Live performance is something I've been spending a lot of time with lately. While doing so, and through painful past memories, I've rekindled my love of having a personal monitor on stage. Take it from anyone that plays live a lot, it's always good to have an additional way of hearing yourself, should the house monitoring system be… less than effective.
Reason is an absolutely wonderful host for live MIDI, backing tracks, and even real-time effects processing, which I plan to cover in the future. For the moment, I'd like to show you how to set up a personal monitor mix for yourself, that includes a click track.
Step 1 - Build a Metronome
There's probably a way to route Reason's metronome back into itself. However, as I write this, I decided I don't really care what that way is and decided to make a custom one to match my own preference. There are several ways of doing this, but here I opt for Redrum.
After creating a Redrum, I click the Browse Sample button on Channel 1 and search the Reason Factory Soundbank > Redrum > xclusive drums sorted. It's in this directory that you can access the sum total of all the Reason click sounds, aka Rim Shots. In this expansive assortment of all things Rim Shot, I'll select the Rim_Dentaku.wav, as it is quite subtle, and won't be overbearing in my headphones, on stage, or whoever else I send this mix too.
Note: Consideration for Drummers
If I'm sending a click to a drummer, I tend to choose louder samples that command a little more presence. Drums tend to overpower click tracks. So, just make sure you experiment until you get something that's audible as well as comfortable. You'll thank yourself, later. There's nothing worse than losing a beat on stage! Well, no… there is. But, it's still bad!
Step 2 - Program the Click
This is the easy part, right here. Just select steps 1, 5, 9, and 13 to program the metronome. Once these steps are in place, Redrum will run along with the sequencer nicely. Some people might prefer to run this via MIDI, by pasting steps into the sequencer. That is a fine strategy as well.
Step 3 - Send
Now that the actual click has been created, we need to set up the Reason mixer to accommodate our goal of a monitor mix, with a click track. This is where things get really fun. In the Mixer, I'll enable Send 1 on my Click track, and enabling Pre. By enabling Pre, we can lower the Volume Fader for our click track, ensuring that it won't be heard by our audience… Only the musicians who have monitor mixes!
Next, in the Rack page, I'll press Tab to go behind the Reason Rack and connect Send 1, on the Master Section over to Output 3 & 4. On a regular audio interface, if it has 1/4” outs, this will be technically setting up two monitor mixes, with the same mix. Or, a stereo Send. You could use a headphone mixer, to get your stereo mix back into your headphones. However, in this tutorial, I'm opting for Mono, by simply connecting my headphones to Output 3 on my MOTU Traveler.
Now, when I start Reason, I hear the click track on my headphones. And, I can use the Send level to modify how much click I hear. If I want to send backing tracks, certain instruments, and so on, all I need do is send audio, via the Send 1 that we set up to be our monitor mix. If I need additional monitor mixes that suit the tastes and roles of other performers, merely use another send (Reason provides 8) in the same way.
And, that's all there is to it. It is possible to do something similar with Group channels. However, I like the flexibility of Sends, as they can be routed from any channel to our headphone mix, exactly like a hardware mixer.