Reason Tutorial: Creative Sound Design – Step-by-Step

Hollin Jones further explores the Combinator in Reason in this step by step guide…

1: Begin by loading a blank Combinator either from the Browser or from the Create > Utilities menu. The first thing you should drag into it is a Line Mixer, since this will enable other modules to be submixed.


2: Now drop a synth into the area directly below the mixer but also still inside the combi. If you go too far the synth will be placed into the main rack, which isn’t the aim. Done right, it should sit inside the combi.

3: If you hit the Tab key to spin the Rack around you will see why it was important to add a mixer first. The synth has been routed to the mixer with more slots free for the next steps. The signal then goes from the mixer via the combi out to the main mixer.

4: Add a second module to the combi and you will find it is triggered by the main MIDI input along with the first. Round the back you will see the auto routing take place. Use the line mixer to balance the relative levels of the two synths.


5: Most of the same rules apply inside a combi as in the main Rack. So if you take an effect module and drop it onto an instrument inside a combi, Reason will auto-route the audio signals accordingly.

6: Here we have dropped a Pulverizer onto one of the synths so it’s being processed through it, but the other elements of the combi remain unaffected. Use the effect’s dry/wet control to manage levels.

7: The Line Mixer can host a single effect on its aux buss. Drop an effect onto it, something like a compressor that you might want to use as a send for different modules inside the combi.

8: Use the Aux dial on each of the six channels to apply compression to instruments. Changing the compressor’s settings will affect every signal routed through it. Think of it as a mini send effect system.

9: Press the Show Programmer button on the Combinator’s front panel and you will see a list of the modules contained inside it. Select one and on the right you will see a list of available parameters that can be assigned to quick controls.

10: For any module, choose a combi button or dial and then a parameter to assign it to. You might want to have a dial control a delay rate inside one of the synths or an effect dry/wet lev

11: Utility devices can be controlled in this way too, not just instruments and effects. So you could have quick controls to turn individual channels inside a Line Mixer up or down for example – a nice hands-on mixing system.

12: Helpfully, most parameters can also have minimum and maximum values set in the column to the right, the options depending on the parameter. So you might want to ensure a volume control can never go too quiet or too loud, for example.