to Reason 3, Reason 8 has some very
interesting effects available for the rack.
Some may not directly be of interest in the
creation of Reggae and the mixing of DUB,
but Reggae is a very absorbent form of music
because it's more a rhythm than a specific
genre. There will be DUB producers of the
more digital variety that will take a lot of
interest in some of the more exotic effects
available in the DAW.
quick glance over the effects (see right,
click to enlarge) reveals that next to the
RV7000 Advanced Reverb/Delay, there's the
original Reason half-rack effects,
Original Reason Effects
been reviewed before, but let's re-examine
them just a little (click to enlarge):
half rack devices are little useful tools.
There's a chorus, flanger and phaser that do
a pretty nice job, a filter and a mean EQ.
some more, too.
RV7000 is one of the most
important basic effect devices for the
creation of Dub music. This is a very
powerful reverb, fully programmable with all
the necessary Reverb parameters like Gate,
Hall/Plate, EQ et cetera. Although it's
quality is not of the kind you can buy for
the price of several Reason programs, it is
definitely a top device comparable to 500$+
also Reason's well-known Vocoder and it's
Scream 4 Distortion Unit. Plus the mastering
tools: compression, a detailed EQ and a
stereo expander. Since every channel on the
console has all of these mastering tools,
well, you can make your choice.
take a look at some of the newer effect
devices. Well, they're not actually effects
but since they have to be connected in the
same way, they're in this category: the Amps
(click to enlarge).
goes like this: You connect the Amp between
your instrument and let's say the a console
channel device. This way it works exactly
the same as "real" amps. And, yes,
it works. We've already heard a very fine,
nice and warm bass sound.
course you can also connect drums or other
instruments you would not normally run
through an amp, but then this has everything
to do with being creative, finding ways to
make a special sound.
Line6 devices, by the way, are Reason
Devices. They're scheduled to retire in a
future version of Reason. The other two are
created by a company called Softube, and
come as free Rack Extensions with Reason 8.
Rack Extension effect device you get for
free with Reason 8.0 is created by
Propellerhead and it's called
"Audiomatic" (see right, click to
Audiomatic device doesn't have any patches
to load, it just gives you 16 different
options and four parameters: gain, dry/wet,
volume and "transform".
it does? Well, it transforms the input and
sometimes adds a sound. Ranging from hardly
noticeable to an all-wet total
transformation, the Audiomatic can -next to
adding a very nice vinyl effect- transform
the input to make it sound like it's in a
tube, or comming out out a speaker, or as a
very lo-fi MP3 sound.
reason to utilize this? It has already been
done in the second Dub of this review. The
sound of the drums was directed to the
Audiomatic, who ran the PVC transformation
in full-wet mode. This sound came back to
the console and subsequently fed the reverb
and echo's. This gave a very special touch
to especially the rimshot.
used in the Dubs done for this review is
"The Echo" (see left, click to
a versatile device: you can make it sound
like your typical Space Echo, make Ping Pong
Delays and everything else echo-related.
browsing or making your own patch will give
you some thing, but the real fun is in live
tweaking on the filters and other buttons
while you're mixing your Dub track. Play
with speed and pitch, add wow and flutter
tape effects: with The Echo this is as easy
as it with a hardware Space Echo type
device. This is perfect for spontaneous, intuitive
you create this device, Reason will
automatically create a sequencer track for
You have to play notes in this
effect's sequencer track. It will then
process the input signal, which is usually a
voice. After all, change the "nep"
in Neptune for "auto" and you'll
probably know where this device is all
this is Reason's very own Auto-Tune device
even though that term is probably registered
as a Trade Marked name somewhere and
therefore not used.
theory, this is the kind of device that lets
you correct false notes in singing, or even
change the complete melody line, add harmony
voices or make special sound effects like
the singer "Cher", or closer at
home Michael Rose. It's highly
controversial, as it's image is that of
the magical machine transforming every voice
carrying individual into a skilled singer.
Dub, you'll find a way to integrate this
device. Or not. It can provide you with some
mystical vibes, though. An example can be
heard towards the end of this review.
"Triple Filter Gate", the
Alligator is a pattern-based filter with
built-in echo and phaser. You can choose to
filter Hi, Mid or Low frequencies, or a
combination, and let the signal pass
through, well, basically everything
possible to tweak the device completely to
your need, as the pattern follows the rhythm
in the way you choose to. Use it's built in auxiliary
echo or LFO. Even though this device is one
of these more EDM-specific effects, it can
-like everything- be applied somehow
somewhere in a Dub mix.
can use the Pulveriser as a "distortion
extraordinary", but it's also possible
to turn the device into a filter.
Using the right settings, that is. It gives
you gates and rates, filters and can very
likely turn that guitar into a Metal thing
which goes beyond the scope of this review.
Effects For Dub
at all the effect devices together, Reason
offers the obligatory ones in the right
quality. The RV7000 and The Echo are two
must-have effects in Dub, where effects like
phasers and the console's EQ are included as
well. The Neptune, Alligator and Pulveriser
are intelligently designed: they offer
possibilities unheard of in earlier
most effects are fully programmable while
Reason lets you connect things the way you
want it, it is very much possible to create
your own effects out of a chain of devices.
Using automation, you can tweak the effects
live in the mix as far as the console itself
won't let you.
effects work very responsive, they do what
they are told to do. They're of the kind of
quality you can expect.
more? Get Rack Extensions or use Rewire
(more further on).
take a look at the devices that make the
music that we want to run through the
effects. The devices that let us build a
riddim from scratch in Reason.
there was Reason, there was Rebirth: Two
drum computers and two monophonic
synthesizers in one program. Wow! Yes,
remember, this is the 1990's we're talking
about. Rebirth was at the forefront of what
we now know as DAW's when they released
this, well DAW that could run on the typical
pre-2000 computer. Quite an achievement!
"pre-DAW DAW" combined Drum Computers and
Synthesizers with a -primitive- sequencer,
then the Swedish geniuses continued to build other
instruments like Samplers and Loop Players
and released Reason 1.0.
that first humble release, the people at
Propellerhead have been and continue to be
developing new instruments. When the Dubroom
reviewed Reason 3.0 about a decade ago, the
DAW had then been updated with a new sampler
called the NN-XT and the RV7000 Reverb, for
example. Both devices are now classic in
this review, we jump from Reason three
straight to eight and that means a lot of
new instruments. Interesting instruments.
Powerful little gadgets and extremely
complicated machines that let you design
sound on a beyond-professional university
a look at the right (click to enlarge). On
top are the classic Reason instruments,
under that is the updated Dr Rex Loop Player
and below that "Dr. Octorex" are
the new instruments. Drum computers,
Synthesizers, Samplers and a very nice
take a look at the instruments, in a
short: this is a pattern and sample-based
drum computer. You can draw the rhythms in
the sequencer or go old fashion and indeed
use the patterns.
room for ten different samples to trigger,
you can set 8&9 as "exclusive"
(for Hi Hats) and the volume, length and
pitch of each sample. Some channels have
different options, especially when it comes
to bending effects.
don't just have to use the ReDrum for drum
sounds, though. Think about loading the
device with vocal samples (ad-lib's for
example) and place notes at the right times
in it's sequencer track. Or load guitar
skanks and there's your Reggae
small and quickly overlooked: The ID8 Sound
Module. This little device gives you
piano's, organs, synths, drums, just like
any other sound module will do. Every
instrument comes with some effects you can
put in (like a chorus), and the sound is
really, really good.
ID8 is perfect when you start up with
Reason. All these complex instruments you'll
find described later on in this review
require a lot of study before something can
be done. Building a Reggae riddim quick? You
get the ID8 for everything but the drum and
bass and you're on your way for sure.
NN-19 and (introduced in Reason 3) it's
bigger brother the NN-XT are Reason's very
own samplers. You load one, two, three,
hundred samples in the device or use a
patch. The sampler will become a guitar, a
piano, an organ, a whatever.
to the ID8 and the ReDrum, the NN devices
will help you quick-start when building a
riddim from scratch.
machines have fully automatable parameters
like filters and vibrato's. Wheels for
pitching and other purposes are there, too.
Everything is fully programmable even though
simply loading a patch will give you the
sounds you can't find in the ID8.
you buy (professional) Sample Packs, like the ones you can
find reviewed here in the Dubroom, chances
are huge you will find NN-XT patches in some
folder. A sign that yes, the NN samplers are
professional in their kind.
to WAV, AIFF and -of course- it's device
patches, the NN-XT will also read SF2 files.
You're probably happy when you know what
this means. When you don't, don't worry
about it. It's an old sample-bank format
used in ancient days.
possible to open an extensive program window
on the NN-XT. That's where you load samples,
assign keys to them and a whole lot more. In
other words, you can create your very own
patches with your very own samples.
very own loop player, successor of the Dr.
Rex, can handle up to eight loops and is
therefore now called the Dr. Octorex. This
comes in handy, especially when you're using
a set of (drum) loops to construct a full
Dr. Octorex works with it's own file
formats, it won't load a standard WAV file.
However, you can load a WAV file in the
sequencer, open the Audio Editor and save
the loop in the rx2 format on your hard
drive, then open the loop in the player. In
the same time, you can simply drag Dr.
Octorex files directly to an audio track,
bypassing the whole device.
loop player has some powerful features, next
to the pitch and tempo changes it handles
very nicely. It has a very effective LFO
filter you can set to different rates and
amounts, while different waveforms give you
the choice between several ways the filter
treats itself. Whether you run horns or a
bass line, this filter will definitely speak
to your imagination.
The Kong Drum
Kong. Drum designer, sampler, loop slicer,
sound generator, effect device, drum
computer. No, don't get too impressed by all
of this. When you're just looking to use a
drum computer that does a bit more than the
ReDrum, you should load the Kong in your
lets you configurate 16 pads with either up
to four layers of samples per pad, or use
synthesis to create a sound on-the-spot.
Every pad is fully programmable seperate
from the other pads. It lets you load up to
two effects per pad, too. It has a couple of
standard effects built-in, but you can also
use other Reason effects.
can even use the Kong as an effect device,
so that you can run instruments through the
internal Kong effects.
is a central device, and not just in the
creation of your own drum sounds. It's a
giant-sized drum computer, and able to build
a drum kit on acoustic drums sounds or
Subtractor, the Malström and the Thor,
Reason offers three different synthesizers.
You can see them in the picture right (click
to enlarge) in order of appearance. The
Subtractor is the oldest synth in the rack,
followed by the Malström that was
introduced in Reason 3.0. The one named
after a Scandinavian god is the most recent
and the most extensive one.
use one or more forms of electronic
technology to generate sounds. That's
about the shortest definition of
synthesizers and the triplet in Reason altogether
make use of all these forms.
all three comes with a set of patches. This
means that even without any knowledge about
the generation of sound using the countless
of different parameters, you can get these
specific sounds in your music.
lot of reviews on Reason are written for the
producer of EDM. Electronic Dance Music.
Synthesizers are the obligatory form of
instrument in EDM, and a lot of expertise on
the synthesizers can be found just by
reading the reviews on Reason from the EDM
this review, let's just establish these
three synthesizers will provide you with
some of the best forms of synthesis
available. All three make use of different
ways to generate and process sound -you can
even use the Malström as an effect device-
so when you're planning to include
synthesizers, of course Reason has them.
Instruments For Dub (Reggae)
drum devices, samplers, loop player,
synthesizer and -once again, excellent-
sound module form the catalogue of internal
Reason instruments. There is enough to suit
can use samples and loops for a more
old-skool vibe like the Dubs in this review,
grab the synths and go completely Eurodub,
anything in between and beyond will go
your own sounds is as easy or as difficult
as you want to make it, but Reason
definitely provides the tools for the
autodidact with devices like the Thor and
still one more instrument in the instrument
section of Reason, and that's...
External MIDI instrument
this device integrates any MIDI enabled
piece of hardware you (still) might have
into Reason. Drag the device to the rack,
connect your hardware's MIDI cables to the
MIDI interface at your computer's sound
device, do the same with the audio from your
hardware and create an audio track in the
console to hear your hardware in perfect
sync with the rest of Reason's internal
a way, it's a bit debatable whether the
External MIDI Instrument should be part of
the Instrument section in Reason. Perhaps
the third category of devices would have
been a better place.
possibility to connect instruments, to
record audio input, you can't do much.
That's why there is this third category. A
couple of devices that lets you connect the
dots and record what you're doing.
you create your set up, things can get
complicated. Things can also get so good
that you might want to use specific elements
of your set up in another project.
Combinator lets you join specific devices
you connected together into one device. Good
for transportation from one project to
another, from one producer to another, or
for sharing on the Net.
arpeggiator creates little MIDI notes and
sends them to a device, like a synthesizer.
It can randomize chords and drum patters or
mess up things in other ways. The thing is
often used in EDM, in fact has been used
since the early days of what was then called
Acid House back in the previous century.
use of it in the construction of a Reggae
riddim is questionable, but there will be
producers very interested in this little,
Splitters and Mergers
with cables at the back of the rack: a DUB
Studio makes heavy use of unorthodox and
alternative ways to connect devices. In
fact, routing is an essential part and
that's where the splitters/mergers come in
do exactly what they claim, just look at
their backsides (click to enlarge).
the main console was introduced, most of the
Dub action in Reason took place on the 14-2
Line Mixer. It has four FX sends, 14
channels and a primitive EQ. No gain. The
6-2 Line Mixer has one FX send, 6 channels
and one volume controller.
Line Mixers can still be used to make your
DUB, but it would be ignoring the real power
in this DAW, the main console. However, it's
perhaps better to look at them as a form of
Splitters/Mergers with lots of extra
ideal for the use in a Set Up as part of a
Channels are your gateways from the rack to
the console. We discovered very early in
this review, that automation at the main
console can only take place when channels
have their own device in the rack and their
own track in the sequencer (armed for
automation). Connect your device to the Mix
Channel's input, insert effects when you
want, create a sequencer track and that part
of your set up is ready for Dub mixing.
Mix Channels are for rack devices, are Audio
Tracks for anything audio. For loops you
load directly in the sequencer instead of
using the Dr. Octorex, for full-length
multi-track stems. The Audio Track device is
a channel on the main console, automatically
armed for automation.
Rebirth Input Machine
last Reason utility connects Propellerhead's
first music production software to Reason.
Rebirth contains two drum computers and two
monophonic synthesizers you can program with
a pattern based sequencer. The program is
discontinued, but Propellerhead offers it
now as a free download for all at the Rebirth
load Reason, drag the Rebirth Input Device
to your rack, Start Rebirth, and everything
Rebirth Input Machine establishes
communication between Rebirth and Reason
through the REWIRE protocol. This is
developed by Propellerhead and Steinberg.
Currently, many DAW's support Rewire. Most
usually, Reason will function as a slave and
the other DAW as master.
fact, the Rebirth Input Machine is the only
way to get audio from another DAW directly
into Reason. It seems that when you run the
ASIO4ALL driver with a little extra thing
there are other DAW's that will feed their
output through the Rebirth Input Machine.
This has not been tested for this review,
but getting audio from another DAW through
REWIRE is a much coveted and requested
feature that is currently unavailable in
Reason. Officially, that is.
way things are now, Rewire lets you connect
any audio output directly to another DAW. A
much used combination is Reason as a slave
and Ableton's Live as a master. You open
Ableton, open Reason and the two programs
will work in perfect sync. This way, you can
use audio from Reason and run it directly
through for example a VST effect.
Reason 8.0 ships with two huge Sound Banks.
They have the file extension
"rfl", which stands for ReFill.
These two are not the only ReFills you can
use. You can find loads on the Propellerhead
website and elsewhere on the Net, the
Dubroom including. There are free and
commercial ones, everything you can think
Refill file contains files Reason can read.
Sound files but also Reason Song Files,
Instrument and Effect patches, loops, you
name it. A free program called ReFill Packer
will let you create your own ReFill to share