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REASON 3.0: THE DUB IS IN THERE!

Get Reason 3.0

A FIRST REASONING

In a modern studio, it's impossible to work without MIDI teCHECK REASON NOWchnology. A "midi-recorder" called sequencer records and plays instructions for instruments and other devices. This is how you program rhythms into a drum computer, for example. You play the sequencer, and the sequencer "plays" the drum machine.

There's basically two different parts of Reason. There is the "Virtual Studio" with all the "hardware" you need to set up a decent studio, and there's the Sequencer. In the Sequencer, you program the riddim or instrumental track that will be the foundation of your final DUBWISE track. And you'll record the moves on the mixing table later on. So the Sequencer is the heart of the set-up you create in the Studio section.

Before a riddim can be played or programmed into the Sequencer, the Studio has to be set up. This is always a very nice thing to do. And in Reason, it's quite easy too.

You start with an empty rack. Simply "create" devices of any kind by right-clicking on the rack and choosing from a huge menu of devices. Pressing the "tab" button will enable you to flip from the front side of the devices to the back. As you know, that's where the cables go in. And that's where DUB producers will do it different then most of their colleagues.

Reason will automatically connect the device according to a logic that will not always be followed by everyone. For us, it's nice to know that it doesn't have to be that way. Holding the shift button down, while right clicking on the rack will cause the device to pop up without being connected to other devices...

Several different kinds of devices are necessary to make a decent studio. Of course, there are the musical instruments. Reason offers a number of different samplers and synthesizers, as well as a drum computer. Of course you can create multiple devices of the same kind. The effects, more important than the musical instruments, are available in versatility too. Echo, Reverb, Filter, Phaser, Distortion, and more. Reason even has an additional number of "luxurious" effects. And of course, there is the mixing board. Or mixing boards, to be exact.

CHECK REASON NOWIn Reason 3.0, there's also a Mastering Section that you can put between the master mixing table and the output to your soundcard. But for this first session, this isn't important. For now, we want to know how easy it is to set up the Studio for a DUB session. Most programs look like they've written for computer experts rather then musical artists. Reason would have to be different in order to remain on the lonely heights that it currently is.

To create a basic set up for a First Reasoning takes about as long as it would in "Real Life". Drum, Bass, Piano, Guitar and Horns will do just nice. Reason's 14 channel Mixing Board has four effect out-puts, so a slow and a fast echo will do besides two different kinds of reverb. Some other effects between the instruments and the mixing board will complete the set-up.

Time to check the sounds and pre-sets. It's easy to browse through the different sections and finding a few satisfactory sounds for the different instruments doesn't take long. So this first look to the soundbanks already reveal how there's a well of sounds to be discovered at a later stage, after we've done a first session. When you're not too picky about the pre-sets and know how to connect everything, this will take you a few hours at the most. And during this time, you're absolutely enjoying yourself, realizing that you're only scratching the surface of a very deep ocean...

CHECK REASON NOWNow that a basic set-up is constructed, it's time to create a little riddim. In Reggae jargon, a riddim is a basic track. That means, in Reggae Music, a bassline and a short musical theme usually played by a horn section or a keyboard. Time for some action in the Sequencer!

It's pretty easy to get to the Sequencer. Just above the transport controls you can open and close the screen at will. Or leave it a little open, which will be of use in the later stage, when we make a DUB.

The Sequencer has already recognized the musical instruments and created a track for it. It's easy to create new tracks, and assign them to the mixing board and the effect devices. There are several different windows in the Sequencer: Key and Drum "Lanes" where you can program the riddim. Of course it's also possible to play it using a midi keyboard, but since we want to have a computer running Reason and see what we can do, we're gonna program one.

Needless to say, that it's impossible to say how long it takes before a riddim is ready. Inspiration, experience, your own archives, all these things are relevant in this context. But with a little bit of all of the above, it's pretty easy to create it.

Just take a listen to the following file. It's a basic two-measure loop, with all the instruments running and a little limiting at the end. This is how it sounds before the variations, breaks et cetera are programmed in the Sequencer.

SOUND EXAMPLE 1: CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD

This riddim is not finished, of course. There have to be variations, themes, and everything else. Only then can we start to make a little DUB. For this first session, it's not really that important to make the best themes and most impressive drum rolls. And it's not necessary to create a drum roll at the start, either. This time, that is. This is how the riddim sounds after a few changes. This is what we're gonna transform into a DUB.

SOUND EXAMPLE 2: CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD

We're using 12 out of 14 channels from the mixing table. The main output goes through a limiter, which basically keeps the signal from clipping. Take a look at the following list:

1. BASSLINE - We've used a patch from the "Subtractor" synthesizer, ran it through an equalizer and a compressor. Channel 1 on this mixing board also has an extra Bass Boost in the EQ. 

2. BASSDRUM - Straight from the "Redrum" Drum Computer into this channel, with the EQ similar to channel 1. 

3. DRUMS - This channel contains the complete drum sound minus the bassdrum. Dry, with no EQ setting on the mixing table. 

4. PIANO - Using the "NN-19 Digital Sampler" for the Piano sound, then through a phaser, into the mixing board. 

5. GUITAR - Using a sound from the "NNXT" Sampler, which goes through a filter before it enters the Mixing Board. 

6. HORNS - Using another "NNXT" Sampler and another phaser, before the signal enters Channel 6 on the console. 

7. DRUMS FLANGED - Using FX output 1 from the "Redrum" Drumcomputer, putting it through the chorus/flanger. This channel contains the snare and the toms 

8. DRUMS PHASED - From FX output 2 of the "Redrum" Drumcomputer, straight into a phaser. This channel contains the hi hat and the two crash cymbals, as well as the tambourine. 

9. EMPTY 

10. EMPTY 

11. EFFECT - From FX output 1 of the Mixing table to the "RV 7000 Advanced Reverb" using a digital reverb patch. 

12. REVERB - From FX output 2 of the Mixing Board to another "RV 7000 Advanced Reverb", using a spring reverb patch 

13. FAST ECHO - From FX output 3 of the mixing board, straight into a Delay and back again 

14. SLOW ECHO - From FX output 4 of the Mixing Board, straight into another Delay and back again.

CHECK REASON NOWThis set up is pretty basic. It has the most crucial elements, but it just screams for improvement. However, for a first session it's Reason-Able. In the previous sound example, we heard all of the above, except for the slow echo.

Time for some DUBBING! Remember, we've not really taken the time to investigate the fullness of the sounds, the effects and everything else. We just created a basic set up with the major effects. Some effects stand between the instruments and the mixing table, and there are two different echo's and two different reverbs at our disposal.

In an interview with one of the Founding Fathers of DUB, the mighty SCIENTIST, he spoke about the "old days". He spoke about visions he had from automated mixing boards, which could enable him to mix DUBS as if he had a lot of hands. That was then a hope. That is now a thing, which Reason enables every computer based DUB producer to do. Again, the MIDI technology is at the heart of this.

As we already established, the Sequencer is where the riddim is stored. The Sequencer drives the instruments. CHECK REASON NOW But it can also drive the mixing board and the effects. In the very same way.

Whenever there's a button, a fader, a slider, whatever, the moves you perform on it during playback of the track can be recorded into the Sequencer. When you then press "rewind", or simply keep playing the same loop, your recorded moves will then be played by the Sequencer as well.

Setting Reason up for the first DUB session is easy too. Create a few sequencer tracks and apply them to the devices you're gonna use in the mix. When you get ideas for other devices along the way, simply create another sequencer track and continue your production.

In the Sequencer window, there's two buttons left of the track's names. One looks like a little keyboard, the other simply is the recording symbol: the Japanese flag, as some would say.

In our set up, one of these tracks is called "Mixing Board". Needless to say where it's applied. When we press the record button on the Sequencer track, and also the record button on the transport control at the bottom, the track starts to play. And every move, every action we perform on the mixing board will be recorded. This is how the DUB is made in REASON 3.0

Are you ready?

SOUND EXAMPLE 3: CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD

The above DUB was created in about 20 minutes. It shows, what REASON 3.0 will enable you to achieve, by using some standard effects and instruments, nothing fancy, nothing special, this is the basic power of REASON 3.0

Just a few hours after the program is installed on the Computer, our first Reasoning has brought us something audible. And this could never have been achieved with some other "Virtual Studio's" or even heavyweight sequencers such as Cubase. Not without a significant amount of hardware and/or expensive software plug-in's. And even then, the way everything is connected in this session isn't possible in other programs either.

This is looking good. It will be a real thrilling experience to explore the deeper levels of Reason!

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