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posted : 2005.Oct.25 @ 3.49pm
To me what makes music interesting is deciphering the mix. When i listen to a song either electronic or instrumental i pick off each track one by one in my mind, and try to understand each peice in relation to the whole to figure out how things work. The larger the track, the more complex the task becomes for my mind to process and understand the mix, to pinpoint things that make the sound identifiable, things like the tracks location in the soundscape, the timbre of the instrument, the size of the room the track is being played in.

All these real world variables of a sounds qualities that we instinctually process when we pick up a sound can be manipulated relatively easily in electronic music to make the beat fresh and constantly novel to the listener.

Here's a little tutorial on beat dynamics. The example is used in reason, but similar techniques can be used in Fruity Loops.

In Reason there are many ways to manipulate and vary the defining qualities of a sound. One technique Reason offers to vary the sonic qualities of samples and synths are LFOs. LFOs (Low Frequency Oscillation)s are low frequency waveforms inaudible to the human ear used to modulate a defining parameter of a sound. It can be used to create "autopan" effects where a sound floats from left to right, change the filter frequency, or modulate the piitch of a synthesizers oscillators to make anything from vibrato to police siren effects.

Here is an example of a layered dub beat.

There are five tracks being used in this sample. First all of them are played together, then each part is played one by one.

The basic gist is this: a sample is split into 4 different L/R pairs which are then routed into different effects and panned out in seperate areas in the mixer. The final channel is just the clean signal or sample. After this, the individual channels can be tweaked and given more dynamics by having the sampler route it's LFO to different CVs on the effects. Control Voltages are a way for different hardware devices to communicate. In this example it allows takes the LFO output of the sampler, and use it to modulate the parameters of the effects.

In my example i used a flanger a delay and a large hall reverb effect. The effects channels levels are kept relatively low as to emphasize the clean signal.

In the mp3 example i also kept a basic drum machine beat. Usually a visceral kick/snare makes a beat sound tight.

....Routing diagram / Reason screenshots coming soon

posted : 2005.Oct.25 @ 3.50pm
Sorry to digress from your gorgeous tracks dman, but I completely forgot to follow through with routing diagrams for what i was talking about. People with a familiarity to reason might find this overly pedantic, but i wanted to explain this so anyone make sense of it.

This is a cartoon of the routing: the signal is split into four L/R pairs which travel to each of the set up "in-line" effects, and then to the mixer in seperate tracks. Each number refers to a seperate effect path, and track in the mixer.
Reason Routing Diagram // Beat Phattening

Reason can usually automate much of the cable routing when adding new devices, but the bulk of this tutorial requires manual cable clickings. Create a DR-Rex sample and load any factory bank sample into it, tweak the sound until the beat is how you want it. Create a clean instance of a merger/splitter, do this by holding down "shift" while creating it so that reason doesn't try to automatically route cables. Add a bunch of random effects which you may want to route the signal through using the same method, holding down "shift".

Setting up first two split signals // Beat Phattening

Now press tab to flip around to the back off the devices, and connect the L/R output of the DR-REX sampler to the right side of the merger/splitter (the splitter side). Then connect the output signal from the splitter to the input of any of the effects you loaded into your rack. Connect the output channel of the effect to another track on your mixer and adjust the volume/panning to fit your mix. Repeat this until the beat is phat enough to fill the soundscape. I usually end up using all 4 channels of the splitter.

Four Effects Tracks Routed to Mixer // Beat Phattening

After you get the tracks panned and mixed the way you wanted on your mixer. Its time to mess with the dynamics of the different parts of your drum track. This can be done by routing the LFO of the DR-REX to specific controls on the effects tracks.

CV Routing Diagram // Beat Phattening

LFOs are routed from the back of devices by connecting CVs, these cables look a little different than typical audio cables in reason, and can easily be noticed by there bright yellow color. You can experiment connecting any cable from any LFO output or filter envelope (basically anything under modulation output on the back of a device). Experiment with different routings to find something you like. Here is a screenshot of the routing used in the mp3 example.

CV Routing from Sample // Beat Phattening


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