Creating an Analog synthesizer with Thor
I am Hydlide of ReasonExperts.com. In this article, I want to share an idea on how to create an analog synthesizer using Thor inside Propellerhead Reason. While the idea is nothing new (since I have talked about this technique in for instance creating a Moog synthesizer in Reason and while making video presentations like creating an analog synth using subtractors). I am always a fan of perfecting different ideas and this is just one of those moments. Since there is one setting, in particular, I find very useful to emulate the idea of analog style synths. And this would be the setting voice key. The idea I am going for is based on different ideas I did in the past but do something slightly different.
Deep House Pad in Propellerhead Reason
Welcome back to another article about the Genre Deep House. In this specific article, I will be mainly focusing on Pads. While Pads in the Genre Deep house are not that common in the old school deep house songs (since they are all about making things sound like disco). During the modern days, Deep House started to lean towards the more ambient type of pads just to get a dreamy feeling into the genre itself. A deep house pad can go in different directions and angles. Since if you take an empty track that contains just a bass line, a few percussion elements it the pad drives the mood. Then you can already think about the idea that a pad is almost like the carrier of the full song. Some pads can be mysterious, others can be moving, it can also be resonating and sometimes you will need a more bright pad (to stretch it towards a more uplifting mood). This is partially why making a Deep-House pad can sometimes be a hard job to do. Because if the tone is wrong, the mood can also be wrong.
Playing melodies around scales
Today's article is all related to Reason 9. Just because of the idea we are going to use players to make a song much faster (and it may also be an aiding tool later to know how to make a melody later). The reason why I am using players is simply that since Reason 9 I haven't really played any chords manually myself (as I am starting to realize this). One may argue that using players is like cheating to create music. When you understand the idea of making music than players in Reason 9 will make things a lot easier to get things done (without forgetting the whole theory behind it). You may have seen me bounding together a whole article about building chords last week. That is the theory behind it... today we'll be expanding on this to make melodies the easy way.
Noise making effect
In this article, I want to explain the thought process behind the following effect. Since I had a weird childhood a lot of my soundscapes are just plain weird. Sometimes I like to use these type of effects just to have something unpredictable going on while at the same time make it musical. A lot of these type of effect relies on using the audio and make the audio shape the sound in different directions (also known as Audio to CV). At the same time, I want to have some form of manual control on this. The manual control can often be done by using rotaries while doing so.
Control Voltage Step Sequencer of Thor
In the following article, I would like to focus on one specific element that sits inside Thor the Polysonic Synthesizer. It will be the curve output from the step sequencer. While in practical usage the step sequencer is often used to play a sequence in a linear direction. A similar thing could be said for the Matrix Pattern Step Sequencer. Sometimes we just need a simple tool that allows a curve that can be stepped differently per note and sometimes we don't. There are all kinds of different options to make this work. For instance, we could use a velocity setting to act like a "hidden" cv controller (for instance using a Velocity to Filter to mimic the idea of a VCF (Voltage Controlled Filter)). In the next few paragraphs, I would like to use the curve from the Thor synthesizer to mimic this idea but have different things to control its output.
Creating an FM growl bass with Thor
Thor the polysonic synthesizer is cool at times. Till this day I still revisit this device for many different reasons. While it is flexible to play around with different oscillator types. The most interesting part is playing around with the Thor Modulation Bus matrix. Since in theory, this section can almost modulate any setting inside the device itself. The major problem with the mod bus matrix is that there are so many connections possible it is hard to write them all just down in one article. There is one item I find really interesting (and you probably have read about it on this website in particular) and this is the Oscillator to FM.
Filtering different octaves
Welcome back to another reason tutorial. In this tutorial, I want to write down a chain of thoughts regarding filtering different sounds that sit in a different octave range. This process could be done manually but sometimes I like to use this setup for let's say a live performance type of setup. In theory, this setup does not require that much to begin with. A single combinator patch housing 3 different patches sitting in 3 different octaves could be a starting point. It could also be done with 2 octaves though, or with one... just take your pick.
Music can really play tricks with the mind at times. In the following article, I will be describing one technique that does a really mind job at best. The Shepard tone I am going to describe is something that often is used in cinematics to create suspense for instance. Others use it just for the fun of it being an illusion. It kind of would be similar to those images from Escher.
How to create a hoover lead
There are all kinds of different takes regarding a hoover lead. In this article, I am going to set one up using Thor where some thoughts behind the way I am setting this one up. It isn't that hard to understand a basic hoover sound. In theory, a hoover sound has mostly a saw wave character to the sound itself. The major difference between a traditional saw wave and a hoover is that there is a lot of detuning taking place and while moving from one note to the next you glide the sound so it goes gradually up and down in pitch. Now that we have talked about the basics... here we go.
In this article, I will do a small write-up about a technique I sometimes use to drive a filter into a different analogue type of filter effect. While normally you could use the Thor Filter with Self Oscillation. This is a nice touch since you are adding a sine wave on top of the waveform itself. This method is ideal for making your filter scream analogue (since in the analogue world this technique is often applied because they respond to frequencies). A lot of analogue filters also love the idea of using control voltage inputs where these inputs are controlled by oscillators (which are often free running or used in combination with a sequencer). These type of setups make the filter rather aggressive, yet unstable at the same time (something that a digital filter does not do since they often sound very clean). So with that said, I will create a setup and show you a method to put dust on a filter.
Not so long ago I saw a new shop item flying by called the ZPlane Morphing filter from Lab One Recordings. While the ZPlane Morphing filter is inspired by the Red Queen Equalizer it has the added touch to it to morph two filters using a morph rotary. In theory, this is similar to using 2 filters in parallel and use a balance knob in between to balance two different filters. While I have made setups like these many times before using the Mixer 6:2 or Mixer 14:2 there is one device (which is a free rack extension) that can do something similar in this context.
Because I am about to touch the rack extension realm, and the earliest version I have installed at this point in time is Reason 9.5, I will add that all the example files I will be presenting are made with Reason 9.5. While they should work with Reason 6.5 and above, I hereby cannot fact check if this will work properly in older versions of Reason (just adding this as a disclaimer).
Generative music using Reason and modular synthesizers part 2
In this article about Generative music, I will mainly look at the step sequencer of Thor and what you could do pretty fast to get something going. If you think simple you will realize pretty fast that the step sequencer of Thor comes with a setting called random playback on the step sequencer itself. The issue that sometimes comes back to me, random playback is defined by a random seed value and based on this value it will play the sequencer in a random state. Now sure, this might be really your thing to do, or sometimes it may not. Overall the random features come with lack of control over what is really happening. This type of composition is usually a combination of having something random, based on logical terms (OR, AND, IF, XOR etc) to make changes in the music based on those logical operators. While reason by default (without Rack Extensions that is) is not the best environment it work. However, you can get pretty with just a few limitations you will be having. So that is what we'll be doing today, throwing in different ideas with having the limitations we have and try to create generative music.