Sequencing with Reason (and Logic)
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Sequencing with
Reason (and Logic)

A page devoted to making products work together

by Rich the Tweakmeister

Go directly to Reason/Logic Tips

Being someone who has been sequencing back to the early days when analog synths were all we had, I was prepared to be unimpressed when the first signs of Reason dawned on the new age. I downloaded the demo, did a few sounds, then hastily tried to get it working in Rewire with Logic.  Crash.  I could have written it off right there, but after a night listening to some really hot trance tracks, I decided to dust off Rebirth and work on it.  Of course, Rebirth has the classic 303-808-909 sound that I have enjoyed for years.  But there is a lot more to techno and trance than Rebirth can give.  So I decided to go with Reason mainly to help Rebirth out, whether or not it worked in Logic.  I figured at minimum I could dump the final wav into Logic or Vegas and proceed as usual. 

(Ed Note: This article was written back in 1999! But its still strangely relevant.  While Reason no longer crashes in Logic, some of these tips will help.  By the way, Reason using rewire works a treat in Cubase SX.)


Think about it:  Pretend a friend decides to bring in his 8 foot rack of vintage gear to your studio and you're going to use it in your Logic creation.  This is essentially what Reason is in the virtual software domain.   


I am now happily up to speed and have a lot to tell about it.  And, best of all, Reason does work well in Logic using rewire.  In fact, I just finished a tune with Reason and Rebirth both maxed with data and instruments, controllers, fx playing perfectly in Logic's audio mixer along with the EXS, Pro52 and ES1 software synths--totaling over 24 software synth tracks.  The cool thing was that Reason did not put any noticeable strain on the system.  When I first ran the demo, I mistakenly thought Reason was CPU intensive.  While all the sounds are coming from the CPU and memory, it does not need to super powerful machine to get up and running.  An average PC will do.  But if you are going to rewire with Logic, a powerful machine will truly open up the vistas of possibility. 

Propellerheads Software
Propellerheads Reason  Tweak:  Is it cool?  Yes! It does FM, analog, drumboxs, sampling, looping, "on the fly" editing of knobs, filters, samples, loops. It has its own internal sequencer to control it all. Intense, and very contemporary.  Tweak has it and likes it.  Yep, I use it inside Logic, though you don't have to.  It can stand on its own, no problem, and it will playback at 96khz if you want.  if you have lots of samples and recycle loops on yer drives, pipe 'em in reason.  Particularly recommended for Techno, dance, dnb.   This is very much on the edge. Works great with Rebirth and Recycle.

Cool features of Reason

The Subtractor Software synth.  This my friends is an altogether excellent soft synth--better than the es1 and pro52 by far!  I fell in love with Subtractor when I was able is perfectly get an exact Oberheim Matrix 12 emulation which outclasses all of my obie samples.  Routing and recording controllers is a breeze.  Press record and tweak.  You have to be careful with Subtractor just like you do when using a real analog synth--the bass will peak and lets hope your speakers weren't running full tilt or your woofers will be flapping in the wind!  This is how analog synths really are.  Don't underestimate the power here.  Another outstanding fature of Subtractor is the FM wave generator which gives you the digital edge for bizarre FM tweaks like you can get with Dynamo and Reaktor. There's a very flexible noise generator too, and you can do inverse modulation on the envelopes--choosing 12db Hi-pass, Lowpass and Bandpass (no wonder it sounds like an OBX), 24 db and notch filters.  So many features, it reminds me of the new Novation analog models.  But about 1200 bucks cheaper. 
 

And so far I am only talking about one of Reason's many Modules.  There is also the NN19 software sampler.  As samplers are my specialty, I was expecting far less than what I got.  The NN19 is a sample playback device, not a full fledged sampler.  (If you want to record samples, you will have to do so with a wave recorder which you undoubtedly have somewhere in your computer.)   No, it's not going to rival an Emu EOS sampler, but it will give many soft samplers a run for their money. There's plenty of ways to filter and modulate your samples and record these tweaks either in real time or on graphic displays.  If you have a lot of cool samples on your hard drive you can dredge them into the NN19 fast and painlessly, add filters, envelopes, controllers, do drum maps, just like you would on any other sampler. The only unfortunate thing is you can't export these sample key maps you build to any other sampler like the EXS 24.  The Prop-heads are keeping their file format a secret.  You can only save and load into Reason. 

Matrix Sequencer   Another utterly cool thing is the matrix step sequencer, which works a lot like a hardware 16 step linear mono sequencer.  Sort of like Rebirths 303 sequencer, but flexible, super easy and fast to set up.  Two sweeps of the mouse you can have the thing working, none of the tedium, but all of the fun.  Trance masters, if you don't have it, you need it.  Of course you can assign the matrix sequencer to any instrument you want in the rack, or copy it 10 times and send it to 10 different instruments. 

 

 

The Main Sequencer.  Take a look at the screen shot.  That's just one view of the sequencer.  As you see its very graphical and mouse tweaks on knobs and faders are instantly recorded. This all works great with Reason's internal rack of instruments.  Reason does not control external midi synths.  That is, you can not sequence your proteus 2000 or JV 3080 from Reason.  What you can do, however, is route an external hardware sequencer, like a Korg Electribe (which i have tested, it works!) or presumably any groovebox that sends midi clocks to play reason's instruments in addition to its own. For my Electribe, it is like adding a hip drum machine, sampler, and a lot more synths.   

There's so much more I haven't even mentioned.  The Re-Drum drum machine that you can assign any sample to its pads  that you want.  DR. REX looping tool for contorting drum and sample loops.  If you have a recycle and a bunch of acid cd roms you can turn them into REX loops, which as you might expect can be sliced and stretched, detuned, and tweaked.  You can then, in Dr Rex, alter each segment of these loops, wierd stuff, like drop the 1st kik drum an octave and raise all the rest by two, and pan individual hits anywhere, or silence certain drums in the loop and bring them up gradually, recording the tweak in real time.  Try doing that in Acid!  

 

Reason's FX boxes are very good sounding.  I wish they could be used without Reason as plugins, but alas, one can't have everything.  The delay is very nice and slightly warmer and "looser" than the Logic delays.  The Reverb is thick and deep, like a fat carpet.  The Phaser is Thick and phat.  The compressor sounds to my ears alot like the rebirth compressor, but with more bite.  The Mixer is powerful with sends and returns that come back with plenty of level, solo in place buttons and if you run out of channels you simply create another and gang them together.  Note that if using rewire you can bypass the mixer and go straight to the rewire outs for which you can route directly to your sequencer's mixer strips.  In Logic, this method gave me a a slightly hotter mix.

The coolest thing about Reason is when you turn the rack around and start messing with cables and control voltages.  This is way more friendly than Logic's more abstracted environment of cables.  Working with Reason is just like being behind a great vintage pro studio rack that would cost you nearly $25,000 today and be a royal pain to maintain and operate. 

 

Note: The following pertains to Logic version 4.7 and Reason Version 1 on the PC platform

How do I install Rewire?

You don't. It happens automatically. Logic senses whether Reason is installed on your system through a file called rewire.dll which is installed with Reason in your windows directory.  Logic automatically creates entries under "other" in the audio instrument channel menu. We'll get to that in a bit, but you should have read your reason documentation.  There is nothing you need to do to install rewire other than correctly install Logic and correctly install Reason.  You might want to read more about rewire at the propellerhead's site, or read the Reason Tech FAQ.

 

Run Logic before Reason Rule::
  • Run Logic first. Its a rule.  It won't work any other way. Reason checks for a Rewire application when it starts, so we want it to find Logic's Mixer, But before you run Reason, set up the mixer for it.
Setting Up Logic's Mixer for Rewire
  • Go to the Audio Mixer in the environment
  • Select 2 "audio instrument" channels--not audio channels- and set them to MIX L and MIX R.  You access the these in the parameter box to the left of the audio mixer.  If you don't see a parameter box go to the view menu and click "parameters".  Now it should be there, right?
  • You then see the parameters Icon, Dev,and Cha and more.  "Cha" for channel, is the one you want.
  • Click "Cha" and another menu opens up with the items "track" "input", "instrument" "output".  Go to the one called "instrument".  Now another menu will open--instrument 1, instrument 2., etc, but down at the bottom you will see one called "other".  Congratulations!  You have found the rewire menu.  Point to "other" and at the top you will see MIX L and MIX R.  Click on one.
  • Now run Reason. You don't have to do anything here.  Just watch the screen as Reason maps itself to Logic. 

Now that you a Re-wired, you can go about making music.  The two transports are in sync, but it is best to always use Logic's transport.  Happily, the cycle functions translate perfectly between the two programs.  When you are working on bar 17 to 33 you will see markers move perfectly in each program.  Timing is dead on in playback.

If Problems Occur

If you get a message that Reason's audio engine won't start and you need to reinstall...try this

  • 1.  Press Play in Logic before starting Reason. 
  • 2. Now run Reason while Logic is playing

If you are running versions of Logic before 4.73 you may need to do this, it may also happen in Win XP.  If you are running 4.72 or lower do your self a favor and go download the 4.8.1 update from.  If you are on WinXP, at least for now, you might have to press play. I do.  This rule also applies to rewire applications in Logic 5 and 6

If you don't see the MIX L and MIX R in Logic's Mixer, it is possible you don't have rewire.dll in your windows directory.  You might reinstall reason again so it gets to the right place. 

If you have recently migrated to Windows XP, make sure you completely reinstall Reason in XP.  On my system, the old win98 install of Reason still worked fine in XP until I tried using Rewire.  I found the rewire channels did not show up in Logic until I reinstalled Reason.

Song Construction Tip: 

The process works best, I think, if you construct your reason parts that require MIDI input (i.e., anything you might record in real time) when using Reason as a stand alone product.  When your Reason tracks are just about done is the best time to start running Reason in Logic.  You can add plugins to your reason tracks just like you can your Logic audio tracks. When you like what you hear you are ready to Bounce tracks from Reason into Logic.

Unique Ways Reason Extends Logic's power

Logic as good as it is, does not have a built in drum machine.  Of course you can do extensive things with drum tracks, but there's no preset pattern machine emulating a hardware drumbox.  Reason's ReDrum is excellent.  it responds to rewire of course and it will play the same pattern till you change it.  ReDrum has 10 assignable pads in each kit.  You can put any wave file you want on a pad, so you can get crazy if you want.  The patterns are programmed much like in Rebirth, but this is better, the pads a bigger.  Each kit holds 32 patterns and you can load and save to hard disk of course.  There's an absolutely great Dr. Rythm DR110 Redrum kit online that is a must have. 

Dr. Rex.  In Logic, the re-pitching of audio Loops is done in the Time and Pitch machine which is capable of very exacting transformations of pitch and tempo.  However, it's not real time.  Dr Rex is a fast and creative way to stretch your loops automatically to the songs current BPM.  If you own Recycle and have a lot of .rex2 files around you can load them into Dr. Rex and tweak the loop with real time controllers, envelopes, filters and Lfos.  For example to could pan only the 3rd and 7th snare in a 4 bar drum pattern, or lower the pitch of every 6th kik.  Very cool for hip hop stuff

Bounce Tips

How to bring Reason's audio tracks into Logic

Ok, I assume at this point you have Reason configured in Logic's Mixer, and you have some tracks playing in reason and now you want to move those tracks as audio into Logic.-

  • 1. Set your reason channels you want to mix to the stereo output of choice in Logic, for example Output 1-2. 
  • 2. Go to the Master Fader for output 1-2 in Logic and press the Bounce (Bnce) buttonBottom of a Logic Mixer strip
  • 3. In the box that comes up in logic, set the range of bars to bounce, then click bounce
  • 4. Select an unused audio track (not an audio instrument track) and set the song position line where you want the reason track to start.
  • 5. In the Audio menu in Logic click Import Audio File, select the file, and it will appear on the track you selected at the song position line.

Many of you will probably want to bounce just individual instruments to Logic so you can have a track for just kiks, hats, strings, etc.  This is very easily done by simply soloing the instruments you want to bounce in Reason's mixer and carrying out the above operation. This is a very effective method because you can tweak each instrument in Logic, rather than just bouncing the whole reason mix to a stereo file in Logic

Don't Crash you head into the monitor again Tip: 

Make sure you exit reason before you exit Logic.  You'll crash Reason if you quit Logic 1st.  Make sure to remember that, next time, OK? OW my bruised TweakHead...:)

 

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