Friday, March 18, 2011

Guitar Amp Simulation in Reason 5

Yes, Reason really can do guitar amp/cabinet simulation

by Craig Anderton

Because 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 of its available processing modules - here's how.

1. Go to the Create menu, and select Dr. Octo Rex Loop Player.

2. Click on the Dr. Octo Rex folder button (Browse Patch), then choose a dry guitar as a signal source for testing the amp sim we’re about to create. A good choice is the ElGt_Faith_G_085.rx2 guitar loop. To find it, navigate to the Reason Factory Sound Bank, then go Dr. Rex Instrument Loops > Guitar Loops > Telecaster Rhythm 085 BPM.


3. Make sure Enable Loop Playback is on.


4. Go Create > Scream 4 Distortion, then go Create > MClass Equalizer.

5. Hit Tab, then verify the patching on the back: The Dr. Octo Rex outs go to Scream 4, and its outs go to the MClass Equalizer. The MClass Equalizer outs go to your mixer or output.

6. Hit Tab again to return to the front panel. Click on the Dr. Octo Rex “Run” button so you can hear the loop play.

7. 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.


8. 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. Note that 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.”

9. In Scream 4, enable “Damage” and choose the type of distortion characteristics you want. The Damage Control parameter has a huge effect on the sound, so experiment; the settings shown in the screen shot give a strong overdrive sound, but also try the Distortion, Fuzz, and Tube algorithms—varying P1 and P2 to optimize—for more distorted effects.

After choosing your distortion algorithm, re-visit step 8. Changing the Type, Scale, and Reso parameters let you “customize” your cabinet for the chosen type of distortion.

And that’s all there is to it - aside from tweaking it to optimize the sound to your liking. Enjoy your amp sim!

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