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!

85 – It’s a Game Changre!

At long last, the much awaited Crapre is here from PEFF! Outstandingly crappy sound quality can only make your tracks betterer than ever. And so I thought I would provide some much needed information and documentation about this heavy duty device. After taking all last month to document Spacre (lengthy article posting to follow), I thought I would give this device a much-needed test-drive and overview. It was a daunting task.

We’re a fun bunch, us Reason developers & users. And PEFF just keeps putting the fun back in Reason. At long last, the much awaited Crapre is here! Outstandingly crappy sound quality can only make your tracks betterer than ever. And so I thought I would provide some much needed information and documentation about this heavy duty device. After taking all last month to document Spacre (lengthy article posting to follow), I thought I would give this device a much-needed test-drive and overview. It was a daunting task.

Crapre
The Craptastic new RE from PEFF. Get it while it’s out. Offers expire on May 1, 2014.

How could I pass up the opportunity to fully document this beautiful device? Download it here: Crapre Guide. And if you want to get your hands on the insanity, it’s available in the Propellerhead shop here: Crapre Rack Extension.

Stack ’em in your rack to make supercrapasonic textures and intriguing effects for all your sounds. It’s the missing preset on the Audiomatic Retro Transformer that you always wanted, and never knew you needed.

It’s a game changre for sure. You should get it for the Combinator skin alone! I might even post some of my crappy patches for it at some point in the future. For now, get it for the love of all the kittens & unicorns out there.

. . . and now back to your regularly scheduled program.

Ammo PDF Guide

Next up in the series of PDF guides for the Reason Rack Extensions is a combination of both the Ammo 400R and Ammo 1200BR, analogue matrixed modulation oscillators (say that five times fast). These two devices delve into sonic and CV possibilities that can be quite simple at first, but incredibly complex when you start understanding their workflow. So here is another 10-page PDF guide to cover this powerhouse Mono synth and modulation mayhem machine. And still for the same price as a cup of coffee.

Ammo Rack Extension PDF GuideNext up in the series of PDF guides for the Reason Rack Extensions is a combination of both the Ammo 400R and Ammo 1200BR, analogue matrixed modulation oscillators (say that five times fast). These two devices delve into sonic and CV possibilities that can be quite simple at first, but incredibly complex when you start understanding their workflow. So here is another 10-page PDF guide to cover this powerhouse Mono synth and modulation mayhem machine. And still for the same price as a cup of coffee.

Jiggery-Pokery is the man behind the mayhem, and he delivers a really novel take on synth design and modulation routing. There are 4 Oscillators, 16 possible CV outputs, an Internal Routing Matrix (similar to the Modulation Bus Routing System found in Thor). Dive in and you’ll open yourself up to a whole world of interesting possibilities.

Ammo thumbnail view

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 10-page Ammo guide, specifically:

  • Complete coverage of the Ammo 400R and 1200BR devices, with all controls explained.
  • Complete coverage of how the 3 Modules are integrated together (Ammo, Battery, and Re-ARM).
  • Complete coverage of all the Audio & CV routing options found on the back of the devices.
  • Visual display and explanation for the 136 Oscillator Waveforms
  • Explanation of how to create FM, AM, and Pulse Width Modulations
  • Plenty of Tips & Tricks
  • 4 short examples on how to create some interesting patches (Super Synth, Dual Oscillator Bass, Battery Power Synth, and an FM & AM Super Synth)

And all of this for $2.49 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!

Alias8 PDF Guide

Reason101 Alias8 CV Controller PDF GuideNext up in the Reason101 series of PDF Guides for Rack Extension devices, I chose to cover the Alias8 CV Controller from Peff, a virtual controller “bridge” between your hardware surface and the Reason Rack. Control other instruments in the Reason Rack via CV inputs & outputs that you set up in any way you like. You can use it to create a Template or multiple Templates to allow one main place where all your devices are controlled (acting as a Hub). Though the controller can be mapped to any MIDI Control surface, it excels if you have the Alias8 from Livid Instruments, on which it is modeled, providing very tight integration between that controller and Reason. One of the most flexible controllers inside the Reason Rack.

Alias8 thumbnail view

Here, I put together an 8-page PDF, with an introduction and overview of the Alias8, and some creative ideas for how to use it in practical routing scenarios. 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 Alias8 guide, specifically:

  • Complete coverage of the device, both front and back, with all controls and routing options explained.
  • Explanation of how to map the Alias8 to your MIDI Controller hardware
  • Plenty of Tips & Tricks
  • 5 Tutorials:
    • Switching Alias8 knobs from Unipolar to Bipolar
    • Alias8 Combinator Control
    • Alias8 Master Crossfader
    • Enabling Matrix Patterns & Pattern Switching
    • Alias8 Step Sequencer

And the cost for all of this? $1.99 – the cost of a cup of coffee (or tea, for my friends across the pond).

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 questions, ideas, suggestions, please feel free to comment below. All my best & happy Reasoning!

PX7 PDF Guide

Instead of waiting a year before I release something new in a book format, I thought I would release a new RE device guide about once a month in PDF format, and for the same price as a cup of coffee. This way, you don’t have to wait, and I can bring you something new every so often. In addition, if you don’t have the device, you don’t have to purchase. Although, even if you don’t have it, since you can try it out for a month, you might want to take a look at the guide first before you purchase the Rack Extension. So I think this is a win / win for everyone.

PX7 PDF GuideInstead of waiting a year before I release something new in a book format, I thought I would release a new RE device guide about once a month in PDF format, and for the same price as a cup of coffee. This way, you don’t have to wait, and I can bring you something new every so often. In addition, if you don’t have the device, you don’t have to purchase. Although, even if you don’t have it, since you can try it out for a month, you might want to take a look at the guide first before you purchase the Rack Extension. So I think this is a win / win for everyone.

To start, I put together a 10-page PDF all about the PX7 FM Synthesizer from Propellerhead. It’s a monster of a synth that was based on the Yamaha DX7 way back in the day (1983 to be exact). It’s a 6-operator FM synth that not only can recreate the sounds of the DX7, but also provides a few new controls that weren’t found on the DX7. So if you already own this synth, or if you’re thinking about owning it, pick up the PDF file below for cheap, and find out a few new things you may not have known about it before.

PX7 thumbnail view

If you want to know specifically what’s in the guide, it’s pretty straightforward. And if you are familiar with the book I wrote on the core devices in Reason, then you’ll be familiar with the layout already. In point form, here’s what you get in those 10 pages:

  • A brief explanation of the history of FM SynthesisPX7 PDF Guide
  • Complete coverage of the device, both front and back, with all controls and routing options explained.
  • In depth coverage of the Algorithms, Operators, and Operator Envelopes.
  • How the Frequencies work to produce the waveforms you’re used to hearing in Subtractive synthesis (Sine / Saw / Square, etc.)
  • Plenty of Tips & Tricks
  • 4 short examples on how to create a few interesting sounds (Simple Organ, Bass, Speedway Sound Effect, Detuning)

And all of this is for a nominal fee of $2.49 – the cost of a cup of coffee (yes, that’s my coffee mug over there).

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!

82 – Etch Red

This article will introduce you to the Etch Red RE from http://www.fxpansion.com. This RE is a powerful dual multi-mode filter that can be set up in series or parallel. It also comes with a comprehensive built-in and external modulation scheme that is unlike any other in the stock Reason program. Aside from filtering, it is capable of several tricks such as gating, stereo widening, compression, distortion, LFO wobbling, Tremolo, and Vibrato effects. To top it all off, it comes with the ability to Frequency Modulate the filters (either internally via the 2 built-in LFOs, or externally using an incoming audio source). A lot of power for a very affordable Reason device. So let’s take a walk-through and learn a little more about it.

This article will introduce you to the Etch Red RE from FXpansion. This Rack Extension is a powerful dual multi-mode filter that can be set up in series or parallel. It also comes with a comprehensive built-in and external modulation scheme that is unlike any other in the stock Reason program. Aside from filtering, it is capable of several tricks such as gating, stereo widening, compression, distortion, LFO wobbling, Tremolo, and Vibrato effects. To top it all off, it comes with the ability to Frequency Modulate the filters (either internally via the 2 built-in LFOs, or externally using an incoming audio source). A lot of power for a very affordable Reason device. So let’s take a walk-through and learn a little more about it.

Before I get into the nuts and bolts of the device, let me first point you to the PDF User Manual that you can download. This comes straight from the FXpansion site, and it’s a good idea that you have a read before jumping in. There’s a few pitfalls that you want to avoid when working with this Rack Extension, and while it’s a very nicely designed device, there’s still some areas that might cause you to scratch your head.

Next, let me point out the main features of this Rack Extension in a simple video:

It’s all about Source > Destination = Modulation.

The heart of Etch Red is all the wonderful red knobs scattered throughout the upper (Filters) and lower (Sources) section of the device. These knobs allow you to modulate their associated parameters with one or more of the 10 Sources (selected in the Middle section of the device). Indeed you can modulate one parameter with all 10 sources if you like. Where I can see a lot of people getting tripped up is when you start trying to figure out how to modulate one destination with these Multiple Sources. So here’s a step-by-step tutorial to help you get your feet wet with this concept:

  1. Create a Subtractor, Thor, NNXT, or any other sound-generating device in Reason, or else create a new Audio Track and place some audio on this track. My recommendation is to go for a nice Pad sound to start yourself off. Load up a Pad patch from the Factory Sound Bank if you are stumped for creativity.
  2. Create an Etch Red device underneath so that it is auto-routed to the sound device (hint: Etch Red is found in the Creative FX menu if you right-click under the sound device). If all goes well, the sound device’s Left and Right audio goes into the Etch Red device, and then back out to the Mix Channel or Audio Track.
  3. Set the LFO1 Rate to be 1/2 bars and LFO2 Rate to be 1/16 bars. Both are Synced by default. Also adjust their Gain settings to both be set to around 66%. This will remove the harshness of the LFO curve. It’s like a depth or volume setting for the modulation source.

    Setting the LFO1 Rate to 1/2 Bars in the Source (bottom) section of the device
    Setting the LFO1 Rate to 1/2 Bars in the Source (bottom) section of the device

    Setting the LFO2 Rate to 1/16 Bars in the Source (bottom) section of the device
    Setting the LFO2 Rate to 1/16 Bars in the Source (bottom) section of the device
  4. Select a Source from the middle “Modulation Source Selection” section of the device. By default, the LFO1 is selected as a source. You can see this because the little LED within the square icon is yellow. You can also select a source using the drop-down list to the right of all 10 sources. For this example, we’ll use both LFO1 and LFO2 as a source to modulate both Filter Frequencies. Keep LFO1 selected for now. Click the tiny square red LED light just to the bottom right of the LFO1 selector. Turning it off switches the polarity of LFO1 from Unipolar to Bipolar. Leave LFO2 set to Unipolar, which is the default.
    The Modulation Source Selection (middle) area of Etch Red. Note that the LFO1 selector is yellow. You can select a source by pressing these square icons, or by clicking from the drop-down list (both are shown here with a black square border).
    The Modulation Source Selection (middle) area of Etch Red. Note that the LFO1 selector is yellow. You can select a source by pressing these square icons, or by clicking from the drop-down list (both are shown here with a black square border).

    Setting the Polarity of LFO1 to Unipolar by turning the LED off. This ensures the LFO travels both negatively and positively to affect the destination parameter.
    Setting the Polarity of LFO1 to Unipolar by turning the LED off. This ensures the LFO travels both negatively and positively to affect the destination parameter.
  5. Next, switch the Filter 1 Mode to a 4-Pole High Pass Filter (4H) and the Frequency to 6 Hz (fully left). For Filter 2, leave it set to the Low Pass Filter (default), and set the Frequency to around 350 Hz or so. Also set its Resonance (Rez Rotary) to roughly 25%. Note: The Black rotaries change the parameters. The Rotaries encased in Red circles are used to modulate these parameters. So Black changes the parameters outright, while red is used to modulate them negatively (left) or positively (right).
    Setting Filter 1 Mode to a 4-Pole High Pass Filter.
    Setting Filter 1 Mode to a 4-Pole High Pass Filter.

    Setting the Filter 1 Frequency to 6 Hz.
    Setting the Filter 1 Frequency to 6 Hz.

    Setting the Filter 2 Frequency to around 350 Hz and the Resolution (Rez) to about 25%.
    Setting the Filter 2 Frequency to around 350 Hz and the Resolution (Rez) to about 25%.
  6. Now we’re set to actually use the sources to modulate the Filters. Using the Red Modulation Rotaries, set the rotaries beneath both filter Frequency parameters to positive 28%. You’ll start to hear the sway of LFO1 affecting the sound as you play the sound device.

    Adjusting the Modulation of the Filter 1 Frequency.
    Adjusting the Modulation of the Filter 1 Frequency.
  7. Select LFO2 by clicking on the square icon in the middle section of the device or using the drop-down at the far right of the 10 Mod Sources. When you switch over to a new Modulation Source, you’ll notice that both filter frequencies’ Modulation Rotaries snap back to their original values (dead center). You’ll also notice that the small LED circle just above these rotaries turn red. This LEDs indicate that there is another source modulating this parameter. Finally, the previous source’s square selector changes from yellow to red (LFO1 in this case). Switch back to LFO1, and these LEDs turn yellow. Switch back to LFO2, the parameters go back to their default and the LEDs turn Red. Yellow = whatever is currently selected in Etch Red. Red = another value is being used to modulate this parameter.

    Note: The one thing that I dislike about working with Etch Red is the fact that when you start creating complex modulations and have several sources modulating a certain Destination, there’s no immediate way to see which sources are modulating the parameter and by how much. You have to click on each source to see how it is affecting all its associated destinations. On the flipside, this does make experimenting with complex modulation assignments quick and you can easily get lost in experimentation. So that’s a plus!

  8. With LFO2 as the selected source, change the Modulation Rotary underneath Filter 2 to a positive 50%. You now have the Frequency for Filter 2 being modulated by both LFO1 and LFO2. That’s pretty much all there is to it.

    The Final Etch Red Filter, Mod Source Selection, and Sources sections.
    The Final Etch Red Filter, Mod Source Selection, and Sources sections. Note how LFO2 and the LED just above the Modulation rotary for the Filter 2 Frequency are yellow, indicating LFO 2 is the currently selected source, and Filter 2 Frequency is being modulated by LFO2. On the other hand the LED above the Modulation Rotary for the Filter 1 Frequency parameter is red, indicating it is being modulated by another source (in this case, LFO1).

Note: Of course, you can also modulate a Source’s Rate or Gain settings (at least for the sources listed in the top row of the Modulation Source Selection area) by adjusting the red Modulation Rotaries underneath these parameters (in the bottom section of the device). This can also open up some very complex modulations. You can even use LFO1 to modulate its own Rate and Gain. How trippy.

Getting a little more Advanced

So now that we have a grasp on how Etch Red works, I thought I would delve a little deeper into things by using the Envelope source. In order to get the envelope working, you need to send a Gate input signal into the back of the device. And what better way to trigger the envelope than with a Rex loop’s Gate output. So here’s a little video that shows a few techniques along those lines:

Everyone Loves a Dubstep Bass, right (or am I being sarcastic)?

Here’s a great video put together by FXpansion themselves that goes over the process of creating a Dubstep Bass using their device. It’s a little more advanced, but it’s a great way to showcase how some of the CV modulations can be used on the back of their device. And the sound is just cool, so I had to include it here:

More Tips and Tricks

Here are a few other handy tricks you can try out using Etch Red.

  • Fun with Distortion: Unsync LFO 1 and select it as a mod source. Set its rate to somewhere around 100-600 Hz. Set the output level to -14 dB. Turn up the Drive Mod Rotary slowly. adjust the LFO 1 Rate, Mph, and Drive Types until you find something you like. Great for basses.
  • Tremolo: Select the LFO 1 as a mod source and click the Polarity LED to make it bipolar. Adjust the Level Mod rotary set to a small amount in either direction for Tremolo.effects.
  • More Shapes: Create a Malstrom and from the back send Mod A into Etch Red’s CV 1 input. You can now use Malstrom’s 31 waves as a source to affect any Etch Red Modulation.
  • Dual Filter Gates: Turn off Drive and Filter 2. Set LFO 1 & 2 with “Square” shapes. Ensure the rates are synced, but different for each (ex.: 1/4 & 1/16). Keep the Gain full. Select LFO 1 as a source, and Set Filter 1 to Low Pass (Japan, SVF, or Fatty). Set the Frequency to 6 Hz (full left). Then turn the Frequency Mod Rotary to 100% (full right). Now select LFO 2 as a Source and use it to modulate the same Filter 1 Frequency in the same way (Mod Rotary to 100% – full right). Adjust the depth of both LFOs by adjusting their Gain values.
  • Auto-Panner: Set LFO 1 to Bipolar. Then use LFO 1 as a source adjusting the Pan Mod Rotary for Filter 1. Adjust the LFO 1 settings to taste.
  • FM Audio Fun: Try sending audio from a Loop or a synth into the Filter 1 and/or 2 FM inputs. Then on the front, turn up the FM Rotaries, and adjust the Filter Freq & Res to taste. Noise and Saw Oscillators are great audio inputs too (though you may need to raise their volume). For further manipulation, assign an LFO to modulate the FM amount.
  • Envelopes: To use the Etch Red Envelope, you need to send a CV signal into the Gate CV input on the back. Try sending a matrix Gate CV into the Gate CV input. Now put together a gate pattern in the matrix. Alternately, you can send a Curve CV from the Matrix. Now you can use the Envelope modulation source to modulate any Etch Red Mod Parameters.
  • Key Tracking your Filters: To use the Etch Red “Key Track” feature, create a Sequencer Track for Etch Red. Then copy MIDI data from another Track (some monophonic data works best). Then reduce the Filter Frequency. When you play back the Sequencer, the Filter will follow the MIDI track, and will in essence be following the musical track from which you stole the MIDI data. Or you can just play along on your keyboard to track the Filters.
  • Internal Pitching: Try sending the LFO 1 CV output to the Pitch CV input on the back of Etch Red. Then turn on Key Track on the front, and set up your Filter. Choose a Fatty LP filter for a nice bassy sound. Set Freq to about 185 Hz, Rez to 70%, and set LFO 1 Rate to 34 Hz, Free-running, and Mph to about 77%. Oh yeah, some nice Bass Wobbling.

Hope you enjoy Etch Red as much as I do. It’s capable of quite a lot. If you have any other ideas, tips and tricks, please share them with the class.

80 – Shelob Audio Splitter

Matt Black (aka: Jiggery Pokery) has done it again. Instead of providing a new ReFill, he has dazzled us with a new Rack Extension: Shelob, a 4-input, 16 stereo /32 mono audio output Splitter. Think of it as 4 Spiders locked together in a nice compact unit, but with a few extras. And all for the low price of $9.00 USD. In this article, I’ll discuss a little about what you can do with this baby.

Matt Black (aka: Jiggery Pokery) has done it again. Instead of providing a new ReFill, he has dazzled us with a new Rack Extension: Shelob, a 4-input, 16 stereo /32 mono audio output Splitter. Think of it as 4 Spiders locked together in a nice compact unit, but with a few extras. And all for the low price of $9.00 USD. In this article, I’ll discuss a little about what you can do with this baby.

You can download a few free patches here:  Shelob Patches. These patches outline a few ways you can use Shelob to crossfade, parallel process, stripe a range of effects splits played via keys on your MIDI keyboard, group splits, create a fade in / fade out combinator, etc. Use them as templates and lessons in how to route things up in Shelob. See the videos below for a little more about how Shelob works.

First, let’s take a look at what Shelob replaces or improves upon:

Spider Audio Merger Splitter - Splitter side
Reason’s stock Spider Audio Merger/Splitter from the back, indicating the split side with 1 audio input and 4 audio split outputs. This is what Shelob replaces.

Next, let’s take a quick look at Shelob from the front and from the back:

Shelob Audio Splitter Rack Extension - Front
The Front of the Shelob Audio Bypass Splitter
Shelob Audio Splitter Rack Extension - Back
The Back of the Shelob Audio Bypass Splitter

The following showcases the differences between the original Spider Audio Merger/Splitter and the Shelob:

  1. Uses 1 device rather than 4 Spiders. Note that the Spider can take 1 input signal and split it 4 ways, as well as take 4 input signals and merge them into 1. On the other hand, Shelob can take four input signals and split each of those signals 4 ways (or any combination of those, for example, you can take 1 input signal and split it up to 20 ways; 16 straight outputs and 4 pass-through outputs). There is no merging capability with Shelob, though I have it on good authority that a merging device is on the way.
  2. Off/On of each of those 4 channels and 16 stereo/32 mono outputs can be automated
  3. Each set of 4 inputs can be used as a pass-through in order to create “Split Groups” that can be turned on/off
  4. Ability to fade the signals in or out. This opens the door to creating crossfades between signals on Shelob, and fade in / fade outs of any audio signal. The Fade is “global” so it affects all signals sent in or out of Shelob. The fade can be anywhere between 1 millisecond to 20 seconds.
  5. Ability to “Stripe” the signal. This means you can take one input signal and send it to all 20 outputs without any additional inputs or routing.
  6. All switches on the device can be automated or programmed in the Combinator to be on / off. In addition, the fade knob can also be automated or programmed to a Combinator control.

Here’s a quick introduction to the device:

Fade Knob

The fade essentially determines how long the sound “fades out” after you turn that specific channel from “On” to “Off.” In the default position, turn any channel off and the sound stops immediately. With more fade, turning any channel off will let the sound fade out slowly. This also works both ways, so you can “fade in” a signal when you turn a specific channel from “Off” to “On.”

Fade is global, so it affects all channels, and it can be automated. But of course you can create multiple Shelobs to control fade on some channels and then fade differently on others.

From Matt:

Fade times work both ways – switch on (fade in), and switch off (fade out).

As Rob says above, Fade time can be automated as required.

With a maximum fade time of 20s, you could even stick a Shelob on your master outs, or just before Ozone if using that for dithering, and flick a switch for fade in at the start and fade out at the end

The Fade knob is 0-100 milliseconds in the white area, and 101-20000 milliseconds (20 seconds) in the green area. This means you can create a fade 0-20 seconds long. To create a simple crossfade between two signals, for example, program a Combinator Button to switch Channel 01-A to go on/off and Channel 01-B to go off/on. The button is now used to crossfade between the two signals. Program the Rotary 1 to adjust the Fade knob and use it to determine the fade time from 0-20 seconds. This makes it one of the easiest ways to crossfade between two audio sources or two effects.

Here’s a video that shows you how to Crossfade and parallel process your audio signals:

Stripe Switch

With the Stripe switched turned on, you can send one audio signal into Channel 1 input, and then split that signal on all outputs (A through P) at once, without any further input signals. This means you don’t need to Chain an output split to the next 3 Channels (for example, from A-1 to Channel 2 input). With Stripe Off, the Channels can be used separately (as if you have 4 independent Channels in Shelob, or more to the point, the Shelob acts more like 4 Spider Audio Splitters in one).

Incidentally, if you want to use Shelob exactly as you use the Reason Spider Audio Splitter, keep Stripe off, and turn on all output splits (A through P). Now, all splits are open or on, and you can send four different audio inputs into all four Channels and split them into their respective splits.

Also, with the Pass-Through, you gain an additional output on each Channel, meaning that you have 4 extra Splits (for a total of 20 outputs). Though this is not the intended use of Pass-Through (discussed more below), you can indeed use it this way.

Again, from Matt:

While you can get 20 ouputs, the recommended setting here is to not connect the Pass jacks, but you can do.

Put your input into Channel 1, and turn on Stripe. Channel 1 will then be sent to Channnels 2, 3 and 4. Now you can turn each Channel off/on either as a Channel group with it’s Pass Switch (hence why it’s recommended not to use the Pass Jacks), and you can turn all Channels 2, 3 and 4 on and off simultaneously via the Stripe switch!

This opens the door to a lot of possibilities. Here’s a quick video to show you how to use the Stripe Feature and showcases a few of the included Combinators:

Inputs 1, 2, 3, and 4

Simply, this is where you input your audio source(s). Pretty straightforward. There are four Channels, and you can source four audio signals.

Pass-Through 1, 2, 3, and 4

Pass-Through allows you to send audio from one Channel to another. Since each Pass-Through has an on/off switch on the front of the device, this means you can “group” your splits and turn on/off all four splits of each channel with one switch. To use it, simply ensure you have an audio source going into a Channel (let’s say Channel 1, for example). Then send the Pass-Through from Channel 1 to the input of Channel 2, 3, or 4. Now, the audio source into Channel 1 is also input into Channel 2, without the need to steal a split from Channel 1 to chain Channel 1 to Channel 2 (via split A, B, C, or D). This is one other advantage Shelob has over Reason’s Spider Splitter.

Here’s a video to show you how Pass-Through operates:

Splits A through P

The Splits take whatever Audio is input into a Channel (or from a previous Channel, if Stripe is turned on), and sends it out to whatever destination you like. You can send a split out to other effect(s), or straight to a Mixer Channel or to a Mix Channel device, or other splitters. The audio can be sent to whatever audio destination you like.


That’s the Shelob utility Rack Extension in a nutshell. Hopefully, this gives you some ideas and helps you understand how to use the device. Check out the attached Combinator patches and have some fun playing with it. For less than the price of an iTunes album, it’s well worth the expense to get a little more functionality out of audio splitting. Happy Reasoning! And thanks so much Matt, for such a great addition to the Rack. Cheers mate!

79 – Introducing Pulsar

With the introduction of Rack Extensions from Propellerhead, we see a major shift of the company into the Plugin arena, although Rack Extensions are expressed as “plugins done right.” And the Props have introduced 3 new Re devices (Radical Piano, Polar, and Pulsar). Not too bad for a point release. Instead of focusing on the 6.5 release itself, and debating the cost (it’s been done to death in the forums), I thought I would start by taking a tour of Pulsar, a device that is free for 3 months, and $49 thereafter. Hopefully, by the end of this article, you’ll see why the price is justified. Pulsar is simple, fun, and capable of some very unique sound ideas. Let’s take a look at why this is the case.

With the introduction of Rack Extensions from Propellerhead, we see a major shift of the company into the Plugin arena, although Rack Extensions are expressed as “plugins done right.” And the Props have introduced 3 new Re devices (Radical Piano, Polar, and Pulsar). Not too bad for a point release. Instead of focusing on the 6.5 release itself, and debating the cost (it’s been done to death in the forums), I thought I would start by taking a tour of Pulsar, a device that is free for 3 months, and $49 thereafter. Hopefully, by the end of this article, you’ll see why the price is justified. Pulsar is simple, fun, and capable of some very unique sound ideas. Let’s take a look at why this is the case.

You can download the project files here: pulsar-synths. This zip file contains some Combinators and .reason files which go through some of the concepts I’ll discuss below.

Starting off with a simple LFO

At it’s most basic, Pulsar is a Dual LFO. But when you first add a Pulsar to your project, you’ll only be using LFO 1. In many cases, this may be all you need. And if that’s the case, you may be wondering why you would need yet another LFO in the Reason arsenal? Doesn’t Thor, Subtractor, Malstrom, and even some other devices have one or two LFOs that can be used (and have been used) by many since the birth of Reason? Sure. But Pulsar delivers something the other LFOs do not (apart from Pulveriser). It comes with a “Lag” feature. Furthermore, it comes with two other unique features: “Phase” and “Shuffle.”

To recap, the “Lag” feature is an LFO filter which smooths out the shape of the LFO. If you are using an LFO with a sharp edge (Square or Stepped, for example), increasing the Lag feature curves those sharp edges, and can reduce a lot of the abrupt “clicking” that can result from these LFOs.

“Phase” is used to shift the LFO forward or backward, kind of like a pulse width modulation for your LFO. Look at Thor’s Analogue oscillator set to a square wave. The Mod parameter works the same way by shifting the LFO forward or backward (widening or narrowing the LFO). When using two similar LFOs in Pulsar and adjusting their Phases (or automating Phase movement in real-time), you can create some really interesting modulations with the LFOs.

Finally, there’s a parameter we’ve seen time and time again, though not in an LFO: “Shuffle.” This parameter shuffles the LFO, making the movement or LFO automation more erratic. Keep in mind though, that while “Shuffle” provides some randomness to your LFO cycles, the cycles themselves will always be in sync. In other words, the start and stop of the waveform will be random, but their duration will always equal the time cycle that you set up in the timing of the LFO. And it’s important to note that “Shuffle” works in 2-cycle pairs. So looking at a 2-cycle waveform set to 1/4 Tempo Sync means that you have two cycles of the wave that equal 1/4 each. Cycle 1 will always start at the beginning of the cycle, but can end anywhere within both cycles. Then cycle 2 starts and always ends at the end of both cycles. Kind of an interesting strategy if you ask me. But putting the theory aside for a moment, the best way to get a feel for it is to try it out for yourself.

All three of these parameters are fairly unique to Pulsar. And so it might be worth your while to try using this LFO on it’s own the next time your modulation calls for it in your track.

There’s also lots of other interesting things you can do with Pulsar: Sync LFO 2 with LFO 1, Have the Level of LFO 2 affect LFO 1 (AM), have the Rate of LFO 2 affect LFO 1 (FM), trigger the envelope via LFO 2, and this doesn’t begin to get into the CV / Audio modulations on the back of the device. Using all of these features allows you to set up some very complex modulations and even use Pulsar’s LFOs as Oscillators to create some very unique sounding (somewhat Analog-style) synth instruments. We’ll dig into that further below.

But before going further, you should definitely check out the introductory video from the Props on how Pulsar can be used as an LFO and how those LFOs can be used as Oscillators. This is perfect for getting your feet wet with the device. And the final song result at the end of this tutorial is truly inspiring. So before doing anything more, let’s take a first look at Pulsar:

Accessing the Pulsar Patches

Pulsar can’t load or save patches. However, you can contain a Pulsar (along with any other devices to which Pulsar is connected) inside a Combinator and then save the Combinator. And this is a great time to bring up the fact that Pulsar comes with a wide variety of effects and instruments that were put together by some very talented patch designers. Here’s how you can access them:

  1. Right-click on the Rack and select “Create Instrument” or “Create Effect,” depending which option you want.

    Right-clicking on the rack and selecting "Create Instrument" or "Create Effect"
    Right-clicking on the rack and selecting “Create Instrument” or “Create Effect”
  2. The Reason Browser opens. Notice the “Rack Extensions” option under the “Locations and Favorites” area on the left side of the window? Click it, and you’ll see all your loaded Rack Extensions displayed on the right side.

    The new "Rack Extensions" stock patch bank in Reason 6.5
    The new “Rack Extensions” stock patch bank in Reason 6.5
  3. From this list, select Pulsar directly by double-clicking it and navigating down the folders to all the available patches. Alternately, you can click the plus (+) sign and drill down to the patch you like.

    The Pulsar stock patch bank expanded
    The Pulsar stock patch bank expanded on the right side of the Browser window.
  4. Double-click on the patch of your choice to open it in the Rack.

    The Pulsar patch loaded into the Rack (with a great new Combinator backdrop by the way).
    The Pulsar patch loaded into the Rack (with a great new Combinator backdrop by the way – nice job Propellerheads!).

Of course, if you’re saving your own patches, you’ll have to save them to your own computer location. All Pulsar patches need to be saved as a Combinator device. So all the patches you’ll find underneath the Pulsar stock patches are Combinators.

I strongly urge you to have a look at these patches. They showcase how you can use Pulsar in all manner of ways. There’s a way to use it as a dual gate, dual wah, LFO filter wobbler, FM, AM, etc. So opening the patches to get a feel for Pulsar is a great way to learn how to use it.

Pulsar as Dual Oscillators: Cheap on CPU, not Cheap on Sound.

And now for the major coup. Yes, you can use Pulsar as a dual Oscillator to create all manner of synth sounds. Trust me, I’ve tried. For those using Reason essentials, this provides a great alternative to the Subtractor synth. You now have a second synth inside Reason. And for those using Reason, you’ll be thrilled to know you not only have a simple synth, but process this synth through Thor, and you have a very amazing sound generation tool that is quite unlike the other sounds in Reason (whether that sound is good or bad is something I’ll leave for you to decide, as it’s a raw aliased sound that some like and some don’t). But nevertheless, it’s a unique sound with which you should experiment.

First, the video:

Let’s start off slow and figure out how to use Pulsar as a synth on its own. Since Reason Essentials doesn’t come with Thor, this is really the only way to go for that group of users. And yes, you can most definitely use Pulsar as a synth on its own. This is really great for Bass sounds, and in my opinion, this is where it shines. So let’s get started with a very simple setup:

  1. Right-click on the rack and select Utilities > Combinator. Inside the Combinator, right-click and select Utilities > Pulsar Dual LFO.
  2. Flip to the back of the rack and send LFO 1 Audio Output 1 from Pulsar to the Left “From Devices” Combinator Audio input. Then send LFO 2 Audio Output 1 from Pulsar to the Right “From Devices” Combinator Audio input. This way, LFO 1 produces the sound for the Left side of the stereo field, and LFO 2 produces the sound for the Right side of the stereo field.

    The Routings from the Pulsar to the Combinator
    The Routings from the Pulsar to the Combinator
  3. Open the Combinator’s programmer and select the Pulsar device. At the bottom left side of the screen place a checkmark in the “Receive Notes” checkbox. This allows you to play the Pulsar through the Combinator’s MIDI note input.

    Selecting the Pulsar device in the Combinator's Programmer and ensuring it "Receives Notes"
    Selecting the Pulsar device in the Combinator’s Programmer and ensuring it “Receives Notes”
  4. It’s important in this kind of setup to ensure that the parameters for both LFOs are set exactly the same, otherwise you’ll hear differences in the sound coming from both the left and right sides of the stereo field. Start by turning Off the Tempo Sync for LFO 1, and turn On LFO 2 (On/Off button). Switch LFO 1 and LFO 2 Waveforms to Sawtooth waves. Then reduce the “Level” rotaries to 0% for both LFOs. Increase the Shuffle knobs to 70% for both LFOs.
  5. In the Pulsar Envelope section at the right side of the device, reduce the Release amount to zero (0) ms. Increase the Envelope Rate for both LFOs to 100%, and increase the Envelope Level to about 60% for both LFOs.
  6. If you play the Combinator through your MIDI keyboard at this point, there is no key scaling. No matter what key you play, you’ll hear the same note pitch. In order to scale the keyboard, you must turn the MIDI KBD Follow knob on Pulsar fully right to 100%. Once you do that, you’ll have yourself a nice little patch that should play a pretty cool bassline in the C-1 to C2 range.

    The Pulsar's front panel setup
    The Pulsar’s front panel setup

Advanced Pulsar Synth Processing through Thor

Let’s take it up a notch:

There’s two ways you can process Pulsar through Thor: Both methods involve sending the audio outputs from LFO 1 and LFO 2 into Thor and then entering the following two lines into Thor’s Modulation Bus Routing Section (MBRS):

Audio In1 : 100 > Filt1 In

Audio In2 : 100 > Filt1 In

As long as both the Pulsar and Thor are receiving notes, and are inside a Combinator, you’re all set. Ensure that both LFO 1 and 2 on Pulsar are not Tempo Synced, and turn the rates all the way up (fully to the right). Also keep the Pulsar Envelope settings at their default, and turn the MIDI KBD Follow knob all the way right to 100%.

The cool thing about this setup is that you can use Thor’s Portamento, Shaper, Filter 1, Filter 2, Amp Envelope, Amp section, and pretty much everything else in Thor to shape the sound of the Pulsar LFOs. In this instance, you’re simply replacing Thor’s Oscillators with Pulsar’s LFOs (which are used as Oscillators).

One thing to keep in mind with this approach is that since you’re processing the audio through the Amp section, the levels of your audio are going to be adjusted using both the Thor Amp Gain and Pulsar’s LFO Level controls. So watch those levels!

The second approach builds on the first and bypasses most of Thor by sending the audio into Filter 3. So after you’ve entered the two audio lines in the MBRS as above, enter the following two lines in the bottom right two MBRS entries as follows:

Filter 1 : 100 > Filt3 L.In : 100 > Amp Env : 100 > MIDI Vel

Filter 1 : 100 > Filt3 R.In : 100 > Amp Env : 100 > MIDI Vel

With this approach, you’re bypassing everything between Filter 1 and Filter 3. This means no Shaper, no Filter 1 and 2, and normally, no Amp Envelope either. However, since you’re scaling the audio using the Amp Envelope explicitly in the MBRS, then you can still use the Amp Envelope to adjust your audio. The advantage is that you gain a 4-stage envelope (Attack, Decay, Sustain, and Release) with Thor, instead of a 2-stage envelope with Pulsar (Attack and Release). Also, you can use the Delay and Chorus FX in Thor to affect the synth sound.

One note though. You can’t use Thor’s Amp section for any adjustments. So all the volume control resides in Pulsar’s LFO 1 and 2. And it suddenly occurs to me that all of this is in the video, so check it out if any of this sounds esoteric to you. Have fun!

Oh and in case you missed it, here’s James Bernard’s take on Pulsar. Pretty awesome sampling technique. Don’t miss this one either:

http://www.musicradar.com/tuition/tech/video-how-to-use-propellerhead-pulsar-as-a-playable-synth-549579

The downside is that you need Reason to do these wonderful Thor processing tricks. No can do with Reason Essentials. So upgrade already!


So that’s how you set up Pulsar as a synth. Try out the different waveforms and have a blast making some new sounds. And if you have any other Pulsar tricks, be sure to let us all know. Cheers!

Reason 6.5 Update

With the latest Propellerhead Reason 6.5 announcement, there’s a lot to discuss in the world of Reason. I have been fairly silent over the last few days, even though the forums have been ablaze will all kinds of chatter. Until the dust settles, it’s never wise to jump out and state your opinion. Did that once and it bit me in the behind. But I wanted to provide some of my thoughts on all these new changes, since they are fairly huge, and developing rapidly. So here are my preliminary musings.

With the latest Propellerhead Reason 6.5 announcement, there’s a lot to discuss in the world of Reason. I have been fairly silent over the last few days, even though the forums have been ablaze will all kinds of chatter. Until the dust settles, it’s never wise to jump out and state your opinion. Did that once and it bit me in the behind. But I wanted to provide some of my thoughts on all these new changes, since they are fairly huge, and developing rapidly. So here are my preliminary musings, all of which are subject to change.

By now you’ve probably heard of two new changes to the Reason environment. If not, here’s the official news release. And here are the two core changes that you’ll see in the Reason 6.5 update:

  1. Figure: The iPhone / iPad app that will be available in the Apple App store soon.
  2. Re (Rack Extensions): Propellerhead’s own proprietary Plugin format, which opens the Reason rack up to new devices that are developed by third party companies. In other words, Korg, U-He, Arturia, Peff, or any other developer or instrument company keen on developing a Reason Rack device can now do so. Propellerheads are launching the “Rack Extension” store on their site, where Extension devices will be sold and delivered, via the click of a button, to your Reason software.

Out of the two features, “Re” is the earth-shattering news, and “Figure” is exciting for those on the Mobile iOS platform who enjoy music-making on the go, but not so much for those of us that already use the full version of Reason on their computer. Figure is slated for release in the next few weeks, while Re is slated for release at some point in Q2 of 2012, and in my opinion, it will take some time to see how this will all unravel.

First, let’s take a look at the Keynote speech by Propellerhead:

So, what I’m getting from this video, other than the fact that I need to get a cool Reason tattoo in order to be included in a slide during the next Propellerhead release, is the fact that this is a huge paradigm shift for Propellerhead.

Figure

On the one hand, Figure is the first real outing for Propellerhead into the world of Mobile devices. Sure, we had ReBirth for a while, but that seemed like a test run. This is the real deal; a new introduction into the app market.

While all of this is preliminary, based on what I see in the above video, I have my own personal list of Pros and Cons. Bear in mind none of this is released yet, so it’s all subject to change. But these are just my own thoughts on Figure:

First, let’s look at the Pros:

  • It’s built with Kong and Thor as the background devices for your sound, so it probably sounds fantastic!
  • It’s easy to use. Big plus in a mobile environment
  • It brings some of Reason into the mobile realm. Never a bad thing.
  • It probably won’t crash your device, being a Propellerhead product.
  • Price. It’s a buck (one dinero, one dollar, one smackaroo). So there’s no reason not to pick it up. Even if you only want to try it out a few times and never use it again. I spend more on a cup of coffee. So yeah. Of course I’ll get it.

Now for the cons:

  • If you already own Reason, this isn’t going to add anything new in the way of sound.
  • If you don’t use mobile devices or make music on-the-go, then you can probably pass it up.
  • Like most other iOS music apps, it looks like great toy, and should be fun to tinker with, but is it as functional as Nanostudio or Beatmaker? Not sure yet, but doubtful. Of course, Nanostudio and Beatmaker are also 20x more expensive at $20 each.

In summary, if you own an iPhone or an iPad, getting Figure is a no-brainer, even if you own the full version of Reason. It brings a little bit of Reason into the mobile world, and if it lives up to the Props mantra, it will be easy to use and simple to sketch out some nice ideas. And it opens up more creativity, which appeals to me. I have to give the Props a big thumbs up for their official first step into the Mobile world.

Re (Rack Extensions)

Now let’s look at Re (Rack Extensions) — and don’t call it “ReRack” or the Props will give you a sour look and shake their finger at you (just kidding).

As with any preliminary announcements, it’s hard to judge how it will work, and how accepting people will be towards the technology. Again, going by the video above, I’m going to throw out a few thoughts on it, all of which are just my own personal assessment, questions, and the like. Let’s look at it from three different perspectives: The Musician, The Sound / ReFill Designer, and The Re Device Developer.

The Musician:
  1. As a musician, you’re probably having an orgasm right now. You finally have your dream of plugin instruments and effects inside Reason, as long as they get developed. And I have no doubt that the floodgates will open, and you’ll see all kinds of great new devices in Reason.
  2. The Re Store is a great implementation. You have a single location where you can try out or buy any of the Re devices. With one click, you purchase the device and it gets downloaded and installed on your computer. I assume it’s tied to your license so that wherever you go and wherever you install Reason, the new devices can get installed.
  3. It’s interesting to note that very few people have discussed the Re Store concept yet. The Re Store seems like an exact replica of Apple’s App Store, and as such, you could say that most of the arguments that people levy against the App Store could also be levied against the Re Store. For example, this means that the Props are the ultimate arbiters of which devices make it inside the store and which are left out of the store. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? I’m not going to take any sides in this debate. I’m just pointing it out.
  4. Anytime you switch from a closed-architecture to an open-architecture (or rather, like Thor, this seems like a semi-modular Rack system now), you also open yourself up to the potential of having lots of poorly constructed devices. So are we going to see hundreds of poorly contructed devices? Or are we going to see only the best of the best? Or some combination of both? This ties in with #3 above. Are the Propellerheads going to decide which devices make it in and which don’t?
  5. On the other hand, as Ernst said in the above video, this does make it easier for musicians to a) get Plugins downloaded and installed on their systems, and potentially allows for an easier experience sharing music and collaborating. However, as anyone who has collaborated with fellow Reason users understands, if the other party does not have a specific ReFill, it’s more difficult to collaborate successfully (but still easier than collaborating with non-reason users, more or less). Both parties must have the same ReFill in order to open and play the songs (or self-contain the song). With the introduction of Re devices, this existing issue that was in the ReFill domain now extends itself into the Reason Rack. If the other party doesn’t have the rack device, they won’t be able to open the song, or at the very least, they will be able to open the song, but won’t hear the same thing that the other party intended them to hear. What’s more, there’s no “self-contain” setting that will rectify this issue. What you will have to do is bounce down the audio and share the audio track. And while this is a perfectly valid solution, it is limiting because once it’s audio, you can’t edit the effects from the devices directly. The audio is static.
  6. Because collaboration of the .reason song files can pose these kinds of problems, I predict that most people will collaborate using bounced audio files only, even between reason users. If you think about it, that’s the only logical way we can go. Otherwise, the onus is on the Musician to figure out which extension devices they have and also figure out which extension devices the other party has; making collaborations more complex. And if you share audio files, as I said, this is limiting in certain ways.
The Sound Designer / ReFill Developer
  1. Looking closely at the video with my “ReFill designer’s eye,” I noticed that some of these devices have the ability to save patches and some don’t. Possibly this is because the devices are not completely developed yet. But it brings up the question of whether or not Re developers can allow their device patches to be saved or not. Or do all the devices have to have a “Save Patch” option? This has implications for ReFill developers who want to design patches for the Re devices. It also brings up the issue of whether or not ReFill developers will be allowed to design patches for these devices? My hope is that all devices allow for the ability to save patches, and the developer SDK demands that patches can be saved.
  2. If patches can be saved on all devices, this opens up some new questions. Firstly, it creates a lot of different patch formats for all the different devices that we expect will flood the Re Store. Things could get a little confusing and convoluted.
  3. Are the Propellerheads going to stop producing new instruments for Reason? In some ways, Re removes the need for them to put together new instruments for Reason. And if they still produce new instruments for Reason (which I highly hope they do), will they continue to be a part of the core program, or a new Re device? There’s something to be said for a closed system. As a Patch designer, if the Props don’t provide new instruments as part of the core program, this means those devices are subject to the same potential problems outlined in #3C below.
  4. This fragments the ReFill developer into a few different camps:
  1. Those that develop for the traditional Reason devices. This is the safest bet for ReFill designers, as anyone that owns Reason will own all these devices, and so the ReFill will work for all Reason owners.
  2. Those that develop for specific Re Devices. Designing for specific Re devices is more of a niche market than group “A” above. This doesn’t mean sales will be less than in group “A,” but it does mean that your market is a smaller subset.
  3. Those that develop for a combination of both A & B. As a ReFill designer, if you develop Combinators that contain both traditional Reason devices and Re Devices, you then have to worry about whether or not your users have those Re devices installed on their computer. If not, the Combinator won’t work, or it may work, but not work as expected because it can’t load the proper Re device(s). This is another “to be determined” question which is left unanswered. I’m speculating here, but I am willing to bet that most ReFill designers will either a) not use the Re devices in combination with traditional devices, or b) they will limit usage of Re devices to just one or two that are the most popular. And if my bet is true, then this limits the development of some really interesting and creative Combinators that make use of many different Re devices.
  4. Those that develop using traditional Reason devices to imitate Re devices. Now here’s where it gets interesting, and my mind is always looking for new opportunities. So I said to myself, well, if Re devices are now available, wouldn’t it be interesting if intelligent sound designers attempted to recreate the sounds or capabilities of a particular Re device using the core Reason devices. This can potentially open up a new avenue for designers.
The Re Device Developer
  1. This is a brand new position that just opened up where Propellerhead and Reason are concerned. So as a developer, if you want to try your hand at creating a Re device, you simply need to ask for the SDK. From there, you can potentially get a device inside the Reason Rack.
  2. If you are BOTH a ReFill Designer AND a Re Device Developer, you’re probably in the catbird’s seat. You can now develop both a Plugin product and a ReFill product; taking both to the Reason market. Not a bad deal for you.

In summary, Re seems like it’s going to be very beneficial for most everyone concerned; musicians, sound designers, production engineers, etc. And I’m cautiously optimistic. But there’s no question that this brings up a few concerns or additional questions, at the very least. Anytime a company make such a sweeping paradigm shift, there’s bound to be some rough patches; call them growing pains. How the Propellerheads address these questions, and how this all develops over time is going to be very important for all of us. And right now, it’s still too early to tell. But I don’t want to be a naysayer either. I think the future looks bright and creative overall.

A little note about pricing. While it’s true that Reason 6.5 is a free update from Reason 6, and I commend the Props for providing it for free (I’m sure there was quite a bit of development work that went into the core update), that doesn’t mean that the new Re devices are free. So upgrading will have to take into account the fact that you will have to pay for each device individually, and that cost is as yet to be determined. This means that you need to factor this into your purchasing decisions. I’m also not sure if the 6.5 update will include any new devices inside the core product for free? But I don’t think so.

Lastly, here’s a little preview of the Bitspeek Rack Extension device for Reason 6.5:

And here’s an update from Rack Extension developers “U-He” on their plugins, also from Musikmesse in Germany:

http://www.musicradar.com/video/uhe-demos-reason-rack-extensions-k9PvK1gIICYu2

Until next time, don’t stop working with Reason as it is, and don’t stop supporting the Musicians and ReFill developers. From the sounds of it, nothing that currently exists inside Reason will change. All of the news centers around added functionality. All the beautiful bells and whistles that work in Reason 6 today will work in version 6.5 tomorrow. And please share any thoughts you might have. I’m interested to hear everyone’s opinion. Cheers!