Propellerhead Reason tutorials made by Hydlide

Published on Reason Experts

Thor in Reason workshop

Published: one year ago

Welcome to a new video series about Thor in Propellerhead Reason. In this series I will touch different elements on how to do sound design in Reason. This complete series will be going through some basic elements first trying to answer most of the 'basic' questions that people may be having when looking at a device like Thor for the very first time. 

I'll be going in depth about the following items to start with:
Envelopes and LFOs

While a lot of people who have touched synthesizers will understand these type of settings. However since this is a beginners guide, I will be going through these first before unleashing total mayhem on lets say the modulation bus matrix and programming patches in a wide variety of different ways. The other building blocks I will touch this week are settings like Frequency modulation, Amplitude modulation and Syncing. Since these 3 have an impact on manipulating sounds by the core. Later on I'll be touching the shaper. Where I will also explain the relationship between the filters and the shape (since there is one). 

In parallel I will be uploading (on a different channel) a wide range of different videos which involve Thor as a synthesizer. The reason for me to do this is because I am creating two different type of videos in parallel. One for the guys who start with a topic in sound design and have no idea what they are doing. While in parallel talk about the more complicated stuff that makes you go like 'huh?!' I didn't know that you could do that.

So from that angle I am making a more coherent story from start to finish while at the same time just throwing in random ideas based on everything that will be told during the complete beginners guide. See it kind of like an exam for instance. You first learn all the different paragraphs separate and then you have to apply the techniques you have learned (so using the theory in practical terms).

I might also note, I am going to try to keep everything on one single page. So from time to time I will update this one instead of creating new ones.

Thor the introduction to this workshop

Thor Oscillators

Thor AM / FM / Sync

In the following video I will provide basic information on how 3 major techniques are used in Thor. These are Amplitude modulation, Frequency modulation and Oscillator Sync. While most people will have a fair amount of understanding about the first two, syncing on the other hand is often mistaken on how it actually works. Hence I am paying more attention on that element as well.

Thor Envelopes

In this video I will be talking about envelopes and how they are used to evolve a sound in different directions. In this episode we'll be touching settings like Attack, Decay, Sustain and Release a lot. Also I will be explaining the path on how an envelope flows and what the signature is of A,D,R and S are.

Thor Filters

In the next video I will be talking more about the different filter types. While in theory a lot of the stuff I will be discussing in the first half of the video will be common knowledge (like Low Pass Filters, Band Pass Filters and so on). In the second half I will be talking more about the relation ship between a setting called Drive and the Shaper.

Thor Stereo setup

While the original setup on creating a Thor stereo patch is not new (even better yet, the connection is written down on the back even of the device), I thought like doing this in a video since some people may not even be aware of that this type of connection (or route even) is possible. In theory what I will be doing is route the Filter slot directly towards the Filter 3 left / Filter 3 Right in. While going more in depth about this connection I will talk about some creative setups while progressing in this video.

I will also link up this patch as a download, so you don't have to recreate the initial setup.

Download Stereo Thor

Noise oscillators in Thor

When you think "noise" you most likely think of white noise and how annoying this type of noise can be. When I think of noise, I think about the power noise can bring to a topic like sound design. When it comes to effects I use noise oscillators a lot (sea noise, wind noise, sweeping noise effects and so on). Other then this, noise can also be manipulated to make an analog sound sound a bit less polished. Thus this brings a new dimension to the sound while pressing different keys.

Thor and the Modulation bus matrix

While it did cross my mind to do a bit of an in depth video about the modulation bus matrix, the thing with it however is that I am touching these settings during the whole series of this Thor Tutorial series. While thinking about it, I thought I would just throw in some 'weird' (unconventional) ideas on the table that people tend to forget, ask the same question about it, or realize it never existed in thor itself. Thus, here we go... a video about odd routing in Thor

Thor and the Super Saw

While I have done plenty of recording talking about programming Thor, I thought it would be a good idea to throw in something simple in between. Yes, Thor is a beast. Sometimes thinking 'simple' can get great sounds from this synthesizer even with some basic connections. Just to show case this, I am presenting a common Thor build I do to create a super saw with different techniques. Its all based on the multi oscillator but there are some catches in my own custom builds. This is just one of them.

Organic Sounds using Thor

One thing I love to do is creating organic sounds. Normally I would use the Malstrom for these type of things. However Thor has its charm while using Wavetables. In this video I will explain some ideas I used to go to create some complex organic builds using Thor.

Step Sequencer of Thor

While I do think most people will understand how to make use of the step sequencer by punching up a repeat mode and set up a sequence. However there are often two questions that come always back at me. First of, how do you extend the length of the step sequencer of Thor. And How do you play the sequencer of Thor. To answer these two basic questions I have setup the following video.

Using Thor as a CV toolbox

In the following video I will setup Thor as a Control Voltage toolbox. While there are plenty of Rack Extensions that allow you to do this, I usually go back to Thor just because I am quite familiar with this synths capabilities. One technique in particular I use it for is using Thor as a Scale. The rotaries of Thor in this particular case can be programmed as such where the position of the rotary will determine the scale amount. While doing this, you can easy create scalable Low Frequency Oscillators while doing so. A different take on this matter will be using envelopes.

Beat repeater effect using Thors

In the following video I will be demonstrating the use of Midi Mapped keys on the buttons of Thor. This technique can be used to open up / close down certain settings using midi keys. In theory the idea is to map a button to a specific midi key. When pressing and holding that key it will then result into a button that gets turned on (yet not visible, but the CV value becomes maximum). To demonstrate an applicable usage for this I am setting up the buttons to turn multiple thors in to a beat repeater effect.

Thor Bassline ideas

In the following video I will present some ideas on how to make a moving bass line sound and how to create movement in the sound while it progresses over time.

Thor Lead ideas

In the next video I will present some information on how to set up a monophonic lead. Using two different filters in different ways to make it feel a bit more analog.

Playing filters using Thor

While using toggle keys I use this technique (or similar techniques a lot, playing filters by using toggle buttons. This is one method to achieve this

Creating a simplistic pad in Thor

Here is different idea on doing sound design in Thor. While a synthesizer has a lot of different options to play with sometimes thinking simplistic can create wonderful sounds. 

Phasing effect using Thor

Here a more 'out of the box' approach. While normally effects such as delays and chorus usually do the trick to create interesting sound effects. If you use delays and chorus in a creative way (eg: set the milliseconds really low) you are able to create a wide range of different phasing effect (due to the nature of audio cancellation that takes place.

More advanced stuff

Velocity AM

While making patches I often use velocity settings to make changes inside a patch. In the following video I will explain how making changing settings using the position knob and Amplitude Modulation while driving the Filter in a whole different direction. It is a bit of mouth full to call this the Velocity to AM/Pos/Drive while syncing the waveform. So I am keeping the title quite simple.

Random Curves

A trick that I often use to make movement in a stepped way while triggering a pad or I want to 'sequence' it in different ways. Using the Step sequencer as a Curve automation while triggering a note. The setup will be using the modulation bus matrix while connecting the midi key trig to the step sequencer trig. The curve can then be used to connect to any parameter in different ways. It depends what the curve source is doing and what the destination is set to.

521 Hz Trick

Here is a video about using the filter and resonance and playing the resonance using the keyboard. Which is an awesome technique while creating sounds that need to have an 'analog' touch. Synths that come to mind which use this technique are the Legend, Expanse, Serum and now there is Thor too ;)

136 Hz Trick

Here's a 136 Hz trick I recorded earlier this year regarding the Keyboard tracking using a comb filter which works similar as the previous trick.

Additional information about KBD

In the following video I will share some more in depth thoughts on using KDB. While KBD is similar as keyboard tracking, it means that certain settings can be mapped per voice per key. In theory there are two major settings that take advantage of this behavior inside Thor: the filter (KBD) and the LFO 1 (KBD). The first one will change the filter frequency while the second one will change the rate per note on the LFO. When set up proper, they can add an additional layer to the sound output while playing for instance chords.

Moving harmonics in Thor

I had a question on my series about Thor. While originally the workshop I had in mind to do is all "scheduled" and a lot of it is already recorded. So here I am answering the question about moving harmonics on my Vlog.

Mysterious Resonance

Here's an mystical type of sound effect 

Published on Reason Experts
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Published on Reason Experts
Published: one year ago

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10 Oct 2018 


Thank you for this series.
I've been fumbling around in the dark with THOR (and other Synths) for years. I feel it's about time I buckled down to some serious study.
7 Nov 2017 


top!great bunch of sound-tricks!
21 Oct 2017 


I'll be rewatching these even...Golden series :)
 23 Oct 2017 


It will only get better I hope. There is still a week to go :)
19 Oct 2017 


This series is great.
18 Oct 2017 


Nice work as usual Mr H...shows that Thor is still a beast of a synth...if you don't mind getting your hands dirty.
 18 Oct 2017 


I love to get my hands dirty :)Thor can do quite a lot. It even gets more flexible when throwing things inside a combinator.
16 Oct 2017 


Brilliant Hydlide - thank you.On #2, you described two oscillators I have never used (but am now going to!). This is what I really enjoy about your tutorials; you really know Reason in depth - but especially on THOR (which I suspect might be your favourite instrument amongst the in-built capabilities).

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