Constructing songs with loops is not only a fast way to work; loops often have a particular feel that cannot be achieved with programming or live recording alone. In Reason 9, the Dr. Octo Rex Loop player provides an easy way to trigger loops and program changes between loops, and also allows fast and powerful sculpting of the sound and playback behavior of a loop. Music producer and songwriter Matt Piper shows how to play loops with Dr. Octo Rex, how to program changes between loops, how to trigger and rearrange individual slices of the loops, and how to use the resonant filter and Slice Edit Mode on Dr. Octo Rex to dynamically sculpt the sound of a drum loop.
- [Voiceover] A really fast way to start getting a track together in Reason is to work with loops. There are all kinds of loops included with Reason, but the drum loops are especially useful. So, the first thing we wanna do is create a Dr. OctoRex loop player. I'll just double click on it, and by default, it's already got a beat in it that we can hear if I click this run button, (drum beat) and I see that the folders that I want are at my fingertips here, and I'm gonna to look in acoustic drums and drag this out a little bit, and I like this Tack Head.
I'm just gonna to drag it right there, and I can hide the browser now, and I see, in the display here, that it says 82 BPM. Now, I can play it back at any tempo that I want to, but I'm gonna to go ahead and switch the tempo of the song to 82, and now I can hear what these sound like. (drum beat) Okay, so, they all sound like they fit together.
They're sort of variations on a beat, and that's often the case when you open a Dr. OctoRex patch, so now we need to somehow string these different loops together into an order that makes sense in our track, so that it will play back the same way every time. So, one way I can do that is to create a pattern lane. There's no label for this button until you hover over it, but that's what it is. Okay, so now I have a pattern select lane in this sequencer, and I'll show you how that works.
I can just double-click here to create a clip, and if I drag it out, see the little black line at bar three? That's where the loop start point is, so this is a two-bar loop, and this little number here shows me that it is loop number one that is going to play, and that is actually fine with me. I'll create another clip here, and for this one, I'll have loop number two.
It's also a two-bar loop; I can see, and here I'll go with loop number five, and here I'll go with loop number seven, and I wanna just hear the second half of loop number seven, so I'm gonna to do this, so this is the second half of the loop here. Then I'm going to drag it over here, and then let's try loop number six, and finally, we'll go back to loop number five.
If you look up at Dr. OctoRex, you'll see that there is a green outline around the pattern-selector buttons to show that automation is happening there, and now I can press play, and you should see those buttons change, and you should hear the change as well. (drum beat) Okay, so I think you get the idea there.
Now, another thing we can do is to not use the pattern section at all, so I can go ahead and mute this pattern-select lane, and I can disable this loop playback, and I can either right-click and copy loop to track, or, If I want, I can unfold this, and there's a copy loop to track button, so that's going to copy a loop between the left and right locators, and it's gonna be whichever one I have selected here, so I'm gonna select loop number one and copy loop to track, and you see that there, and you can hear it play back when I press play.
(drum beat) Okay, and the benefit here is that now I can edit it just like any other clip in the sequencer. If I drag up here, so I can see these notes, so each one of these is a slice of that rhythm. I'm just going to click and drag, and you'll hear each slice in order. (drum beat) Okay, and if I click on each one of these notes, (drum beat) you can hear the slice as well, so let me hear this one more time.
(drum beat) Okay, so let's change it up a little bit. (drum beat) Okay, so these are kicks. (drum beat) Okay, let's hear that. (drum beat) Actually, I did those a little bit too far over.
Let's try that. (drum beat) That's what I was going for. Alright, so you can see you have a lot of flexibility here now to sorta rearrange the beat and add little accents wherever you like. Let's get out of this. So, now I'm gonna turn my loop on, so that the entire section between the left and right locators will loop, and I'm going to press F6 to look at the rack, and I just wanna quickly show you that you can also do things to the sound.
You'd got sort of a whole synthesis filter section here, a lot of stuff going on, and I'll show you just a little bit of that while this plays. (drum beat) Okay, and you've also got this slice-edit mode, and I'll kinda show you what that does. Each one of these is a little parameter that I can adjust kinda on the fly.
(drum beat) I'm going to reverse a few of these slices, (drum beat) and change the pitch. (drum beat) Okay, so you get the idea. You can do some kinda crazy stuff. There's a lot of room for sort of sound design with your loops with Dr. OctoRex.
- Recording audio and virtual instrument tracks in Reason 9
- Loop recording
- Creating synth lines
- Making beats with loops and the sequencer
- Editing audio
- Correcting pitch
- Automating tempo and time signature
- Mixing tracks in Reason
- Master the final recording
Skill Level Beginner
Q: This course was updated on 10/30/2017. What changed?
A: New videos were added that cover what’s new in Reason 9.5.x, including using VST plugins in Reason, MIDI drag and drop, and delay compensation.