Friday, December 28, 2012

Start The New Year With New Refills!

I try not to go overboard with shameless self-promotion, mostly because it makes me a little uncomfortable, but I did want to remind everyone that you can support Reason Patch A Day by donating to the site or through the purchase of a refill. The breakdown of what is available is described below.

Reason Patch A Day Archive, Four Year Refill

In addition to releasing the 3rd annual refill just a week ago, I merged all of the patches from Reason Patch A Day into one, giant refill that covers all four years of the blog. There are refills that contain more sounds, of course, but the size of this thing still surprises me with well over 1,405 patches and sounds.

  • 184 Bass Patches
  • 64 Combinators: Effects
  • 33 Combinators: Instruments
  • 66 Effect Patches
  • 3 Kong Kits
  • 322 Pad Patches
  • 355 Percussion Patches
  • 67 REX Loops
  • 142 Synth Patches
  • 12 Sampler Patches
  • 157 Samples
  • 5 Yamaha Drum Machine Kits

The Four Year Archive is available to anyone who donates $3 or more to the blog. That's the same price as if you had donated $1 per refill in the past and I'm willing to go back and look through previous purchases to make sure you get caught up, if that makes sense. It wouldn't hurt to remind me if you had purchased previous refills, if you only plan on sending me a dollar or two, but as you already know, I really do appreciate any support I get. Thanks so much!

Kick Toolkit Refill, v1.1

And, if you haven't already purchased it, the Kick Toolkit Refill has been updated recently to include even more analog kick drum samples.

The Kick Toolkit Refill contains:
  • Kick Drum WAVs: 400 unique kick drum samples created using the Jomox Mbase 11 Analog Bass Drum Module, a single voice analog synthesizer fine-tuned for producing a variety of bass drum sounds. Each kick was created specifically for this refill and was sampled at 24-bit resolution, with no outside processing, for the cleanest possible signal and sound.
  • Effects: The Kick Toolkit Refill contains 38 effect patches, using Reason's Scream, RV7000, Pulverizer, and other effect units.
  • Mini-Combis: One or two device Combinators designed specifically for the purpose of manipulating and sculpting kick drum patches and samples. Each Mini-Combi has been programmed with front panel control ranges designed for its limited task to make final tweaks fast and easy. A number of Mini-Combis have also been included to provide presets for devices that do not normally allow for loading and saving patches (ex. BV512 Vocoder). 11 mini-Combis are included, along with 43 additional presets, providing help with compression, equalization, and other general purposes.

The Kick Toolkit Refill costs just $5 and can be purchased using the sidebar link at the top of the page.

Bernard Childcare Trust Refill

And lastly, don't forget that you can still purchase the Bernard Childcare Trust, a collaborative refill from some great sound designers and terrific people. If you didn't already know, proceeds from the refill go to James Bernard's children, so in addition to getting some new sounds for your collection, you're purchase does some good for a valued member of our community.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Yamaha RX-17 Download At How To Program Drums

If you've been following Reason Patch-A-Day for any length of time, you know I have a fondness for 80's era Yamaha drum machines, with the Yamaha RX-17 being my favorite of the black plastic, awkward family of devices. Neil Paddock, at the blog How To Program Drums, recently let me know about a pair of RX-17-based combinators he built that you should definitely check-out, if you share any of my fondness for the RX-17.

For RX-17 completists, Neil also has scans of the RX-17 pattern book and WAV and and MP3 exports of the built-in patterns. Check out his downloads page for his Combinators, other RX-17 tools, and a number of other files.

Thanks for a great resource, Neil!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Kick Toolkit Refill v1.1 is here!

Did you get my email?

I just sent out messages to everyone who purchased the Kick Toolkit Refill to let everyone know that I have just released a new update to the refill. Version 1.1 includes minor tweaks to navigation and 90 additional kick drum samples, bringing the total number of analog bass drum samples contained within the refill to 400!

If you purchased the refill from me, you should have already received the download link for version 1.1. I know that a couple of people had issues receiving my emails in the past, so if you haven't received anything from me (and it's not hidden in your spam folder), shoot me a message and I'll make sure you get an updated link! You can reach me here.

If you haven't purchased the Kick Toolkit Refill, but think you'd like to add it to your collection of music making tools, you can a little learn more here, or you can just click the link provided in the sidebar at the top right of the page. As in the past, please keep in mind that I fill each order personally, so depending on when you place your order, it may take a few hours for me to respond.

Thank you for continuing to visit Reason Patch A Day and my special thanks go out to everyone that has supported me with a financial contribution. Even a tiny donation means a lot to me and I appreciate your support.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Kick Toolkit Review on Resonate Filter!

Lewis, over at the always interesting Resonate Filter blog, recently posted a review of my Kick Toolkit Refill. The review was embarrassingly positive and Lewis even took the time to do a short interview with me, as well as a post a quick video demo of the refill. If you're still on the fence regarding my refill, Lewis does a great job outlining what you can expect to find in it's many folders.

If you haven't already added Resonate Filter to your list of blogs to visit on a daily basis, I recommend you do. It's one of the first blogs I read everyday. Lewis does an outstanding job finding an eclectic mix of articles about music production beyond the usual "hot topics" that make the rounds on the other sites. Lewis has also been kind enough to contribute to the blog!

If Lewis' review convinces you that you can't live without your own copy of the Kick Toolkit Refill, you can learn more about it and purchase it here or you can hit the sidebar on the right!

Thanks, Lewis!

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Kick Toolkit Refill: Available Now!

I've been dropping the occasional hint about a top secret project that I've been working on for months, but it's finally here! Introducing the Kick Toolkit Refill, the first commercial refill from the Reason Patch A Day blog.

The Kick Toolkit Refill is a mini-refill dedicated to bass kick drum sounds and low-frequency sound sculpting, perfect for nearly any genre or style of music.

The Kick Toolkit Refill contains:
  • Kick Drum WAVs: Over 300 unique kick drum samples created using the Jomox Mbase 11 Analog Bass Drum Module, a single voice analog synthesizer fine-tuned for producing a variety of bass drum sounds. Each kick was created specifically for this refill and was sampled at 24-bit resolution, with no outside processing, for the cleanest possible signal and sound.
  • Effects: The Kick Toolkit Refill contains 38 effect patches, using Reason's Scream, RV7000, Pulverizer, and other effect units.
  • Mini-Combis: One or two device Combinators designed specifically for the purpose of manipulating and sculpting kick drum patches and samples. Each Mini-Combi has been programmed with front panel control ranges designed for its limited task to make final tweaks fast and easy. A number of Mini-Combis have also been included to provide presets for devices that do not normally allow for loading and saving patches (ex. BV512 Vocoder). 11 mini-Combis are included, along with 43 additional presets, providing help with compression, equalization, and other general purposes.

So, how does it work and what does it sound like? I have a few demo files, taken from the refill, that I'd like to share with you to give you an idea of what you can find in the new refill. The first is a fairly standard kick drum sample:

Here's another simple kick drum sample that could be used in a number of different projects. As you can see, all of the samples provided have an accompanying NN-19 and Combinator included in the refill, which allows you to quickly play back a clean version of each WAV file. Also included in the refill are a few additional Combinator patches, labeled as "extra," that provide a slightly modified sample playback:

In addition to the deep, thumping kicks you'd expect, I also experimented with using the Mbase 11 Analog Bass Drum Module to create a handful of higher pitched percussion sounds that don't necessarily fit the typical "kick drum" sound. Here's an example of one of these less stereotypical kick drum samples:

Beyond the 300+ kick drum samples provided in the Kick Toolkit Refill, I've provided a few effects and Combinators for use in tweaking your bass drum sounds. Here are two examples of what are essentially just filters, created using Reason's M-Class Equalizer:

  • Kick Toolkit - High Frequency Rolloff ( Combinator )
  • Kick Toolkit - Low Frequency Rolloff ( Combinator )

Given the narrow focus of the Kick Toolkit Refill, this mini-refill is available for only $5 and can be purchased via PayPal. Please use the link in the upper right of the sidebar to make your purchase or use the button below!

Please keep in mind that all refill orders will be filled manually and so it may take up to several hours to redeem, depending on the time of your order. Thank you for your patience and your interest!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Four Years?!?

It's absolutely shocking to me that, four years ago today, Reason Patch A Day was born. Since that first post I have shared well over 1,000 patches and samples, covering three major versions of Reason, and no doubt, hundreds of hours of work. Thanks for sticking with me and the blog over that incredible amount of time.

The success of the blog isn't just my achievement, of course, and a great deal of what has made Reason Patch A Day work over the years is the terrific readers I have here. Your donations, comments, and exceptional music have given me tremendous encouragement, so thank you for supporting me. The occasional reader patches I've received have been outstanding, as well. Thank you to all of you who have contributed in one way or another.

I was hoping to make a big announcement to celebrate this milestone, but unfortunately there have been a couple of bumps in the road that are keeping me from unveiling a project I've been working on, behind the scenes, for quite a while now. Expect something special from me soon.

Thanks for taking the time to visit, contribute, and breathe life into this weird experiment.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Ghostly's microKORG Analog Drum Kit Refill and new Reason Blog

Longtime readers might remember Ghostly, who submitted a Combinator to Reason Patch A Day based on the old Omnichord, back at the beginning of 2010.

Since then, Ghostly has tackled a similar challenge to what I've been doing here at PAD with an Alesis Micron patch a day blog, and has recently started another patch project for a different hardware synth, the microKORG - Patch A Week blog. With what looks to be an unending amount of energy, Ghostly has even started a combinators & refills blog.

Ghostly recently wrote to let me know that he's had a bit of a crossover with his latest ventures, having created a Reason Refill using samples from his efforts on his microKORG site. He wrote:

The microKORG ADK comprises eight drum sounds sampled direct from the microKORG and mapped in Redrum. I used a Combinator patch from the Discovering Reason website as a basis for my ADK which basically allows almost endless sequencing possibilities through the ReDrum itself and three Matrix Sequencers.

You can find the new refill here, as well as a number of other Reason treats at Ghostly's Combinators & Refills blog. Well done, Ghostly! And, thanks for letting us know about what you've been up to!

Friday, April 20, 2012

.1033 Commercial Sneak Peek: Rob Anselmi's Pureffects, Part 5

Here are the last few patches from Rob Anselmi's Pureffects ReFill, a collection of Alligator patches.

I think Alligator is my biggest blindspot in Reason's ever growing arsenal of devices, but Rob shows of its capabilities expertly with this handful of patches. As with everything that gets posted here on Reason Patch A Day, don't be afraid to experiment. His patch At The Maw, for example, yields some pretty interesting results with percussion loops, despite being labeled a "bass" patch.

  • Pureffects - (Bass) Another Wobbler ( Alligator )
  • Pureffects - (Bass) At The Maw ( Alligator )
  • Pureffects - (General) Be Good Johnny 1980 ( Alligator )

In addition, our interview series also comes to an end with Rob some offering his advice to sound designers looking at creating their own refills and a peek at what Rob is working on for the future, now that he has the Pureffects ReFill finished.

Q. What process do you go through when creating a ReFill such as Pureffects? What advice can you offer any other sound designers?

A. There are two main things I would advise budding ReFill designers. First is make your ReFill for the musician, not for yourself. This means thinking about the musician and how they will use your ReFill. Have a good organization structure and folder structure with proper names that best explain your ReFill. Proper labels. Mixer at the top of any Combinators, proper organization under your Combinators, even levels across the ReFills. I go into this in depth in some of my “Creating Better Patches” series on my blog. But it all boils down to thinking of your users first and foremost.

Second, I would say try your best to learn all you can about how Reason, Audio, CV, Synthesis, and Sampling works. Sound design is part craft, part science, and part art. Suck up the knowledge like a sponge and read as much as you can on the subject. Then practice, practice, and practice some more. Find your own voice and your own sounds, and you’ll have the makings of a great ReFill.

Q.  What's next?  You just released two new CDs, a new refill, and you continue to write for your blog.  What's the next thing we can expect from you?

A. Well, I’m currently working on two new ReFill projects, which I’m hoping to get out before the end of the year. I don’t want to get too deep into the details, but I have a feeling they will be unlike any other ReFills out there. One project has to do with a micro-focus on a specific area of Reason, and another has to do with a micro focus on a specific kind of sound and genre. As always, I try to provide as many possibilities in my ReFills as I can. I want users to have as much flexibility and ideas inside my ReFills so that anyone doing any style of music can use the ReFills in some ways in their music. Or at the very least, as long as they have some new creative ideas to work with, they can take my ReFill as a springboard for their own sound design ideas.

Anyway, I know that’s rather vague, but I don’t want to spoil the surprise. One thing I can say for sure is that it won’t be an effects ReFill. Though an update to “Pureffects: is on the ideas list for future projects.

As for other plans, I’d like to try to reach 101 tutorials before the end of the year. That deadline might be a little tight, but I would be very happy to hit that mark and start thinking of a new avenue for – not to say I won’t still write the occasional tutorial. But I would like to see about taking on an alternate or additional creative direction once I’ve done 101 tutorials.

And then there’s the music. I enjoy releasing my own music and try to come up with a new EP or Full album of music at least once a year. And so I’m hoping I can get back into doing some more music before the year is out. And then there are the other 20 or so ideas I have for the future, but those will have to wait until next year. It’s always a process of whittling down all the ideas into a priority list. You pick the best ideas you have and work on those first, then move on to the next. All the while, the ideas change, more get added, some get removed, and some move up or down in the list of priorities. Maybe I’ll stop when all the ideas are completed. But something tells me that it’s a never-ending journey, and if so, I rather like it that way. Otherwise, what’s the point?

Thank you, Rob, for your generosity of time in answering my many questions and thank you for giving Reason Patch A Day readers a few, exclusive looks at what you have in store for them in your latest project.

Readers wanting to learn more about the Pureffects ReFill are encouraged to visit Rob's refill site for a demo refill, video, and links to purchase. Readers should also be sure to check out Rob's informative blog, Reason 101, for tutorials and in-depth looks at what Reason can do.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

.1032 Commercial Sneak Peek: Rob Anselmi's Pureffects, Part 4

The exclusive patches from Rob Anselmi's new Pureffects ReFill keep coming with four new Scream distortion patches. These four patches make up just a fraction of the 108 total Scream patches included in the refill, but should give you an idea of what's on tap as you dig deeper into Pureffects and its hundreds of effects.

  • Pureffects - (General) Hammer Head ( Scream )
  • Pureffects - (General) Hi Fuzz ( Scream )
  • Pureffects - (General) Overdrive Enhancer ( Scream )
  • Pureffects - (Pads) Ultra Modulator ( Scream )

My virtual chat with Rob takes a short detour from his design philosophies as a refill designer as we take a moment to talk about Reason in general and which effects he thinks are being overlooked by Reason users.

Q.  Given your entire refill is based around effects, what Reason effect do you think is widely underutilized by the Reason community? What's the "secret weapon" that no one seems to be talking about?

A. I think that would depend mostly on when people picked up Reason. For those that started using Reason 1 and up, there probably is no secret weapon. However, if you started out using Reason 4, for example, you may not have paid much attention to the half-rack devices. And they shouldn't be overlooked. There's a lot of power in those little buggers. For example, you can stereo-ize any mono signal using the Unison device. This is useful if you want to process an audio signal through the M Class Stereo effect, for example. Or you can use it to beef up your Subtractor patches. A small unassuming device that seems very basic, but could be very powerful.

I also think that as Reason grows and more devices are added, there are more possibilities for some devices to go by the wayside. The device that I personally use the least amount is the half rack compressor (Comp-01). I think that since we have the M Class Compressor, Master Bus Compressor, Mixer Channel Strip Compressor, and Pulveriser, there's very little need to use the Comp-01. However, I'm sure others can find a usefulness for this device. I've just never missed it with all the other possibilities.

It also depends on what people have an affinity for. Lately, I've been heavily drawn to highly textured deep rich sounds, ambient pads, and the like. So I find my secret weapons of choice to be Thor along with the RV7000, Scream, Pulveriser, or DDL devices. I also like the Tape Echo and Ring Modulators in Kong. But honestly, I try not to discriminate. All the devices in Reason have their place and their purpose. And I love trying to push the software to its limits. It's a never-ending journey and to this day, even after 8 years, I still find new capabilities and ideas inside Reason, without having to venture outside into other DAWs or VSTs.

And now we will soon have Rack Extensions, which will add more possibilities, and that should prove very interesting indeed.

Don't forget you can learn more about the Pureffects ReFill, as well as download a demo, by visiting the Pureffects site.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

.1031 Commercial Sneak Peek: Rob Anselmi's Pureffects, Part 3

This week's sneak peek at the Pureffects ReFill continues with a trio of new Echo patches from the 200 available. Delay effects are some of my favorites, so all three of these patches put a smile on my face. I highly recommend you check them out for a taste of what's available in the Pureffects ReFill.

  • Pureffects - (General) Faux Feedback ( Echo )
  • Pureffects - (General) Instant Reverberations A ( Echo )
  • Pureffects - (Vox) Filling Out The Chorus ( Echo )

My conversation with Rob Anselmi, the mastermind behind the Pureffects ReFill, also continues. Today he addresses a question I had about finding inspiration when tackling Reason's newest devices and talks briefly about his addition to the Reason Factory Soundbank.

Read our continuing conversation below:

Q.  Were there any techniques or ideas that you found particular inspiring for this collection of effects?  Or, did you stumble across anything that clicked into place for you and helped shape the project?

A. I think the Kong Players were definitely a part of the process that "clicked" for me. Trying to figure out how to get as much control over as many parts of the effects as possible within the confines of 16 pads, and how to get as many different possible combinations of effects as possible within a 4-pad effect chain was something of a challenge. But in the end, I think it worked out quite well.

Another part of the process that hit home for me were the feedback possibilities of The Echo device. There were so many amazing possibilities available by routing other effect devices through the Feedback loop, that it was both inspiring and challenging to get cool new usable effects from them.

Finally, I think the Pulveriser was one of my favorite devices for so many things, from subtle warming or compressing effects to completely mangling your sound. The routing possibilities on the back allows for some really nice possibilities, especially Filter Frequency Modulation. And I use it on almost all my drum sounds in one way or another when I'm putting together tracks. Though, of course, as always happens after the project is completed, I thought of many other ideas that I wish I had put into Pureffects. But maybe one of these days I'll put all those ideas in an update.

Then there's the Alligator. I was particularly proud to see that the Propellerheads' chose one of my patch designs as the initial default effect when you load the device. That was completely unexpected. But I think it reaffirmed that I was on the right track with that device. I've been using it quite a bit to add some movement to a lot of the sounds in my songs these days, especially gating the Bass.

There is still plenty more to sample and learn about Pureffects, so come back tomorrow and get a tiny taste of the 108 Scream patches Rob included in his refill and hear which devices Rob thinks are being underutilized by Reason sound designers and users.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

.1030 Commercial Sneak Peek: Rob Anselmi's Pureffects, Part 2

Rob was kind enough to send along a fairly large assortment of patches from his Pureffects ReFill, enough that even while posting several a day, we have many days worth to share. So, today, the focus falls on Reason 6's Pulveriser effect, with two designed specifically for percussion and two more meant for processing guitars. I'm especially fond of the hi-hat patch, but they're all great.

  • Pureffects - (Guitar) Let The Distortion Drive You Mad ( Pulveriser )
  • Pureffects - (Guitar) Simple Wah 1-16 ( Pulveriser )
  • Pureffects - (Hi Hat) Hi Rez Lifter ( Pulveriser )
  • Pureffects - (Kick) Amp Mod Kicker ( Pulveriser )

As promised yesterday, I also had the chance to have a virtual chat with Rob about his process in creating the Pureffects ReFill. The first part of our Q&A is provided below and talks about the origins of the refill and how it moved from idea to completed project.

Q.  How does a project like Pure Effects start for you?  Did you set out to design a new refill from the start or did you find yourself creating patches that eventually made sense to bundle as a refill?  And, once you got the idea to do a refill like this, how long did it take you to go from initial inspiration to completed product?

A. For me, the problem is not so much how to start a project. It's more about how to finish all the projects I want to get done or have inside my head. I keep a few notebooks that I use to jot down ideas and thoughts, and what makes me start a project is a combination of interest and originality. I don't want to work on projects that don't interest me. Otherwise, I'll get bored with it quickly, or else it becomes "drudge work." I much prefer doing something that keeps my interest. That way, I don't tire with it and it's actually "fun." I think every project should be "fun," whether it's venturing into a different musical style, or working on a sound design idea that I haven't tried before.
Second, it's a matter of looking at the marketplace and trying to come up with a unique angle or creative new product. It's the same with creating Combinators in Reason. I don't want to create the same thing over again. Or the same thing that others have created. I try as much as possible to create ideas that I haven't seen before, or putting a new twist on existing Combinators.

This whole idea of being unique where ReFills are concerned is rather difficult, because there's such a plethora of ReFills in the marketplace. But I had never seen a ReFill that focused purely on effects. So that was my starting point. It also helped that I was part of the team that developed new sounds and effects for Reason 6. When I saw that Reason 6 was focused on introducing The Echo, Pulveriser, and Alligator, three new effect devices, it became a natural progression and the idea for Pureffects was born.

As for how long it took to create Pureffects, that's a complicated answer. Some of the ideas for the Key and Kong-based effects processors were previously done a year or two ago. I just combined those ideas with the single-device patches to produce live effect processor devices. But when I seriously started on Pureffects, it probably took about 6 months to complete. However, the new effect device patches probably took about 3 months to complete.

I remember some days creating upward of 50 patches per day. Other days I worked on no more than 3 or 5 per day, mostly fine-tuning the Combinators or getting the levels right. I still probably have over 2,000 patches that never made the cut for Pureffects. It was a massive project for me, and took considerable time out of each and every day. I remember thinking at the end of it that the last thing I wanted to do was look at another effect device for a very long time. That's when I switched gears and focused on producing a whole mess of songs, which later became the double "Dark" & "Light" CD / Remix project.

Be sure to come back tomorrow for more of my discussion with Rob, as well as a few more Pureffects exclusives.

Monday, April 16, 2012

.1029 Commercial Sneak Peek: Rob Anselmi's Pureffects, Part 1

If you've spent any time reading through the Propellerheads' User Forum or have visited the excellent Reason 101 blog, you're no doubt familiar with Rob Anselmi and his incredible and varied output. One of our community's most helpful and prolific members, Rob somehow manages to juggle a successful blog filled with top notch tutorials, a friendly presence on PUF, and a series of intriguing music releases on CD Baby, but did you know that Rob also designs and sells his own refills?

I reviewed the excellent Generations Refill a year and a half ago and I still think Rob's "mega-modular" approach to sound design is a little ahead of its time and the ultimate expression of Reason's rack approach. Rob's latest refill, called Pureffects, promises to be equally as deep as Generations, but with a different focus and approach.

With 1,250 patches, ranging from simple reverbs, amps, and distortion effects to complex FX banks controlled via Kong's pads for live performances, Pureffects is sure to have something for everyone. I know, I know, that's a comment that sounds suspiciously like hyperbole, but given the amazing depth of the Pureffects ReFill and it's hundreds of patches, I feel confident standing behind it.

Rob has been a longtime friend of Reason Patch A Day and generously provided me with a handful of patches from his new refill. These patches are an exclusive to Reason Patch A Day and can't be found in his already illustrative demo found on his new refill's page, along with demonstration videos and a purchase link.

Today's patches include four reverbs from the 100 RV7000 patches included in the Pureffects ReFill:

  • Pureffects - The Black Room ( RV7000 )
  • Pureffects - Long Wandering Hall ( RV7000 )
  • Pureffects - Small Space A ( RV7000 )
  • Pureffects - High Gain Short Arena ( RV7000 )

Be sure to return tomorrow for a few additional Pureffects ReFill exclusives and a chat with Rob about his processes and philosophies in creating this new, versatile tool.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Propellerhead's Figure Is Now Available!

I'm likely the last person to know this, as I'm traveling this week, but the Figure app for iPhone has been approved and released. Get it for $0.99 if you're living in a place where dollars are used.

My first impressions? It is, as many have already complained, a toy. That being said, it's a fun toy. I'm looking forward to my flight home tomorrow, because I know exactly what I'll be doing in the aisle seat in row 24.

For what its worth, it looks amazing on the iPad. Those of you who have tried upscaling iPhone apps on the iPad know what a mess that can be, but the clever Propellerheads have made some wise choices in their design of the app, making it gorgeous on the larger iPad screen. A native version would be terrific (universal, please!), but this might be the first app I've upscaled that doesn't look it.

Thanks to the ever excellent Resonant Filter blog for the speedy heads-up! Thanks, Lewis!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

.1000 Thank You

I'm not really one for spending a lot of time patting myself on the back. When it comes to this blog, I view it much like I view a lot of things, feeling it's better to keep my head down and continue moving forward, rather than trying to draw attention to what I've already accomplished. Having said that, the 1000th post is a fairly significant milestone, so I feel like I should say something.

The first thing I should say is that the number 1,000 is actually a bit meaningless. When I first started Reason Patch A Day I would post a couple of patches at a time, and occasionally I still sneak an extra patch into a post here and there. So, I can't really say that I'm celebrating 1,000 patches when the actual number is a little higher.

Nor can I say that I've put up 1,000 posts. Posts where I've highlighted the music of my readers, which are some of the most fun for me, aren't given a number because they aren't patches. I don't number my occasional editorial posts either, so like the number of patches, the number of posts is actually a bit higher than that 1,000 number.

Still, there's something in our brains that seems attracted to large, even numbers like 1,000. So, regardless of what that number should be or what it might actually mean, I guess it is cause for celebration. And, perhaps more importantly, its a cause for thanks.

So, after 1,000-ish posts and 1,000-ish patches, my thanks go out to you, the reader. I would have stopped this strange experiment a long time ago if it wasn't for the emails, comments, reader contribution patches, songs, unsolicited praise on forums, and support I've received along the way. So, thank you everyone for making Reason Patch A Day a destination on your internet travels. Whether or not you realize it, your gentle, sometimes unspoken nudges over the past few years have kept me going, so thank you!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Bragware Report: 3 New Tracks, by Nikolai Bonamente

Reader Nikolai Bonamente (formerly known as 1.44 MB) and I were trading a few emails recently and he let it slip that he's been sticking a PAD sound or two in most of his recent songs. He said:

Just thought I'd let you know your "spicknel" pad is getting an outing in my latest track "Afgan Hound" up on the cloud and "mugwump" is included on the track "times draggin" just below it.


I've just been playing with adding another bassline and string section to "Taratop" and realized it features "Torpidity" really quite prominently!

Nikoali knows how much I enjoy hearing what other people have done with the patches here and was letting me know about his recent tracks as a courtesy, not a quest to get yet another mention here on Reason Patch A Day, but I can't think of any reason not to post his new tracks. This is a blog about making music, after all, so there's always a reason to listen to something new.

Afgan hound by Nikolai Bonamente

Times Draggin by Nikolai Bonamente

taratop by Nikolai Bonamente

Be sure to let Nikolai know what you think about his tracks by leaving him a comment on his Soundcloud page. Thanks, Nikolai!

Friday, January 20, 2012

.968 Commercial Refill Sneak Peek: 1985, Part 2

Yesterday, Ben from 3rd Floor Sound shared a couple of patches from his 1985 Refill, the Tenderness emulating "Public Tender" and the combined lead patch "Voices Carrying." Today, Ben is providing O.M.D. mimicking "So In Love" and two additional patches that were inspired by and created from some of his more faithful emulations, Massive Organ and Cathedral Monster.

Ben took a few minutes to answer some of my questions about his refill and his process.

This refill is obviously fueled by nostalgia. Were there any particular sounds from the era that stood out for you as being necessary for this refill?

Oddly enough it didn't start out with the nostalgia in mind. I'd just been wandering around 4 or 5 Reason forums and kept seeing the same question in every one: "How do I make "x" sound from song "y?" I always tried to answer these posts, thinking that even if I didn't get it exactly right, I'd be learning as I went. Did that for who knows how long before I realized I loved doing it, so I picked a year at random and checked out the end of the year billboard chart to see what songs were in there. It started becoming nostalgic after I was listening to all these great songs from when I was a kid in order to pick the instruments. You automatically connect them with specific memories and get a little lost in your mind. It becomes even more fun when I finish an instrument and get to try to learn how to play the song -- occasionally well enough that it might be slightly recognizable.

When it came down to it I included every sound from the year that I could make with synths, so there are a few songs that didn't get represented in the refill because they were recorded entirely with guitars, etc. There were also a few that used the same sound as another song, so those didn't get included. Thinking about it now though, there are a couple instruments that had to be there aside from those in the standard ultra-popular songs: the bass (pretty sure it's a minimoog) in Starpoint's Object Of My Desire was one of those. I don't even remember that song being on the radio, but that bass is perfection in the studio version of the song. Another was that clanky synth in John Parr's Naughty Naughty -- the sound just screams 1985. Well, that sound and John's incredible mullet. That was a tough one because it's layered over a bass playing the same notes a good part of the time.

How did you go about creating your emulations for these classic sounds?

It really came down to having a song playing in the background, opening up a Thor with an analog oscillator and finding the basic wave that matched most closely. Sometimes it's instantly apparent that you're listening to a saw with a quick filter on it, for example. From there it's a matter of additional oscillators and little tweaks to get it just right, but sometimes it can be like playing Jenga: sounds are so well blended that if you try to pull one out the others fall apart. There were cases where I brought songs into Adobe Audition (3.0) in order to use the program's spectral frequency display, where you can visually select notes and frequency ranges to delete them. It's not perfect, but it can be helpful when you're trying to hear instruments that were obscured in the mix. You reach a certain point where the stack of Jenga blocks is swaying back and forth, and that's when you move into Reason. Then it's a matter of moving left to right in Thor, oscillators to filters to envelopes and LFOs to effects. When it's done I try to program the Combinator to either have the options I would want or that the instrument came with, assuming I can find out what it was. Sometimes that's a mystery and it's fun to make it do weird things that people won't expect when they bump the Mod Wheel or click a button.

Were there any sounds that you wanted to create, but just couldn't get right? Can we expect to hear them in an update or follow up refill?

Oh there were a bunch of those, and they were nearly all drums. This was just before Reason 5 came out so Kong wasn't available. I played around making drums using Thor off and on, but there's only so much you can do that way. I'll definitely be revisiting 1985 to get that worked out eventually, at which point I'll post it with a really cheap upgrade price.

There was at least one sound that was giving me fits though. The strings in Raspberry Beret. It seems simple, but at the time I could have sworn it was evil. Hopefully I've learned a couple tricks since then that will allow me to hit it just right. I will pin that one down even if I have to... okay, no, I'm not going to go and try locating Prince.

Wow, this got a little long-winded, didn't it? I may need to get out more.

Thanks for giving us a look at your process, Ben, and providing Reason Patch A Day with its first potential kidnapping threat.

If you're interested in learning more about the 1985 Refill or purchasing another refill, including the new Theory Refill, you can find more information at 3rd Floor Sound.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

.967 Commercial Refill Sneak Peek: 1985, Part 1

Almost a full six months ago, I felt the undeniable fatigue of burnout creeping into my work on the blog and I took a break of week or two to try to recharge with my family. When I came back, I promised a few changes, and embarrassingly, never really followed up on them, aside from quickly throwing together a new PAD Challenge.

I'm not sure what held me back from moving forward on a few of the other changes I mentioned, but its certainly past due that I get to them, because there were some neat ideas in that original list, most specifically offering sneak peeks at a few commercial refills making the rounds in the Reason community.

The first commercial refill we'll be looking at here on Reason Patch A Day is 3rd Floor Sound's nostalgic 1985 refill, a part of their Historical Refill Series. Described as "a set based on the instruments used to top the charts over the last 30 years," for those of you who came of musical age in the 80s like I did, this refill is bound to put a smile on your face with surprisingly accurate emulations of sounds you grew up with, as well as patches that more generally mimic the sounds of the time.

Ben at 3rd Floor Sound was kind enough to share a few patches from his 1985 Refill to give you all a peek at what sounds he has in store for you:

Come back tomorrow for a couple of additional patches from the 1985 Refill and a brief Q&A with Ben about his work and what inspired him to create such a focused library of sounds.

Bragware Report: Electro of the Gods, by Nait_Phoenix

The new year must have everyone feeling more creative. We got a Bragware Report a week ago with TheFatControlleR's Dylan & The Seven Drones, then posted the new track Forgiven from Martin Kremser, and while I was literally preparing the post for Martin's song I received an email from Nait Phoenix telling me he just finished up a new song using a couple of old Reason Patch A Day sounds.

Nait_Phoenix had this to say about his song:

"I used the Norse Gods: Forseti patch for the main melody and the Norse Gods: Hoor patch for the grumbling bass."

Electro of the Gods by Nait_Phoenix

If anyone has any comments or constructive criticism for Nait_Phoenix regarding his new track, I urge you to go to his Soundclick page and let him know what you think. Thanks for sharing, Nait! I look forward to hearing whatever else you come up with in the future.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Bragware Report: Forgiven, by Martin Kremser

I recently got an email from reader Martin Kremser, letting me know he used a couple of Reason Patch A Day patches on one of his new songs: Forgiven. Martin let me know he used Ba-ba-ba-bass and Iatrogenic on his latest techno song. If the results don't get you moving, you might have to see a doctor.

Martin Kremser - Forgiven [Original Mix] by Martin Kremser

Provide any constructive criticism you might have by leaving a comment on Martin's Soundcloud page.

Thanks for let us know what you've been up to, Martin!

If you have a track of your own that you'd like to highlight on the blog, please send me an email with a link to your track and a description, so I can post it here. I'm always eager to hear what's being done with the patches shared here, so I'd love to hear from you.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Bragware Report: Dylan & The Seven Drones, by TheFatControlleR

Threads cycle pretty quickly on the Propellerhead User Forum, but a few weeks ago Ben from 3 Floor Sound was nice enough to draw a little attention to my new archive refill by pointing folks in my direction. Thank you, Ben!

The thread was short and short-lived, but was the internet equivilent of getting a bear hug, with a few people thanking me for my work on the blog and posting about their excitement in getting the refills. Thank you all for showing interest in what I've been doing!

One of the highlights of the thread, however, was a song that FatControlleR put together using patches from the Vol 1 Refill. His efforts can be found in the thread or heard here:

Dylan & The Seven Drones by TheFatControlleR

FatControlleR even put together a video for his track. You can see it below.

FatControlleR was kind enough to outline all of the patches he used in his song, telling me he used the Gravel, Journeyman [Run (off)], Mandible Lullaby, Mantis Prayers, Memory, Metaphor, The Snickers Of Shadows [Run (off)], TwangSlang, and Unfaithful + Heft + UglyBoy instrument patches. On the effects side, he used the Auto-Pan, Campfire, Character Enhancer, Heft (Stereo), Nasal, Shimmering, Spacey, and TapeFlutter effects and Combinators.

As I mentioned to FatControlleR privately, it's always a treat to hear what other people have done with the sounds I've created. Sometimes they sound the same, other things I can't recognize them at all. Thanks for sharing, FatControlleR! It was a lot of fun for me to hear what you've done with my patches.