Join J Chris Griffin for an in-depth discussion in this video Making music with Dr. Octo Rex, part of Learning Reason 6.5.
With Reason installed and configured the way I want, now I'm ready to quickly create some music. I'll make a new song by typing Command+N or Ctrl+N, and you can do this as well if you're following along, or you can also select New from the Reason file menu. It opens up just the way I configured it in my template session from earlier in the course. Now, there is no easier way to get started making music than with Dr. Octo Rex. This instrument uses a file format that takes audio and chops it up into it's constituent beats and phrases called a Rex file.
The software that creates and edits the Rex file is called Recycle, also from Propellerhead. Dr. Octo Rex is a playback-only device, and there are hundreds of Rex files to choose from inside the Reason Factory Sound Bank. So I chose the Dr. Octo Rex by going to the Create menu > Instruments > Dr. Octo Rex Loop Player, or by right- clicking, or if you're on a one-button mouse in a Mac, by Control+clicking and selecting Dr. Octo Rex Loop Player. When I instantiate a Dr. Octo Rex player, the default patch automatically loads.
This default loop is exactly what I want at the moment, and when I press Play in Reason the loop begins playing along in tempo and at the right place in the song. By the way, the spacebar is the best way to start and stop playback in Reason. Pressing the spacebar initiates, stops, and then resumes playback of a song. Now, the key command to return to the start of a song is Shift+Return pressed twice. I'll use this key command quite often in the course to return to the start of a song for playback.
Now, if you hit Shift+Return just once, it'll take you back to where you last left off on playback. Buttons in Dr. Octo Rex contained preloaded alternate versions of the loop. There are eight loop placeholders, hence the name Dr. Octo Rex. Trigger next loop determines what happens when you press the buttons. Does it move to the alternate loop on the next bar or the next beat or on the next 16th note? For our purposes, we'll just leave it on the bar.
So every time we hit a new button it will wait to the next bar before it moves to the alternate loop. Dr. Octo Rex has many great features, which will not cover here, but you can uncover and expose all kinds of different controls, and we'll get into these later in the course. Since this video is all about making music right away, let me quickly explain some of the sequencer and transport features I need to use to get music recorded. Moving over to the Sequencer window, loop indicators determine where a loop start point and a loop end point occur.
These are set to bars 1 and 9, respectively, and this is where I want them. And I'll turn the Loop button on so when the playback head reaches bar 9 it will loop back to bar 1. Zooming is either accomplished with the mouse set to the zoom handles or simply with the G and H keys. The built-in click or metronome is enabled with the click button, and the click level is set to taste. The Pre indicates the pre-count off bars and we can set those in Options > Number of Pre-count Bars, so we can set One, Two, Three, or Four.
We'll leave it to One for our purposes here. Let's record a drum loop progression utilizing drum loops 1, 2, 3, and 4. Now Reason can automate and record nearly every parameter in the program, and I want to let it know to record the loop select buttons in real time. Since I'm recording just one instrument, I want to consolidate my screens. So I'll press F6 and F7 together to bring the Sequencer window and the rack together. So now we can see both in the same screen.
Now, I want to let Reason know that I intend to automate some of these buttons, so I'll Option+Click one of the buttons. It'll draw kind of a gate or a line around all the buttons and a new Pattern Select lane will be enabled inside the sequencer. This lets Reason know that I'm about to do something with these buttons. So, we've got a pre-count of one bar and I'm going to select loop 1, put it in record, and you can see that even as I hit the next button, it waits to the bar.
(drums playing) Great! So here's the automation for the buttons I just pressed. And if we play back, Shift+Return twice, you can see the buttons here following along, what I just recorded, and you can hear the loop change accordingly. (drums playing) We've automated some buttons, made a basic drum loop.
The next video on the course builds on this loop with additional audio loops and instruments.
- Installing Reason and authorizing your ignition key
- Making music with Dr. Octo Rex
- Expanding on vocals with Neptune
- Creating custom beats with ReDrum
- Using rack extensions
- Creating guitar and bass sounds
- Using synths such as Malström and Thor
- Using the ID8, NN-19, and NN-XT samplers
- Adding reverb to vocals
- Using the sequencer and tracks