Monthly Archives: August 2018

New Propellerhead's Reason 10.2 Announced!

Propellerhead’s Reason 10.2 Update Announced

I'm thrilled to share that Reason 10.2 has been announced. It's the end of August right now, and it will be released on September 26.  So that's about a month from now if you want to join the beta. You're absolutely able to do that. ​

Update 9/26: You can read my full review of Reason 10.2 here.

What Type of Reason 10.2 Update Are We Getting?

Reason 10.2 is sort of the update everybody's been looking for for a long time. No new devices or sounds. Just functionality. 

To me, this type of update is long overdue, especially now that there are so many rack extensions and the ability to do VST.

Reason 10.2 Update 1 - Multi-lane Midi Editing

These are some simple but much needed updates to the user interface to make reasoned a more modern type of daw. So the first one is that you're going to be able to edit multiple lanes of midi in one screen.

So let's say you're arranging like strings for example, playing a C major (C-E-G) and you've split the bass to play C, the cellos playing an E and the viola is playing a G. Well normally if you wanted to change something about that you'd have to click on each individual middle lane to edit them individually. 

No big deal for one chord, but if you've got lots of chords over a song and want to make a change, it becomes a pain. Until now.

Now you can select all three lanes and simultaneously edit all the notes so you can really get a better sense of where the cords are. This is great if you want to invert a section where the viola on the cellos switch.

And it is so much easier to be able to visualize layered parts together to see how they work and how they don't work. So that's a huge step forward. 

Reason 10.2 Update 2 - Multiple Faders

The second thing (and this is so requested) is the ability to adjust multiple faders on the mixer at the same time.

So let's say you had your drum drum kit mixed and you love the balance between the kick, the snare, the high hats, and the overheads but you want to bring them all up or bring them all down.

Of course you can always use a buss, but that's not always the best way to do it. And so with the Reason 10.2 update you're going to be able to highlight multiple channels or select multiple channels and simultaneously move their faders together and they'll maintain their relative position and move up and down together.

This is a huge just timesaver and a new power feature

Reason 10.2 Update 3 - Adaptive Snap to Grid

 The next feature they're adding is an adaptive grid. 

Basically when you're editing midi, previously you would say all right I want to drop a quarter note or I want to draw an eighth note. And you'd have to select each note length and snap point. 

But now what you can chose to have it do is draw in a note that is the same length as your zoom resolution. So if you're zoomed into quarter notes then that's what going to draw zoomed into. That's what it's going to draw.

You can always override this, but this can really save a lot of time if you're doing detailed editing. You do the big parts. Then you zoom in. You do the smaller parts.

This is something that Logic does really well and I'm glad to see this coming to Propellerhead's Reason 10.2.

Reason 10.2 Update 4 - Add Midi Devices

The final update is to allow you to add devices from the track sequence or window, which I think is really important.

There's been a lot of disconnect between the sequencer and the rack/mixer. So it's just going to be cool to have more coordination between the two of them.

Reason 10.2 Update: Closing thoughts on why I think this will be the best version of Propellerhead Software's Reason DAW 

I think actually what Propellerhead's has done here is really smart. Save the headline updates for the major revisions like 10.0 and 11.0. And to do the user interface updates for the smaller versions.

They got a lot of flak when they went from Reason 7 to reason 8. Even though Reason 8 is way better in terms of interface. And so I think this allows them to have big headline marketing releases on the big numbers and little user interface programs updates that happen all along.

The other thing they announced in that e-mail is that this update is not going to improve VST performance, but they have brought in a team to work on it. That is very intense because they have to go into their audio engine and do a lot of stuff that they hope to.

 They plan to have a update by the end of the year.

So what I think is cool about that is that Propellerehads are really going out of the way to communicate the roadmap which I think all of us users can appreciate. Having an idea where things are going especially if the VST support which is so huge to so many people that is great.

The next big thing is that I think probably what that means in my mind the way reason existed was first a purely Midi thing and then I think in reason five or eight reasons six they introduced a separate project called Record which dealt with audio, Reason only dealt with midi. ​

I really think what Reason became once they integrated the two together was just a piece of software that was really well re-wired, joining audio to Reason's Midi interface. I'm not an engineer I don't have any real reason to believe this but it would explain a lot of the weird inconsistency between the sequencer and the rest of Reason.

Hopefully going in there and doing this deep dive on the audio engine will mean that a lot more subtle deeper integrations and improvements are also going to be coming along.

So with that said yes I'm really looking forward to reason ten point two sign up for the beta if you guys want it'll be out in a month. 

Composing Neo-Classical Music Pt 1

Composing and Orchestrating Neo-Classical Music

I'm still learning about composing and orchestrating Neo-Classical Music (think a sound track for a Netflix documentary), but along the way I've learned some really useful tips. When it comes to composing neo-classical music, the chord structures and melodies really aren't that different than in the pop/rock context. However, the sounds palate you're using, and the rhythmic differences lend it a much more grand and graceful air.

Because there are no drums when you compose and orchestrate neo-classical (generally), you need to  put more emphasis on how your chords flow and change into each other. In these videos, I'm using Spitfire Audio's solo strings. They're expensive but they sound amazing.

Tip: using a piano can really help add a bit of extra rhythm and swing.

Composing and Orchestrating Bass and Cello for Neo-Classical Music

This video shows me orchestrating bass for the piano part, if you watch, you'll see how I apply many techniques of a rock n' roll bass, but in a new context.

The other thing you'll notice is that, when orchestrating for neo-classical music, each instrument usual takes a single note from a piano chord and plays it. 

For example, if you're playing a C major on a piano (C-E-G), then you might arrange your strings like this:  Bass (C), Cello (E), Viola (G). It's also okay to have each of those instruments playing octaves or fifths - i.e. bass playing two Cs or C and G. 

Composing and Arranging Viola and Cello for Neo-Classical Music

The fun comes in as you add different rhythms to each of these instruments, and perhaps start to add the occasional passing tone. In this video you'll see how even though the chords are fairly well set, experimenting with leading tones and applying just a little bit of chord theory allows me to fill out the viola and cello parts and bring them to life.

The viola and cello add a lot of the harmonic complexity to neo-classical music, but they also help carry the rhythm as I show in the video.

Neo-Classical Arrangement tip: Don't be afraid of switching which instrument plays the third or the fifth (or the octave, either)

Composing a Neo-Classical Melody

Composing a melody for neo-classical music isn't too different from any other genre. Typically you'll use a violin or viola to play the lead portion. 

The easiest way to create a melody is to look at your chords. Then try to arrange notes on a violin that connect the chords in a conversation. You can also considering adding a counterpoint to the pre-existing melodies and phrases that have emerged earlier in the arranging process.

And of course, you'll want to clean up the midi notes after you've played everything live to give it a more accurate sound.

How to make old school hip hop beat in reason Lo fi hip hop tutorial

How to Make Old School Hip Hop In Reason

Here are two videos teaching you how to make old school hip hop beats in Reason. Both of these beats take advantage of Reason 10's new drum sequencer (click here for some advance sequencer tips). 

I love making hip hop beats, and Reason makes it really easy to do. Personally, I prefer old school stuff to trap (I'm an old man), so I tend to stick to what I know. 

How to Make a Lo-Fi Hip Hop Beat in Reason

The first video teaches you how to make a lo-fi beat in Reason. It focuses on three main topics: re-sampling your own recordings, writing a bass line, and building lo-fi grit.

Add these three skill together and you'll have a banger for the ages.

This post has a lot more tips on how to get gritty, lo-fi textures with tape emulation other plugins.

How to Make a New Jack Swing Style Beat in Reason

The second video focuses more on making a new jack swing style beat and really digs into the drum sequencer. 

Instrumental new jack swing is having a real renaissance right now - so break out your 808s (you can grab some great sample packs here).

  1. You need to emphasize the snare on the back beat. 
  2. Program a lot of shakers, cowbells and other percussion. 
  3. Export your drum sequencer track to the Reason sequencer and apply a ReGroove patch.

The video really digs into how to nail this sound.

Also, apologies for saying this is a boom bap beat in the video. I don't know where my head was at.

Conclusion - Lo-fi, Old School beats are back

Not that they really ever went away for us old folks, but these beats are suddenly fresh and in right now. So start putting these tips into action and making some music! 

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