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Tutorials

Europa Sound Design with Adam Fielding

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kc0oa0gpL8o

Europa is an infinitely powerful spectral wavetable synthesizer packed with over 500 professional-sounding patches. But sometimes a song calls for a truly one-of-a-kind sound. Making your own synth patches can be complicated, but Europa’s intuitive interface makes it easier than ever to make your own synth sounds.

In this synth patch tutorial, you’ll learn about synth sound design from Adam Fielding as he demonstrates how he created his “Windwave” patch in Europa, available for free at FieldingSoundWorks.com.

At the heart of Europa are three powerful spectral wave engines capable of creating complex soundscapes. When designing the Windwave patch, Adam used all three engines to create different sonic layers. Each engine features over 30 wavetables including traditional analog shapes and complex waveforms that respond to your performance. Or load your own samples as custom wavetables and create sounds unlike anything you’ve ever heard before.

Here are some of Europa’s powerful tools that Adam used to create Windwave and other synth patches:

Modulation

Europa features four versatile envelopes, three LFOs, and an advanced Modulation Matrix for tweaking just about any parameter you can imagine. Add a sense of movement to your patches by morphing between wavetables. Create chords from a single key using shifting harmonics. In Windwave, Adam used an LFO to modulate the pitch drift parameter for a natural, organic sound.

Spectral Filter

Choose from 24 classic analog modeled filters to shape your tone. Or use the advanced Spectral Filter for sound processing that most filters only dream of. Load your own samples as custom filters for far-out effects. You can even modulate the cutoff point to open and close the filter, making tracks brighter or darker over time.

Unison

Make your synths sound larger than life with the Unison module. Use the count control to add depth with subtle doubling effects. Increase the stereo width with the spread knob. Fatten up patches with subharmonic frequencies in octave down mode. Adam mades great use of the Unison module when designing the Windwave patch.

Effects Rack

Polish your tracks to perfection using the built-in effects rack. Tweak your tone with the parametric EQ module. Add punch to your plucks or sustain to your pads with the compressor. Create space and depth with the reverb, delay and phaser modules. Or mangle your sound with six different kinds of distortion.

Behind the Windwave Patch

When designing the Windwave patch, Adam combined all three oscillators, multiple modifiers, and advanced signal processing to create an ambient, atmospheric soundscape.

Engine 1 uses the Robot Ramp wave with harmonics modifiers and Unison detuning to create a shifting fifth chord with a soft, glassy texture. To compliment this layer, engine 2 uses a chaotic-sounding transformer wavetable to create a breathy sound that spans across three octaves. Engine 3 uses a simple saw-triangle wave with the Unison module in octave-down mode to deliver a powerful low-end, filling out the frequency spectrum.

Now that you know the basics of how to design synth sounds in Reason 10, it’s time to start creating your own custom patches!

Start your free trial of Reason 10 today!

 

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Sound Design Tutorial: How to Make a Fat Analog Bass Sound

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fBoi2y4LCTQ

There are few things more satisfying than a fat bass synth, and Reason is full of go-to sounds to bring huge low-end to your mix. But for those who like to dive in and tweak some knobs in search of the perfect sound, it can be even more gratifying to design your own bass from the ground up. This sound design tutorial will focus on how to make a bass patch in Reason with Subtractor, the beloved analog-modeling synth with a fat sound and a few tricks up its sleeve.

To get started making a Subtractor bass patch, first right-click anywhere on the instrument and select “reset device” to set all controls to their default state. Then set the polyphony to 1 to make your patch monophonic for a tight bass sound. At first, you’ll hear a very basic, no-frills sawtooth wave—don’t worry, you’ll be turning this humble patch into a thick, beastly bass in no time!
 

Oscillators

Subtractor’s sound starts at its two oscillators, which feature 30 different waveform options. Here, you can also adjust each oscillator’s octave, tuning, mix level, and more. These options can produce some pretty far-out tones, but simpler is often better for bass sounds. Try using a square or sawtooth wave with rich harmonics, supplemented by a rounder triangle or sine wave an octave below that for a thick, assertive tone. To change up your sound a bit, switch the phase mode to X or – and adjust the phase knob to create unique variations on each waveform.

Analog-Style Filters

Next come Subtractor’s analog-style filters, which shape your sound by subtracting certain frequencies (this is also where Subtractor gets its name). Low-pass filters are a great choice for bass patches, because they cut out the high-end to emphasize the low-end. Subtractor has two types of low-pass filters: LP12 gradually rolls off the highs, while LP24 has a steeper cutoff. The frequency and resonance controls fine-tune the sound, and the keyboard tracking control adjusts the filter when you play higher or lower notes. A second low-pass filter can be linked to the first for even more tonal possibilities.

Envelopes

By now you’ve quickly built a rich bass sound with plenty of analog character, but it may still sound a little static. This is where the envelope section comes in handy—envelopes shape your sound over time, from the initial attack of each note to the decay, sustain, and release time. The amp envelope uses these parameters to control volume, while the filter envelope affects the filter frequency instead. Combined, Subtractor’s envelopes can deliver anything from funky wah-wah-type sounds to slowly morphing swells.

Modulation

Oscillator, filter, and envelope combinations offer a ton of possibilities, but the fun really begins when you modulate those parameters to add motion and expression to your sound. Subtractor’s two LFOs (low-frequency oscillators) can be used to rhythmically control parameters including oscillator pitch, phase, or filter frequency, which produces a dubstep-style wobble when synced to tempo.

The mod wheel can also be assigned to different parameters, including LFO speed. Finally, Subtractor’s velocity section allows you to control how the dynamics of your playing affect the sound.

And there you have it—all the sound design knowledge you need to get started making an analog bass patch with Subtractor. Once you’ve mastered the basics, these principles can be applied to many other Reason devices and Rack Extensions, opening the door to limitless possibilities.
 

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Tutorial: 4 EQ Tips to Improve Your Mixes

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8uwHXlfzl0

Every artist relies on the tools of the their trade when creating. The painter has the paintbrush, the sculptor has the chisel, and the producer has the equalizer. In this tutorial, we’ll break down everything you need to know about how to use EQ in mixing.

Equalizers change the way an instrument sounds by altering its frequency response. Just like a car stereo, they can be used to add more “bass”, turn down the “treble” and much more. Most EQs use multiple bands to give you control over separate frequency ranges. Parametric EQs are typically broken into low, low-mid, midrange, high-mid, and high frequency bands. Each band uses three basic controls to shape sounds: frequency, gain and “Q”, or quality.
 

Not all EQs feature Q controls, but those that do offer more flexibility when tweaking your tone:

  • The frequency control allows you to select the specific frequency you want to adjust for each band. The gain control is used to control how much you cut or boost the selected frequency.
     
  • The Q knob adjusts the slope of your EQ curve. Bands with low Q settings have a gentle slope that affects a wide range of frequencies, while high Q settings offer a more focused shape.
     
  • Cutting frequencies is called subtractive EQ, and works well for making tracks sound cleaner or clearer. Boosting frequencies is called additive EQ, and is better for emphasizing a specific frequency range in a recording.
     

In addition to these controls, there are three basic EQ shapes: filters, shelves, and bells.

  • Filters do exactly what the name suggests—they filter out unwanted frequencies above or below a certain point. Filters are useful for removing unwanted low-end rumble from recordings, or taming the high-end on harsh-sounding instruments.
     
  • Shelf EQs can be used to cut or boost frequencies above or below a certain point. Shelves are commonly used to add low-end to kick drums, add high-end to guitars, or toning down overly bright cymbals.
     
  • The bell is the most common and versatile EQ shape. With a high Q value, they offer hyper-narrow curves ideal for pinpointing and reducing problematic frequencies. With a low Q value, bell curves offer a subtler slope over a wider range of frequencies, which works well for boosting.
     
  • Learn how to carve out space for each instrument using subtractive EQ. Train your ear to identify problem frequencies using the sweeping technique.
     

Now that you know how to use an EQ, it’s time to get mixing!

Start your free trial of Reason 10 today!

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Tutorial: How to Make a Gunna Type Trap Beat with Reason 10

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lyPnYs7DVVQ

Start making your own beats today!

Try Reason for free    Buy Reason
 

Gunna is an Atlanta-based rapper who’s been featured alongside Young Thug, Travis Scott, and Gucci Mane. The young star has released four albums on Young Thug’s YSL label: Drip Season 1, 2, and 3; and 2018’s Drip Harder, which featured the platinum-certified #4 hit “Drip Too Hard” (are you sensing a theme here?). Gunna’s sound is rooted in trap, but has a melodic focus and a uniquely atmospheric quality thanks to skilled producers like Metro Boomin, Turbo, Nav, and Wheezy. In this tutorial, we’ll explore how to make a Gunna-type beat in Reason that drips with subtle style.

Look Behind the Beats

What really sets Gunna’s music apart is what’s going on behind the beats. Most of his songs are built around a dreamy melodic or chordal element—such as a clean guitar sample, a silky electric piano, or a subtly warped synth sound. Instead of starting your beat with the rhythm, try finding a melody or loop that inspires you first, and let that inform the rest of the process. You can even go straight to the source by picking out a Gunna-inspired sample from ProducerGrind’s Drip Season 2 Melody Loop Pack, or use the included MIDI versions to play any of the melodies with your synth or sampler of choice instead.

Make It Slap

Once you’ve found the perfect centerpiece for your beat, make it slap with some classic trap percussion and a booming 808 bass. Load up a kit in Kong, ReDrum, or UMPF Club Drums with snappy hi-hats, a punchy kick sound, and some classic hip-hop snare and clap samples, then use Drum Sequencer to build a pattern quickly. Start with 16th-notes on the hi-hat, then click and drag on certain notes to add repeats and triplets for an iconic trap rhythm. Then throw ProducerGrind’s free Official DJ Spinz 808 sample into the Grain or NN-XT samplers and create a simple bass line in the key of your melody for instant trap flavor.

Add the Melodies

With the foundation of your beat laid, it’s time to start adding some chords and counter-melodies to flesh it out. Reason’s ID8 device is perfect for quickly sketching out parts with go-to piano, organ, string, brass, and flute sounds, which you can then tweak with effects or swap out for your favorite synth or sampler. Don’t indulge too much though—keep it lean with just one or two additional parts. To make your track really “drip”, add some reverb and delay with RV7000 and The Echo, or use an effects sequencer like Sugar Bytes’ Effectrix to warp your sounds in creative ways.

Plan Your Structure

When you’ve built up a solid loop with some interesting layers, the next step is to lay out a structure for your track. First, duplicate the whole pattern for the length of the song, then selectively remove layers to create a build-up and differentiate the verse and hook sections. Start with just the melody for the first few bars—this will be the intro, where the artist and featured guests will add some ad-libs to hype up the song. After the intro, drop the beat in and slowly add your layers until the hook or chorus. Experiment with cutting the percussion track in a few spots to highlight the vocals. When laying down the vocals, the Neptune Pitch Adjuster can be used as a real-time vocal synth for a modern, auto-tuned sound.

Reason 10’s creative workflow and inspiring production tools help you build original beats quickly, and resources like ProducerGrind and the Propellerhead shop are chock full of modern trap sounds to make your beat drip like a Gunna track.

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Tutorial: How to Create Catchy Hooks in Reason 10

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CpRkoZs1Bvc

Start making your own catchy hooks today!

Try Reason for free    Buy Reason

Have you ever been working on a song with a great beat, an interesting chord pattern, and a beautiful melody, but still found it lacking something? What your song needs is a hook. Put simply, the hook is the special part of a popular song that makes it catchy. Next time you’re at a concert, pay attention to when the entire audience sings along. The part of the song the audience shouts back is the hook.

But what differentiates a hook from a good melody? A great hook is a combination of familiarity and surprise. The predictable part of a song lures the listener in with familiarity, while the unexpected hook elements are what get the song stuck in their head. In this tutorial, we’re going to use Reason 10 to teach you how to begin incorporating proven techniques to modify or accompany your melodies with catchy hooks that listeners will crave to hear again and again.

Shout It Out

If you want to hear your audience shout back at you, you have to give them something to shout about. The first and easiest way to include a shout-able hook in your song is by adding a simple word like “hey!” in an unexpected place in the melody. It’s easy to create a convincing sing-along effect in Reason 10. Simply record yourself shouting the hook a few times (or drop in a sample), then duplicate each clip several times. Pan your duplicates out wide and slightly adjust the pitch and timing of each copy for a more realistic effect.

Patterns and Melodies

Another way to add a hook is to integrate surprise elements within your main melody. As an example, let’s use Reason’s Scales and Chords Player to create a rhythmic harmonic pattern using four chords. Next, use one of Reason’s many synths – such as Subtractor or Maelstrom – to record a simple melody over the first two chords. Now repeat the same melody over the third and fourth chords. The melody will sound familiar, yet unexpectedly different the second time. When crafting radio-ready hooks, repetition is your friend – but too much repetition can bother our ears. You can keep your track sounding fresh by simply moving a single note in the repeated melody to a different pitch.

Embrace the Unexpected

Another successful technique for crafting hooks is to punctuate the song with stutter edits, repeated words or notes, or unexpected snare hits. Let’s take the melody you just created and spice it up with some catchy punctuation. Find the longest note in your melody. Then use Reason’s Draw tool to add a few shorter, syncopated notes above it. This punctuation technique simultaneously breaks up the most static part of your melody and transforms it into a hook that will get stuck in your listeners’ heads.

Finally, if you’ve exhausted other options, don’t be afraid to get weird with it. Play around with utilizing Reason’s user-friendly automation to tweak knobs or settings on your lead synth in real time.

Now that you know how to write hooks and make your songs catchier, it’s time to practice crafting hooks that will be stuck in your listeners’ heads for days.

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Tutorial: How to Create Catchy Hooks in Reason 10

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CpRkoZs1Bvc

Start making your own catchy hooks today!

Try Reason for free    Buy Reason

Have you ever been working on a song with a great beat, an interesting chord pattern, and a beautiful melody, but still found it lacking something? What your song needs is a hook. Put simply, the hook is the special part of a popular song that makes it catchy. Next time you’re at a concert, pay attention to when the entire audience sings along. The part of the song the audience shouts back is the hook.

But what differentiates a hook from a good melody? A great hook is a combination of familiarity and surprise. The predictable part of a song lures the listener in with familiarity, while the unexpected hook elements are what get the song stuck in their head. In this tutorial, we’re going to use Reason 10 to teach you how to begin incorporating proven techniques to modify or accompany your melodies with catchy hooks that listeners will crave to hear again and again.

Shout It Out

If you want to hear your audience shout back at you, you have to give them something to shout about. The first and easiest way to include a shout-able hook in your song is by adding a simple word like “hey!” in an unexpected place in the melody. It’s easy to create a convincing sing-along effect in Reason 10. Simply record yourself shouting the hook a few times (or drop in a sample), then duplicate each clip several times. Pan your duplicates out wide and slightly adjust the pitch and timing of each copy for a more realistic effect.

Patterns and Melodies

Another way to add a hook is to integrate surprise elements within your main melody. As an example, let’s use Reason’s Scales and Chords Player to create a rhythmic harmonic pattern using four chords. Next, use one of Reason’s many synths – such as Subtractor or Maelstrom – to record a simple melody over the first two chords. Now repeat the same melody over the third and fourth chords. The melody will sound familiar, yet unexpectedly different the second time. When crafting radio-ready hooks, repetition is your friend – but too much repetition can bother our ears. You can keep your track sounding fresh by simply moving a single note in the repeated melody to a different pitch.

Embrace the Unexpected

Another successful technique for crafting hooks is to punctuate the song with stutter edits, repeated words or notes, or unexpected snare hits. Let’s take the melody you just created and spice it up with some catchy punctuation. Find the longest note in your melody. Then use Reason’s Draw tool to add a few shorter, syncopated notes above it. This punctuation technique simultaneously breaks up the most static part of your melody and transforms it into a hook that will get stuck in your listeners’ heads.

Finally, if you’ve exhausted other options, don’t be afraid to get weird with it. Play around with utilizing Reason’s user-friendly automation to tweak knobs or settings on your lead synth in real time.

Now that you know how to write hooks and make your songs catchier, it’s time to practice crafting hooks that will be stuck in your listeners’ heads for days.

Read more here

Watch: The Making of Jarren Benton's "Don't Need You"

https://youtu.be/MJsAck8xV2I
 

With 1.8 million views on YouTube, it’s safe to say that the music video for Jarren Benton’s “Don’t Need You” is a huge hit. We caught up with Reason powered producer Kato on the Track and he sent us this video where he breaks down how he came up with the beat for “Don’t Need You” and how he produced it, all in Reason.
 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o0d1wY4rUK4
 

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Laura Escudé: One Thing Leads to Another

As an artist, Laura Escudé’s output as Alluxe fuses avant-garde and classical elements with live electronica to create a unique, hybrid style of electronic music. Using custom controllers, vocals and violin, she seamlessly blends original compositions, improvised beats and instrumental loops. Escudé’s production skills have earned her remix commissions from…

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