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Creative reverb techniques

Published: 2017-09-26

Welcome back to yet again another article about Propellerhead Reason. Today I felt like looking at Reverb in different ways. While I have touched the ideas on creative reverb engines in a whole wide range of articles (I'll see if I can link those up in the related section) the once I will post today are based on two different ideas. The first one is based on the Fender Reverb engine which uses panning elements to reshape the sound. The second one is a more creative route where I wanted to have a 4 stepped reverb type that gets picked up by resonating reverb engines (ow boy...). Everything I will be touching is based on what the original RV-7000 can do. No convolution stuff is being touched so far so I will assume (big assumption right now since I haven't tested it) is that everything should still work in Reason 4 and Reason 5 even.

The Fender Reverb

While originally I found this one while looking up different Fender Amps. And came across this beauty:

Fender Princeton Reverb

The concept behind this reverb is that it contains a few settings for controlling the amp like treble and bass. While the most interesting settings I find from these things are the different reverb settings that can be applied in this thing compared to lets say traditional reverb types. The first setting is the speed while the second one is the intensity. While these two are some what similar as using a Rotor. Difference is that they use pan settings on the Reverb itself.

The major problem here is that reverb in Reason often rely on a dry and wet signal. So if you would hard pan the main instrument itself, this would become rather obvious as a pan effect. And that is something we do not want. The solution would be using the Mixer 6:2 as a Send effect. Yeah... really.

custom reverb chain

The custom reverb chain will be using an aux bus from the Mixer 6:2. This means that everything that will connected to the send out / send in will become a parallel effect chain. By using the aux to the reverb first we would normally create a straight forward reverb effect as an auxiliary effect (thus adding reverb on the aux bus). The reverb will go in to the next mixer 6:2 (where there is no aux connected to it) yet this one will get a hard pan mechanism by using an Low frequency oscillator.

The benefit behind this technique in particular is that the dry signal (the original instrument) does not get touched in panning. While in theory the reverb does. This results in to a pan effect on the reverb while the rest just blends in the middle. I call it the "what the hell is happening effect". In theory you can expand this idea by using two different signals where one goes over left the other goes over right and they pan inverse. It is a different take yet I am throwing that idea on the table.

To create intensity on the reverb itself we can use a single Thor patch as a scaler. This is done as followed:

The second Low frequency oscillator will become the control voltage output in this case. While it gets scaled by using the Rotary one of Thor. By programming the rotary 1 using a Combinator in Reason we can adjust the amounts of LFO CV output we really want. Thus we have full control on how much the pan effect can and will take place. The CV output will then be connected to the pan settings and we are all set to go.

Fender Reverb in Propellerhead Reason

This will result in to the following free patch for Reason. The rotaries that are used are the following:

  • Rotary 1 - controls the intensity amount (changes the amount of pan you apply to it)
  • Rotary 2 - controls the rate connected to the pan
  • Rotary 3 - controls the auxiliary amount, thus the amount of reverb you can apply to it
  • Rotary 4 - controls the decay setting on the reverb. Ideal for creating shimmering guitar effects

custom-guitar-pedals.cmb

The Four Step Reverb with a Dual Stereo Tail

I have a thing with names. I know. The idea sounds and looks very complicated yet in theory it is quite 'simple'. The main thought at first was to have a 4 state reverb that would be stepped in a way where a 'pattern' would define which reverb would be opened. The real trick to this however is to have the loudness levels to be equal otherwise it would result in to 4 stepped sounds. When you trigger for instance a gated sound using a Mixer 14:2 and you apply an Auxiliary to the sound (for instance a delay) the gate will open the sound and the effect will play its course (even while the gate is closed).

Well, with that idea in mind I wanted to create 4 different gates where every gate would trigger a different type of reverb. Yet at the same time the sound does not need to stop while moving from one gate to the next (because: pads...)

This sounds problematic, but there is a real easy fix (or workaround) for this one. The Mixer 14:2 is the only mixer that by default allows the change of levels without having to program anything inside a Combinator in Reason (since it has level control voltage plugs in the rear). With that in mind you can create 4 different matrix pattern step sequencers where every gate on the curve has a different trigger on the step.

So matrix one will trigger step one, while matrix two will trigger step two while matrix three triggers step three and so on. The first matrix gets connected to the first channel of the mixer while the second to the second one and so on.

Multi step Reverb

In this case the first channel will have an Auxiliary one for the first reverb. The second channel will have the second auxiliary with a different reverb type and so on. So in theory you can play "auxiliary" (or sends) in a sequence. The nice thing in this case is because we are using a reverb it will also mix different reverb tails different. So in case you have a moving sound (that changes the harmonic content for instance) this will also mean that those reverb tails will respond different while the sound progresses over time.

Now of course I did not stop here. Because it got me thinking in case of harmonic content (eg, something resonates on a specific band and gets picked up by a reverb) what if you through that through 2 different reverb types with different EQ settings. Thus sometimes "enhancing" that specific frequency once it gets hit.

This is where 4 different reverb types came in to play using a 2 by 2 reverb chain (one for left and the other for right). 

Reverb chain

Since these are placed as insert effects (which work totally different compared to send effects) they have been put more towards dry. While at the same time one reverb will pass the sound on to the next, results: a very long reverb chain with different eq stages.

custom-reverb-build.cmb 

I had fun creating these two effects. Enjoy these two free patches for reason!

Published on Reason Experts
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Published on Reason Experts
Published: 2017-09-26

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RandyEspoda
29 Sep 2017 

RandyEspoda

Excellent article. I love the first one, it's really a creative use of reverb. The 'unexpect-effect' :)The way the input signal and the panning are separated so only the reverb gets panned is smart yet simple.Keep 'm coming ...

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