animoog inspired Reason 6 combi

October 31st, 2011

My latest obsession has been the new animoog iPad app from moog music, inc. It’s a brilliant example of the tablet platform and touch control surface as a creative and expressive musical instrument. If you haven’t tried animoog, I highly highly highly recommend getting it.

Animoog’s sound generation system is akin to a vector synthesizer, however the main XY pad merges an eight way source selector against a wavetable grain selector. The modulation of the XY pad can be automated allowing you to explore complex variations between wavetables and granular systems. I’ve found that bypassing the modulation “orbits” and “path” parameters and simply controlling these parameters in real-time offers and incredible performance experience. This has inspired me to try to share the experience with Reason 6 users who may not have access to an iPad.

Reason users have had a similar technology available for quite some time in the Malstrom graintable synthesizer where you have two graintable oscillators. The main difference in the experience is the control over the graintables. Animoog allows you to “crossfade” between each of the sources while Malstrom’s architecture is somewhat fixed and allows you to layer the two sources or fade with envelopes, rather than a real time control.

Using a combinator configured with several Malstroms and a multi source fader, I’ve devised a patch that simulates the experience of the animoog sound source. Due to the limitations of using multiple synth devices, the configuration is limited to a monophonic instrument. Despite being mono, it’s fun nonetheless!


The combinator is contained in the example Reason 6 session file and patch archive available here:

Combinator Controls

Below is a description of the combinator controls and the functions they perform. To simulate the animoog style of table/index control try mapping the modwheel and Index control to an XY pad. This particular patch is designed to create aggressive dubstepish tones, however you can modify graintable selections and other Malstrom parameters to customize the behavior.

Mod Wheel: Multi Source fader control fades between the 8 graintables

Rotary 1 - Index: simultaneously controls all graintable index positions.

Rotary 2 - Shift: simultaneously controls all 8 graintable shift amounts.

Rotary 3 - BitCrush: increasing this knobs applies more bit crushing

Rotary 4 - LFO Rate: controls the wobble rate

Button 1 - Index Mod: applies ramp modulation to the index of all 8 graintables.

Button 2 - Table Sweep: applies LFO to the multi source fader

Button 3 - Crush On: Enables/Disables the Scream 4 bitcrush effect

Button 4 - LFO Enabled: Enables/Disables the modulation of the filter and amp sections

Multi Source Fader control

The eight way source selector relies on an old technique (think power tools for Reason 2.5 era) of using the BV512 Vocoder as an audio to CV converter. When the combi receives a note on message, a Thor polysonic synth is triggered to generate a sine wave. The sine wave acts as a modulator signal on the vocoder and opens specific bands on the vocoder. The CV signals generated by the individual bands control the fader levels of remix mixer. When the pitch of the sine wave is adjusted (by way of the mod wheel), a different range of bands opens, subsequently opening different mixer channels. This is an important aspect of the patch because that recreates the experience of using animoog.

Migrating Record Locations & Favorites to Reason 6

October 3rd, 2011

A Reason+Record Duo User who attended the Producers Conference in Las Vegas asked a rather important question about losing all of his patch browser “Favorites” and “Locations” settings when upgrading from the RR5 Duo package to Reason 6. We discovered that it is possible to migrate these settings provided you are working on the same computer system and the locations of refills and other patch data has not changed in the upgrade process. If your refills are somewhere in a user document location and have not been moved, this process should work fairly smoothly. If your refills and patches were in the Reason Application folder or have been moved, this may not work. While this may not be relevant for every user, those who have put an extensive amount of time in organizing refills and patch lists in Record will probably want to migrate these lists into Reason 6.

Before proceeding with this process, quit Record and/or Reason 6, and make sure your account has administrator privileges. Otherwise, find the administrator and have them perform this process.

The Reason/Record Browser stores the patch location information in “.favo” files. On a Mac OS system, the files can be found in the following directory:

Drive (MacHD) \ Users \ username \ Library \ Application Support \ Propellerhead Software \

and on a Windows system:

C: \ Documents and Settings \ username \ Application Data \ Propellerhead Software \

You will see folders for “Reason” and “Record”, and each contain similar files, including “Locations.favo” and any other favorites lists. To transfer your Record locations settings to Reason 6, simply replace the “Locations.favo” in the Reason folder with the one from the Record folder. When you Launch Reason 6, the locations list will appear as it did in the Reason+Record Duo browser.

Instead of deleting the Reason 6 list, I renamed it to “Locations2.favo”, and then copied the Record “Locations.favo” into the Reason folder. “Locations2″ appears as a favorites list, and my old Record settings now populate the browser Locations lists.

As a reminder, you no longer need Propellerhead Record, and should now only launch Reason 6. I recommend that you transition through the upgrade process slowly and try to keep your old files around. If you have uninstalled Record from your system, you may have lost previous locations lists. Rename the old application folder to “Reason 5″ and keep both v5 and v6 installed. Once you’re confident that everything is working properly in Reason 6, then uninstall Reason 5 and Record 1.5.

mØxr update (5.1.9)

September 19th, 2011

mØxr is a maxmsp based application that converts audio signals to MIDI note events. The application is calibrated to receive Reason CV messages as audio signals, and in turn generate a monophonic stream of MIDI notes that can trigger hardware synthesizers.

A new build of mØxr has been compiled with the recent update of MaxMSP 5.1.9. This update is recommended for anyone running the latest version of Snow Leopard, Mac OS 10.6.8 and soundflower 1.5.2.

More information regarding this Reason CV Audio to MIDI converter patch on the mØxr page

Lion Compatibility

MaxMSP 5.1.9 seems to address issues of running mØxr on Mac OS 10.7.1 Lion. I personally have not updated to Lion and recommend to anyone using mØxr to stay with Snow Leopard. Until Max, soundflower, and all audio drivers are fully compatible in Lion, it is uncertain whether this patcher will function properly.

Reason 6

Because soundflower is a Mac OS Core Audio extension, mØxr should be fully compatible with the upcoming release of Propellerhead Reason 6. Implementation of the aggregate audio devices and MIDI drivers is still configured in Audio MIDI preferences, outside of the Reason environment, and so there should not be any issue for those who upgrade. The process of converting Reason CV to Audio relies on a Thor Polysonic Synthesizer, so mØxr will not operate with Reason Essentials.

Download mØxr

Anyone with a mØxr+ patcher can use the same link previously distributed via email. The public version of the patcher is available from the link below:

Download mØxr.dmg

other people’s projects

August 28th, 2011

I’ve been busy working on a variety of different projects the past few months which have been mainly other people’s projects. Working on someone else’s music is a challenge for me, so i rely a lot on reference tracks, and having concrete examples smooths along the process of communicating specific issues with a mix. Most recently, my friend, Darin came by and we mixed some recordings of his jazz trio.

You can hear Darin’s tracks along with a few other projects that I’ve been working on. Some of these are mixed in Propellerhead Reason 5 + Record 1.5 Duo:

production and engineering projects by peff

For those of you on Facebook, I’ve posted my personal mastering combinator patch which you can hear being used on some of these tracks. you can get it from the following link:

In memory of Nicole Bernard

July 15th, 2011

While there has been a lot of buzz surrounding other Propellerhead news this week, a tragedy has befallen the family of our friend, James Bernard, PH Artists Relations and Reason Specialist. On July 13, 2011, James’ wife, Nicole, passed away. Nicole was 36 years old and was the mother of their four children, Ava, Chloe, Mia and Asher. People in the user community are leaving their expressions of sympathy on on the Propellerhead User Forum in this thread

I’ve also been receiving phone calls and emails from people asking what they could do to show their support. A trust account for James and Nicole’s four children has been established, and people can make a tangible gesture by contributing to this fund. The button below takes you to the paypal portal for the Bernard Childcare Trust:

mØxr - CV Audio to MIDI Converter

June 15th, 2011

mØxr is a MaxMSP based application that converts Control Voltages as audio signal to monophonic MIDI note messages. The application must receive two CV signals through audio connections, a Gate CV and a Note CV. While any audio signal can trigger a MIDI note message, mØxr is calibrated specifically for the Note CV values generated by a Thor Polysonic Synthesizer in Propellerhead Reason.

Discussions on the propellerhead user forum inspired me to pursue this idea, which began with the MOTU Volta concept of controlling analog hardware synthesizers with software based CV sources routed to a MOTU hardware interface. Experiments in controlling analog hardware from Reason were very successful, so this was the next logical move. I only have a basic understanding of Max, so this is all experimental and will probably sit as one of those never ending works in progress.

How this works

The connection between Reason+Record and mØxr requires an inter application audio routing extension, such as Cycling74 Soundflower, aggregated with your primary audio interface. CV/Gate data is transmitted from Reason+Record to mØxr through Soundflower, while audio signals to and from the hardware interface pass normally. This allows you to trigger a MIDI hardware synthesizer using Reason CV/Gate signals and track the audio back into Record.

As an alternative to soundflower and setting up an aggregate driver, you can also use a purely digital loopback configuration. If your hardware has unused ADAT Lightpipe connections, a digital audio loop from the output to the input can be configured with a short TOSLink cable. (The shorter the better to reduce latency of light). CV/Gate audio data can be routed from Reason+Record to the ADAT lightpipe outputs, and mØxr can receive them from the ADAT lightpipe inputs.

Things you can do

While some work is involved in getting mØxr operational, there are some surprisingly gratifying results. In addition to triggering MIDI synths from a sequence in Reason+Record, Control Voltage pattern devices like the Matrix Pattern Sequencer and RPG-8 Monophonic Arpeggiator can also be used to drive hardware.


Support for mØxr is minimal because there’s no efficient way to tech a system remotely. The documentation is rough, but I’ve attempted to cover the key issues regarding installation and operation. The CV to MIDI conversion process relies on so many different parts working together, so it’s rather difficult for me to provide support without being there in person.

It must be reiterated that mØxr generates a monophonic MIDI stream, so results from polyphonic MIDI sequences are unpredictable. Also, latency varies depending on your driver settings, buffer size, and MIDI configuration. Troubleshooting issues are (somewhat) covered in the documentation.

Download the latest mØxr Documentation

Download mØxr

mØxr is a stand-alone application for MacOS 10.6, and operates side-by-side with Reason+Record duo. Attempts to get it working on Windows have been unsuccessful, but anyone interested in exploring this concept on the windows platform can find the original patches in the MIDIRunner topic in the Propellerhead User Forum

Download mØxr.dmg

- updated 9/18/11 Max 5.1.9
- not tested with Mac OS 10.7 Lion

Producers Conference San Diego

May 16th, 2011

Huge Thanks to those who attended the Producers Conference in San Diego this past weekend. Dave, Matt, and I agree that It was definitely one of the best events to date, and we look forward to future events in the area.

My presentation, on the topic of compressors and sidechain compression, picked up where I left off during the MMM webcast on CV Basics by going into envelope followers and how they work in the process of compression. Below are links for a couple of the example files including the “home made compressor” patch and the aux bus routing system which allows you to automate sidechain compression.



I’ve decided to hold off publicly releasing the other example files on sidechain modulation, but my offer to examine your mixes and mastering still stands. I would need to see the complete Reason or Reason+Record session with all samples self-contained. Please contact me via email, or facebook.

Also here’s the demo that featured some of the more complex sidechaining processes:

CV Demo (for MMM) Record Mix by peff