Category Archives for Advanced Reason Tips

How to Copy and Paste In Propellerhead’s Reason

You probably think you know how to copy and paste in Propellerhead's Reason DAW, but I'm willing to bet that you might not know the best way to do it. You can watch the video below to see it in action.

Now, for the longest time I'd copy and paste the same way I did it in Microsoft Word. I'd select the region I wanted to copy, pressing control+ c, then moving it the transport to the new location and pressing control + v. This method is great for quickly duplicating sections next to each other.

But my new method of copy and paste in Reason is far superior for most other purposes. If you select a track (or multiple tracks) and hold down control + shift, a copy is created that you can drag wherever you want.

The Benefits of Using Control + Shift to Copy and Paste in Reason

This other copy and paste technique has a couple of benefits. First, you can easily copy midi or audio data from one instrument track to another - in exactly the right location. So if you've got a layered kick drum and you want to have the same pattern for both kicks, you can control + shift the pattern from kick one and drop it in kick 2. 

Another benefit of this copy and paste method is that it lets you copy and paste in Reason while a song is playing! So let's say that you're listen to the song and you suddenly realize that you also want a drum to come in at the end of the verse? Before you'd have to stop the song grab the first drum fill, move the transport to the end of the verse and paste. Then you may have to restart the song way earlier to make sure everything sounds right. But now you can listen on the fly. 

There's probably a lot of other good uses for this method. How would you use it? Are there other copy + paste tips I'm missing out on? 

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! 

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.

Note: this article may include affiliate links, which means that I receive a commission if you purchase through them. Nonetheless, this did not influence the products I recommend here. 

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.​

Update (2/2/18): These days I'm pretty much exclusively using Serrato Sample to chop samples. It is like the future of sampling. It makes chopping so fast and easy!

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