Reason has a long history of incorporating devices that achieve more than one, two, or three effects or purposes. Hey, Reason is built in Sweden, and they are known for crafty design, right? Look at Ikea!
Anyway, the effect devices incorporated in Reason 6 do several different things, and I’m here to enlighten you on one of these.
The Echo, at a distance looks like another good old delay device that is trying to emulate the famous Roland tape echos. And, a couple of knobs on the Echo do allow you to try to achieve that sound, and can be very convincing. But there are other knobs and buttons, too.
My favorite function on the Echo goes unnoticed a lot of the time. But it is highly addictive once you start using it. The Roll bar is a slider on the lower left-hand corner of the Echo.
If you were to start your song now and try to use it, you would be delighted with the soothing sounds of nothing. If you ran something through the Echo, and tried to use it, you would still get nothing, some more nothing, and then nothing. But, we’re learning something!
Now, if you put the Echo into Roll mode, you get something that’s really cool: instant feedback loop. This can be used for stutters, loop delay, and more. I’d like to show you how to glitch with it.
Create a Dr. Octo Rex, and then choose a loop that you really enjoy. I’m choosing Reason Factory Soundbank > Dr Rex Drum Loops > Hip Hop > HHp08_Boogaloo. Then, I’ll set my tempo in Reason to 85 bpm.
Right-click on the Dr. Octo Rex and create an Echo device. This will patch the Dr. Octo Rex directly into the Echo device. You can do this as an insert effect, too. I’m just preferring to make it as easy as possible. If you do prefer mixer control (F5) later, please feel free; it will work the same.
Once you’ve created your Echo, make sure that it’s initialized. You’ll know this to be true, if the read-out at the top displays Init Patch.
If anything else is displayed, right-click on the Echo and select Initialize Patch.
Next, on the Echo, switch its mode to Roll:
Then turn the Time knob down (with Sync on) to around 1/64- 1/28.
Alright, it’s time to have some fun: Press the Run button on the Dr. Octo Rex. Because the Echo is in Roll mode, you will not hear any echo effects at all.
When you are ready, try pushing the Roll bar to the right. Faster is preferable, however it’s always good to experiment...
When you do this, you’ll notice a loud glitch that replaces your drum loop. This is normal, and preferable. Try introducing glitches randomly, while playing with the Time knob.
And, when you’re ready, try automating what you’re doing to create new, disturbing glitch loops.
There are tons of tips like this that can really beef up your sound in the Reason 6: Echo tutorial-video.