(compMus1) Brief Overview of Reason and the SubTractor Analog Synth


[Documentation for Reason is located on the musictechxserve, manuals volume.] 

Reason uses the visual or organizational metaphor of a rack filled with audio equipment (synthesizers, samplers, sequencers, reverb units, mixers, etc.).

Before you begin, make sure that Reason’s Preferences are set to use the audio interface of your choice, and that the Control Surfaces and Keyboards preference recognizes your MIDI controller.

The standard elements of most racks (Reason refers to them as “Songs”) are the Hardware Interface (for audio and interapplication MIDI), an MClass Mastering Suite, a 14:2 Mixer, and a multitrack MIDI Sequencer with transport controls (at the very bottom). For now, select “Bypass” (left side switch) for the Mastering Suite. Note: you may have to click and drag the thin white strip above the transport controls to see the MIDI sequencer tracks.

To add a synthesizer (like the SubTractor) to the rack, and have it automatically connected to the Mixer, mouse-click on the mixer, and then select SubTractor Analog Synthesizer (for now) from the Create menu. The synth will be added to the rack, and a label matching the synth name will be added to one of the input channels of the mixer. A track will be added to the sequencer corresponding the added synth.

To play any synth in the rack, make sure that the keyboard icon is highlighted in the “In” column for the corresponding MIDI sequencer track.

SubTractor Analog Synth

The SubTractor Analog Synth is modeled after the miniMoog. Unlike larger modular synths, the patches between modules are “hardwired,” that is, connected via internal circuitry (speaking analog synth terms). There is the ability to switch some destinations for internal modules via a finite and pre-determined set of options.

The basic signal flow is Oscillator Section (Osc 1, Osc 2, Noise) ==> Filter 1 (==> Filter 2) ==> Audio Out.

Amplitude of the audio out signal is controlled by the Amp Envelop. Cutoff or Center Frequency of Filter 1 (and Filter 2 if linked) is controlled by the Filter Envelope. There is an additional Mod Envelope that can modify a list of parameters. Additional modulation sources are LFO 1 and LFO 2, MIDI Keyboard Velocity (indicated as “Velocity” on the SubTractor), Pitch Bend, Mod Wheel, and an External Modifier (aftertouch, expression, or breath). Each modulation source has a finite list of selectable destinations, and control over how much modulation is applied to the destination parameter(s).

The signal flow for the oscillator section is:

  • [first] Noise mixes with Osc 2, mix determined by the noise level pot.
  • [second] Noise and/or Osc 2 mix output then mixes with Osc 1, mix determined by Mix pot.


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