Occasionally you’ll come across an instrument in Reason that—while it looks unassuming on the outside—on the inside it appears to be a living entity. Dials are moving on their own, waveforms are switching, the pea soup is flying. Eh, maybe not that last part, but you get the idea. It’s all in the CV: By routing Control Voltage to the right spots you can create one of these mystery machines and creep out the next guy.
1 - We’ll start by creating a combinator, and for the sake of cabling ease later on we’ll add in everything at once.
In the combinator: create a 6 channel mixer, an RV7000, then hold shift & create a Thor (shift stops the auto-routing) and lastly, create a malstrom. The thor is the CV device, it won’t be generating any sound of its own for this patch. The malstrom should be connected to channel 1 on the line mixer.
2 - Now it’s time to put thor (our ghost) in control of the malstrom.
A. Right click thor and select “initialize patch” to bring it back to basics.
B. Open it up, and in the programmer section—for the uninitiated, it’s at the bottom, above the sequencer—in the first line click the first dropdown and select Filter Env as source 1, amount: 100, destination dropdown: CV Output > 1.
Now, through CV, the filter envelope is being sent outside thor.
C. Flip the rack around by pressing tab, and in the “modulation output” section drag a cable from CV 1 up to the Rotary 1 jack on the combinator, and turn the knob next to it all the way up. This puts CV 1 in control of whatever you set the combinator’s rotary to affect.
D. Flip the rack back around and click “Show Programmer” on the combinator. Select malstrom 1, and on the right next to Rotary 1 click the Target dropdown menu and select “Modulator A Curve.”
3 - It doesn’t sound like anything is happening yet. It’s OK, your ears aren’t lying.
Down on the malstrom take a look at the Mod A section: thor is set up to control that waveform and if you play and hold a note right now you’ll see it do that, but the sound isn’t changing yet because the modulator (the waveform) has to be set to change something.
A. I set it this way: Rate = 88, Pitch = 0, Index = 34, and Shift = 28. Now you’ll start hearing a difference.
B. I didn’t like the FemaleChoir in Oscillator A so I changed it to JewsHarp, which is 3 clicks down on the voice selector. I always thought it was called a jaw harp, but anyway, now we’ve got a bit of a formant sound going on, and a dire need to turn off Osc B by clicking the little yellow power button above it. It sounds a lot better without it, try playing a note down around the 1st octave and, well, I’m not sure what to call that. Turn the “spread” knob (lower right corner) off so the sound is centered.
C. The waveform isn’t changing quick enough for my taste, so in thor’s Filter Env section change the decay time (D) to 1.24 seconds.
4 - Lets make this more useable:
A. On the combinator I renamed Rotary 1 to Mod A Curve, adjusting this changes which waveforms the motion begins and ends on.
B. You’ll want to be able to turn it off, so in the combinator’s programmer click thor on the left, and in the target dropdown next to Button 1 on the right select “mod 1 dest amount” (way at the bottom of the list). To the right of that change the first number to 0, so when you turn off button 1 what you’ll be doing is changing that parameter in thor’s programmer to 0, so the filter envelope will be sending nothing to CV Out1.
5 - I’m going to run through the rest of the settings pretty quickly, because they go through the same pattern:
A. Thor, programmer line 2: Source = LFO1, Amount = 81, Dest = CV Output>2
B. Flip the rack, connect CV 2 to combinator rotary 2 and turn the knob up.
C. Combinator programmer: select malstrom. Rotary 2, target = oscillator a index
D. Rename rotary 2 to Index Point. This changes the center point of the index
Take a look at the Malstrom and play a note and you’ll see what you just did. Oscillator A’s index now shifts back and forth when you play a note and gives it a sort of vibrato feel
6A - Thor, programmer line 3: Source = Mod Env, Amount = 60, Dest = LFO 1 Rate.
Now thor’s mod envelope controls the speed of the Index setting, so we have to set that as well: In the Mod Envelope section of thor: Delay = 0, A = 0, D = 552ms, R = 105ms.
B - Combinator programmer:
Thor – rotary 3 – mod 2 dest amount – 0 – 100 – Name: Index Amount.
Line Mixer – rotary 4 – channel 1 aux send – Name: Reverb Amount
RV7000 – button 4 – enabled – 2 – 1 – Name: Reverb
So what you just did is set the combinator up so you can turn on reverb (button 4) and adjust the amount (rotary 4). Rotary 3 now controls how much the index shifts back and forth on malstrom’s osc. 1.
The last thing to do is right click the malstrom, create a DDL-1 delay unit, and to give the sound a bit of a robotic feel set it like this: 30 ms, feedback = 54, dry/wet = 64, and in the combinator programmer select delay 1. Button 2, enabled, 2, 1. Name: Delay. There’s your on/off button, and button 3 is still empty for you to put whatever you want there.
If you don’t think much of this strange sound, all you have to do is change the voice in oscillator 1 on the malstrom. My personal favorite is FX: Resonant Noise.
By routing thor’s CV to the combinator’s rotaries there are infinite possibilities, the key is to play with the programmers, buttons, and knobs. Just don’t do that to my car stereo.
Download the finished combinator from 3rd Floor.