Reason Micro Tutorial: Pulveriser Demolition

Uploaded by PropellerheadSW on 09.08.2011

Today we're going to take a look at the Pulveriser, new in Reason 6.
The Pulveriser is many things in one device.
It's a compressor, distortion, filter, envelope follower, tremolo, and parallel processor all rolled into one.
As you might guess from its look and name,
it's designed to treat your audio signal like an ultimate fighting champion
bashing it, squashing it, and whipping it around the ring until it begs for mercy.
I've been using it a lot with my new metal band,
Smorgus Sword!!
Hit it guys!!
[music playing with screaming style vocals]
[coughing and clearing throat]
So yes, it can do that stuff.
But one of my favorite things to do with Pulveriser is to use it more gently
so that I can tap into the subtle tonal characteristics it can color my sounds with.
To understand the many ways Pulveriser can sculpt YOUR sound,
let's take a look at each section.
First up is Pulveriser's compressor and distortion knobs.
Or Squash and Dirt knobs, as they're actually called.
The compressor's knob is called Squash for a reason.
It squashes the signal in a way that has its own unique character.
And dirt definitely dirties up your sound.
Take these drums, for example.
They sound okay right now but they lack character.
Let's turn up the Squash and Dirt knobs, like this.
Yeah, that's more like it.
Actually, it reminds me of pinning the meters on my analog reel-to-reel tape machine.
Moving to the right, Pulveriser becomes less about pulverizing and more about
wobblelizing, tremulating, or sculptifying.
The filter section is a switchable filter
with tonal characteristics different from the other filters in Reason's rack.
The Tremor section can be used for creating Leslie speaker or Rhodes style volume effects.
Check out this ID-8 Electric piano with and without Pulveriser's tremolo.
[music playing]
I can change the tremolo type here for different tremolo waveform shapes.
and it's tremolo speed using the rate knob.
On each side of the Tremor section you'll find Modulation Amount knobs.
These knobs determine what the tremolo is affecting and by how much.
In this example, I'm sending the tremolo to control the main output volume.
I could instead send the tremolo to adjust the filter frequency, like this.
My setting on the knob determines how much of an effect this can have
from subtle
to less subtle.
The great thing about Pulveriser is that these modulation knobs are never an either/or proposition.
There's nothing stopping me from sending the tremolo to control the volume AND
the filter at the same time and in different amounts.
Now that you've got the hang of that, let's look down at the Follower section.
Maybe you're wondering, what IS an envelope follower?
An "Envelope Follower" listens to the volume of the incoming signal
and sends out a control voltage proportional to that volume.
Okay I know
I just used the words "voltage" and "proportional" in a video about music,
so let's not talk theory. Let's see it in action.
Here's my Rhodes piano.
The tremolo is moving at 1/16th note for a fast pulse.
Let's slow that down to a much slower rate
and then turn up the modulation knob to have the envelope follower control the tremolo rate.
Do you hear that?
When the keys of the electric piano strike, the rate is fast.
As the chord rings out and quiets down, the rate slows down.
It's like a variable tremolo based on volume.
You can call it whatever you want, I call it instant soul.
Once you understand the routing and basic functions of each Pulveriser section,
you can use it for different purposes.
On this bass line, I used tremolo on a square wave setting
to give the bass an accented groove.
This synth is using the envelope follower to change the filter frequency.
I've even added a pulverizer to the master section inserts.
I apply just a little Dirt and Squash and then use the Dry/Wet blend
to create some very nice parallel processing on the mastering stage.
So you can see, Pulveriser can be many things depending on how you use it.
But one thing is certain,
you can count on Pulveriser adding soul, warmth, character, or grit to your sound.