Propellerhead Record + iPad

April 13th, 2010

I’m toying with a full mixer control template using the TouchOSC editor. The picture shows a rough concept layout of the SSL EQ section. Tabs are set for the input, dynamics, fx sends, insert, fader/pan, and master section. Here’s another video which uses TouchOSC as fader bank to control the Record Main Mixer:

iPad imPressions

April 10th, 2010

Preordering an iPad was a no brainer for me. I will admit that I had heard rumors about certain issues which made me a little nervous about being an early adopter, but the fanboy-slash-tech geek in me could not resist. I’ve had a few days to play with apple’s “magical” new device, and I will say that once it’s been customized, it is an incredible device.

First thing out of the box, I noticed that it operates much faster compared to the iPhone 3GS: navigation, launching apps and web browsing are blazing fast. The first app i downloaded was iBooks to see how the store and reader functioned. I tried reading in one of my favorite positions - laying on my back. The weight of the iPad isn’t bad, but holding on to the frame while fully reclined is difficult. In order to support the iPad, I have to hold my thumb over the touch screen which sends errant commands to flip or foldover the page in the application. Finally i discovered a way to position my thumb along the bottom and my index finger on the left edge. In any seated position, it works great, but laying back, it’s a two handed process. One nice feature is the position lock switch which keeps the display in either the portrait or landscape mode - this is needed on the iPhone.

It is indeed true that the published content is still limited, but this will change and I look forward to subscribing to some periodicals so that I don’t have to archive or dispose of old issues of magazines. I really like the BBC News App which has thoughtful navigation and quicktime implementation of the video. Along the same lines, Pandora has made great use of the increased screen area by displaying song and artist information for your stations.

One of the main reasons I wanted a portable reader was to have a way to carry around PDFs. Rather than store these files in emails, a couple of commercial apps are available. PDFReader HD works ok… So far it’s the only one that will open the Record Manual without a problem. Another one that I like is MobileStudio which operates as a little file system on the iPad and you can transfer any type of document via an FTP client. The transfer speeds into Mobile Studio are blazing fast, and some transfers cruised as high as 3,000 kbps. However, MobileStudio has problems opening extremely large PDF files like the Record manual.

I also installed the iWork applications to see if the device could be used in some productive fashion. I do find the abbreviated keyboard annoying. Even after a few days it’s still hard for me to find any comfort touch typing on the panel. They keys are about the same size and spacing as a normal keyboard, but the right hand punctuation keys are missing, and the [return] button is placed where the [;] key normally sits. Also, I find it difficult not to rest my fingers on the keyboard, so I’ve resigned to the tradition hunt ‘n peckr method. The external keyboard option is something to consider.


The other day, I was out and did not have internet access on the iPad, and started to realize that the device is certainly lacks without a highspeed wifi connection. I would say that it’s half useless without some kind of network connection. If you have a lot of apps, books, music, and video loaded then it’s a fairly complete system.

So as far as music application go, I think we all know how powerful this device will be. I’ve done some early tests with TouchOSC as MIDI control surface and have been extremely surprised by the responsiveness over a wifi network. A couple of fun apps that have yet to be ported to the iPad format are technoBox and Jasuto. You can zoom in on iPhone/iPod Touch apps and take advantage of the increased screen real estate, but the graphics are aliased. However, find that even with the low res graphics, the usability of these music apps is greatly increased with the speed and larger interface - especially for those of us who have fat fingers :)

Is the iPad worth it? If iPhone Safari had flash it would definitely be worth it to everyone because watching video is really great on the iPad. It’s unfortunate that we can’t log into hulu and catch up on some tv shows. As a stand alone version, the iPad is more of an entertainment unit rather than a productivity device, so you will have to shell out some money for apps and books to make it really appealing. For those of us who are seeking some application for the device other than surfing and emailing, the touch screen technology is certainly worth the price of admission. I’m 93.14159% sure that I will upgrade to the 3G iPad, because the experience is much better with some kind of connectivity.

Reason+Record Clinic in Hawaii

March 26th, 2010

I’ll be presenting a little Reason + Record Clinic/Q&A in the beautiful 808-state, Hawaii next Thursday, April 1, 2010 - No fooling :) The event starts at 4:30pm and will be held at Easy Music Center in Honolulu.

I haven’t sorted out the format for the clinic, so I’ll play it by ear for part of it. Beat Making? Synth Programming? CV/Gating? REXting? High Level Tweakiness? I’ll also drop in my presentation on the signal path through Record.

For more details, please visit Easy Music Center’s Website

Propellerhead Reason + Record Clinic
Thursday, April 1, 2010. 4:30pm
Easy Music Center
1314 South King Street
Honolulu, HI 96814


CycleOn Combinator Refill

March 2nd, 2010

CycleOn is a real-time playback system for ReCycle REX loops. This combinator based instrument patch is designed to create live performance and DJ Style effects using Propellerhead Software Record + Reason 4.0 (both applications are required).

Many thanks to my friends who contributed to this package. The logo and graphics have been created by the team at Bitplant, and the loop library includes content from Loopmasters, GW Childs, Goh Nakamura, and drummer, Tim Bulkley.

The main features of CycleOn include Tempo Synchronized Loop Playback; crossfading between two loops; auto-synchronized start and stop; loop start re-triggering effects; delay based audio juggling; a dual stage beat repeater effect; and one-click effect initiator buttons. The controls are programmed for use in a live situation, and when used in conjunction with a control surface, CycleOn patches form the foundation of a compelling performance piece.

YouTube Video Demonstration

Control Overview

The CycleOn combinator is a formatted around the same general controls, which are described in detail below:

Button 1 - Loop On: When the Record transport is playing, this button enables and disables loop playback. When the button is enabled, the loop will start at the beginning of the next measure. When the button is disabled, the loop will stop at the end of the current measure.

Button 2 - Delay/Juggle: For patches designated as “delay,” this button switches a fixed delay in and out of the circuit. The delay can be toggled on and off quickly to generate beat shifting effects. With the “Juggle” assignment, the button is a momentary control that initiates the delay for a set period. One-Click effect juggling initiates regardless of the button on/off state.

Button 3 - x Step Repeat: This is a One-Click effect initiator, which enables the beat repeat for a defined period. It does not matter if the button is on or off, the effect will be initiated once it has been clicked. Most of the patches are programmed for a 4 Step Repeat effect which is enabled precisely at a quarter note division.

Button 4 - MS - Steps: This controls the beat repeater resolution. With “BR5” patches, this button switches between two sets of delays - one delay pair is set to millisecond mode and the other pair is set to step mode. “BR4” patches will switch the unit mode on a single delay pair.

Rotary 1 - Fader/Fader-Morph: Level control that crossfades between audio signals from the two loop sources. When designated with the label “Fader-Morph”, the rotary controls a pitch modulation between the two REX loops which adds the illusion of the loop speed increasing or decreasing.

Rotary 2 - Trigger Pattern: A selector control that changes the re-trigger pattern driver. Zero setting is the standard single trigger position. The patches have 9 different patterns which increase in complexity as the selector value increases.

Rotary 3 - Beat Repeat: This control can be used to manually fade in a beat repeat effect. The best result is achieved by quickly raising the value from 0 to 127. This control is modulated by the momentary button matrix assigned to Button 3: Step Repeat.

Rotary 4 - Repeat Interval: Controls the duration of the Beat Repeater segment depending on the state of Button 4 MS - Steps. In MS mode the Beat Repeater time is a value between 20 ms and 256 ms (range varies). In “Steps” mode, the beat repeater is synchronized to the tempo and ranges from 1 to 4 steps. One step is a 1/16th note.

Pitch Bend: Pitch Wheel modulation of the Dr. REX Loop players.

Mod Wheel: Alternative control for the crossfader, except with Filter patches.

Keyboard: Notes in the Range of C-2 to C0 transpose the Dr.REX loop players.

CycleOn Templates

Included in the Refill package are templates for customizing your own CycleOn patches. The documentation details the differences between each of the templates and includes some tips and tricks for programming. These are quite easy to use. All that is necessary is to open the combi patch and load Recycle loops into each of the REX Loop players.

There is also a CycleOn Audio Track combinator which is configured to process two external stereo audio sources like Record Audio Tracks. This allows you to apply synchronized muting, juggling and beat repeat effects to recorded or even live audio tracks.

Rotary CV System combinators are also located in the CycleOn Templates folder. These are CV generator patches which can be used as general CV unipolar sources which can be used to route a single rotary control to multiple destinations. For example, one rotary control can be used to modulate the crossfader of multiple CycleOn patches. An example Record Session file and documentation are provided in the package.


The Peff 035 - CycleOn Combinator Refill is available for free to all Propellerhead Record+Reason users through the Propellerhead Software website.

CycleOn Documentation Download

CycleOn for Reason

The Peff 035x - CycleOn Combinator for Reason Refill is a smaller version with fewer loops and presets. Please note that the Bitplant backdrop graphic does not work perfectly in Reason because of the text rendering contrast. Also, the patches use several instances of Thor which may tax an older PowerPC system. CycleOn works fine on a dual-core intel, but may not work on a G4 or G5. If you are interested in acquiring a license (single-user, multi-user, or developer distribution license) for the CycleOn for Reason refill, please see this page.

Record+Reason Discussion at Robotspeak

February 16th, 2010

This coming Saturday, February 20, 2010 at 2:00pm, we will be having a little discussion group on Record+Reason in San Francisco. The guys at Robotspeak have set aside some time for me to come in and turn the shop into a lab! I’ll probably do a quick clinic of the product, but I really want to pull out some of the toys and get tweaky with a blend of hardware with Record+Reason.

I’ll probably be down in the lower haight most of the day, and there’s no charge!

Robotspeak SF Storefront
589 1/2 haight st. @ steiner
San Francisco, CA 94117

ph 415.554.1977

Minimoog Voyager CV/Gate control from Record

February 11th, 2010

Last year, I posted a few items on using Reason CV/Gates to control analog synths through a MOTU audio interface, and recently, I’ve received an unusual amount of email inquiring about the concept of controlling analog synths via Record. I figured it’s about time that I should post this, a Record session file with a MIDI to CV/Gate/Mod converter that works ‘volta’-style to control a minimoog voyager. This patch is calibrated to work with a MOTU 896HD firewire interface and will probably not be tuned with anything else. To use this session you need Record + Reason 4, a MOTU 896HD, a Minimoog Voyager, and the proper cables. Surprisingly I’m not alone with this setup!

The connections between the 896HD and the Minimoog voyager are made using XLR to TRS cables with the Ring contact lifted and with XLR pin 3 shorted to ground. XLR Pin 2 corresponds to the TRS jack’s tip contact. Three cables are used. One cable connects from an audio channel to the Minimoog gate trigger input. One connects to the pitch modulation input, and the third connects into the filter modulation input. This configuration has not been tested with a VX-352 CV Expander or the rack mount voyager.


Three audio outputs from the Thor embedded in the Combinator are the source of the control voltage signals which are then routed to the MOTU audio interface. Audio Output 1 is the Pitch CV; Audio Output 3 is the Filter Mod CV; and Audio Output 4 is the Gate CV. Three spiders situated between the combinator and the Record Hardware device are used as open patch points. This is done as a safety precaution (for those who really shouldn’t open the file) so you will need to manually make connections between the Spider Audio Merger outputs and the Spider Audio Merger inputs. Just draw a jumper cable between the Merge Output (L) and the Split Input A (L) on each of the 3 devices, labelled Pitch CV, Filter CV, and Gate CV

On the Minimoog Voyager, switch the Envelope mode to ON/External. Also, press Middle C to set the base pitch. The incoming CV value merges with the instrument keyboard value, so press middle C to inhibit any transposition.


Tuning is tricky because it involves finding both the proper intervals as well as the correct pitch. This requires some tweaking to get it right. First open up the combinator patch and access the Thor Programming matrix. On a keyboard controller, play octave intervals into the combinator, and adjust the MOD Destination Amount settings on bus 1 and bus 2 until the intervals sound like full octaves. For this patch, Mod Dest Amt 1 is 99 and Mod Dest Amt 2 is 33. This seems (for my setup) to yield very tight octave tuning over 5 octaves.

You can route audio from the minimoog voyager back into a Record Audio Track, and monitor the pitch using the input channel tuner. You might run into a problem of the track focus closing the tuner when you switch the sequencer track. To keep the tuner active, arm the audio track for recording, and then set the focus on the MIDI track which should also be armed for sequencing.

Watch the tuner and start dialing in the exact pitch. Once the octave interval tuning is set or even close, use the Thor Rotary 1 to introduce a gross tuning offset. As the pitch gets close, use the Mod Dest Amt 4 parameter to control a fine tuning. You can also use the minimoog voyager fine tune control. Again use octave intervals on C, E, G, B to make sure the interval scaling is correct, then go back and make fine tuning adjustments on the Mod Dest Amt 4 parameter.

Once the key scaling is set and the the tuning aligned, then you can sequence the minimoog voyager as you would any of the Reason synthesizers. You can also connect a Matrix Pattern Sequencer or RPG-8 Arpeggiator to the Combi patch and drive the synth as you would one of Reason’s virtual instruments. After the arrangement is complete, you can then Record the minimoog voyager track in Record.


Tim Bulkley - Record Session

February 8th, 2010

The base development of the CycleOn combinator is pretty much finished. Since this is simply a single combinator that relies on REX loops, I’ve been working on a small library to complement the patches. After digging through some old files, I stumbled across some test session files from the time I tracked Goh Nakamura’s Ulysses album. Tim Bulkley had managed to borrow an amazing vintage Gretsch kit, and we tracked a few minutes of him jamming.

I’ve imported the audio tracks into Record, and started mixing them for use as REX loops in the CycleOn refill. I’ve decided to share a small portion of the MP3 above in a Record Session. You can get an idea of how we tried to get a certain feel by only using a a kick drum mic, a mono overhead and some room mics.


Record Tip: In the Main Mixer, you will see two overhead tracks, [AKG D-19 R47], [AKG D-19 R47 Copy]. The ‘Copy’ track is just a duplicate of the original track, however the mixer settings are different. The filters are tuned to isolate the snare drum which then ‘keys’ the noise gate so that mainly snare hits pass through, and this reinforces the snare in the mix.

Because the final audio is intended for loops, I’ve pushed the bass a little to beef things up.