SuperSweet's
Completely, Totally and Unashamedly
UnOfficial Reason FAQ


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Version: 2.0
Last updated: 23 April 2004

Greetz all.

This FAQ is intended to draw together some common themes encountered on the Propellerheads General Board for their virtual studio product "Reason".  This FAQ has been created by extracting relevant posts from relevant peeps on the board.  

Some notes:

(1) I don't profess to be an expert on any of this.  Nor should you assume that the people who've posted are experts... although they may be. Finally, I have not confirmed the tips myself, so they may or may not work.  Make ur own evaluations.
(2) This is not intended to be comprehensive.  Comments and criticisms are welcome.  Please help me improve the FAQ.
(3) Where I've linked to articles, browse the whole thread to get the full picture.
(4) Orthography is English (AU).  So please don't go telling me that I've spelled colour [sic] wrong.
(5) I'd prefer if u don't mirror this,  so that I can keep it up to date better. But feel free to link till ur blue in the face.
(6) This FAQ has a whole heap of links to the Reason board at Propheads.  If you're not a member there you won't be able to read them. Go figure.
(7) I'm a PC user, so my knowledge (or interest) in what's happening in Mac world isn't that great.  Please email me contributions if you want the Mac info up to date.

Please email me with comments or broken links - gobnat@optusnet.com.au

Stuff covered in this FAQ:

1.   Reason's Sound Quality isn't Phat (phat enough)
2.   Tips on Getting Phatter Sound from Reason
3.   How Does the Reason Compressor Work?
4.   Mastering and Levels
5.   Dithering
6.    Can I record Vocals (other audio) in Reason
7.    Extracting Vocals/Removing Vocals
8.    Which is better - Mac or PC?
9.    Splitters and Y-cabling in Reason
10.    Midi Out - How Do I Trigger X From Reason?
11.    How do I load my own graintables into the Maelstrom?
12.    What's in Your Studio?

13.     iloyd's funky Reason Racks (pictures)
14.    Sequencers and Reason
15.      Some Links to Stuff about Effects
16.    Where can I found out about Music Theory?
17.    Where can I found out about different sorts of electronic music
18.    What is ReWire?
19.     Links to Resources on the Web
20.     Will Reason Run on Linux Today? Ever?
21.     About Copyright

22.    Specific Tips, Tricks and Techniques
23.     Midi Controllers
 
24.    What is Recycle?

25.    Requesting Features for Reason 2010
26.      How do I make my own Refills?
27.      Is it cheating to use Factory Drum Loops (etc) to make music?
28.    How do I get earth shattering drum/ synth/ kazoo tracks
29.     Reason Timing Tests
30.     Stuff re/Etiquette on the Reason Board
31.    What Monitors?
32.    Interesting Asides
33.   About Vocoders/ The BV 512


1. Reason's Sound Quality isn't Phat (phat enough)


Many posters have argued that Reason's sound isn't phat enough for them for one reason or another.  Some people conduct mock experiments, others go by their ears alone.
Note: 2.5 includes effects devices to pump up your sound. 

1.1    Sample posts criticising Reason's sound quality
(see also the thread and some of the me toos in the threads):

Reason 2 sound quality - Posted by flame on 2002-10-16 09:32:56
http://www.propellerheads.se/board/general/index.cfm?fuseaction=displayMsg&displayMsg=54161

reason sound quality Posted by london elektricity on 2002-10-11 17:57:56 
http://www.propellerheads.se/board/general/index.cfm?fuseaction=displayMsg&displayMsg=53420

serious constructive discussions about sound quality? Posted by discombob on 2002-09-24 18:42:03
http://www.propellerheads.se/board/general/index.cfm?fuseaction=displayMsg&displayMsg=51091


1.2    I imported sound into Reason then exported it and I can tell it sounds different, so Reason must be crap.

Reason exports with 3db headroom, so your exported sound will be not as loud as the original and will therefore sound different.  You will interpret this sound difference as "badness" of sound. If you want to do this sort of comparison normalise both waves to the same level first.

1.3    Sound Analysis and Props' Comments
 

(a) iloyd's sound quality research
2002-10-16
http://www.propellerheads.se/board/general/index.cfm?fuseaction=displayMsg&displayMsg=54317

A few weeks ago I and an engineer friend made some simple tests on Reason's sound quality issues. We especially wanted to see if there is any sound colorization within Reason. So we started by preparing various loops and one shot samples of any sort. We triggered them with various Reason instruments (NNXT, NN19 and ReDrum) and exported them to wave.
Then we spectrum analyze both the source and result wave files with the quite complicated spectrum analyzer of Izotope Ozone. When we compared the result graphics we saw that there is almost no difference. I mean, there is %99,99 no difference between the graphics. The remaining difference was mostly about +/-0.001db at no specific place in the spectrum. So this means to us that there is no colorization or muddiness or any such problems with the audio engine.
Beside this we realized one interesting thing that might be considered as a problem: There was always a noise around -96db in the silent parts of the exported waves. Even when there is no sound was playing at all. This noise was becoming slightly louder if we added more and more devices (FX or instruments) up to -90db when there was about 50 devices. Theorically there shouldn't be no noise, just plain silence when there is nothing playing. We didn't go more in this, though, because it wasn't that important for us when considered the hardware devices we were using in the studio like Roland JV1080, Korg Triton, etc with always have much more noise in their audio outputs. Perhaps it is related with one of the FX processors in Reason...
Anyway, I'm happy to know that there is no serious problem with Reason in the sound quality department. I think that the usual "Reason does not sound fat/bright/clean" threats are the result of the quite simple FX processors that come with Reason. Ok, there are quite working tricks to make some cool and fat FX's by chaining them. But Reason is not fat "out of the box".
[snip]
Anyway, I don't complain and just wait. But I wanted you know that if Reason is not that complete yet, it does not engrave most of the negative feedback we see everyday in this forum. I personally am satisfied that Reason's sound is top quality right now, if not as special as everyone need.
TG

Note: iloyd, in a later part of the thread, indicated that the tracks were normalised before spectral analysis. Any sound can be broken down into its various components at each frequency.  What iloyd is saying is that each of those components was the same after processing in Reason, so Reason does not affect the frequency spectrum of the sound. - the sound "stays the same" when processed through Reason, except for a change in its volume (modulo some noise at -96dB).  [As I note  below, and as a couple of people have pointed out, this noise is apparently only present during what should be silence.] 

(b) Note from Tage
This is an extract from Tage's (propheads) response
2002-10-18
http://www.propellerheads.se/board/general/index.cfm?fuseaction=displayMsg&displayMsg=54548

The differences is sound quality that people think they hear is all a matter of amplitude. Ask someone to judge between two identical mixes, but with one 3db louder, and they will say that the louder one was much better.
As your tests show, the only difference is in amplitude and the reason for that is of course that Reason needs to keep a little headroom to play samples polyphonically. If we didn't, Reason would distort when trying to play two sounds polyphonically.
[snip]
Thanks!
/Tage


(c) Fred's observations on Reason Sound
2002-10-23
http://www.propellerheads.se/board/general/index.cfm?fuseaction=displayMsg&displayMsg=55246

::What a refreshing topic.
Ya know, I think a lot of people who bring this up are people who are used to pulling a Korg Triton out of a cardboard box, plugging it in, hitting a key and enjoying a full, rich, fat, complex sound texture.
Now go into that fat patch and disable the reverb, the compressor, the equalizer, the exciter, the chorus, the delay, the presence, and be sure to neutralize the EQ settings on your mixer, and no outboard effects please.
Now hit the key again. Is it fat, sturdy, loud and optimized like straight off a commercial CD? No? Well call Korg and complain!
A Korg Triton patch isn't the equivalent of one Malström or Subtractor, it's a whole Reason rack! The building blocks in Reason are low-level and there are no ready-made microwave meals, just the basic ingredients and you'll have to peel the onions yourself.
Think of Lego - on one hand there's those standard pieces that are one or two units wide and 1, 2, 3, 4, 8 or 10 units long, and they come in black, white, red, yellow or blue. Then there are those new 'cheat' pieces like complete engine blocks, animals, tiled roofs and furniture. Those kits don't require you to use your imagination and creativity, and they don't allow you to build anything except what's on the picture on the box. You can't build a spaceship out of six rabbits and an antenna. Well, Reason is like those original Lego pieces, you can build anything if you put your grey matter to it but you can't be lazy.
/Fred

See also:
Blackworm's analysis of the NNXT at Reasonstation


2.     Tips on getting Phatter Sound from Reason

iloyd's sound quality research
2002-10-16
http://www.propellerheads.se/board/general/index.cfm?fuseaction=displayMsg&displayMsg=54317

As a result you can always try the following tricks to help your sound:
- Use double reverb in series for your master "send" reverb. Use the first one as the early reflection part by setting the size very short like "-45" and use the second one as the long tail, setting the algoritm to Hall and keeping the size above "0". Keep the dry/wet setting of the first one as "pure wet (+64)" and use the dry/wet setting of the second one for the balance between the early reflections and the long tail. This is very essential trick for realistic reverb effects with debth. Think of the Waves Truverb!
- Use double chorus in parallel with different delay and rate settings for Left and Right channels. This makes a huge difference, really!

- Try setting up some interesting delay effects: Forexample if you want a pingpong delay with some modulation on the delay part: First connect a chorus device to one of the effect send outputs of the mixer. Keep the chorus in "only wet" state and attach a different delay device for each left and right outputs of the chorus. Connect one of the two delay outputs to left fx return and connect the other one to right effect return. Now you have independent delays for the left and right channels even with some modulation affect that is achieved by the "only wet" chorus effect before the delays.
- Try returning master effects to mixer via a mixer channel instead of the fx return inputs in the mixer. This way you can create fx feedbacks or you can add the other three master effects to the wet part of the master effect you connected to the mixer channel. Forexample you can add master reverb to the echoes of the master delay.
- And use compressors and parametric EQs to maintain a brighter, cleaner, more in control sound from any instruments.


3.     How does the Reason Compressor Work?

General:
If a signal is instantaneously above a certain level, a compressor can cut it at that level, or reduce its excess - if it's over by 6 db, a compressor might squash it so it's only over by 3. Conversely, if a signal is below a certain level a compressor can expand it.  If it's under by 6 db, it could increase the volume of the sound so it's only under by 3 db.  As a result the difference between the loudest and softest sounds is reduced.  So if the loudest sound was at -3db and the softest at -18db,  after compression the loudest might be at -6db, with the softest at -15 db.  So what was previously a dynamic range of 15db (ie 18-3) is now only 9db (ie 15-6).  Thus the dynamic range of the sound is said to be "compressed".

See also:
Fred's and my emails below re differences between effects compressors and mastering compressors.
The section below on effects processors.

This is what I've found out Posted by gnorpf on 2002-08-27 17:26:02
http://www.propellerheads.se/board/general/index.cfm?fuseaction=displayMsg&displayMsg=47470

I've made some experiments with the compressor by creating a track that gets a bit louder every 2 seconds in 12 steps in such a way that the mixer channel meter gradually lights up one more every 2 seconds.

I then put the compressor between mixer and soundsource and played with the parameters. The meter in the mixer should then be affected by the compressor, according to the theory. Well here's what I have found out:
- If you set the Ratio to the max (16:1), the signal will gradually get louder until it hits 17 on the meter, when it just stays ("caps") at 17 even if the incoming signal still gets louder. You can use the Tresh to control the amount of amplification before the signal goes to the stage where the capping occurs: 0 gives you +11 on the meter, 20 gives you +9 and so forth until 120 gives you only +1.5. So with a Tresh of 0, the signal gradually gets louder until it hits 17, then it stays there. With a Tresh of 120, it doesn't reaches the cap - it only gets amplificated a bit.

- If you set the Ratio to 99 (8:1), the signal will gradually get louder until about 12, and then continues to rise farther, but three times slower. The Tresh can be used to control the amount of amplification before the signal goes to the stage where the decelerating happens. Tresh 0 = +8, 20 = +7 until 120 = +1

- If you set the Ratio to 85 (4:1), the signal will gradually get louder until about 12, and then continues to rise slower. The thresh again controls the amount of amplification before the decelerating. Tresh 0 = +6, 20 = +4 until 120 = +0

- If you set the Ratio to 46 (2:1), the signal will gradually get louder until about 10, and the continues to rise two times slower. Again, the thresh controls the amount of amplification before the signal goes into the decelerating. A tresh of 0 gives you +3, 20 = +2 until 80 and more gives you +0.

- If you set the Ratio to min (1:1), nothing happens to the signal.

What we experience as a compression is the "capping" and the "decelerating" of the gradually increasing waveform. In real life, this means that in your signal with louder and softer parts, the louder parts get softer and closer to the soft parts, resulting in a more uniform loudness.

For all my experiments, I've set the parameters "Attack" and "Release" to the minimum, so that the changes in amplification and compression happen immediately. This can be changed for certain effects. Let's say that any change in the input can only be of two forms:
1 - the input gets louder
2 - the input gets softer
Attack and Release can control how the device reacts in these two cases. Attack controls the case of "input getting louder", and Release controls the case of "input getting softer"

- Attack: When you have a signal of average loudness and suddenly it gets louder, the device would normaly just cut back the signal according to your settings. But maybe you want to preserve a bit of the "punch" in the sudden increase of volume. You want that the signal to be louder for a short moment before it gets back to your specified settings. With the attack parameter, you can decide how long the old compression of the softer part will still be applied until it gets to the new setting. The range of this knob is between 0 and about 0.3 seconds. Most common usage: preserve the "punch" of drums.

- Release: After the loud signal everything goes back to average. You want the listener to hear the decrease in loudness, so the old setting for the loud part should still apply for a short time, making the softer part even softer. The range for this know is between 0 and about 3 seconds.


So these are the things I have learned:
- If your input is between 0 and 12 on the mixer scale (only the green lamps are lightening up) Compression happens only with a Tresh of 60 or less.
- Even in the most exreme setting (16:1), the soft parts of the music are only amplified, but not compressed. The compressing starts with signals of 5 or more in the meter.
- While Tresh only changes the amplification, Ratio changes both the amplification and whether the cap happens edgy of softer (the "decelerating" thing)
- What happens if the input gets softer while the device is still in the attack phase is beyond my knowledge. Does it finishes the attack phase or jump directly into the release. We'll perhaps never now... :-)
- Attack is pretty nice, but put it below 40 and the audio get garbled

Well, that's it. Hope it helps!
Gnorpf



Gnorpf subsequently did some more research on the Reason Compressor and posted it.  See the Board Thread (Gnorpf's post reproduced below)

It looks like there are still a few open questions about compression, so I decided to make another experiment and post my findings here. What came out in the end is an extremely simple explanation. First of all, I converted the experiment into a .rps that you can download here:

http://www.propellerheads.se/song/reason/index.cfm?fuseaction=download_song&songID=7129

Here's a primer how you can grasp compression very quickly: Play the rps and look at the LEDs on the first Mixer at Track 1 and you'll see that the sound gets 1 LED louder every second. Then turn the compressor from "Bypass" to "On" and set the following settings:
Ratio: 127 (16:1, the maximum)
Thresh: 34
Attack: 0
Release: 0
Before you play the song again, remember that the signal that goes into the compressor is still the same, but what comes out now is the processed signal. Play it. The fact that the outcoming signal is now louder is not important. The really special thing is that as soon as the signal reaches 3 yellow LEDs, it stays there. The input signal gets louder, but the output signal stays about the same. This is compression (D'oh!)

What do the knobs do?
THRESH defines how loud the incoming signal has to be that the compression kicks in. Here's a handy table:

Input1-20 Thresh
01 . . . . . 0
02 . . . . . 0
03 . . . . . 0
04 . . . . . 0
05 . . . . . 8
06 . . . . . 20
07 . . . . . 30
08 . . . . . 40
09 . . . . . 50
10 . . . . . 60
11 . . . . . 60
12 . . . . . 70
13 . . . . . 80
14 . . . . . 90
15 . . . . . 100
16 . . . . . 110
17 . . . . . 120
18 . . . . . 127
19 . . . . . 127
20 . . . . . 127

RATIO: You may have noticed in our experiment that the volume stays at 3 yellow LEDs for some time, but then still gets louder. This is because the Reason compressor doesn't limit the volume absolutely. What it does is rather: After the threshhold point, an additional increase in input volume result in a very small increase in output volume.

With the RATIO knob, you can decide how steeply this increase happens. The increase in our example is the flattest setting (16:1). The steepest setting on the other side is when an certain increase in input volume result in the same increase in output volume (1:1), which is the same thing as using no compression at all.


So what we experience as "compression" is the fact that louder parts of your music are turned down and closer to the soft parts, resulting in a more uniform loudness.

For all my experiments, I've set the parameters "ATTACK" and "RELEASE" to the minimum, so that the changes in amplification and compression happen immediately. This can be changed for certain effects. Let's say that any change in the input can only be of two forms:
1 - the input gets louder
2 - the input gets softer
ATTACK and RELEASE can control how the device reacts in these two cases. ATTACK controls the case of "input getting louder", and RELEASE controls the case of "input getting softer"

ATTACK: When you have a signal of average loudness and suddenly it gets louder, the device would normaly just cut back the signal according to your settings. But maybe you want to preserve a bit of the "punch" in the sudden increase of volume. You want that the signal to be louder for a short moment before it gets back to your specified settings. With the ATTACK parameter, you can decide how long the old compression of the softer part will still be applied until it gets to the new setting. The range of this knob is between 0 and about 0.3 seconds. Most common usage: preserve the "punch" of drums.

RELEASE: After the loud signal everything goes back to average. You want the listener to hear the decrease in loudness, so the old setting for the loud part should still apply for a short time, making the softer part even softer. The range for this know is between 0 and about 3 seconds.

I hope this is of use for some people :)
Cheers!
Gnorpf

About the Reason compressor...Posted by blank (Fred) on 2002-08-12
http://www.propellerheads.se/board/general/index.cfm?fuseaction=displayMsg&displayMsg=45130

In this post Fred (ex props (98?), but he gets upset when people take what he says as gospel, so ignore his posts :) notes that the Reason Comp-01 effects device was intended as an effects device, not to compress a whole mix.

...which occasionally becomes the subject of heated debate.

The Reason compressor, as well as the compressor in ReBirth, is not so much intended to be a compressor (though fully usable as one), as it is an *effect*. I have a vague recollection of the compressor in ReBirth being introduced after Marcus (developer) took a fancy to compressors as effect units. He liked the exaggerated oooomph.

I seldom use the compressor in Reason as an all-purpose compressor as such. I tend to use it as an insert on a couple of machines and set it to the wildest setting possible, i.e. 16:1, zero threshold, whatever attack, and zero release. Anyone who applies that kind of compression to an entire mix is bonkers, naturally, but for single instruments it's funky.

I'm not sure whether the Reason compressor is more of a 'Pelle' device (Pelle is the main DSP man) or a 'Marcus' device but I would imagine that at least to some extent the Reason comp was, however subconsciously, regarded as an effect unit rather than a COMPRESSOR compressor if you catch my drift.

/Fred


4.    Mastering and Levels

Bob Katz  Level Practices in Digital Audio - http://www.digido.com/Audiolevels.html.    Mr Katz argues that today's recordings are too "hot" - that is, they all have the same volume, throughout, and that volume is maximised.  This is the reason why some CDs sound louder than others at the same volume on the dial.

Bob Katz Compression in Mastering Article.

Some Mix / Mastering Findings... (Long) Posted by Robin Sarac on 2002-08-12
http://www.propellerheads.se/board/general/index.cfm?fuseaction=displayMsg&displayMsg=45105

...
The single biggest problem was that my mixes were too quiet in certain frequency ranges. In house music, the kick drum must be pronounced, but without proper compression, the rest of the mix is simply too quiet. Turning up everything else isn't really an option as things become unbalanced.

So by boosting the mid range liberally -- in some cases on individual channels, some cases with submixes and the entire mix -- I was able to inject significant life into my mix(es)...relative to how they sounded prior to this exercise. It seems I never give enough priority to the mid range. As a matter of practice, I now have two Reason EQs on the rhythm submix as well as the melodic submix and the entire mix. I use two so that I can amplify or attenuate given frequency ranges in at least 4 narrow bands. I found that this produced the least muddiness while still delivering a pronounced boost. Even two narrow bands situated very close together provide a cleaner boost then a single band that covers the range in question.

Cutting frequencies can do more than boosting them. Rolling off some low end here and there, or notching a band once in a while can do a surprising amount to your mix; especially if a[n autogain] compressor follows.

Along each step there is a compressor as well. I don't always compress very much, but they're there and I can A/B with commercial recordings and get similar results. I've also learned to use the autogain quite nicely. Try putting a compressor across your mix with the ratio, threshold, and attack set to full (127), and the release set to all the way down (0). From there, play your track in the quitest, and loudest passages and adjust accordingly. I had astonishing results with this technique.

On the A/B tip: once your song is mixed and you are happy with the result, A/B with a commercial recording you like several times in various parts of your track (and across more than one day). This helps overcome fatigue and offers your ears some degree of impartiality.

I also played with the damp factor on the reverb. I typically set it quite low or off altogether, but increasign the dampening can actually warm up a mix.

So, to summarize...

EQ in narrow bands and pay close attention to the mid range. Cutting can be just as useful as boosting.

Compress in stages and play with the autogain feature of the compressor.

A/B often, but reserve it for mixing and the final stages. Mix across more han a single session / day.

Use the dampening on channels with heavy reverberation added.

Ignore the clip indicator and use your ears and / or a wave editor.
...


Mastering links (in no order):

Required Reading
The Ozone mastering guides:
 http://www.izotope.com/products/audio/ozone/ozoneguide.html

Packages
Sound Forge: http://www.sonicfoundry.com/
I LOVE SOUND FORGE 6.0!!! You should buy it!!!! ;) - DJDM DJDM on 2002-09-13 read it
See also Fred's comments on Sound Forge (August 2002) (SF is a pro tool for amateurs and semi-pros, not a pro tool for pros): Read it

T-Racks:  http://www.t-racks.com/
"It's not just eye-candy. It has one of the most subtle EQ and compressor settings of any digital app I've tried. Great for all kinds of mastering work. I even use it to juice up digitized vinyl recordings. Heartily recommended." clvrmnky on 2002-08-18 Read it

Waves Mastering bundle: http://www.steinberg.net (I'm buggered if I can work out their website I think a team of monkeys must have worked on their navigation)
get Waves Masters bundle w/ Wavelab 3.0 or 4.0. you cannot go wrong. drumyon on 2002-09-18 Read it

Ozone:   http://www.izotope.com/products/audio/ozone/directx.html
I have had much better results with Ozone. T-Racks is easier out of the box, but the results,INMHO, are not as good, once you start to understand what it is your trying to accomplish. There is also a good little mastering guide on the Izotope website.
I'm not affiliated, with Izotope , I'm just a user. If you are going really pro and can afford it , just read the liner notes of your fav . CD, see where it was mixed and send it to them. Most of the good mastering houses will do the remote thing for you. It's a bit pricey, but can make all the difference,. holowan  on 2002-09-17  read it


BIAS Peak (Mac):  http://www.bias-inc.com/

Note:  There is a fundamental problem with relying on testimonials in that the person making the testimonial may not have worked with all of the products on offer (unless they're a crack head :) 

5.    Dithering and internal processing

Dithering is another way of saying that digital isn't as perfect as people make it out to be.  While copying from one place to another can be done perfectly digitally,  you need to go to special efforts to do other operations "perfectly" - that is without introducing distortion or colouration [sic].  Bob Katz explains this well (if a little technically) by use of a money analogy in his Secrets of Dither article.

Required Reading:
Bob Katz: Secrets of Dither: http://www.digido.com/ditheressay.html
Gives a good overview of dithering and how and why it is used in digital audio.  Criticisms of techonology are a little dated, and become more so each day.  Fundamentals remain true.  He does note that dithering introduces noise at -96db.  Not clear whether this is related to Reason's "noise at 96db", but is an interesting coinkidink. [Note: Apparently it is unrelated as -96db noise is only present when the track is silent]
Ozone Dither Guide: http://www.izotope.com/products/audio/ozone/OzoneDitheringGuide.pdf

Reason uses 32 bits for internal processing and exports as 16/24bit to sound cards/mixdown:  

Re: 6 dB / 1 Bit Business... Posted by marcus (props) on 2002-08-23 
http://www.propellerheads.se/board/general/index.cfm?fuseaction=displayMsg&displayMsg=46924

...
3) While processing audio signals in mysterious ways, keeping a signal in 16 bits is very hard, since it's easy to lose information on the way. So instead most music software uses 32-bit floating point while processing the audio - Reason does - and only converting it to for example 16 bit or 24 bit when pushing the audio into the sound card. When pushing the audio to the sound card - this is the spot where lower bits are truncated and the signal is clipped etc.
...

6.    Can I record Vocals (other audio) in Reason

No.  You can't. For god's sake, get over it.  It's not going to happen.

From the mouths of the Props (Jan 2003):
First, on audio recording, Niels Larsen: "I think it's out of the question if we just said 'a little bit of audio'. That's the sort of thing that we just don't do. We have a lot of people saying: 'You could just put in a couple of tracks' or 'Why don't you do an ADAT-like device and call it ReCorder?' A nice idea, but it's the wrong way to approach an issue like that. If you put an ADAT into the rack, it's like having a little 16-channel Mackie mixer and an ADAT connected to it. At what point do you become more frustrated and begin to say 'I want to do more than that, I want to do editing. Why don't I have editing?' That instantly becomes an issue. Then it becomes 'Oh, I need more mixing facilities...' And then Reason as a concept, as a product to make music, might change too much. That's why audio tracks at this time is really a no-no, because we feel we'd be ruining what we created rather than enhancing it.
Ernst adds his thoughts. "People ask us 'what is your hang-up with audio, what is your hang-up with VST plug-ins? Why don't you just do it?' And I don't think there is a hang-up. We'd like to think that Reason is not a 'me too' product. There were certainly soft synthesizers before it, but something that we did - we're not exactly sure what it was - took it to another level. If we ever do hard disk recording, I'd like to try to pull off the same trick again! I don't want to just do a 'me too' thing for adding hard disk tracks to Reason; even though it would probably be practical it's not what we are about. It's not right for us. We'd just be an inferior Cubase, and why would we want to be that?"

Pegasus' "Men of Reason" interview with Propellerheads (also printed in Sound on Sound Jan 2003)

Also Read Fred's Rant.

[Ed: You don't get something for nothing and audio in Reason is not something I want my money paying for.  Rewire of audio into Reason is different kettle of fish...]

Nor can you load an audio file into a track and play it back in Reason.  What you *can* do, and this is a kludge if you're working with audio of any real length (longer than a couple of seconds) is load the sound into either the Redrum or NN-19/XT and play it back from there. This is a kludge because it doesn't allow you to start playback mid sample.  So, if you've got 1 minute of sample, and are trying to fix something up in the song at the end of that sample you'll have to play through the whole sample to get to the part you want to hear, each time.

Another kludge is to Recycle your audio track and load it into the Dr Rex.  This gives better control over where playback starts from. See this Board thread.

There are plenty of audio recorders out there, go find one.  If you're looking for a free recorder try Audacity.

7.     Extracting Vocals/Removing Vocals

Removing Vocals
It is sometimes possible to remove vocals from a stereo mix.  This is only the case if the vocals are in the centre of the recording, and the rest of the mix isn't.  It involves inverting the phase of one of the channels and mixing it with the other channel, to create a mono file with the vocals (and everything else in the centre) removed (hopefully).  Usually [Ed: I have not tried this, commenting vicariously]  complete elimination is not possible, instead you end up with a large reduction in the volume of the vocals.

See (for example):
http://forums.syntrillium.com/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=5904&FORUM_ID=16&CAT_ID=4&Topic_Title=REMOVING+VOCALS%3F%3F&Forum_Title=Tips+%26+Tricks

If it's a short sample you're trying to extract, you can also try some noise reduction plug ins, taking the "noise" sample from the music shortly before or after the start of the vocal.  This will introduce high frequency distortion into the vocals.

Extracting Vocals
Now, *if* you can remove the vocals, you can also extract them! - at least in theory.  Call the tracks: O (original stereo file) and VE (mono file with vocals removed).  

Summary: effectively O = vocals +music and VE = music.  Therefore vocals = O - VE.  Trouble is they have different gain and O is stereo, while VE is mono.

Normalise VE to a similar level to O. Create a mono mix of O.  Phase invert VE and mix with mono O. This should give you vocals with greatly reduced gain on the music. It's unlikely to give you vocals and nothing else.  If there are other things in the centre of the stereo mix, then these things will be preserved too.

Editor:  This vocal extraction technique is pure theory.  I haven't tried it and am not sufficiently interested to do so.  However, if you have any success, please let me know.

8.     Which is better - Mac or PC?

PC of course, esp if they're running Linux.
[Joke!!!!!]

9.     Splitters and Y-cabling in Reason

In March 2003 the Propellerheads announced that version 2.5 of Reason will include both audio and CV splitters/mergers. So splitting/merging of audio/CV is no longer an issue - use the Spider Audio or Spider CV units.
  
If you're using a version prior to 2.5:

Strangely, Reason doesn't include any facility for splitting signals, either audio or CV.  I recall seeing some posts on this issue in the past, but can't find them now :(  From memory:

(a) splitting of audio outs can be achieved by routing them through an effects device with mono in to stereo outs (or through two such devices if you want to do this in stereo) (and making sure the effects device is set to pass the sound through unchanged).  You can also use a mixer as a splitter, through the send devices (send them out, but return them to a separate mixer rather than the aux returns - the sends on the mixer are mono).
(b) splitting of CVs cannot be done.

[As at October 2002]


10.     Midi Out - How Do I Trigger X From Reason?

You can't. Reason doesn't have midi out. If you want to trigger something else, you'll have to do it from an external sequencer.

11.  How do I load my own graintables into the Maelstrom?

You can't/it's too hard/don't you have something better to do?

Re: make yer own graintables???? Posted by blank on 2002-10-23
http://www.propellerheads.se/board/general/index.cfm?fuseaction=displayMsg&displayMsg=55245

  Hmm... been over this about a dozen times before but let's have a go again.

Short story: You can't, because there's such a friggin mindbogglingly huge amount of markers in each waveform (more or less one for each pulse) that it would take you about 6 weeks to edit a waveform manually but you still wouldn't know where to put'em.

Now here's an FAQ.

Q: But I wanna try anyway! I can't believe it's all that complicated and I do believe I have the know-how, thank you very much.

A: OK, go ahead. Try. ;-D


Q: So how do the Props do it then, if it's so impossible?

A: They use a combo of infinite supersuperior ultraknowledge and a really funky, rugged homebuilt DOS executable that provides *some* automation for this daunting task. In my hands, or yours, this application is about as useless as a set of unmarked keys and the instruction "go unlock some door somewhere. Good luck".

Q: But there are other apps that are almost like Malström and you can put your own waveforms in those!

A: Yeppers, and they suck and don't do it properly, because doing it properly requires plenty of human intervention. It's an extremely time-consuming process, and that's why there aren't one thousand graintables, but rather eighty or thereabouts.

Q: But what about ReCycle?
A: You wanna make a REX file with 45,000 slices...?

Q: So am I stuck with the current wavetables forever?
A: Not necessarily. In theory, it's possible to add more in future versions. The current graintables comprise a kind of ROM-bank; assuming this is ROM-bank "A", there's an opening for bank "B", "C", "D" etcetera, if the Props feel like filling it up.

/Fred

Editor: In my opinion, if there is a way to let Reason users create their own Graintables the props should open it and let them.  When users are able to do this at home Graintables will propagate as quickly as soundfonts and refills have. 

12.    What's in Your Studio?/ How Old are you?

In September 2002, disruptor started a long (and instructive) thread, asking what people had in their studio set ups (?sets up?).  One thing it did reveal is that people are generally jettisoning their hardware in favour of software.  If someone feels like tabulating the responses, I'll happily put it up.

Mere curiosity, but What's your studio? Posted by disruptor on 2002-09-05
http://www.propellerheads.se/board/general/index.cfm?fuseaction=displayMsg&displayMsg=48686

In January 2003, there was also an interesting thread on how old people were (mostly in 20s by the looks of things): Board thread

13.     Funky Reason Pictures (was iloyd's funky Reason Racks)

iloyd created some kewl ray traces to show his Reason Racks.  Check them out here:
http://www.iloyd.com/photo/reasonst2.jpg
http://www.iloyd.com/photo/reasonst3.jpg

See also Matthias Derer's Virtual Studio

At one stage you were able to get all of the Reason devices in hardware from  here.  However, the link doesn't seem to be working now (5/03) ThomasPeters, where are they now? Email me man.

14.    Sequencers and Reason (incl. some stuff re Logic)

While Reason includes a basic sequencer it has a number of drawbacks, including inability to stack or name groups, no midi out, no ability to change tempo through the song.   If you want proper sequencer features, or if you want to use other soft/hard synths with Reason in realtime you will need to acquire a dedicated external sequencer.  To be fully featured you should ensure that your sequencer has Rewire support (see section on Rewire below).  If you don't Reason will be a dumb midi recipient and you won't be able to pass audio between the two applications.  Dedicated sequencers include:

Cakewalk Sonar: www.cakewalk.com
Cubase : www.steinberg.net
Logic: www.emagic.de

The problem with rewire capable sequencers is that they are designed to be compatible with hardware synths.  You're also paying for things like inbuilt audio editors and effects.  If you just want to interact with Reason and other soft synths, if you have a dedicated audio editor or effects then you're paying a premium if you buy one of these sequencers.  You might also want to try a cheaper rewire capable sequencer like Tracktion, which has received at least one good review on the board.

As at November 2001, Logic has poor integration with Reason - for some examples read this thread.  Many people have complained about difficulties in rewiring Reason into Logic. Logic also only supports Rewire v 1.  That is, routing of audio information.  Other programs, such as Cubase and Sonar support Rewire 2 - which will allow routing of midi data between Reason and the host program.

See the tip on getting midi from logic to reason and audio from reason into logic 4.7.3 here.
See Board thread on Sonar and rewire here.

15.      Some Links to Stuff about Effects

If you want to know about effects check out these links:
Computer Music Mag Tutorials: includes Eq,  Compression,  Gating, Reverb, Dynamics
Intermusic Mag Tutorials  includes Delay, Reverb, Compression, Gating, EQ, Enhancers, (some multiple articles)
Harmony Central Effects Page
Sound on Sound Compression Techniques Article
How the Cher "Believe" effect was created (SOS Article)

See also the mastering section (eg compression)


16.    Where can I find out about Music Theory?


Dr Sonny Burnett's Music Theory Web Study Guide

Central Peel Secondary Music Theory Tutorials
Music Theory for Songwriters
How chords are constructed (excellent table)
How scales are contructed (table)
Music theory.net (includes chord calculator)
Uni of Oregon Electronic Music Primer [ed: link not tested b/c don't have plug in]
Virtual Piano Chords
Guitar, Bass and Drum Tabs


17.    Where can I found out about different sorts of electronic music

Try Ishkur's guide.  It has samples and short explanations across the whole gamut of electronic music.
You can also have a look at:
The All Music Guide.
Phobos Electronica Primer


18.  What is ReWire?

Rewire is a way of routing information (audio (v1) or midi and audio (v2)) between client and server applications.  For example, if Reason is Rewired into Sonar, Sonar will control Reason's transport controls, can send midi to Reason and Reason's audio output can be routed back to Sonar (eg for recording or effects).

See the Props' Rewire pages.
And the Props' Using Rewire Page.

19.     Links to Resources on the Web

Reason Specific Links (in no order)
The Props Site, direct link to the General Board and General Board (most recent 100 threads, no frames, but u won't be able to post a new thread)
Discover Reason tutorials from Propellerheads (tutorials progressively added over time)
iLoyd's site funky reason pics and some Reason set ups
Reasonstation - forums, articles, advice
Reason Freaks - some forums, articles, advice
Doru Malaia's Free Refills - What is says
Pegasus' Reason Site Some songs, refills and tips  (read the tips they're good)
Reason Why - (Nihongo de no saito)
Reason Area of Linkpage descriptions of each device and effect, some tutorials, includes a Table of Reason Keyboard Shortcuts.
Funk Station Synth resource, with some Reason stuff
Reasonic Tutes, news, patches
Raapie.nl  Some tutes, refill reviews
Reason Refills
What it says.
Cakewalk v6 Panels for Reason
Allows Cakewalk users to control Reason instruments. 
The Reason Webring
www.peff.com Reason User in particular the Reason File Archive
Rykthereactor's Site - includes some refills with malström, subtractor etc patches

The best places to start (IMHO) are the Studio Covers Site (which has links to articles on other sites), the tweakmeister, and the tutorial archives of Computer Music and InterMusic.

Studio Covers Site (excellent link site)  The links to the SOS articles on synthesizers are highly recommended, if a bit waffly.
Rich the Tweakmeister
- Tons of reviews, views and advice.
Computer Music Magazine  See also their Tutorial List.
Intermusic (apparently related to Future and Computer Music).  In particular see their Tutorial Archive.
Future Music (owned by the same chaps who own Computer Music Magazine. Future music is more into hardware and is for the computer challenged, Computer Music is more into software)
Harmony Central
Sonikmatter - Check out the forums.
Emusician Magazine Another computer music mag. See also: Reasonable Advice article
SonicState
Sound on Sound magazine - requires registration for recent articles.  In earlier versions of the FAQ I bagged this mag out for requiring registration.  However having gone through some of their back issues, they've got some really good stuff. So give it a go and bear with them.
Shareware Music Machine has shareware music proggies.
Home Recording dot Com - stuff about home recording
Black Water Music - Some articles on various things.  A bit stream of consciousness.
Recording.org emag - Articles on recording, a bit lacklustre.
Digital Domain's Audio Links  Page
T. Yahaya Abdullah's Page Has some stuff on  Synthesis and Music Theory
University of IOWA orchestral samples [Board thread] and Direct link
Loopers Delight - has a tips and tricks section.
Drum Home Page Drum Tips page
Hollow Sun Synth Samples
Pro Sound Web - Web site with sound related stuff
Some links relating to DnB suggested on the Reason Board: http://www.dogsonacid.com/, http://www.dogbeats.co.uk/ (samples), http://spinwarp.com/
Reason Sound Website: some info re DnB, Techno and Trance, short glossary of terms.
Musicians Tech Central Website: Link site to lots of info.
AT&T Text to Speech Online

20.     Will Reason Run on Linux Today? Ever?
Today: No, it won't. It won't even run under Wine.  
[Sweet: IF YOU DO GET IT RUNNING UNDER WINE LET ME KNOW see email addy above]
.
Ever? From time to time the Props get this message on the board and say no, not ever.  That not ever seems to have gone from a "you must be kidding" to a "probably not" over the last 18 months (to Nov 02).  Whether Reason will ever run on Linux is a simple question of economics.  If it's not worth it for the Props (or someone else subbing to the Props) then it's a fair bet that it won't happen.   So if you would like to see Reason for Linux, let the props know (politely) by email or on the board and (this is the important bit) that you'd be happy to pay for it.

[Sweet:  For the record, I'd like to see Reason on Linux + I'd be willing to pay for it.]

21.    About Copyright

For a history of copyright (detailed) see my paper: Copyright in a Frictionless World

22.    Specific Tips, Tricks and Techniques

See also Tutes in mags listed above.
Sequencer follows the current position - Ctrl-F to turn off follow cursor
Using the Redrum as a gate: Computer Music Article and Scotfree's Songs made from the Tute.
Getting individual samples into NN19: Props' Board Thread
Recording rewired stereo channels in Sonar: Props' Board Thread
Playing devices without playing track in Sonar: Props' Board Thread
Tutorial on FM synthesis using the Subtractor: Marcus Unlimited/Chromaticus Article
How to make a Rave Horn sound: Read the Board thread
Board: Making a sonar ping sound
Board: Tips tricks and know how
Fred's rebirth simulator
Board: more ooph in Bass
Board: Using the mixer as a 4 splitter (in this case to EQ in parallel)  (no longer relevant with audio spiders in 2.5)
Board: How to make a "Hoover" sound
Board: Another discussion on Hoovers
Reasonstation Thread on how to make Killer Drum Loops
Applying different effects to different REX slices (see whole thread):  Props Board Thread
Board: Pr0g7r0n1c's suggestions on convincing guitar sounds
Board: lonelyMC on inaudible notes
Oggy Explains Spiders
Trin explains the prefader (effect 4)
See also BV512 section below.
Thoughts on how to make IDM/Autechre/Aphex Twin like tracks
Some comments on making Techno Music
Why use the NNXT instead of the NN19?
Board: Gigarock's Timestretching in Reason
Board: Thread on capturing streaming audio
What the LFO Values correspond to
Board: matrixmillion's  CV delay
Board: gnorpf: What frequencies do the PEQ-2 Equaliser settings equate to?
Board: seliq: what do fader values correspond to in dB?
Board: some views on using Gates in Reason
Board: Some views on how to get a "matrix" like sound (ie in matrix the movie)


Breakaway24's vocoder special effect

Create a Mixer
Create a Vocoder
Hook up send 3 to carrier input
Hook up send 4 to modulator input
Output the Vocoder to its own channel on the mixer.

Build your song as normal...
Use channel(s) with high-freq content for send 3
Use channel(s) with vocals, rhythm, etc. for send 4

Toggle the post-fader switch for send 4. Reduce volume for a simulated 'insert' effect.


DeEsser in Reason: Props Board Thread

RJ1234's tip on phattening sound:
take the left output of a mod (in this case a malstrom) and input it to a mixer channel (1) then take the right output of the mod and input it to a delay left input then take the output of the delay both left and right and input to channel 2 on the mixer...now pan channel 1 left and channel 2 to the right...then adjust the milliseconds on the delay machine to anything under 30 ms...a good number is about 7ms...this effect is called the haas zone effect...have fun!!!!!!!!!
The unofficial 2.5 Dirty Tricks Thread

Side chaining and Ducking:

Per Matti
The CV outs of the BV512 turns audio signal levels into cv signals. In eq mode, use one or more of these, invert it and send it to the level cv input of your choice. Now, that level will "shrink away" in time with the audio source. Experiment with effects on the input audio source to "diffuse" the ducking signal.

Per jamesw:

Another method of ducking, this time triggered by the gate of the kick drum. The gate is sent to the malstrom which in turn triggers the 2 shapers & the filter envelope any of which can be used to shape the the dynamics of the volume reduction for the ducking mixer.

23.     Midi Controllers

If you are going to be using a midi controller you must get this controller map posted by James Wheating.  The updated controller map is available from Freewebs (as at 13 May 03).

Some manufacturers' sites (no order):
Evolution
Doepfer
Midiman
Waveidea

Or, if you want to roll your own: Have a look at Harmony Central's DIY Midi Links or Thorsten Klose's Midibox Stuff.

Some comment on the Board
Oxygen-8 v Evolution MK-225C - Props' Board Thread
Evolution MK-249C v Roland PC-300 - Props' Board Thread
Comments on MC 249C from reasonstation.net
Comments on Edirol PCR controller from Props' Board

Reason has does some weird things with controller assignments.  In particular, it can be difficult to override Reason's default controller assignments.  This means that your controller might change two parameters at once (ie the one you want to change and the Reason default parameter for that controller number).  Apparently this can be overcome by creating a Matrix for the relevant instrument and deleting it.  This tip comes from a  reason mailing list:

"I don't know why this works for me, but you can try it and see if it works on your end.  Right click on your subtractor and choose 'create' then choose 'matrix pattern sequencer'  this will automatically create a matrix pattern sequencer hooked up to the subtractor.  Now see if the Osc 1 fine tune stops moving.  If it does like it does on mine then great!  Now all you need to do is click on the subtractors filter attack and have it learn the ms2000's filter attack knob and then delete the matrix afterwards.  Works for me.  Sure hope it works for you.  I know I'd cringe to have to get in dirty with the ms2000's midi sends.
Good luck!
Bill"


24.    What is Recycle? What is a .REX file?

Recycle is a program from the Props which slices up audio into its constituent parts.  A .rex file is the file that is output from Recycle.  .rex files are played through the use of Dr. Rex.  

Props' Recycle pages.
Known problem with Recycle adding an Echo by default Read Thread. Remove it by setting "Stretch" to zero.

25.  Requesting Features for Reason 2010

There's no official way.  My suggestion would be to socialise it on the Board first, get people's views, refine the idea and if you still think it's worth suggesting, then drop it into the Props' feature request email hotline.   But for gawd's sake don't flood the board with suggestions.


26.  How do I make my own Refills?

My god! Why on earth would you want to do that?  Don't you know that refills are evil?
Well, if you can't be dissuaded, what you need is a Refill packer.  Get it here.

27.  Isn't it cheating to use Factory Drum Loops/ REX Files/ Loops from CDs/ Packaged Samples/ Anything but a piece of string to make music?

[ed: these are my opinions, not objective fact]
When I was living in a dorm on campus, I used to cook a chocolate cake from a packet of cake mix every week or two and share it around.  One of the other guys living there used to poo poo me doing this because I wasn't "making it all" myself.  In his opinion I should have been doing what he was -  buying the basic ingredients sifting and mixing them and then cooking them up.  My response was that even if I was buying flour I etc that's still not making it myself b/c someone else had ground the flour for me/ extracted the bicarbonate of soda or whatever.   There are a number of different levels on which one can make a cake "by yourself"/roll your own - right down to growing the grain and milling it yourself.  If you do this you will have an incredible degree of control over all of the ingredients that go in to making the cake.  However, you may find yourself committing too much time to tackling minute detail, when it's not really going to make much difference to the final product.

In this particular case I was completely in the right and that guy was just an asshole.  However, is there a broader moral that can be taken from this story? In my view anything you can use to make music is just that - a tool to make music. If it makes life easier, well so be it, use it.  There are two problems that can  arise from the use of tools.  The first is that you will tend to rely too much on the tool without developing an understanding of how the tool is doing its job.  The second is that you will constrain what you are doing to the limitations of the tool.  Both of these are things to guard against, but neither is a reason for not using a tool.  Personally I don't use pre recorded loops at all, and I use REX loops rarely.  The reason for this is that while the loops may sound great by themselves, they're impossible to extend or improvise on.  If you want to change them slightly to achieve a given effect you can't (well, you can filter them).  As such I end up being frustrated with them and for this reason, don't use them.  [This is not to say my music isn't boring and repetitive, only that I don't use prepackaged loops to achieve this :-]     

So, is it cheating to use prepackaged stuff to achieve your aims?  Well, that depends on whether you're a buy the cake from the shop kind of person, a packet mix kind of person, or a grow and mill it all yourself kind of person.  


28.    How do I get earth shattering drum/ synth/ kazoo tracks

Unfortunately there's no easy way to get any of these.  What's more, different people use different techniques to achieve the same result. You're going to have to find your own way of working.  That said, a constantly occurring piece of advice that I see is that if you like something, try to emulate it.  This will give you an understanding of what the elements are which make up the piece you like, as well as the musical functions each of those elements is performing.  It will also train your ear to hear better.  For example let's say you've got a drum track you think is really neat.   You would emulate it by doing this:
(a) Take a sample of a couple bars, load it into an NN-19 and loop it, change the tempo so the sample matches the length of a measure.
(b) load up a Redrum module (or two?)
(c) identify each of the separate drum sounds that are in your fave track, find the nearest match in the Factory Sound Bank, and load those matches into your Redrum (often you only have to get the class of drum - eg bass, snare, hat, to recreate the feel of the track)
(d) as you loop the track in the NN19 try to insert drum hits in the drum's sequencer track as they happen - watch for both timing and duration of the hits.

In no time you'll not only have an emulation of your drum track, you'll also have an understanding of its components and the functions those components play.  The same advice will work if you have a dedicated sequencer (eg Sonar, Cubase, Logic).  It may even be easier as you can load the sample straight into an audio track.

See also:
This board thread

29.    Reason Timing Experiments (the Big Daddy Reason Timing Tests)

Arothman conducted some experiments on Reason's timing and posted his results to the board here.  

30.     Stuff re/Etiquette on the Reason Board


Some pointers for the Board:

N/T

n/t and nt means "no text" - so don't bother opening the response.  Unless it's someone else's response to an earlier n/t where they might have actually included a response but forgot to delete the n/t from the title. 

Reading the manual

Please look through the manual/in the help file before asking a question.  People get very frustrated when asked questions the answers to which are already in the manual which came with the program. What's more, you'll get your answer faster if you look in the manual.

Responding to people who haven't RTFM
The converse of the earlier section is that we should all take 4 deep breaths before abusing anyone for not reading the manual or responding with RTFM in one of its varied guises.  Remember the golden rule - if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all (didn't you listen to your grandmother when you were a kid?).  If you think someone is asking a question which is already answered in the manual tell them what terms they should be looking for, or (better) give them a page reference.  Aggro on the board doesn't help anyone.  [ed my opinions, not Props policy]

What do the icons mean?
The icons indicate which software you have registered.  There is also an additional icon which indicates the poster is a Propellerhead employee/has some special status (eg see Fnordoman's icons in this post).

Register your software
If you haven't registered your software don't expect to get an answer to your questions.  Pple on the Props boards tend to ignore questions from unregistered users.  The exception to this is people who want to know about the software in order to make a purchasing decision.

Trolling
Please don't feed the trolls.  If someone, esp. someone without any software registered, posts a message saying Reason is crap, or should have audio, or your grandmother is hairy or whatever, just don't respond.  Trolls post messages to get a response.  As soon as you respond you've given them positive feedback (even if you've called them nasty names). Silence is the best option.


31. Buying Studio Monitors (speakers)

 
The whole point about buying monitors  is to ensure that they faithfully reproduce the sound that's presented to them, without colouration.  Another way of putting this is that they should have a "flat frequency response".   If they don't then they're changing the nature of the sound either by over or de-emphasising some frequencies.   This is bad because everyone's speakers are different.  So, if you have speakers which (for example) emphasise the bass in the mix then when someone else plays what you think is a track thick with phat bass on their speakers the bass will end up sounding flat.

True flat frequency response costs astronomical amounts (don't even think about it for <$US1,000).  This doesn't mean you can't get something acceptable for a project studio for less, just that it won't have a perfectly flat frequency response.  However, their its response will probably be good enough.

There are two categories of studio monitors that you need to consider - active and passive.  Active monitors have an amplifier built in to them.  Passive monitors will need to be powered by a separate amplifier.   The advantages of active speakers is that they are a single contained package with amplifiers which are specifically designed for the speaker cones that they drive and which have crossovers specifically designed for those cones.  However, when you buy active speakers you're paying extra $$$ to have the amplifiers.  The gain controls on active speakers can also be a little harder to use than if you had a separate amplifier.

The larger the speaker (actually, the bass cone in the speaker), the deeper the bass it is able to reproduce faithfully.

For more info see this thread.

And this article at Future Music.

If you get some monitors you will also want to know about room tuning, so go read these links:
http://www.vex.net/~pcook/RecAudioPro/
http://www.homerecording.com/monitors.html
http://www.studiocovers.com/articles13.htm
http://www.recording.s5.com/html/recording_tips.html
http://www.alesis.com/support/cc/speakers.html
http://www.digitalprosound.com/Htm/TechStuff/May/Mix-TechFiles2.htm
http://gonzoft.tripod.com/articles/a6/a6.htm
http://www.godsofmusic.com/gom/articles.php?action=detail&ID=147

Here are some additional room tuning links suggested by drumyon:
http://www.bobhodas.com/pub5.html
http://arts.ucsc.edu/ems/music/tech_background/TE-14/teces_14.html
http://www.muselogic.com/acoustics.html
http://www.etfacoustic.com/modes.html
http://homepages.tig.com.au/~audio/electric/helmholz.htm

As an aside, there was this thread on favourite speaker evaluation music.

32.    Interesting Asides/Trivia

Easter Eggs
Don't read this section if you want to find them yourself...

Screws on the Subtractor.
Manufacturing location of NNXT
Matrix LED
Dr Rex LED
Insert disk sequence on NN19

And the others...

Other tidbits
Where did ReAson get it's name: Board thread
Why is Reload only for OSX and Windows XP?
How to calculate the length of a song - open it up, you'll be told in the refill view how long the song is.  Barwise, use this as a ready reckoner:  if the song is x bpm, then bar x = 4 minutes and scale from that (so at 120 bpm, bar 30 = 1 minute, bar 60 = 2 minutes bar 90 = 3 minutes etc).

33.   About Vocoders/ The BV 512

All I can say about vocoders is that they can be a little bit tricky, especially if you mess up what is the carrier and modulator.  Read the manual twice, slowly.  If you don't get any sound you've probably got everything set up backwards.  Try swapping carrier and modulator inputs. Make sure you have both carrier and modulator inputs!!

Some tips specific to the BV 512
The BV512 can be used as a spectrum analyser (route the relevant signal to the modulator input, decay control affects update speed, hold button freezes the spectrum and the hold itself can be controlled by CV) and an equaliser (errr... turn it on to equaliser). 

The CV outs of the BV512 can also be used to convert an audio signal into CV outputs.  This, in turn can be used for ducking (by sending the CV to a spider and inverting it).  Here is matti explaining it on the beta board:

For the cv outs to work, BV512 needs to be in vocoder mode, not eq mode as I stated in the first post. Forgot! sorry... :-)

Create a Mixer, Dr:rex, Subtractor, Vocoder and Spider CV.

The DR:rex: [Audio L > Mixer Ch 1 L] + [Audio R > BV512 Mod In]
The Subtractor: [Audio Out > Mixer Ch 2 L]
The BV512: [Mod Out 1-4 > Spider CV Merge In 1-4] The Spider CV: [Merge Out > Split A In] + [Split A Inv > Mixer Ch 2 Level CV In]

If you load a simple drum beat into the DR:rex and play a continuous tone on the Subtractor, you should be able to hear the synth tone "duck" in time with the beat.

This was contributed by jamesw in the same thread
Another method of ducking, this time triggered by the gate of the kick drum. The gate is sent to the malstrom which in turn triggers the 2 shapers & the filter envelope any of which can be used to shape the the dynamics of the volume reduction for the ducking mixer.

Example of BV512 used to create robotic voices
Mark Cole's 10 things to do with the BV512 Thread

Here are some links about Vocoders generally:

http://ptolemy.eecs.berkeley.edu/~eal/audio/vocoder.html
http://ptolemy.eecs.berkeley.edu/~eal/audio/voder.html
http://www.obsolete.com/120_years/machines/vocoder/

See also the tips section above.


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Change history
2.0  23 April 2004 Introduction of new Propellerheads site broke many of the links in the FAQ.  This update fixes those links.
1.9  3 October 2003  Added a heap of links, including a lot of links which relate parameter values to the real world eg fader value x = y dB and some explanations of how to duck and sidechain using Reason devices.
1.8  13-14 May 2003 Major additions relating to BV512 (section 33), some tips and tricks, more links re studio monitors.  Link to updated controller code map.
1.7 29 March - 11 April 2003, links added, including Fred's tutorials, notes about buying studio monitors. Expanded on comments re audio in Reason.
1.6  10 March 2003, again some links added.  Corrected details re splitters (Reason 2.5). Section Logic and Reason changed to Sequencers and Reason, inserted some info re sequencers. Added link to Arothman's Big Daddy Reason Timing Test results.  Added some links to tips. Added some info re default controller assignments etc. Added section in relation for some pointers on the Board.  Added section on stuff about the board/board etiquette. Added link to James Wheating's controller map.
1.5  30 January 2003, some links added. Added section 28 on how to get earth shattering tracks, added Gnorpf's further explanation re Reason Compressor.
1.4  21 December 2002, some links added (about electronic music styles, some tips, some general links), added section 27 about using packaged loops, comments on pcr controller, added change history section.
1.3 1 December 2002