Neptune Audio to CV/Gate Combi

August 25th, 2010

Propellerheads Reason 5 and Record 1.5 are finally released, and one of the things that many fellow tweak heads are curious to try is the Neptune pitch correction device in Record 1.5. Among the general pitch quantization and voice synthesis features, Neptune has a pitch-to-cv feature and an envelope follower which correspond to the ‘pitch’ and ‘amplitude’ CV output jacks.

The envelope follower is fairly straightforward and the CV generated from this output tracks the levels of the audio signal being processed through Neptune. The Pitch CV output does not conform to the standard Note CV scaling, so connecting this directly to the Note CV inputs of Reason synthesizers does not work properly. The good news is that there is a work around to creating an audio to cv/gate.

The typical Note CV is a unipolar value that corresponds to the MIDI protocol with the lowest value being zero (C-2) and the highest being 127 (G8). Neptune’s Pitch CV output is bipolar with the zero value being in the middle of the MIDI scale. The Audio to CV-Gate combinator patch uses a Thor Polysonic synthesizer to convert the value to conform to the Note CV system.


The archive includes the combinator patch which must receive audio from a monophonic source. The Spider Splitter A outputs should be connected to synth or sampler Note CV inputs, and the spider splitter B outputs are the Gate CV outs. Also included in the archive is a .record session that demonstrates a vocal track driving a Malstrom, a Thor, and a Subtractor - Record 1.5 and Reason 5 are required.

Analog Pitch Follower

There is also a solution to convert audio signals to cv/gate signals without using a Thor synth, and this patch, called Analog Pitch Follower [Send FX] | peff.cmb, is included in the Record 1.5 Effects Bank refill. This combinator is located in the Effects \ Pitch Processing \ Special Effects directory, and it includes ID8 sound modules triggered by the Neptune Pitch and Amplitude CVs.

The easiest way to use this is to add it on the FX bus, then route a send from a vocal source on the FX sends. This patch can easily be modified with other synth and sampler devices by inserting them in the combinator sub-rack and routing the audio outputs to the Spider Merger inputs.

Usage Tips

These patches were both created using a microphone and my voice as the control signal. With the Thor version of the converter, one issue to deal with is the envelope follower sensitivity. I recommend gating the mic signal using the Record Main Mixer dynamics section. Set the Gate with a threshold around -20 dB FS, range to -40 dB, and Fast mode enabled. This will prevent subtle noises from accidentally triggering note events.

Polyphonic patches do not play well with these audio to cv/gate configurations, so either set the device to mono (on Thor), or set the polyphony to 1, or enable Legato (Malström). These measures will set the synth or sampler to work properly when driven by the audio to cv/gate configurations. For smoother pitch transitions, set the portamento to a fairly high value. The pitch gliding then creates a ‘theremin like’ feel, as you play the synth using your voice.

TouchOSC MaxMSP Rewire Host for Record/Reason

May 26th, 2010

My experiments with the TouchOSC app for both the iPad and iPhone have brought me back around to Cycling74 MaxMSP 5. Of all of the methods of controlling Reason and Record via open sound control, routing OSC messages directly into the MaxMSP rewire object have proven to be most responsive. This process uses MaxMSP as a Rewire host application with Record or Reason launched in Rewire Slave Mode. OSC messages are then routed directly rather than being converted to MIDI messages which are routed through the system back into the applications.

The archive contains templates for both the iPad and iPhone which can be installed using the TouchOSC editor. These templates have a 16 button interface with a MPC pad style layout with a velocity slider. These are included in the following archive:

The TouchOSC templates are designed to work specifically with either of the two Rewire host patches, TouchOSC-ReasonRWHost.mxf for Reason and TouchOSC-RecordRWHost.mxf for Record. These patches require the free MaxMSP runtime that you can download from from Cycling74’s Website:

The patch is fairly self-explanatory: there are fields for setting the local host port (typically 8000 for TouchOSC), the iPhone/iPad IP address and Port (typ. 9000). These should be set according to your network configuration and TouchOSC settings. A basic implementation of bidirectional data is incorporated in the patch, so all settings are important.

A numeric field for entering the song tempo, and rudimentary transport controls for playback. The “zero” button sets the transport back to the start position. Finally a button labelled “Propellerhead Reason” (or Record), when pressed, will set the display on the iPad or iPhone.

The patch cannot be customized in the way you can with OSCulator. The 16 buttons and velocity slider generate note messages which are sent directly to the rewire object. It’s designed for speed, not for flexibility, so there are several drawbacks to this configuration. The note mappings cannot be modified. The patch controls the tempo and defeats the songs native tempo as well as any tempo automation. Tempo and port settings cannot be saved. Despite these issues, the response is very fast and more suitable for real time midi event input.

I’ve tested this on MacOS, but not the Windows runtime. I would appreciate any feedback from Windows users. If this runs as expected, then you should be able to bypass MIDI Yoke. Once I get everything worked out flawlessly, i’ll post the maxpat files.

Propellerheads Roll Out Reason 5+Record 1.5

May 24th, 2010

Over the next few days, Propellerheads are unveiling the new features of Reason 5 and Record 1.5! The first announcement is an upgrade of the Dr.REX Loop Player. Now called the Dr. OctoRex which allows you to trigger and control multiple loops on the fly. The loop switching and mangling possibilities are amazing, and you can now reverse slices!

Mac Reason Users: check out the system requirements. This update will be intel only….

Mac OS X
Intel Mac (multiple cores highly recommended)
1 GB RAM or more
DVD drive
2 GB free hard disk space (program may use up to 20 GB scratch disk space)
Mac OS X 10.4 or higher
Monitor with at least 1024×768 resolution
CoreAudio compliant audio interface or built-in audio hardware

Intel P4 / AMD Athlon XP at 2GHz or better (multiple cores highly recommended)
1 GB RAM or more
DVD drive
2 GB free hard disk space (program may use up to 20 GB scratch disk space)
Windows XP (SP3), Vista or Windows 7
Monitor with at least 1024×768 resolution
Audio Interface with ASIO driver

TouchOSC / OSCulator iPad Templates

May 4th, 2010

The files are the templates and session used in the video I posted a few weeks ago that demonstrates using the iPad and TouchOSC as a pad controller with Propellerhead Record. Naturally you will need an iPad as well as the TouchOSC app. Please note that this is not a small investment considering that the technology is still in an experimental stage. Your results can vary. The record session included in the archive is configured with remote override mappings, so no further programming is necessary.

Warning: The Delete Clip button is mapped to the “Delete/Backspace Key” and will perform a destructive process to the frontmost application!

The archive includes the ‘Record Pads.touchosc’ file which you can transfer to the iPad using the editor application from

Also included is the ‘RecordRedrumBank.record’ session file with the various controls mapped to the osculator settings.


I recommend reading the documentation on for TouchOSC and OSCulator to gain some familiarity with establishing a network connection between the devices.

Configuring Record MIDI Preferences

Before TouchOSC can communicate through OSCulator to Record, you must add a Keyboard Controller configuration in your preferences. This must be established manually. Like anything in Record, this is pretty easy. Click on the images for a full size view.


1. Launch OSCulator first, and then launch Record.

2. Open the Record Preferences, and select the “Keyboard and Control Surfaces” prefs.

3. Click on the “Add” button, and an editing pane will appear.


The Auto Detect Surfaces feature will not automatically find OSCulator.

4. Under the Manufacturer drop down menu, select “Other”.


5. Under the Model drop down menu, select “MIDI Control Keyboard”. This configuration sends MIDI notes as well as continuous controller (CC) messages, so the MIDI Control Keyboard is the appropriate choice. The MIDI Control Surface does not receive MIDI Notes, and the the MIDI Keyboard option does not receive CC messages.


6. On the MIDI Input menu, select “OSCulator Out.” If OSCulator does not appear in the menu, you might need to start over and make sure you first launch OSCulator before you launch Record. Otherwise, you can establish a network connection between TouchOSC and using the ‘redrum pads exp.oscd’ template, send MIDI messages to Record. Click on the “Find” button and OSCulator Out should appear.


7. Optionally you can name the Control Surface setting. This is recommended if you have multiple alternate controllers. Simply replace the text in the field. In this case I’ve typed in “iPad OSCulator”.

8. Click OK and the editing pane will close.


9. If you are uncertain about using multiple controllers in Reason or Record, I recommend that you make the iPad the master keyboard. Disable the other surfaces, and set the “iPad OSCulator” as your master keyboard.

10. Close the preferences and then proceed by opening the “RecordRedrumBank.record” session file. The control messages are pre-mapped in this session, so you will not need to program any override mappings.

Again, please be aware that the “Delete Clip” button on the TouchOSC interface is a keystroke assignment for the Delete/Backspace key. This will delete anything on the frontmost application. The idea is to add real time deletion while recording a MIDI clip on a sequencer track/lane. For this to work properly, the sequencer lane should be the focus before the delete clip button is pressed. If this proves to be a problem, simply disable (uncheck the box) the routing in the OSCulator mappings where it appears as:

/1/TNDelete Keycode Key 51

ReBirth for the iPhoneOS

May 1st, 2010

It’s amazing to see the software that started the revolution make a comeback in a slightly different format, the iPhone OS. So… I’m not exactly sure what to say about this. Playing with the ReBirth app for a little while has made me quite nostalgic and has brought back a lot memories. ReBirth and the Propellerheads have been such an important part of my life for over a decade; this website probably would not be here and I would probably be going down a different path in life. Ok, I shall stop before I get too sentimental. I’m not sure if ReBirth will have the same life changing effect on your life, but you can try for yourself!

ReBirth app on the iTunes Store

Groove3 - Learn Reason on your iPad

April 20th, 2010

Groove3 just announced that their audio and production tutorials are now available for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch. Anyone who subscribes or purchases Music Production with Reason 4.0 can now stream the tutorials onto your iPad! It’s pretty cool.

Seeing some of the html5 implementation on the iPad has been inspiring, and it would be great to have text, video, and graphic content all delivered on a tablet device. The device could then launch a file server on the local network, and transfer example files and patches to a workstation. The potential for some very cool tutorials is quite amazing.

iPad MPC Style Drum Pads - TouchOSC with Propellerhead Record

April 13th, 2010

Here’s a YouTube video demonstrating the use of the iPad as an MPC style drum pad device / MIDI control surface. This configuration uses a customized TouchOSC drum pad interface, and the iPad pads triggers a Redrum Drum Machine in Record+Reason. Buttons are also assigned for transport control and effect sends. TouchOSC sends open sound control messages through the wifi network to the host machine. Also running on the host machine is OSCulator, which acts as the OSC server and converts the messages to MIDI. Thanks to KB for the KIKBAK’s RAW MPC@+4dBv Vol.2 samples used in the Redrum.