How to save $20 on your Reason 10 Upgrade

How to Save money on musical instruments (guitar center discount)

Here's a super easy way to save about $20 on your Reason 10 upgrade. 

If you're like me and buy thousands of dollars in gear a year, this trick really adds up!

It involves using cashback sites, which are awesome. Basically, the way the whole internet works is that major retailers like Amazon and eBay pay websites like this one a referral fee if someone clicks a link and makes a purchase. 

Note: this article may contain affiliate links, which means I receive a commission if you make a purchase through them. Nonetheless, these are my honest, unbiased thoughts on products I really use.

Cashback sites flip this on its head, by passing most of the referral fee to YOU, the consumer, in exchange for them getting more clicks, and therefore more commissions. 

So here's how you start saving on music gear...

First, if you've got a plugin that disables internet cookies, you need to temporarily turn it off, so that you can get credit for your purchase.

Then click on this link to go to Be Frugal, which is a cashback site that I know and love. If you use my referral link, you will get $10 in cashback once you create your account and make a purchase

Third, you want to search BeFrugal for Guitar Center. Guitar Center will show up, and it will inform you that you'll get a 6.3% (as of 10/27/17) in cashback.

Click on the link, head over to Guitar Center and purchase the digital download or hard copy and you're good to go! 

You've saved $8.12 through clicking the link and $10 from the referral. 

Propellerheads Reason 10 Review

Propellerhead's Reason 10 Review

Propellerhead Software's Reason 10 is here! Long live Reason 10! This Reason 10 review is going to cover the following topics, and you can directly click on the links to jump to any of them, if that's your thing. 

Reason 10's Features

Reason 10 features five new instruments, plus a couple old favorites. Really, Reason 10 is mostly just new synths, so they are kind of the centerpiece of this Reason 10 review. 

Note: this article may contain affiliate links, which means I receive a commission if you make a purchase through them. Nonetheless, I bought Reason 10 with my own money and these are my real, unbiased thoughts on it.

The first new synth is Europa, an amazing modern sounding, huge club filling synthesizer. It sounds complex, is easy to use, and comes with loads of great presets. Plus, it looks super cool. If you're into any type of EDM, Europa will become your go-to synth.

The next major synth is Grain, which is one of the most interesting, rich sounding, fun instruments I've used in a long time. Grain is a grain sampler, which allows you to easily import samples, then manipulate tiny slices to come up with other-worldly sounds. The main point of my Reason 10 review is this: for Grain alone, Reason 10 is worth the upgrade.

Grain and Europa also include fantastic user interfaces, and I really hope these become standard for all of Reason going forward.

Reason 10 Review Europa Flagship Synth

Reason 10 also includes 3 new sample based instruments: Klang (tune percussion), Pangea (world instruments), and Humana (vocal synth). These are all REALLY well done, and capture all the nuance of the underlying samples. I didn't think I'd use them too much (and I still haven't really found a use for Pangea), but Klang and Humana are going on almost everything. Humana just sounds amazing. I've been looking for great choir sounds for so long, and now they're finally here!

Reason 10 also adds two Rack Extensions that used to be sold separately, Radical Piano and Synchronous. It's kind of lame that people that purchased these already don't receive a discount or a voucher, but Radical Piano is a genuinely great sounding piano, and will probably become the only one you'll reach for. Synchronous... well I don't know what to do with. 

Finally, Reason 10 adds a couple gigabytes of new drum loops and hits. These are all really good, and it's nice to add a modern update to the classic sound bank of Reason. 

Performance - Reason 10 Review

Reason 10 improves greatly on the performance of Reason 9.5. While I didn't run any detailed analytics for this Reason 10 review, anecdotally speaking, I've noticed a major performance boost with VSTs in two different ways.

First, when running lots of VST effects on multiple channels, like the incredible Waves NLS plugin, Reason 10 doesn't bog down at all.

Second, when running CPU-hungry major VSTs, I'd say performance has improved 30-40% compared to Reason 9.5. It is definitely noticable, but has a little ways to go, still.

Reason 10's Shortcomings 

If you haven't gotten that the gist of this Reason 10 review is that I like it a lot, let me re-iterate that Reason 10 is great.

But there are a lot of shortcomings built into the underlying Reason platform that Propellerheads has done nothing to address over the years.

I've made an extensive (yet partial) list of them in this video.

None of these are critical, but if you're like me, you've spent 1,000s of hours using Reason, and all these counter-intuitive workarounds start to add up.

I mean, I've literally spent DAYS of my life converting .Wav files to .Mp3s. 

Come on. It's 2017. 

Reason 10 Review Conclusion

Reason 10 is better than any version of Reason, and it's a great DAW in and of itself. But it's also as bad as every version of Reason. 

I'd still recommend it without hesitation, but I'm definitely getting tired of working around features that should be standard. 

Add Color with Master Bus Effects

Add Instant Vibe with Master Buss Effects

Fans of "top down" mixing have long used master buss effects to shape the sound of their mix. Whether it's a master buss compressor, a little eq shaping, or maybe a limiter, experimenting with master buss processing can yield huge results with limited processing. 

But you can do even more amazing things with master buss effects. I don't want to feel like your creativity is limited. This video walks you through a few cool ways to create instant vibe in a track by adding master buss effects. 

The song, "Lost in the City" is off of my new EP, Dark Film, which you can listen to here. The entire album is imbued with a synthwave retrofuturism. And this track (more than most) is trying to be just a step removed from an 8-bit video game.  

In the video below I describe how I used a  Blamsoft's Reasmpler bit crusher and Wave's Kramer Master Tape (that link gets you a 10% discount) plugins into instantly give the song the vibe I was looking. By placing these effects on the master buss, I was able to quickly dial in the right sound/vibe, and that helped immensely with the creative process.

Don't be afraid to do things your not supposed to do. Try adding weird effects to the master buss, in small amounts. It won't work for every song, but you can end up with some very cool techniques, even if you just using them on an intro or a breakdown or something! 

Have you used master buss effects in a cool, creative way? Leave a comment with any suggestions! 

Propellerhead Reason 10 Announced!

Propellerhead Software just announced that Reason 10 is going to be released this October! That's absolutely incredible - Reason 9 was released less than 2 years ago, and it's great to see that they're accelerating the development timeline with Reason 10.

Some details are still unrevealed (I'd like to know what's going on under the hood of Reason 10), but the major changes are as follows:

  • A new modern synth, Europa
  • A new granular sampler
  • 3 new synthesizers focusing on pitched percussion, vocals, and world instruments

On top of that, the update will add Radical Piano and Synchronous to the default Reason lineup.

And even better, there will be 3 gigabytes of new samples and loops from Sample Magic, easily my favorite sample company. 

Be sure to stay tuned for more updates as additional information is released! 

How to create lo-fi hip hop

How to Create Lo-Fi Hip Hop Beats in any DAW

Figuring out how to create lo-fi hip hop beats is tough. But once you've unlocked a few core techniques, you'll be able to experiment on your own and create your own dusty, lo-fi hip hop. The examples I'm using today are in Propellerhead's Reason 9.5, but this should work for any DAW.

But not just I'm talking about sounds like you'd hear on Deltron 3030's eponymous magnum opus or ​DJ Shadow's Endtroducing. No, this also works great for electronic music - how do you think Tycho's Dive sounds so incredibly lush but washed out?

The basics of creating a lo-fi hip hop sample are simple: you take one sound, speed it up or slow it down, pitch shift it, and add some distortion. But the skill of learning how to create lo-fi beats comes in the order that you do these things, how you do them, and what your source material is.

Here is a video/audio example of how to create lo-fi hip hop samples in Reason. I show you pretty quickly how massively you can create a radically different sound.

So you saw how I took a high pitched short sound and twisted it into a dusty, lo-fi out of focus drifting loop. Pretty neat.

Now let's walk through the steps. I got the sample from the George Duke Soul Treasures library included in Komplete. I triggered some slices of that to create a new groove, then bounced it to audio.

I then time stretched that audio out so that the individual hits would have longer decays. This part was a little bit of trial and error, because I wanted a bit of the corruption/distortion from time stretching, but not too much.​ It's also worth noting that I cut up each individual hit to stretch out, so that the initial attack and timing of each hit wouldn't really be affected. 

Then I bounced that to a Rex loop and created a Rex player. I added the incredible Wave's Kramer Master​ Tape plugin (affiliate link that will get you 10% off) as an insert on that channel, and dialed in a lo-fi tape setting with a lot of warmth, noise, and some wobble. 

How to create lo-fi hip requires a good tape plugin

A good tape emulation is essential for that lo-fi hip hop sound

Then I used the Octo Rex's ​pitch shift feature to shift the sample down an octave. This created a really brooding sound starkly different from the original in spirit. 

Finally, I used the Octo-Rex's built in LFO to lightly modify its own pitch Oscillator. Basically, this means the the LFO wave is slightly, slowly manipulating the pitch of the sample, giving it that drifting, lo-fi hip hop feel

​There's a ton more ways you can play with these techniques. Bit crushers can play a huge role. Pitching things up and down and up again can create interesting artifacts. Adding a reverb or delay before creating the loop can give you all sorts of little noises to play with. And of, course, a good vinyl emulation plugin can create a distinctly lo-fi sound.

Once you've got your dusty samples, it's time to start chopping them.​

Now that you know how to create lo-fi hip hop sounds, here's some free samples that you can get started manipulating today!​

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