Category Archives for "Advanced Reason Tips"

How to Use Compression in Reason

Propellerhead’s Reason is loaded with different compressors. But knowing which one to use, when, can be a bit tricky. And learning how to use a compressor is also hard. That’s why I’m here to show you about how to get the most out of each compressor to make your mixes sound great.

Hear the difference between Reason’s Compressors!

MClass Compressor

This is a great all around compressor with a straightforward design. It’s got a pretty fast attack (which is variable) with the ability to dial in a long release, plus the ability to select soft-knee compression. It also allows you to apply makeup gain.

MClass Compressor

This is the most surgical of the compressors in Reason, and is the one you should reach for if you really need to sculpt the envelope of a sound. The variable attack allows you to either clamp down on a signal hard or let most of the attack through. 

For smoother, more subtle effect, you can also enable the soft knee knob which will make the initial onset of the compressor less pronounced. Finally, it ability to adapt the release can help the compressor pump in time to the song more musically.

Not only is this a great surgical compressor, it’s also the number one tool in Reason for using side chain compression. Simply flip the rack over and insert a side chain key. 


You’re off to the races!

The Mixer Compressor

Mixer Compressor

Every channel in Reason runs through the mixer, and every mixer channel includes a built in compressor (under the Dynamics section). While the Reason’s mixer compressor doesn’t allow as much control (you can’t dial in the attack speed, chose a soft kneed, or adapt the release), it sounds nice and gets the job done.

This is the compressor you want when you just need to tame the peaks a little bit. It’s a workhorse that shouldn’t be ignored when compression you tracks. It’s not particularly musical or precise, but that’s often not needed if you’re just looking for a couple of dB of compression

The Mix Bus Compressor

The grandad of Reason compressors! I use this on almost every song to really glue the mix together. The most important thing to note about this compressor is that EVERY channel flows through it, so a little bit goes a long way. 

Here’s how I use the mix bus compressor in Reason 99% of the time: set the ratio to 2, the attack to 30, and the release to Auto. From there, I dial in the threshold until it’s doing 2-3 dB of gain reduction on the peaks. Then I adjust the make up gain to compensate, usually setting it at 2-3dB. 

The Master Bus Compressor


Now You Know How to Compress in Reason

There you go, you’ve learned how to get started using compression in Reason. With these tips, you’ll always be able to grab the right compressor for the job in Reason, and dial it in just so. 

There are a couple of other compressors in Reason as well, but they are much more specialized. Start out learning how to use these compressors, and once you feel comfortable with them, then you can start exploring!

Propellerhead Reason's Secret FX

Reason’s Hidden Effect

Did you know that there are extra sound effects processors hidden in the nooks and crannies of Propellerhead’s Reason software?

For example, on the Kong, there are a series of unique effects (transient shaper, ring modulator, rattler, and more) that appear like they can only be used within the Kong. But actually, you can route any instrument through a Kong to take advantage of the effects!

Or that you can use the Pulveriser and tremolo or a compressor? Or that The Echo makes a damn good overdrive?

Watch the video below to see a selection of some of the best hidden and non-traditional effects nestled within Reason (affiliate link). The secret to unlocking all of these awesome effects loaded into Reason revolves around its creative routing options.

See how to unlock all of Reason’s secret sound FX!

Here’s a whole other group of suggested effects in Reason to play with once you get bored of what’s in the video! These were suggested by Loque (Soundcloud link).

The Echo
* Limiter, Overdrive, Tube and so on
* Frequency (pitch) Modulation
* Auto-Bending

The Pulverizer:
* Has a FM and AM input on the backside ^^

* Wave-Shaper
* And some kind of stereo spread (not the best, but yea, it is there…)
* Comb Filters
* AM

* chorus and delay are really good
* The filters including comb and Formant
* Bunch of audio modulation…

And a few others:
* Alligator as a band splitter
* Often ppl forget how many modes the Scream4 has including a LoFi and RM which sound very good
* Neptune as a pitch shifter
* Radical Pianos resonator
* BV512 as a frequency shifter (ok, sounds quite bad, but its there and make some happy accidents…)
* Neptunes pitch shifter (yea, well, same as BV512 

* All the many RV7000MKII reverb, delay, spring, convolution,… modes. Such a little device with so much power inside. Happy accidents with the spring reverb and modulation…

3 Advanced tips for Reason's Drum Sequencer

Advanced Tips for Reason Drum Sequencer

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. 

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