K Theory | Reason | A-List Rack Extensions

  |  Caiti VerBrugge  |  

In this tip, Dylan Lewman and Pyramind alumni Dustin Musser (aka Frost-RAVEN) from K Theory walk us through two Propellerhead Rack Extensions: A-List Studio Drummer, and A-List Electric Guitarist Pop Chords. They also create a pop rock loop from scratch.

First, they go over how you can set up A-List Studio Drummer for optimal control over your drum mix. Studio Drummer contains individual audio outputs for the drum instruments and busses inside the device, as well as main audio outputs for the complete mix. K Theory utilizes the individual drum outputs and routes them to their own mix channel devices. Now, the drums can be mixed in Reason’s intuitive SSL mixer.

Now that the drums are routed, they create a clip in the sequencer and write a drum loop in the MIDI edit window. While the loop plays, they solo each drum - demonstrating the flexibility achieved by routing the drums into their own mix channels. They also route all of the mix channels to a new output bus - further increasing the control they have over their drum mix. Using this technique, they can easily process individual drums - as well as the entire drum mix as a whole.

They compress their drum bus with the MClass Compressor - one of Reason’s timeless stock devices. After applying some compression, they add subtle saturation using Saturation Knob - a free rack extension by Softube. Next, they use the Saturation Knob to process the kick drum to make it a bit more punchy. After finishing up with the kick, they add some compression and reverb to the snare. They use the RV-7 Digital Reverb - another classic stock device in Reason.

Next, they add a bassline using the ID8 Instrument Device - the default device used when you load a Standard MIDI file into the Reason sequencer. After deciding what key they want their loop to be in, Dylan writes a bassline. They preserve the velocity differences in the MIDI notes to make it sound more like the part was played on an actual bass.

To complete the loop, they add guitars using A-List Guitarist Pop Chords. They walk you through the device parameters and build a custom guitar patch. After dialing in the settings they want, they decide to write a 4 chord progression utilizing the device's chord-triggering and key setting capabilities.

Throughout the process, K Theory makes sure to label all of their mix channel devices - as well as color code them to their liking. They stress how important it is to stay organized as you produce. They also talk about why Reason is their DAW of choice - citing the fast workflow it provides, as well as its visual appeal. This is a must watch for Reason users, K Theory fans, as well as up and coming producers.


Take a Free Online Music Production Class

Ableton, Logic Pro X, Pro Tools or Reason


More from the Blog