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Reason Instruments Explained - Vol 2

Volume 2 of the definitive guide to Reason's instruments is now available! If you want to know everything about Reason's powerful built-in instruments, stop right here. In Vol 2, Reason guru Sedric Pieretti is back, this time taking you through all of Reason's drum machines and samplers with in-depth overviews, section breakdowns, creative uses and more.

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Instrument Overview


Overview of the Instruments 6m:49s

A brief description of the nine different devices in Reason 5, (Thor, Malstrom, Subtractor, Kong, ReDrum, NN-XT, NN-19 , Dr. Octo Rex and the Combinator) and their functions within the program as well as the types of synthesis and sample playback they offer. Focusing upon describing and identifying the instruments.

Selecting and Playing Instruments


Instrument Selection 2m:57s

Looking at the instruments available in the Reason 5 Factory Sound Bank and how to choose from the selection to get your desired sound.


Playing Instruments 7m:26s

A description of the different ways in which synths can be played in Reason. Playing live with a MIDI controller, the on-screen keys in Reason 5, the RPG-8 arpeggiator, pattern sequencing and loop playback are all discussed to provide clarity to the distinct differences between devices.


Assigning Controls 8m:08s

Discussing the ways in which a MIDI keyboard, or a QWERTY keyboard can be used to control parameters and automate data through override mapping and controller assignments.


Using Patches 4m:11s

Looking at how to edit patches, save your own patches and use Reason's internal interface to manage your patch library.



NN-19: First Look 4m:57s

Identifying and describing the sections of the NN-19's front panel and outlining the flow of audio through NN-19. Oscillator section, sample window, envelopes, LFOs and settings are all discussed.


NN-19: The Keymap 8m:48s

An up-close look at the keymap and it's functions. Arranging and adjusting samples are discussed in detail.


NN-19: Sampling & Resampling 12m:46s

Showing the process of creating a new instrument in NN-19, and how to resample a sound for further editing and arrangement. The basic principles of sampling in Reason 5, and the rear panel of the NN-19 are covered here as well.


NN-19: The Oscillator 3m:50s

A description of the driving oscillator for NN-19 and it's settings. Including the amp envelope and the oscillator's function within the synth.


NN-19: The Filter 4m:02s

A look at the filter, it's modes and settings and it's envelope settings. The LFO is also discussed here.


NN-19: Creative Possibilities 9m:03s

A few tips and tricks for the NN-19, as well as a description of the limitations and advantages of the NN-19 vs. the NN-XT such as parameter automation and sample start time.



NN-XT: First Look 5m:26s

An identifying look at the NN-XT. Including detailed descriptions of all of the sections and settings in the NN-XT and it's internal signal flow. Differences between NN-19 and NN-XT's handling of samples and layers are discussed here.


NN-XT: The Keymap 16m:10s

Learning about NN-XTs more advanced keymap and the concepts of zones and zone parameters, groups and group settings and assignments. Multiple output sections are covered here as well.


NN-XT: The Amp Section 2m:57s

Looking briefly at the Amp section and it's special envelope as well as it's global settings and how they affect the current instrument.


NN-XT: Filter & Mods 4m:57s

Learning about the filter section, the mod envelope, the LFOs and the pitching options for each. Velocity and Mod Wheel settings are covered here as well.


NN-XT: Zone Parameters 10m:20s

A detailed description of all the zone parameters and how they are used within instruments. Techniques including looping, tuning and alternate sample triggering are covered here.


NN-XT: Creative Possibilities 12m:30s

A collection of tips and tricks for the advanced NN-XT user to aid in the creation of both traditional and non-traditional patches and facilitate a better workflow in Reason 5.



ReDrum: First Look 6m:21s

Identifying and describing the various sections and settings of the Redrum's front panel. The pattern sequencer, channels, channel settings and unique qualities of Redrum are overviewed.


ReDrum: The Channels 8m:56s

Learning about the three different types of channels in Redrum and their settings. Also discussed, loading samples and instruments.


ReDrum: The Pattern Sequencer 6m:11s

An in-depth look at sequencing patterns, editing patterns and playing them in your tracks. Including a brief description of pattern editing and arrangement in the arrange window.


ReDrum: The Rear Panel 5m:44s

A look at using the individual outputs and gate controls to further advance knowledge of Redrum's inner workings and signal flow.


ReDrum: Creative Possibilities 7m:57s

A few tips and tricks for out-of-the-box Redrum users. Techniques including gating, layering and pattern triggering are discussed here.

Dr. Octo Rex


Dr. Octo Rex: First Look 3m:03s

A descriptive overview of the front panel sections available in Dr. Octo Rex. Including the loop window, envelopes, LFO and modulators. Working with REX loops is also briefly discussed here.


Dr. Octo Rex: The Loop Window 4m:54s

Learning about loading REX files, manipulating them and becoming familiar with the settings available in the loop window. Also, becoming familiar with the principles of slice-based loop manipulation.


Dr. Octo Rex: Slice Edit Mode 5m:31s

Using slice edit mode to alter the REX files we have loaded into the Octo Rex on a per-slice basis. Settings, parameters and techniques are discussed in-depth. The multi-slice output section of the rear panel is discussed here as well.


Dr. Octo Rex: Manipulating Loops 7m:50s

A look at how to use all 8 of Dr. Octo Rex's slots to manipulate loops in real-time as well as translating loops to MIDI data and editing MIDI-triggered slices through Edit mode in the arrange window.


Dr. Octo Rex: Global Settings 4m:18s

Envelopes, the filter modes and settings, the LFO, the amp section and the performance modulators are all reviewed here in detail.


Dr. Octo Rex: Creative Possibilities 6m:00s

Exciting techniques using the Dr. Octo Rex and some of its hidden purposes. Techniques including gate triggering, ReGroove user groove definition and creative button assignments are discussed.



Kong: First Look 4m:08s

Learning to identify and use every part of Kong's front panel and learning the signal flow through the device. The different kinds of synth and sampling modules available and the effects options are described and named.


Kong: The Pads 12m:59s

Learning about the functionality and purpose of the pads as well as understanding Kong's pad assignments and settings section.


Kong: Physical Modeling 9m:56s

An in-depth look at the 3 Physical Modeling modules in Kong. Including techniques to achieve popular and useful sounds.


Kong: Synth Modeling 5m:42s

An up-close view of all 4 Synth Modeling modules in Kong. Including techniques to achieve popular and useful sounds.


Kong: NN-Nano Sampler 6m:23s

Looking at the playback of sampled material through the NN-Nano and it's multitude of settings and uses.


Kong: Nurse REX Loop Player 9m:02s

Looking at the mini-REX player inside Kong and it's trigger types, functions and settings. Learning how to use chunks and slices in Kong Kits.


Kong: The Effects 17m:36s

The variety of effects modules and their parameters are covered here. Also, we look deeper at the bus routing, and master FX sections.


Kong: The Rear Panel 7m:34s

A closer look at Kong's rear panel, multiple output and external effects options. Including using the gate triggers and aux sends.


Kong: Creative Possibilities 8m:41s

Looking deeper in Reason 5 and Kong to explore new possibilities and interesting methods of achieving the sound you want.

Sedric Pieretti

1. When did you start dabbling in music?

I come from a family of casual musicians, mostly pianists. When I was very young, I learned to play piano, then forgot it all when I was teenager and then discovered guitar and bass...

2. What training have you had?

Formal training? Almost none. But I've made every mistake one could make in the world of recording and learned from every one of them. I've also had the privilege of interning with some very knowledgable studio techs and engineers and consider that a very valuable education.

3. When did you get into recording?

As a teen in the 90's, my band needed a way to get our music on CD, but our budget was very limited. We pooled our parent's money and bought a cheap Tascam 4-track tape recorder. Since I was the resident geek, it was my job to figure out how to record a 5-piece band with only 4 tracks and 2 SM57s. When I discovered overdubbing, my mind was officially blown. Then I discovered software and digital recording and became an instant lifelong addict.

4. People you have worked with/for?

The vast majority of my work as an engineer, studio tech or producer has been for projects I was personally involved in, or for close friends. However, I have had the opportunity to work with several notable Bay Area studios over the years. Including a bit of work at the Wash House, famous for their work with late rapper Mac Dre.

5. Why are you so good at training people?

I consider the pursuit of knowledge a lifelong journey, and I've always been willing to share what I know with others... Perhaps to a fault. I've been known to speak at length on subjects for which there is no justifiable reason to know so much... I just enjoy teaching, and enjoy digital recording. I think the only things you need to train are knowledge and passion, and I'd like to believe that I have those in spades!

Products by Sedric Pieretti

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