Craft intricate modulation curves for effect vocals, drums and instruments
Explore an infinite world of time-based effects using customized modulation curves.
The new Rack Extension Synchronous came free for Reason users updating to 7.1, and is now available in the Propellerhead Shop. It includes distortion, filter, delay, and reverb effects, and an easily mastered, yet infinite, workspace for drawing tempo-synced modulation curves for its effects’ parameters. You can also route those curves to other Reason devices. More than 100 presets include patches and Combinator devices using Synchronous for wacky sound mangling, practical mixing tricks like ducking and sidechaining, and adding flair to any instrument part. However, it’s quick and fun to program Synchronous from scratch.
Step 2: Clicking the FRZ button for each curve freezes the curve at its current modulation value, and the Kill button mutes the modulation curve (but not the sound or the effects).
Step 3: By default, modulation curves are 2 bars, but doubling the “Speed x” field makes it 1 bar, and halving the speed makes it 4 bars. You can also drag the triangular loop locator to adjust loop length for each curve.
Step 1 Feed some kind of loop into Synchronous with an Initialized Patch (blank) loaded. We recommend continuously sounding loops like drums, lead and bass synth lines, strummed guitar or synth pads. Reason’s sequencer must be playing for Synchronous to take effect. With the Free button deselected, choose a waveform (Tool) and a Rate, and then click and drag across the display to draw a curve. Before we apply modulation, turn on the effects you want to apply this modulation curve and dial in their settings to taste.Step 2 You assign the curve to modulate effect parameters with the “Mod Ctrl” knobs above each effect parameter. You dial in a ± range on the parameter for the curve to modulate, and it shows the range with the color of the curve assigned to it, in this case, yellow. Now repeat Steps 1 and 2 for Synchronous’ curves 2 (magenta) and 3 (blue) as you see fit. All three curves can effect any parameter at the same time, so you have a massive amount of flexibility.Step 3 You can fine-tune your modulation curves in several ways. While dragging a curve across the display, move up or down to adjust the wave’s amplitude. Any curve can also contain any number of waveform and rates within it. Simply choose a different waveform and rate and then click and drag across the portion of the display you want to edit. The screenshot shows curve 2 with adjusted amplitude, waveform and rate modulating Synchronous’ output level.Step 4 Turn on the Free button, and you can freely define the waveform’s amplitude for each segment of the display grid. With the Free button and the nine Tools (including straight line and stepped line) you can customize modulation waves endlessly. The screenshot shows that curve 3 has been edited using the Free button to create a notched triangle shape.Step 5 Rather than sending curve 3 to a Synchronous effect, let’s flip the rack and patch its Curve CV Out to the Detune amount of the UN-16 Unison effect for some delicious disorientation. Use can send Synchronous’ three curves’ CV Outs to any patchable function in Reason.