Propellerhead Reason 4: Yes, Reason Can Do Guitar Amp & Cabinet Simulation

OBJECTIVE: Use Reason’s signal processing modules to construct a guitar amp simulator.BACKGROUND: As Reason doesn’t accept external plug-ins, you can’t use conventional guitar amp simulation software within Reason. However, Reason is sufficiently flexible that you can construct a guitar amp/cabinet simulator using only two processing modules.
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 STEPS

  1. Go Create > Dr. REX Loop Player, then click on the Dr. REX folder button to load a loop with a dry guitar sound. A good choice while experimenting is the ElGt_Faith_G_085.rx2 guitar loop from the Telecaster Rhythm 085 BPM folder in the Reason Factory Sound Bank.
  2. Go Create > Scream 4 Distortion, then go Create > MClass Equalizer.
  3. Hit Tab, then verify the patching on the back: The Dr. REX outs go to Scream 4, and its outs go to the MClass Equalizer. The MClass Equalizer outs go to your mixer or output.
  4. Click on the Dr. REX “Preview” button so you can hear the loop play.
  5. Guitar cabinets don’t have much highs over 5kHz. Enable the MClass EQ high shelf, set Frequency to around 5kHz, and to add a little resonance, set Q around 1. Set Gain to minimum. This rolls off the highs and produces a little “bump” around 2kHz.
  6. In Scream 4, enable “Body.” Types A, B, and C are different guitar cabinet types; Scale chooses the size, with clockwise settings giving smaller cabs. For now, set Type = C, Reso and Auto = 0, and Scale between 100 and 127.
  7. In Scream 4, enable “Damage” and choose the type of distortion characteristics you want. The settings shown in the screenshot give a strong overdrive sound, but also try the Distortion, Fuzz, and Tube algorithms—varying P1 and P2 to optimize—for more distorted effects.

TIPS

  • In Step 7, the Damage Control parameter has a huge effect on the sound. Experiment!
  • Re-visit Step 6 after choosing your distortion algorithm in Step 7. Changing the Type, Scale, and Reso parameters let you “customize” your cabinet for the type of distortion you chose.
  • In the Body section, the Auto parameter adds an envelope follower effect. While it doesn’t contribute to a more realistic guitar amp sound, it can provide some cool effects if you’re not concerned about “authenticity.”