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Archive for February, 2007

Double the Speed of a Rex Loop in Reason

Thursday, February 15th, 2007

For those times when your loops in Dr. Rex are twice as slow or twice as fast as your song, there is an easy way to slow down the loop or speed it up. In the sequencer view, select a group of notes and right click on one of them. Then select “Change events”. You will see an input that is labeled “Scale tempo”. If you want to double the speed, type 200% and then press ok. Otherwise, type 50%. You can experiment with this for interesting loop speed variations

Create Unique Drum Loop Remixes in Reason

Thursday, February 15th, 2007

When you use the Dr. Rex loop player, you can easily change the pattern to break the monotony of looping something over and over. Here’s how: on the Rex player, there is a button labeled “to track”. Press that, and notice that in the sequencer view, the space between your left and right loop points will fill up with colored boxes. Right click (or ctrl+click for mac users) on one of the colored boxes (this is a group of notes), and then choose “Change Events” from the pop-up menu. This gives you many options for changing a group of notes. You want to use the “Alter Notes” functions. This will randomize the notes according to whatever percentage you choose. Now listen to the loop, it will be remixed. Granted, it is somewhat randomized, so you may have to switch over to the note view and change it to your liking. But this is a really great way to come up with drum tracks in a matter of minutes. Try it on a whole bunch of note groups all at once and listen to all of them. Chances are, there will be some remix of the notes that’s a real keeper.

Fat, Smacking Snare Drum

Thursday, February 15th, 2007

“The fatness of the snare tends to reside between 120 and 400Hz. A boxy sound is indicative of comparatively high energy in the 800Hz-1.2kHz range, whereas the resonances of the drum’s ringing reside above this, between about 2-4kHz. The crispness of the drum’s attack tends to reside more in the 4-8kHz region.”
(from Sound on Sound)

A well-known trick to beefen up your snares is to combine two snares with complementary characteristics. For example, combine one snare that has a nice snap to it with another snare that has a thump to it. Optionally, you can EQ the snares to accentuate these characteristics. EQ the lower pitched snare with a lower EQ and a higher EQ to the one with more snap to it. This will result in a slap-you-in-the-face snare sound.

Try adding a little bit of delay to your snare. A delay of 3 steps will give you an interesting syncopated effect. You can alternately use a delay with a setting of just 2 steps for the dub/reggae feel.

Expressive Hi-Hats

Thursday, February 15th, 2007

Hi-hat Amp EnvelopeHi-Hat VariationsIf you don’t want your hi-hat track to sound mechanical and lifeless, then you need to vary your patterns. This can be done with a few different tricks. First, alter the note velocities to create accents as seen in the left image. A good starting point is accenting the first of every three or four hits. Make the velocity on these hits higher than all the other hits. Second, set the hi-hat’s volume envelope to the following settings (and as seen in the right image). Attack = 0, Decay = just above 0, Sustain = 0, Release = 0. Now you can automate the decay time to make the hi-hat hit shorter or longer. This emulates the sound of a hi-hat being closed tighter or looser.

EQing the Kick Drum

Thursday, February 15th, 2007

“The punch component of most bass drums lies between about 80 and 100Hz. Below this area, you’ll mostly feel, rather than hear, any boost, and it’s easy to overdo. Warmer kick sounds major on the 200-300Hz region. When the kick needs to cut through on smaller speakers, then you might also consider a boost in the region of 2.5-6kHz, which will tend to emphasize the click of the beater.”
(from Sound on Sound)

If you want a dull sounding kick for mellow tracks, you can apply a lowpass filter to it to create a low thump with no high-end whatsoever. For trance and breakbeats, it’s good to add some high frequencies to the kick so it has a little bit of click to it. This will give the kick much more presence and make your track more danceable. You should apply two separate EQ curves to the kick to achieve this. One EQ curve should emphasize the low frequencies (which usually are just below the bass frequency range. you don’t want the kick and bass to reside in the same frequency because that will result in a muddy sound) The other EQ curve should be just above the bass frequency range. The combination of these two EQ curves will give you a “saddle” for the bass to sit in.

How I think about transitions

Thursday, February 15th, 2007

If you’re like me, you like songs that can tell a story, even without words. In order to create a song that can tell a story, it must be able to communicate different emotions throughout the length of the song. This means that your song may contain several different themes all together. So, your song will need to be able to smoothly transition between the different elements. I find that the easiest way to accomplish this is to gradually (or suddenly) drop out most of the layers in your track, leaving only one or two different sounds or instruments. Then introduce a new element that sounds good with the last remaining layers, and use a buildup to introduce a new section. Now you can drop out those last remaining layers, and now you have a completely different vibe!

Another interesting trick is to find a nice long percussive sound and reverse it. Then, when you have the reversed clip in your sequencer, you align the climax of the reversed sound with the beginning of the next bar. This adds suspense, which is cool in my book.

Ping pong delay in Reason

Thursday, February 15th, 2007

Start off by creating an RV7000. Now personally I think you should bus it to your main mixer on one of the aux tracks. To do this, right click on the mixer and create the device, it should automatically attach the device as an auxiliary effect. This will allow you to send the audio signal to the effect with the aux send knobs on each mixer track. This will give you control over the dry/wet sound, and you can apply the effect to any track on the mixer. I would not recommend attaching a space/delay type of effect directly on your device; this reduces the versatility of the effect. Okay, now that that is taken care of, expand your RV7000 view by hitting the carrot on the left [it’s the triangle pointing at the remote programmer, right under the patch loading box]. With this open you can now adjust the parameters of the device. The algorithm is set to hall, but we want multi tap, so adjust the top knob on the left side till the algorithm reads “multi tap”. Alright, now notice the knob second from the top on the left side. It should be set to tempo sync. By default, it it should be set to OFF, but we want it ON. With this on, the delay will sync to the tempo that you have your track set to. Set the diffusion to about 15 (second knob from the bottom on the left side) and the LF damp about 385Hz (bottom knob on the left side).