Propellerhead Software added a new Reason drum sequencer in version 10.1 (read my full review of Reason 10.1 here).
If you still haven't picked up Reason, you can do so here (note, this is an affiliate link).
The new drum sequencer has quickly become my go to tool for programming drums. It's fast, powerful, and incredibly user friendly. Even an idiot like me can use it!
This article is going to show you three advanced tips for using the drum sequencer, but if you're still getting acquainted with it, please first check out my introduction to the Reason drum sequencer player.
The three advanced tips here cover the following: getting advanced grooves with the sequencer, easily creating stutter effects with the sequencer, and using the drum sequencer's CV outs to trigger other instruments.
If you're more of a visual learner, though, check out this Youtube video which covers all the steps.
Reason Drum Sequencer Tip 1: Advanced Grooves
Towards the top of the drum sequencer, you've got a built in ability to set shuffle.
First it's worth noting that each pattern has a different shuffle value you. So you have to make sure they match up or you'll get some interesting timing differences. Unless that's what your going for.
You can turn each pattern's shuffle off, or select between 50%-74%, or you can select Global Shuffle. With Global Shuffle, the pattern use the shuffle percentage of the Reason ReGroove mixer.
However, this does not apply an actual "Groove" patch to the performance. For background, Groove patches extract subtle timing variations from performances and are basically a super version of shuffle, adding a much more human feel.
So, they're great. But you can't automatically access them with the Reason drum sequencer player.
Instead, you need to click on the "send to track" button on the top of the drum sequencer. That will copy the drum sequencer to a midi channel. From there you can apply the Groove like you normally would.
Reason Drum Sequencer Tip 2: Easily Create Stutter Effects
One of my favorite features of the new drum sequencer is the ability to quickly create stutter effects (or re-arrange patterns in different time signatures).
Simply program your pattern, then use the "reset step" feature on the bottom right. The reset step feature temporarily shortens the loop point of the pattern, which can easily create great stutter sounds.
I find that setting between 2-6 for a few beats before going back to off is the perfect amount. I've actually pre-built a Combinator patch that lets you easily do this with just a knob. You can download it for free below.
Reason Drum Sequencer Tip 3: Use CV Outs to Trigger Other Instruments
My third Reason drum sequencer tip involves how great the CV Outs can be.
Because the drum sequencer is a player, it automatically triggers the notes of the instrument its connected to without CV voltage. That leaves the CV outs on the drum sequencer free to do other things.
Just hit tab to start connecting them around. For example, you could quickly have the kick drum cv out trigger a sidechain compressor, or a snare trigger a reverb gate. Or another effect.
The world is your oyester. But the cv outs allow for quick, creative connections between your intruments to get great dynamic sounds.