Sidechaining in Reason

Here is how I do sidechain compression in Reason. In this example I am going to use a kick for the sidechain source, which can give the output of the compressor a bouncy catchy effect.

First of all you want to setup a default rack with a 14:1 Mixer, an MClass Compressor and a Redrum, make sure when you add the compressor its auto routed as an effect send to the mixer.

Now flip the rack and connect the Redrum’s Send 1 to the Left(mono) channel of the sidechain input on the compressor. Note that the sends from Redrum are mono outputs.

Program a basic 4/4 kick drum pattern into the Redrum device. You can add claps snares or anything else you like they will not be being sent to the compressor at this time until you turn the send knob for a particular Redrum channel.

Once the Redrum is setup how you like you can now send the kick drum to the sidechain by turning the send knob for the kick channel all the way to the right. Note that this doesn’t stop the kick from being sent to the mixer.

You can lower the compressors Threshold and raise its Ratio until you see the kick drum really pump the VU meter. Now that the compressor is pumping we need to give it something to compress. Add a synth to the rack and make sure its auto routed to the mixer. Turn up the aux send of the channel to which the synth was added.

When you play notes on the synth you will hear it go quieter when the kick drum is playing. This can be a useful way to make synth baselines fit better in the mix.

The advantage of using sends rather than using the single channel output of the Redrum are two fold. Firstly the kick drum is not muted and does not need further splitting using a Spider Audio Merger & Splitter. Secondly other elements of the beat can be sent to the sidechain in varying amounts. The advantage of using the compressor as a effect send is that many instruments can have the same compression added to them by altering the aux send of each channel.


Reason 4.0

My long awaited free Upgrade to Propellerheads Reason 4.0 has finally arrived. Propellerheads seem to have been quite smart in thier way of delivering upgrades, rather than distributing two versions of thier product they simply distribute the full version only. The upgrade verification is done by registering your old version online and entering an upgrade code at which point they will email you the full version product key.

Midi Keyboard

I decided to bite the bullet and buy my first peice of midi hardware my reasoning was that if I cannot warrant the cost of buying myself a £30 midi keyboard then may aswell forget about creating music on my computer. Sure you can do it with a mouse keyboard or by placing the notes into the sequencer, but its not as easy. Since I had piano lessons when I was a child a keyboard seemed to be a the most natural way for me to create music.

Music Software

While I was at university I remember a mate of mine showing me this software called Reason. He was making some amazing dark drum and bass sounds using it, and I remember thinking how cool it was that the software basically tries to simulate a series of rack based synhesisers. Unfortunately his copy of Reason 1.0 was a demo version which had the limitation that he could not save, and that after 20 minutes the program was forced to close.
Not wanting to be contrained by these limitations I decided to download a copy of the full version of reason using the file sharing tool Emule. I of course do intend to buy the software at some point because propellerheads deserve to have my money for writing such an excellent piece of software, and the only way they can make the software better is if they have customers buying it.