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Thread: Am I rubbish, or is Reason holding me back?

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    Olliepm is offline Registered User
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    Am I rubbish, or is Reason holding me back?

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    Hi all, and a merry Xmas! Sorry in advance, because I know similar topics will already exist, but I would prefer replies relating to my individual circumstances, if you can appreciate that.

    I'm thinking about learning Ableton, solely for better sound quality for dubstep style productions. I've just reached a stage where I'm very comfortable with Reason and all those knobs and buttons aren't so daunting anymore, but my music still doesn't sound that 'massive' way. I don't particularly want to have to start from scratch with new software, but the more I read into it, the more I find people stating that Reason is inferior in terms of sound quality. I guess my main question is - Is it Reason, or is it me? I'm certainly no expert, but I wonder whether if I'd put all the time into Ableton rather than Reason, I would have achieved better results. In any case I'm prepared to do whatever I need to if I'm convinced it's the best course of action, even if I do love Reason, and I do.

    I can't seem to find any productions made with Reason that sound the way I'd like to, other than perhaps this: ZMIX - Chemical Plant ZMiX - Chemical Plant Zone (Dubstep / Electro Remix) * Sonic 2 * - YouTube

    This is my tune to give an example of the level I'm at with Reason: https://soundcloud.com/echo-gecko/harlot

    And here are a few 'pro' tunes that demonstrate the sound production quality I'd love to achieve:

    Borgore - Flex Borgore - Flex (Dubstep Mix) (Official Video) - YouTube

    Skism - Experts SKisM - Experts (Official Video) - YouTube


    Many, many thanks for reading!
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    DjPolair's Avatar
    DjPolair is online now Registered User
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    here are some beats made in reason !










    So no, the problem is you

    you need to learn proper layering, mixing and eqing


    ableton is sick tho, i'm using it more and more
    Last edited by DjPolair; 12-26-2012 at 08:21 AM.
    and like this.

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    Olliepm is offline Registered User
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    Hey, thanks for the quick reply. I like your beats, and the quality is great for the genre, but I don't feel I can use this material to support the idea that it's possible to make huge sounding dubstep songs. The dynamics are a lot more complex, in my opinion. To be fair though, once I learned a basic side chain compression method, in imporved the quality of my music in a gigantic way, so I definitely understand where you're coming from with what you said about proper layering etc. If you have any tutorial videos you'd recommend I check out, I'd be grateful? With layering, I understand the importance, however I usually just use trial and error with different samples until I find something I like for drums. With EQ, I understand the theory of giving everything it's own space, and cutting over boosting wherever possible, but sometimes I find that the whole mix sounded better with no EQ at all, rather than applying EQ to everything in a 'by the book' fashion.
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    T-MAC is offline Registered User
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    Hey man, I really dig that tune of yours you posted up. Listened to it on laptop speakers so I couldn't get a good idea of how it's really supposed to sound, but as a song itself I was feeling it. Note that the 'pro' examples you posted, along with those Khalil songs that were posted, have all been professionally mastered and are not simply direct exports/bounces straight out of Reason.

    I used to use Reason, haven't used it since version 3.0, but you can definitely get a good sound out of it. It just comes with time and experience. Over time you'll know where things are supposed to sit in a mix and you'll be able to figure it out. If I were you I'd try to do little practice tracks, making them as simple as possible, and focus on getting a good clean mix. Stay away from using built in presets that boost or fatten sounds on whatever effects are available on Reason right now. Mix with your eyes using spectrum analyzers and figure out what is supposed to sit where. I'm not sure if a spectrum analyzer is available in Reason itself right now; I know when I was using 3.0 years ago there was a way to wire the vocoder plugin to be used as a spectrum analyzer. Also I hope you're layering your drums. There are tons of ways to fatten your drums up on Reason (or anything else), through layering, things like NY Compression, using aux send effects and mixing both signals instead of just using an insert effect, etc... Also I hope you're using multiple mixers instead of just one mixer for everything. I'm not sure how Reason works now but when I was using it I'd create a mixer for drums, mixer for my highs/fills, mixer for leads/synth noises. If you're using ReDrum you can route each sample to it's own channel. That's one thing I loved about reason; hitting TAB and having access to all that routing was awesome.
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    Olliepm is offline Registered User
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    Thanks for replying, and this was the sort of answer I was hoping for. I wasn't sure whether or not every track I've heard that qualifies as decent in my view would have been mastered by a pro, but that makes me feel slightly less hopeless! I still reckon with the right know how, it can be done to the standard I'm hoping though. Thanks for the nice comments about my track =] It's the first I've made that sounded semi - decent to me.


    I'm currently using Reason v5, but had been planning on upgrading to 6 for some time. I understand 6.5 now supports VST, which seems to be where a lot of the big sounds come from these days. This thread is to determine whether it's worth it, I suppose.

    I actually don't have a set way of doing things just yet. I'm always learning new tricks and changing it up. I use a lot of small mixers within combinator patches, so that the main mixer doesn't have too much going on, but I can be lazy with re-routing things like that when I've got tons of parameter automation I'd like to get done. Still, every time I start a new project, I'm always trying to be as organised as possible, at least to begin with.

    Until right now, If I wanted to change the drum mix mid track, I would edit the note velocity in the sequencer, but I've started to notice that the compressors end up counter acting these edits to the point of the method being broken. I had no idea that main mixer automation was so simple, and I didn't use it in the track I posted, but I thought it should be my main focus next track. I used to use redrum, but now I use Kong routed to redrum's sequencer. Kong is AWESOME. Each drum patch allows for sample layering, and a small effects chain, all within the Kong interface, as well as your standard gain controls etc. I never bothered routing each patch to a proper mixer, just because Kong offers a lot of control. If you think I ought to do it your way, I will take the advice though. I do layer my drums, but it's generally guess work. I don't really know any rules to follow. I suppose I have a problem getting my snares to sound huge and punch AND clean at the same time. I use aux reverb, but that's about it. Everything else is specific to the instrument.

    I use a pre-set mastering suite called 'Energy', and if it ain't broke, I don't fix it. With mastering, I spend most of my time on the stereo imager. It seems to help things sound bigger. For the tune you heard, the master eq was flat, and the compressor and maximiser were left at their presets if I remember correctly, because I needed them to make the track louder. I actually compose, mix, and master with this mastering suite active from the beginning rather than waiting till I'm finished with everything else. I've been wondering whether that is a bad habit?

    It used to just frighten me pressing the tab key because I was afraid to tamper with anything and end up with no sound at all, but now this is something I've also grown to really appreciate. I think it likely teaches sound design skills in a more practical way.

    I've never used a spectrum analyzer to date, because as far as I know there is no such thing within Reason actually designed for that purpose. I suppose the vocoder could be used in such a way, but I'd like to think there would be something more built for purpose available.

    Anyway, I've said a lot that no one asked to hear, but I thought maybe it would help people point me in the right direction from where I am. Once again, I really appreciate this great reply, and the nice comments. =]
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    J-Mello is offline Registered User
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    I dont make dubstep but from what ive seen people do in the program i use is amazing. I recommend either learning how to mix on reason or try fl studio,its pretty nice for dubstep. I dont know the quality your looking for in a great dubstep beat but check out these guys.


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    Olliepm is offline Registered User
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    That top video is FILTHY. Love it! Is it your composition? If so, gives a link to your soundcloud if you have one, and I'll follow you. But there's the thing, I've heard plenty of the sound I like come out of FL, Ableton, Cubase etc. but I'm really trying to find out if I'd be better off learning new software from the start as opposed to advancing in Reason, because If it is quite within my grasp to get what I'm after using Reason, I'd much rather do that. I've used Rewire with Pro Tools and Cubase in the past, but I was never a fan because apart with sync issues when recording audio, I hate when Reason if forced to lock certain controls as the slave program. Thanks for the reply =]

    EDIT* I realize now that video is not your own, but still feel free to gain a follower!
    Last edited by Olliepm; 12-26-2012 at 01:25 PM.

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    bandcoach's Avatar
    bandcoach is online now Zukatoku - Mod Scientist
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    Ollie, it's simple "the more you do something the better you get at doing it."

    I'll say that again

    THE MORE YOU DO SOMETHING
    THE BETTER YOU GET AT IT

    Instead of worrying that the software is holding you back, look at what things you do not know how to do yet, whether it be composition (melody, chords, rhythm), sound design, mixing, creative eq, creative application of effects, etc

    When you have made your list, decide which facet you want to tackle first and so on: set yourself an agenda for learning within your current daw.

    Changing software won't fix anything, it will only highlight different aspects of the same basic problems; it's like changing boats mid-trip or horses mid-race - very difficult and usually not worth the ensuing pain.......
    Last edited by bandcoach; 12-26-2012 at 02:20 PM.
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    CPhoenix is offline CharlesAllen/ BMR Studios
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    Now that Reason has audio built-in... there are zero excuses.

    The only thing holding you back is your brain. That's not me being an @sshole... that's the honest truth.
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    www.conealusa.com - - Wearing these hoodies will make your music better.... How? It's science! Don't question science!

  10. #10
    KelevraOne's Avatar
    KelevraOne is offline Not too Kelevra son
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    beating a dead horse here. You might wanna work on your mixing and arrangement skills. Like bandcoach said I doubt you'd get better by just switching D.A.W.'s.

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