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Reason Overview

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The Reason Work Process

For a typical project in Reason, you'll create a Mixer, add a device such as a drum machine or a synth, record the parts, listen to them, edit them, add more devices or parts as needed, fine-tune them, add effects, arrange the tracks, mix the song, master the final version, and save the results as an audio file that can be burned to an audio CD.

Here's what the process can look like in slightly more detail:

  • For a brief setup, start with a Mixer. The Mixer is where the instruments in your studio (such as a drum machine or a synthesizer) plug in so that you can hear them (more on this in Chapter 4, "Getting Started"). Once the Mixer is created, all the instruments will plug into it automatically ( Figure 3.6 ).
    03fig06.gif

    Figure 3.6 A basic setup using a Mixer and a drum machine

  • Write a music track. Create your first instrument; then move to the Sequencer window to write and edit the instrument's part (discussed in Chapter 4). Input the notes using a typical music keyboard, or just use your mouse. Working on one track at a time, you'll add some notes, play them back, and move on to the next track ( Figure 3.7 ). Add another instrument and repeat the process.
    03fig07.gif

    Figure 3.7 Write a drum track using the Sequencer.

  • Mix sparingly. After two or more parts are written, you'll start adjusting the balance between the parts ( Figure 3.8 ). Keep the mix rough, though—every added instrument changes the way the other instruments sound against one another. The real mixing work comes at the end (more on this in Chapter 10, "Arranging and Mixing").
    03fig08.jpg

    Figure 3.8 Balance instrument levels in the Mixer.

  • Tweak some knobs. Once you have your basic tracks, it's time to experiment with the knobs and control levers on your instruments ( Figure 3.9 ). Later you may decide to write knob movements during recording; we'll get to this in Chapter 6, "Working with Samplers." You can even input pinpoint-accurate controller tracks in your track, using the Pencil tool ( Figure 3.10 ).
    03fig09.gif

    Figure 3.9 Create exact volume changes for a synthesizer.

    03fig10.gif

    Figure 3.10 Quickly record synth knob movements directly in the Rack.

  • Add effects. After recording and tweaking, you'll want to experiment with some effects (more on this in Chapter 8, "Effects"). Creating effects works just like creating instruments ( Figure 3.11 ). And Reason's effects can do much more than add ambience—they can help you finalize a mix, bring instruments to the forefront, or make crazy otherworldly sounds with just a tiny bit of experimenting.
    03fig11.gif

    Figure 3.11 Add effects devices.

  • Arrange tracks. Don't like your song the way it is? Move parts around, repeat sections, or add breaks and additional ornamental parts easily in Reason's Arrange view in the Sequencer (discussed in Chapter 10). Arrange view lets you shuffle parts, move or repeat song sections, and polish the overall construction of the song ( Figure 3.12 ).
    03fig12.gif

    Figure 3.12 Drag selected sections from three adjacent tracks to a new location.

  • Fine-tune the mix. Zero in on your final version by fine-tuning the mix without fussing with your instrument sounds. Make adjustments to the tone and balance of your tracks easily using Reason's powerful tone equalizing tools (EQs).
  • Master your song. Use Reason's MClass mastering tools to smooth out or boost the levels of your tracks and optimize them for CD. Fine-tune the overall EQ, adjust the stereo spread, or add compression. Make the final version jump out in an audition by making it as loud as it can be without distortion.
  • Burn your music to CD and test it out. Pop out multiple versions of your song as separate .wav files ( Figure 3.13 ) and burn them to CD (more on this in Chapter 11, "Mastering").
    03fig13.gif

    Figure 3.13 Export a song as an audio file.

  • Wrap up. Burn a CD.
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