(compMus1) Using Reason with Digital Performer


Reason and Digital Performer communicate using Rewire, which allows for audio and MIDI communication between separate applications. You can get a full explanation at the Propellerheads web site.

For our purposes, you need to know that Rewire treats one application as the “master” device, and the other application as the “slave.” When using Reason with DP, Reason is the slave and DP is the master. This means that DP can control Reason, sending it MIDI performance data, sequencer synchronization, and such, but Reason can only send digital audio back to DP. Reason, as the slave, cannot send control commands of any sort to DP.

So, MIDI information comes into DP from an external controller (the Radium). DP sends MIDI to Reason. Reason responds to the MIDI commands, and the resulting audio is sent back to DP.

Getting Started

To properly connect Reason and DP using Rewire,

  1. Launch Digital Performer first, and open your project.
  2. Launch Reason second. Reason should display “Rewire Slave Mode” in the virtual LCD in the Hardware Interface in the Rack.

Sending MIDI and Audio

  1. First, set the inputs to an unused stereo audio track in DP to any Reason output pair. Typically to start, you’ll set the inputs to Reason Main Mix L and R.
  2. Record enable the stereo audio track with the Reason inputs.
  3. Set the output destination of any MIDI track to “Reason bus: 6” | and the specific synth in the Reason rack that you want to control with that track. Important: if Reason bus: 6 is not available as a MIDI output, then you need to check that you’ve done steps 1 and 2 properly. Rewire will not make MIDI connections available until there is a digital audio link between the two applications (record enabled).
  4. Record enable the MIDI track in DP that is sending to Reason. Play your controller. If all is connected correctly, then you should hear audio output.

Possible problems:

  • A MIDI track needs to have Reason as its output.
  • A stereo audio track needs to have Reason as its input.
  • Both MIDI and audio tracks need to be record-enabled.
  • In DP, check the Setup |  Configure Audio System -> Input Monitoring Mode… , and make sure that both Monitor Record-Enabled Tracks through Effects and Always Monitor are both selected.

General Work Flow

  1. Record MIDI data to DP track. You’ll also record the digital audio from Reason, but you may want to delete it if you want to make edits to your MIDI data.
  2. Take your MIDI track out of record-enable. Edit your MIDI track.
  3. When you like the MIDI information you have down, use DP to record the audio output of Reason.
  4. Take your MIDI track out of play mode, and take your audio track out of record-enable.

You can repeat this work flow to layer additional parts (and you should). Anytime you want to add a new part, using the same synth as before, an another one in your Reason rack, make sure that you add a new stereo audio track to your DP project, set its inputs to Reason, and record enable it. Use a different MIDI track to record the new information. The additional audio will be recorded to a separate track, and you can use DP’s mix features later.

You can also separate audio out of Reason by making use of the additional audio outputs in the interface, bypassing the 14 x  2 Mixer. Connect the output of a synth directly to the audio interface and that synth’s output will be available on its own input channel to DP. If you connect the Subtractor directly to the interface, you will only need one output channel, and you can record the result in DP using a Mono audio track with mono audio input. If you connect the Subtractor to most any effect, then you will end up with stereo output from the effect to the interface.

It is possible to have a Reason rack filled with many Subtractor Synth’s, each routed to its own audio output, and each controlled with its own MIDI track in DP. With this type of setup, you could record the audio from all your Reason synth’s at once, to separate tracks.

A final possibility, but one that gives you the least amount of options for mixing, is to record all of your Reason synth’s to one stereo output. You would use MIDI to control volume levels of each synth (a MIDI mix), and the result would be your project.


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