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!