Propellerhead Reason tutorials made by Hydlide

Published on Reason Experts

Matrix toolbox combinator part 3

Published: 2017-08-28

Welcome to another follow up reason tutorial on the series about the Matrix Toolbox I have been setting up inside Propellerhead Reason. Today it will be somewhat similar as the previous toolbox. The major difference here is that I wanted to have a toolbox series that allow different sets of control to manipulate the CV output. In this case I am using a set up where all 4 matrix pattern step sequencers are using for one single CV output. The matrix curves are merged together in 2 by 2 pairs. The curves can be balanced (like a mix knob if you will) to go from one set to another control voltage set. The result, a flexible method to manipulate CV while being in full control on what is happening with their outputs.

This sounds like a mouth full, so let us dive right into this again.

The Spider CV Merger in Propellerhead Reason

The essential key ingredient to this is the Spider CV Merger section. There is one major thing we need to take in to account to fully make use of the spider merger:

In theory the spider merger merges the incoming control voltages. Where the maximum outcome will be a Midi signal of 127

This will mean that if you use 2 different matrix curves and merge those together the max output (with a curve to its maximum) can and will resolve in to a maximum value of 254. If the curves are both set to the maximum of 127 that is, and you use a uni polar signal. The uni polar signal only has positive values while the bi-polar signal uses positive values and negative values. The major issue with control voltage in general is that they are ALWAYS capped to a maximum amount of 127. Simply because CV cannot beyond this value. To avoid any of these problems, the 'workaround' (not a solution) is to have the maximum amounts of the merger set to 64 as a control voltage input (for 2 cv inputs that is). If you use more, I would use 32 as a base value.

In theory if 127 gets merged with 127 the outcome (on a max threshold of 64) will be 128 (and not 254, nor 127).
In theory if the 127 gets merged with 127, 127 and 127 (on a max threshold of 32) the output come will be 128 again.

Matrix Pattern Step sequencer, merging Control Voltage

Since a picture says more then 1000 words. Here it is. The Spider CV merger in this particular case will receive 2 different inputs. If you have 2 different matrix pattern step sequencers playing at the same time, ideal would be setting these CV outputs to 64. There is a down side to this story though. Since normally if you only play one single curve, the maximum amount can only reach 64. That is partially the draw back of the system I am creative (which I could solve with an CV amplifier). But for this utility I am building it kind of does not really require one. I want to avoid turning this article in a math class by introducing an CV amplifier. I am only bringing this option on the table, because some people might get the wrong impression about my knowledge of Control Voltage (now I think I am being political correct again).

An example on merging Control Voltage

Before I am going in depth about the matrix toolbox MK3, I first want to show a basic example on how merging could be setup pretty quick and simple. The following steps are required:
- Create a combinator (not required, but I'll do this in a combinator)
- Create an instrument (I will go for subtractor)
- Create 2 instances of the matrix pattern step sequencer while pressing and holding shift (no connection is being made)
- Set both matrix step sequencers to curve mode
- Create a Spider CV merger & splitter inside the Combinator of Reason

The result now is a Combinator patch that plays a single subtractor. If you haven't gotten this, you either have connected the wires wrong or skipped a step.

In the above picture you can see that only the Subtractor is connected with the audio inputs and outputs. While the other devices have no connection at all.

Next steps, the wiring bit. For this we'll be needing the rear of the rack. So press tab (in case you haven't done this yet) to toggle back to the rear. The wiring will be going as followed:
- the curve output from the first matrix step sequencer goes in to first input of the the merge section of the spider cv merger
- the curve output from the second matrix step sequencer goes in to second input of the the merge section of the spider cv merger
- the merge output from the spider cv merger can then be used in anything that receives a cv input (I will go for filter frequency 1 of the subtractor).
- the black knobs called CV merge inputs will be set to 64.

So in the end you will be having something like the following:

Matrix pattern step sequencer control voltages

At this point we only need to draw in the two different curves, and we have merged two different curves while doing so.

Merging Control Voltages

While in theory you could just define two patterns that have a similar step duration. But especially if you are in to un-rhythmic changes and want to avoid too much repetition in control voltage outputs then using two different steps is ideal in cases like those. This adds a bit of randomness to the way the signal gets processed. But later on we have a control to control those changes.

I will just drop the Combinator Patch I made in Propellerhead Reason. So you can download it, play with it and decipher what is happening over here.

Download Combinator CV Merger example

The Matrix Toolbox MK3

This finally brings me to the latest version of the Matrix toolbox. Becuse what I have done is use the technique as described above but use multiple scalers (Thor) to balance between matrix 1 and 2. And between matrix 3 and 4. This take is very different then comparing this with the previous setup. The differences are:

- 1 CV output to use (vs 2 cv outputs)
- Full control on balancing between 4 matrix pattern steps sequencers
- Ability to toggle on / off the curves

Matrix toolbox MK3

In this particular case all curves are now controlling the Filter frequency of the Subtractor. While at the same time we can use the rotaries 1 till 4 and button 1 and 2 to control the way the curve acts like. Compared to the curves themselves, these are an exact copy of the previous toolbox. They contain 16 different patterns per curve. Going from Saw patterns, to Curves, to random to gates. But the way you can control this one versus the previous set, that is a whole different story.

Since rotary 3 and 4 will now determine the strength of the CV outputs. Thus you have the option to "mix" Control voltages using 2 by 2 pairs of curves. How awesome is that right!

Anyway, you can find the Combinator patch I have been creating so far by using the following button:


Just keep in mind to use the Merge output from the Spider CV as a main output. In case you have no idea how it would work like, you can download the following Reason 9.5 project file:

Download Matrix Toolbox 3

Published on Reason Experts
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Published on Reason Experts
Published: 2017-08-28

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29 Aug 2017 


Please respond to the comment. pictures of the waveform and harmonic data will not load.
 30 Aug 2017 


Just threw in a hotfix. Let me know if this sorts things out for you

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