When using Reason to build your tracks perhaps the best feature is the ability to "hands on" design your set up as you like. Reason only has a 14-channel mixer and this can appear to present some limitations in the number of tracks and the amount of control you have over processing those tracks. But appearances can be deceptive.
One of the most effective and creativity-enhancing techniques I use in Reason is to create sub-mixes for all of the different parts of my track. The sub-mix that is always of interest to people I work with is the Drum sub mix especially when working with MC's. They, by nature, are always concerned with how the drums sound. I have created a particular drum sub-mix that I always use when an MC shows up at the door.
Let's build a drum sub-mix from the ground up. First lets create a Combinator:
In the empty combinator we are going add a Mixer 14:2
Next we are going to add our effects and allow them to be auto routed to the mixer. In this order we are going to add:
- an M-class compressor
- M-class Equalizer
- Scream 4 and
- an RV7000 reverb
You should now have a Combinator patch that looks like this:
Now we are going to add a Redrum but we are going to bypass auto routing. We do this by going to the Create menu, hold down the Shift key and select Redrum. Now that you have added the Redrum to the rack press the Tab key to turn the rack around. Your Redrum should look like this:
Now this will give us the freedom to patch our Redrum into the mixer as we please. This is where one the first secrets in drum production lies. What we are going to do is patch each of the Redrums 10 channels into it's own mixer channel. This will give us the power to individually process each drum sound of our Redrum as we please without being limited by the signal processing of the main mixer.
Click and drag your mouse over the channel of the Redrum. Having done this a grey patch cable should appear. Drag the cable up to the mixer above your effects and patch it into the input of the first channel on the mixer in your Combinator. You will notice that by doing this once both the left and right outputs are patched to the mixer, which is a nice time saver. Your connection should look like this:
A completed patch job will look as follows:
You will also notice that your mixer on the front side will be labeled accordingly as well:
The finishing touch is to save this Combinator patch and maybe even set it up as your default template to appear when you start up Reason. We do this by clicking on the floppy disk icon on the front of the Combinator:
Name your patch:
If we want to save this set up as our default template at start up we simply save this as a song using the shortcut: Command+Control+S. Name your song and choose where you want to save it.
Next we will go into our Preferences window:
Select Custom under 'Default Song' and click the file icon to the right of the current default songs name. This will bring up your list of saved Reason projects (songs):
Select your song and choose Open. You will see that your selected song is now the custom default song. When you restart Reason this template will load and you are ready to start at launch with working out a beat.
I make these templates for all kinds of different situations ranging from beats, vocals and synth ideas as you never know what the day may call for. But being ready for anything is the key. I would suggest that you take some time and do the same with your set up by pre-making templates to your liking and saving them.
Until next time.. Stay Creative and check out these Reason tutorials to learn more.