Modular synthesis in Reason part 2: Detuning and Vibrato

Last time we built a basic monosynth using modular synthesis in Reason. What we have so far is pretty simple; a single oscillator sawtooth wave triggered by an envelope generator. So far it’s nothing fancy so this time I’m going to be building it up by adding a second oscillator and showing you how to apply vibrato using the mod wheel.

To follow along you will need AMMO 100LA (€15), Charlotte Envelope Generator (€19) and Propellerhead’s Pulsar (€39). We will be following on directly from last week’s tutorial, so if you’re following along you might want to check out part 1 first.

Modular synthesis in Reason part 1: Creating a basic monosynth

When you think of modular synthesizers you might envision a huge Eurorack system complete with countless dangling spaghetti cables. It’s the king of hardware gear, the holy grail of synthesis that’s reserved for the few enthusiasts that have spent countless hours and a vast amount of money perfecting their dream instrument. It can quickly turn into an addiction that can completely take over your life. Ok, maybe I’m over-exaggerating a little bit here, but it’s not hard to see why modular synthesizers are so desirable.

However, you don’t have to spend a tonne of money to build your dream modular synth. You don’t even have to a clear a room out to house your massive Eurorack system, not when you have the power Reason at your disposal. Don’t believe me? Just flip the rack around in Reason, don’t those spaghetti cables look familiar?

Sure, using software to create your perfect instrument isn’t as glamorous as owning the real thing. You won’t get the satisfaction of hand patching the cables or turning the physical knobs but you will get to explore the world of modular synthesis for a fraction of the price.

Just check the Propellerhead shop and you’ll find loads of Rack Extensions that will help you on your way to modular madness. With all this choice it might not be clear where to start so I’m going to be writing a series of tutorials here on RER to get you up and running.

In this first tutorial I’m going to be showing you how to set up a basic monosynth using modular synthesis within the Reason rack. To follow along you’ll need Ammo 100LA (€15) and Charlotte Envelope Generator (€19). Let’s get started, if you get stuck be sure to check out the example images provided.

Need some new synthetic drum sounds? Check out Ochen K’s EDS06s Drum Synthesizer

In need some cool synthetic drum sounds? Then let me introduce you to EDS06s by Ochen K, a new dedicated percussion synthesizer for Reason. A fully-fledged drum synth has been long overdue in Reason and EDS06s doesn’t fail to deliver. With its stylishly good looks and ease of use this device will feel right at home in your Reason rack.

Top 5 most-wanted VSTs in Reason

The subject has come up time and time again, why doesn’t Reason support VSTs? Why isn’t [insert popular VST here] available as a Rack Extension? These are the questions that annoy me to no end and I’m sure I’m not alone.

The answer to the first question is simple, Propellerhead doesn’t (and won’t for the foreseeable future) directly support VSTs in Reason, this is because they offer a very unique modular environment for their users, so the addition of VSTs would completely ruin the experience that the virtual rack offers.

The second question is a bit more complex. Rack Extensions are still fairly new and developers are still deciding whether or not to adopt. A big factor in this decision making is the current limitations of the Rack Extension SDK. These limitations could be the answer to why your favourite VST hasn’t already made it into the Reason rack. Of course there are other explanations to why they haven’t been ported, including (sadly) lack of interest from some developers.

Keeping all that in mind, we’re going to look past the current restrictions of the RE format and take a look at some of the most popular software instruments on the market today. These are the instruments that have been mentioned on countless posts from all corners of the internet.