Thursday, April 29, 2010

Spectrum Analyzer At Wendy Dunham's Site

This has already made the rounds on all of the usual sites, but if you haven't seen it yet, I urge you to check out the new Spectrum Analyzer posted on Wendy Dunham's site.

I did something a little similar in Patch A Day's early days with the Visual EQ patches, but my goal with those patches was to provide EQ and visual feedback in the same Combinator. Wendy's patch, put together with help from fellow Reason users Rogerraa and Selig, is simply concerned with frequency analysis. And, although its scope is a bit limited, the extremely clever way its put together makes it an essential tool for any Reason user.

What makes it so clever? It seems pretty obvious now, but Wendy put the frequency bands into the Combinator backdrop, giving a quick, visual reference to the bands displayed in the BV512 beneath it. Being able to see that a troublesome peak is hitting between 76 Hz and 104 Hz makes EQing it much easier than the usual trial and error that I find myself performing to tame something that's gotten out of control. With the Spectrum Analyzer Combinator, I can quickly zoom in on a problem frequency range and spend more time fine tuning it, than trying to find it.

Really well done, Wendy, Rogerraa and Selig!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Pad Challenge: Remix Update, Part II

My apologies for the continued delays. I think I have already contacted everyone regarding the files needed for the remixes, but going through everyone stated interests and the comments on the previous challenge post, it looks like most of you had that worked out before I even got on it. Great work!

If you still need files for your remix, please be sure to let me know. I don't think I missed anything or anyone, but if I did, please post a comment so I can get you what you need.

The deadline for the remixes is May 8th. Like the last challenge, let's try to get those in by noon.

The big event at work that has been consuming my time this last week (and more) is tonight, so things should be back to normal here on the blog by tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Pad Challenge: Remix Update

I've been a little slammed at work this week and have fallen behind with getting RNS files and samples out to everyone participating in the remix piece of the PAD Challenge. I apologize for the delay. Things should be back to normal for me starting Monday, but I'll make getting those files out to everyone a priority today and tomorrow. Expect an email from me soon.

And, for those of you concerned about the deadline, please don't be. I'll start the clock after the last files have been collected and distributed to the appropriate people.

Again, sorry about the delay.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Pad Challenge: Phase Two Is On!

Okay, a few days ago I put up a post asking everyone what they thought of offering up their PAD Challenge songs for remix purposes, and even after I moaned and complained about the possible technical issues with doing so, the response was decidedly positive. So, here's how it's going to work:

I heard back from almost everyone, except V2057, saying that they were fine with their songs being remixed. If you need a refresher, here are all of the available tracks (posted in reverse order):

15728, By Lewis.72 by Reason Patch A Day

2048, By Jeremy by Reason Patch A Day

Ostbahnoff "That's a Great Color Combination," By DJ Mad Wax by Reason Patch A Day

Sunrise, By Chris Stallone by Reason Patch A Day

Space Clouds, By Chris Stallone by Reason Patch A Day

BurnArea, By 1.44MB by Reason Patch A Day

Vathi, By 1.44MB by Reason Patch A Day

Drones2 by Hydlide

Breaching The Heliopause by Reason Patch A Day

There are just a couple of technical hiccups with these tracks:

  • DJ Mad Wax's track Ostbahnoff "That's a Great Color Combination" uses the Goldbaby Tape 808 and 909 refills, as well as the Filter Research Refill
  • Jeremy used a homebrew refill he got from a friend, but also used the Propellerhead Strings refill
  • My entry, Breaching the Heliopause, uses Propellerhead Record

As Jeremy pointed out, we can get around some of this by exporting sub-mixes to WAV, which might result in some pretty big files sizes, making sharing our source files a little more difficult, but certainly not impossible. So, at this point, everyone just needs to lay claim to the track or tracks they want to remix. Lewis.72 mentioned he'd like to take a crack at Jeremy's track 2048. I'm thinking I'd like to see if I can do anything with either 1.44MB's BurnArea or Vathi.

Keep in mind, this isn't musical chairs, so you're not stuck with working on leftover tracks if someone else lays claim to them. If everyone decided they wanted to remix the same track, that would be fine. So, in the comments, please post which track or tracks you would like to work on. I have everyone's email addresses, so I'll try to organize things behind to scenes and make sure that files get to who needs them.

I'm a little hesitant to set a deadline, because I'm not sure how much time it will take for us to get everyone's files passed around. Let's shoot for two weeks and see how things are coming along at the beginning of May.

One last thing. I'm not a lawyer and I certainly don't pretend to have a good understanding of the legal issues surrounding copyright and such, but I'd like us all to adhere to a little "gentleman's agreement" regarding these tracks and their use. Any remixes completed via this second phase of the Challenge belong to their original authors. The name of the track cannot be changed and ownership of the song cannot be disputed. Remixers are, however, allowed a byline with their remixed track, so for example, if Chris Stallone were to remix Hydlide's track it would be "Drones2 (Stallone's Funky House Mix), by Hydlide."

Does that seem fair?

Saturday, April 17, 2010

PAD Challenge: 15728, By Lewis.72

Lewis.72 just sent me his entry for the PAD Challenge. It took a little longer than a week, but I think it was worth the wait. He writes:

It uses 5 patches from Reason Patch a Day:

Sleepless+HerschelGap - I love this pad and it's the backbone for the track.
Homemade4 - this Subtractor patch is doubling up an upright jazz bass patch from the FSB for depth.
Solar Bells Callisto and Solar Bells Umbriel - these two patches are the arp sounds. work great together - like chocolate and peanut butter.
Stereo Delay - a great effect being used on the arp sounds above.

The sample in the song, of a woman repeating "15728" was taken from The Conet Project, a web resource of so-called "Numbers Stations" on shortwave radios.

The rhythm and percussion patches come from the Reason Factory Sound Bank. I recently rediscovered the "Machines" folder and have been digging the set-up patches. "Needle Groovah" and "Synthi Drum Machine" are two of my favorites and lay down the beat. I changed up the patterns a bit, but they're similar to stock. "Jenkinson Drum Machine" is there to give it a bit of glitchy goodness. Didn't do anything to the pattern, but set it up to run randomly and played with the "loop edits" button to drop the pattern in and out.

I have one of my own patches in the song as well. "Copy Machine". This is one of my favorite effects patches, great for stutters or in this case, transitions. It's available on my blog.

15728, By Lewis.72 by Reason Patch A Day

I've used samples from The Conet Project in some of my own songs. Its well worth checking out if you're looking for something a little different to add to your tracks.

I thought I had all of Lewis.72's Combinators, but this one slipped past me, so I was glad to have it pointed out. Thanks, Lewis!

Check out Lewis.72's blog at Resonant Filter

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The PAD Challenge: Phase Two

If you read the comments here on PAD, you already know what I'm about to announce, but while in the middle of working on my own track for the PAD Challenge, it struck me that since we're using many of the same tools, we should be able to open each other's tracks. And, if we can do that, why not add a second, remix part to the PAD Challenge?

The problem is, we're not all using the same tools. Many of us are using refills, including commercial refills, that others of us might not have. And, others of us might be using additional software via rewire or other tools, that many of us might not have. Even if we had all restricted ourselves to Propellerhead Software, there still might be gaps that make our individual projects less portable. For example, I put my track together in Record, rather than just using Reason, so what seemed like a simple idea might not really be all that practical.

So, I want to hear from you. Are any of you even interested in a remix step to the PAD Challenge? Those of you who submitted tracks, would you be open to making your tracks available for remix? And, if you would be interested in having your fellow readers take a crack at your track (that sounded... wrong), what additional refills or tools did you use? Would it even be possible for others to work with your source file to remix?

I'll start. Breaching The Heliopause was created, as I said, using Record + Reason, using patches that have been posted here on PAD. So, to remix the track, using my original file, you'd need Record and Reason installed on your computer.

Anyone else? Let me know what you think about the remix idea in the comments.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

PAD Challenge: 2048, By Jeremy

Here's a late entry to the PAD Challenge from reader Jeremy, a funky kind of track that he humbly describes by saying:

I'm not sure if this is legal or not submission wise, but I don't have Record (need more money!), so the vocals were done in Reaper and the stems ran through Recycle and thereafter Dr R.

I'm not very good about talking about my music and I don't know genres and such it seems, so if anything is to be said about it..

it's goofy?

2048, By Jeremy by Reason Patch A Day

Not goofy at all, Jeremy. Thanks for submitting it, even if you did miss the deadline by a day. I think I've said this before, but this is definitely a case of the more being the merrier, so I'm glad to have your submission.

Peff's "Propellerhead Record + iPad" Video

Uhh... wow. I remember a lot of talk after the iPad was announced about how it would replace the Lemur, but this is pretty amazing. I know what just shifted to number one on my birthday wish list.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

PAD Challenge: Ostbahnoff "That's a Great Color Combination," By DJ Mad Wax

I got this contribution from DJ Mad Wax yesterday, but unfortunately was too caught up in meetings at my son's school, to do anything with it until now. Sorry about the delay in getting this up, Wax!

Inspired by a chance encounter in Berlin, DJ Mad Wax has this to say about his Ostbahnoff "That's a Great Color Combination" track:

Programmed Drums: Goldbaby's Tape 808 and 909 refills
Drum Loop: Computer Muzik magazine
Reason Patch-a-Day: Thor, Snickers of Shadows; Combi Effect: Airport Music; Maelstron, Fugitive; Maelstrom, Catharis; Subtractor, Rubberband;
Additional: various effects from the Filter Research Refill; various use of patching and standard Reason effect devices

Note: I'm mostly deaf, and this was mixed on headphones as my studio is not set up yet. If its too heavy on a frequency, blame the DJ Magic Mike albums and my bass system when I was a teen, or blame my DJ booth years :)

Thanks: to Robbneu for inspiration and the awesome blog.

Ostbahnoff "That's a Great Color Combination," By DJ Mad Wax by Reason Patch A Day

Read about what DJ Mad Wax is up to at City of Bass.

Thanks Wax! And, thanks to Hydlide, 1.44MB, Chris Stallone, and V2057 for your time and effort in this short challenge. It's been a lot of fun and the results have been really inspiring to me. Thanks for participating.

If you were working on a track, and I think there still might be a couple of you committed to turning one in, you can still get it in to me. Missing the deadline isn't a problem, so send it over and we'll get it posted up here with the rest.

Friday, April 9, 2010

PAD Challenge: Tarnac 9 (Rough), By V2057

Just got another PAD Challenge song from V2057. He describes his new track, Tarnac 9, saying:

I've been in a frenzy to finish this. Been working on it since wednesday, and its no where done but I wanted to send it out anyway. I used some of your combinators, but I honestly can't remember which ones and there was a lot of heavy tweaking going on. I really appreciate your dedication to Reason/Record, it keeps me motivated as well to work on songs. This song is titled Tarnac 9, under my artist label Lost Integrity.

Tarnac 9 (Rough), By V2057 by Reason Patch A Day

Learn more about V2057 at

As is the case with 1.44MB and Chris Stallone, V2057 provided me with an MP3 of his song, which I uploaded to the Patch A Day Soundcloud. I, in no way, claim any ownership of his work and all rights belong to V2057.

PAD Challenge: Sunrise and Space Clouds, By Chris Stallone

Like 1.44MB, Chris Stallone shames me by turning in two songs in the time I took me to only complete one. He has only a few comments about his new songs, but those comments are provided below:

"sunrise" i made in the week and spent more time on (various patches. yours, hydilde, L72 & my own)

"space clouds" is only hours old and i only used your patches although i tweaked alot of them

i dont think i completely finished them but i'd send them anyway

Sunrise, By Chris Stallone by Reason Patch A Day

Space Clouds, By Chris Stallone by Reason Patch A Day

As is the case with the submissions from Hydlide and 1.44MB, feedback is welcome and appreciated, but please keep the comments constructive and in the spirit of this challenge.

PAD Challenge: Burn Area and Vathi, By 1.44MB

I received these two tracks from 1.44MB last night and instantly felt inadequate. I started the challenge and only came up with one song, while 1.44MB managed to crank out a couple during his lunch break! Sigh. Good job, 1.44MB!

Of his songs for the Challenge, 1.44MB says:

Burn area is pretty similar to a lot of stuff I make whereas Vathi is much more upbeat. I'd like to be more upbeat more of the time but I feel I (my tracks) sound cheesy when I try. So, cheesy or not, I want to push Vathi out there for comments to see how I might be able to tweak it to sound a little cooler?!. Apart from your latest subtractor drumkit (which isn't really used with enough variation here) Vathi doesn't include much PAD input hence I've included Burn Area which is 100% PAD...... and in the spirit of the challenge only took 2 lunch times to lash up!

BurnArea, By 1.44MB by Reason Patch A Day

Vathi, By 1.44MB by Reason Patch A Day

Please note that 1.44MB provided me with MP3s of his songs which I uploaded to the Patch A Day Soundcloud. I, in no way, claim any ownership of his work and all rights belong to 1.44MB.

PAD Challenge: Drones2, By Hydlide

Hydlide was the first person to get his entry to me, sending in Drones2 yesterday, stating:

I started on friday with one 'experiment', it failed... however, I did make this huge pad from the ground up. So I re-used that in a new production where I made a new rack, took the pad again and worked with that as a basis.

There's some heavy stuff going on in this track, and everything was build from the ground up. I mostly used the subtractors as the main synthesis, added some samples left and right to fill up the transitions and went heavy on the drums (thats what I very often do these days).

I used one section of your patch a day blog, which was (ironically) a loop (Renoise DrRex post). I couldn't find the right angle making it sound electro beat like as I originally planned (hence the first experiment kind of failed on me).

But then again, genre doesn't matter.. so, i threw in a combi of ambience, house and progressive all together. I don't even know if there's a genre that is related to this style. But then again, I often blend certain styles together and go from there.

Drones2 by Hydlide

Please leave any contructive criticism or thoughts you might have about Hydlide's track in the comments. Also, be sure to check out Hydlide's website The Sound of Reason. He has an incredible number of tools and tutorials for Reason available at this site and on YouTube, so go take a look.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Soundcloud Song: The PAD Challenge Results

I started the PAD Challenge a week ago today and although the official deadline isn't until tomorrow at noon, I thought I would post my contribution to the PAD Challenge, a song called Breaching The Heliopause. Predictably, at least to me, Breaching The Heliopause is a little darker in its vibe, falling short of the traditional house or trance sound I was aiming for, but I'm still pretty pleased with the results.

Breaching The Heliopause by Reason Patch A Day

Breaching The Heliopause was created using Record + Reason. As was the case with the other songs I posted to Soundcloud and referenced here, Breaching The Heliopause was created using only instrument and effect patches that I built, most of which have been shared here on PAD. In case you're curious about the patches I used in the song, below are complete lists with links for each patch and post that I used.

Instrument/Combinator Patches:

Effect Combinators:

There are a few additional patches that I used in Breaching The Heliopause that haven't yet been posted here. My Tinnitus synth sound was processed using the Combinator "A Little Darker," which was included in the Reason Patch A Day Archive Refill, but hasn't been posted separately yet. Also, I used a few DrumBox Drum Machine patches that I created, but haven't had time to post here. You'll be seeing those shortly.

I don't think this would have been possible without Ruurd's help this week. So, thanks again Ruurd!

I'm really looking forward to hearing what everyone else comes up with. Expect more song posts highlighting reader PAD Challenge songs, as they start coming in.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The PAD Challenge: Official Rules

A few days ago I posted my intention to use this week of reader contributed patches to give myself a chance to work on some new music. I decided to open up that challenge to all of you and have already gotten a couple of comments from people interested in joining in.

The Challenge, however, was a little vague so I thought I'd put up a quick post to explain the rules for this little challenge.

Deadline: Friday, April 9th, 12:00 p.m. (Noon)

Genre Restrictions: None. I decided to concentrate my efforts working outside of my usual genre, so I'll be working on a dance track. You're free to bang out anything you like, but if you want to be challenged, try putting together a song in a style you don't normally work in.

Software Restrictions: As this is a Reason-centric blog, I'm hoping that anyone who joins in with this challenge uses either Reason or Record to sequence their work. This may be very important for "phase two" of the challenge, so if you can, please stick to Reason or Record.

Please email me a link to your completed song by noon on Friday, April 9th. You can also email me a MP3 or RNS/Record to be posted on the Reason Patch A Day Soundcloud. Obviously, I'm not interesting in laying any claims to your music. As has been the case from day one here at PAD, the patches here are "bragware," so this is a perfect opportunity for you to brag a little about what you've come up with.

Email me at patchaday (at) earthlink (dot) net. If you have any comments or links you'd like me to post with your completed track, please send those as well.

As I said in the comments the other day, "keep in mind... the goal is to complete a track in a week. It doesn't necessarily have to be polished or good. I certainly don't expect mine to be, so you don't have to be the next Deadmau5 to play along."

So far, it looks like readers Hydlide and BenDarkFox have signed up to take this challenge with me. Lewis.72 expressed some interest, as well, but might not be able to fit the challenge into his schedule.

There are only five days remaining! Have you started working on your new track yet?

Update: DJ Mad Wax, Chris Stallone, V2057, and DBA are joining in on the Challenge! That makes seven entries! Anyone else?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The PAD Challenge!

Most of what I do in Reason, and now Record, could best be defined as "ambient." The few songs I've posted on Soundcloud, using patches from Patch A Day, certainly fit that mold, but as much as I like making music to fall asleep to (humor fully intended), I have other musical interests as well. I really dig trip-hop, which is a genre that has probably already seen its day, and I really like a lot of the minimal house and deep house music I've been downloading from various netlabels. The problem is that as much as I enjoy these other genres, I'm terrible at creating songs in them. Everything sounds dated or flat and I eventually just give up, crawling back to the comforting drones and sparse soundscapes of ambient music... but, not this week!

Thanks to the patches I received from Ruurd, and a few offers I've received from other readers, I feel like I'm getting a little break from the blog so I can focus on making music. So, just as Patch A Day is the result of a challenge I made to myself over a year and a half ago, I'm going to challenge myself again. One week from today, I'll post a new dance track for your comments.

I don't expect it to be good, but rather than get halfway into it and then give up like I usually do, I'm going to finish this one. I'm hoping all of you will hold me to this deadline, because if I don't have anyone to be accountable to, I probably won't do it.

So, anyone care to join me? It's just one song. You can do it! Sign up in the comments and start working on a new track. Next week we can all share what we've come up with and offer each other feedback.

You have one week!