Propellerhead Reason tutorials made by Hydlide

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Matrix toolbox combinator part 2

Published: 2017-08-24

In my previous Propellerhead Reason tutorial I mainly wrote down the basics about the matrix pattern step sequencer and its default usages. While I ended up with a concept and design for setting up more complicated Control Voltage toolbox. In this article I am going to partially continue with the idea I ended with but expand it with the exact feature I wanted to build. The whole idea I wanted to head towards is to have different matrix patterns based on toggle buttons to toggle back and forth between different patterns and different presets while making gradual adjustments. The case and point is, a patter inside the matrix pattern step sequencer is always going to be the same exact pattern repeating the exact same cycle.

There is barely any control over this and the ideas that go through my head about now is to do two different setups where this is the first of two. The first one is a controllable toggle setup where I am able to hop back and forth between two different matrix pattern step sequencers. With two additional controls to balance the amount of outputs that go with it.

This may sound pretty complicated, but it is not really. I will talk you through this step by step.

Building the four matrix pattern step sequencers

In the previous article I already wrote down the major concept on where the patterns where going towards:
- a stepped / gated sequence
- a gradual curve
- a random sequence
- a sequence based on ramps and inverted ramps

While in the first set up I wrote down yesterday, I had 8 different patterns per matrix. Today I have been expanding this with 8 per matrix. Which leads up to 64 different patterns to choose from in total. Eventually I want to go for a total of 128 but bare with me, this might take another day or two to complete this task.

Matrix toolbox combinator setup 2

Here's the second version of the matrix toolbox. This one comes with pattern A and B with all 8 patterns programmed per matrix. The next problem I was facing was to merge the first two matrix patterns and have them toggle back and forth. I used Thor in this case just because I know how to set this up. A different solution to this would be using the A/B switch set up I talked about last week. Yes, we are all full circle here again ;)

The toggle button set up is currently programmed as followed:

Toggle Control Voltage cables

This means that what ever goes through CV input one will be enabled when the button 1 of Thor is turned off. Then the button 1 of Thor is turned on, it will parse all the CV input 2 through CV output 1. I hope this makes sense. So to make the bridge complete I wired the thing up as followed:

Matrix toolbox diagram

The Thor patch will then decide with pattern step sequencer will be passed on as a CV1 output. This kind of brings me to the following footnote.

You can toggle on / off patterns using the combinator. But when doing so the pattern of the previous matrix will freeze for a brief moment. This is all based (estimate) on 16 steps. So toggling the pattern enable switch in this particular case is not the solution.

The beauty behind this setup how ever is that the toggle switch of the Thor patch can either be re-used (duplicate) or you could decide later on to do the same trick with CV Ouput 2. I choose the first option because for a learning perspective you may grasp a better feeling on what is really happening. But in theory the programming could have been done as followed to toggle all 4 matrixes.

Matrix pattern toggle button using four different inputs

In the alternate setup all matrix pattern step sequencers would have merged in CV input one till four. While only CV output 1 and output 2 would be used to toggle between Matrix 1 and 2. And matrix 3 and 4. As I have mentioned for this article and learning purposes I went for the side by side route in stead. So there is another instance of Thor that would be used for Matrix 3 and 4. 

Matrix toolbox routing scheme.

Scaling the Control Voltage outputs

Aaaannnd... there is that topic again. Scaling CV outputs. The idea behind the scaled set up for this particular case is that we are able to determine how much of the Matrix curve will have an impact on the amount of changes that will go through the Control Voltage of any of these matrix pattern step sequencers. The only reason why I am using this in this context: flexibility and control! This solves all issues we have with the matrix, because normally the Curve is fixed. By using the different scales, we can determine how much of these changes are having an influence on the output of the Control Voltage (try saying that 10 times in a row when having 3 beers).

While the pattern changes are still fixed, the whole idea with the next iteration is to solve this problem. I already have different ideas what go in the back of my head to fix this issue. The only problem I have to fix though is the limitation of the amount of rotaries that go with it. But ok... that is going to be my next thing to tinker on.

To be continued

While this whole series about the matrix toolbox is starting to become one major experimental blog (it feels like this right now anyway). I do have a plan in the back of my head on where I want to head this towards. So I will thank you for reading this article, and hopefully I will have the answer to everything I have in my mind to fix next thing tomorrow.

Have a nice evening. Just to finish off over here, here are the two files I have been setting up that are part of this article:

This is the combinator patch (where there is no external wiring taking place, so you have to do that yourself)


Here is an example file that displays the whole concept and idea in full context (press play, play some notes and play with the rotaries buttons)


Published on Reason Experts
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Published on Reason Experts
Published: 2017-08-24

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