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Lesson 1 - Overview Of Reason (1/4)

In This Lesson: The Rack - The Sequencer - Audio Options - Redrum (Programming a drum beat) - Adding Reverb

How To Use This Lesson

Watch the video below and take the quiz at the bottom of the page. If you need a bit of extra help with the videos, then by all means read the accompanying written content (the written content on this page simply restates what was said in the video).

Make sure you set the video below to at least "720p HD", if not "1080p HD", and then set it to Fullscreen as well. Otherwise the video won't display properly, and it will be quite difficult to follow the tutorial.

You can set it to 1080p HD by clicking the little Gearbox icon at the bottom of the video, and clicking "1080p HD". You can set the video to fullscreen by choosing the very bottom-right button in the video.

Reason is a fantastic music software program. It's main strength lies in recording and editing MIDI notes. I personally prefer to use Reason while writing MIDI powered music, rather than using other industry-standard recording software like Logic or Pro Tools, simply because the MIDI interface is so great.

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Now, the sounds on Reason are often not as professional as what Pro Tools or Logic has to offer (especially because they support a WIDE variety of 3rd party plugins), so I will often export my Reason MIDI/Audio Tracks and import them into Logic or Pro Tools for further production and mastering.

To start, Open a new Reason Project.

The Rack Unit

Your rack is located near the Reason User Interface (UI). This holds any instruments or effects that you create for use in your project. These can be synths, samplers, drum machines, reverbs, or delays, etc.

Generally, Reason will default with a mastering combinator (For automatic mastering), a mixer (To connect instruments and effects to), and a hardware interface emulator (You often won't even touch this part of the rack. Most people don't even realize it exists).

  • Holds all the instruments + effects you apply using reason
  • You can reroute the instruments and effects using cables in the back of the rack (press "Tab" to view the back)
  • This is also where you mix and master your music. Anything to do with sound is held in the rack.

The Sequencer

This is where you arrange and record your music. If an instrument = a pencil, then the sequencer = a piece of paper to write on.

  • Record music using the sequencer.
  • The "Loop" button will make everything inside the "L" and "R" tags repeat itself indefinitely (Until you stop it).

Audio Options

Click Reason > Preferences.

Then choose the "Audio" drop down menu, and you can choose where Reason sends your sounds. If you have a pre-amp, you can send it there, or you can send it out of your computer's speakers.

Redrum

Redrum is a drum machine that helps you program beats and patterns. This is usually where you would start when designing a drum beat.

  • Right click on ReDrum in the sequencer and click "Convert Pattern Automation to Notes" to record your patterns.
  • Press the play icon for any drum in order to hear that drum.
  • Use the folder icon to change drum sets or individual drums.
  • You can also change patterns (Numbered 1-8) to create different drum beats in the same song (Without erasing your old beats)
  • You can change velocity from soft-medium-hard in order to make the drums played softer or harder. This helps to create more variation in your music.
  • Start using 16 beats with 16th notes (for a 4/4 time signature) and make a simple beat (Follow the video). Even 20 minutes of experimenting will make you proficient with ReDrum.
  • Make sure you trim the sequencer notes after you "Convert Pattern Automation To Notes", as your beat will continue to the end of the song otherwise.

Reverb

You can create a reverb by right-clicking an empty space at the bottom of the rack > Create > RV7000 (RV-7 Digital Reverb is also available).

The mix (how much reverb) is automatically set to 100%, so I recommend bringing it down to 25-50 for a more natural effect.

View the next tutorial for a more in-depth look at the Reason Interface. I recommend taking the Quiz below if you feel unsure of your knowledge of Reason.

If you felt that you really understood the lesson, then I'll bet you can skip it, but if you feel you need some extra review, take the quiz to see if you need to review even more. No one is marking your work, it's simply to help you learn + remember everything you can about making music.


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Quiz

  1. What does the Rack do, and where is it located?
  2. How do you change your audio preferences in Reason? (You don't have to answer this one in words if you can simply find it in the program).
  3. What is the sequencer used for?
  4. What is "ReDrum".
  5. Exercise: Program a drum beat that only has 12 steps in it (Instead of 16).
  6. What is the RV7000?
  7. Where is the main mixer located?

QUIZ ANSWERS

  1. The rack hold instruments, effects, and mixers, and routes them all together. It emulates a live music studio by using digital versions of synths, instruments, effects, and cables.
  2. Reason > Preferences > Audio
  3. Arranging music and notes.
  4. A Drum Machine.
  5. If you did the exercise, even poorly, then you win! Just experimenting puts you farther ahead than you were before.
  6. A Reverb effect.
  7. Near the top of the Rack.

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About The Writer

My name is Andrew Muller. I love creative art, music, television shows, movies, video games, and a good story.

If you had to find me somewhere, you would probably find me down at O'neils home cooking eating an organic sweet-potato bun breakfast sandwich with ham.

Among my friends, it's a "Muller Classic Move" to eat Mcdonald's at 2am because it's cheap and open 24/7. The joke here is that I'm an idiot. 

I play drums, guitar, piano, and I write & perform music for My Goal Is Telepathy. Take a listen to the latest sound here.