Reason Micro Tutorial: The Echo

Uploaded by PropellerheadSW on 16.09.2011

When we set out to create The Echo in Reason 6,
we wanted to create something that contained our favorite features
in delays and time based effects in one powerful rack device.
Since we're all pretty familiar with what a delay does,
we won't dwell too much on the basics in this micro tutorial.
and if you don't know what a delay effect is,
it SOUNDS SOunds Sounds sounds,
LIKE LIke Like like,
THIS THis This this.
Frank you know we can add the delay in post production, you don't need to do it with your mouth.
You could do that, it would make more SENSE SEnse Sense sense
Seriously man.
So anyway, The Echo's most common mode of operation is called Normal mode.
This is where you can get in touch with your inner U2 or Pink Floyd.
And while guitar players like The Edge and David Gilmour have pretty much
cornered the market on heavily delayed Fender Stratocaster lines,
what attracted them to the effect in the first place is the undeniable fact
that delay can embiggen even the most basic sounds.
Take this factory sound bank patch, for example.
Now, let's spice it up a little with The Echo.
To start with, I'll set the Feedback to its minimum setting so we only hear one repeat of the sound.
I'll turn the dry wet blend up to 12 o'clock for an even blend between my dry and delayed sounds.
I'll set the right-offset to around 100 milliseconds.
If you're listening in headphones, which I really hope you are,
you'll hear that our delay is now occurring first in the left ear and then moving to the right ear shortly after.
Now let's add some "diffusion" to our sound.
Don't be scared off by the name.
Diffusion is not like one of those vitamin powders
the smoothie shops are always trying to put in your Very Berry Blast.
Those are called IN-fusions. DI-ffusion is something entirely different.
Diffusion is a way to add some pleasant imperfections to the sound
which are more similar to what you'd hear in real life,
So let's up the amount and the spread, which adds diffusion to the stereo signal.
As you can hear, it's a subtle quality, but a very nice one nonetheless.
The true impact of all these settings will become more apparent now when I turn up the feedback
and our once simple synth waveform washes into a dreamy kind of, sort of, well THIS:
Which is not too bad, considering that we started with this!
Now, let's hear our sound in the context of my full song.
The vocal of my song uses a few of these same basic settings
delay time, feedback, diffusion, offset, etcetera
but it also uses one of my favorite knobs on The Echo,
which is also one of the most simple knobs.
The Ducking knob.
The Ducking knob achieves what once took three devices, complex wiring,
and a special insight into professional mixer's tips and tricks in order to achieve.
The ducking knob automatically turns down the delay effect while the vocalist is singing
and automatically turns it back up again when they finish.
It ducks the delay.
If you've every listened to a professional mix and wondered how their vocal delay
sounds so prominent in the mix without overtaking the main vocalist's performance,
the answer is almost certainly ducking.
The two other sections you'll use to shape your delay's character are the Color and Modulation sections.
Color is where you'll grunge up your delayed signal by adding different types of analog saturation to it,
like tape limiting, overdrive, distortion, and tube warmth.
You can also activate a band pass filter to make your delay sound more thin.
The modulation section helps you emulate old-style tape delays.
Envelope introduces pitch imperfection into the delayed signal while wobble alters the delay time
with each repeat, mimicking machines like the Echoplex or the Space Echo.
I'm using color and modulation settings to punctuate my verse melody.
When the delay comes up it's been filtered, distorted, and modulated to help create a very vintage style delay.
Moving on from normal mode on The Echo, we come to something called trigger mode.
Trigger mode is almost identical to normal mode with one major exception.
Sound only passes through the delay chain when the trigger button is pressed in.
This can be automated or assigned to a MIDI controller for specific accented delay effects
applied to otherwise unprocessed sounds.
So, check out this section of drums from my song.
I've set up a stereo delay and used everything we've talked about so far.
However, if I applied these delay settings while in The Echo's normal mode,
it would overwhelm the drum part and just crowd the sonic space.
Instead, we set The Echo to trigger mode and only trigger the delay to go off on the snare drum.
Which sounds like this.
Trigger mode is absolutely perfect for moments like this when you want to accent a drum hit
or a single word in the lyrics of a song.
The last of Echo's modes is Roll mode.
This is a great mode for experimenting and having a lot of fun.
To break it down easily, roll mode works like this,
On the bottom of The Echo there's something that looks kinda like a DJ mixer's crossfader.
On one side of the crossfade is your original dry signal.
On the other side of the crossfade is a repeating loop.
As you move the slider from one side to another, you transition from dry to wet.
The Roll function makes it easy to juggle musical beats and phrases like this drum loop from my song.
Juggling like this can be a great way to add variation to a Rex loop
or find creative new accents for your groove.
The beauty of the Roll slider is that you don't switch between the dry signal and the loop.
you crossfade between them.
That means you can blend the two signals and change the way the looped signal interacts with your beat.
Check out this basic drum loop, for example.
If you used this beat in your song it would start to feel really repetitive after a while
but if you use the Roll function on the echo we can slide part of the way between zero and Roll.
And suddenly your repetitive loop is starting to feel a lot more like a live drum take
with several pattern variations.
The beauty of this technique is that we're not rearranging Midi notes to create fills and variations.
That means we can switch the Rex loop to audition other beats and the fills and variations will still work.
Like this.
Now, if you activate the keep pitch button on the delay time,
you can automate the delay time along with the roll slider to glitch up your drum loops.
Check this out.
And, just like before you can switch the Rex loop independently of the glitch programing.
In fact, you don't even have to use a drum loop.
Here's the same roll and delay time automation on a synth line.
On the remix I've been doing, I used The Echo's roll mode
to create glitched drum accents and also on the lead vocal to create a musical crescendo. Listen to this.
So you can see, The Echo really does give you the best elements of digital delays,
analog delays, tape delays, and even a glitch or loop effect to help you find the sound you're looking for.
When you're producing your next track, try The Echo, the echo, the echo, the echo, the echo, the echo.
Dude, Frank!
Sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry.
Help! help, help, help, help, help, help, help, help!