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REASON 3.0: THE DUB IS IN THERE!

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THE SOUND CREATORS

CHECK REASON NOWIn a contemporary DUB studio, the sequencer plays the music. And the sequencer itself contains the instructions, the notes. This is different then the average Recording Studio, where the Sequencer is a Multi Track Audio Recorder that records the sounds of the instruments.

Talking about instruments, Reason has a lot of them. And two CDR's packed with sounds and presets to keep you going on for a long time. But before we deal with the sounds, let's take a closer look at the devices that play the sounds.

* SubTractor Analog Synthesizer - A High Quality Synth with too many control buttons so that it is a little studio in itself 

* Malstrom Graintable Synthesizer - This device is a hybrid between a synthesizer and an effect device, like the Vocoder. 

* CHECK REASON NOW NN19 Digital Sampler - The first sampler came with Reason 1.0 

* NN-XT Advanced Sampler - The follow-up for the NN19, with a lot of programmable parameters for fine-tuning and creation of your own samples. 

* Dr.REX Loop Player - This device is the connection between midi and audio, as we will see later. * Redrum Drum Computer - With many interesting knobs, outputs and functions, the Redrum is a little sampler in itself where the drum functions are simply outstanding. 

* ReBirth Input Machine - When you're the happy owner of the ReBirth package, with this device you can synchronize the two programs which basically mean you have two monophonic synthesizers and two 80's style Drumcomputers at your disposal, all of them with a classic sound that is appreciated in the Techno and Electro scenes.

Roughly spoken, you can divide them in two main categories: The Synthesizer and the Sampler. They both have a lot of specific applications, but when it comes to sound creation in general, the very same two categories dominate the technique of Digital Production.

A computer can generate sound from what is called "synthesis". Basically, without getting into boring technical details too much, this means the computer "reads" instructions and translates it into something audible.

A computer can also generate sound from a previous sound recording and can then subsequently do something with that sound recording. This technology is called "Sampling".

Now there are many crossover elements in Music Production. For example: when you sample a synthesizer, you make use of both technologies. But in order to get a principal oversight on the Art of DUB, it's necessary to know a few boring details such as the above. We need it to know how to treat the musical instruments in our Studio.

Reason primarily deals with the sampling technologies. But there are two Synthesizers: the Malstrom Graintable Synthesizer, and the SubTractor Analog Synthesizer. Let's deal with the SubTractor first

The niceness of the synthesizer is that it can create sounds through programming. A Synthesizer can sound like a brass section, for example. But it will always sound like a brass patch of a synthesizer. Some people hate it, and others simply love it. Many who hate it, though, like the sound of the Hammond Organ. And they forget how that also is an instrument which uses electronics to create it's sound, based on a "Real Life" instrument!

CHECK REASON NOWThe SubTractor is a High Quality synthesizer. It can produce a bass sound that goes below what any bass guitar can do. Especially when you've found the right patch and combination with EQ and compression. The organ patches are wonderful, and with a little bit of creativety you can easily create your own sounds from scratch.

The Malstrom Graintable Synthesizer is different than the SubTractor. It's not just an "Advanced SubTractor". Even without knowing anything about Synthesis, there are enough controller buttons on the Synthesizer to create that special Techno-ish sound that goes surprisingly well with a simple Steppers Drums with tight bassline.

The Rebirth Input Machine can arguably also be seen as a synthesizer. But because this review is about Reason and we won't be using Rebirth, it's simply mentioned here. Suffice to say, that Rebirth makes in itself use of the synthesis-technology.

Let's take a closer look at the two samplers. The NN19 and its successor, the NN-XT Advanced Sampler. The only difference between the two is, that the NN-XT can do everything the NN19 can do, plus extras.

These extras are manifold. It's possible, for example, to read soundfonts. A soundfont is a collection of samples with instructions for samplers how to play the sounds. The file format, (*.sf2) is open, and that means you can find a lot of them on the Internet.

CHECK REASON NOWThe NN-XT contains two windows, where the NN19 only has one. The "Remote Editor" screen of the NN-XT gives you the possibility to control the Sampler to its finest detail. It's just too bad, that you can't record any of the functions in the Remote Editor. It truly is. Because it would have increased the functionability of the NN-XT during DUB mixing session significantly.

For now, we can establish that both Samplers do their work pretty good, actually they both do it very well! The parameters on both instruments give enough control too.

Then next sampling device is the Dr. REX Loop Player. We haven't been using this device yet, as we've only been using the internal sounds of the Reason Studio and made our own riddims.

Dr. REX can be your connection between pre-recorded material created by another Studio or Software program and Reason. But you'll need another piece of software called "ReCycle" to create the files that can be read by the Dr. REX player.

Later, when we check the sound for the different instruments, we'll take a closer look at the loops that come with Reason, and especially the "Dub" section will have our full attention. For now, let's establish that the Dr. REX Loop Player is very interesting for the use of pre-recorded material, whether they may be short Loops or long parts.

And it should be mentioned here too, how the DRUMDROPS.com DVD-ROMS (reviewed by DUBROOM.com) are a very welcome source for the dr. REX player.

CHECK REASON NOWThe Re-Drum Drum Computer, as already established, is a very simple yet powerful Rhythm Machine. You can use up to ten different channels, of which channels 8 and 9 can be selected as "exclusive", which means you can use a closed hi-hat sample on one channel, and open hi hat on the other, for some nice patterns. Each channel has it's own specific parameters, which can be used for either fine-tuning or special FX (Pitch Bend, etc). The machine also has an internal pattern editor for quick auditioning of sounds, or for another use for which you don't need the sequencer...

The Sound Creators in Reason? They're beyond the average quality of their hardware equivalents. Especially when your goal is to mix with effects in any possible way, the samplers and synthesizers will do just nice, thank you. Every device does exactly that what it's supposed to do, and even more.

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