Continuing Hollin Jones’ exploration of the essentials of Reason, and how to become a power user…
1: To add a device manually, click on the Add button. Choose from the Manufacturer and Model dropdown lists to see if yours appears – if it does, choose it. Any natively supported devices will load templates automatically that will map controls from the MIDI hardware straight to the many devices inside Reason. Again, don’t worry if it doesn’t appear.
2: To set up a generic device, choose Other from the manufacturer dropdown menu and then choose the device type from the list below. Don’t panic if you can’t think of the best description, everything should still work. To force it to look for a device, press the Find button and press a key or move a controller, whereupon it should be found.
3: In the Advanced tab you can specify MIDI inputs to be used to play Reason from other hardware. This isn’t like ReWire, which is software-only, but applies to using external workstations or signals from other DAWs via hardware. You can also sync Reason to other kit using MIDI Clock, with optional offset to correct timing.
4: At the base of this window you can alter the Scratch Disk folder. This is where Reason stores temporary recording data such as audio files that you record as well as new, unsaved songs. It’s possible to redirect this file path – if, for example, you are using a laptop with a small SSD but a large, secondary USB hard drive.
5: You should now find that data is flowing in and out, provided all your interface drivers are up-to-date and working. Try creating an audio track and setting its input, then making a sound to check the level is coming in. If it’s not, check the gain level on the hardware and that the correct channel and type (mono or stereo) is selected.
6: Repeat with an instrument or MIDI track to see that MIDI is coming in. You should see a green level icon appear on the tiny instrument picture in the sequencer, denoting that signal is being received. If it’s not, check the MIDI setup and also that your hardware is transmitting on the correct channel (usually channel 1).
Latency, Appearance and ReFills
1: If you experience latency, you’ll need to go back and tweak your audio buffer size in the Preferences or in your audio interface’s control panel software (this will vary with every model). Here, the buffer size has been reduced to 256 samples. This will offer very low latency but impose a higher CPU hit on the computer.
2: In this example, a much higher buffer size of over 2,000 samples has been set. This will give poor latency but better overall performance. As a rule, set a small buffer for recording audio and MIDI when latency is key, and a higher one when mixing, for which smooth playback is essential. You’ll get a feel for what works best for you.
3:From the Window menu in Reason you can control what is visible and which sections are integrated or split off to separate windows. A two-monitor setup is ideal if you have one, but if not, each of the different sections is freely resizeable, and keyboard shortcuts are available to zap straight to different parts of the app.
4: The ReFill Packer is a free download from the Props’ website and enables you to take specially ordered folders containing your patches and sounds and embed metadata before creating your own ReFill. These can then be stored, shared or even sold, as many independent sample creators have been doing for years.