Reason (the latest version is Reason 4) is without a doubt the music software I use more than any other (besides the mixer itself of course.)
Reason isn’t really just one program, it’s one program that includes many “modules.” As of the most recent version (4.0) there are seven modules in all: (1) Subtractor, (2) Malstrom, & (3) Thor are synthesizers. (4) NN-19 & (5) NN-XT are samplers. (6) Dr. Rex is a loop playback device. And (7) Redrum is a drum machine.
Today I am focusing on Redrum and how to best use it. Redrum has a pretty huge amount of different drum sets to choose from in many different styles. Each set includes 10 different sounds (each of which can be individually manipulated.)
On top of that, you actually have the ability to load any wav file you have in your computer into the Redrum system which really opens up the possibilities of how you could use it.
There are (at least) five different ways you can program the Redrum drum machine. I’ll describe each of those five ways below.
The first way is to use the 64 step sequencer. You can set up as many as 32 different patterns and then place those patterns in any order you choose in the sequencer below. For example you could set up one drum pattern for your verses, one for your bridge, one for your chorus, etc. You could then place them into your song wherever you need them.
The second way is to actually place each drum hit individually in the sequencer. This will take a lot more time to do but it will give you a greater control if you want to add in a lot of details to your drum track.
The third way is to combine the first and second way. What I mean by that is that you can create simple drum patterns using the first technique and then add in “details” as you see fit in the sequencer below (like in the second method.) This may be an effective way of taking away the tediousness of the second way while keeping most of the control.
The fourth way is to use a midi controller (such as a midi keyboard, or an electronic drum set) to actually play your drum hits into the sequencer. You can get a much more “natural” or “organic” feel by using this technique. Of course if you are a really awful drummer you may just get a sloppy feel. If you are not a very skilled drummer you could try adding just one drum part at a time.
The fifth way is to combine your real playing with some programmed beats. This may give you a nice combination of “looseness” with a strong beat that doesn’t get lost. For example you could play some tom hits and snare hits yourself but keep the kick drum and the hi-hats programmed.