Main 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 Final Quiz


Lesson 15 - NN-XT Advanced (3/3)

In This Lesson: How to use the "Loop" features in the NN-XT Advanced Sampler.

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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.

Note: At the beginning of the video, I say this is part 14. It's actually part 15, just a correction there. I also say the words "Underestimate", where I should have said "Understate".

NN-XT Advanced

In this tutorial we will be covering how to set up the loop settings of a sample you have recorded or imported.

The loop settings are located underneath the sample window in the NN-XT sampler.

In the video I explain how to correct a sample that was not sung or taken at middle C. Here's an easy way to do what I explained in the video:

Find out what note is being played in the sample (Maybe it's an "Eb") > Set the "Root" knob to whatever that note is (Eb). Make sure it's in the right octave > You're done!

A 3rd way to do this, would be to Right-click the sample > Set root note from pitch detection.

Start + End Knobs

The start knob controls how far in the timeline the sample starts once you play it.

So if you go to 50%, it will will start halfway through the sample when you hit the key on your MIDI keyboard.

Right Click > Edit Samples to see a visualization of how this works using the "S" arrow.

The END knob affects the 2nd half of your sample. So if you set it to "80%", your sample will play the first 80% of the sample, and then it will stop. (It won't play the last 20%).

Using the start/end features effectively can enable you to slice sections out of a sample and use them creatively; it is the most important advanced feature of the NN-XT (Along with the "Play Mode" function) in my opinion.

Speaking of…

Play Mode

Play mode decides how your sample loops. When it reaches the end of the sample, you can tell it to automatically:

  • Play the sample again (FW-LOOP)
  • Play the sample forward, and then play backward to the start, and then forward again as long as you hold down the key (FW-BW)
  • Play the loop portion of the sample, and then when you release the keys, will finish the sample outside of the loop area (FW-SUS) - See the video for a better explanation of this, as it's hard to understand without the visual explanation I give.
  • Play the sample backwards (BW)

The Sample Keyboard

  • Right click a sample > Automap Zones to have Reason automatically set each sample to the keys that it is best used (Use Shift to select multiple samples, and use "Automap Zones" to make this happen with multiple samples).

When you auto map samples, Reason analyzes the samples and decides which notes each sample will work best. I recommend using this feature when you have more than 1 sample in your track, unless you have very specific needs for your track.

Lo Key + HI Key

These knobs are simply another way for you to change which keys are affected by which sample.

Select a sample > Turn Lo Key knob in order to change the lowest key that sample will play on - Do the same for Hi key for the opposite effect (It will affect the hi key, rather than the low key).

Low Velocity + Hi Velocity

Low Velocity sets what the lowest velocity that Reason will register as a note. If you set the low velocity too high, Reason will only play the HARDEST PLAYED keys, you would have to hit your keyboard quite hard in order for it to pick up what you were playing.

Hi Velocity works the same way except opposite. Anything that is HIGHER than the set velocity, will not be heard (127 is the highest).

Fade In + Fade Out

This is obvious I hope. These knobs set whether your sample will fade in, or fade out.

The lower the fade in number, the more you will hear the fade-in. Same thing goes for fade-out, play with it a bit.


Turn Alt on all samples you want it applied to in order to turn on the alt feature.

Alt will randomly alternate between the samples that overlap on the sample keyboard. So if 2 samples are taking up the middle C space, the ALT feature will cause it to alternate between the samples every time it is hit.

A practical example of this: Duplicate the same hi-hat sample 5 times, but put different effects on each different sample (using the effect knobs at the bottom of the NN-XT). Make sure you activate the ALT feature on each one.

Now, when you have a steady hi-hat beat going, it will now alternate between the samples (each having a slightly different sound) which will create incredible dynamics in your song.

Another practical example of this was shown on the video, where I was able to play a simple riff, but it sound much cooler because it was alternating between a few different samples.

Main 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 Final Quiz


  1. Exercise: Try the start+end knobs in at least 5 different positions using a sample that you created or imported.
  2. Exercise: Try each of the 5 play modes out on your own for at least 5 minutes.
  3. Bonus points if you realized that there's only 4 different play modes.
  4. What does the "Automap Zones" function do?
  5. What do the Low key or Hi Key knobs do?
  6. What happens if you have a Low Velocity set to 60, but you play a note that has a velocity less than 60?
  7. Only 1 sample needs to have the ALT Feature ON in order to work. (True/False)
  8. Exercise: Load 2 or more samples in the NN-XT, and turn on the alt feature for both of them. Play around for 6 minutes or more.

Quiz Answers

4. Automap Zones tells the NN-XT to automatically assign the sample to the keys it would be best played by.

5. Lo Key + Hi Key are alternate ways for you to change which portion of the keyboard is assigned to the sample.

6. Nothing will happen, the sample will not be activated because you would need to play it with a velocity of harder than 60.

7. False. You need to have each sample that you want affected by the ALT feature, have the ALT feature activated.

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