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					Pointblank Sound Design and Production Skills – written by
Danny Lewis for pointblank college London.

Part 2: The Rack and Signal Flow
One of the great things about
Reason is its intuitive
approach to building a ‘virtual’
Studio. Back in the day when
we used hardware for making
music we had to physically
connect all of our devices via
audio leads to a hardware
mixer so that we could balance
them together. We’d also
perhaps have a bundle of
additional equipment, usually
sound expanders or outboard (effects and dynamics racks) all bolted into a 19”
rack. Reason uses this analogy of the hardware studio and presents it all visually
in the look and feel of a traditional ‘old school’ rack of gear. This is great for
beginners as it encourages those who haven’t had actual ‘hands-on’ studio
experience to think of the signal flow between devices when connecting them up.
Have a look at the image on the above right and you’ll see some cables plugged
in, each colour coded (yeh I know it’s a black and white image but look at your
computer screen when you get the chance eh?!) to show what type of connection
they are. In case you were wondering, those yellow CV cables are used for
controller data such as note on and off – we’ll be using these when we use the
Matrix to generate musical patterns to feed into the Subtractor Synthesiser.

Building a studio
When building your own studio in Reason you’ll start off with an empty Rack and
a Hardware Interface.




Hardware Interface
The Hardware Interface is very important as it enables communication between
Reason and your midi and audio interfaces, also with a host sequencer if you are
using Reason via Rewire (more on that later)

Let’s create our first Device connected to the Hardware Interface, the Mixer – a
Device that is absolutely necessary for us to hear any instruments or effects we
connect when running Reason standalone.




Week 2 – Reason Part 1 (Edited out of main document)                       -1-
Pointblank Sound Design and Production Skills – written by
Danny Lewis for pointblank college London.




Mixer

The Mixer is the heart of the studio, a place where you can plug in devices such
a Sampler, a Synthesizer or a Drum Machine and add effects to sweeten your
mix such as Reverb, Delay and Chorus. It also enables you to balance the levels
of the sounds and adjust their sonic character ie cut/add bass or cut/add treble
via the built in EQ. Let’s create a Mixer and two send effects to get started, but
what I am going to recommend you do whilst learning is to bypass the automatic
wiring that Reason offers. This may seem like a bit of hassle but it’s a great way
to re-enforce in your mind the path of the audio signal as it travels from device to
device.

    1. Hold down Shift and drop down the Create menu to select a 14:2 mixer
       (14 inputs and 2 outputs) now push Tab to flip the rack around and create
       the audio connections. With a left mouse click and drag, pull a cable
       from the Master Output on the mixer and drag it diagonally up and left
       into the first two channels of the Hardware Interface – 1 for Left and 2 for
       Right. This now means that any audio signal coming out from the mixer
       will be heard through your audio interface’s Left and Right outputs.




Mixer connected to Hardware Interface



Week 2 – Reason Part 1 (Edited out of main document)                         -2-
Pointblank Sound Design and Production Skills – written by
Danny Lewis for pointblank college London.
    2. We’re now going to create a ‘Send and Return’ Reverb effect here that
       can be shared across all the inputs in the mixer via the Aux Send 1 knob.
       Hold down Shift and then click Create > RV7000 Advanced Reverb.
       Drag a cable from the Aux 1 (Left) Socket on the Mixer over to the
       RV7000 Audio Input (Left) and you’ll see that green cables will be
       created – automatically connecting the right channel for you as well
       because the RV7000 is a Stereo effect.

    3. Now to complete the signal path for this effect, drag a cable from the
       RV7000 Audio Output (Left) to the Mixer’s Return 1 (Left)




‘Send   and Return’ Reverb Effect – Mixer connected to RV7000 Reverb Device


    4. To add some reverb to a channel, push Tab again to flip the Rack around
       and locate the AUX 1 knob, rotating it to send signal into the Reverb Unit.
       You can then balance how much is coming back to the mixer via the
       Return Knob 1 on the far right hand side. Note: At the moment we
       don’t have any sound going through the Mixer Inputs at
       all so you can try this when we do.




Sending to the Reverb via Aux 1 Knob                     Level of Reverb’d signal balanced
                                                         here


            You might actually find as time goes on that you’ll
TIP         get a little annoyed by the cables so here’s a handy
            keyboard shortcut to hide them from view – CTRL + L.
            Don’t worry, the cables aren’t disconnected, just
            removed from the screen – you can see the sockets

Week 2 – Reason Part 1 (Edited out of main document)                                -3-
Pointblank Sound Design and Production Skills – written by
Danny Lewis for pointblank college London.
       coloured to show that the connection is still there.
       Hover your mouse pointer over it to see what Device
       is connected to it and you’ll get a summary
       displayed.

  5. Next we’ll be creating a Delay effect but just to add a spin on it all we’re
     going to bypass the FX return section and instead bring the signal back
     from the delay onto a mixer input. Why? Well think about it, we get the
     chance to EQ the signal coming back (very handy if it’s bassy and making
     the track harder to mix) but also to add a classic ‘feedback’ effect if we
     want by sending it back into the delay effect again. This effect was used
     by the ‘dub’ pioneers of yesteryear to trip out sounds and is still a great
     effect today.

     Push Tab again so that you can see the back of the Rack and holding
     down Shift again Create > DDL1 to create the Delay Device.

  6. You should be familiar with this by now but remember there’s a twist with
     the cabling this time round. Drag a cable from the Mixer Aux 2 Send Out
     into the DDL1 Left Input (Right is connected automatically) Now drag a
     cable back from the DDL1 Left Output to the Mixer Channel 14 Left
     Audio Input (14? just keeping it out of the way for now)




     Mixer Aux 2 Send Out connected to DDL1 Input then back out to Channel 14 Audio
     Input to create ‘Dub’ Delay


  7. Next up we’ll create a Drum Machine so that we can test the Delay Effect.
     We’ll be explaining the Redrum in detail later on but for now hold down
     Shift and go to Create > Redrum.

Week 2 – Reason Part 1 (Edited out of main document)                           -4-
Pointblank Sound Design and Production Skills – written by
Danny Lewis for pointblank college London.
  8. This Redrum needs some sounds so click the browse patch icon at the
     bottom left of the Device    and navigate to the Reason Factory
     Soundbank\Redrum Drumkits\House\ folder then double click on House
     Kit 07.drp to load a basic House drum kit.




     Locating the House Kit 07


     You will now have a Redrum with 10 individual Drum Sound Channels –
     each with its own single drum sound ie Kick, Snare, Clap etc.




     Redrum with loaded kit (patch)


  9. Push Drum Channel 1’s Select button to enable editing and on the 16
     step drum grid click numbers 1, 5, 9 and 13 to create a four to the floor
     kick pattern.

  10. Push Drum Channel 2’s Select button and click numbers 5 and 13 to
      create a clap on each second beat.

  11. Puch Drum Channel 8’s Select button and click numbers 3, 7, 11 and 15
      to create and offbeat open hi-hat.

  12. Finally push Drum Channel 3’s Select button and click numbers 8 and 16.

Week 2 – Reason Part 1 (Edited out of main document)                      -5-
Pointblank Sound Design and Production Skills – written by
Danny Lewis for pointblank college London.
   13. We’ve now got a simple House beat to use to demonstrate the dub delay
       effect we created. Push Play on the Transport and slowly rotate the Aux 1
       knob to send signal from the drumbeat into the DDL1 delay unit.
   14. You’ll hear a nice rhythmic effect developing but it will get a little messy on
       the bottom end so find the fader that is the delay return – channel 14 and
       roll off the bass by rotating the Low EQ to the left.

   15. Now find the Aux 1 Knob on Channel 14 and rotate this slowly to the right
       – the distinctive dub delay effect will start to come through. Watch out for
       levels though, go easy and you’ll be fine. We’ll be looking at a way to
       protect these levels in next week’s lesson.

So we now have 2 effects that can be shared amongst all 14 inputs, a reverb to
add space to sound and a ‘dub’ delay to add rhythmic echoes to sounds, both a
handy starting point for the next session where we look at the Redrum in more
detail.


US House/Garage (circa 92-96) [Tempo 122-128bpm]
          1       2   3   4       5       6       7       8       9    10   11   12   13   14    15   16


Kick      H                       H                       S       H                   H


Clap                              H                                                   H


Shaker            S   H                           H       S                 H    S         S     H


Snare                                                     H


Open                  H                           H                         H                    H
Hi Hat




Broken Beat (DKD Future Rage) [Tempo 120-128bpm]
              1   2   3   4   5       6       7       8       9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16


Kick          H                                       M       H


Clap                      H           M                                          H


Shaker                H                       M       H           H    M         M    H    H


Snare                     H           M                                          H


Open Hi               H                       H                        H                   H
Hat




Week 2 – Reason Part 1 (Edited out of main document)                                                       -6-
Pointblank Sound Design and Production Skills – written by
Danny Lewis for pointblank college London.




Week 2 – Reason Part 1 (Edited out of main document)   -7-

				
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