Using and mixing Reason in Cubase

Many Cubase Users crave to use the marvellous Reason devices in their tracks. On the one hand Cubase makes it very easy for us to rewire one or more Reason devices to our sequencer and send Midi data to the Reason rack. On the other hand we encompass some difficulties in handling the devices via Cubase.

This short tutorial is supposed to give you a quick access to the basic functions and offer some solutions how to

- implement Reason into Cubase

- mix several ReWire-Tracks into your arrangement

1. Wire it up: Using ReWire in Cubase

First start Cubase and create a new project. Of course you can also work with an existing project, which you want to use the Reason device of your choice in – but let’s keep it simple for a start.

Second launch Reason, which now automatically will load in ReWire slave mode.

Third create a Reason Device while holding down SHIFT. This will prevent Reason from wiring it automatically to the Stereo outputs 1 + 2.

For this tutorial I choose the Malmström Graintable Synthesizer, and you better do so, too. Now flip the Reason Rack over using the TAB key and wire the Main Output Left to the Reason hardware interface channel 3. Wire Malmström’s Main Output Right to channel 4.

If you use Reason you probably know how to cable reason devices, but since this is a tutorial, I’m delivering a short explanation. (Just consider it a little extra and try not to get too bored in the beginning).

Left-click Malmström’s left Main Output and just drag the now appearing cable to Reason hardware interface input 3. If you think dragging cables is just not your cup of tea, try another method of wiring with the right output.

Right-click the Malmstöm’s right Main Output and choose “Hardware Interface” from the now appearing context menu. Follow the arrow and choose “Input 4”. A cable should appear now.

PRO TIP

You might wonder why we made all the fuzz, forbidding Reason wiring on it’s own into channel 1 and 2 and wired the Malmström Synthesizer into channels 3 and 4 manually instead.

Reasons Channels 1 and 2 arrive as a Stereo input in Cubase, all the other channels down to 64 arrive as mono. Since we have only one stereo out at disposal, we better get in the habit of using Reasons mono-outs early.

Sometimes you might feel like you want to create complex signal-effect chains in reason. For example routing each output of ReDrum through a different effect chain, such as different compressions and reverbs for bass drum and snare. In that case it's wise to mix those differently treated signals back together with a sub mixer. Route the stereo out of the sub mixer into channels 1 and 2, so you can use your already mixed drums as one stereo signal in Cubase. Makes sense, eh?

We’re leaving Reason for now and switch to our Cubase window. Now go to the menu.

- select devices > Reason

- switch on channels 3 and 4 by pressing the power button

- in the “Show as” column, you can label these channels

- label channel 3 as “Malm L” and channel 4 as “Malm R” (shorter is better, because longer names could be cut off in the display window)

The labelling is very easy. Just click into the “Channel 3” box and overwrite it with a fitting name. Press return.

Now two ReWire channels will have appeared in your empty project. As we remember both channels arrive as mono in cubase, so we have to assign them to their stereo position.

- first left-click the “Malm L” channel (make sure the Cubase Inspector is visible)

- go to the Inspector and slide the panning control to <L>

- repeat this with the “Malm R” channel, but this time make sure, the panning control rests at <R>

- minimize the ReWire channels

Seems like we are ready to go. Create a new midi track in Cubase and compose a simple one bar line. Try to make the line not too annoying, since we are going to hear this a couple of times.

Select the Midi track and go to the Inspector. Choose “Reason Malmström 1” as its output.

Hit Space.

Music – there it is. ReWiring complete.

2. At your fingertip: One fader per instrument

To give the sound a little spice let’s load the “Bassic” patch from Malmström’s bass library.

Now open your Mixer by hitting F3 and be amazed. We have only one instrument but 3 faders:

- Midi 01

- Malm L

- Malm R.

That appears to be an awful lot. And right so.

The Midi fader is totally useless to us, so let’s hide it by clicking the “hide Midi channels” button in the leftmost column. Still we’re left with two faders.

And since we want to use some effect plug-ins and sent effects on our Reason instruments later on, it’s quite uncomfortable to handle the left and right channel separately.

So let’s route it to one stereo-fader.

- Add a new group channel into your Mixer and label it “Malmström”

- Route the “Malm L” channel to this new group channel by clicking the topmost box in your Mixer and choosing “Malmström” (which is our group channel) (For Cubase SL-Users: This might be the box below your channel-names, I’m not sure.)

- Do the same for your “Malm R” channel.

- Hide both ReWire channels by clicking “hide ReWire channels”

- Try the fader, you now should be able to control left and right Malmström channel simultaneously. Try an insert effect in the group channel, too.

Now there we are! One instrument and one fader. That makes sense again.

3. Automating Reason in Cubase

For all of you who want to have some live automation of Reason tracks in Cubase: there is a way. But unfortunately you will need an external Midi controller device to do so. Well, you better hurry to get one in order to be right back for part two of our Reason meets Cubase tutorial.