We love using Reason, but for most people, it’s usually stuck in our bedrooms and studios. Here’s a chance to take the creativity on the road and jam with fellow reason users - in real-time!

The San Francisco Bay Area Reason User Group is planning a Reason LaptopJAM on Saturday, March 3, 2007 from 6pm to 10pm or later. This session will be held in the South Bay in Sunnyvale.

This is a semi-private event. The location details are disclosed to Registered Reason Users who RSVP in advance. To receive an invitation and to be added to the group roster, please contact Ed Bauman.

EditEd4TV (at) yahoo (dot) com

Event Information

Up to eight laptops can be synchronized simultaneously via MIDI, and the audio is mixed through a PA. If you specialize in beats, then someone else can handle the bassline and another can deal with leads. The idea is to hang out, have a good time, and see what happens when we get software people playing like a band.

Gear Needed to Participate

Bring your own rig if you want to participate, but people are welcome to come watch and hang out as well.

Laptop - Anything that Runs Reason reliably. You could huff over a tower if you want.

MIDI Interface/MIDI Controller - You will need a MIDI input to your system in order to synchronize the laptops. Either a MIDI interface or USB Keyboard/Controller with MIDI input will work.

Keyboard Stand - There’s limited table space. Be prepared to sit on the floor or a box. If you don’t bring some type of stand to hold all your necessary gear.

Audio Interface - An audio Interface with Headphone output is very useful for personal monitoring. It’s not a necessary peripheral, but it’s highly recommended. A Direct Box (D.I.) or is optional but also recommended.

Headphones - You can try to Jam along in real time, but sometimes it’s necessary to sequence something in your headphones prior to adding in to the session. Bring a pair of headphones to audition your part before joining the mix.

Cables & Adapters - Bring your own audio cables that connect from your system to 1/4” Jack or XLR Mic Inputs. Those using the headphone output jack from a laptop should have a 1/8″ stereo plug “Y-Cable” that leads to dual mono 1/4″ plugs.

Equipment Provided at the Event

The following are supplied at the session:
PA - Provided by venue
Mixer - Mackie 1604 VLZ
MIDI Distribution - MOTU MIDI Time Piece II
MIDI Clock Source - Boss Drum Machine
Recording - DAT
MIDI Cables - Enough Cables for 8 participants.

Session Guidelines and Practices

Player Arrangement - For better communication during the session, people should be situated as close as possible. This makes it easier to see what others are doing and tightens the vibe.

Tone Limitations - Provided the 8 player maximum is reached, participants should limit their sound palette to one instrument. It may be necessary to mute out duplicate parts if the set becomes overwhelming.

Time Limitation - Go off and do a killer solo, but limit the jamming to 1 or 2 minutes, and then free-up the soundscape so others can participate.

Someone must man the console. If necessary, have someone’s rig close to the mixer.

Preproduction - Participants can create a track before the event, and share the RNS file with the others beforehand. Some ideas include: Basic Drum and bassline grooves-be sure to add transitions at period points like at the end of 16 bars, etc.

Set up a cool repeating simple synth line, something like the mesmerizing repetitive stuff that Jean Michel Jarre or Tangerine Dream created-just a simple repeating line that the group can accompany.

Virtual Drum Circle - Each participant is assigned an instrument and contributes a rhythm pattern to the session.

MIDI Sync in Reason

MIDI Clock Preferences - Before a system will synchronize to an external MIDI Clock, the preferences must be set to recognize incoming clock signals.

1. Open the Reason Preferences and select the Advanced MIDI item from the pull down menu.

2. Locate the MIDI Clock Sync with a pull down menu. Select the MIDI input port from the list.

3. Close the Preferences Window.

4. When interfaced with the MIDI network, the green “Sync Input” lamp will light-up. Click on the MIDI SYNC ENABLED Button.

Reason is now slaved to the incoming MIDI Clock.

If the “Sync Input” indicator does not light up, then you may need to troubleshoot your setup. Start with the MIDI Clock Sync preferences and try different input ports. Make sure your MIDI drivers are up to date, and in the worst case, check the MIDI cable - sometimes the cable is bad.

ReSynchronizing - Opening a new song file or stopping the transport on Reason will cause you to drop sync until the Master MIDI clock is reset. To reestablish sync without interrupting the master clock, use the following procedure:

1. Turn down your audio or mute your output tracks. Then Press Play. Reason should start up at the song position pointer location which could be measure 400 or more.

2. In the sequencer, zoom the view out until you can see the song position marker.

3. Grab the (E)nd marker and drag it right beyond the play marker.

4. Place the (R)ight marker just beyond the locator line. When the locator reaches the Right Loop marker, the sequencer cycles back to the (L)eft Loop marker.

5. Set the (R) loop marker at a standard point like measure 9.1.1 or 17.1.1. Use the CTRL/CMD click shortcut.

San Francisco Bay Area Reason User Group


The SF Bay Area Reason User Group is a community of Reason enthusiasts who were originally acquainted through the Propellerhead Software Website forum.

In 2005, we started organizing dinners to meet up and chat about music software and audio technology periodically. This is the same thing we do over the internet, but with food and drinks rather than networks and servers.

The San Francisco Bay Area Reason User Group invites you to a Reason Laptop Jam session. This is an opportunity to meet fellow users and exchange musical ideas.