Home Music Production Tips & Tricks: Reason 2.5 Drum Fills Tutorial 2022

Let me start by saying that I adore Reason. Reason is the only way to fly for my modest music setup, which includes a beautiful 19″ monitor (a good monitor is the most important aspect of Reason) and a year-old, “work pad” Casio keyboard that MIDIs out to my sound card. I run my own studio, employ a studio engineer, and so on. It’s fantastic.

I understand. You’re sitting there, you’ve just made an awesome loop that you’d like to amplify with one of those insane, insane fills. This task could be completed in a variety of ways. Allow me to suggest this method.

Using some simple techniques, it is EASY to create varied and awesome beats in Reason. Because I did, I know a lot of people are attempting to create rolls and rhythm variations in the Sequencer. However, this is cumbersome. While it can be effective, it is time-consuming and tedious.

The Delayed Loop Method

My method for creating awesome drum patterns, which I’m not sure if others use, is to:

1. Create a delay on a Dr. Rex or Redrum.

2. Create a Sequencer Track for this Delay. On the Delay, adjust the Feedback set to about 3/4 of the way full and turn the Dry/Wet all the way left.

Now, the fun part.

3. MIDI enables the Dry/Wet knob (Right-click on the wheel, Select Edit MIDI Remote Mapping and make sure the “Learn from MIDI” box is checked. Now move the wheel on your keyboard/midi controller. You should see the little blue bars at the bottom register respond to the wheel.

4. Start the device through the Transport Bar or by playing the instrument individually. I suggest loading a rhythm pattern you like out of the Dr. Rex loops that came with the Factory Sound Bank for demo purposes and playing this in Preview mode from Dr. Rex.

5. Now, move your wheel slowly but steadily on your keyboard. How about that? You can simulate DJ effects by moving the wheel back and forth quickly. You can also produce endlessly varied fills by letting the wheel “hang” in the middle for just a second, moving it back and forth, and then slowly escalating the wheel to an appropriate level. The possibilities are truly limitless. (Try these steps with a Redrum loaded with special FX sounds. Mind-blowing.)

Useful Suggestions

A useful sequencer Before we continue, I’d like to share a tip with you that you may or may not be aware of. Right-click on the knob or slider you want to automate. Select Edit Automation. The Sequencer immediately displays the Automation channel for that effect. It took me months to figure this out. And I read the manual twice. Also, exercise caution when editing the automation. If your MIDI symbol does not appear in that device’s track in the Sequencer, your changes will not be recorded for that device, but will be recorded on whatever track you still have selected.

The default setting for knobs/sliders You must also specify the default state of the knob or slider that you have chosen. I simply use the pencil tool and click anywhere in the Automation channel to accomplish this. The entire channel will be suddenly filled with a uniform blue bar, indicating that the device has been set to this level as its default state. Of course, you may need to adjust where you just clicked. Remember that you are only clicking to change the default state, not to draw anything.

Something to experiment with in your song Another thought on the subject. In the channel, record your Dry/Wet adjustments. Make an attempt to find a rhythmic way to adjust the mod wheel. As an example, consider the following. Move the mod wheel quickly to halfway in the third measure of a four-measure loop, then back down as the third measure transitions into the fourth. This action should have been recorded in the Delay device’s automation channel. Do this for as long as you need to make your own loop of this varying drumbeat.

Stop the recording. Using your selection tool, select Dry/Wet automation in the Sequencer window. I usually choose four measurements at a time. (When you select, make sure it is set to Bar rather than 1/64, 1/8, or other fractions.) This will result in a more precise cut on the bar.) You can now copy and paste these changes one after the other, or you can sprinkle them throughout the song.

Remember that you can do this for any automation, so you may want to group the entire automation for a device together and copy and paste that way. You are only limited by your imagination.

Experiment with different fills to get the best results. This is a fantastic tip for a great break followed by a fill in your song. Using this technique, you can create the break and then, with some practise, come out with the most incredible fill you’ve ever made…at least this easily.

Locate the Decay slider under the Amp section on your Dr. Rex. Connect this slider to your keyboard’s mod wheel via MIDI. When you move the slider all the way to the bottom, you’ll get an awesome “squelched” variation of your beat. Adjust the Dry/Wet on the Delay you created earlier with your slider at the bottom. You can now see that by automating these two knobs together, you can create an infinite number of fills with varying rhythms, intensities, and variations. You can come out of that fresh break with a long and effortless fill by turning up the Dry/Wet and Decay in sync, or even slightly out of sync. Awesome.

Sharpen and amplify your drums. This next suggestion is related to the one above. This is how you sharpen and amplify your drums. This technique can be used in conjunction with a fill or when you need to quickly and easily focus the drums.

MIDI connects Dr. Rex’s mod wheel to your keyboard. Now, raise the wheel all the way. Were you able to detect a difference? On Dr. Rex, try adjusting the three small knobs under the MOD WHEEL section. Attempting to move the mod wheel now. There should be an amplitude difference. Turn the AMP knob to the left under the MOD WHEEL section to increase the amplitude (volume) of the beat as you move the mod wheel up. Play with the MOD WHEEL knobs on all of your instruments, and you’ll discover a whole new world.

Reason is the reason for the season.

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