If you’re worth your salt, you’re probably using the NN-XT sampler over the older NN-19. But if you’ve realised what the NN-19 can do that the NN-XT can’t, you’re truly a master sensei of Reason. Right-click or Alt-click almost any parameter on ’19 and you can automate it, giving you access to controls for the LFO, Filter, Pitch, Portamento, and more, including the Sample Start control for some retro stretch techniques! It’s pronounced “n-n-nineteen”, by the way, after the Paul Hardcastle track 19 – bit.ly/NNNN19 – betcha didn’t know that.
Like most DAWs, you can control Reason with a connected MIDI controller, but Propellerhead’s rack also takes a variety of commands from your QWERTY keyboard if you let it. Head to Options and tick Keyboard Control Edit Mode, and select a device in the rack. Every arrow represents a parameter that can be mapped to a QWERTY key to switch it on or flick it between minimum and maximum.
Reason doesn’t come with its own multiband processor, but you can make your own using other bits and pieces. The Stereo Imager device will create the cleanest crossovers for clinical multiband splits. Create a Stereo Imager module and solo the Lo band. Around the back, flick the Separate Out switch to Hi Band. Tweak the Cutoff to determine your lowest crossover, then Duplicate the device for as many bands as you want to create. The main Output signal will be the new Lowest band, while the Separate Out goes into the Input of the next Stereo Imager.
Surviving from Reason’s very early days, Subtractor only has one mono output… hardly the makings of a modern synth. To get pseudostereo effects, try duplicating the subtractor signal then delaying and/or pitchshifting the copy. You can also try adding chorus effects, finding a RV-7000 patch with mono inputs and stereo outputs, or a combination of all methods. The result, whichever method you choose, will be to drag Subtractor out of the dark ages and into the modern sonic world.
Since the shock revelation that Reason 9.5 would load VST instruments and effects, a lot of our old workarounds for this are, thankfully, obsolete. But how about the chance for Mac users to load Audio Units in the rack? Simple solutions include in-DAW plugin hosts like Blue Cat Audio’s Patchwork for AU access, but you can do it free with the old workaround: you can get MIDI out of Reason’s External MIDI Instrument using Audio/MIDI Setup’s IAC Driver, and you can route an AU-hosting DAW’s audio back to Reason using Soundflower.
There’s plenty of free Rack Extensions in the Prop Shop. You’ll find a few free-toinstall tools at shop.propellerheads.se. These will have to be ‘bought’ (for $0) and authorised, just like any other RE, but installation is pretty simple. To sift through the free stuff, scroll to the bottom of the page to load all the items, then use your web browser’s search function (Cmd-F or Ctrl-F) to type in ‘ free’ and highlight each goodie on the page.
Malstrom, Thor and Kong can be used as effects processors as well as instruments. In Malstrom, flip the rack to find the
Audio input, and you’ll get access its filters for left and right channels, the Spread control, and Modulator B. In Kong, route your signal to the
Audio Input, and you’ll get access to its Bus FX and Master FX sections.
With Thor, send a signal to its audio inputs and use the mod matrix to route Audio InL and
Audio InR to Filter3. As well as the filter, you can to use Thor’s Chorus and Delay modules, as well as its second LFO to control them.
Note Echo’s Step Length can be set to 0, meaning that every ‘echo’ will play back at once. Set Pitch to +1 and deactivate certain steps to use Note Echo to produce some one-finger chords; or set Step Length to 0, Repeats to 1, and deactivate the first step to use Pitch as an instant MIDI transposer.
Like your crazy aunt with all the cats, there’s one part of the Rack family that’s not talked about or paid a visit very often. Nurse REX is a mini loop player that resides inside Kong, taking up its tiny space as one of the instrument’s built-in Drum Modules. With an RX2 loop loaded in, you can use the NurseREX/Kong combo to play loop slices across the pads.
Coming up against CPU problems? In the Preferences, you can raise the CPU limit at which Reason will stop itself. To reduce waste, switch off all unnecessary parts of your devices, like fully open filters and unrouted modules. Reducing the number of reverb devices will also help. Swap multiple RV7000s for one send effect to cut down; swap that for an RV-7 for a less-CPU-intensive effect; and to get right down to the bone, try RV-7’s Low Density setting.
Scan the Prop Shop for free rack extensions and come out with a bunch of new tools for your virtual studio
Extend your arsenal of effects with the help of a few instruments