you end up with a lot of variety. You could then take a third LFO and use that to apply to one of the two LFO’s rate or amount parameter. There’s all kinds of ways you can layer LFOs to come up with some pretty intricate modulation sources. But I think I’ll save that one for another article at a later date. For now, I’m pretty much done looking at Thor’s sequencer for a while. And it’s Music Making Month, so it’s time to actually make some music right?

PS: If you come across any other ideas related to this idea of “Generative” or “Random” music, please share them. I’d love to hear and take a look at what you’re working on. All my best for now.

58 – Taking Komplete Kongtrol

This tutorial should prove a little enlightening for those that only think of Kong as a basic drum module. Here we’re going to twist it into the ultimate controller for everything under the sun. For starters, I’ll show how Kong can control 8 filters at once, and then I’ll move on to use Kong to control the FM Pair Oscillator in Thor. Using some of these methods, you’ll be able to control pretty much anything in Reason or Record with Kong; moving traditional device control from a basic keyboard to a Pad controller.

This tutorial should prove a little enlightening for those that only think of Kong as a basic drum module. Here we’re going to twist it into the ultimate controller for everything under the sun. For starters, I’ll show how Kong can control 8 filters at once, and then I’ll move on to use Kong to control the FM Pair Oscillator in Thor. Using some of these methods, you’ll be able to control pretty much anything in Reason or Record with Kong; moving traditional device control from a basic keyboard to a Pad controller.

Sound exciting? I thought so.

You can download the project files here: Taking-Komplete-Kongtrol. This file contains 2 .rns and 2 .cmb files that are outlined below. Both require Reason 5 or Record 1.5 due to the fact that it uses the new Kong device and new CV inputs on the back of the Combinator. There is also a “Volume Control” example .rns file for you to get your feet wet.

Note also that I’ll be unplugged until next Thursday April 15th, so don’t take it personally if I don’t respond to questions until that time. Some times you just have to unplug from things for a bit. But feel free to leave me a little love. I promise to get to all your comments or questions when I jump back online. Have a great week! 🙂

A Little Background

When I was working on my mammoth “Key Flux FX Processor” patch I got a post on the Propellerhead User Forum from someone who jokingly said “what’s next? A Kong controlling Thor? A Thong?” After I stopped laughing and rolling around on the floor, I thought about it for a minute and said “well why not?” And that was the start to this tutorial here. I decided I wanted to try to control Thor with Kong. Whether or not this is practical is for you all to decide. For my part, I can see this being a new fun way to play around with the devices inside Reason.

Understanding the Kong Control Concepts

There are two main concepts that I’d like to outline here. The first is the idea of using the Pads in Kong as an up / down selector switch to transpose MIDI values up or down. The other is the idea of visualizing these changes in Reason, since visualization in Reason (and Kong especially) is somewhat limited.

The first concept was opened up to me by Ed Bauman of EditEd4TV fame. In the midst of his working on recovers for his 80’s band, I asked him to help me figure out how to transpose from one octave to the next using the Kong pads. This helped me set up the Kong Piano Roll Keyboard (again, that was explored in another article). So credit where credit is due. Without his help on that project, I couldn’t have figured out some of these tangential concepts to control other parameters with the Kong pads.

The concept works like this: Using one pad in Kong for the upward movement and one pad for the downward movement, you use the Thor Step Sequencer “Note Transpose” function to manipulate a device parameter that goes from 0 – 127 MIDI value. Each time the up or down pad is pressed, it transposes the value by an increment of “1.” For example, you can go from 64 to 65 to 66 to 67 and so on, using the “Up” pad. Since Reason allows you to interchange CV values (using Note CV for Gate or Gate CV for Note), this isn’t difficult to accomplish.

Here’s the basic setup to control the Volume of a Channel in the Mixer (just as an example):

  1. Open up Reason with a Main Mixer. Then create a Combinator with a 14:2 Mixer.  Underneath that, create a sound generating device (for simplicity’s sake, create a Subtractor and load up your favorite Sub patch). But note that this can be any device you like. Underneath that, create a Matrix and add a pattern in, so that it is playing the Subtractor.
  2. Now holding the Shift key, create a Kong device. Still holding Shift, create a Thor device and call it “Vol Up.” Completely initialize the Thor device by pulling down all the parameters, removing the Oscillator and Filter, and turning everything to 0 (zero). Also while we’re at it, pull down the level of the Channel on the Mixer where the Subtractor is connected to 0 (zero).
  3. Open up the Thor programmer, and in the Step Sequencer set the Run Mode to “Step,” Step Count to “1,” and set the first step’s note to “D3.” In the Modulation Bus Routing System (MBRS), set up the following 2 lines in the first 2 slots:

    Seq. Note : 100 > S. Transp (Step Sequencer Note : 100 > Step Sequencer Transpose)

    Seq. Note : 100 > CV Out1

  4. Duplicate the “Vol Up” Thor device and rename it “Vol Down.” Then go into this Thor’s Step Sequencer and change the note value of step 1 to “A#2.”

    The MBRS settings for the "Vol Up" Thor device.
    The MBRS / Step Sequencer settings for the "Vol Up" Thor device.
  5. Next, holding the Shift key down, create a Spider CV Merger/Splitter at the bottom of the Combinator rack and name it “Vol Merge.” Now it’s time to route everything up.
  6. Flip the rack around to the back, and on the Combinator’s 14:2 Mixer, turn the Subtractor channel’s level trim knob up to 127. Then connect the Merged output from the “Vol Merge” Spider to the Level CV input on the Mixer channel.
  7. Connect the Kong’s pad 1 “Gate Out” CV to the “Gate In (Trig)” CV input on the “Vol Down” Thor. Also connect Kong’s pad 5 “Gate Out” CV to the “Gate In (Trig)” CV input on the “Vol Up” Thor.
  8. Connect the CV 1 Modulation Output from the “Vol Up” Thor to the “Vol Merge” Spider’s Merge Input 1. Also connect the CV 1 Modulation Output from the “Vol Down” Thor to the “Vol Merge” Spider’s Merge Input 2. Set both trim knobs to a value of “84.” That’s the magic CV number that makes things happen correctly.

    The CV routing for the Up / Down Volume Control using the Kong Pads
    The CV routing for the Up / Down Volume Control using the Kong Pads
  9. Flip the rack to the front again, and label Pad 1 in Kong “Vol Down” and Pad 5 “Vol Up.” Now play your device by pressing “Play” on the Transport and you’ll hear the volume at level 64. Press Pad 5 about 10-15 times and you’ll start hearing the volume rising. Press Pad 1 and the volume drops. You’ve now set up Kong to act as your up / down fader for the volume of your Subtractor device.

Visualizing the Kong Volume Control

Since there’s no visualization in Kong, it’s hard for us to track where the volume is located for the Subtractor. Here’s one way to do it using the DDL-1 device. Note that this trick is curtosy of Sterioevo, and I can’t thank him enough for showing it to me. See the comments to my previous “Kong FX Chain Builder” tutorial for more information on the ins and outs of this visualizing method.

  1. Building on our previous volume level control, hold Shift down and create a DDL-1 device underneath your Kong device. Label it “Volume Viz” or something like that. Also change the Unit to “MS” for Milliseconds.
  2. Open up the Combinator programmer, select the “Volume Viz” device, and in the Modulation Routing area, set up the following line:

    CV In 1 > Delay Time (MS) : 1 / 127

  3. This sets up the CV 1 input on the combinator to change the display of the DDL-1 to show values between 1 and 127.
  4. Now we just need to send the same CV merged signal to also send a value to the CV 1 input on the Combinator, so flip the rack around to the back, and move the CV merged output to one of the A split outputs. Then connect the Merged output to the Split A input on the same “Vol Merge” Spider.
  5. Finally, send another A split output to the Combinator’s new CV 1 input and turn its trim knob all the way to 127.
The DDL-1 used as a visualizer for the Volume setting
The DDL-1 used as a visualizer for the Volume setting

You’re all set. Now when you flip to the front of the rack and start pressing the volume pads, you’ll see the value update in the DDL-1 device. I know, it’s pretty sweet. You now have visualization of your volume setting.

A Look at the “Thong 8-Type Filter FX Processor” Combinator

So to answer the question about controlling Thor with the Kong device, I set up 2 patches. The first one is the “Thong 8-Type Filter FX Processor” which can be used as an insert effect on any sound you like. This patch allows you to switch between 8 different filter types and control them all via the Kong pad interface. Here’s a rundown of the pad assignments. Note: You do not want to use any of the Combinator parameters, since all the CV for the Rotaries, as well as the Mod Wheel was used to create the pad assignments and visualization. So simply create a track for the Kong device in the Combinator, and use that track as your control.

Note: I made all the up / down switches bipolar so that everything starts out with a value of 64. This is because each pad press only moves up one midi value, and if you started out at 0 (zero), you’d have a long way to go to get higher up on the register. Starting out at the middle makes working with the up / down pads a lot easier IMHO.

  • Pads 5 & 1: Controls the Frequency of all filter at once. Pad 5 moves the filter frequency up and Pad 1 moves the filter frequency down. These two pads together act as the frequency rotary control. Visualization for the Frequency setting can be seen on the “Freq Viz” DDL-1 device located just below the Kong device.
  • Pads 6 & 2: Controls the Resonance of all filters at once. Pad 6 moves the resonance up, and Pad 2 moves the resonance down. These two pads together act as the resonance rotary control. Visualization for the Resonance setting can be seen on the “Res Viz” DDL-1 device located just below the Kong device.
  • Pads 7 & 3: Controls the Drive of all filters at once. Pad 7 moves the drive up, and Pad 3 moves the drive down. These two pads together act as the drive slider control. Visualization for the Drive setting can be seen on the “Drive Viz” DDL-1 device located just below the Kong device.
  • Pads 8 & 4: Controls the LPHP parameter of the “Notch” and “Peak” filters, as well as the Gender parameter of the “Formant” filter. Pad 8 moves the LPHP and Gender parameters up, while Pad 4 moves the LPHP and Gender parameters down. These two pads together act as the LPHP and Gender rotary controls. Note that the filter must be set to “Notch,” “Peak,” or “Formant” for you to hear the effects of these two pads. Visualization for the LPHP/Gdr setting can be seen on the “LPHP/Gdr Viz” DDL-1 device located just below the Kong device.
  • Pads 13 & 9: Controls the Envelope Amount of all filters at once. Pad 13 moves the envelope amount up, while Pad 9 moves the envelope amount down. Together, these two pads act as the envelope amount rotary. Note: To turn off the envelope entirely, reduce the envelope amount to 0 (zero) using the “Env Down” Pad (Pad 9). If you wish to insert your own pattern sequence to control the envelopes, change the pattern sequence in the Thor Filter device’s Step Sequencer. Each Thor Filter device Step sequencer controls the corresponding filter envelope, except for the “Peak” Thor Filter, which controls both the “Peak” Thor and “AM” Malstrom filters. Visualization for the Envelope Amount setting can be seen on the “Env Amt Viz” DDL-1 device located just below the Kong device.
  • Pad 14: Controls whether the Filter Envelope is turned on or off for all filters. Visualization for this pad can be seen on the fourth band of the “Filter Type Viz” BV512 Vocoder device.
  • Pad 12: Controls whether the “Comb” filter is set to plus (+) or minus (-). Visualization for this pad can be seen on the third band of the “Filter Type Viz” BV512 Vocoder device. Note that this is a very specific setting, and the filter type must be set to “Comb” in order for you to hear anything.
  • Pad 15: Controls which filter is heard. Visualization for the Filter Type setting can be seen on the first band of the “Filter Type Viz” BV512 Vocoder device.  Selections can be one of the following 8 different filter types:
  1. LP (Thor Low Pass Ladder Filter)
  2. HP (Thor State Variable Filter – High Pass mode)
  3. Comb (Thor Comb Filter)
  4. Formant (Thor Formant Filter)
  5. BP (Thor State Variable Filter – Band Pass mode)
  6. Notch (Thor State Variable Filter – Notch mode)
  7. Peak (Thor State Variable Filter – Peak mode)
  8. AM (Malstrom AM Filters – both Filter A and B are set exactly the same way when controlling this filter).
  • Pad 16: Filter / Bypass. This provides you with a quick way to switch between the Filtered sound and the non-filtered sound. Think of this as a Wet / Dry switch.

A Look at the “Oscillator Kongtrol – FM Pair” Combinator

The second patch is a Kong controlling an Oscillator inside Thor. To start things off easy, I decided to control the FM Pair Oscillator. Again, I made all the up / down switches bipolar so that everything starts out with a value of 64. This is because each pad press only moves up one midi value, and if you started out at 0 (zero), you’d have a long way to go to get higher up on the register. Starting out at the middle makes working with the up / down pads a lot easier IMHO.

The FM Pair Oscillator control has at least one interesting twist. Since controlling the Carrier / Modulator pair is unlike controlling a MIDI value of 0 – 127, we need to figure out the proper settings to control a MIDI value of 1 – 32. This is done by going into the Up / Down Thor devices and changing the note values of the first step to the following:

“Up” Thor device: G#3

“Down” Thor device: E2

Once this is updated, you can control parameters that have 32 options. This does not only mean the FM Pair Carrier and Modulator, but also the Matrix pattern devices, or Thor’s Wavetable Oscillator “Table” selection. Anything with 32 MIDI values can now be controlled and stepped through one at a time in Kong.

Here’s a rundown of the pad assignments. Note: You do not want to use any of the Combinator parameters, since all the CV for the Rotaries, as well as the Mod Wheel was used to create the pad assignments and visualization. So simply create a track for the Kong device in the Combinator, and use that track as your control.

  • Pads 5 & 1: Controls the Pitch of the Oscillator. Pad 5 moves the pitch up and Pad 1 moves the pitch down. Visualization for the Pitch setting can be seen on the “Pitch Viz” DDL-1 device located just below the Kong device.
  • Pads 6 & 2: Controls the FM Parameter of the Oscillator. Pad 6 moves the fm up and Pad 2 moves the fm down. Visualization for the fm setting can be seen on the “FM Viz” DDL-1 device located just below the Kong device.
  • Pads 7 & 3: Controls the Carrier setting of the Oscillator. Pad 6 moves the carrier setting up and Pad 2 moves the carrier setting down. Visualization for the carrier setting can be seen on the “Carrier Viz” DDL-1 device located just below the Kong device.
  • Pads 8 & 4: Controls the Modulation setting of the Oscillator. Pad 6 moves the Modulation setting up and Pad 2 moves the modulation setting down. Visualization for the mod setting can be seen on the “Mod Viz” DDL-1 device located just below the Kong device.
  • Pads 13 & 9: Controls the Amp Envelope’s “Attack.” Pad 13 moves the Attack setting up (slower attack) and Pad 9 moves the attack down (faster attack). Visualization for the envelope’s attack can be seen on the first and second band of the “Amp Vizualize” BV512 Vocoder device, located just below the 4 DDL-1 devices. The first band shows the upward setting, and the second band shows the downward setting (much easier to see when you are actually using the Kong controller – so download the patch and try it out).
  • Pads 14 & 10: Controls the Amp Envelope’s “Decay.” Pad 14 moves the Decay setting up (longer decay) and Pad 10 moves the decay down (shorter decay). Visualization for the envelope’s decay can be seen on the third and fourth bands of the “Amp Vizualize” BV512 Vocoder device, located just below the 4 DDL-1 devices. The third band shows the upward setting, and the fourth band shows the downward setting.
  • Pads 15 & 11: Controls the Amp Envelope’s “Release.” Pad 15 moves the Release setting up (longer release) and Pad 11 moves the release down (shorter release). Visualization for the envelope’s release can be seen on the fifth and sixth bands of the “Amp Vizualize” BV512 Vocoder device, located just below the 4 DDL-1 devices. The fifth band shows the upward setting, and the sixth band shows the downward setting.
  • Pads 16 & 12: Controls the Panning of the sound. Pad 16 moves the panning left, while Pad 12 moves the panning right. Visualization for the panning can be seen on the seventh and eighth bands of the “Amp Vizualize” BV512 Vocoder device, located just below the 4 DDL-1 devices. The seventh band shows the leftward setting, and the eighth band shows the rightward setting.

Where can you go from Here?

Sometimes it’s the smallest concepts that can lead to the biggest revelations; opening doors to new ideas and solutions. This is definitely one of those cases. Using these simple ideas, you can now control virtually every possible parameter in Reason via the Kong Pads. These are just two types of control devices I built here. But there’s nothing stopping you from building a Reverb Kong controller (ReKong 7001?), or a DDL-1 controlled by Kong (DDKong-2?). And there’s nothing stopping you from building a controller that allows you to combine Oscillators or Filters or any number of things together that can be triggered by Kong pads. Just use your imagination and come up with some cool ways to take your pad controlling to new heights. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Where you go from here is all up to your patience and ambition.

Any thoughts?

57 – Kong FX Chain Builder

In this tutorial I’m going to show you how to create a flexible FX chain that has 8 stops along the chain, and at each of these stops, allows you to select from 1 of 6 different FX devices. This means you have a total of 48 different FX devices to select from in the chain, and the possible permutations of all these FX are 8×7 possible FX combinations, which amounts to 40,320 possible FX chain permutations.

In this tutorial I’m going to show you how to create a flexible FX chain that has 8 stops along the chain, and at each of these stops, allows you to select from 1 of 6 different FX devices. This means you have a total of 48 different FX devices to select from in the chain, and the possible permutations of all these FX are 8×7 possible FX combinations, which amounts to 40,320 possible FX chain permutations. Don’t believe me? Go here: http://www.vpgenius.com/tools/combin.aspx. That’s a hell of a lot of possibilities. Now change the order of your FX chains, and you end up with double, triple and even more possibilities. So let’s see how it’s all done.

You can download the project files here: Kong-FX-Chain-Builders. The file contains 3 different FX chain combinators that are outlined below. The effects in each chain are the same. The only difference is that they each present the chain in a different order. You can take this idea and build any number of effects chains in any order you wish to combine both “Serial” and “Parallel” processing of your audio signal through various FX that you create in Reason. It’s all only limited by your own imagination.

Introducing the “Kong FX Chain Builder” Patch

The beauty of this type of system lies also in the fact that you can combine a “Serial” and “Parallel” audio system together. So when I was working on my “Key Flux FX Processor” in project number 56 here on my site, I introduced the notion of a Parallel system, whereby the same audio was sent through many different FX chains and then sent out to the soundcard. In this tutorial, I’m going to introduce the idea of a Serial FX system, and merge it with a Parallel FX system so that you get much more flexible audio routing and audio possibilities.

The main controls for the Kong FX Chain Builder (and Combinator Controls)
The main controls for the Kong FX Chain Builder (and Combinator Controls)

The idea is pretty simple. First you have a set of FX in a chain, as follows:

Filter > Delay > Distortion > Chorus > Phaser > Delay 2 > Filter 2 > Reverb

Now, each of these “stops” along the chain also has 7 different selectable FX sound possibilities, as follows:

Filter>

(Pad 1)

Delay>

(Pad 2)

Distortion>

(Pad 3)

Chorus>

(Pad 4)

Phaser>

(Pad 5)

Delay2>

(Pad 6)

Filter2>

(Pad 7)

Reverb>

(Pad 8 )

FX 1 FX 1 FX 1 FX 1 FX 1 FX 1 FX 1 FX 1
FX 2 FX 2 FX 2 FX 2 FX 2 FX 2 FX 2 FX 2
FX 3 FX 3 FX 3 FX 3 FX 3 FX 3 FX 3 FX 3
FX 4 FX 4 FX 4 FX 4 FX 4 FX 4 FX 4 FX 4
FX 5 FX 5 FX 5 FX 5 FX 5 FX 5 FX 5 FX 5
FX 6 FX 6 FX 6 FX 6 FX 6 FX 6 FX 6 FX 6
Dry Audio Dry Audio Dry Audio Dry Audio Dry Audio Dry Audio Dry Audio Dry Audio

 

The Dry audio is there so that you have a selection that sets things back to being the original audio, like a pass-through. Using this table you can come up with an amazingly large array of different sounds by mixing and matching the different FX together. You can, for instance, create the following:

Filter >

(Pad 1)

Delay >

(Pad 2)

Distortion >

(Pad 3)

Chorus >

(Pad 4)

Phaser >

(Pad 5)

Delay 2 >

(Pad 6)

Filter 2 >

(Pad 7)

Reverb >

(Pad 8 )

FX 1 FX 1 FX 1 FX 1 FX 1 FX 1 FX 1 FX 1
FX 2 FX 2 FX 2 FX 2 FX 2 FX 2 FX 2 FX 2
FX 3 FX 3 FX 3 FX 3 FX 3 FX 3 FX 3 FX 3
FX 4 FX 4 FX 4 FX 4 FX 4 FX 4 FX 4 FX 4
FX 5 FX 5 FX 5 FX 5 FX 5 FX 5 FX 5 FX 5
FX 6 FX 6 FX 6 FX 6 FX 6 FX 6 FX 6 FX 6
Dry Audio Dry Audio Dry Audio Dry Audio Dry Audio Dry Audio Dry Audio Dry Audio

 

And that is just one example.

Switching the Order of Effects in the Chain

The Kong FX Chain builder from the back of the rack
The Kong FX Chain builder from the back of the rack

Now I know some of you are going to say, “well why can’t I switch the order of the FX chain?” So instead of having the Filter come before the Delay, how about switching it so that the Filter comes after the delay. And to that I’ll say that Reason is not the easiest software to work with when it comes to making routing decisions such as these and building it into a single setup is very difficult. But thankfully it’s pretty easy to build multiple instances of the Combinator to come up with any FX chain order you like. The trick is to flip to the back of the rack and change the following:

  1. The order of the “Gate Out” CVs from the first 8 Kong Pads
  2. The order of the 14:2 Submixers and their associated splitters. The signal flow goes from the “To Devices” of the Combinator into the first Effect’s splitter. Then the 14:2 Submix main output of the first effect goes into the second effect’s splitter. And so on down the chain, until the final output goes into the Pan splitter device. The Pan also has a bank of different “Global” LFO Panning selections. This can be selected on Pad 15.

So anyway, this just shows you that with a little thought, you can create a variety of FX of your own and route them in a serial way. Then use the “Parallel” processing idea to create multiple effects at each stop in the chain. Simple enough right?

Here are the other 2 effect chains I came up with. Feel free to create your own based on variations that work for you. You can either change the routing scheme as I outlined above, or you can change the actual effects at each stop. As you can see, you don’t even need to have all the FX in play within the chain. You can keep any part of the chain set to “Dry Audio” so that it will not be affecting the chain at all. This means you can make your chain simple with only 1 effect in play, all 8 in play, or any amount in between. Here are the other two effect chains I put together:

Delay > Filter > Phaser > Delay 2 > Chorus > Filter 2 > Reverb > Distortion

Phaser > Chorus > Filter > Reverb > Distortion > Delay > Delay 2 > Filter 2

Working with the “Kong FX Chain Builder”

There are 2 components to working with the Kong FX Chain Builder: 1. The Combinator and 2. The Kong device. Both work together to create your FX chain. You can also use them “Live” and play the different effects out on the pads in real-time, or else build them up in the studio until you find a combination of effects that works for your sound, and then just leave this setting as it is (or save it for future recall).

I’ll start off with the Kong device. Note that if you want to fully utilize the device, you should create a track for it in Reason or Record’s Main Sequencer. This way, you can not only play the Kong device, but also record your Kong pad changes over time. And you can also lock your pad control surface to the Kong device and another controller to the Combinator; essentially controlling them both via 2 different controllers at the same time. So here are all the Kong pad settings:

  • Pads 1 to 8: These are the 8 stops in the FX chain going from Pad 1 > 2 > 3 > 4 > 5 > 6 > 7 > 8. In the original file I created (Kong FX Chain Builder A), this goes from Filter > Delay > Distortion > Chorus > Phaser > Delay 2 > Filter 2 > Reverb. The Pads act as a cycle, starting with a dry signal, then going through 6 different possible FX. The pad cycles through these 7 positions. So each time the pad is pressed, you’ll hear a new effect inserted into the chain.
  • Pads 9 and 10: Decay Down / Decay Up – These pads will shift the decay of all the Reverb effects upward or downward. So you need to have the Reverb effect turned on (in other words, you need to have one of the 6 Reverbs enabled; not the dry signal).
    Note that there is an upper and lower limit, which, when reached, will not go any further. However, the pad can continue to go upward or downward for a few more times. This means that if you push the decay all the way to zero, and still hit the “Decay Down” pad, it will continue to move downward. So it may take a few more Pad pushes on the “Decay Up” pad to get it back to a “zero” postion (until you start hearing the decay again). This is true of all the Up/Down pads.
  • Pads 11 and 12: Envelope Pattern Down / Envelope Pattern Up – These pads will shift the matrix pattern banks upward or downward. These curve patterns are used to “play” the envelope amount on all the filters in the system. Therefore, you need to have at least one filter turned on to hear anything. You also need to have the “Env Pattern On” button (button 2 on the Combinator) enabled. There are 25 patterns on each Matrix (from A1 to D1), for a total of 50 patterns from which to select (you need to use Button 4 on the Combinator to switch between Matrix A and Matrix B).
    Note that there is an upper and lower limit, which, when reached, will not go any further. However, the pad can continue to go upward or downward for a few more times. This means that if you push the patterns all the way down to A1 on the Matrix, and still hit the “Env Pat Down” pad, it will continue to move downward. So it may take a few more Pad pushes on the “Env Pat Up” pad to get it back to the “A1” postion (and get the patterns to start moving forward again). This is true of all the Up/Down pads.
  • Pads 13 and 14: Volume Down / Volume Up – These pads will shift the global volume upward or downward. Note that there is an upper and lower limit, which, when reached, will not go any further. However, the pad can continue to go upward or downward for a few more times. This means that if you push the volume all the way down to zero, and still hit the “Volume Down” pad, it will continue to move downward. So it may take a few more Pad pushes on the “Volume Up” pad to get it back to a “zero” postion (until you start hearing the volume again). This is true of all the Up/Down pads.
  • Pad 15: Panning. You can select from 6 different Auto-panning effects, which are global and affect the signal after it has gone through all 8 effect stops in the chain. There is also a seventh “dry” position, which is on by default. The Pad cycles through all 7 positions (6 “auto-panners” and 1 “dry” position).
  • Pad 16: FX / Bypass – this allows you to switch between hearing the effects chain or hearing the original “dry” signal.

The Combinator controls are outlined below:

  • Pitch Bend: Not assigned.
  • Mod Wheel: Controls the envelope amount on all the filters. This is used in conjunction with the Envelope patterns in both Matrixes that also control the envelope amount. In other words, you can use the Mod Wheel to scale the envelope amount, and therefore, how much the envelope is affected by the patterns or not. If you wish to control the envelope amount without having any patterns control the envelope, disable button 3 on the Combinator, and then use the Mod Wheel, which will now be the only parameter affecting the amount of envelope applied to the filter(s).
    Note also that both the Mod Wheel and the Patterns affect all filter envelopes globally; both “Filter 1” and “Filter 2.” And of course, at least one filter needs to be added into the FX chain for you to hear the effect of the Mod Wheel or Patterns applied to the Filter Envelope amount.
  • Rotary 1: Filter 1 Frequency. Adjusts the Frequency of the first filter in the chain. All the filter selections for “Filter 1” are affected using this rotary, so that as long as you have one of the six filters enabled in the Filter 1 slot, the Frequency can be adjusted.
  • Rotary 2: Filter 1 Resonance. Adjusts the Resonance of the first filter in the chain. All the filter selections for “Filter 1” are affected using this rotary, so that as long as you have one of the six filters enabled in the Filter 1 slot, the Resonance can be adjusted.
  • Rotary 3: Filter 2 Frequency. Adjusts the Frequency of the second filter in the chain. All the filter selections for “Filter 2” are affected using this rotary, so that as long as you have one of the six filters enabled in the Filter 2 slot, the Frequency can be adjusted.
  • Rotary 4: Filter 2 Resonance. Adjusts the Resonance of the second filter in the chain. All the filter selections for “Filter 2” are affected using this rotary, so that as long as you have one of the six filters enabled in the Filter 2 slot, the Resonance can be adjusted.
  • Button 1: Not Assigned.
  • Button 2: Invert Envelope. This is a simple envelope invert button, and affects all filters in both the “Filter 1” and “Filter 2” slots in the FX chain.
  • Button 3: Envelope Pattern On. This turns on the envelope pattern Matrixes so that the curve pattern that is selected in Matrix A or B will affect the envelope amount of all Filters in both “Filter 1” and “Filter 2” slots in the FX chain. There are 2 parameters that both affect the Filter Envelope Amount: The pattern here, and the Mod Wheel. The higher you raise the Mod Wheel, the higher the Envelope amount. You can use a combination of the pattern and Mod Wheel to effectively “play” with the Filter Envelope Amount parameter. The reason I set it up this way is that you have ultimate control over the envelope amount. For example, you can turn off the pattern by keeping this button (button 3) disabled. Then use the Mod Wheel to scale the amount upward or leave it fully off (when the Mod Wheel is fully down). Or you can turn on the pattern and leave the mod wheel fully down to have the amount controlled solely by the pattern. Or use both in combination to play around with the envelope amount.
  • Button 4: Envelope Bank A / B. Selects between the two pattern banks (2 Matrixes) that affect the Envelope Amount parameter on all filters (read above for more information). There are 25 patterns on each Matrix (from A1 to D1), for a total of 50 patterns from which to select. Button four switches between the first 25 patterns on Matrix A (when the button is disabled) to the second set of 25 patterns on Matrix B (when the button is enabled).

Visualizing the active FX Chain

Sterioevo over at  Mute.Hate.Loud.Love was kind enough to provide two methods for visualizing the active effect chain (see the comments below this post for more info about this CV method). He used the Gate Length of the Thor Trigger devices to change the Modulation Level Bands of the BV512 Vocoder and the delay steps in the DDL delay devices to show visually which effect was enabled at each stop in the FX chain. So I updated the patches (just download the Project files again if you haven’t already) using his “Vocoder Visualization” method. You’ll now see a Vocoder under the main Kong device. This uses an 8-band setting to display the position of each effect on Pads 1-8 in the Kong device. This way you can visualize what’s going on as you play the pads. Very cool and handy little tool! Thanks Steve!

Visualizing the active FX chain using the Modulation Levels of the BV512 Vocoder
Visualizing the active FX chain using the Modulation Levels of the BV512 Vocoder

So what do you think of this combination of “Parallel” and “Serial” effects processing using Kong? Any other ideas come to mind on how these ideas can be used? I can envision setting both this and the “Key Flux FX Processor” ideas on the alternate devices. For example, you could set up the “Key Flux FX Processor” on Kong and you can probably set up the “FX Chain Builder” on a Combinator. The device is somewhat irrelevant. What matters is the concepts and what you want to accomplish. And as you can see, Reason can usually provide an avenue to make your systems come to life.

Until next time, hope you can make this work for you and use it in your own productions. If you do, drop me a line and let me see what you come up with. I’m always interested to see how others’ use my patches. Cheers for now.

Rebirth PCF Effect Combi

This beautiful little patch was contributed by Mick Comito, and it recreates the ReBirth Pattern-Controlled-Filter effect, but in the form of a Combinator that can be used in Reason and Record. I am thrilled that Mick came up with this idea and put this little gem together. If you get a chance, have a look at it and try it out. It’s really something interesting that can be used as an insert effect on any audio you throw at it.

The ReBirth Museum: Official homepage for Propellerhead ReBirth - currently available for the Ipad and Ipod Touch.
The ReBirth Museum: Official homepage for Propellerhead ReBirth - currently available for the Ipad and Ipod Touch.

This beautiful little patch was contributed by Mick Comito, and it recreates the Rebirth Pattern-Controlled-Filter effect, but in the form of a Combinator that can be used in Reason and Record. I am thrilled that Mick came up with this idea and put this little gem together. If you get a chance, have a look at it and try it out. It’s really something interesting that can be used as an insert effect on any audio you throw at it.

Note, the image at right is a link to the homepage for the official site of the ReBirth museum, however, it has since seen a resurgence and can be purchased for the Ipad and Ipod Touch. If you own one of those devices, you may want to check that out here: http://rebirthapp.com/

Now onward to Mick’s great little patch:

Mick Comito's ReBirth PCF Effect Combinator
Mick Comito's ReBirth PCF Effect Combinator

The file can be found here: ReBirth PCF (Run)~mc. There are 2 files: the ReBirth PCF Combinator and an .rns test file. I did note that when running the test file, there was a little bit of clipping here and there, depending on your settings. So you may want to be careful when using this patch. Simply reducing the level on the Mixer’s channel 2 or inserting an M Class Maximizer (to limit the sound) should take care of it, and is a very easy fix. But it’s still an amazing patch and very worthwhile to try out. I can see a lot of useful applications for it. So thanks Mick!

From Mick:

After you posted the blog last week I got nostalgic thinking about the guy who turned me onto ReBirth 8 or 9 years ago and really started me on this path. One of the coolest things about ReBirth was the PCF (Pattern Controlled Filter) effect. I thought that would be something cool to try and re-create. So I downloaded Rebirth and the manual and started playing with it again. It was a cool effect… 54 Patterns!!!! And the cool thing was that they were all illustrated in the manual as well as how it worked. I didn’t mention it to you in my previous email because I wanted to see if I could do it, and I didn’t want to hear “it’s been done a million times… just go to blah blah blah…!)

So last night I sat down and tried to recreate it, based on the knowledge I’ve gained following you and I have to say Hyd as well. At it’s core is a matrix (actually 2) for the patterns and a Thor for its filter, then combined. Getting them cabled and setting up the Thor matrix took a few tries, but I finally got it. Worked in some effects and even made my own backdrop for the combi!

Here’s a video that shows what the PCF Combinator can do:

And here is a rundown of the Rotaries and Buttons in the Combinator:

  • Rotary 1: Scrolls through all the patterns on both Matrixes. So you have 54 patterns from which to select (32 on Matrix A and 22 on Matrix B). Mick also put the matrixes at the top of the combi and compressed all the other inserts. Now you can see what the patterns look like and their note length. Most are 1/16 notes then some 1/32 note and 1/8 note patterns. It’s also easy to tell which one is selected because the “follower” only follows the selected matrix.
  • Rotary2: Controls the filter frequency.
  • Rotary 3: Controls the filter Resonance, but in keeping true to ReBirth, Resonance is labeled “Q.”
  • Rotary 4: Controls the Dry/Wet of the Thor’s delay.
  • Button 1: Selects between the two Matrixes.
  • Button 2: Turns on the Scream. This is a send effect in the mixer. Side note… The Scream is a bit much at times and sounded good just punching it in and out. I didn’t like the way it ended abruptly though, so I added a delay. The problem was when the Scream was in bypass, the signal was still getting through to the delay, so I needed to re-program the Scream (Button2) to go from On to “Off” instead of bypass. this allowed the delay to leave a nice trail without further affecting the sound.
  • Button 3: Turns on the Reverb. This is a send effect in the mixer.
  • Button4: Turns the delay on and off.
  • Mod Wheel: Rebirth had a fader for “amount” which is mapped to the Mod Wheel. This splits the dry and wet signal into a mixer so that the wet/dry amount can be controlled via the Mod Wheel. When the Mod Wheel is at zero (fully down), the PCF is fully wet. When the Mod Wheel is at 127 (pushed to the top), the PCF is fully dry.
The PCF filter located on the ReBirth software screen.
The PCF filter located on the ReBirth software screen.

Mick and I would love to hear any comments you may have.


Mick Comito is an aspiring musician, whose music can be found on Soundcloud under the pseudonym SoulReason. He’s a regular contributor on TSOR (The Sound of Reason).  He’s also a really great guy who is more than willing to share his creative ideas with us, and for that I’m very thankful.

Thor Tremolo-Pan-Freq FX

This patch came out of a request to have a Tremolo effect in Reason. There’s many ways you can create one. But this time I wanted to expand upon that a little bit and create a triple effect using a single Thor device. So here is a Tremolo / Pan / Frequency Modulation effect patch that you can use.

This patch came out of a request to have a Tremolo effect in Reason. There’s many ways you can create one. But this time I wanted to expand upon that a little bit and create a triple effect using a single Thor device. So here is a Tremolo / Pan / Frequency Modulation effect patch that you can use.

Download the 2 Combinator patches here in zip file format: thor-tremolo-pan-freq-fx. Note: You will need Reason 5 or above to use the Combinators, because they both use the CV inputs on the Combinator, which was a new feature of Reason 5. If you have a previous version of Reason, the Combinator will give you a “bad format” error message.

(FX) Thor Tremolo-Pan-Frequency Combinator

Thor Triple effect patch: Tremolo, Pan, and Frequency Modulations
Thor Triple effect patch: Tremolo, Pan, and Frequency Modulations

This patch uses the Combinator Mod Wheel to trigger the level of the effect(s) in question. The patch is very simple in design, using only a single Thor inside the Combinator. The LFO 2 in Thor is used to modulate the following 3 effects:

  1. Tremolo
  2. Pan Modulation
  3. Frequency Modulation

Note: You must use the Mod Wheel in order to trigger these effects. You won’t hear anything happening to your audio if you don’t use the Mod Wheel!

The other nice thing about this patch is that you can have any combination of these three effects running at the same time. Or you can use only one of the effects at a time. The choice is yours.

The following explains how the patch rotaries and buttons work:

Pitch Bend: This parameter is not used.

Mod Wheel: Controls the level of the effects globally (i.e.: all three at once).

Rotary 1: Volume – Controls the global volume of the audio going out of the Combinator via the Master Level on the Thor device.

Rotary 2: Pan Location – Controls the location of the Audio in the stereo field. If the Pan modulation is turned on (see Button 2), then the panning still floats from left to right and back again like a pendulum, however, the Pan location is static and can be set anywhere along the stereo field. Try using this rotary in tandem with the Pan modulation turned on to get a feel for it.

Rotary 3: Frequency Level – Controls the Frequency of the incoming audio. Fully right cuts off the frequency entirely. Fully left opens the frequency completely. Use this in tandem with the Frequency Modulation enabled (see Button 3) for some interesting effects.

Rotary 4: Rate – This controls the rate of Thor’s LFO 2, which affects the modulation of the three effects globally.

Button 1: Tremolo – Turns on the Tremolo effect, which basically modulates the Amp Gain in Thor based on Thor’s LFO 2.

Button 2: Pan – Turns on the Panning modulation effect, which pans based on Thor’s LFO 2.

Button 3: Frequency – Turns on the Frequency modulation effect, with is modulated based on Thor’s LFO 2.

Button 4: Sine / Saw – Determines whether a Sine waveform is used or a Sawtooth wave is used. Sine is used if the button is off (disabled), and a Sawtooth waveform is used if the button is on (enabled).

And there are some extensions to this patch that I’ve set up on the Thor Rotaries and Buttons which can be accessed by Showing the Combinator devices:

Thor Rotary 1: Resonance – Controls the Resonance of Thor’s Filter 3. Minimum is set to zero (0) and Maximum is set to 96.

Thor Rotary 2: This parameter is not used.

Thor Button 1: LFO 2 Tempo Sync – Turns on the Tempo Sync for Thor’s LFO 2. When turned on, the LFO 2 Rate is tied to the song Tempo. When turned off, it is free-running.

Thor Button 2: LFO 2 Key Sync – Turns on the Key Sync for Thor’s LFO2. When turned on, the LFO 2 is re-triggered each time a key is pressed. When turned off, the LFO 2 wave is not re-triggered.

(FX) Thor Vibrato-Tremolo Combinator

This patch idea came courtesy of Eric Kloeckner. He said you could create a Vibrato in Thor by sending the audio through the Chorus effect and turning down the feedback. And voila, there it was. So now, I’ve created a second patch and placed both in the download file at the top of this posting. I also separated the LFOs in Thor, so that you can adjust the two LFOs independantly; meaning, you can turn on both the Vibrato and Tremolo and have them cycling at different rates and modulate both differently as they both act on your audio. Fun stuff.

Second Thor FX Patch with separate Vibrato and Tremolo effects
Second Thor FX Patch with separate Vibrato and Tremolo effects

The following explains how the patch rotaries and buttons work:

Pitch Bend: This parameter is not used.

Mod Wheel: Controls the level of the effects globally (i.e.: all three at once). Note again, you must use the Mod wheel to use the effect. No Mod Wheel, no effect. Very important to remember!

Rotary 1: Vibrato Delay – Controls the Chorus Delay, which can give some interesting effects and add a little more life to your Vibrato.

Rotary 2: Gain Level – Controls the Gain position of the Audio. In other words, it’s a volume level, but it’s most useful if you use it while the Tremolo is on. This way you can adjust the amount of gain (Tremolo) and the range at which the Mod Wheel affects the Tremolo.

Rotary 3: Vibrato Rate – Controls the rate of the Vibrato by adjusting the Rate of Thor’s LFO 2. In this patch, LFO 2 is tied to the Vibrato, and LFO 1 is tied to the Tremolo.

Rotary 4: Tremolo Rate – This controls the rate of the Tremolo by adjusting the Rate of Thor’s LFO 1. In this patch, LFO 2 is tied to the Vibrato, and LFO 1 is tied to the Tremolo.

Button 1: Vibrato – Turns the Vibrato effect on or off.

Button 2: Tremolo – Turns the Tremolo effect on or off.

Button 3: Vibrato Sine / Saw – Switches LFO 2 between a Sine and Sawtooth waveform, which in turn affects the shape of the Vibrato.

Button 4: Tremolo Sine / Saw – Switches LFO 2 between a Sine and Sawtooth waveform, which in turn affects the shape of the Tremolo.

And there are some extensions to this patch that I’ve set up on the Thor Rotaries and Buttons which can be accessed by Showing the Combinator devices:

Thor Rotary 1: Frequency – Controls the Frequency of Thor’s Filter 3. Minimum is set to zero (0) and Maximum is set to 127.

Thor Rotary 2: Resonance – Controls the Resonance of Thor’s Filter 3. Minimum is set to zero (0) and Maximum is set to 96.

Thor Button 1: Vibrato Tempo Sync – Turns on the Tempo Sync for Thor’s LFO 2. When turned on, the LFO 2 Rate is tied to the song Tempo. When turned off, it is free-running.

Thor Button 2: Vibrato Key Sync – Turns on the Key Sync for Thor’s LFO 2. When turned on, the LFO 2 is re-triggered each time a key is pressed. When turned off, the LFO 2 wave is not re-triggered.

Hope you find this useful. Let me know what you think?